David Brooks & Methodism

on October 24, 2019

Last month columnist David Brooks spoke at United Methodist Church of the Resurrection outside Kansas City. He was hosted by its pastor Adam Hamilton, who convened the two-day annual Leadership Institute, which typically focuses on pastoral leadership. But this year the convo was essentially a rally for dissenters who oppose United Methodism’s orthodox teaching on marriage and sexual ethics.

Brooks journalistically across decades has been right of center. But as he recounted in Hamilton’s church, he backed same sex marriage in the 1990s as a stabilizing alternative to promiscuity. Previously an agnostic from a Jewish background, Brooks has moved into Christianity over the last six years. (In a separate talk at Hamilton’s Church he credited the influence of the late British evangelical theologian John Stott.) He has not changed his support for same sex marriage, nor has he, to my knowledge, publicly explained his dissent from orthodox, universal church teaching.

“In the broader [American] culture this argument is over,” in contrast to the church, Brooks briefly noted of United Methodism’s debate over same sex marriage, which the global denomination officially disapproves. He mentioned that he has many Anglican friends who quit the Episcopal Church over the issue. And he admitted there are strong opinions based on Scripture. He regretted Christianity is perceived as more focused on sexuality than service to the poor.

But Brooks said little else about United Methodism’s controversy or sexuality, which maybe frustrated some of the more activist-minded in the room. There were 2500 registrants for the convo, which included bishops, hundreds of clergy, church agency executives and many others. Hamilton himself leads United Methodism’s “centrist” faction, mostly wanting creedal orthodoxy with liberalized sexuality. Progressives of course want liberalized sexuality but typically are less committed to creedal orthodoxy, which more “liberationist” progressives disdain.

Several progressives at the convo tweeted negatively about Brooks, likely viewing him as too conservative, and preferring cheerleading for liberationist causes over Brooks’ message of “weaving” polarized society back together. They likely didn’t like his warning against tribalism and its framing all politics as war. And they surely disliked his critique of social justice advocacy simplistically portraying “society divided between oppressor and oppressed.” Progressive liberationists define themselves by this narrative.

Brooks preferred to highlight the imperative of healing divisions. He credited the role of the church in this mediating process. But United Methodism currently, at least denominationally in America, is not a healing agent. It is instead a case study in culture war polarization.

For orthodox Christians, healing and unity are found in fidelity to universal church teaching. For United Methodist dissenters, there is no justice until the denomination renounces universal church teaching in favor of current American societal preferences.

Brooks observed he had never lost friendships over politics, which should occupy only a small share of human life, subordinate to human relationships. But for United Methodism, denominationally in America, politics has eclipsed the historic consensus of the faithful. So there will be schism, first between traditionalists and sexual liberals, and later between “centrists” and progressives, perhaps even among progressives, as they divide over varied layers of “liberationist” struggle. Identity politics offers no basis for unity outside resistance to perceived oppressors.

When individualism and tribalism prevail, as Brooks warned, there can be no peace, just cascading division. Hamilton’s Leadership Institute and its rally for United Methodist dissenters unintentionally showcased this tragedy.

  1. Comment by Pat on October 24, 2019 at 3:30 pm

    Hamilton and the other progressives who want to destroy the Methodist church in America as founded by John Wesley refuse to acknowledge or address God’s words and the words of Jesus regarding homosexuality. Their point of view has no value or credibility. Hamilton and the other progressive leaders/pastors are now false prophets as discussed and defined in the new testament. Their plan is simply to keep their money, property and never address the Holy Scriptures regarding homosexuality.

  2. Comment by Mary Prokop on October 24, 2019 at 4:40 pm

    What did Jesus ever say about homosexuality? I must have missed it.

  3. Comment by Lee D. Cary on October 25, 2019 at 4:53 pm

    Right, Mary. But, then, nor did he mention infantophilia, pedophilia, hebephilia, nor ephebophilia (liked by some in Ancient Greece). And we can’t forget beastiality, still legal in ten US states.

    So what’s your point, Mary?

  4. Comment by Richard Bell on October 25, 2019 at 8:00 pm

    I would not speak for Mary, but I take her point to be that Jesus endorsed marriage but did not condemn homosexual marriage. That is a very good point. If God’s blessings are presumptively for all his children and if marriage is God’s blessing for those whom He has not graced with sexual continency, then opponents of homosexual marriage bear a heavy burden of proving that God agrees with them.

