In his short work, The Emotional Life of Our Lord, BB Warfield writes of the compassion, love, indignation, and sorrow that Jesus experienced during His earthly ministry. Jesus was “subject to all sinless human emotions.”  So, what were the occasions that caused the Lord to weep? Three moments in Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry stand above all others: at the tomb of Lazarus (Jn. 11:35), over the unbelief in Jerusalem (Lk. 19:41), and in the Garden of Gethsemane as He pleads for the cup of God’s wrath to pass from Him (Lk. 22:44; Heb. 5:7-9).
There is an assumption that real men are not supposed to cry. Of course, this misconception probably stems from the authoritative positions in the home and the church where God has placed men. Biblical manhood reveals a man who is not driven by emotion. It calls for men to be wise, self-controlled, and sober-minded, not being blown “to and fro” by life’s changing circumstances. However, the refusal to be driven by emotion is not the same as understanding that emotion is a natural part of the Christian life. Therefore, a godly man will weep when necessary. A godly man will understand that weeping is often influential.  Furthermore, a weeping heart is often a product of the Holy Spirit melting the hardest of hearts in the believer (Ez. 36:26). 
Watson lays before his readers several situations where weeping is proper. Interestingly, every one of these appropriate circumstances focuses upon the godly man’s recognition of sin in his own life. This focus should be telling. Not only does a godly man recognize his own sinful corruption, but he hates the sin that causes his guilt in the sight of his God. Therefore, Watson pens that a proper understanding of biblical manhood will see sin, hate sin, weep over sin, and ultimately, kill sin.
Regarding weeping over sin, it must be understood that the godly man ought to have a sense of his sins of omission and commission. This means that the godly man will understand that he falls short of God’s standards and strikes out against God’s law. Watson says that a proper understanding of weeping will lead to a godly man shedding tears each time he is “overpowered by pride and passion.”  Additionally, he will grieve that he cannot be more holy. Watson continues, “It troubles him that he shoots so short of the rule and standard God has set. ‘I should,’ says he, ‘love the Lord with all my heart. But how defective my love is! How far short I come of what I should be….”
Thomas Watson rightly teaches that the ongoing presence of sin is the reason for the godly man to weep. Yet, does Watson fall short in targeting circumstances in which the godly have the right to weep? He does. Knowing that Jesus Christ was truly man, but a perfect man, emphasizes that he was not driven by emotion but was often moved to emotion.
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By Peter Jones — 9 months ago
The Incarnation is the greatest gift ever given in the history of the universe. God, the Creator of the universe, distinct from his creation, is so great that he cannot be wrapped up by our limited human minds, yet in the manger, God was wrapped up as the gift of himself to us, in the person of his Son, the Redeemer of sinful creatures. This immense God humbly entered human culture via a baby in an animal feeding trough. He humbled himself for our benefit. This should be our attitude to others as we humbly speak the gospel that defends binary sexuality and also offers us a place at the wedding feast of Jesus Christ.
I can remember when public Christian witness was a welcomed contribution to the life of the culture. In my recent article The Fourth Phase: Persecution? I mentioned Aaron Renn, who describes three phases of the relationship between the secular culture and biblical Christianity. He notes the general acceptance in the 1960s to general opposition today. I have lived through that period, since I saw the enormous influence of evangelical Christianity when I came to study in the US in the 1960s. In its adamant rejection of God the Creator, today’s progressivism illustrates the chasm between two opposing moral systems of social justice in the culture; between biblical faith and wokism. Both compete for the same ground. This is perhaps why Christian cultural witness is now so confusing for Christians. Politics has become religious and, in the main, religiously anti–Christian, ever ready to “cancel” traditional biblical morality.
Progressivism attempts to normalize what was once considered abnormal behavior. It seems to be succeeding. Christians must be ready to live in this new situation, just as the early Christians, who lived in Rome, were surrounded by an overwhelmingly degenerate culture. Imagine the President of the United States publicly marrying two men, one as his wife and one as his husband! That is what the Emperor Nero did during the time of Paul. Imagine a Vice President as a lesbian witch.
