Saturday, September 29, 2018

Societal witness and the goal of evangelism

As we bear witness about God's moral law, many people have a phobia about being painted as part of the "Religious Right." Along with this fear is a whole host of stereotypes about what standing for godly laws amount to, chief of which has to do with evangelism and reaching out to others with the Gospel.

The main accusation as it concerns evangelism is the idea that we are putting stumbling blocks in front of unbelievers. Instead of hearing about the grace of God, all they see is Christians pouring condemnation upon them. This objection however fails in many ways, especially as it fails to properly understand Law and Gospel. The Gospel makes no sense apart from the holiness of God and the sinfulness of sin. Telling sinners about the Gospel without the necessary work of the Law makes the Gospel superfluous to sinners. If in the process of proclaiming the Gospel, we talk about sin as a general phenomenon, few sinners will actually make the connection to their specific sins. Christianity will be seen as a self-improvement and "spiritual" thing that is good if you want it, but definitely not positing a demand upon all peoples everywhere.

For sinners who love their sins, it makes little difference whether you tell them nicely or you tell them in the midst of heated controversy, for they will reject your message nonetheless. If you tell them nicely, it might be a case of one ear in, another ear out and your message might not be taken seriously. In the midst of controversy, their true hatred of God's law will be manifest as they take the reminders of the moral law seriously. This is not to suggest that we should always seek to be offensive, but it is to suggest that thinking somehow that unbelievers are more likely to respond positively if you refuse controversy is a fool's dream. More importantly, in the midst of controversy might just be the perfect time when they will actually treat what you say seriously, and the relevance of God's law to their lives is made abundantly clear, even if they are to reject it.

Now, it is of course true that stumbling blocks may be placed in front of unbelievers, but only if the Christian witness is done out of spite and hatred, and it is done with merely a statement of the law. Together with the message of what God's Law says must be attached the call of God's grace for salvation. Needless to say, hypocrisy by its proponents is to be rejected, which is to say some measure of holiness is to be expected of believers, for there is nothing more stumbling than an immoral person telling unbelievers immorality is wrong!

As long as it is done correctly, there is no reason why societal witness is antithetical to evangelism properly understood. And unless we would like to deny the commands of God, then we must bear witness in society, not as activists but as believers, seeking not for worldly gain but for God and His Law to be vindicated in our societies.

Natural Law, S377A, and the Christian witness

[Note: S377A, or Section 377A of the Singapore Penal Code, criminalizes homosexual sex acts between men. The exact wording is as follows:

Any male person who, in public or private, commits, or abets the commission of, or procures or attempts to procure the commission by any male person of, any act of gross indecency with another male person, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 2 years.

The law is a legacy of British Common Law, and passed to Singapore as Singapore was a former British colony.]

What is the rationale for Singapore Christians to support S377A? Most assuredly, countries like Singapore are not Christian nations. While arguments from sociology and healthcare can be marshaled in support of S377A, is there any other reason for laws like S377A to not only exist but to be defended as a just law?

From a Christian perspective, we believe that God is the sovereign Lord of Creation. God is the Creator first, then the Redeemer. As Creator, his moral laws are binding upon creation. But this moral law is not just something out there, but it is within our own hearts. For as it is written,

For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them (Rom. 2:14-15)

God has inscribed the moral law upon the consciences of every man, woman and child. Due to the Fall, our consciences are marred, yet our consciences still reflect however imperfectly God's moral law. This moral law is also known as "natural law" as it seems natural to us, based upon our innate consciences, for these laws to be laws. For example, all societies hold that murder is wrong and that stealing is wrong. There is also an innate desire for justice to be done in this world, based upon our admittedly flawed understanding of natural law. Therefore despite our sin, the consciences of men are still present, and they show us the natural law which God had inscribed upon the hearts of all humans in all places and all times, including 21st century Singapore.

Thus, with God as Creator and the moral law inscribed unto the hearts of Man, a just society is one whereby the righteousness of God is manifested externally in the obedience of men to Natural Law, which is merely to say that society institutionalizes the moral compasses of their consciences. Since the moral law is innate in the conscience, therefore it is not strictly speaking "religious" for the moral law to be commended to any and all societies. A good civil society honors Natural Law even if it denies the God of that law, as the ancient Romans did before the downfall of the Republic. Conversely, an evil society is a society whereby the consciences are actively and systematically suppressed by that society, as the Assyrians, Babylonians and much of the ancient Roman Empire had done.

