Twelve propositions on same-sex relationships and the church

Kim Fabricus continues his series with Twelve propositions on same-sex relationships and the church. This is hugely important and should be considered essential reading.

However, my own supposition is that this will not take the debate forward very far. Sadly few of those who would disagree with Kim will venture all the way through. They will soon discover in propositions 2 and 3 phrases they can’t accept.

Unfortunately by not reading all the way through the chances of informed debate and sharing of views are reduced to almost nothing, it merely supports shouting across a football field.

It seems to me that what is needed is time spent listening and avoiding simplistic responses. I know that Brian Maclaren has suggested something similar and that conservative Christians jumped up and down decrying this attitude as non Christian.

For myself some of the "truth" claims about scripture are very concerning. The more I read and study scripture the more I become aware of it’s alien culture, how little we really "know" and how glibly we claim application of texts to current situations. At the same time I still find myself more and more convinced of Jesus as Lord and Saviour, of the Father as creator and of the Holy Spirit still active in the world today. I also find myself stunned by the way we ignore the great themes of scripture such as justice, mercy, love, non violence, grace, forgiveness while picking individual verses out of context and hitting people over the head with them.

We are in the middle of another 24×7 prayer week in Raunds and I have been seeing a recurring theme this week of the need to listen and to pray. May those be two guiding features in this debate as in so many others.

28 thoughts on “Twelve propositions on same-sex relationships and the church

  1. kim fabricius

    Thanks, Dave, for the “essential reading” blurb. Sadly, I have to agree with your assessment.
    BTW, Kim continues his series. :)
    Maybe I should change my name – or my sex!
    Cheers,
    Kim

    Reply
  2. sally

    well then I pray that as the Spirit is leading people at Raunds to listen that same Spirit will be whispering the same message everywhere… and that Christians of all flavours will lay down their agendas and listen….
    I also linked to Kim’s post.

    Reply
  3. dh

    “justice, mercy, love, non violence, grace, forgiveness” I too agree with these and that they need to be looked at in proper context with ALL SCriptures and passages given on similar subjects. That is why I enjoy the Scripture “What shall we say then? Shall we continue to sin that Grace may abound? God forbid! How are we who are dead to sin live any longer in it?”

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  4. dh

    And the proper context goes beyond certain passages and look at ALL passages like “overthrowing the moneychangers with a whip, justice in light “without Faith it is impossible to please God”, love in the context of “go and sin no more”, etc.”

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  5. dh

    Kim, on a humorous yet serious note. One technically can’t change ones sex because one can’t change ones chromosomes. When a person has a particular chromosome make up that is what their particular sex is for eternity.

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  6. Dave Warnock

    dh,
    You keep using this but misquote the text. The TNIV has John 2:15 as
    “So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables.”
    Nothing about whips on people, the whip was to drive the animals out.

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  7. dh

    I’m sorry. I don’t see what you are saying. When it says “drove all” I take it for exactly what it says. The comma is referring to in addtion to not that it was the only thing driven out by the ords was sheep and cattle. That would be inconsistent with “drove all”. Also, one must define violent. For the sake of argument but not agreeing with you on the “not on people part”, we all know that he violently turned over tables and violently scattered coins. So to imply that Jesus wasn’t ever violent seems rather strange in light of this passage and other passages where He states He came not for peace but for a sword. Again, one must define “non-violence”. After reading the definition of violence I see it as being above and beyond just physical harm but also all of the other forms of harm. That is why not all violence is bad. One must lookat at the intent when the Bible says “Be angry but sin not.” This seems to show that there is a righteous indignation for sin.

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  8. PamBG

    DH,
    I think you are confusing knowing right from wrong with violence. At least I hope you are.
    Violence is evil by definition. If Jesus had wanted to do violence in the temple, he would have gathered together a group of zealots to beat the shit out of the moneychangers; he would have found assembling such a gang an easy task.
    The bible tells us that God discerns right from wrong and once he has named and revealed to us the evil that we have done in our sinning, God treats us with mercy and grace.
    How can anyone say “God has treated me with mercy and grace as a sinner, but I have the right to treat other sinners with violence”?
    I don’t understand how a person can truly understand the weight of their own sinfulness and what it has cost God to forgive us yet state that it’s OK for human being to omit mercy, omit grace and choose violence agaist other human beings.