  5. Comment by Brandon Fulmer on October 25, 2019 at 9:15 pm

    Failing to comprehend that Jesus didn’t speak about homosexual behavior because Jewish faith had settled that issue is a poor understanding of Jesus’ context. If he had wanted to overturn such an understanding he would have come out more poignantly on the topic, like he did with issues of food. The fact that the gospels, which tell the story within the Jewish cultural framework, which rejected the practice, don’t touch on the subject while the epistles largely address a Roman/Greek context, which accepted the practice, should lead anyone to conclude that the Christian faith rejects the practice. Any other conclusion falls outside the realm of Christian teaching.

  6. Comment by Lee D. Cary on October 26, 2019 at 7:04 am

    Richard, isn’t this an illogical syllogism:
    1. Jesus endorsed marriage
    2. Jesus did not condemn homosexual marriage.
    3. Therefore Jesus endorsed homosexual marriage.

  7. Comment by Richard Bell on October 27, 2019 at 8:29 pm

    This is an illogical syllogism: (1) Jesus endorsed marriage; (2) Jesus did not condemn homosexual marriage; therefore (3) Jesus endorsed homosexual marriage.
    Mary does not reason that way; she simply implies proposition (2). Obviously, I do not reason that way.
    What is your point, Lee?

  8. Comment by Cara T. on October 25, 2019 at 6:38 pm

    Mary, the Bible says a LOT about homosexuality. Leviticus 18:22 says, “[Men] shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.” Leviticus 20:13 says, “If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act.” God’s Word says the homosexual act is detestable; it is an abomination. In Romans 1:26-27, Paul said, “For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.” The Bible says homosexuality is against God’s natural law with severe consequences. I guess you missed all of that…?

  9. Comment by David virtue on October 25, 2019 at 11:45 pm

    Jesus did not have to refer to homosexuality or lesbitransgsy or even bestiality. He summoned Genesis 1 “male and female made he them” that ends the discussion.

  10. Comment by John Smith on October 26, 2019 at 6:50 am

    Sure he did, many times. At least if you believe Jesus is God. If you don’t believe he is God then who cares what he said. But as God, in the Word of God, He speaks on it many times and I’m sure you know exactly where even if you discount them. Again, if the Bible is not the word of God then who cares what is written there.

  11. Comment by Michael Young on October 26, 2019 at 9:15 am

    Well said

  12. Comment by JR on October 28, 2019 at 8:45 am

    If the Bible is the Word of God, why does Jesus directly conflict with some of the laws in the OT?

    One would have to assume either a) God changed his mind, or b) Moses wasn’t being wholly square on some of the items.

    Because I view the Bible as being ‘God Breathed’ but not literal (because it’s filtered through imperfect humans) I can accept that Jesus words conflict with the OT.

    I don’t understand how the ‘literal Word’ view handles this conflict.

  13. Comment by Dave on October 28, 2019 at 10:47 am

    Jesus was God’s direct communication to humans to correct unjustified interpretation of OT principles. If Jesus spoke on a subject, that interpretation should be heeded. If Jesus did not confront the issue, the OT should be heeded.
    Jesus did not confront the OT teaching on homosexuality, this the OT passages are God’s wishes.

  14. Comment by John Smith on October 28, 2019 at 1:28 pm

    There is no conflict. What you mean to say is your view allows you to pick the parts you like, claim divine authority, while discarding the parts that you disagree with.

  15. Comment by Joan Sibbald on October 26, 2019 at 8:52 am

    Yes, Mary, you missed it. “From the beginning God made them male and female. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united with his wife and the two will be made one. What God has joined together let no man separate.”

    “Man must not lie down with man nor woman with woman. It is an abomination in the eyes of God.”

    In a nutshell, Mary, the Bible lists four words to describe homosexual sexual activity: unnatural, abomination, despicable, perversion.

  16. Comment by lisa van riper on October 26, 2019 at 2:16 pm

    When asked about marriage, he defined it as being between a man and a woman

  17. Comment by William on October 28, 2019 at 5:51 pm

    The practice of homosexuality was not one of the sins of sexual immorality that Jesus was talking about?

    Matthew 15:19-20 New International Version (NIV)

    19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. 20 These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them.”

