Friday, February 1, 2013

Unpersuaded (yet) in Auckland

First day of the Fourth Hermeneutical Hui today (Friday 1 February) so have been reading in preparation. Now, I know that some folks here are not particularly impressed with what I write in defence of marriage as traditionally understood by Christians, being between one man and one woman. Naturally I find this all a bit strange, that defending what Christians have believed and nearly universally around the world today continue to believe should elicit so little sympathy from fellow Christians here, especially those from the catholic stable with the weight it places on tradition and its propensity to treat texts of Scripture literally (e.g. on the eucharist). But that is what it is.

However, having pre-read some of the papers about to be delivered, I remain singularly unpersuaded by those papers which propose a new line or which (essentially) soften us up for a new line. What does not persuade me? Arguments for same sex marriage which work from Scripture appear (i.e. on the basis of my reading) to involve considerable weight being placed on 'silence' - the silence of Scripture on marriage being other than between a man and a woman. Arguments from silence can have plausibility (the lack of communication from aliens is a plausible argument for them not existing!) but they are not always persuasive (especially if funny lights are seen in the sky at night!).

Further, I am finding myself wondering as I read if what I am reading (when not amounting to an argument from silence) amounts to an argument for same sex marriage being valid on the basis that when a scholarly barrage of doubts and questions is aimed at marriage as Christians have traditionally taught it, based on Scripture, "marriage" shows a few cuts and bruises. But is that an argument? And why (I ask myself as I read) are otherwise good Christian people, charged in some cases by virtue of licence with upholding the teaching of the church, so intent on finding and holding up to the light every fault and foible in the hitherto theology of marriage? Is there not a greater obligation to strengthen that theology rather than to weaken it?

Final thought for tonight, if marriage is not a Christian ideal, because disciples are called to mission which, if the NT teaches anything about discipleship, is better aided and abetted by celibacy, in what way does making that point from the gospels then create a platform to support extending marriage from heterosexual couples to same sex couples? Frankly, I find some arguments for same sex marriage to be odd as arguments.

To summarise to date, when the Hui has not even begun, I am looking for good, quality, theological arguments. Will I find them over the next two days? As best I can I will keep you posted.

15 comments:

Father Ron Smith said...

"the catholic stable with the weight it places on tradition and its propensity to treat texts of Scripture literally (e.g. on the eucharist). But that is what it is."

The 'Catholic Stable', as you call it Peter, naturally pays more literal attention to the Dominical words of Scripture than most others from their writers. And, the Eucharist is an avowedly 'catholic' part of the inheritance of the Church, enjoined on Her at the specific request of Her Founder: "Do this - to re-member Me"

And as for your wry remark about other members of the group (other than yourself) 'softening up' the preparation for new insights into the ideology of Marriage; do you not think that the Holy Spirit - who 'softens up' the hard hearts and minds of most conservative and incalcitrant 'theologians' on those matters on which they may have been mistaken - even for centuries - could actually have had something to do with the new openness to a group of people who 'love one another, and wish to share that love for the rest of their lives"?

Andrei said...

All deceptive word games and the fact that the Anglican Church in New Zealand is putting its efforts into this is highly correlated to it precipitous decline in the every day lives of ordinary New Zealanders.

When was the last baptism performed in your Parish Peter?

What is the ratio of Baptisms to funerals?

Doing many weddings (of the man uniting to a women sort) these days?

You should be working out how to bring the Church back into the lives of every day people, not worrying about pandering to the vanities of the over priveldged cultural elite some of whom who laughably claim they are suffering because of "discrimination" as they live their lives in luxuries unimaginable to most of their fellow country men let alone the vast majority of the rest of the inhabitants of this planet.

This is literally an absurdity.

Anyway go round and round in circles minuetly parsing reams and reams of double talk, helps to fill in the time I suppose.

This wasn't directed at you personally, my friend, I know you actually see it for the absolute nonsense it is

mike greenslade said...

