Inclusive Church try to argue for Gay Blessings

You may have noticeed a piece produced on behalf of Inclusive Church that emerged onto the web a few days ago, arguing that current guidelines would permit a service of thanksgiving, including a blessing, for a civil partnership. You can read the piece here.

The thrust of the argument is that the current service for a thanksgiving after a civil marriage (i.e. where there is a second marriage for one of the partners and it is subsequently "blessed" in a church) includes a blessing. The argument goes as such:

The minister says

Almighty God give you grace to persevere,that he may complete in you the work he has already begun, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Lord bless and watch over you, the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you
the Lord look kindly on you and give you peace all the days of your life. Amen.

and among the concluding prayers

Almighty God, you send your Holy Spirit to be the life and light of all your people. Open the hearts of these your servants to the riches of his grace, that they may bring forth the fruit of the Spirit in love and joy and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The House of Bishops is quite clear the inclusion of this material including the couples’ declaration of commitment to their new state followed by the pronouncing of a blessing upon them does not make this a Service of Blessing, it remains a Service of Prayer and Dedication. Including this or other similar liturgical material does not turn a service of Prayer into a Service of Blessing according to the House of Bishops (this may seem strange but the Bishops position is clear).

The question then becomes does the Church of England permit clergy to conduct a similar service for same sex couples since a couples’ declaration of commitment to their new state followed by the pronouncing of a blessing upon them, does not make a service of prayer a "A Service of Blessing”?

At first that seems quite a good case. If this service can "bless" something that is not strictly seen as perfect, why can’t a civil partnership be blessed? Rev Brian Lewis who wrote the paper continues:

Now it is true that a form of service of Prayer and Dedication for use after the registering of a Civil Partnership has not been authorised by the House of Bishops, but in the Church of England that is not the same thing as saying such a service is not permitted.

Under the provisions of Canon B5 the clergy of the Church of England are granted a wide ranging discretion in the conduct of "Public Prayer”

Canon B5 is as follows

B 5 Of the discretion of ministers in conduct of public prayer

1. The minister who is to conduct the service may in his discretion make and use variations which are not of substantial importance in any form of service authorized by Canon B 1 according to particular circumstances.

2. The minister having the cure of souls may on occasions for which no provision is made in The Book of Common Prayer or by the General Synod under Canon B 2 or by the Convocations, archbishops, or Ordinary under Canon B 4 use forms of service considered suitable by him for those occasions and may permit another minister to use the said forms of service.

3. All variations in forms of service and all forms of service used under this Canon shall be reverent and seemly and shall be neither contrary to, nor indicative of any departure from, the doctrine of the Church of England in any essential matter.

4. If any question is raised concerning the observance of the provisions of this Canon it may be referred to the bishop in order that he may give such pastoral guidance, advice or directions as he may think fit, but such reference shall be without prejudice to the matter in question being made the subject matter of proceedings under the Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Measure 1963.

5. In this Canon the expression ‘form of service’ has the same meaning as in Canon B 1.

This is where the argument begins to unravel. Lewis is absolutely right that the fact that a form of service to bless a Civil Partnership hasn’t been authorised doesn’t mean that one cannot automatically be used. Most of us clergy use forms of worship from time to time that don’t come straight out of the prayer book. For example, there is no uniformly agreed liturgy for a Remembrance Day service, just guidelines. But the problem with Lewis’ argument is that he misses out one crucial fact.

The Bishops have banned such a service taking place.

You see, Lewis neatly side-steps this issue in the rest of his piece. building up an argument based around what a clergyperson *may* do, and conveniently ignores what they "may not" do. The Bishops in their pastoral statement and in their answers in Synod clarifying the statement (which Lewis includes in his piece) clearly rule that such a blessing may not take place. What Lewis is arguing for is the right of clergy to simply ignore their Bishops on anything that they disagree on, despite what the Bishop insists upon being lawful and honest.

Lewis also hoists himself by his own petard when he cites Canon B.5.3

All variations in forms of service and all forms of service used under this Canon shall be reverent and seemly and shall be neither contrary to, nor indicative of any departure from, the doctrine of the Church of England in any essential matter.

For it would be disingenuous to read the parts of the Canon which supported his case and yet ignore this clause. To be fair, he does raise this issue when he writes,

Statements by the House of Bishop do not suggest that differing opinions on this issue contradict the essential doctrine of the Church of England and we could reasonably expect a bishop to give direction accordingly if a particular case was referred to him.