  18. Comment by Lee D. Cary on October 24, 2019 at 5:50 pm

    Pat, it’s not that the progressives want to destroy the Methodist church – they want to control it. And through well-established inroads into the episcopacy, the church hierarchy (boards & agencies), and the seminaries, they are near to accomplishing that goal.

    All that remains in their way are the rank-and-file traditionalist laypersons.

    In those conferences presided over my progressive bishops, more than a few appointed clergy find themselves between a rock and a hard place.

  19. Comment by Joe on October 25, 2019 at 7:29 am

    Jesus spoke about homosexuality?

  20. Comment by td on October 25, 2019 at 3:21 pm

    Hmmm. Did Jesus speak about sexual predators or rapists? No, our tradition and records indivate that he spoke about sin- and he did not remove homosexual sex as one of those sins- something that he was completely at liberty to do if he thought the record needed to be set straight.

    He did, however, affirm marriage as being between man and woman.

  21. Comment by Richard Bell on October 25, 2019 at 8:13 pm

    Jesus affirmed the universal and timeless Moral Law — the Ten Commandments and their implications. Jesus made plain that the additional commandments — especially the purity law in Leviticus that forbade (among other practices) homosexual conduct — are obsolete.
    Jesus affirmed marriage of a man and a woman — the marriage of Adam and Eve. But he affirmed that marriage is a union so perfect that it may be likened to becoming one flesh — a union so perfect as to be impossible for humans and so obviously created by God. And he affirmed the marriage of Adam and Eve to show his interlocutors that marriage has been that kind of union from the very beginning. The fact that Adam and Eve were a man and a woman is irrelevant to Jesus’s teaching about marriage.

  22. Comment by Bradford Wilson on October 25, 2019 at 8:55 pm

    Hello Richard. I am completely in awe of your amazing skills in the interpretation of scripture as to find that Jesus declared the holiness codes obsolete. I am only slightly curious as to where exactly you find Jesus declaring the holiness codes in Leviticus as being obsolete. (While I will admit that Jesus declared the very small part of the holiness code that deals with FOODS to be obsolete there is no hint of Jesus declaring the whole Law as obsolete) When you find these brand new mystical teachings of Jesus in some heretofore unpublished text with Jesus very own signature as verification, would you find it in your heart to publish them for the rest of the world to see. I only ask because almost 2000 years of biblical scholarship has somehow completely missed this revolutionary discovery of yours. —————— Seriously brothers and sisters, how long are we going to put up with this type of self-serving heresy. I could just as easily claim that Jesus was not against pedophilia because he never condemned it. This is as facile an argument one can make. At best it is pathetic.

  23. Comment by Ted on October 25, 2019 at 11:11 pm

    I would suggest you get a new Bible, because it’s obvious the one you’ve been reading has left out at lot.
    I would suggest you start with Romans 1 : 24-27. Pay close attention to the beginning of verse 25 …..
    “They exchanged the truth about God for a lie”, which seems to be what you are doing.

  24. Comment by lisa van riper on October 26, 2019 at 2:20 pm

    Marriage is a picture of redemption- Human marriage is used as a model- bridegroom to bride. Man and woman is the biblical imagery. Christian marriage models the redemptive story. It’s not about our preferences. “Our bodies are not our own.”

  25. Comment by Loren J Golden on October 26, 2019 at 10:55 pm

    Mr. Bell,
    First, you will kindly note that Jesus began His rebuttal against the Pharisees’ argument for the legitimacy of divorce in Mt. 19.4 by quoting Gen. 1.27, saying, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male (Gk. ársen) and female (Gk. thælu)…?”  Then He quoted Gen. 2.24, saying, “Therefore a man (Gk. ánthropos) shall leave his father (Gk. patær) and mother (Gk. mætær) and hold fast to his wife (Gk. gunæ; also the Gk. word for woman), and they shall become one flesh.”
    Second, the “become one flesh” reference in Gen. 2.24, which Jesus references in Mt. 19.5, is clearly a reference to the production of children, who inherit half their DNA from their father and half from their mother.  No homosexual coupling can result in one flesh.
    Therefore, your assertion that “the fact that Adam and Eve were a man and a woman is irrelevant to Jesus’s teaching about marriage,” is blatantly false.  You may want it to be irrelevant, but you might just as well want “the Ethiopian (to) change his skin or the leopard his spots” (Jer. 13.23).
    And as I already demonstrated in a previous response to you (https://juicyecumenism.com/2019/04/29/countercultural-methodism/), the proscriptions of Leviticus 18 belong to the “universal and timeless” Moral Law, not the Holiness Code of the Ceremonial Law, are subsumed under the heading of the Seventh Commandment, and are most certainly not obsolete.  And in point of fact, the Apostle Paul, writing under the inspiration and authority of God the Holy Spirit, expressly condemns the practice of homosexuality (among other sins) in Rom. 1.24-28, I Cor. 6.9-11, I Tim. 1.8-11).

