Ask Peter – Part Four

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  • http://battlingchristian.blogspot.com/ Erik "Rik" Fleming

    It has been a while since I dropped in. The “Jonathan and David would have been committing adultery” argument is quite insightful and I hadn’t thought of it. Another consideration, David and Jonathan’s relationship is parallel to The Son of David (Jesus) and the disciple Jonathan’s relationship in many ways. Jonathan is “the disciple whom he loved” and laid his head on his breast at the table (John 13:23). If you read a Hebrew translation it sounds very much like the scenario of David & Jonathan, even uses the same word “ahav.”

    In regards to the church not supporting anyone who is specifically called to minister to or witness to people with sexual brokenness, I am right there with you. In fact, here in the USA you may be even kept from speaking on the issue in church and any admission to having such a battle yourself may be consider cause for you not to be allowed to teach, preach etc.

    The consequence is, if you really want to have any effect in helping others you (I) may have to go outside the church and work independently or covertly in a para-church organization and at your own expense.

    Complain about what Homosexual Politics is doing to our culture? Certainly!

    Actually DO something that will effectively reverse the tide other than playing power politics? Nope, ain’t going to happen.

  • Blair

    Hi Peter,

    wanted to comment here cos I’ve just watched this video and I agree entirely about the David and Jonathan thing (and no, I hadn’t thought of the David-would-have-been-committing-adultery argument either). Thought it was time I commented to say I agree instead of picking away at what I see as others’ errors!

    But… then at 8 minutes something, you say that revisionists’ position basically boils down to saying that ‘you can have sex with whoever you fancy’. That sounds like a plain misrepresentation to me. That isn’t the position of Rowan Williams, James Alison, Roy Clements and others…

    My old habits die hard…. :)

    in friendship, Blair

    • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

      Blair,

      I understand entirely where you’re coming from in your valid criticism of me in your second paragraph, but I would respond by asking you to direct me to any revisionist theology of sexual practice that gives clear guidelines as to when sex is and isn’t appropriate.

      Take the traditional stance of sex only within marriage. This is because until a couple are married they are not united in Christ and do not truly signify the union of Christ and the Church. From a traditional perspective it doesn’t matter when you individually “discern” the right time for sex is, there is rather an external objective criteria for the appropriateness or not of sexual activity.

      For revisionists though it seems that that external criteria is removed. Instead I read time and time again about how the couple must discern for themselves when the right time is. You might argue that this is still God speaking, but if God has actually spoken through Scripture and that word contradicts what the couple “discern”, then surely the revisionist perspective on sex does boil down to “having sex with whoever you fancy”, even if the timing of that sex is nuanced?

      • Blair

        Hello Peter,

        how about Jeffrey John? The very first page of ‘Permanent, faithful, stable’ says he will argue that “homosexual relationships should be accepted and blessed by the church, provided that the quality and commitment of the relationship are the same as those expected of a Christian marriage”. Later in the booklet he adds: “Observation of ‘what happens’, both on the ‘gay scene’ and on the ‘straight scene’, leads me to believe very strongly that the Church’s wisdom in advising men and women to confine sexual activity to permanent, faithful relationships remains as wise as it ever was” (p36).

        I’m holding to the point I made above because I don’t think it’s the case that “For revisionists though it seems that that external criteria is removed”. By the way though – you say that “From a traditional perspective it doesn’t matter when you individually “discern” the right time for sex is, there is rather an external objective criteria for the appropriateness or not of sexual activity”, but don’t couples discern the right time to get married?

        in friendship, Blair

        • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

          Hi Blair,

          I do think Jeffrey John is one of the best revisionist writers and you’re absolutely correct that he tries to build a marriage equivalence for the beginning of sexual activity. The problem I have is that this is a minority view amongst revisionists – it is almost impossible to find such views amongst the vast majority of revisionist writers.

  • Wicked conservative

    At the risk of splitting hairs intolerably, perhaps this is a confusion over emphasis. As a characterisation of revisionist sexual theology, “have sex with WHOEVER you wish” is different from “have sex with whoever YOU wish”.

    The first implies promiscuity and is an unfair characterisation of most liberal theologies. The second is more fair, in the sense that it implies a reliance on individual conscience rather than external authority when it comes to sexual behaviour.

    Or maybe I’m over-thinking this…

    I do think Peter might be right about JJ being the exception rather than the rule. It saddens me, because I basically agree with JJ, but I just don’t see a genuine commitment to abstinence before marriage and total fidelity afterwards in many revisionist writings.

    I think it is possible to draw a sort of distinction between “conservative” revisionists and “liberal” revisionists, with the latter tending to let their political/social agenda dominate their theology rather than vice versa. This is why I have frequently challenged revisionists on this blog when they make arguments based on Jesus’ alleged utilitarianism/consequentialism or a loose and vague definition of “love”. JJ, I think, can be tentatively inserted (oo er missus) into the former category, drawing on orthodox Christian principles and a time-tested exegesis rather than applying highly suspect modern philosophies of “harm reduction”.

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