My Mind Didn't Change (part 3)

This is the third and final post for this series.  I hope that it has accomplished two things:  inspired you to read and study the view points of those with whom you disagree and has equipped you with knowledge to better understand the serious cultural changes happening in society with regards to marriage and sexuality.  Thank you for reading and if this topic interests you then please take the time to read through the LGBTI series which is a much more exhaustive look at this subject.  (You can find that series as you continue to scroll.)

I want to address two other parts of Gushee's book.  They are both found in the chapter entitled Creation, Sexual Orientation and God's Will.  On my iPad (horizontal) the first is on pages 298 and 299.  He sites again the percentage of people who identify with the LGBTQI community as being 3.4 to 5 percent of the population.  Then, he fairly estimates this number to be 2 percent if we remove bisexual and what he refers to as "some measure of sexual-orientation fluidity."  His point is that 2 percent of the population who long for romantic relationships, meaningful life partnership, are denied this basic human need by those of us who believe Scripture prohibits same gender romantic relationships.  Listen to this quote from Gushee, "These phenomena, embodied by real people, exist.  How are we to integrate these stubborn facts with Scripture, while responding compassionately to the real human beings in front of us?"

I find that quote terribly troubling.  The suggestion is that because people are at odds with Scripture then some sort of accommodation should be made.  What?  Isn't that the nature of Scripture?  We submit our lives to the text!  Gushee is clever.  He knows to blatantly suggest such a thing would be borderline heresy so what does he do?  He points out that mankind has a proven history of misinterpreting the Bible.  One, he rightly reminds us that people used to believe the earth was at the center of our planetary system and inappropriately used Scripture to support their claim.  His second example is less certain.  I think old earth vs. new earth is still a debate that is evenly championed in the Christian community.  But Gushee offers this as another example, suggesting that the earth is billions of years old and that Christians have inappropriately used the Bible to suggest otherwise.  His point?  Our interpretation of Scripture has been flawed and could very well be flawed with the issue of a Biblical prohibition against same gender romantic relationships.

This is my concern with his comparison.  The Bible is not given to us for scientific purposes.  Do I believe in the historicity of Scripture, yes.  Do I believe the Bible will never contradict valid scientific conclusions, yes.  But these two examples used by Gushee are not prominent themes taken up by Scripture.  Where are the texts that God provides in Scripture that speak to a direct prohibition against anyone who will not accept a heliocentric planetary system?  Where are the texts that speak to a direct prohibition against anyone who will not accept an old earth point of view?  They don't exist, because my scientific conclusions do not affect my relationship with God but my moral practice most certainly does!  Scripture has a plentiful collection of texts that speaks directly to sexuality and marriage.

My final point is found on page 311 of this same chapter (iPad horizontal).  Listen to this appalling quote.  "If we live in a Genesis 3 world, and not a Genesis 1-2 world, this undoubtedly means that everyone's sexuality is sinful, broken and disordered, just like everything else about us."  I find this disturbing because of his misuse of truth.  Yes.  We are all broken and sinful, saved by God's grace alone.  But to use this truth as permission giving for people to not bring their sexuality into submission to Biblical boundaries is inexcusable.  He says later that "no one's sexually is innocent."  We are not innocent in any way.  But forgiveness is not permission to abandon all efforts to Biblical conformity.  He is suggesting that because every person his flawed, no one should challenge the lifestyle of another...good thing the Apostle Paul didn't read this book or most of the New Testament would be missing!

I do have one partial praise for Gushee.  He does hold firm on the Biblical mandate that all sexual relationships should only be within a covenantal marriage.  My disappointment is clearly that he believes marriage does not have to be between one man and one woman.  But I am glad to see that he does not give permission for promiscuity.  However, if I were to apply all his arguments for permitting same gender romantic relationships against his position for "covenantal-marriage ethics" he would have to yield that ground.  Once you undermine the authority of Scripture and the divine authorship of Scripture, you have lost all moral foundation.  This is where Gushee leads us.

I hope this series has been meaningful, informative, and inspiring...keep reading!

Pastor Fred