  26. Comment by Cara T. on October 25, 2019 at 6:40 pm

    Joe, the answer is “Yes.”

  27. Comment by Ted on October 25, 2019 at 11:32 pm

    Maybe you need to read your Bible, Joe, so you will know the answer. Several instances in both the Old & New Testament that leave no doubt that God considers homosexuality is a sin. And before you can mutter those famous words “Jesus never said it”,
    might I remind you of what Jesus did say …..
    Matthew 5:17 – “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.

  28. Comment by John Smith on October 26, 2019 at 6:52 am

    Yes, see my reply to Mary.

  29. Comment by Gay on October 25, 2019 at 9:47 pm

    The Bible says… Man and Woman… God gave the others up to their base ways.. Men with men and likewise their women with other women … Read Romans from the beginning…

  30. Comment by John Schuh on October 30, 2019 at 1:29 am

    The Law was written in the context of opposition to the god of Israel’s neighbors. Therefore Leviticus stands because Greeks paganism is quite similar to the worship of the baals of Syria etc. Sexual orgies were part of the temple ritual of both. Which is why Paul in Acts assciates homosexuality and sexual immorality in generation with idolatry.

  31. Comment by barbara walts on October 25, 2019 at 11:39 pm

    Very well put Pat. In Luke 17:2 Jesus tells his disciples,” There will always be temptations to sin, but woe to that person through whom they come. It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than to cause one of these little ones to fall into sin.” God will hold Hamilton and those like him accountable for approving of, and leading so many people into sin instead of helping them.

  32. Comment by Denise Crie on October 24, 2019 at 3:41 pm

    I would like to support Mr Brooks’ belief that the strength of the church and its community members resides in supporting people of all orientations.

  33. Comment by Lee D. Cary on October 25, 2019 at 4:55 pm

    Does “all people” include practicing pedophiles, Denise?

  34. Comment by Sean Hachem on October 25, 2019 at 6:58 pm

    That’s odd, Denise. I would say the strength of the church resides in Jesus.

  35. Comment by Jim on October 24, 2019 at 4:47 pm

    Hamilton is truly a wolf in lambs clothing. He’s a polished orator who comes across as a level headed guy. His theology however leads his disciples not on the narrow road to salvation rather the wide road to destruction.

  36. Comment by Lee D. Cary on October 24, 2019 at 5:52 pm

    His contextual differentiation is a variation on the early 20th Century modernism that fractured the Presbyterian Church.

    Same tune – different words.

  37. Comment by William Koon on October 25, 2019 at 6:35 pm

    Right ON!!

  38. Comment by Rev. Dr. Lee D Cary (ret.) on October 24, 2019 at 6:05 pm

    This is a fine article! Relevant and timely.

    In writing hundreds of posts since 2007, for several websites (including the American Thinker, Breitbart Big Journalism & Big Government – as “Archy Cary,” Canada Free Press), with several pieces having posted on aggregate sites including Real Clear Politics, Lucianne, Free Republic, Whatfinger, Drudge Report) I can attest to David Brooks’ role as the recognized, long-standing, alleged token-resident “conservative” journalist on staff at the New York Times.

    To define Brooks as “right of center” would be like tagging Rush Limbaugh as left of center. Or, to keep it at the NYT, that Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman is too conservative. (Laugher in background)

    Brooks’ observation that he “never lost friendships over politics,” while working inside what is arguably the most left-leaning newsroom in American media, frankly, challenges credulity.

    The discussion between Hamilton and Brooks features two contemporary modernists, from different venues, sharing their compatible views on relativism (AKA contextual differentiation).