Good, quality, theological arguments and 'odd' arguments can be found on every side of the issue Peter. If we don't engage with our understanding of what scripture is (and isn't) we are doomed to running in eternal circles carping at each other.

It is not just about finding the best arguments either. Our best thinking today will probably look weak in hindsight. What are just as important are our hearts and our relationships. How we believe is just as (more?) important as what we believe.

As well as finding good arguments at the hui, I hope you find good people and good listening.

Peter Carrell said...

Thanks for comments, Commenters.
We have had a good day. I hope to manage a brief post in the morning before the start of the second day.

Shawn Herles said...

"You should be working out how to bring the Church back into the lives of every day people, not worrying about pandering to the vanities of the over priveldged cultural elite some of whom who laughably claim they are suffering because of "discrimination" as they live their lives in luxuries unimaginable to most of their fellow country men let alone the vast majority of the rest of the inhabitants of this planet."

Well said!

The Hui is a massive waste of time and resources, and and panders to demonic lies.

We are not to engage in dialogue with the lies of Satan, we are to trample fierce lions and serpents under our feet.

Shawn Herles said...

On the MPC (Ministries of Pastoral Care) course Megan and I attended this week we heard the powerful testimonies of people who had struggled with same-gender attraction for many years, and found healing and true liberation in the love and grace and power of God, and gone on to leave the "gay" lifestyle behind.

Our God is powerful to heal!

It is their voices that this hui should be listening to. But of course, that would not be politically correct, would it?

The hui is a farcical travesty.

Shawn Herles said...

The New Age Satanic lie at the heart of TEC Liberalism.

www.standfirminfaith.com/?/sf/page/30013

Shawn Herles said...

Why Liberals in the Church of England and Progressives in The Episcopal Church Cannot be Trusted: Liberalism has morphed into progressivism and progressivism brooks no opposition.

http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=17111#.UQx2yEfkpZ4

"the faith has been "revisioned" to the point that it is no longer recognizable by a large swathe of global Anglicans. It is now unrecognizable by the great Orthodox Churches of the East and West, by Roman Catholics, and even Southern Baptists. Bishop Mark Lawrence called it by saying the Presiding Bishop and the national church are spreading a "false Gospel of indiscriminate inclusivity." That's being generous.

That "indiscriminate inclusivity" has resulted in the ecclesiastical beheading of dozens of priests. A large number of bishops have been forced into ecclesiastical exile because they refuse to bow the knee to the PB, the House of Bishops and her "inclusive" theology that has questioned the deity and uniqueness of Christ, his bodily resurrection and the exclusive claims of God's salvation in Jesus with the public recognition of other religions having similar salvific value."

Shawn Herles said...

The voices of those who will not be heard at the hui (gee, I wonder why?).


"Journeys Out of Homosexuality
Share the journeys of those who have left the gay lifestyle, those who work to conquer their SSA, and those who now live free of homosexual desires."

http://www.ssahope.com/testimonials.html

Shawn Herles said...

Some much needed truth: Part One.

"Where does homosexuality come from? Many people may feel that perhaps God made them gay, i.e. that they were born gay. They may honestly not remember any conscious decision to be gay.

Our inheritance of a sinful nature is relevant to the discussion of the roots of homosexuality. We are born with a tendency to rebel against God, with hearts that are prone to lust, pride, sexual immorality, idolatry and other evils (Matthew 15:19). So, for example, it is possible to be born with a tendency toward homosexual desires, just as it is possible to be born with a tendency toward pride, or love of money or any other type of sin. Though each of us has weaknesses toward particular sins, God still expects us to resist temptations in those areas and rely on his power for strength to keep sin from ruling us (Genesis 4:7, Romans 6:11-14).

Being the opportunist that he is, Satan tempts each of us according to our particular weaknesses. He is a master at orchestrating events in our lives to tempt us into false conclusions about God and our identity.