So natural law is the basis for a just society. What then the Christian witness? As certain Left-leaning pastors love to remind us, the Bible calls us to promote justice in society (c.f. Micah 6:8). Biblical justice in society IS to establish the moral law in society. In this penultimate state prior to Christ's return, justice in society is to be sought by calling society to be conformed more and more to Natural Law, thus creating a just society. Thus, the Christian witness in society (outside the church) is to pursue justice in conformity to Natural Law. This is the correct view of biblical justice in society, not the leftist version of "social justice" that has taken entire segments of reformed and evangelical churches captive.

Part of the Christian witness to society therefore is to defend S377A, for that law is a preservation, albeit imperfect, of the Natural law against sexual immorality. That is the reason why it was part of British Common Law, which was then passed to Singapore due to Singapore being a former British colony. To "do justice" before God on the issue of homosexuality is to defend S377A, and it is extremely sad when pastors and churches refuse to promote justice and defend this law outside their service times. For if the church does not teach the congregants on the matter of Natural Law, who else is going to teach them the demands of God's justice? If we just call believers to "do justice" but refuse to tell them what that means, the world's idea of "social justice" will fill the void created by the negligence of the churches.

It is certainly true that the focus of the Church is to proclaim the Gospel. That is the primary role of the church in her preaching. Yet, the church also teaches her people how to think biblically about things, and that belongs to all teachers in the church. I therefore fully agree that church should not be about politics, but teaching believers how to think biblically is not politics. The church should not call for support of S377A in her preaching, but is to teach that supporting it is in conformity to natural law in her catechetical classes. So that in all things, believers will be able to honor God in their minds and hands as well as their hearts and mouths.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

A multi-religious society is not an atheistic society

[Note: S377A, or Section 377A of the Singapore Penal Code, criminalizes homosexual sex acts between men. The exact wording is as follows:

Any male person who, in public or private, commits, or abets the commission of, or procures or attempts to procure the commission by any male person of, any act of gross indecency with another male person, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 2 years.

The law is a legacy of British Common Law, and passed to Singapore as Singapore was a former British colony.]

In a really disturbing statement, former Singapore ambassador Tommy Koh told Christians and Muslims that they have no place in the public square because of the "separation between religion and the state." According to Koh, this separation between religion and the state means that the viewpoints of Christians and Muslims are to be discounted since "sins are not crimes." In this battle for and against repeal of S377A of the Penal code, the LGBT lobby has been hard at work trying to paint their opponents as religious bigots, and Koh is just taking a leaf out of the LGBT activists' "book of illegitimate arguments" here.

The major problem of Koh's statement is that he fails to understand what the traditional understanding of "separation of church and state" or "mosque/ temple and state" mean. This is what the Singapore Constitution says about religious freedom in Singapore:

Every person has the right to profess and practise his religion and to propagate it (Singapore Constitution 15 (1))

Traditionally, the separation of church and state is meant to ensure that the Church as an institution does not interfere with the matters of the State, and vice versa. It does not state that religion is to be excluded from the public square, for there is then no explanation as to why America historically has much display of public Christian piety. Separation of church and state therefore has to do with religious institutions not religion itself. Likewise, in the case of Singapore, ours is a separation of religious institutions and the state, NOT religion and state. As stated in the Constitution, peoples of all religions can practice their religions freely, and part of religious practice is the voicing of religious-informed opinions.

If Singapore is to claim to be a "multi-religious society," then it must act like a multi-religious society. That means that Koh's statement here is very disturbing because it seems to say that Christians and Muslims should just shut up and religious views are to be excluded from the public square. Koh's statement here does not seem to be in conformity to the Singapore Constitution, which guarantees religious freedom, only subject to the maintenance of public order (Singapore Constitution 15(4)). Koh's statement in fact has its genesis not in Singapore but in 18th century Revolutionary France, which during the Reign of Terror made atheism of some sort the state religion. Only in an atheistic state will religious statements of any kind be thrown out of the public square.

It is truly sad to see a respected diplomat fall so far. Unfortunately, he has lent his reputation to the destruction of family and society, which is all the more reason for those of us with any common sense left to resist him and the LGBT+ lobby.

