Saturday, January 31, 2004
Friday, January 30, 2004
Thursday, January 29, 2004
Wednesday, January 28, 2004
Tuesday, January 27, 2004
Sunday, January 25, 2004
Saturday, January 24, 2004
On March 23, 1903, Lizzie J. Magie, a young Quaker woman living in Virginia, applied to the US Patent Office for a patent on a board game she had invented as an easy, fun-filled method of teaching the evils of land monopolism. Lizzie Magie was an ardent follower of the single tax movement originated by Philadelphia-born Henry George, who began preaching in San Francisco circa 1869 that the economic rent of land and the unearned increase in land values profited a few individuals rather than the majority of the people, whose very existence produced the land values. He therefore advocated a single tax, on land alone, to meet all the costs of government. He thought this would erode the power of monopolies to suppress competition, and equalize opportunities. That was all heady, abstractly theoretical stuff for plain working folks to comprehend. So, Lizze Magie decided to teach it through her playtime invention, which she called "The Landlord's Game." She got her patent on January 5, 1904. It's registered as number 740,626 in the US Patent Office. Copies of the original game board are still available.A revisionist history of Monopoly.
Friday, January 23, 2004
I must admit, I have never been able to figure out why all of these letters come from people claiming to be associated with Nigeria in some way. I would have thought that this con would have been sufficiently well-known for alarm bells to start ringing as soon as you see the word 'Nigeria'.
Dear Friend I am a Branch Manager with STANDARD TRUST BANK(STB), My name is Mr.JOHN PETERS,a Banker. I am the personal Account Manager to the ENGINEER Ken Connie, a National of your country, who used to work with shell Development company in Nigeria. Here in after shall be referred to as my client On April 21, 2000 my client,his wife, and their three children were involved in a car accident along Sagamu express way. All occupants of the vehicle unfortunately lost theirlives.Since then I have made several inquiries to your embassy to locate any of my clients extended Relatives,this has also proved unsuccessful.After these several unsuccessful attempts, I decided to trace his last name over the Internet, to locate any member of his family hence I contacted you. I have contacted you to assist in repatriating the money and property left behind by my client before they Get confiscated or declared unserviceable by the bank where this huge deposits were lodged, particularly the STANDARD TRUST BANK PLC. Where the deceased had an account Valued at about ($10 million u s dollars) has Issued me a notice to provide the next of kin. Or have the account confiscated within the next ten official working days. Since I have been unsuccessful in locating the relatives for over 2 years now, I seek your consent to present you as the next of kin of the deceased so that this account valued at ($10million u s dollars) can be paid to you and then you and me Can share the money.70% to me and 30% to you An attorney will be contracted to help. All I require is your honest cooperation to enable us see this deal through. I guarantee that this will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will protect you. from any breach of the law. Please get in touch with me by my email or better still call me for more detail on how i intend to carry out this transaction with you. Do include your private phone and fax numbers in your response to my mail, hoping to hear from you soonest.Please repy to my private and confidential email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) Best regards Mr JOHN PETERS
Thursday, January 22, 2004
Do take the time to read this thought-provoking blog:— Radical Orthodoxy Round Table
European man has convinced himself that in order to be modern and free, he must be radically secular. That conviction has had crucial, indeed lethal, consequences for European public life and European culture; indeed, that conviction and its public consequences are at the root of Europe’s contemporary crisis of civilizational morale. That crisis of civilizational morale, in turn, helps explain why European man is deliberately forgetting his history. That crisis of civilizational morale helps us understand why European man is abandoning the hard work and high adventure of democratic politics, seeming to prefer the false domestic security of bureaucracy and the false international security of the UN system. That crisis of civilizational morale is why European man is failing to create the human future of Europe.Whilst I disagree with a number of the views expressed in this article, it does provide an interesting analysis in places. I don't think that it applies to Britain quite as clearly as it applies to Europe. I would find it almost impossible to think of myself as 'European', except in America. It is important to appreciate that British identity has always been distinct from European identity. The fact that we are an island nation has affected our view of the world and Europe in particular profoundly. One thinks of the memorable headline at the turn of the last century: Storm in Channel; Continent Isolated. Also the fact that we had an Empire upon which the sun never set — God would never trust us in the dark! — has served to mould our self-understanding in a manner that makes us quite distinct from the Europeans.
