Wednesday, March 18, 2015

A question of understanding

According to Fox17 in West Michigan, there is a Zeeland pastor under fire for comparing gays to axe murderers. They report, "A pastor from First Baptist Church of Zeeland is making waves online following a recent sermon he gave where he compared being gay to being an axe murderer."

Here is what the pastor said:
“For instance, on a completely other playing field, if tomorrow I woke up because I’ve got this internal compass that’s telling me what truth is, tomorrow if I wake up say… well I think I’m an axe murderer and now I’m an axe murderer, would you be happy with that? Would you agree, would you want me to follow that internal compass?”
The reporting is poorly done and reactions are either angry, not well thought out or deliberately slanderous -- probably some mix of all three. Perhaps the pastor's analogy is not well chosen, but the point is not that homosexuals are ax murderers (or that they are even compared to them). People seem unable to follow an explanation used to illustrate a singular point. The point is about how we arrive at truth. He points out that none of us would find it acceptable to let our "internal compass" guide us to the "truth" that being an ax murderer is acceptable. Yet in many other cases our "internal compass" is exactly how we acceptably arrive at truth. It doesn't have to be about homosexuality. It could be the husband who wakes up one morning and "discovers" he no longer loves his wife and wants to divorce her and abandon his children. Should he follow his internal compass? Regardless of what you think is right or wrong, the discussion is about how we arrive at that point. For Christians, it is biblical instruction that should settle the matter and trump how we feel. First Baptist of Zeeland puts it this way in their media release: "In regard to human sexuality, God’s word is clear. God, through His design and clear prescription in his holy Word, instituted marriage between one man and one woman...Sexual behavior outside of monogamous marriage is contrary to God’s design and is therefore sin." Their point is not that homosexuals are ax murderers, but that people don't have a right to follow their inner compasses on already determined morality. Again, if you don't agree on the morality or the authority behind it -- so be it. But switch off the spin machine and deal with the point. 

The entire sermon may be listened to at First Baptist Church Sermons. The one under debate in the report is the March 1 sermon on "Marriage and Sexuality." 

1 comment:

R. L. Vaughn said...

Perhaps people are not educated in understanding this style of argument where an example is given that most of the readers or hearers would not agree with, thereby hoping for them to see the illogic of their own conclusion. Robert Hughes of Clear Creek Baptist Bible College uses this style of argumentation regarding Calvinists and slaveholders (in a Southern Baptist Convention context).

"There are those today who take the view that the founders of the Baptist denomination (the ones who were right, anyway,) were Calvinists - and therefore all Baptists ought to be as well. This might be called the historical argument for Calvinism. If I were to argue that since many of the founders of the Southern Baptist Convention believed God ordained slavery, all Baptists ought to do so today, would you buy that historical argument?"

He is not comparing Calvinists to slaveholders but rather showing a faulty argumentation that many will accept regarding Calvinism but not regarding slavery. Same kind of thing the Zeeland pastor was doing.