The issue of identity for a Christian

Identity refers to what a person holds to be definitional of him/ her as a person. In ancient and modern times, one's identity is tied to one's tribe or ethnicity or nation or religion. The notion of "identity politics" stems from this primal instinct, and competing tribes fought each other in wars across the globe. With the advent of the 18th/ 19th century Enlightenment, the idea of universalism and universal humanity was heavily promoted. There is one human race, and thus we should set aside the old tribal distinctions and animosities. This emphasis on universal humanity was tempered by nationalism prior to World War I, and gained ascendency after that with the founding of the League of Nations and then the United Nations.

Nevertheless, old and new tribal distinctions remained. And in the 21st century in this time and age, identity politics have risen to the forefront. The message of universal humanity has failed in the eyes of many. Under the assault of critical race theory and intersectionality, a resurgence of tribalism surfaces. Unlike Enlightenment-era nationalism, the new tribalism splits people groups within a nation, and even between people of the same ethnic group. The new tribalism hearkens back to a darker time prior to the Enlightenment, a time of great hatred and warfare between different peoples. Without a common identity to unite them, the warring tribes will descend further into enmity and strife that would make the current slander of Brett Kavanaugh look moral in comparison.

In its more benign state, identity politics can be seen in the reaction by many Asian-Americans to the "representation" of "Asians" in Crazy Rich Asians. It is an interesting phenomenon, but I would prefer it to be another country since that is not representative of Singapore or Singaporeans. More importantly however is the fact that "representation" was never important to me. I was never in the in-crowd in school, and never once fitted in well throughout my childhood. What is "representation" to someone who does not fit in?

Christians in this world have dual identities: a spiritual identity as a child of God, and a civil identity. According to Scripture, the spiritual identity is to be preeminent in a Christian, who has been saved out of this world. The civil identity remains to be sure, but it is to be secondary to the identity that God gives. We are after all diaspora, exiles in this world, awaiting the promise of God and the City of God (1 Peter 1:1-2, Heb. 11:9-10, 16). For a Christian, we are to feel different from the world, a world which does not reflect godly values. If we are alienated even among our people, of what use is "representation"? Should we have a moment of catharsis when we see people "like us"? No. Our identities have been changed, and our identity is to be found with God and His people. Should we then perhaps feel excited when we see Christians represented? Not at all, because the world will never represent Christians correctly, and because we are not concerned about ourselves but about Christ who will never be represented correctly.

Therefore, Christians of all peoples ought to be immune from tribalism and identity politics. That we are not is an indictment of the worldliness infecting the churches. We follow the world in seeing color, and then discriminating either against (traditional racism) or for (critical race racism) a person purely because of the color of his skin. We split into tribes and stand by our tribes "right and wrong" with no regard for the truth, just like the world. We slander other pastors because we have made our politics primary over Christian charity and unity. We refuse to seek the truth, and call those who seek the truth trouble-makers. We lapsed into the thinking of this world, and make a sordid mess of our supposed witness for Jesus. If we are so like the world, why should anyone think that God is real? Why should anyone take what we say seriously?

Christians therefore ought to return once again to the Gospel and the Cross of Christ. Jesus was the ultimate and true victim, and the only righteous victim who most definitely did not deserve anything that happened to him, YET he did not seek "social justice" or "representation" but suffered silently on the Cross. We follow this crucified Savior, and so how can we demand "representation" and "social justice"? Are we more virtuous than Christ? Away with such ungodly thinking! This world is not our home. Yes, we do seek justice, actual justice not faux "justice." But that is not where our identity lies. We are followers of a crucified Savior, not a social justice warrior! On this world, we are pilgrims, never to feel a true sense of belonging in a world in rebellion against God.

We are to go back to Scripture once again to see where our identity is. Then we are to show the world that our identity is in Christ and thus we transcend their tribal distinctions. That is the only place where true reconciliation is: in Christ. Then, and only then, will we recover our true identity and rid ourselves of the leaven of identity politics.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

John MacArthur on the issue of sin, history and taking responsibility

In his second sermon in a series on the issue of "social justice," John MacArthur made a very salient point concerning historical injustices, grievances and the need for personal responsibility, in that God is the God of history. The more we call people to nurture grievances due to inequality, which has been ordained by God, the more the person will run away from God. For God then becomes the perpetrator of injustice. MacArthur pointed out that life is unfair, and there is in a certain sense in which historical sins have consequences for the present (c.f. Ex. 20:5), YET "no one is a random victim of historical sins." Whatever social, racial inequality a person is born into, that is under the sovereignty of God. But regardless of what inequality may exist, all are sinners and are responsible to God for how they live their lives. Inequality does not vitiate personal responsibility. Life is unfair, but whatever God has given, we are to take personal responsibility for our actions and not play the blame game, for like Adam and Eve, "sinners will fight to the death to blame someone else" for their predicament.