Tuesday, January 20, 2004
At the heart of the doctrine of the Trinity is the notion of perichoresis — the interpenetration of each part by each other, so that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The diversity of the Trinity is also its unity and its strength; it gains from the different characters and functions of its members. So it is with the UK, and with that much maligned sense of Britishness that speaks to so many beyond our shores of openness, tolerance and ethnic, religious and cultural diversity.
Read the whole article here.
The Vatican has hosted a concert of classical music aimed at fostering reconciliation among Christians, Muslims and Jews.
Pope John Paul II, Israel's two chief rabbis and leading Muslim clerics were among the audience for a first performance of a new choral work by an American composer.
The Vatican says the musical evening was intended to promote the commitment to peaceful co-existence among all the children of Abraham.
The Church of England is being asked to take its biggest step towards accepting the primacy of the Pope and the concept of infallibility since Henry VIII broke from Rome 450 years ago. A joint Roman Catholic and Anglican report arguing that the Pope should be recognised as the "universal primate" is to be debated by the General Synod next month.Read the rest here.
Monday, January 19, 2004
Friday, January 16, 2004
The issue of whether there is, in fact, a positive imputation of Christ’s righteousness or not (the issues relating to New Perspectivism) is vital to how we view ourselves, our relationship to God, our standing in Christ, and any number of pastoral questions and issues.I believe that the charge that the New Perspective rejects the essence of the doctrine of imputation is unfounded for a number of reasons. It should be obvious to Dr. White if he has read New Perspective material in any depth whatsoever that it is not about Paul’s understanding of imputation, but about Second Temple Judaism. I presume that Dr. White is thinking more specifically about the theology of N.T. Wright. I don’t believe that N.T. Wright undermines the central concerns of the Reformed doctrine of imputation; I hope to demonstrate this sometime in the next few months when, God-willing, I will post a full treatment (10,000+ words) of the subject on this blog. Wright rejects the traditional formulation for what I believe are biblical reasons. His approach on the subject is rigorously exegetical (see his Romans commentary in particular). If Dr. White has engaged with this exegesis anywhere, I would be very interested to see it. Christian Knowledge Dr. White writes:—
Folks, the foundation of the Christian life is knowing who God is, what He has done in Christ, and that I have peace with God not because of anything I have done but solely because of what Christ has done. Until that relationship of peace is established and understood, the rest is just window dressing. You can sprinkle water on somebody’s noggin until they drown, but without that foundation you will never build a proper, balanced Christian life.I appreciate much of what Dr. White is saying here. However, I do have to take issue with a few points. The foundation of my Christian life is not my knowledge of who God is, what He has done in Christ, and that I have peace with God not because of anything I have done but solely because of what Christ has done. My Christian life is founded upon the reality of these things, not upon my knowledge of their reality. This is no small distinction. Someone can taste of the reality without being able to articulate it in an orthodox manner. Of course, what Dr. White says would be nearer the truth if you grant a broader meaning to the word ‘knowing’, along the lines of ‘tasting the reality’ (just as an infant can know a relationship with its mother without being able to intellectually articulate it). However, the wording of his statement does not make this reading easy. Furthermore, if he granted this, much of the rest of his argument would collapse. The Nature of the Christian Faith Much of Dr. White’s argument at this point rests on the assumption that baptism itself is not part of the ‘foundation’ of the Christian life. This does not surprise me. Dr. White, like most other Reformed Baptists, treats the Christian faith as something that is fundamental a system of doctrinal truths. The Church is ultimately bound together by common ideas, rather than by participating together in common practices and a common life. He should not be surprised that I strongly disagree with him. Our theologizing does not have to do with some abstract system of doctrine. Regeneration, justification and election are not abstract truths about how the individual is to be saved. They