Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Case of the Unbaked Cake Part 2

In yesterday's post I referenced a news story in Gresham, Oregon regarding a bakery that closed after refusing to bake a wedding cake for a homosexual couple. My main point in that post was to first, examine the rationale of Aaron and Melissa Klein and second to call for logical thinking on the part of believers.

The reason I find this newsworthy and worthy of my musings and observations is that it demonstrates poor thinking on the part of a couple who claims to have "religious beliefs." Again, I don't know anything about this couple - other than the fact that they own a bakery and refused to bake a wedding cake based on their "religious beliefs," and that they are now or have closed their store.

Here is my problem. Quite frankly I might have more than just one problem with this event.

First - as mentioned before, the Kleins chose to open a business in the state of Oregon. This placed them under government regulations.

"Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities...whoever resists the authority resists the ordinances of God..." (Romans 13:1,2, NKJV)

If you apply for a business license, corporation papers, and etc. then you are obligated to abide by the laws that govern business and business practices.

Second - I am more concerned about refusing service based on religious beliefs. Do we have any justification from the Scripture for doing so?

Scripture makes it clear that we are to be guided by a clean and clear conscience. Our conscience guided by the Holy Spirit guides us through decision processes on a regular basis. Especially in those areas or questions not specifically dealt with in Scripture. 

We must keep in mind however, that our conscience is not infallible and can allow us to make unwise decisions. I would never advocate violating one's conscience as long as the conscience does not violate biblical revelation.

Having said that, the Kleins live in this world. Even if they are believers they are subject to the laws of this land. I understand that we as believers are not part of this world and that we are to be separate from the sin of this world.

Sinners will act as sinners. Sinners sin. The lost often participate in heinous sin.

Now let's get to the logical part. I am curious, if we [the Kleins] are to refuse to bake a cake for homosexual couples because it is against "our" religious beliefs, what about other sinners? Would the Kleins refuse to bake a cake for let's say, fornicating couples? Or adulterous couples? Would "we" refuse to bake a cake for those who support abortion, higher taxes, drunkards, drug addicts, liars, income tax cheaters, or polygamists?

Let me say I am not attacking the Kleins. Nor am I saying that sinful behavior is not sin and offensive to our righteous God. 

I just have to wonder how many grocery stores, how many gas stations, how many clothing stores, how many restaurants, or how many other businesses must I avoid or refuse to do business with because the owners or fellow customers do things "against my religious beliefs?"

If you are going to operate a business you are obligating yourself to comply with the laws that govern businesses. Apparently in Oregon you cannot refuse service or goods to anyone in a "protected class." Therefore don't refuse. 

Find ways to reach out and proclaim the gospel to those who violate your religious beliefs. At some point I belief Christ would have condemned the sin of the homosexual couple, but He first would have extended an opportunity of salvation.

Be logical in your decisions. As much as we are able we are as believers to separate from the sinful practices of this world. I know that we would love to live in the sweet by and by but the reality is we live in the nasty now and now. 

Please don't make it any harder than it already is on other believers by being ungracious or illogical in decisions or actions. There is no doubt, Christ condemned the Pharisees, Scribes, hypocrites and religious leaders. There is no doubt that sin is sin. Let's be gracious, Christ-like and proclaim the gospel to every creature.

Paul told the Corinthians to avoid the drunkards and those involved in open sin. When he discovered that the Corinthians had withdrawn any and all contact with the lost, he corrected them and told them to withdraw from sinning believers. The lost will act as only their nature permits.

 If we withdraw from them, become obnoxious to them, mean, spite-ful etc, we will never be given an opportunity to be heard and the gospel is rejected or falls on deaf ears. We don't participate but we can't separate from sinners. Christ ate with them and drank with them, so much so he was accused by the Pharisees of being a glutton and a drunk.

 Where would the woman at the well be today if Christ had refused to offer her living water because she was immoral, adulterous, and was currently fornicating?

How is refusing to bake a cake going to advance the Kingdom of God and make room for the proclamation of the gospel?


Scott said...

Don't know the case, and I see your point, but I also see theirs. I can't avoid every business that doesn't agree with my philosophy, but baking a wedding cake is more than just business in some sense. You are actively taking part in celebrating the marriage of this couple. I would be unable to join in that "celebration" as well, and therefore would have trouble doing the cake.

I know what you're saying about being under the law, showing compassion, etc. But to use your analogy of the woman in adultery, Jesus didn't buy her a room to conduct business in, actively taking part in her sin. The cake bakers may have felt taking part in this wedding was a similar act.

And more to the point, where is the freedom of religion, freedom of speech, etc. when it comes to Christians. Homosexuals scream and yell to have their rights recognized, but often at the expense of my rights. As an individual business owner, I should have the right to conduct business with whom I chose. I understand the dangers there, discrimination and all. But this applies only to race, etc.

As for the other example, those couples fornicating, etc. I think we can choose. I would not perform a gay wedding (though the law may eventually penalize me for that refusal), and I also will not perform a wedding for couples living together. If they currently live together, I ask them to move out and live separately until the wedding, making the effort to admit the sin they've been in and change it.

Anyway, it all brings up some very good thoughts for discussion, doesn't it?

Gregg Metcalf said...

It does bring up alot to think about and discuss. I appreciate your comments. I am with you for the most part. I would not perform such a ceremony either.

Baking a cake is not helping them celebrate their sin anymore than selling gas out of service station celebrates that or any other sin.

My point is believers do not have biblical justification to break the law unless it specifically violates scripture.

Yes, the sin violates scripture but please show me a verse where the bible prohibits baking a cake or selling gas or insurance or a car or clothes to sinners.

Don't miss my point, I think a business owner should be able to run his or her business anyway they want to. If I don't like how they are running it I can do business elsewhere.

I think the government doesn't have the right to tell an owner who he can sell to or not, but in Oregon at least the law says you cannot refuse service based on a number of things including sexual orientation.

The Kleins choice I maintain is to either, 1. do not operate a business in Oregon or 2. shut down the bakery.

I also am grieved by the fact that it seems all have constitutional rights except Christians. I think those who cry for tolerance are the most intolerant. But again, that is not justification for breaking the law and resisting God.

I sure appreciate your comment and I am not "attacking" you or your thought process. I am just participating in a discussion from a minority view.

Love ya brother!

Anonymous said...

This was again interesting Gregg, it do seem incredible a cake should be refused but I thought people were in business whatever and whoever came to their shop.

I can think of a suitable song of them"If I Knew You Were Coming I would Bake A Cake".

Well done on a great two days of reading.