Ultimately therefore, the problem with the issue of "social justice" when it runs in the church is a refusal to submit to God's sovereign working in history. By passing the buck, SJWs can stop taking responsibility for the ills they face, and blame anyone but themselves, and refuse to accept that life is unfair. The antidote is however unpleasant, for then we have to face up to the brokenness and sin in ourselves, and realize we are not as good as we think we are.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

The Statement on Social Justice is against racism

One of the lies being spread about the Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel is that those in the antebellum South could sign the statement. Those who make and repeat the lies probably never actually read the statement, or they are willing to lie about its contents. This is what the statement says about the sin of racism, which no one in the antebellum South could have agreed to.

We deny that Christians should segregate themselves into racial groups or regard racial identity above, or even equal to, their identity in Christ. We deny that any divisions between people groups (from an unstated attitude of superiority to an overt spirit of resentment) have any legitimate place in the fellowship of the redeemed. ... (Denial, XII: Race/ Ethnicity, The Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel)

It is one thing to reject the statement. It is another to lie about the statement and falsely bear witness about it so as to promote one's leftist "racial justice" agenda. Sadly, what has been seen so far is lies, lies and more lies, and little actual engagement with the substance of the Statement.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Original sin and imputed guilt

In the book edited by Michael Allen and Scott R. Swain, Christian Dogmatics, an author Oliver D. Crisp wrote the chapter on the topic of sin. In his chapter, he defended what he took to be a "Zwinglian" model of original sin. As opposed to the federal model of the transmission of sin, Crisp took the realist model, which Zwingli supposedly taught, that sin is transmitted by a real union between Adam and his progeny (p. 216). Needless to say, such a model would require holding to traducianism, the belief that the souls of human beings are transmitted to their descendants, in order for it to work. Without dealing with traducianism here, let us look at Crisp's objections to the federal model of the transmission of sin, that sin is transmitted to all humans because of covenantal identification with Adam, and answer them.

Crisp raised three distinct objections to the federal model of the transmission of sin. First, the "arbitrary divine will objection" states that the act of God in ordaining that original sin is transmitted is unfair and arbitrary. Second, the "authorization objection," which states that Adam's progeny did not authorize Adam to be their representative. Third, the "fiction objection," that the imputation of sin to Adam's progeny because of federal identification is a moral and legal fiction. Due to these three objections, which Crisp deemed insurmountable. Crisp rejected the federal model for a realist model of the transmission of sin.

In response to the first objection, the answer is that God is sovereign and this is how the world he had created is. The objection is basically reduced to "Why did God make the world in such and such a way?." Why did God make the world such that Adam sinned in the first place? Why did God make the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil? This objection fails because the whole idea of God being God is that He is God and we are not. God does all things according to His good pleasure, and there is simply no reason or right why He must explain anything to us.

The second objection is similar to the first, and the answer is similar to the first answer. Who authorized Adam to be our federal head? Well, God did! When you were a little child, who authorized your parents to sign as a parent on your behalf for camps and other activities? Did you as a three year old authorize your parents to be your parents? Or how about nations and war? If a country goes to war, which individual citizen authorized the war? What if the citizen does not want to fight in the war when mandatory draft is instituted?

Therefore, the second objection fails as well. Such an objection smacks of radical individualism, and fail to recognize the corporate nature of human societies. It is true that we did not authorize Adam and Eve to be our head in the first test of the Covenant of Works, but who is better to face such a test? It almost seem like the objectors think that they, as fallen creatures, would easily pass the test that our sinless parents failed, an exercise in hubris.

The last is essentially the same objection as the argument against justification by faith alone, which has also been called a "legal fiction." But that is to ignore that the imputing of Adam's guilt actually changes something, i.e. that all Man are sinful from birth. It is not a "legal fiction" because the imputation of Adam's guilt actually make fallen men sinners, just as the imputation of Christ's righteousness actually make believers righteous in the eyes of God. If imputation of sin is unfair, then so is imputation of Christ's righteousness to us. Grace is "unfair," but few seems to be complaining about that! The "legal fiction" objection is therefore void, and the federalist model stands.

