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Homosexuality and Church

Homosexuality and Church

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Published by PaulCJBurgess
Summary of Issues from larger work: Homosexuality in Church and Society: Charting the Issues: Pt 3 Homosexuality and The Bible; Pt 4 Homosexuality and The Church. Maps issues arising in the Church regarding homosexuality and the ordination of practicing homosexuals. Includes survey of biblical testimony and what significance the role of sociological findings play.
Summary of Issues from larger work: Homosexuality in Church and Society: Charting the Issues: Pt 3 Homosexuality and The Bible; Pt 4 Homosexuality and The Church. Maps issues arising in the Church regarding homosexuality and the ordination of practicing homosexuals. Includes survey of biblical testimony and what significance the role of sociological findings play.

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Published by: PaulCJBurgess on Jun 21, 2014
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Homosexuality and Church Charting the Issues
A TraditionalistsView To whom should we listen to decide these issues?
The authority of the Bible
The Bible
How do we interpret what we read in the Bible? What kind of Law? Bringing Order To God’s World
All authority rests with God himself.
Wherein lies the
 When we preach to gainsayers: “but the Bible says!” what picture are we presenting of Scripture? As Prof Tom Wright, hailed by
 as “one of the most formidable figures in Christian thought”, says,
“Much of what we call the Bible—the Old and New Testaments—is not
a rule book 
; it is
.” So is it merely a
 to primary events (e.g. the history of Israel in the OT and the experience of the early Church in the NT)? Prof. Wright points out that
“according to Paul in Romans 15 and elsewhere, the Bible is itself
a key part of God’s plan.
It is not merely a divinely given
 on the way salvation works (or whatever); the Bible is
part of the means by which he puts his purposes of judgement and salvation to work 
The Word of God comes to us not only through the words of his spokesmen recorded in the Bible, but also through the total record of the Spirit-led writers of Scripture. Thus
“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.”.
“Through the spoken and written authority of anointed human beings God brings his authority to bear on his people and his world.” We
 listen to the Bible because
Scripture brings God’s order to God’s world…”
Complementarity in God’s Design
he binaries in Genesis are so important
… heaven
 earth, and sea
 dry land… and you end up with male
It’s all about God making complementary pairs which are meant to work together…
 The last scene in the Bible is… the marriage of Christ
 his church. It’s not just one or two verses here and there which say this or that. It’s
an entire narrative which works with this
 so that
a male-
-female marriage is a signpost or a signal about the goodness of the original creation and God’s intention for the eventual new heavens
 new earth
T wo
“laid before us to study, to prevent us falling into error”: (Francis Bacon) 1. The Book of
God’s Word
(Scripture) ‘ 2. The Book of
God’s Works
(Creation / Science)
Crucial Tenets of Hermeneutics (Principles of Interpretation)
Understand The
Literary Genre
e.g. Narrative
the reader is left to ponder what was right or wrong. Passages concerning
according to the purpose
 for which they were promulgated 
in the time frame
  for which their enforcement was intended 
Note the
Literary Context
This lessens the danger of
Note the
Cultural Context
Avoid reading back into the text a modern situation or a personal bias (
View The
Big Picture
canonical context
 (what the whole of Scripture says): provides the
grand biblical meta-narrative of salvation,
lessening the danger of heresy.
Types of OT Law
Different things
 were prohibited in the Old Testament
for different reasons
for different periods
, some not applicable today
Ritual / Ceremonial
 (fulfilled by Christ’s death and thus superceded)
 (specific to Israel’s historic life in Canaan, emphasizing her
 as a
 Covenant people under God among the nations, and dropped once the Old Covenant was replaced by the New Covenant, with the identity of God’s people being found in Christ
The moral laws
 are not abolished because they are
based on the character of God.
 Since God's holy character does not change, the moral laws do not change either. Therefore, the moral laws are still in effect.”
 -Matt Slic
Which are the most relevant passages
3 4
The Church
“A defining issue for the church, and unfortunately the church doesn't seem good at engaging with this issue in more than a superficial way.”
 C. Kidd
What is ‘Same-Sex Marriage’ all about?
The Key Texts
Genesis 1 & 2
What did God create? (Genre:
Creation Story
) Important because
They record the story of
the origins of marriage.
They reveal the sexual lifestyle that God intended for humanity
God’s design for sex).
refers to these texts as providing the
principles that can be deduced
 regarding later issues, such as
(See Mat 19:4ff).
alludes to them as substantiating his claim that God created humankind male and female; God instituted
marriage as a complementary heterosexual union.
Genesis 19 (& Judges 19)
decadent behaviour resulted from godlessness
? Important because (Genre:
They reveal the decadence of the lifestyle of
unbelievers outside of the Law
Revisionists claim:
“The sin of Sodom (and Gibeah) not about homosexuality but a
breach of hospitality
.” Rather it is a cautionary tale that shows God takes
sexual sin
 of whatever stripe very seriously. 
Leviticus 18 & 20
What is the
on sexual practice? (Genre:
) Important because
They govern the lifestyle of
believers under the Law.
As part of
the Torah
, accepted by
Romans 1:24-27
Why did Paul condemn same sex acts? (Genre:
) Important because
It categorically condemns
a homosexual lifestyle
It depicts same-sex behaviour as a particularly strong example of
mankind’s idolatrous determination to ignore God and do his own thing