  39. Comment by Lawrence Kreh on October 25, 2019 at 10:46 pm

    Anyone who has impartially followed David Brooks as I have can hardly call him far to the right of Limbaugh!. Differing with me, he supports homosexual marriage and says that the cultural battle on that is over. But whether I agree with him on all his views, he has long been a responsible center-right commentator. As an example, he views Trump as a grave threat to our democracy, even to the extent of supporting Elizabeth Warren, if nominated. Yet he favors reason and sanity and in defusing the extreme polarization between left and right.

  40. Comment by Lee D. Cary on October 26, 2019 at 7:20 am

    Lawrence, “he (Brooks) views Trump as a grave threat to our democracy” and that qualifies him as “a responsible center-right commentator”.

    As someone who has followed the media debate of Trump’s alleged threat to democracy, I find that those who asserted that premise for three years (led by the NYT & WaPo in the print media) in order to execute a soft coupe, only to have been proved wrong, are the genuine threat to democracy.

    Brooks is a faux conservative, IMHO. At least Rev. Hamilton makes no pretense to being a traditionalist.

  41. Comment by JR on October 28, 2019 at 8:52 am

    That’s foolishness.

    Brooks presents himself as relatively middle of the road. He’s actually a little right-of-center politically.

    But when you stand at the North Pole, everyone is a southerner.

  42. Comment by Dave on October 28, 2019 at 9:55 pm

    And when at The Washington Post, anyone with a scintilla of morality is a Saint.

  43. Comment by Joe M on October 24, 2019 at 6:53 pm

    At least a few months back, Brooks was on record as being ambivalent about the Resurrection. So his position on morals is not altogether surprising. He seems a better fit for Kansas City Methodist schismatics than for evangelicals or traditional Methodists, even if his words here are helpful.

  44. Comment by John Schuh on October 30, 2019 at 1:34 am

    The Resurrection is the essential dogma of Christianity. Without it, Christianity is reduced to myth.

  45. Comment by Gerald Boyle on October 24, 2019 at 10:33 pm

    Very interesting

  46. Comment by David on October 25, 2019 at 9:07 am

    “In the broader [American] culture this argument is over,” One of the arguments made against belief in the god of scripture is that it lags behind humans in moral development. He never got around to denouncing slavery, genocide, etc. Indeed, scripture was quoted in support of these abominations. While there is still far to go, humans have tended to move forward. Even within my lifetime, there has been an end to “gentiles only” and “whites only.” Being mired in cruelties of the past is hardly a light unto the nations.

  47. Comment by Rick Plasterer on October 25, 2019 at 12:07 pm


    As I’m sure you know, God declares himself to be morally perfect in Scripture (I Jn. 1:5). Human moral development now involves giving minor children puberty blocking drugs, and suppressing any speech to the contrary. Apart from God, the light in us is truly darkness.


  48. Comment by Lee D. Cary on October 25, 2019 at 4:29 pm

    ““In the broader [American] culture this argument is over,”

    It’s as over as the argument about abortion.

  49. Comment by Judy Thornhill on October 25, 2019 at 5:43 pm

    Romans chapter 1. Says. A man shall not lay with another man. Today this includes women since the culture of that day was male oriented. The Bible is the word of God. When you read the Bible with a searching and open mind Good reveals Himself to the reader

  50. Comment by David A Williams on October 25, 2019 at 6:21 pm

    David Brooks is not a conservative. At best he is an establishment Liberal. I love it when the media decide on whom is a spokesman for conservatism.

  51. Comment by Larry Bassett on October 25, 2019 at 11:49 pm

    I would define Brooks as a neo-conservative in the Weekly Standard mode, MOSTLY economically conservative while MOSTLY socially liberal and mostly supportive of big government. And that would correspond fairly well with his remarks at COR.

  52. Comment by William Koon on October 25, 2019 at 6:47 pm

    I have a friend who a practicing Homosexuals. He is politically active in this cause. We have never discussed homosexuality, but I don’t feel the need. I believe that homosexuality is not a civil right and I will oppose any attempt for same sex marriage and practicing homosexual ministers. As far as I can tell, this is sin, period.

  53. Comment by Ken Chap on October 25, 2019 at 8:15 pm

    If you believe in the Trinity and believe the Bible is the word of God as given to men by divine inspiration then if God has spoken, the Trinity has spoken, they cannot be in conflict. Therefore, Jesus has spoken on the issue of homosexuality.