The 1991 Statement of the House of Bishops Issues in Human Sexuality recognises a diversity of view and the place of conscience within the Church of England.

but once again he fails to recognise the crucial difference between *may* and *may not*. The 1991 statement quite rightly observes that individual clergy *may* hold differing opinions on this, but a differing opinion doth not a doctrine make. He also simply incorrect on the observation that

Statements by the House of Bishop do not suggest that differing opinions on this issue contradict the essential doctrine of the Church of England

for the more recent "Some Issues in Human Sexuality", together with the Lambeth ’98 1:10 resolution make it abundantly clear what the "essential doctrine" is on this issue. In the light of Canon B5, clergy ignore that at that peril.

For example, I might hold the opinion that polygamous marriages were OK, but were I to attempt to marry a man to a second wife, I would find very quickly that my Bishop would point out to me the doctrinal and canonical error of my ways, while asking me to hand over my licence. Try carrying out a bigamist wedding and you will quickly discover the *may not*s of the Church.

It is very clear that a blessing of same-sex partners would fail the "departure from the doctrine of the Church" test very easily, as I have argued a week or so ago. Such a blessing differs from blessing a couple married in a registry office, because the Church very clearly, in its liturgy and in the Scriptures, teaches that the couple in their marriage point to a divine truth about Christ and the Church that a same-sex union cannot. To be fair, there are issues around the remarriage of divorcees, but I have written in the past on how the cases are different (see section three, particularly page 18).

So what are we left with? Lewis’ argument falls down very quickly and his bold claim

The final decision on whether or not any particular service contravened the essential doctrine of the Church of England could only be determined by bringing a case against him/her under the Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Measure 1963, or the more recent Clergy Discipline Measure. As far as we are aware no such case has been brought (nor do we believe it likely).

recognises that fundamentally this is a question of doctrine and not the liberty of clergy pastoral practice. He may find that if the Bishop of London presses forward with disciplining the Rev Martin Dudley that we may very soon have the test case he believes will never happen.

The one thing I do commend Lewis on is the reiteration of the call in "Issues" for pastoral sensitivity. Issues reads:

5.6 At the same time there are others who are conscientiously convinced that this way of abstinence is not the best for them, and that they have more hope of growing in love for God and neighbour with the help of a loving and faithful homophile partnership, in intention lifelong, where mutual self-giving includes the physical expression of their attachment. In responding to this conviction it is important to bear in mind the historic tension in Christian ethical thinking between the God-given moral order and the freedom of the moral agent. While insisting that conscience needs to be informed in the light of that order, Christian tradition also contains an emphasis on respect for free conscientious judgement where the individual has seriously weighed the issues involved. The homophile is only one in a range of such cases. While unable, therefore, to commend the way of life just described as in itself as faithful a reflection of God’s purposes in creation as the heterophile, we do not reject those who sincerely believe it is God’s call to them. We stand alongside them in the fellowship of the Church, all alike dependent upon the undeserved grace of God. All those who seek to live their lives in Christ owe one another friendship and understanding. It is therefore important that in every congregation such homophiles should find fellow-Christians who will sensitively and naturally provide this for them. Indeed, if this is not done, any professions on the part of the Church that it is committed to openness and learning about the homophile situation can be no more than empty words.

The meaning is very clear – the Church as an institutuon fundamentally disagrees that same-sex unions are holy, yet individual clergy should find ways of being pastorally sensitive, within the bounds of the doctrine of the church. Any action which would "commend the way of life just described as in itself as faithful a reflection of God’s purposes in creation", would be contrary to the doctrine of the church and therefore fall foul of the limits laid down by Canon B5.3.

There is though still a need to care for those who experience same-sex attraction, and last week I wrote the following:

My great fear is that we will lose the battle in the Church of England on this issue, not because we do not read the Bible correctly, but that we have failed to carry out the call of Christ to bring his kingdom into being by offering the healing and transforming power of the cross. At least the liberals resource the heresy they believe. At the moment it appears that we in the traditionalist camp cannot materially support the truth.

I long to see a Church of England that puts its money where its mouth is. I long to see diocesan advisors on emotional healing and sexual freedom, funded by the church and backed by their bishop. When that happens the society we live in will know tow things – that the Church means what it says and that there is a place to go with your brokeness. At the moment though, all we are ultimately saying is that we don’t like what you’re doing, but we have nothing to offer you instead.

It’s time for the church to offer something real and practical. It’s time for the Church to stand up, say boldly that it believes what the Scriptures tell us about the power of the cross to heal, to dismiss notions of compromising with doctrine and to invest in the pastoral resources that are available. That is, in my opinion, a far better response than to weasel around the canons.