The first man Adam sinned, and this sin is imputed to his posterity by virtue of federal headship. But we can thank God, for in the "unfairness" of this system is the exact same federal system that brings us God's grace in the person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ. Salvation is free, and all of grace, to set us free from our bondage to sin and give us eternal life.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Social Justice, Critical Theory and General Revelation

In some quarters of American Christianity, there has been a defense of the usage of Critical Race Theory and other forms of left-liberal theories as being under the umbrella of "General Revelation." The defense is that, since the Bible does not teach these theories, therefore we can understand that these theories help us to understand the workings of the world as they are part of God's General Revelation, in the same way that the Scriptures does not teach Newton's laws of motions yet we accept them as true, as part of God's General Revelation. Such a defense is used to blunt the argument that these Christian Social Justice Warriors are reading into the Bible and distorting the Word of God, since it is self-evident that no one can get Critical Race Theory from a mere reading of the Scriptures.

I have always suspected there is a weakness in certain more recent Reformed works on the doctrine of General Revelation (e.g. Van Til, Horton etc.), in the sense that General Revelation is not defined clearly and seem to be ambiguous enough to tolerate theologians being able to smuggle in unbiblical theories into their interpretation of the world. So it would be helpful for us here to be clearer in stating what General Revelation actually is. According to Scripture, General Revelation has to do with informing people that there is a Creator God who is eternal and divine and glorious (Rom. 1:20; Ps. 19:1), and that they are all guilty of sin against God's holy law (Rom. 2:15). That is all! God's General Revelation doesn't even extend to scientific laws. And if one understands some basic philosophy of science, then one realizes that the natural sciences are an interpretation of the world, not an unmediated knowledge of the actual workings of the world. After all, that is what one gets from the process of induction: an interpretation of the raw data.

If such is what the natural sciences are, then how should one regard the social sciences, which are even more subjective and easily biased? Social sciences, even if they are done as stringently as possible, are even more fallible and more liable to be wrong. If natural science theories are not general revelation but interpretations of general revelations, then social science theories are most definitely not general revelation but highly fallible interpretations of general revelation! This is especially so when theories like critical race theory reason from highly disputed axioms in the first place, which increases its possibility of error to an exceedingly high degree.

So "social justice" and critical race theories are not general revelation, and have such a high possibility of error that it should not be taken to be true. Therefore, it is sin to impose such theories upon the church, and demand everyone in the church subscribe to these theories as truth upon pain of being "outted" as a "racist." Such activism is unbiblical, un-truthful and un-Christlike. It is to be the apostle of error, working contrary to the Lord of truth, calling good evil and evil good (Is. 5:20). It is a sin which needs to be repented of, an evil that grieves our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of Glory.

Two Kingdoms and the issue of "Social Justice"

In certain segments of supposedly apolitical American Reformed Christianity, there is a push to deal with social issues under the heading of "social justice." These organizations supposedly hold to Two Kingdoms theory, which calls for the church to be apolitical. The strange thing, however, is how they claim to reject the social and political activism of the "Religious Right" because it confuses politics with the Gospel. Yet, if they are to be consistent, they ought to reject social and political activism of all kinds, because all kinds of social and political activism, according to this version of Two Kingdoms theory, would confuse politics with the Gospel.

Positions and activities under the heading of "Social justice," whatever they may be, are in fact rather political issues. That this is the case is seen in the reality that they are not held to be true by most people in the same way the concrete findings of the natural sciences tend to be. Almost all conservatives reject "social justice" in some form or another, based upon conservative social and political theories, which they hold sincerely to be true. It is absolutely irrelevant that left liberals think those theories are nonsense, because right-wingers would say the same about left-wing theories as well. In other words, what is seen here is a real disagreement over the interpretation of facts and socio-political theories. To attempt to delegitimize right-wing theories is to take a socio-political stance, i.e. some kind of left-wing liberalism.

