Sunday, June 7, 2015

A Kiwi Response to the Scots Showing the English the Way Forward (4-7)

I need to get this series out of the way ... it began way back here, and is a response to a set of comments listed here.



(4) "Obviously, choices in this life involve many possibilities, and some possibilities may clearly lack other and crucial qualities. The suggested "solution" in your post values expediency and a form of "peace" over principle and a struggle for revealed truth. I'll let you decide whether, in view of the following quotes, a possibility heavily-based on expediency is something you commend to any Christian denomination. My views is that any denomination that places a high value on expediency is due for reaping a deserved low respectability rating from the general populace together with a concomitant, nominal status the denomination will occupy in the life of that population.

"Enter by the narrow gate. Wide is the gate and broad the road that leads to destruction, and many enter that way; narrow is the gate and constricted the road that leads to life, and those who find them are few." Mt. 7:13 (REB). "'Make every effort to enter through the narrow door; for I tell you that many will try to enter but will not succeed.'" Lk. 13:24 (REB)"

- I am not commending 'expediency' to our denomination as though the issue to be voted on is 'expediency.'
- I am trying to acknowledge that we have sufficient votes for the status quo and sufficient votes for change for us to be a denomination which asks itself what the Way Forward is, and whether that Way Forward can be found which enables us to stay together rather than break apart.
- If we break apart, I guess both new churches (for both would be 'new' in a variety of ways, whoever claims to hold to the heritage of ACANZP) could pat themselves on the back for not being expedient, for holding to the truth (as each sees it), but would both smaller churches command the respect that our whole church would command if we find a way to stay together? (!)


(5) "Once the pass that "marriage is for life" was surrendered, the insistence on "one man, one woman" becomes clearly about attitudes to homosexuals more than about "retaining marriage as it was". The on-this-site oft-repeated "two wrongs don't make a right" sounds extremely hollow after many years now of nothing being done about the first "wrong". The plain reading of the Bible is much clearer about the first wrong than the second, and, casuistry notwithstanding, the issue is much deeper than agreeing, as is easily done, on a God-sourced anthropology. The integrity of Christianity is at stake when those who in NT-Jesus terms bless adultery and fornication of sequentially-monogamous heterosexuals, but vociferously condemn homosexuals seeking to express God's lifelong covenant in their relationship."


- Two wrongs don't make a right, even if nothing is done about the first wrong being done. It is nevertheless worth asking, Is nothing being done about the first wrong (i.e. remarriage after divorce)? I am not at all clear that 'nothing' is being done. People work at their marriages. The church continues to teach that marriage is for life, it has not begun to teach that marriage is temporary.
- Attitudes to homosexuality may be a prejudicial driver in arguments against same sex marriage, but I continue to find that conservatives arguing against same sex marriage are deeply concerned for homosexuals, including the concern that they do not teach falsely about the implications of 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.
- I agree that 'the integrity of Christianity is at stake ... vociferously condemn homosexuals seeking to express God's lifelong covenant in their relationship.' I ask, are those vociferous condemnations part of Anglican teaching and preaching in ACANZP? I am not aware that they are. What I am aware of is a significant group of Anglicans concerned that the integrity of Christianity is at stake if we do not take the Bible seriously, both on marriage, on samesex marriage (which they cannot find approved in the Bible) and on attitudes to homosexuals (that is, mercy and kindness, generous love).


(6) "[After 2 points made] 3. Lastly, and vitally, given for the moment that the two stances as outlined in Motion 30, 1 (a) and (b), do have their respective “integrities”, and given a way forward can be found institutionally whereby these two might live ‘under one roof’ [both massive assumptions, I realise], nonetheless what integrity might this new entity itself possess?

Well; there we all have it ... And the outcome of such careful archaeological/genealogical work will, I suggest, only show how illogical and impossible it will be to keep these ‘good folk’ within one and the same house ... And thereafter history, especially eschatological history, will be the judge."

- The integrity the new entity itself might possess is the integrity of Christianity itself which in its broad compass encompasses all kinds of opposition. Sure, the practical way this internal-to-Christianity opposition is typically coped with is via differing denominations; and there may be no examples to hand of such opposition being coped with any other way, but does that rule out the possibility of a new thing being done by God?
- In the long run (say a couple of hundred years) it may be that it is impossible to 'keep these 'good folk' within one and the same house' but it may also prove over that time that one integrity has more staying power than the other. The 'staying power' of the once upon a time integrities which endorsed slavery and apartheid has not stayed the distance. (But note, before you-and-your-integrity leap for joy at this thought, if one integrity loses its staying power, it is not at all clear (to me) which one that will be. Let me see, the integrity informed by progressive theology which congregationally seems represented by elderly, declining congregations or the integrity informed by conservative theology which congregationally seems well represented by younger generations, which one will stay the distance? We shall see.


(7) "Peter, Mike has a point. This really is not for me to say, but do evangelicals need to repent of allowing an almost sacramental divorce. From a sola scriptura point of view, gay marriage is trivial if you allow heterosexual divorce."

- I am not sure what is meant by 'an almost sacramental divorce' (but I get the point that there is a question to consider when one group of Christians permits remarriage after divorce and does not permit blessing of same sex partnerships or same sex marriage).
- I do not aqree that 'gay marriage is trivial if you allow heterosexual divorce'. First, because in some situations Jesus/Paul seem to admit the possibility of remarriage after divorce. That is, the comparison sought here is not precise. Secondly, because both Old and New Testaments prohibit sex between two people of the same gender (according to most people holding to the 'sola scriptura' approach to Scripture), and warns about loss of salvation because of it (1 Corinthians 6:9-10), it cannot be said that 'gay marriage is trivial' on any grounds of complaint about how 'sola scriptura' Christians understand Scripture on other rmatters.
- The point remains that Christians accepting remarriage after divorce need to have a well thought out case for doing so, ought to apply a hermeneutic in doing so which is consistent with any associated case for prohibiting same sex marriage, and should take care not to suppress the voices of those who argue against them.

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