Fw: Social Problems (was Social Problems--Part A)

Russell Maatman (rmaat@mtcnet.net)
Tue, 24 Feb 1998 10:21:24 -0600

ASA group:

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Russell Maatman
e-mail: rmaat@mtcnet.net
Home: 401 5th Avenue
Sioux Center, IA 51250

> From: Russell Maatman <rmaat@mtcnet.net>
> To: asa@calvin.edu
> Subject: Re: Social Problems (was Social Problems--Part A)
> Date: Monday, February 23, 1998 4:46 PM
> Charles Cairns wrote on Sunday, February 22, 1998 6:21 AM
> [snips]
> Concerning Calvin's condemnation of homosexual activity:
> > You wrote re: Paul's words in 1 Timothy 3:2: (A bishop then must be
> > blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour,
> > given to hospitality, apt to teach)
> >
> > >My thoughts on this verse: I've consulted John Calvin's commentary on
> this
> > >passage. First, Calvin agrees with Chrysostom, a church father, and
> > >that "in a bishop [Paul] expressly condemns polygamy," whereas Jews of
> > >Paul's time thought they could imitate the patriarchs and middle
> easterners
> > >of Paul's day...
> > Paul was well aware of the weakness of the flesh. I believe it's very
> likely
> > that because he knew how weak men are, and that men in church
> > like bishops, should remove themselves from temptation, that it would
> a
> > good idea if they married. It's not entirely unlikely that this feeling
> > informed his words in 1 Timothy 3:2. It can't be the only reason,
> I
> > don't think the grammar supports it, but I think it's a component of
> >
> > >"But here it might be objected, that what is sinful in all ought not
> > >have been condemned in bishops alone." Calvin then remarks that the
> > >original law, laid out in Genesis 2:4, was never repealed. "But [God]
> > >might, to some extent, bear with that in others which, in a bishop,
> would
> > >have been excessively vile, and therefore not to be endured."
> >
> > If this behavior was as "excessively vile" as Calvin says, why didn't
> Paul
> > say so? What I think instead is that polygamy ran so counter to
> > beliefs and environment that he couldn't fathom it a part of a
> Christian's
> > life, so he interpreted scripture in a way that made him comfortable.
> (BTW,
> > I don't understand the relationship of Gen 2:4--can someone help me?)
> >
> > >We certainly should have no difficulty with the idea that God bears
> us
> > >even in our sinfulness, and gently leads us along so that eventually,
> > >perhaps after centuries, his people have changed. No doubt we can
> > >many practices "taken for granted" say, a thousand years ago, which
> > >however, considered wrong, wrong, wrong today.
> [snip]
> > Yes, I'm convinced God does bear with us. I, for one, have disappointed
> him
> > time and time again, and he's never left my side. But during those
> I
> > knew what I was doing was wrong, and there was biblical precedent to
> convict
> > me of having been wrong. I don't see the biblical precedent that would
> > convict me were I a polygamist living in a community that allows it. In
> > fact, just the opposite. There is a long tradition in the Old Testament
> > (which continued in the Church Age) of responsible polygamy. Yet at
> > opportunity to address it, the bible is either silent or selective.
> Of course I agree that God suffers along with us as we disappoint him
> day to day. But my point was a larger one: Over thousands of years, he
> leads us along to acknowledge what he laid down in the beginning. No
> slaves. No autocratic form of government. And, marriage should be what it
> was for Adam and Eve before they sinned--covenantal and one-to-one. Each
> the pair helps the other.
> Russ
> Russell Maatman
> e-mail: rmaat@mtcnet.net
> Home: 401 5th Avenue
> Sioux Center, IA 51250
> ----------