An area that seems to be common in the development of homosexual tendencies is dysfunctional relationships. It often starts early in life with unhealthy relationships with parents, siblings and peers, which cause emotional wounds. Here are some example factors in childhood relationships that can be influential in sexual development:
Abuse (sexual, emotional, physical, spiritual). Parental problems: Absent, detached, uninterested, overbearing or controlling; lack of gender affirmation. Betrayal. Ridicule or teasing from peers. Sex play with same-sex peers. Rejection. Abandonment. Lack of nurture. Loneliness. Another area to consider is generational sin. The Bible mentions the concept of generational curses in several places. The idea is that the consequences of one generation’s sin can be visited on future generations (usually up to the third and fourth generation). Just as we inherit a sin nature from Adam, we also may inherit sin tendencies from our more recent ancestors. It is not uncommon for patterns of sexual dysfunction like homosexuality to run down the family tree. For more information, see our generational sin page."

Shawn Herles said...

Part Two.

"Other factors that can contribute to homosexual development include societal pressures, pornography, masturbation, demonic influences and an amoral belief system (see Dr. David K. Foster’s Sexual Healing, chapter 6, for a detailed explanation of these factors).

Homosexual tendencies can be fed from these kinds of roots, yet it is still up to the individual to decide whether to yield to the temptations. It usually doesn’t happen over night, but rather over years. As people progress through the teen years, they inevitably will be presented with the powerful feelings associated with their sexual development. This period typically offers prime opportunities for the enemy to persuade a person that he or she “is gay” and that this is a permanent condition. Again, troubles in relationships can be instrumental in a person coming to the wrong conclusions. Some examples include:
Difficulty connecting emotionally with members of the opposite sex
Unpleasant sexual experiences with members of the opposite sex
Trauma connected with sexuality (rape, abortion, incest, etc.)
Feeling sexual attraction to same-sex persons (including arousal by gay or bisexual porn)
Feeling “different” from others
Enjoying homosexual experiences, fantasies or dreams
Involvement with the occult (gives way to spiritual, emotional & sexual confusion)
Words spoken over the person by parents, peers, counselors or teachers
Affirmation, acceptance and recruitment by other homosexuals

When a person decides to embrace the lie of a gay identity, the deception is completed. From then on, it can seem like an unbreakable stronghold, especially if it conveniently explains the pattern of experiences and feelings the person may have had in life to that point. Even so, a person making the conclusion that they are gay will discover an endless desire for peace and approval, but will not find it (Isaiah 48:22). They will need to surround themselves with others who continually reaffirm their homosexuality in order to numb their conscience about the lies they have embraced. They may even seek God’s approval of their choices by embracing “gay theology”."

http://www.porn-free.org/homosexual_roots.htm

Father Ron Smith said...

Peter, after a long, long time of trying to deal with your ubiquitous correspondent, Shawn; I have decided now is the time to totally ignore him. His inability to engage in reasoned argument is such that I can no longer take him at all seriously.

I would like to continue in the art of serious discussion with you, personally, but will refrain from engaging with his perpetual devil-dodging. Time is too precious!

Shawn Herles said...

"Peter, after a long, long time of trying to deal with your ubiquitous correspondent, Shawn; I have decided now is the time to totally ignore him. His inability to engage in reasoned argument is such that I can no longer take him at all seriously."

I consider the claim that I have an inability to engage in reasoned argument ad hominem.

It is a claim that is utterly untrue. Ron is ignoring me because he cannot argue against the Biblical truths I speak and he knows it.

It is Ron's unwillingness to enage in serious, reasoned, Biblical truth that is the real issue.

Ignoring me is just the cowards way out.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Shawn and Ron,
I think you have both made your points. (I let Ron's point through on the basis that, ad hominem though it was, it expressed his reason for not continuing to engage).

Either way, I encourage engaging with the issues. If we do not like the way another engages with the issues then we do not need to join the engagement.

Shawn Herles said...

No worries! Thanks Peter.