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Homosexuality: a Theological Issue? (And “Comments Received”)

About the Author
David Wagschal

Why such a big deal?

Tim Clark has very helpfully drawn our attention to recent posts by Rod Dreher and Lawrence Farley. I really like Tim’s take on these in his recent post – which I’ll return to in a moment.

But the issue that really popped out for me in these articles – explicitly in Dreher’s, implicitly in Farley’s – is also the single biggest issue that has emerged from the comments we’ve received. And that is: why is this issue such a hot topic? Why does it seem to be the deal-breaker?

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Christian Theology and Homosexuality

 Since I’ve been writing for a while now about the Bible, Christian theology, and homosexuality, I’m intending to move on to other discussions, especially about the place of the church in the political world. But this recent post by Rod Dreher, which builds off another article by Lawrence Farley, has compelled me to get out one more observation on the subject. What I’m concerned about in both of these articles is not the opposition to gay inclusion in the church (although obviously these authors and I are on opposite sides of that issue), but that the framing of the problem reveals a pernicious but common category mistake that plagues most discussions of Christian sexual ethics and the church.

The gist of both Farley’s and Dreher’s arguments is that revising Christian disciplinary conventions about homosexuality (in response to rapidly changing social and scientific understandings of human sexuality) is problematic because it poses a challenge to fundamental precepts of Christian theology and what Dreher terms “Biblical orthodoxy” or a “Biblical view” of humanity. First, the claim that this argument is theological in nature is incorrect in a way that fatally compromises its premise. Second, positing either that there is such a thing as “Biblical orthodoxy” or that the Bible is capable of presenting a fixed model of human anthropology are dangerously mistaken claims.

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Homosexuality and the Church: getting it right (Part Two)

About the Author
David Wagschal

In the first part of this post I discussed what happens when we make the “big mistake”: when we confuse the church and the Gospel.  I suggested that the results are pretty dire — and that they constitute a key reason people are leaving the church.  But I ended by asking “how do we get church right?  Can we get it right?  Is church even important?”

Church is important and we can get it right!

In practice there is no question that Christians need community. In practice, if not inevitably, we hear the Gospel from other Christians. In practice, we need the beauty, the music, the inspiration, and sense of identity that churches provide. In practice, we need institutional structures to spread the Gospel. In practice, we need social spaces to live and struggle with the Gospel. In practice, we need support of others when our own faith goes cold, or when life takes a turn for the worse. In practice, even the hardships and struggle of Christian community can be important for nurturing our faith — i.e. the challenge of being church can be quite key.

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Homosexuality and the Church: getting it right

About the Author
David Wagschal

To get it right on the gay question, we’ve got to get the Bible right, but we’ve also got to get the church right. A huge amount of opposition to fully accepting gay people as Christians comes from misperceptions about what the church is and how it should function. In fact, even aside from the homosexuality question, there is probably nothing we need to re-visit today more than our understanding of the ecclesia.

The Big Mistake

The big mistake is to confuse the Gospel and the church – to think that the church is the Good News.

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