The Dimming Of Ebright

Does Ebright have a bright idea? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Over at Red Letter Christians, Ian Ebright has written an article entitled “Anti-Gay Marriage Legislation is an Example of an Overextended Church in Decline.” (Link at the end)

It’s pretty bad for me when right in the title I notice a problem.

Why am I categorized as anti-gay marriage? In reality, I am pro-marriage. It is another group wanting to come and change what marriage is. It is my policy in defense of my position to say that they are wrong. The opposition needs to show that what they are wanting is what marriage is, that it is good, and that they should be allowed to have it.

Why is it that sticking up for marriage is being seen right at the start as a negative position? Since our writer is a Christian, when Jesus is asked about divorce by the Pharisees, would it have been proper to say in the newspapers of the time “Anti-divorce teaching is overextending the bounds of Torah.”?

The first sentence already has the conspiracy going. The church is no longer content with governing itself. Now, it wants to use the tools of the government to order lives of consenting adults.

Tools of the government. You know, tools like free elections where people are allowed to vote and choose for themselves. These are people we’d normally call “consenting adults.” Meanwhile, in states like Iowa, the legislation has been passed by the courts without the vote of the people in fact forcing the beliefs of the courts on the populace.

Sounds like someone has their facts backwards.

Note also that the marriage side is not saying to storm into the bedrooms of homosexuals and punish them for Sodomy. They are free to do what they want to do. All we are saying is we will not recognize it as marriage.

Not to mention, why does consenting adults make it right? If consenting adults want to commit incest, will we say that they can get married? Consenting adults have threesomes often. Consenting adults divorce for dumb reasons. Consenting adults engage in polygamy.

Let’s also not forget that when the German cannibal Armin Meiwes wanted a specific victim to eat, he asked for a consenting adult. Everything was agreed upon! Somehow, I don’t think it was seen as a moral act just because it was between two consenting adults.

The writer then writes about all the freedom the church has. Why yes. The church has glorious freedom. True, we can speak, but notice some problems.

A worker who shares the gospel at his workplace could lose his job.

A preacher can get in trouble with the government for speaking on a political issue.

A student who prays at a school event like a graduation or a football game can face the wrath of the ACLU.

Christians in the media such as in sitcoms and movies are usually portrayed as ignorant and superstitious while the homosexuals are the laughable and enjoyable characters.

People at stores at Christmastime can be told to say to customers “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.”

Yet if you speak out saying you don’t think homosexuals should marry, you are a bigot, a homophobe, intolerant, and those are just listing some of the things I can put on a blog that are decent!

The writer then goes on to say the church is not content with ministry but wants to rule on private affairs.

Sorry to disappoint, but marriage is not a private affair.

When my wife and I got married, it was an incredibly public affair. We had a minister, her family, my family, and several good friends. (Including my best man who is going to be writing an excellent blog on this as well at While in Charlotte, we had someone fly in all the way from California for this event and our vows were done before God and man. That was a public affair.

When we are out in public, people know we are married. I am holding her hand we both wear our wedding rings. We can kiss each other in public and I can hold open doors for her and call her my Princess in public as well as refer to us as Mr. and Mrs. Peters.

That is public.

Now when we got married, what went on in the bedroom was indeed private. It is still private. This is the area that the church is not intruding upon. What we are wanting to protect is the public sphere, the sphere of marriage that is seen by all.

Furthermore, even the private aspect has a public demonstration. Let us suppose one day that Mrs. Peters and I have a child. Knowing that we are a faithful couple, that will be testimony to the world that we do have a sexual relationship. Every person you see today, you see because at one point, two people engaged in sexual activity together.

The idea then that Ebright is wanting to get out is exactly opposite of what he says.

Ebright now says the church and nation are getting weaker and more divided.

For the weaker aspect, I’d like to see some evidence. In what way are we weaker? Is our economy worse because we do not have this? Is our national defense worse? How are we weaker?

As for division, this assumes the church is the cause of the division. Note that where people have voted, they have always voted for marriage. It seems the dissenting opinion would be the one causing the division, but not so in the world of Ebright.

Furthermore, if there is division, it could be for a good reason. It could be some people think the purpose of marriage is something worth standing up for. Some people are realizing the church’s usual mechanism of “RETREAT!” which Ebright wants us to use again, doesn’t really work so well.

Amazingly is this sentence from Ebright.

“In a crusade for a more wholesome culture, we have injected pride, arrogance, hostility, and vitriol.”

Obviously, the more loving approach would be to tell people they’re intolerant and bigoted homophobes. Go look at some blogs sometime to see how the homosexual community and those who side with them can often speak of those who are for marriage. Desires of violence and death are quite common. When anyone has said the same to the homosexual community, the defenders of marriage have been quick to condemn such talk.

Ebright is once again on the opposite end.

Next is this paragraph:

“I have heard gay marriage argued against with the example of Nazi Germany, by people asking “where was the church then?” They say genocide is what happens when we fail to act on our morals as a church. I find it troubling that this is even considered a valid comparison to the GLBT community’s wish to marry. One is force, the other is consensual. Force turns sex into rape and employment into slavery. This is why the church is universally applauded when it combats sex trafficking, and esteems people otherwise harmed, neglected or left behind, because in those moments the church is elevating the individual rather than trying to restrict it.”