From Abnormal to Normal
Our leading politicians openly endorse Drag Queen Story Hour readings for children. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), a professing Roman Catholic, posted a clip on Twitter in which she declares that drag queens are “what America is all about.” A Department of Energy whistleblower’s letter notes that a drag queen, Sam Brinton, had been picked as a Deputy Assistant Secretary at the DOE “over other more highly qualified candidates.” Brinton is a self-proclaimed “kink activist” (dog fetishes are his specialty), who belongs to a drag queen group known as the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. The administration sent Brinton to a diplomatic function for a Bastille Day celebration at the French Embassy in Paris. He proudly appeared in his dress and heels together with the first trans-woman Admiral, Rachel Levine, father of two grown children. The public worship of scandalous, unbridled sexuality is waved aloft around the world as an emblem of our newly enthroned US morality. It’s all perfectly normal. We have normalized LGBTQ+ sex, drag, pornography, abortion, and a host of newly named iniquities. It has recently become known that Yoel Roth, chief of Twitter’s “Trust and Safety board” determining what was published and what was silenced for the general public on Twitter, including the Hunter Biden laptop scandal, was a gay practicing drag queen. In the same vein, a well-known drag artist, Marti Cummings, invited to the White House to celebrate the new law on gay marriage, celebrated his invitation to the event by tweeting, “To be a non-binary drag artist invited to the White House is something I never imagined would happen. Thank you President and Dr. Biden for inviting me to this historic bill signing. Grateful doesn’t begin to express the emotions I feel.” One of his tweets about children is so degrading that I only dare put it in a footnote. Open decadency has climbed into the highest seats of power in the country.
Christian parents are quickly realizing that their children are in danger and under attack. One California teacher boasted about a “queer library” she keeps for her class. It contains sexually explicit content, including kink and orgies, as well as information on BDSM (bondage, discipline, dominance, submission, and sadism). She claims that these books help students to “figure out who they are.”
In the recent Children’s and Family Emmy Awards, sponsored by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the winners’ acceptance speeches overwhelmingly promoted pro-LGBTQ content and other far-left concepts. Hosted over the course of two nights, the event was intended for an audience of children ranging from “infancy to age 15.” One quarter of the awards featured characters or stories involving sexual preference or gender identity. One winner, the Disney-owned series “Muppet Babies,” received the award for Outstanding Writing for a Preschool Animated Program. One episode in that series puts a heavy focus on “Gonzo-rella,” a male character, Gonzo, who decides to identify as “non-binary,” to wear women’s dresses, and to use “they/them” pronouns. Our ruling elites are recasting sin as virtue and virtue as sin, daring us to object. Kurt Schlichter bluntly and sarcastically suggests a way of reacting: “America, We Can Choose Not to Tolerate Weirdos: Time to stop accepting the idea that we need to pretend weirdos are not weird.Unfortunately the situation is not amusing. At the highest level of leadership, we find a determined agenda to make the weird normal.
Christians must find a way of speaking in the public square, especially to the LGBTQ sexual ideology. Knowing and honoring God is at stake, and gay sex, says Paul, is unnatural; against nature. Progressives howl in rage if you say they are grooming children. But they are. Why are pedophiles and their sympathizers allowed to run rampant in our society? Victor Davis Hanson, a guest lecturer at Hillsdale College, proposes ten political ways to save America, but the closest he gets to sexual issues is the phrase: “Like it or not, the nuclear family remains the bulwark of the American nation, which will not survive if current fertility rates of below 1.7 children per woman continue to diminish and age the population. The government must incentivize childbearing and child raising.” Even our more conservative politicians will not save us from cultural sexual degeneracy and demographic collapse. Even Ex-President Donald Trump has emerged as a social radical, which we already knew he was. At a reception at Mar-a-Lago for the gay Log Cabin Republicans on December 16th, 2022 Trump received a standing ovation after delivering an enthusiastic affirmation of gay rights. “We are fighting for the gay community, and we are fighting and fighting hard.”According to Gallup, 55 percent of Republicans and 71 percent of Americans overall support same-sex marriage. In normalizing homosexuality, our culture is determined to follow the example of ancient Roman culture. That culture eventually collapsed, of course. Apparently “conservatives” do not see the problem. Can Christians join the happy chorus?