are facts, realities that are known within the physical, temporal and visible Church. These realities should be seen in the worship of the Church when she is faithful to Christ. The Church is not some abstract doctrine; it is a living reality. Our doctrine of the Church should not be too dissimilar from an OT ‘doctrine of Israel’. An OT ‘doctrine of Israel’ could never be abstract; it had to deal with the imperfect historical community of Israel. In a similar manner, our ‘doctrine of the Church’ must take into account the reality of the Church, in all its historical complexity and imperfection. Reformed Baptists try to define the Christian faith in such a way as to render any historical ecclesiastical community as peripheral. The Christian faith is fundamental a system of doctrinal truths. The church is the group of people who believe these truths. Of course, we can never know who really believes these truths deep down inside so a merely functional ecclesiology is generally adopted. I am convinced that the Christian faith is primarily to be understood as a public fact, rather than as a private belief system. Seeing a Christian society can never be a marginal concern to the gospel. The creation of a Christian society lies at the very heart of the gospel. The Church is the new nation in the midst of the world. The nations of the world are called to submit to the Lord of all — Jesus Christ. As the gospel is the public fact of Christ’s universal Lordship, I think that chopping down pagan trees is a perfectly reasonable way of going about proclaiming it. And, for Dr. White’s information, I don’t believe that this necessarily demands that we hold a particular form of postmillennialism. Can Baptists be Reformed? Defining the Christian faith in such a manner is one of the ways in which some Baptists can define themselves as ‘Reformed’, whilst denying the validity of the Reformers’ baptisms. They often claim that the Reformed faith is essentially TULIP and that the sacramental theology and practice of the Reformers and their ecclesiology are really peripheral to these more important issues. To me this smacks of hubris. It would be like my claiming the title ‘Eastern Orthodox’ whilst claiming that the Eastern Orthodox views of Mary and the use of images in worship are just peripheral. I have no right to claim this when the Eastern Orthodox tradition disagrees with me. ‘Reformed’, just like the term ‘Eastern Orthodox’ belongs to an ecclesiastical tradition, rather than to a set of abstract propositions rattling around in an individual’s skull. Baptists have a tradition to be proud of in many, many respects. But it is not the Reformed tradition. The Reformers did not believe that infant baptism was peripheral to their faith and I think it is fair to say that they would be more inclined to be ecumenical with Catholics than with Baptists. In case someone thinks that I am being overly harsh on Reformed Baptists at this point, I would point out that the definition above makes my claims to being ‘Reformed’ tenuous also. I am a member of a Reformed Baptist church, and happily so. I am happily a member of this church because I believe that the church’s purpose is primarily to incarnate people, not ideas or beliefs (as Zizioulas observes). The idea of the church as a confessional entity is not altogether helpful in this respect. We need to be more careful about our use of language. Only people who have a very low view of the sacraments and the Church (obviously not the Reformers) would define anti-Arminian Baptists as ‘Calvinistic’ or ‘Reformed’. Much of Dr. White’s criticism rests upon a view of the sacraments that sees them as little more than ‘visible’ expressions of belief in particular propositions and fails to recognize the formative role that common practices such as Trinitarian baptism play within the Church. Are Roman Catholics Brothers? I believe that we ought to recognize Roman Catholics as our brothers. I believe this for a number of different reasons. Firstly, they are part of a church that has historically been faithful. Whilst I deny that Mormons are part of the true Church, Roman Catholics most certainly are. Secondly, the Church exists where people are gathered together by the Word and the sacraments. Despite their mistaken understanding in many areas, the sacraments are still administered among them. The false doctrine of transubstantiation does not, in my opinion, empty the Supper of its significance, no more than the memorialism of most evangelical churches empties their celebration of the Supper of any significance. Their doctrine of baptism may be mistaken (I also believe that the standard evangelical understanding of baptism is also mistaken), but it is still administered among