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28 Comments on “Inclusive Church try to argue for Gay Blessings

  1. Are you calling for the CoE to fund a full time position for each diocese to provide pastoral care for the diocese on issues of emotional healing and sexual freedom?
    Do enough people exist who could be hired to fill that role?

  2. Peter, it occurs to me that the different sides in this debate could be guilty of giving lambeth statements a weight they don’t deserve; is there an agreed-upon-description of their significance? I find it a bid odd to treat them as analogous to papal encylicals.

  3. Peter,

    What would it look like for the church to ‘dismiss notions of compromising with doctrine’?  Tell us practically what you suggest we do.  Would I, in your new Church of England, have to be taken to a church court?  That would be a lot of people like me in court – hundreds of clergy, thousands of lay people barred say from communion.

    Of course, to be consistent, the church wouldn’t just have to act against views about homosexuality, they would have to seek out all doctrinal compromises, wouldn’t they?

    In such a process, how would we know that we weren’t dismissing something that God was leading us to understand in a new way.  For example, the Church’s understanding on the nature of priesthood, especially as it relates to women, has changed drastically in the twentieth century – wouldn’t your proposal have stopped even discussions about this.  Or another example – the charismatic movement, to many, some of them in Reform type churches, this movement was a departure from the faith revealed – your proposal may have scuppered this pretty quickly as charismatics were put under investigation.  Wouldn’t many Anglo-Catholics be in trouble today: their Marian views surely put them beyond doctrinal orthodoxy?

    In fact, the list of examples is pretty long. 

    It seems to me in the light of this, that you do not have a very high understanding of the tradition as something unfolding through time – you seem to be stuck with the Councils of the Church.  In this, I think that you represent a view far too Protestant, and even sectarian, for a church like the Church of England which has not been as doctrinally pure as you want it, if ever, for a very long time.  In the light of this, have you ever thought about becoming a congregationalist, house church leader?  It is a question that has puzzled me, why is it the Church of England that you minister in?  Surely, you would be more at home, and have much more in common with, members of other more ‘evangelical’ churches than the Church of England.  Maybe St. Paul is asking you ‘to come out from among them’, and direct your energies into what is really on your heart which is to minister to those, who in your eyes, are sexually broken.  In this, I wouldn’t certainly wish you well.

    By the way, in the light of your posts a while ago now, Lambeth does not seem to be looking like you were suggesting at all?  It is very reassuring that the overwhelming majority of bishops are coming, and will receive communion with the ‘heretics’.  It is also fascinating that Gafcon, and Akinola, are looking like they will not be making much difference to the Anglican Communion’s present state.  Why haven’t they got the balls to make some radical proposals against the heresies of the western bishops – these people are not going to go away, and they will pursue their agenda further?  Of course, I am preempting the statement, but it is not looking, at the moment, that anything drastic is to happen.

  4. Ryan,
    I think that you have a good point when you say that you find it a bit odd to treat Lambeth statements as analogous to papal encyclicals.

    I hope that I may be forgiven if, as a non-Anglican, I’m being naïve here, but is there really any OFFICIAL, DEFINITIVE doctrine of the Church of England regarding homosexuality? I know of nothing corresponding to the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s Persona Humana (Declaration on Certain Questions Concerning Sexual Ethics) of 1975 or to its Homosexualitatis Problema (Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons) of 1986.

     
    Perhaps it is one of the strengths of the Church of England that it doesn’t commit itself in the same way to positions which, no matter how strongly and widely held, are hardly part of the essential message of the gospel. The Roman Catholic Church, by contrast, has often had to dodge and weave, pretending that Roman Catholic beliefs never change, and playing games with the meaning of past ecclesiastical statements (allegedly infallible or otherwise) to make it appear that modern Catholic thought, which has long moved on, is in continuity with them. See Chapter 8 of Hans Küng’s Truthfulness: the Future of the Church (1968) for an amusing account of the various ways in which the doctrinal statement – “so steeped in tradition”, as Professor Küng says – “outside the Church [i.e. the Roman Catholic Church] no salvation” can be elaborately, albeit unconvincingly, tortured in an attempt to render it acceptable to present-day Catholics.
     

  5. William,

    The BCP marriage service, the 1987 Synod motion, the 1989 “Issues” document, the 1998 Lambeth resolutions and the 2004(?) “Some Issues” are very clear on the subject. It is disingenuous to argue that the Church of England does NOT believe that same-sex relationships are not what is intended for humans.