Standing in the Gap for our Children
Statistics show that COVID-19 lock-downs and closed schools have caused many school children to suffer psychological problems, including suicidal thoughts. Larry Sand, a former classroom teacher, is the president of the non-profit California Teachers Empowerment Network, which studies educational issues. Among the problems seen among children learning via the internet was “anomie,” that is, “no law.” In thinking about this issue, Strand follows American sociologist Robert K. Merton, who pioneered the sociology of deviance, based on Emile Durkheim’s theory of anomie. Following Merton, Sand describes this situation as
the breakdown of law…a breakdown of the ties that bind people together to make a functional society…Periods of anomie are unstable, chaotic, and often rife with conflict because the social force of the norms and values that otherwise provide stability is weakened or missing.
Sand remarks that anti-racist classrooms have devolved into little more than a series of “scoldings, guilt-trips, and demands to demean oneself simply to make another feel empowered. And of course, the schools’ forays into intimate sexual areas are also doing great damage.”
Changing laws about male and female, which have lasted for thousands of years and are confirmed by human biology, can surely be described as creating a situation of anomie, of unsettling lawlessness, to which Christians must speak, even at the risk of cultural rejection, for the sake of human beings and for the honor of God.
But speaking out is costly. Paivi Rasanen, a 27-year member of the Finnish parliament, has been accused by government prosecutors of hate speech, for comments she made on three occasions about gay people. Mrs. Rasanen denies the charges and stands by her words, which she says are based on the Bible. In America, Christians may also be charged for hate speech, incendiary language, or of speech leading to intended or even unintended violent actions. Their words are considered to be an encouragement for real-world violence. Christians must speak carefully, while still speaking truth.
In denouncing gay ideology, Christians must find a discourse that avoids emotionalism, moralism, hatred or bigotry, while reaching to the heart of the issue. There can be no contempt for gay individuals. A homosexual or trans person deserves respect and love as a unique and complex fellow human being, made in God’s image. God extends love to any who will come to him in repentance. In the original Fall, every human being apart from Jesus himself, is tainted by sin. In addition to the basic respect we owe every individual, we must also be keenly aware that many have known much suffering and hurt by early sexual abuse, rejection, confusion and even from heartless, dismissive expressions of judgment from misguided believers. Christians cannot forget the gospel context in which there is a priority for the communication of God’s forgiving love, of which all human beings stand in need. If God is rich in “kindness, forbearance and patience…that lead to repentance” (Romans 2:4), so must be God’s people. We must love our homosexual friends.
Millennial Christians are leaving the church in droves over this issue and need a clear statement of the truth from their elders. To understand sexuality, we need to hear not a judgmental, but a holistic, ontological account of what the Bible says about sexuality. If you worship God, you will believe that he is the Creator—an external, intelligent, personal God. According to Scripture, the world is the work of an external Creator who caringly made it but is separate and different from it. We have a hetero-cosmology (a binary worldview based on otherness and difference), not a homo-cosmology (the nonbinary blending of all things). Homo-cosmology has nothing to worship except the creation itself, since it rejects the God who made the world and put distinctions within it. As the Apostle Paul argued, we worship either the Creator or the creation (Romans 1:25).
How have these two fundamental worldviews worked themselves out in recent culture with regard to sexuality? People now speak of non-binary spirituality and non-binary sexuality. They are clearly related. Non-binary spirituality believes everything is God and that there is no divine, separate Creator. Non-binary sexuality holds to androgynous sex, in which there are no ultimate sexual distinctions. Binary, distinction-making thinking is the foundation of the gospel, in which God the Creator, totally other from us, in his Son, identifies with created reality, dies to pay the price of sin, but remains distinct from the creation. Binary sexuality witnesses to this truth in its own way, since we are made in God’s image, distinctly male and female.
