Behold the future. The piece is prophetic because, in a week where a high-ranking member of the NAE had to resign because he was `shifting' on gay unions, at a time when the full weight of the opinion forming social media is behind the normalisation of homosexuality as acceptable, challenges such as this are clearly going to be coming thick and fast. I grew up in some ways as the hidebound, unthinking traditionalist on sexual morality at which Ms Miller takes aim: everyone knew homosexuality was wrong (even if only from a basic anti-gay bigotry), and so there was no need to mount arguments against it either in the church or the wider society. That is not the world of my children. They need to be given reasons as to why their gay friends are following a lifestyle that is sinful. And those reasons need to be well-thought out, calm, and articulated with a Christian grace and love. At the level of theological education, this means that the issue of biblical authority and interpretation needs to be very carefully addressed. For example, Ms. Miller's implicit contrast of individual passages of the Bible with its overall message raises the very legitimate interpretative question of how these things are related; church and colleges and seminaries need to make sure they can give a thoughtful answer to that one or the Ms. Millers of the world are going to take them to the cleaners.[Hat tip to J.M.]
The article does end on a note with which I wholeheartedly agree, however, at least on the surface. She quotes a pro-gay priest as saying `if Jesus were alive today, he would reach out especially to the gays and lesbians among us.' Amen, So he would. But not with the tawdry bauble of passing social acceptance; rather he would reach out with the love of the Father for those who are unlovely, offering them life in abundance, not through some intense but illicit orgasm; rather through the forgiveness and newness of life that comes from life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Even as the church must dismantle erroneous hermeneutics and defend the authority of scripture, so she must also reach out with the love of the gospel to the dirty, the immoral, the things that are not, with the light of the gospel. With what does the Christ of Ms Miller reach out? A piece of paper and the promise of a few years of companionship, perhaps some great sex, and then what?
Saturday, December 20, 2008
"Behold the future"
The last two paragraphs from Carl Trueman's blog post on "Newsweek on Gay Marriage" (Reformation 21, December 16, 2008):