  54. Comment by Tommy Clark on October 25, 2019 at 10:47 pm

    God intended sexual practice to be both pleasurable and creative. Homosexuality focuses on the pleasurable side and ignores the creative purpose of God. A man and woman in marriage can fulfill God’s intention of creation. Homosexuality is an unnatural state and I, having been married for 60 years, feel sorry that people have had to make that choice.

  55. Comment by John Smith on October 26, 2019 at 6:56 am

    I love John Stott and his books, “The Cross of Christ” especially.
    One very disappointing note that seems not to be noticed is this comment: ” He regretted Christianity is perceived as more focused on sexuality than service to the poor.”
    Christianity is neither and by phrasing the point in such terms we only confirm that the church is currently locked into an orbit around the world and its culture rather than being centered on God.

  56. Comment by John Schuh on October 30, 2019 at 1:39 am

    Modernism is obsessed with sexuality, for Freud is its prophet.

  57. Comment by Lee D. Cary on October 26, 2019 at 7:30 am

    John, you write “the church is currently locked into an orbit around the world and its culture rather than being centered on God.”

    I recall that there’s there something in Romans 12.2 about not conforming to this world? What you metaphorically describe as orbiting around the world and its culture sounds like what Paul warned against. (But then, of course, to follow the contextual differentiation notions of the day, that was then, and today is the Now.)

  58. Comment by David Gingrich on October 26, 2019 at 7:57 am

    No, David Brooks has not been “right of center”. He is left of center, but close enough to be a token “conservative” for the New York Times.

  59. Comment by CBByrd on October 26, 2019 at 10:09 am

    It seems to me that if we believe that God is the Triune Godhead, immutable and united as One, and that Jesus Christ is the Incarnate God and the Holy Spirit is the spirit of God present in our hearts to guide us through comfort, confirmation, and conviction, then there is a problem with the way some are approaching the issue of homosexuality and its associated issues. They do not deny that God’s Word condemns sexual sin. They simply point to the fact that Jesus did not directly condemn their particular brand of sexual sin during his life and ministry among humankind. Therefore, they say, Jesus’s earthly life witness grants tacit approval. Yet time and time again Jesus Christ pointed to his unity with God, calling for those who love him to follow his commandments, i.e. those of God Himself. He did, however, also call for a higher standard of the spirit of the law and not merely the letter of the law which was a lesser brand of righteousness as practiced by the Pharisees, Scribes, and their followers.
    Jesus Christ said his reason for coming was to bring life, and life abundantly, to those who believe in him. His life of obedience, even to death on the cross, brought about salvation and gave life eternal to believers. But his life of obedience also demonstrated for us how to continue to live in this earthly realm, keeping the Law according to a higher standard of righteousness, while we are here. Such demonstrated holiness through his life and teaching and engagement with the culture that we might observe include knowing, loving and worshipping God only, honoring and obeying parents, Sabbath-keeping as purposed by God to grant rest in the midst of work—ordered living, revering the sanctity of life in a way that protects and affirms the dignity and worth of individuals and not merely avoids murder, slander, or abuse, respecting God-ordained institutions for the protection of social good (marriage, family, synagogue, temple, priest’s role and authority, even political structures that can maintain peace and protect social order when administered in keeping with God’s will and purpose, etc. In other words, living into the spirit of the Law and not just its letter. Jesus Christ said again and again, “It is written….”, pointing to the authority of the Law and demonstrating how to lift it to a higher standard of righteousness under the convicting work of the Holy Spirit within one’s heart.
    In calling for a higher, “spirit of the law’ standard, Jesus Christ is setting before us a test of our true faith in the Triune Godhead…… in Jesus Christ Himself and the Holy Spirit. Can one discern right from wrong, and choose rightly between them by examining the Law, applying Christ’s higher call to the spirit of the law aspect of righteousness, and live into the peace and harmony that his Holy Spirit brings as we do so? Jesus Christ said he came to fulfill the Law, to make it complete, not to destroy it.
    To emphasize only the three years of the human-dwelling Jesus’ red-letter record and deny the fullness of the Triune Godhead’s self-revelation in the Word throughout the millennia of God’s pre-Incarnate existence and the post-Incarnate, Holy Spirit-directed age of the church, one is dividing the Godhead and worshipping only the humanness of Jesus. In essence one is remaking God in one’s own image….. human, and worshipping that. It is self-willed indulgent idolatry and misses the point of Jesus Christ’s life and ministry altogether.
    The essence of Jesus Christ’s life example to us by his incarnation is obedience to the will of God, even in the face of the call to self-denial and hardship, even to the point of death on a cross. It is not self-willed indulgence to personal preference and desire. It is not to exercise personal freedom to the point of independent moral self-agency as was done among God’s people in the dark times described in the book of Judges:
    Judges 21:25- “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”
    It is to bring the eternal, immutable moral standard of Sovereign God’s holiness, love, and mercy to life in the hearts of humankind. When that is fully realized, there will be no need for kings and rulers over humankind. Christ’s mind and heart will reside and rule in every heart and his life will be witnessed in and instructed through the life of every believer’s life, as promised in Jeremiah 31:31-34.