Thus, when organizations distance themselves from the "religious right," yet take up issues such as "social justice," such organizations are being political, politically left-wing. If any organization desire to be totally apolitical, as their version of "Two Kingdoms" supposedly informs their ministry praxis, then they ought not to take any side on any disputed social and political issue. Therefore, the final question to such organizations is: "Why are you not practicing what you preach on the supposed apolitical nature of your organization?"

Sunday, September 09, 2018

S377A and the challenge to Singapore Christianity

Section S377A of the Penal Code of the Singapore Constitution, which criminalizes homosexuality, is back in the news, as various liberals have (again) renewed their call to repeal what they perceive to be an archaic and "discriminatory" law. As times changed, and society have become more liberal, so perhaps the liberals think that now is the time to attempt a repeal of this law. Liberals are liberals, and thus, as much as we can put forward a case from natural law and from science as to why S377A should be kept, the liberals are not my main concern here.

More worrying however is the weakening response from Christians in Singapore. This is not to say that many Christians do not stridently support this law, but rather, that it is not at all clear to me that the younger generation is both able and willing to support it. I am of course open to evidence to the contrary, but at least from my limited point of view, I perceive that many younger Christians have been exposed to various aspects of liberal thought and are not as strong in their views on biblical law and biblical sexuality as the older generation, who have built their opposition from both traditional culture and Christianity. This is not to say that traditional cultures are definitely true and to be accepted uncritically, because I myself do not do so. But rather, without tradition, and with little knowledge of Christianity, it is unclear what is capable of grounding their support of S377A. After all, just because the Bible says homosexuality is sin does not necessarily in itself lead one to think that S377A should be upheld, or at least that is what a simplistic understanding of Scripture seems to indicate.

There are two issues here that Christians should think about: (1) Does society owe God anything? (2) What is the nature and goal of societal censure? Firstly, does society owe God anything? Here, I would like to remind believers that according to Scripture, this world is made by God and God is sovereign over everything on this earth, including Singapore. If you do not believe that, you do not believe in the Christian God. But if God is sovereign over all the nations of the world as their Creator, then that means that the nations owe God homage and obedience to His law. However, now is the time of the New Covenant whereby God is building His Kingdom through the Church. The Church proclaims the Gospel message of salvation, and therefore in all matters concerning spiritual things, the nations are temporarily "exempted" from paying God homage, in the sense that God is not dealing with them on this issue right now. Concerning spiritual things, due to the Noahic Covenant, the nations are left to their own devices for the moment, only to be dealt with at the final judgment (Acts 17:30-31; Rev. 19:15).

That said, God is not absent from the world and only present at church. Rather, God continues to demand the ethical demands of His law (what is called the Second Table of the Ten Commandments - Commandments 5-10). We notice in for example the Old Testament that God judged the pagan nations for gross violations of these laws. Besides the judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah, whereby not even ten outwardly righteous people could be found in Sodom, God judged the Canaanites only when their iniquities are full (Gen. 15:16). During the time of the exile of the Jews, God judged the various other countries around Israel for their cruelty towards Israel (Amos 1-2). These judgments are not just meted out because the victim is Israel, as we can see in the strange case of God judging Moab for what seemed to be a minor sin (to us) of desecrating the bones of the king of Edom (Amos 2:1), who is definitely not an Israelite neither a friend of Israel.

As we see in Scripture, God deals with the secular nations by overlooking their idolatry while inflicting punishments when their moral iniquities are too great. This restraint of judgment is not because God's law does not apply to them, but rather that this age is not the time of judgment. But just because God is gracious now in not immediately wiping sinners out does not mean that His law can be disregarded in society. All nations are obligated to obey God's ethical commands, because God is Creator. It matters not whether they will or will not acknowledge God and His sovereignty, for God is sovereign and all will answer to him one day whether they like it or not.

So society, even secular societies, owes God obedience to His ethical commands. Society therefore is obligated to pass laws that restrains sins and promote the ethical commands of God. Any society that does not do that, or that passes laws contrary to God's commands, is a wicked society, and will incur the wrath of God, which will come on all regardless of whether that society believes in Him or not.