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  9. dh

    Is overturning tables a violent act? Is making a whip and driving out “ALL” a violent act? That is the bigger issue. Also, There is a context with regard to violence. If one is defending ones family against someone who is about to do harm or violence toward them I see no where in Scripture advocating doing nothing in that regard. I think that is an instance where violence for protection against a violent person is reasonable and is confirmed in Scripture. It happened many times in the OT as I described here. So thje bigger issue is based on the definition of violence. My definition is broad in the sense that many more people talk about verbal violence or using an inanimate (spelling) object in a harsh way as part of my definition of violence. Also, based on this broad definition I conclude there is good violence and bad violence and it is all in the context of ones heart. To me Dave, overturning tables, scattering coins and using a whip to “drive out all” is violence. Agian rereading the definition there are multiple definitions of the term. My definition includes ALL of the specific definitions with regard to the term. Hense the conclusion and facts from the text.

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  10. dh

    In fact Jesus went through violence for us to have redemption of GRace made availabel to all by Faith in Christ alone. So yes I do understand what Christ went through but I also understand how all of Scripture is consistent and that God through His Word with SCripture in light of SCripture is what defines these issues.

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  11. PamBG

    “Violence” – according to The New Oxford Dictionary.
    behaviour involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something.
    strength of emotion or an unpleasant or destructive natural force: “the violence of her own feelings.”
    Law. The unlawful exercise of physical force or intimidation by the exhibition of such force.
    Phrases. “Do violence to” damange or adversely affect.

    So who did Jesus intend to “hurt, damage or kill”? Who or what did Jesus intend to destroy? Who or what did Jesus intend to adversely affect?
    I’d be interested to know the theology about how God destroys and adversely affects parts of his creation and to what purpose he does this.
    Then I’d like an explanation of which human beings are given permission to hurt, damage, kill, destroy and adversely affect other human beings. I’d like to know how this is supposed bring about the will of God.
    Personally, there have been times I’d have loved to have done violence to those who hit me in their righteous indignation over the fact that I had “wrong doctrine”. Fortunately at the time, I was too small to hit them back. And fortunately God showed me later in life that such righteous indignation requires my forgiveness, not violent retaliation.

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  12. dh

    Also, for clarification, I’m not saying what Jesus did was bad but I’m saying he did in a good way a violent act of all that that particular Scripture regarding the moneychangers and the events around them were by Jesus. He was “angry but sinned not”.

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  13. PamBG

    In fact Jesus went through violence for us to have redemption of GRace made availabel to all by Faith in Christ alone. So yes I do understand what Christ went through but I also understand how all of Scripture is consistent and that God through His Word with SCripture in light of SCripture is what defines these issues.
    DH, what you say scares me. I really don’t want to be around anyone who thinks that human beings have the right to hurt or harm another person in order to defend either doctrine or morals.
    Not the least, how can a person even claim the moral authority of “Don’t hurt me, but I have the right to hurt you”?
    What astounds me is that the whole of the New Testament indicates that Jesus said “serve others, even when they hurt you; forgive others even when they hurt you over and over; forgive your enemies”. Yet people still insist that Jesus main mission here on earth was some sort of Superman mission of beating the crap out of sinners.
    You can repeat over and over that the bible witnesses to the rightness of Christians doing violence in God’s name, but that doesn’t make the statement true. That witness is quite clearly not in the New Testament and I’d argue that – less clearly – it’s not ultimately in the Old Testament either.

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  14. dh

    Pam, this happened many times in the OT where God called the Israelites to defend themselves against hostile nations and even for judgement against nations who were rebellious to God. I’m not saying all violence. Jesus was intending to destroy the moneychangers industry in the temple because they were making “His house a den of theives”. When I read Revelations, and other Scripture about about. When I read about the judgement I understand that when the Bible says “they are condemned already” that we understand how people will face hell by rejecting Christ as their Savior and I also understand from other actions advocated in the NT and OT that at certain times how good violence is necessary. I’m not advocating physical violence to repay verbal violence so your example you faced with regard to “wrong doctrine” your action was appropriate. However, if someone is about to hit my wife I believe it is necessary and right in the sight of God to defend my wife to protect her safety.
    We are totally going on a wild goose chase on this from the original post. If we can go back to the thoughts of the original post it would greatly appreciated. All this we are talking about are “red-herrings” in reference to the subject matter ofthe original post.

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  15. dh

    maybe you have a hudgemental attitude toward Jesus in reference to how He responded to the moneychangers. It appears you think He should have forgave them rather than throw their coins out and “scattered all”? I’m not advocating hurting people for wrong doctrine and morals. However, I do believe with regard to protecting people or in defense that different words or actions become necessary for protection of oneself and family.