  60. Comment by Stan Jefferson on October 26, 2019 at 7:04 pm

    Jesus didn’t talk directly about homosexuality, but in Matthew 19:4-6, he did address the roles of males and females in very clear terms. Also, Jesus knew OT scripture, and never once did he nullify any of it. Also, Paul was a ‘Pharisee’s Pharisee’, and never did he nullify any OT teachings–and his ministry was instituted by the direct intervention of Jesus. To say Jesus never said anything about homosexuality is an attempt to nullify the entire Word of God.

  61. Comment by Lee D. Cary on October 27, 2019 at 5:28 pm

    Yes, Stan, and with many it, sadly, appears to be working.

  62. Comment by JR on October 28, 2019 at 9:07 am

    Matthew 19: 8-9 jumps off the page.

    Cross reference Mark 10:3-5; 10-12.

  63. Comment by Dave on October 28, 2019 at 11:41 pm

    Divorce is surely an unfortunate occurrence that causes much hardship. Jesus, who loved mankind and wanted us to follow God’s word, understood the tragedy of divorce. Brilliant guy for sure.
    In leaving OT advice against homosexuality unchanged, Jesus continued his brilliance.

  64. Comment by JR on October 29, 2019 at 1:03 pm

    “Also, Jesus knew OT scripture, and never once did he nullify any of it.”

    So we agree that particular point isn’t true, right?

  65. Comment by Dave on October 30, 2019 at 8:47 am

    JR,. You are correct, Jesus did contradict OT teachings when they needed to be corrected. The prohibitions against homosexuality were not changed by Jesus, therefore they remain in effect. Thanks for clarifying the role of Jesus in God’s plan.

  66. Comment by Mark on October 28, 2019 at 10:57 am

    It is interesting that Brooks would suggest that in the general culture the argument over what constitutes marriage is over. At one time this was said about abortion…not so fast Mr. Brooks (notwithstanding the fact that Brooks’ early support of marriage redefinition undoubtedly added a layer of security to his job at the NYT) ).

    No less than the Chief Justice of the SCOTUS said the marriage redefinition decision was unconstitutional. This was said about the abortion decision as well. These are not just “religious” arguments.

    For the church this has been a settled issue since its inception. If one engages in disingenuous mental gymnastics to make Christianity appear to support anything other than traditional marriage then Christianity becomes secondary to culture. It can thus be used to support just about anything and becomes little more than a political tool to undergird evolving—or devolving—cultural trends.

  67. Comment by Jeff Winter on October 28, 2019 at 1:01 pm

    As someone who labored in the PCUSA for decades trying to bring a biblical view of sexuality to the denomination (which is a one man with one woman in the context of marriage) it burdens my spirit to know that there are church leaders that have caved when it comes to the issue of homosexuality. Frankly, it’s much easier when you are in a mainline church to affirm same-sex relationships rather than speak out against them and then receive the negative backlash from peers. It’s easier to say yes to same-sex relationships than to walk with someone who has SSA and help him/her find victory over them. Pastoral ministry is hard. It is much easier to be a Progressive when it comes to homosexuality than one who stands for the clear teaching of Scripture about homosexual expression.

  68. Comment by Loren J Golden on October 28, 2019 at 10:34 pm

    I assume you have Matthew 7.13 in mind:
    “Enter by the narrow gate.  For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.  For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”

  69. Comment by William on October 29, 2019 at 11:51 am

    Tossed all of traitor Hamilton’s books. Care not to read Brooks’ books. The photo of the two reminds — a image of ego tripping.

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