Secondly, what is the nature and goal of societal censure? "Discrimination" is one of the few sins that postmodern society acknowledges. However, "discrimination" in itself is not necessarily a bad thing. All laws discriminate, against criminals. The law that states that stealing is a sin discriminates against the thief. The law that states that drug trafficking is wrong discriminates against drug traffickers. So what if something is "discriminatory"? The question is not whether a law is discriminatory, but rather whether what is discriminated against deserves to be discriminated against. Wrongful discrimination is wrong because it discriminates against what is morally good or neutral. But right discrimination discriminates against what is evil and wicked. Similarly, the word "stigma" or the phrase "social stigma" does not necessarily mean that the stigmatizing itself is wrong. Theft should be stigmatized. Murder should be stigmatized. And murderers should bear the opprobrium of their wicked deeds. Therefore, societal censure is correct if it is directed at that which is wicked, and wrong if directed at that which is not evil. Just because societal censure exists does not mean that it is wrong. Societal censure is meant to guide people to avoid that which is wrong and to do what is right, imperfectly yet truly.

Therefore, in the case of S377A, Christians who are grounded in Scripture should know that Singapore being a secular society is no excuse for thinking that biblical morality is irrelevant. Furthermore, since we live in a democracy, we have the right as citizens to ask our government to keep that statute, and indeed to seek to make our country's law as moral and just as it is possible. What is wrong is if the church as an institution act as a lobbying group, because that would violate the secular nature of our country. But calling on the government to have just laws that conform to God's moral standards is not "fundamentist," "bringing religion into a secular state" or whatever slurs opponents of S377A can come up with. In fact, as long as we remain a democracy, Christians can make their views known on the subject and push for our laws to be moral.

Moreover, Christians should be mature enough to see past the rhetoric of the wicked (which is what they are). This has nothing to do with allowing homosexuals to live in sin, because they can do so without punishment, for who is such a busybody to go around asking everyone whether they are engaging in homosexual sex acts in their homes?! Rather, this is all about the LGBTQ+++ lobby seeking social acceptance for their wickedness. In other words, they want US to approve of their actions. That this is the end game can be seen in the Western nations, where decades of moral decay and retreat have shown us that the LGBTQIA+++ lobby is not interested in just committing sin in private, but they want everyone to approve of their sin, or they will seek to destroy our livelihoods. Do not be swayed by their appeal to mercy and pity, because they are hiding their claws in kids' gloves. Or to use a biblical metaphor, they are wolves in sheep's clothing. Do NOT believe anything they say, for they know that if we know what their end game is, almost nobody will support them as "allies."

The challenge to Singapore Christianity is that few have a understanding of how society relates to God, as Christianity is just seen to be about "spiritual things" only, and that, due to the imbibing of liberalism-lite in the Singapore education system, many young people have no idea how to deal with accusations of "discimination" and "stigmatization." The problem with Singapore Christianity for the young is that they do not have even an inkling of the intellectual tradition that stands parallel to Christianity, which is found within the Western Classical liberal arts tradition. We are ignorant, and we do not know it. We have no idea what "human rights" are as they were originally based upon Scripture, and how secular humanism has distorted the concept into a monstrousity. We have no idea of the amount of de-programming we would need to do to our own minds from the lies our society has taught us. And even if we do, we are just too afraid of the world's opinions, too afraid to rock the boat, too afraid of controversy. As an example, when I did a private post concerning how homosexuality is an abomination, a Christian called me out on it! Not an unbeliever, but someone who professes Christ! Think about that for a moment! Who should we fear more: God or Man?

For Singapore Christianity, it is ultimately insufficient to just deal with LGBTQ and S377A. If we really want to have a robust response to this issue, we need to have solid Christian education, on the Bible but also on Christian worldview, philosophy and theology. It is manifestly insufficient to just "read the Bible," not because the Bible is insufficient, but because the Bible was never meant to be read as a mere devotional text on only spiritual matters. For Singapore Christianity to truly thrive, we need a reformation and a renaissance of learning, of the heart and of the mind.

Friday, September 07, 2018

Sermon: The Sacrifices of Ministry (1 Cor 9)

Here is the sermon I had preached on 1 Corinthians 9, on Aug 19th 2018, entitled The Sacrifices of Ministry.

The Statement on Social Justice

The Statement on Social Justice has came out recently, and it is a great statement on the topic of "Social Justice" and racial issues, especially in its rejection of Critical Race Racism. One of the initial signers, Dr. James White, has posted on the background and exegesis behind the statement here:

And in response to criticism:

I fully support this statement, but I deplore the low ecclesiology that it stems from. It is much more preferable that Reformed denominations would draft and pass a similar statement in church assemblies.