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  16. Dave Warnock

    dh,
    Pam has you totally beat on the big issue of Jesus and violence.
    Fortunately for me, the text has you beat on the issue of violence in the temple.
    You are coming to the text seeking an argument against non-violence. As Pam demonstrated and as the text shows, you have no argument. Instead you have a point of view that violence is ok and you are trying to find support for that from Jesus via your own particular interpretations of scripture.

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  17. PamBG

    DH,
    I’m sorry, I still think that you are conflating a lot of things. I still think you are confusing “use of physical force” with “violence”.
    The meaning of the word “violent” – as witnessed by the dictionary defintion – includes the INTENTION to harm someone. In other words, the intention to hurt them.
    If you defend your wife with the use of physical force, that is not violence in my mind. If you were to try to seek out the person who tried to attack your wife and attack HIS wife to “pay him back”, that would be violence.
    Whatever our ethical stances on “just war”, defending one’s country from attack is not violence. Going to the other country to bomb them in retribution for their attack would be violence.
    I think that Jesus intended to drive the money-changers out of the temple. I do not believe that this was an act of violence, although it was a use of physical force. (By the way, Strong’s suggests that the Greek word for the “chords” that made up the whip was a word for chords of grass or “ties”. Which does not sound to me like anything more violent than trying to get people to move.)
    All that said, I’d still point out that none of us here on earth are the Son of God. We are not righteous and therefore should not claim to “righteous indignation”. If our indignation contains even a hint of a desire to hurt someone, we should leave the punishment to God.

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  18. dh

    Dave, I wish you had a little more care than Pam on this one. The post after your response clarified somethings for me. We have different definitions of violence. I personally believe violence is the use of force. To me use of force (or good violence-my definition) has an intent of harm but for a different purpose than use of force (or bad violence-my definition).
    Back to the post, Pam; looking into the day with the chords, the chords were tightly bound and could very easily hurt peopel or animals. I’m not saying he necessarily hit the people but the act by Jesus was an act of force and such (from my definition) an act of violence but with proper and good conclusions.
    On “Going to the other country to bomb them in retribution for their attack would be violence.” We didn’t bomb in retribution, we bombed the groups that were promoting terrorism. Were there people who were hurt unintentionally? yes and I feel for those people but over 99% of the actions the conclusion was terrorists cells and those who support them were dealt with and future potential terrorists actions by those particular people were greatly reduced.
    “…we should leave the punishment to God.” Are you saying Israel was wrong for taking care of the ite’s?
    Also,you say “We are not righteous and therefore should not claim to “righteous indignation”.” but then why does God’s Word say be angry and sin not? to me righteous anger and righteous indignation are synonomous.

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  19. dh

    Trying to get back on track with this thread. Wasn’t this post on 12 points of homosexuality? What does this discussion have to do with that? It seems totally off-track and if there is an intent by others here the only things I can come up only point to “red-herrings” in this grand discussion.
    Did Jesus intend to harm the moneychangers industry? Couldn’t we based on your defintion, for argument sake, say he was violent against moneychanging in the synagogue?

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  20. PamBG

    To me use of force (or good violence-my definition) has an intent of harm but for a different purpose than use of force (or bad violence-my definition).
    Sorry, I do not believe that a person can intend to harm another person for a good purpose. If you intend to harm someone, that is violence and the intention to harm is a sin. And this is what scares me – that you think it’s fine to hurt someone in the name of God.
    To whom do you think the commandment to love your enemies and to forgive them seventy times seven was addressed? I don’t understand why you seem to think that these commandments don’t apply to Christians. Or is it that we’re to forgive them and if forgiveness doesn’t work, we are to hurt them?
    Trying to get back on track with this thread. Wasn’t this post on 12 points of homosexuality? What does this discussion have to do with that? It seems totally off-track
    DH, You started the off-track conversation about violence. This is Dave’s blog and if he wants to tell me to shut up, I will. If you don’t want people going off-track, don’t present off-track issues in a thread.
    I happen to think that the idea of forgiveness and non-violence are absolutely core to Christianity. What I want to know is why it seems so vital to you to reserve the right to harm other human beings?
    Actually, I will shut up now because I don’t think you are going to change your mind.