Some this Christmas will stand next to a pagan priest of Satan, rather than worshiping the newborn King. We should not be surprised. The early church witnessed this in the pagan cities of the Roman Empire. Some of the Christians had once participated in such ceremonies, but the power of the gospel is unquenchable.
We may think that our culture has wandered far from binary gospel truth, but as I drive around in late December, I see our neighborhood festooned with bright lights telling me it is Christmas. Christmas means the worship [Christ-mass] of Christ. Though it has largely been stripped of its true message, the Christmas celebration is still a major event in our cultural history. Let’s use this so that people hear the good news of God, which, in turn, is good for the culture. The Incarnation is the greatest gift ever given in the history of the universe. God, the Creator of the universe, distinct from his creation, is so great that he cannot be wrapped up by our limited human minds, yet in the manger, God was wrapped up as the gift of himself to us, in the person of his Son, the Redeemer of sinful creatures. This immense God humbly entered human culture via a baby in an animal feeding trough. He humbled himself for our benefit. This should be our attitude to others as we humbly speak the gospel that defends binary sexuality and also offers us a place at the wedding feast of Jesus Christ.
Have courage. We are on the winning side.
Dr. Peter Jones is scholar in residence at Westminster Seminary California and associate pastor at New Life Presbyterian Church in Escondido, Calif. He is director of truthXchange, a communications center aimed at equipping the Christian community to recognize and effectively respond to the rise of paganism. This article is used with permission.
 David Strom, “Biden’s transgender DOE appointee is charged with a felony,” Hot Air, Nov. 28, 2022.
 “Kids are out to sing and suck D!” https://freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/4116181/post.
 Eric Lendrum, “First-Ever Emmy Awards for Children Heavily Pushes LGBT Content,” American Greatness, (16 Dec, 2022).
 SeekAndFind, Townhall, 12/15/2022, https://freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/4116528/posts
 Victor Davis Hanson, “10 Steps to Save America,” American Thinker, 18 Dec, 2022, “Cut the Debt, Secure the Border, Tap Natural Resources, Oppose Discrimination, Disrupt and Reform Higher Education, Revive the Armed Forces, Fix Voting. Drain the Swamp, Upend the Welfare State, Restore Norms.”
 Larry Sand, “Losing a Generation: School-related cultural upheaval is taking a serious toll on children,” December 19, 2022, https://www.frontpagemag.com/losing-a-generation.
By Tim Challies — 1 year ago
The fact is that in a consumeristic culture like this one—a culture in which the customer is always right—too many people leave too many churches too easily. It’s unlikely that any of us is above the temptation to depart for poor reasons and to leave behind us a trail of hurt and confusion. So before you make that decision, pray for the people of the church and diligently serve them. Ask God for wisdom and ask others for guidance. And then, only then, leave with confidence that your departure is God’s will.
Every one of us has become familiar with the pattern. Every one of us has seen church members becoming dissatisfied and then disgruntled, missing church occasionally and then consistently. Every one of us has seen the pattern and begun to dread the nearly-inevitable conclusion. This is especially discouraging when the reason for the departure is not an area of essential theological disagreement but something much more common and much less important—hurt feelings, petty squabbles, matters of preference.
This pattern is so common that we should all assume we ourselves may at some time fall into it. This being the case, what should you do when you begin feeling discontent at your church? What should you do when you feel that yearning to pick up and move on? What should you do when you find yourself eager to slip out of one church and into another? I’d like to offer just a few suggestions that I hope you’ll consider and put into practice.
Pray through the directory. Find yourself a copy of the church directory and commit to praying through the entire thing at least once. Pray for each person or each family by name. Pray what the Bible models and pray what the Spirit prompts. Prayer is one of our core responsibilities toward one another and has a way of stirring up our affections. As you pray for those people may it remind you that you’re not just walking away from a club or institution, but from a community—a family, even.