them. The Roman Catholic church may be far from perfect, but so is the evangelical church. Thirdly, the gospel is also proclaimed among them. They may have many errors, but the essential gospel message is still taught. We must not forget that the gospel is grossly distorted in many supposedly evangelical churches. Often the attention given to Roman Catholic abuses can serve to draw the attention away from our own abuses. Roman Catholics may be in error at many points. However, they hold to the Apostles’ Creed, which I believe teaches the essential gospel message. They hold to the Trinity and to an orthodox Christology. I would have problems with anyone who believes that we must believe more than these things if we are to be saved. They hold a number of doctrines which I believe compromise these truths. However, until they explicitly deny the validity of the doctrines of the Apostles’ Creed, the Trinity and the Person of Christ, they should be treated as fellow Christians, although they still harbour serious errors. Justification by Faith in Practice The doctrine of justification means that individuals are saved by believing the gospel proclamation that Jesus is Lord. Nothing else is necessary. To claim that belief in justification by faith alone is necessary if we are to be justified is to deny the doctrine. As Turretin observed, the doctrine of justification is a ‘negative and excluding doctrine’. It is not necessary that we believe justification if we are to be saved. However, a denial of justification will compromise (although not deny) certain doctrines that are central to our faith. In practice justification means that individuals are saved by believing in Jesus. The Christian church is marked out by a common confession of ‘Jesus is Lord’. To refuse to fellowship with people who seek to be faithful to Jesus as Lord on the grounds that they do not accept the doctrine of justification by faith alone as we understand it is to compromise the doctrine. This is not lowest common denominator ecumenicalism; this is recognizing the distinction between that which is essential and that which is secondary. Our Protestant distinctives are very, very important and I do not want to see them compromised in any way. It is my commitment to the truth of justification by faith alone that forms the foundation of my conviction that we should recognize Catholics who confess Jesus as Lord as our brothers. We are saved by believing the gospel (i.e. Jesus is Lord), not by holding a particular soteriology.
Thursday, January 15, 2004
Urgent Prayer RequestWe have just heard from my friend Dave that his brother Steve has gone into a coma. Dave has been one of my best friends over the last few years and has been a real blessing to the church here. We have been praying for his brother Steve for a while now. He was diagnosed with cancer some time back and things have been terrible for Dave since then. One day things look hopeful and the next day that hope seems to be snatched away. I would really, really appreciate if you could join with us in praying for Steve, Dave and the family. Please pray that somehow God would use this situation to bring about the salvation of Steve and the rest of Dave's family. Please pray that Dave would be granted the strength that he needs at this incredibly difficult time.
Tuesday, January 13, 2004
If you haven't guessed already, look here.
The rejection of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in so-called Reformed churches takes many forms.
Some deny that Christ earned anything for his people, because, they say, contradicting Scripture, God never deals with his creatures in terms of merit or justice, but only in terms of grace, which is unearned.
Some deny the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to believers, declaring imputation to be a legal fiction. One renowned New Perspective author, N. T. Wright, Bishop of Durham in the Anglican Church, is so opposed to the idea of imputed righteousness that he compares the doctrine of the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to passing gas.
Some say faith alone is not enough; that one must also work (obey, remain faithful) in order to be justified, or to stay justified. These claim James as their authority, twisting his words to contradict Paul and to fit their works-religion.
Some say faith is enough, but the only faith that justifies is an obedient faith, a faith-with-works, for faith-apart-from-works cannot justify, they say, contradicting Scripture.
Some deny that Christian faith is knowledge, asserting that it is a personal encounter, or a personal relationship, or membership in a covenant community. They say that those who think we are saved by knowledge, such as the Apostle Peter, are Gnostics.