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  21. dh

    Pam, you are right. I did the offtracking. I’m bad. :)
    Pam, were the Israelities sinning when God told them to detstroy the ites? On the forgiveness 70×7 wasn’t that referring to people as opposed to nations in that Jesus was speaking to individuals and the context, when reading the parable, is for individuals. The forgiveness also doesn’t go into defending ones-self.
    I’m sorry. If an intruder attempts to hit my wife and I hit him intedning harm to prevent him from hurting my wife with an additional punch, I don’t believe I have any sin in this to ask forgiveness for. It is an act of selfdefense and a physical response is deserved.
    Also these definitions don’t go into intent but the action itself. You are focusing only on the first definition “injury by or as if by distortion, infringement, or profanation : OUTRAGE
    3 a : intense, turbulent, or furious and often destructive action or force b : vehement feeling or expression : FERVOR; also : an instance of such action or feeling c : a clashing or jarring quality : DISCORDANCE
    4 : undue alteration (as of wording or sense in editing a text)”
    Ist definition: ” exertion of physical force so as to injure or abuse (as in warfare effecting illegal entry into a house)” Looking into this it doesn’t seem to necessarily indicate intent. It just says exerting force so as to (or how I would define as “the end result concludes”). Again I don’t believe violence goes into intent and therefore “good violence and bad violence” can be defined. It may be symantics but focusing only on one definition and not the others and at the same time having your own definition that adds to what it actually says increases the ambiguity in these types of conversations. In a discussion one must include ALL definitions rather than focus on one and one also must not add to the text of the particualr definition as well.

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  22. PamBG

    Do you think that the commandment to forgive is for people and that being a nation has nothing to do with the people who comprise it? Is that what you’re saying?
    At what point does a community stop being about people?
    You’re suggesting that there is a point in our collective life when a nation may do something that would be immoral if that action were done by individuals?

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  23. dh

    Jesus, never made his statements in relation to nation-states or governments. It was only addressed to individuals or groups of people outside of a nation-state or government. In fact the only reference Jesus made to states, governments or etc. was when He said “Render to Caesar what is Caesar’s wand to God what is God’s.” It is a governments job to take care of its people and defend its people from hostile intruders. I don’t think God would advocate a nation being attacked or with a potential of being attacked to sit back and let thousands of people be at risk of death just like my wife with a potential of being attacked or attacked to sit back and let her get hurt. Everyone is quick to use the term justice and my understanding self-defense and coming to the defense of the defenseless like I described falls into this category. If one who uses this term “justice” as part of their theology and doesn’t advocate the self-defense of the defenseless that I described then I would question their resilientcy in their advocating “justice”. If one truly understands justice then one should understand “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” It is by Grace that justice isn’t served for those who have Faith in Christ.

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  24. dh

    THe bigger issue is the definition of the term violence from two posts above. You may want to reread that. It really shows how multiple definitions and proper understanding of the definitions are so important. As you can see it “Looking into this it doesn’t seem to necessarily indicate intent.”

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  25. PamBG

    DH, to start with, I’m going away for a few days and I don’t think we’re going to reach agreement here.
    I disagree that Jesus did not intend his teachings for communities of people (AKA “nation states”). I would also point out that the entire prophetic tradition talks about the responsibility of “peoples” (aka “nations”).
    In terms of the definition of “violence”, I also disagree with you completely on your interpretation of the dictionary definition.
    It doesn’t matter, the world has been run “your way” for thousands of years and the results of nations claiming the right to vengenful violence are clear.
    Rejoice that nations fight against nations and that every nation has the God-given right to destroy every other nation.
    If everyone believed they ought to respect other human beings and that they ought not to kill them or exploit them, God only knows that the world would look like.
    You don’t have to worry that anyone will take ideas about peace and forgiveness literally. Very few of us do take them literally and I think you’ve “proven” to your satisfaction what a bad idea it is to be literal about peace and forgiveness.

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  26. dh

    Pam, I’m sorry you feel I rejoice when nations fight. I don’t. It is terrible. It is not a God given right to destroy every nation. However, if a nation is abusing, torturing, murdering, etc its people then nations need to come to their defense to those people. If people aren’t bale to have freedoms that they so deserve then nations need to step in and be advocates for those people who aren’t living under those freedoms. Also, it isn’t my interpretation of the definition. Have you read the 2nd, 3 rd and 4th definitions. You keep using the 1st definition and it doesn’t even indicate or imply intent just what is the result of the physical action. Do you even understand how a term can be used with multiple definitions? I’m sorry you are a perosn that advocates a nation when attacked and have thousands of people killed to sit back and do nothing or do things which have no actual result (not in reference to prayer because it works but other things required beside prayer).

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