Commit to serving. The temptation when disgruntled is always to stop serving—to remove yourself from whatever ministries you’ve been involved with. Before you leave, recommit to serving others for a period of time—several months at least. Love tends to grow cold when we stop loving others and it tends to be rekindled when we start loving again. Plus, it’s as we serve that the Lord reminds us that he has gifted us specifically so we can use his gifts to bless our fellow Christians.
By Zachary Garris — 1 year ago
The language of O29 and O31 are welcome additions to the BCO. However, they are insufficient. They do not address the issue before us, which is whether a church officer may describe himself as “homosexual.” The proposal put forward by O15 clearly says no. Officers who struggle with same-sex attraction are not “gay” or “homosexual,” but they are Christians redeemed by Christ who refrain from homosexual sex and put such sinful desires to death. Those in the PCA who oppose O15 will give a variety of reasons against it. But the question for them is, “should church officers describe themselves as homosexual?” If not, then why not say so?
It is no secret that Overture 15 (O15) barely passed the 49th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). The Overtures Committee recommended rejecting it, but RE Matt Fender delivered a minority report that convinced the Assembly to make a substitute motion in favor of the proposed amendment to the Book of Church Order (BCO). After a timely speech by TE O. Palmer Robertson, O15 passed with 54% of the Assembly voting in favor of it. It will now go on to the eighty-eight presbyteries of the Church, where it needs 2/3 support to proceed to the 50th General Assembly in Memphis for ratification.
In what follows are some of the reasons that the changes proposed in O15 should achieve the 2/3 threshold of the presbyteries, pass the 50th GA, and make it into the BCO.
The Clarity and Brevity of Overture 15
The strength of the BCO language addition proposed by O15 is its clarity and brevity. Here it is in full:
7-4. Men who describe themselves as homosexual, even those who describe themselves as homosexual and claim to practice celibacy by refraining from homosexual conduct, are disqualified from holding office in the Presbyterian Church in America.The end goal of this addition is clearly to prohibit men who “describe themselves as homosexual” from holding church office in the PCA. The language proposed in this year’s O15 is an improvement over the language of last year’s Overture (O23), which used the language of “profess an identity.” Whereas the terms “identity” and “identify” are subject to differing interpretations, the verb “describe” has a narrow meaning. According to Merriam-Webster, “describe” means “to represent or give an account of in words.” This is an objective standard based on one’s own language for himself.
Upon the successful implementation of O15, a man pursuing (or holding) ordination credentials in the PCA may not “describe” himself as “homosexual.” He is not permitted to use the word “homosexual” or its synonyms to represent himself. If he does so, then he is disqualified from holding the office of elder or deacon in the PCA. The word “homosexual” is not unclear. It is commonly used to describe men who engage in sexual acts with other men, which is prohibited by Scripture and the Westminster Standards. This behavior is not befitting of a church officer. Everyone in the PCA should firmly agree with this.
Christians Who Struggle with Same-Sex Attraction Are Not “Homosexuals”
Yet disagreement may arise because “homosexual” can also be used to refer to those who are “characterized by sexual or romantic attraction to people of one’s same sex” (Merriam-Webster). In this case, a man who experiences sexual attraction to other men but “practice[s] celibacy” is still disqualified by church office if he describes himself as a “homosexual.” Notice that the ratification of O15 would not disqualify a man from office simply because he experiences same-sex attraction. The key is that he would not be permitted to “describe” himself as a “homosexual.” The man who experiences same-sex attraction is disqualified from office if — and only if — he describes himself as a “homosexual.”