  6. Didn’t the C of E also produce a 1995(?) document entitled “The Mystery of Salvation”, which said that a literal Hell didn’t exist? How would evangelicals do you know who would regard that as the binding “teaching” of the church? I’m not sure invoking the BCP is the debating point you think it is; I believe there is something in the Church of Scotland’s founding teaching which regards the Pope as the antichrist and has never been formally abandoned, most ministers merely know that it doesn’t apply today. You’ll need to justify the importance you are according to Lambeth statements for me to regard them as definitive.

    Doctor Who was cool tonight :-)

  7. No Ryan, “The Mystery of Salvation” does not deny the existence of a physical hell. Perhaps you’d like to produce a quote to demonstrate otherwise.

  8. Is there a canon law or similar which could verify the significance you are attaching to statements arising from Lambeth, Peter? As far as invoking the BCP goes, isn’t it similar to the C of Scotland teaching which regards the Pope as the antichrist and which has never been formally recanted (as most ministers are alert enought to perceive a primarily historical document as such)?

    And didn’t the C of E produce a report entitled “The Mystery of Salvation” which says that a literal Hell doesn’t exist? Not sure how many evangelicals would regards *that* as binding teaching.

  9. Sorry for the double posting. A 500 error came up with the first post, so I assumed it wasn’t set.

    Mystery of Salvation:

    “Hell is not eternal torment, but it is the final and irrevocable choosing of that which is opposed to God so completely and so absolutely that the only end is total non-being.” [p.199

    And what about the significance you are giving Lambeth? Do you really expect liberals just to take it on trust when evangelicals say the C of E has, because of Lambeth, condemned same-sex relationships?

  10. I am not sure why anyone would come to Peter’s site to actually debate the topic of same sex marriage or anything to do with gays and lesbians. He has an answer for anything. I have been watching with great interest the soap opera that has become the anglican communion and GAFCON and Lambeth are the latest installments. I will embrace the split of this church because I am sick and tired of being told that I am sinning by loving another man and wanting to be in a committed long term blessed relationship. The sooner we part ways the better. It is clear that we going to have to agree to disagree and move on the best way we know how.

  11. Ryan,

    The quote you cite from “Mystery” does not deny the physical existence of hell. Perhaps you’d like to give us the rest of the content of that page, or are you only quoting the bit that you’ve read on a different website?

    As for the issue of Lambeth, I would argue very simply that a number of Church of England communiques, especially the Windsor Report and then Tom Wright’s response in Synod to the Windsor Report which was accepted by Synod, clearly indicate the authority of that meeting. If not, why are the liberals insisting we participate in a “listening process”?

  12. Peter

    the most logical inference for the passage I cited is annihalationism, although I concede that it does leave open the possiblity for a literal physical Hell that does exist but has nobody in it. Is this your view? If so, would you concede that it is not representative of most evangelicals? I haven’t read all of the Mystery of Salvation (you get *paid* to read these things!) but , in my defense, I have
    mentioned it to (self-declared) evangelical clergy who agree that it denies the existence of a literal physical hell. Liberals pushing for dialogue could be indicated as *proof* that Lambeth is primarily concerned with discussion rather than binding statements; if lambeth had produced a document in favour of same-sex blessings isn’t this exactly the position you would be taking? I seriously doubt that Lambeth 08 will be informing those attending that the goal is to formalise eternally binding teaching of the church.

    Robert Caryle is being mooted (I believe) as a new Doctor which, despite him being glasweigan, I would personally disagree with. Alan Cumming should be great (and , no, I’m not just saying that to further the homosexual agenda ;-) )

  13. I don’t think the passage teaches annihilationism, but it does come close. I think the Biblical doctrine of hell is a place where those who trust in their own merit and not the work of Jesus go. It’s a place where God isn’t and a place where you are aware of what could have been. I do think however that notions of eternity do not mean “a very long time”. Eternity is more to do with the breaking free of the temporally constrained universe we currently live in.

    Here’s my problem with liberals who try to argue that Lambeth resolutions are not binding – why do they insist that we take part in a listening process? To insist that we must do so is to assume that Lambeth ’98 1:10 is binding. Either reject the notion that Lambeth is binding and stop insisting that conservatives “listen”, or insist that we should listen and accept the other parts of the motion as equally binding.

    And if Lambeth had produced a document supporting same-sex blessings, I would point you to Articles 20 and 21.

    I don’t think Tennant’s job is any danger for the foreseeable future… (you heard it here first).