One of these miscreants has published a book in which he maintains that “Christianity is Gnostic.” To quote from an advertisement for (and endorsement of) his book in Douglas Wilson’s magazine Credenda/Agenda, “The Bible never mentions Christianity. It does not preach Christianity, nor does it encourage us to preach Christianity. Paul did not preach Christianity, nor did any of the other apostles.... The Bible speaks of Christians and of the Church, but Christianity is Gnostic.... we must stand against Christianity.” The author of this book, Peter Leithart, is “Senior Fellow of Theology and Literature” at New Saint Andrews College in Moscow, Idaho. His boss is Douglas Wilson, author of many cunningly devised fables. Leithart is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church of America.
Those attacking Christianity and the Gospel of Jesus Christ fail to consult Scripture to see what faith is and does. But one theologian has: Gordon H. Clark, etc., etc.
Monday, January 12, 2004
Having reified processes into objects and arbitrarily quantified them, the reified object ceases to be a property even of the individual, but instead becomes a property of part of the individual.Such things as homosexuality and aggression are ‘located’ in certain parts of our physical make-up. This is the sort of reasoning that explains such complex actions such as murder by referring to a part of a man’s anatomy or chemical balance.
The expression of same-sex preference is scarcely a stable category, either within an individual’s lifetime or historically — indeed, that ‘homosexual’ might be used as a term to describe an individual, rather than part of a continuum of sexual activities and preferences available to all, seems to have been a relatively modern development. What the reductionist argument does is to remove the description of sexual activity or preference from being part of a relationship between two individuals, reify it and turn it into the phenotypic ‘character’ resulting from one or more abnormal, gay genes. As always, it deprives the term of personal, social or historical meaning, as if to engage in same-sex erotic activity or even to express a same-sex preferred orientation meant the same in Plato’s Greece, Victorian England and San Francisco in the 1960s.Misplaced Causation By reification and spurious localization we associate certain behavioural patterns with particular causative agents. We forget that a particular chemical imbalance may not be the cause of ‘alcoholism’, but a consequence or correlation. We should not confuse the chain of cause and effect. ‘After all, when one has toothache one can alleviate the pain by taking aspirin, but it does not follow that the cause of the toothache is too little aspirin in the brain.’ Dichotomous Partitioning Once we have argued that various behavioural patterns are caused by hormonal imbalances, or other such things, we are left with the question of what causes these things. More often than not, our genes are seen to provide the answers. The fact that most human attributes and beliefs show very high heritability statistics does not mean that the attribute or belief can be attributed wholly to the genes. The general result of such an approach is ‘to transfer the burden of explanation, and if appropriate of intervention, from the social or even the personal level to that of pharmacological or genetic control.’ Confounding Metaphor with Homology If first causes are genetic, to study such behaviour we need to find a model in which the behaviour can be more readily controlled, manipulated and quantified. If first causes are genetic then it is all too easy to argue on the basis of physiological and biochemical mechanisms associated with the aggression observed in an animal model (e.g. mice in a cage) to equivalent factors in human aggression. ‘Aggression’ in mice might be analogous to ‘aggression’ in humans. Indeed, the ‘aggression’ of a mouse might well be utterly incomparable with ‘aggression’ in humans. Rose argues that the methodology of reductionism can be very misleading when we try to deal with the complexities of the real world. Furthermore, reductionist methodology can result in reductionist philosophy, where all of science is physics, for instance. Rose claims that we require ‘epistemological diversity in order to understand the ontological unity of our world.’ Violent behaviour should not be explained by a particular gene in an individual, rather than by a variety of different social, personal and other factors. Sins like homosexuality can be blamed upon a person’s genetic make-up, rather than upon their sinful nature (we should not confuse the sinful nature with genetic make-up). Often the most important thing that we can do is to accurately define our problems. The reductionist approach, by trying to explain everything in terms of genetics, causes us to address our problems in the wrong way. Homosexuals may have a certain genetic tendency that contributes something to their homosexual desire. However, to fail to offer multiple forms of explanation is to fall into the reductionist trap. Many of the errors that Rose identifies can be found in some areas of modern medicine that fail to recognize the wholeness of man. They also can provide something of an antidote to those who would excuse such sins as homosexuality by appealing to genetic determinism.
Saturday, January 10, 2004
Read the whole article here (if you are in America you may not be able to access this for free).