I have looked over and over this paragraph. It still makes no sense. I asked Rayadoriver their thoughts on it seeing as that blogger is much better in English than I and the thinking on it was mutual. This whole paragraph is a train wreck. I’m also not sure about who is making this comparison. I’ve read several blogs and have not seen it.

Ebright goes on to say that this is a form of consumerism in the church trying to make the culture look like it.

You know, all those Christians out there picketing to make Sunday church attendance mandatory and saying that one is not a citizen unless they’re a Christian. Oh wait. We’re not doing that. We’re not forcing Christianity on anyone. What we are doing is making a stake for our position and leaving it to the people to vote.

Why does Ebright have a problem with this? It’s as if he wants us to just lie down and do nothing. Just capitulate to the culture. Do not I as a Christian have a right to speak my beliefs in public and if I think they are good beliefs, to tell others why they should adopt them as well and live accordingly?

Does Ebright think the way of Christ is a good way worth sharing with the culture?

Ebright then compares being against SSM to the idea of being against tattoos, alcohol, and cursing.

Never mind that homosexuality is something condemned in both testaments and that marriage is a public affair affecting all of society whereas the most you could get a case for with the others is alcohol consumption which we already have laws regarding as well. Perhaps Ebright thinks that if that opinion is something Christians would encourage that we should get rid of it then.

He next speaks about the fight against pornography. That fight was lost, but the church was not silenced. Maybe it was better to just lose the battle.

Sure. Maybe it was better. We can just look at all the homes damaged by pornography, all the marriages split apart, the dehumanization of women, the lack of men being able to be men, the idolization of sex, etc. as just collateral damage. Sure. Those kinds of things happened, but the church can still minister!

The church has always been ministering and until Jesus returns, it will continue to do so. The church is meant to be salt and light in the world, but for people like Ebright, it would be best if we put ourselves under a bush, the very activity that Christ condemned.

Ebright then says:

“When you look at Christ, do you see Him forcing teaching or standards of living on everyone? He taught people to seek- as Rev. Earl F. Palmer said so correctly- seek is a freedom word. That means ministry is intended to grant people the dignity of choice as well as our patience. These ideas can be held along with the charge to go and make disciples.”

I am not sure which NT Ebright is reading. The gospel of Mark early on has Jesus calling people to repent. That term actually means that he is telling them to abandon their way of life and follow him. Jesus was a revolutionary, but he was not a military revolutionary. He was not planning a revolution against Rome. If anything, it was against the corrupt vision of His day.

Jesus was not meek and mild. Meek and mild teachers do not get crucified. People that do not stand up to the culture are ignored by the culture. Jesus regularly challenged the Pharisees on their own turf. True, He did not “force” his way, but Israel and America are not identical. Jesus certainly taught His way and encouraged others to follow, the action I’m suggesting we do and Ebright is suggesting we don’t do.

Let’s also not forget this little event on Passover week that involved a temple and making a whip. If any statement was revolutionary, it was that. This is quite likely the big event that got Jesus crucified and it was also a Messianic claim on His part.

Ebright then says that it’s time to stop forcing others to eat their vegetables. Force seems to be a favorite word. Unfortunately, force is never shown. It’s just asserted.

He also says homosexual marriage will not hurt your marriage any more than a neighbor having an affair. Let’s see how this logic works.

“Stop the fight against abortion! Abortion won’t harm your child!”

“Worry not about the neighbor abusing their child. It won’t hurt your child!”

Is this really the way Ebright wants followers of Christ to think? “If it will not hurt you, don’t worry about it.” Here I thought the biblical way was to esteem others as better than myself. It seems Ebright’s thinking is “Look out for number one.”

Ebright then has this quote.

““You’ve confused a war on your religion with not always getting everything you want. It’s called being part of a society. Not everything goes your way.” -Jon Stewart”

Excellent source right there. I’m convinced. Yes. Part of society is not everything goes your way. Correct. That’s because we live in a free civilization where we can vote and encourage people to vote our way. Let’s keep in mind that when Prop 8 was accepted, those opposed try to take the results of a free election to the courts. Meanwhile, when it was acceptable for a time in Maine, the people did a different tactic whereby they went around and got signatures, which was the state-approved way of handling a disagreement.

Yes. You won’t always get what you want and believe it or not, because you want your relationship to be called marriage, that does not mean the government should do that for you.

Ebright then ends with how we should be living more Christlike (You know, the guy who stood up to culture and got crucified” and that good biblical advice is to take care of your own family. (Is Ebright saying that he wants to impress on us his idea that we should take care of our own family? By his standards, is he not forcing this belief on us?) This is then being salt and light.

No. It is not. It is saying the Kingdom of God has no say on the kingdom of man.

As I check, there is nothing also in the piece about what the purpose of marriage is. There is nothing in the piece about what constitutes a family. There is nothing in the piece about the best environment in which to raise children. None of this is there. Now someone could say we’re wrong about all of those, but it seems Ebright is not even familiar with why a number of us are fighting this battle to begin with.

So this would mean Ebright is also wanting us to listen to him without him listening to us.

People like Ebright will continue to weaken the church in America and make it more and more irrelevant as has happened in England. Those who believe that the way of Christ has something to say to challenge the world will go out with that message. Ebright does not have to come along. After all, we do not believe in force.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

The article can be found here

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