  14. The BCP marriage service provides no teaching at all on homosexuality, nor would one reasonably expect it to do so, since it isn’t concerned with the subject but with heterosexual marriage, which is good and holy for what it is, not for what it isn’t. I can find no reference to homosexuality in the Catechism or anywhere else in the Book of Common Prayer. The “Commination, or denouncing of God’s anger and judgements against Sinners” (is it ever still used nowadays?) provides a list of those who are accursed, including “he that lieth with his neighbour’s wife” and “he that removeth his neighbour’s land-mark” but he that lieth with someone of the same sex doesn’t get a mention.
     
    Whatever one may think of the Windsor Report or of the resolutions passed by the Lambeth Conference and the General Synod, treating them as the definitive teaching of the Church of England seems dubious to me – but I can let the Anglicans fight that one out among themselves. In any case, decisions of the Lambeth Conference can and do change. To take an obvious example, the Sixth Lambeth Conference of 1920 issued a blanket condemnation of all forms of artificial contraception in all circumstances. The Seventh Lambeth Conference of 1930 approved the use of artificial contraception in certain circumstances, and today contraception is a dead issue in the Church of England.
     
    The question of hell is a vast one. A belief in a hell of some kind is certainly implied in the Book of Common Prayer, but that is about all. It certainly seems that one can be a faithful and orthodox member of the Church of England without believing in hell as a place or state of endless misery. The Revd Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll, author of Alice in Wonderland, Through the Looking-Glass etc.) wrote an excellent essay explaining clearly why this is so.
     
    In 1552 under Edward VI the Church of England had Forty-two Articles of Religion. The 42nd Article reads:
     
    “All men shall not bee saved at the length. Thei also are worthie of condemnation who indeavour at this time to restore the dangerouse opinion that all menne, be thei never so ungodlie, shall at length bee saved, when they have suffered pain for their sinnes a certaine time appointed by God’s justice.”
     
    When the number of Articles was reduced to thirty-nine a decade or so later, the above Article was one of those expunged.

  15. William,

    Your first paragraph misses the point. The Ephesians 5 and Genesis 2 teaching, together with the lack of any even neutral reference to homosexual activity in the Bible clearly shows that there is a theology within Scripture that rejects same-sex behaviour. The citing of Ephesians 5 in the marriage service reinforces that sexual theology. Same-sex behaviour happily sits inside the general admonition on fornication.

  16. Well, Peter, that’s your way of looking at it, and no doubt you’ll stick to it.

     
    I take a less simplistic view of Scripture. I don’t assume that it gives us guidance on every possible moral issue, and just as I wouldn’t expect to find any reference to homosexuality in the BCP marriage service, so I wouldn’t expect to find any in Genesis 2 or Ephesians 5, and for precisely similar reasons: Genesis 2 is concerned with the beginning and continuation of the human race, and Ephesians 5 is concerned with heterosexual marriage.
     
    The very few references to “homosexuality” in Scripture (the word itself, of course, didn’t exist then) are indeed negative, but what then? What did St Paul or any other biblical writer really know – and, more importantly, understand – about homosexuality? A legend about the wicked, merciless and idolatrous inhabitants of Sodom, who were not only hostile to strangers but were prepared to inflict forcible homosexual rape on them; a couple of condemnations in the Holiness Code, many of whose regulations scarcely any modern Christian would dream of being bound by, even though all the laws are said to have been given by Yahweh, and though it is emphasised, “Keep all my laws and customs” (Lev. 19:37, Lev. 20:22) without the slightest hint that any of the laws are temporary or optional or of lower status than others; and the wild orgies of pagan idolaters. In others words, sweet-fanny-adams, or as near as makes no difference. Fr Joseph O’Leary summed up the position nicely back in 1986 when he wrote:
     
    “The stories of Sodom and Gibeah stink of the patriarchal immorality which would ‘Expose a matron to avoid worse rape’ as Milton put it. The Holiness Code of Leviticus is a bloodthirsty document which cannot be held up as a pattern of Christian morality. The lists of vices in Pauline writings reflect only the conventional moral wisdom of a time in which a correct understanding of homosexuality was not accessible.”
     
    Another succinct statement was made a few years before that by the late Willem van der Zee, a Lutheran pastor and former Secretary General of the Dutch Council of Churches, when he said in a television interview:
     
    “I think the biblical texts are only an alibi for human aversion or human problems with homosexuality…. And I think in the Bible there are not so many texts who are referring to homosexuality. I think we have learned a lot in history about sexuality and homosexuality, and I think we have to face the Bible in a new light.”