Retired couple conquer the Channel in a canal boat
When Terry and Monica Darlington retired last year, they decided on two things - they wanted to visit Paris and also to have a bit of excitement in their lives.
In the end they went for both, and plumped for risking their lives by sailing their canal boat for seven and a half hours across the English Channel to France.
Sitting just two feet off the water and with a top speed of seven miles per hour, Mr Darlington, 68, admitted that the 60ft, flat-bottomed narrow boat was hardly equipped to face the rigours of two of the busiest shipping lanes in the world.
The couple and their whippet, Jim, set off on their seven-month, 1,000-mile journey last April from their home in Stone, Staffs, sailing the Phyllis May down through the country's canal network to Ramsgate, Kent, from where they crossed to Calais in an "epic" journey, weaving in and out of cross-Channel ferries and other traffic.
Thursday, January 08, 2004
Wednesday, January 07, 2004
Frankly the idea of the average British voter having even more say in government scares me silly. Only those who idealize a world without leadership would like this sort of idea. Read the whole article here.
Next month sees the launch of a unique new political party. A party with no policies, no ideology and, initially at least, no leader.
Your Party aims to break the mould of British politics by being the first party "directly controlled by the citizens".
Rather than a founding principle or set of beliefs, it will start with a blank piece of paper.
The idea is to canvass opinions and ideas from hundreds of online "participants", before formulating a set of policies to put to the electorate.
Tuesday, January 06, 2004
Indeed, the cross itself, as it appears throughout Paul’s theology, is the central symbol of all that Paul was doing in transforming both Judaism and paganism. He lived by it himself, making his own life a walking, breathing symbol of the gospel: ‘I am crucified with the Messiah; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but the Messiah lives in me.’ That sharp and pregnant statement, which summarizes not only Paul’s personal spiritual experience but also Paul’s whole theological, cultural and political stance, could serve as a heading over all his life-work, and over all genuinely Christian cultural transformation. And at the heart of that transformation, as far as Paul is concerned, are cross-shaped communities, little true-Israel cells, little families of people who are learning to think straight with the true wisdom, little outposts of a counter-empire, giving allegiance to Jesus as Lord rather than Caesar.Transforming the Culture by N.T. Wright
Only the English could invent a game that lasts for five days and ends in a draw.
You have two sides, one out in the field and one in.
Each man that's in goes out and when he's out, he comes in and the next man goes in until he's out.
When they are all out, the side that's out comes in and the side that's been in goes out and tries to get those coming in out.
When both sides have been in and out, including the not outs — that's the end of the game.
Monday, January 05, 2004
Saturday, January 03, 2004
Real forgiveness would be an event of such a nature that in the very act of removing the great boulder which blocks the path its weight would become still more evident.Only in the cross is the full depth of the guilt of sin unveiled for what it really is. Forgiveness is costly. Every sinner should learn to interpret his sin in the light of God’s word of condemnation and judgment at the cross. Many Christians believe that to bring the message of the Gospel to people is to fail to condemn their sin. They fail to see that no stronger condemnation of sin could be found than the condemnation we witness in the flesh of Jesus the Messiah at Calvary. If we are to attack the sin of homosexuality as Christians we must attack it with God’s message of forgiveness. If we are to proclaim this message faithfully we have to learn to be a community that speaks candidly about sin. A society of ‘tolerance’ lacks the language and will to speak truthfully about sin. A society of ‘tolerance’ can never truly know the healing of forgiveness. Forgiveness is only possible when we are willing to name our sins. Homophobia The correct response to a society that tolerates homosexuality is not to demonize homosexuals. The correct response is to preach the challenging message of the cross, to stop sinners in their tracks with a message of divine forgiveness. There are too many churches who breathe fire and brimstone whenever homosexuality is mentioned and fail to demonstrate the love for the lost exemplified by our Saviour. There are many homosexuals in our communities who have an unbearable, gnawing thirst for forgiveness, restoration and reconciliation and are confronted with nothing but condemnation, hatred and rejection from the church. We may find it hard to relate to those