It shows how
idolatry leads to impurity
including homosexual activity, its sinfulness so severe that those who indulge in it
risk exclusion from God’s Kingdom
(1 Cor 6:9)
  Note: Paul is describing
what happens to culture as a whole, rather than particular individuals
. Just because a person experiences SSA does not mean he/she has turned away from God any more than others.
Matthew 19:3-12
What would Jesus
? (Genre:
Gospel Narrative: Teaching 
) Important because
It answers the question regarding divorce: “
What would Jesus say?”
which has applications to SS acts.
High moral standards
: Jesus denounced lustful glances as no less sinful than adultery.
John 8:3-11
What would Jesus
Gospel Narrative: Action
) Important because
It answers the question regarding adultery (punishable by stoning in Jesus’ day):
“What would Jesus do?”
Again, extrapolation is possible to discern Jesus’ view of same-sex practitioners.
 Note: Jesus, concerned for the woman’s eternal good, allows her
time to repent
. “Sin no more!” still shows a
strict sexual ethic
The Key Texts
1 Corinthians 6:9-11
How serious is sexual immorality? (Genre:
 Letter: Teaching)
 Important because
It warns that sexual immorality has
eternal consequences.
Paul includes those who practice the homosexual lifestyle among those who will not inherit the kingdom of God. (
(literally ‘soft to the touch’) refers to
the passive partner
 in homosexual sex.)
Homosexuality sin is not inescapable
...(v. 11: What defined us then no longer defines us now.)
Galatians 5:19-21
What are the
eternal consequences of sexual immorality
? (Genre:
 Letter: Exhortation
) Important because
It concerns the
expected lifestyle of believers in Christ under grace
It states
the seriousness of sexual sin.
1 Timothy 1:4b-11
What role does the Law play in the teaching about the Gospel? (Genre:
 Letter: Teaching 
) Important because
It shows that the Law’s condemnation of immorality supports the Gospel.
‘Practising homosexuality’: one example of the lifestyle of those who break the law of God. ‘Arsenokoites’ (literally ‘male in a bed’) refers to a person who engages in homosexual sex – particularly the active partner.
“All these
practices contradict ‘sound doctrine’ and the gospel.
go against the grain of 
the new identity we have in C
hrist.” (Allberry)
1 Thessalonians 4:3-10
How should we
today? (Genre:
) Important because
It reminds us of
our Christian duty
 to avoid
immorality. (Romans 12:9; Hebrews 12:1)
Two very different
 visions of same-sex marriage:
1. The ‘
 gay vision: Promiscuous and focusing on personal intimacy and social equality.
: As the prevailing cultural view, it will weaken the institution of marriage. 2. The ‘
 gay vision: Clearly geared towards monogamy and fidelity.
‘Inclusive Church’ – are there limits?
How many people in church experience SSA? What happens when the Church modifies the absolute authority of Scripture? What is the ‘mixed economy’ in the Church of Scotland?
What does the Church say about homosexual relationships? Can the two polarized positions be balanced? Welcome?
When discussing “
welcoming and affirming
 the presence and ministry of gay people” (Church of England College of Bishops re the Pilling Report)
 distinctions need to be made between:
Welcoming someone’s presence
 within the church, (all should be agreed)  b.
An assumption of Christian fellowship
, c.
Endorsement of their lifestyle
, d.
Affirming their teaching and ruling ministry
within the church
Traditionalists distinguish ‘
 (of a
) from
, ‘
, and ‘
 (of a
Statistics: People with SSA in Church Today
Statistically people with same sex attraction can be expected to be present in any average congregation. If 1.67% of UK’s population is Homosexual (i.e. experiencing Same-Sex Attraction), expect a ratio of 1:60 homosexuals in an average UK congregation (of 84 Sunday attenders).  Note on ideal maximum size: 60 was the size when a Synagogue congregation (in earlier times) and Brethren Assembly (in modern times) used to split to form 2 groups
Authority Weakened
The Church that
decides what is and what is not the Word of Go
Speaks with a
divided voice
, being uncertain about what is truly the Word of God.
Loses authority
 to speak to the world.
echoes what the world is saying
Ceases to be ‘salt’
, (no longer proclaiming to the world the mind of Christ).
“The Mixed Economy the Kirk has accepted for more than 100 years”
 believe and submit to the
authority of the Bible
the infallible written Word of God.
This has a tendency to solidify doctrine and ethics as
a fixed body of truth and right actions for all time.
 see the Bible as
a record of the experiences of God’s people
, bound by the times it was written in, and not necessarily infallible in the views it records. This has a tendency to keep doctrine and ethics more fluid,
an evolving body of truth and right actions that can be changed over time
 in line with
new insights,
experiences and changes in society.” (
James Miller)
Three Views in the Church on the Homosexual Question
For some
olerating homosexual lifestyles
 is being ‘
, since
 such behaviour is because ‘that’s the way they are’ 
, and the church should always be
Others believe “
Tolerance for gays
 is not and
cannot be enough
Churches must either
preach against
the sin of homosexuality
and help t
hose caught in the bondage of that sin, or 3.
They must
fight for
 on behalf of the oppressed gay minority. There is
no middle ground on this issue.”
- Gene B. Chase, Professor of Mathematics
Grace Emphasised
The issue for
: the
of God’s love, i.e.
The Church is trying to... answer the question, how big ... is
God’s love
 for all of God’s children
.” - Bp Gene Robinson
 Evangelical revisionist Steve Chalke, who blesses civil partnerships, aims at “our
 beacons of inclusion.”
Truth Emphasised
The issue for
: the
of God’s love, i.e.
(sin). “God's will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin.” (1 Th 4 v. 3 NLT) “You are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer yet indulges in sexual sin.” (1 Cor 5 v.10)

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