“Q”‘s thirty-something founder, Gabe Lyons, engages with high-powered leaders from all faiths and backgrounds to show that “Evangelical” Christianity is capable of promoting intelligent, respectful dialogue-for the common good and human flourishing.
However, I anticipated serious problems with this approach before the last Q Conference in Boston, (April 2015) where1,300 top Christian leaders were exposed to teaching by David Gushee and Matthew Vines, (together with Andrew Sullivan, the homosexual Washington pundit), defending the “Christian Gay” movement. Certainly Gabe Lyons did not endorse their convictions, but one has to wonder if publically airing the issue, in such an important “Evangelical” forum, in a cool kind of way, with its influence on younger Christians, may indeed bestow a certain legitimacy on such a biblically unsupportable position and thus threaten the on-going health of Christian orthodoxy. [Clearly the discussion about “Gay Christianity” has to take place, and appropriately will be addressed at the up-coming meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society].
My fears were not allayed when I read the perceptive report on the event by Julie Roys, host of a national radio program on the Moody Radio Network . She noted that the dominant opinion, even held by the organizers, was that homosexuality is an immutable trait, thereby removing for many the idea that homosexual practice is part of the the biblical category of personal sin and thus serving as the basis for legitimizing such practice within the church.
Such is the argument of “Evangelical” ethicist David Gushee, who rejects the church’s historic teaching on sexuality as mistaken-just as it was mistaken on anti-Semitism and slavery. Many of Gushee’s arguments are based, not on Scripture but on compassion for helpless, abused fellow believers. Gushee claims that the condemnation of homosexuality “creates a disastrous box,” which gays “cannot escape.” The traditional is a “toxic body of tradition that bears bad fruit,” delivering “harm, rather than care.” His argument removes guilt from homosexuals and places it instead on those who oppose them.
Similarly, Vines argues that we are now contradicting the Bible’s own teachings in Genesis 2:18-that “it is not good for the man to be alone.”
On this, see my article, More on the Loneliness of Life Without a Correctly Interpreted Bible, which shows that Genesis 2:18 can only be understood exegetically as establishing Creator-designed, baby-producing heterosexual marriage. But for sensitive souls, the emotive appeal to avoid loneliness works like a charm. What is lacking in Gushee’s and Vines’s arguments is sensitivity to the ethical demands of God’s Word.
In his book, Changing Our Mind, Gushee dismisses all the “clobber texts” and “pesky verses” of the Bible that define homosexuality as an abomination before God. For him, it suffices to find one radical scholar who has a problem with, say, Romans 1:26-28, to dismiss its clear teaching as far too ambiguous as a source for moral instruction. This is not serious exegesis. What is even less serious in his “biblical” support of “the gay Christian agenda” is his outright elimination of the usefulness of Genesis 1-2. He reasons that since we now live in the fallen world of Genesis 3, “Arguments from God’s purported design in creation [Gen 1-2] have proven remarkably problematic in Christian history [so we cannot] rely on them for sexual ethics” (p.94).
This is theologically flawed! Both Jesus (Matthew 19:5) and Paul (Ephesians 5:31) cite Genesis 2:24 as normative for sexual ethics. What distorted machinations will bright minds employ to justify a subjectively chosen, culture-pleasing view of moral practice? I never thought I would live to read such unsustainable argumentation from the pens of so-called Evangelical scholars! Here is an absence of biblical theology, employing the heterosexual model as normative in the theology of both creation and redemption, which the Q lecture by Debra Hirsch, “Redeeming Sex” also failed to give. In this “Evangelical” discussion, there is also a stunning lack of awareness of the long-documented function of homosexuality as an embodied expression of Oneism in pagan cults. Ignoring this, Gushee sees is no cultural or spiritual decline caused by homosexuality due to its historic association with Oneist spirituality. For Gushee, “Rome is not burning.” The Supreme Court will bring great spiritual blessing on our culture by creating “gay marriage.”
The Evangelical movement is in theological crisis mode right now. Q’s cool motto: “Stay Curious. Think Well. Advance Good,” in this case, without serious scrutiny, can be costly. We must articulate a clear and compelling cosmological discourse before it is too late. In fact, to “advance” the “not good” situation, God created the heterosexual structure of marriage, in which man and woman are perfectly fitted. We offer to the world the beauty of holiness-including the holiness of the male/female Twoist distinction, declared unreservedly by the Creator as “very good.”
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