Re: Human sexuality and identity
It is essential that we speak charitably towards each other on this issue and assume the best in each other, but this author suggests that those who disagree with him are unconsciously scapegoating a particular community. This is assuming the worst and is a failure to engage with authors who have carefully explained why this issue matters so much.
Ed Shaw and Sam Allberry are two same-sex attracted authors who have written extensively on why it is important that we don't depart from the historic teaching of the church on this subject.
Ed has argued that it is a product of numerous other false steps that we have made in our theology and so it is an opportunity to rediscover the gospel (see Ed Shaw's book 'The Plausibility Problem').
Sam has argued that Jesus calls us to repentance from sin (including all sexual immorality); if we tolerate people who teach that some forms of sexual immorality are OK then we put people in eternal danger and come under the rebuke of Jesus expressed in Revelation 2:20-21 (see Sam Allberry's book 'Is God Anti-Gay?').
It is important to engage carefully with their arguments and not accuse them of an unreflective desire to scapegoat people.
The final quote from Gregory of Nyssa suggests that this is a uniquely modern problem, the product of being focussed on concepts not wonder.
However, it is worth noting that Gregory of Nyssa wrote 'there is only one legitimate union, that of a wife with a husband, and a husband with a wife'. As a result he argued that sexual activity between two males was worse than normal fornication because it was 'adultery against nature'.
If a theological giant such as Gregeory of Nyssa could write this then we should not write off current church members who agree with him as having lost their sense of wonder.
The quotes are from Gregory of Nyssa's Epistle to Letoius bishop of Melitene. It is available in various places but I think the most recent and best translation is Anna M. Silvas' volume of his letters published by Brill in 2007.
(in reply to Paul Mayo)
I was not suggesting the those who disagree with me are unconsciously scapegoating the LGBTIQ community, but highlighting how fear can cause us to scapegoat. The reality historically is that LGBT+ people have been treated and are still treated with horrific abuse, and the Church has had a role in that.
I have not read the books by Ed Shaw and Sam Allberry. From your brief overview I would suggest they are reading Scripture through a particular hermeneutical lens that others would not subscribe to; the question is not 'what does the Bible say?' but 'How will we interpret this text?' It is always a question of hermeneutics.
I'm a little perplexed that my use of Gregory of Nysa leads you to assume I see concepts and not wonder as a modern problem... I quote him to highlight how concepts and the loss of wonder is not a new phenomenon.
In terms of Gregory's understanding of human sexuality it is unsurprising as he would have no concept of what we see today as loving-committed same-sex relationships. Indeed the argument of something being 'against nature' is difficult as homosexuality is present in the animal kingdom too.
Your analysis of why some people scapegoat 'LGBTIQ' people may have merit, but is irrelevent to the fact that I, who have friends within that community and feel no dislike towards them, still disgree with 'same-sex marriage' because I wish to be obedient to Jesus in Mark 10:6.
Take a look at Rosaria Butterfield's talk, "You Are What you Read" on the Gospel Coalition website. She was an LGBT activist, living in a same-sex relationship and then the gospel hit her. Now a Presbyterian, she has much to say about this topic. Google it - it's easy to find
Surely ordinary people can approach the Bible and expect to be able to understand it without knowing anything of ‘hermeneutical lenses’?
In wanting to be generous in our encouragement and support to those who struggle with same sex attraction (as we all struggle with something - and which of us has been entirely pure sexually) we cannot ignore the clear teaching of the Bible and call good what the Bible teaches is sin. Like those below, I thoroughly recommend reading Rosaria Butterfield and Sam Allberry who are grace-filled yet true to the Bible.I rejoice in these and other heroes of the faith who are committed to being chaste whether they are same-sex attracted or opposite sex attracted but not
married. Jesus managed to combine being really attractive to those looked down on by many without compromising on truth. Let’s actively reach out but not dilute the gospel.
(in reply to David Peters)
David - I agree - Rosaria's book Openness Unhindered is remarkable for its incisive clarity into these issues and with her background she has earned the right to speak with authority on the topic. An ex- gay and lesbian activist, Professor at Syracuse University, yet over the course of two years of visiting an elderly Presbyterian minister she began to read the Bible and experience its transforming power. The cost to herself was very high in losing a tenured appointment at a university and her final speech before the University senate is wonderful example of Christian witness to the abiding truths of holy scripture.
Let's remember that *everyone* has to struggle with sin, gay or straight, but the power of the gospel and a correct understanding of sanctification via Spirit and Word can liberate all people and set them free from their passions to serve the Living God.
Let us also remember that the church tends to put marriage and family life on a pinnacle while neglecting the huge contribution made by celibate singles down the ages.
Thank you Joe for a thought provoking article that has given me some hope within the Baptist community after the 'un-Baptist' statement sent to all Baptist Ministers. For those church communities who go through the Baptist model of discerning the mind of Christ and agree to marry people of same sex partnerships this will offer a little sensible Christian commpasion on what is often a swept under the carpet issue, not unlike the total lack of respoonse from BU council to the nearly 100 responses expressing dismay, anger and disappointment with the released statement.
Re: The Essex County Council Baptist Church
Nice story, Graeme. We have a bus stop (with a shelter) called "Christ Church" which is nearly (but not quite!) outside our church. However is far less prominently labelled than yours! Until recently it was known as "St. Pancras Church" which is the Catholic Church 50 yards further up the road, so someone from the Council must have noticed the anomaly.
Re: What do we mean by “sowing seeds”?
In sowing seeds we plant words of grace in the minds of those who have yet to find faith
Austin Shaw (via Facebook)
Re: Daring Greatly through women... with the courage to follow Jesus
I love this! I met jenni today when she preached at our church. She suggested I read your blog entry in relation to my experiences whilst working for the Anglican church in community development.
Someone told me that having the gift of prophecy and exposing the truth can be incredibly hard, and as a woman, I have found it has added to the challenge.
love in christ
Re: Peter Hicks: 1940-2013
Peter was a Good man that passed me through the waters in 1971 then performed my marriage to my first wife ONLY JUST FOUND this but a shock