struggling with homosexuality. I cannot understand what it would be like to struggle with homosexual lust. Nor can I claim to know many people who struggle with these things. Our inability to understand their struggles alienates us from homosexuals. They are ‘other’. We will always be tempted to fear the other. If you have ever had a friend inform you that he is homosexual you will know what I mean — a distance is suddenly created. We can often react to our fears of the ‘other’ in irrational ways. A form of ‘homophobia’ can arise out of this. Our fear is a fear that our identity is being challenged. The idea that a person who struggles with homosexuality belongs to us as a friend challenges our identity. Many respond to this by denying the ‘otherness’ of homosexuality in a bare tolerance. Other people respond by denying any connection with the person struggling with homosexuality, unable to live at peace with the reality of any relationship between the person and themselves. The former friend is made wholly other. How do we overcome this response of fear? I believe that forgiveness is the key. Forgiveness enables us to live at peace with ourselves and with others. Forgiveness means that we do not need to live in denial. Forgiveness means that we need not be afraid to recognize the truth about sin, both within ourselves and within those we relate to. Homophobia often results from our inability to tell ourselves the truth about sin. We feel safe only to the degree that we deny the reality of sin in our lives and histories. People demonize the homosexual because they do not want to be able to relate to him. Relating to the homosexual might force us to start speaking the truth about ourselves. Homophobia might be an indicator of our inability to accept forgiveness. Forgiveness teaches us that security is found in the way of confession and not in the way of denial. Forgiveness challenges our claims to self-possession. Accepting forgiveness renders us powerless. It involves relinquishing our title to the moral high ground and giving control to the one who has forgiven us. There is nothing more threatening than this. The forgiven person has his life determined by God and not by the fact that he is in control. Consequently, he is able to accept the reality of his own sinfulness and no longer seeks to deny it. Living as forgiven people necessitates learning to speak the truth about ourselves. A Brief Answer to Some Objections It might be claimed that my approach leads to a denial of the seriousness of such sins as homosexuality. Surely the homosexual is not forgiven until he repents? Should we not delay the message of forgiveness until the point of repentance? In concluding I will briefly answer these objections. Forgiveness can never be a denial that our sins actually occurred. Nor can it constitute a denial of the seriousness of those sins. God’s forgiveness is not bare tolerance. God’s forgiveness is costly. God was so desirous to know reconciliation with fallen mankind that He sent His Son to the cross of Calvary to obtain it. Forgiveness cannot be received if we are unwilling to accept the justice of the sentence declared against sinful mankind in the death of Christ. For the homosexual, accepting forgiveness involves an acceptance of God’s verdict of condemnation on homosexuality. In effect the homosexual must say: ‘Yes, my sin was so evil that Christ had to die for it.’ Repentance is the ‘amen!’ that we give to the message of divine forgiveness given at the cross. Repentance can never condition God into being gracious. Repentance is the appropriate response to the fact of God’s graciousness. By God’s grace the forgiven person begins to live his life out of the reconciliation that he now knows. His appropriate response to grace is to abide in this renewed relationship by continual confession and cleansing. Were repentance to precede forgiveness, the message of the gospel would become a message of the meritorious nature of human penance — that is, no gospel at all. If we are to address the impenitent homosexual, therefore, we must address him first with the message of divine forgiveness. We must call him to repent and to submit to the sentence that God has passed upon the sin of homosexuality at the cross. We must call him to live a life determined by the forgiveness that confronts the homosexual at the cross of Christ. We must address him as people who have been delivered from denial, people who are at peace with their own histories through the forgiveness of God and can now speak truthfully about sin. We must address him as those who love him and are concerned for his spiritual well-being. We must address him as forgiven people — that is, individuals who have surrendered the moral high ground to the grace of God in Jesus Christ. I trust that, as we seek to do so, many men might be delivered from the grasp of this evil sin and know the liberation of forgiveness that we can only enjoy in Christ.