But is “homosexual” ever used in English to refer to a man who experiences same-sex attraction? The answer is yes. But this definition from dictionaries like Merriam-Webster is not our standard as Christians. The Bible is “the only rule of faith and obedience” (WLC 3). And the Bible teaches us that a Christian is not to describe himself as a “homosexual.” A Christian man may experience same-sex attraction and fight against it by God’s Spirit, but he should never use the word “homosexual” to describe this struggle. A key text here is 1 Corinthians 6:9-11:
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.The Apostle Paul teaches here that the practice of grievous sin prevents people from inheriting God’s kingdom. Notice, however, that he does not list the sins themselves, but the terms or descriptions of people who make a practice of such sins. Paul does not say a Christian who gets drunk once will go to hell. Rather, he says that a drunkard will not inherit the kingdom. Thus, no Christian should ever describe himself as a “drunkard,” as that is a description only for his pre-conversion days. “Such were some of you,” Paul says. But now you have been washed and sanctified by Christ. You may have been a drunkard before you met Christ, but now you are a Christian. And if you are still a drunkard, then it does not matter that you call yourself a Christian. A drunkard will not inherit God’s kingdom, and you need to repent.
With reference to our current discussion, Paul also says that “homosexuals” will not inherit God’s kingdom. We need not get into all the nuances of the Greek words malakoi (“effeminate”) and arsenokoitai (“homosexuals”). They are used together here to refer to those who engage in any form of homosexual sex, as seen in the English Standard Version’s translation (“men who practice homosexuality”). So we see that Scripture uses the word “homosexual” to refer to men who engage in homosexual acts, and such a description is not fitting for Christians. Those who are “homosexuals” or “immoral men” are not Christians, but “ungodly and sinners” (1 Tim. 1:9-10).
Therefore, at minimum, a Christian who calls himself “homosexual” (or a synonym) sends a confusing message to those inside the church and out. He may mean only that he experiences same-sex attraction and is celibate. However, many English speakers will justifiably understand him to mean he is engaging in homosexual sex. This is why the Scriptures never describe a Christian who struggles with same-sex attraction as a “homosexual,” just as the Scriptures never describe someone who struggles with the desire to abuse alcohol as a “drunkard.” This descriptor is simply not a word fitting for a Christian. How much more is the word “homosexual” not fitting for a church officer? The elder is to be “above reproach,” and he is not to be known as a “drunkard” (1 Tim. 3:2-3). Certainly he is also not to be known or described as a “homosexual.”
Rather, the Christian should put “evil desire” to death (Col. 3:5), and “put off” the old man that is “corrupt through deceitful desires” (Eph. 4:22). He is not to identify with the old self but instead to “put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge” (Col. 3:10). Such renewal in Christ means not using sinful descriptions for oneself. Thus, even if a Christian struggles with homosexual desire, it is not fitting for him to characterize himself with his sin. He is not a homosexual but a Christian seeking to put sinful sexual desire to death. “Sexual immorality and all impurity… must not even be named among” Christians, “as is proper among saints” (Eph. 5:3). How much more is this the case for church officers?
Overture 15 Reflects the PCA’s Report on Human Sexuality
Overture 15 reflects the conclusions of the PCA’s Ad Interim Committee (AIC) on Human Sexuality Report, which received broad support. The Report advises that “Christians ought to understand themselves, define themselves, and describe themselves in light of their union with Christ and their identity as regenerate, justified, holy children of God… To juxtapose identities rooted in sinful desires alongside the term ‘Christian’ is inconsistent with Biblical language and undermines the spiritual reality that we are new creations in Christ… we name our sins, but are not named by them” (p. 11).
As applied to the term “gay Christian,” the Report counsels that it is wise to avoid this phrase. It explains: “For many people in our culture, to self-identify as ‘gay’ suggests that one is engaged in homosexual practice. At the very least, the term normally communicates the presence and approval of same-sex sexual attraction as morally neutral or morally praiseworthy. Even if ‘gay,’ for some Christians, simply means ‘same-sex attraction,’ it is still inappropriate to juxtapose this sinful desire, or any other sinful desire, as an identity marker alongside our identity as new creations in Christ” (p. 12).Read More