Kudos to Martin Snyder for calling this to my attention, and kudos to Elder Mark Van Der Molen for finding it in the first place. Should We Oppose Same-Sex Marriage? - White Horse Inn Blog This is a **SERIOUSLY** bad article. Dr. Michael Horton treats legalization of homosexual domestic partnerships as being an open question with legitimate arguments on both sides. While he opposes gay marriages, he says this: "Although a contractual relationship denies God’s will for human dignity, I could affirm domestic partnerships as a way of protecting people’s legal and economic security." Again, "The challenge there is that two Christians who hold the same beliefs about marriage as Christians may appeal to neighbor-love to support or to oppose legalization of same-sex marriage." This is based on Dr. Horton's longstanding and wrong belief that Judeo-Christian ethics are not a valid ground for civil law. In his words, "On one hand, it may be said that if we can no longer say that 'Judeo-Christian' ethics are part of our shared worldview as a republic, then the ban seems arbitrary. Why isn’t there a campaign being waged to ban providing legal benefits to unmarried heterosexual couples? Or to make divorce more difficult? It just seems more symbolic than anything else: it looks like our last-gasp effort to enforce our own private morality on the public." However, we need to keep in mind that Dr. Horton has done a great deal of good. Often when there's smoke, there's fire. Sometimes, however, there's just a lot of smoke because somebody set off a stink bomb in the house. Certainly a stink bomb isn't good, but it's not as bad as a full-blown four-alarm fully-involved structure fire with people trapped inside. As Calvinists, perhaps this will help us remember that as much as we may respect prominent men, we revere God's Written Word, not man's many words. In this case, we have an author who has done a lot of good for the church whose bad theology on "Two Kingdoms" has led him down a wrong path. Dr. Horton is not a liberal and anyone who thinks otherwise doesn't know the meaning of the word "liberal." However, it should be a major warning to all of us when a man like Dr. Horton can write something this bad and get away with something which, if written by a PC(USA) minister, would spark howls of protest from conservatives who thought he'd gone soft on homosexuality. Since Dr. Horton represents not only himself but also the seminary, and he's not the only person advocating "Two Kingdoms" views at Westminster-West, contacting the seminary would probably be a good idea. Obviously the Westminster-West president, Dr. W. Robert Godfrey, was one of the leaders of the secession from the Christian Reformed Church that began the United Reformed Churches in North America, in which both Dr. Godfrey and Dr. Horton are ordained ministers. I believe Dr. Godfrey will listen carefully to well-reasoned concerns from well-meaning Reformed people -- and he is very much aware that a major reason why his seminary started was because conservatives were upset with Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids. Here's an example with very uncomfortable parallels. Back in the 1990s, Calvin Theological Seminary dismissed a visiting professor from the Netherlands, Dr. Jan Veenhof, when it was discovered and reported in Christian Renewal that the professor had written an article advocating gay civil unions but not marriage. Unlike Dr. Veenhof whose views were much worse, the rest of Dr. Horton's work makes clear that his views here are an aberration, not part of a broader pattern, and I have no desire whatsoever to get Dr. Horton terminated from Westminster-West. My coverage of the Dr. Jan Veenhof incident is here: http://www.iclnet.org/pub/resources/text/reformed/archive96/nr96-122.txt This got extensive media attention in the Grand Rapids Press, Detroit Free Press, and the Banner. Most of those articles aren't online, but here are some links to articles from the Calvin College Chimes which make clear this was a very big deal: http://webcache.googleusercontent.c...//clubs.calvin.edu/chimes/961206/n1120696.htm http://webcache.googleusercontent.c...//clubs.calvin.edu/chimes/961206/e1120696.htm Here is some more recent Grand Rapids Press coverage mentioning the earlier incident with Dr. Veenhof: Calvin College has had to confront homosexuality before its latest memo against gay advocacy | MLive.com As CRC historian Dr. Robert Swierenga has written: "Relations with the GKN were further strained in 1996 when Calvin Theological Seminary released at mid-year visiting professor Jan Veenhof, a highly respected member of that denomination, who had written approvingly of faithful Christian homosexual couples. His controversial dismissal, together with the local crusading work of Jim Lucas, prompted the staff of Chimes, the Calvin College student newspaper, to devote its final spring 1997 issue to the topic of homosexuality at the college. The editors called for greater 'understanding,' ran an article by religion professor Philip Holtrop that noted the possibility of reading the Bible to allow for homosexual practices, and carried an ad for a college-sponsored gay and lesbian student discussion group 'to provide a safe and accepting place on the Calvin campus.'" Burn the Wooden Shoes: Modernity and Division in the Christian Reformed Church in North America It should be patently obvious that things aren't anywhere near that bad at Westminster-West. The question for Dr. Horton is not whether homosexuality is good or bad -- unlike Dr. Veenhof, Dr. Horton makes clear he's opposed to homosexual practice, not just homosexual marriages -- but rather what the state should do about something that the church opposes as a matter of biblical ethics. There are limits to the parallels with Veenhof, and also, for that matter, to the Peter Enns controversy over at Westminster-East. Dr. Horton is an orthodox Bible-believing scholar. We must never forget that. He is a brother and deserves to be treated as such. However, I believe that if Westminster Seminary doesn't do something to at least indicate that these views are not representative of the rest of the faculty, Calvin Seminary professors will quite legitimately be asking some tough questions about why conservatives blamed Calvin Seminary for ever hiring Veenhof, even after he was terminated, but nothing has been said about a long-term Westminster-West professor who advocated very similar views publicly on the White Horse Inn right here in the United States. Here's the contact information: Dr. W. Robert Godfrey, President Westminster Theological Seminary 1725 Bear Valley Parkway Escondido, CA 92027 (760) 480-8474 Westminster Seminary California If you write, be respectful. Dr. Horton is an ordained minister and deserves to be treated with the respect due to his office. That goes double for Dr. Godfrey, who I strongly suspect is very unhappy with the comments in this article but quite correctly has to follow proper procedures to respond to things written by his professors.