     

     

     

  17. William,
    Ephesians 5 isn’t concerned with “heterosexual marriage”. It is concerned with marriage, and it teaches that marriage is heterosexual.  It teaches that sexual relations outside of marriage are sinful.

  18. William,

    You simply aren’t engaging with the orthodox theology that clearly understands Romans 1 and 1 Cor 6 to pick up and emphasise those moral parts of the Mosaic law which still apply to Christians (Acts 15). Your saying things like “a couple of condemnations in the Holiness Code, many of whose regulations scarcely any modern Christian would dream of being bound by“, indicates to me and others that you either don’t understand the very basics of the New Testament position on sexual ethics, or that you do but you insist on putting up straw men to knock down which none of us believe in.

    Here’s a challenge – can you articulate a clear, coherent explanation of the orthodox position on sexuality and how it interprets Leviticus in the light of the New Testament? If you can then why do you keep bringing up these straw men of “you eat prawns” and the like? If you can’t then I suggest you go away, find out what biblical conservatives like myself actually believe, and then start critiquing the reality of our theology, not your red herrings.

  19. Peter,

    I would be very interested in your views about Rowan’s recent statement.

    I take back what I said about Gafcon not having ‘balls’ – looks like Rowan has recognised this and, in his own irenic way, has responded accordingly.

    Pax, Mark.

  20. Winston,

    I’m going to write about GAFCON and my thoughts around it in a few days time (and before General Synod). Want to see what comes out of today’s All Souls meeting and a few other things before I commit my musings onto the blog.

    I do think you’re right in understanding that the GAFCON Communique demonstrates a great deal of balls. The reaction from many revisionists is clearly worry and that’s why they’re working so hard to dismiss it as nothing.

  21. Peter, I haven’t a clue what your view of Leviticus is. I mentioned it simply because of those two famous passages (Lev. 18:22 & 20:13) which are among those routinely selected and quoted against us by people who wouldn’t dream of considering themselves bound by many of the other regulations in that book.
     
    What I will say, however – if I’m not too late already – is that I hope that no-one’s going to bother raising yet again that fraudulent old chestnut about Leviticus being divided into ceremonial, civil and moral commandments. As the Dutch theologian Harry Kuitert sarcastically remarked, “This is a splendid distinction, one you can live with.” But the distinction is nothing but an ad hoc contrivance. There are no sub-headings saying, “The following are ceremonial laws”, “The following are civil laws” or “The following are moral laws”. On the contrary, the repeated reminders that all the laws and customs must be kept and put into practice, since they are all alleged to be commands of Yahweh, make it perfectly clear that the author(s) neither implied nor intended any such distinction. Speculation about what a biblical author “really meant” is one thing; and as Paul Badham said, a modern Christian must feel free to challenge biblical teaching which he believes to be mistaken. On the other hand, foisting onto the text something that the author(s) patently didn’t mean is a flagrantly dishonest procedure, which deserves no respect.
     
    Romans 1 is not about homosexuality. Paul uses a reference to homosexual orgies engaged in by pagans, who have rejected God and have turned to idolatry, to make a point. His remarks “are a relatively incidental part of his argument that all people are sinners who stand in need of salvation.” (Victor Paul Furnish). If we regard what Paul writes as representing his overall view of homosexuality, then it is obviously seriously deficient, but that doesn’t really matter, since we can receive Paul’s message without having to share all the assumptions that he makes when he illustrates his points. But I see no reason so to regard it. There is no evidence here or elsewhere that Paul ever considered gay relationships as we understand them, that he ever had a global view of homosexuality, or that he had the knowledge necessary to form such a view.

  22. You’re simply not engaging with the issue William. You don’t have any response to the issue of how Jesus fulfils the law and the prophets and his declaration that aspects of the Mosaic Covenant were completed in him. You can’t answer the issues around whether homosexual conduct is covered under “fornication”. You have this absurd claim that the Romans 1 reference to homosexual practice is only to do with orgies, despite the fact the word doesn’t appear in the text and that the plain reading of Romans 1 and 1 Cor 6 is clearly condemning all homosexual practice. You dismiss Paul because he obviously wasn’t as clever or wise as you to understand about “proper” homosexual relationships and in doing so you present us with a God who when he inspired Paul in his writing of his letters was a God who was too dumb and stupid to know what was going to happen 2,000 years down the line.

    I honestly don’t think you’re even vaguely in the game William.

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