Monday, February 01, 2010


Where The Line?

OK, let's go deep inside baseball. Many of my readers are not Presbyterian, and may find this a bit daunting, but I think it instructive. A few weeks ago, the Evangelical Lutheran Church "went gay" and is now struggling through a split. I have been thinking about how proud it made me that my PC(USA) had struggled hard enough not to be number 2 in that line behind the Episcopalians, but then Classical Presbyterian reminded me that the pro-gay ordination forces are hard at work in the church.

First the necessary disclaimer - it is possible to love a gay person while at the same time decrying homosexual behavior as a sin. A lot of what I do is a sin too, people love me, I love them. That's not at issue. What's at issue is what the church says is and is not sin. That can't change. We ordain sinners every day, but we DO NOT knowingly ordain people that claim their particular sin is not sin, at least publicly, they may rationalize their private behavior privately to themselves that way, but not publicly.

The issue that Toby raises is an interesting one. It is an effort to introduce a confession (formal document of doctrinal belief) to the church. It is one rooted in the evils of apartheid and it decries racism. Toby rightly projects forward that such a confessional base could in the future be used as weapon in the gay ordination fights since the primary argument of the pro-ordination forces lie in the language of racial discrimination.

So, the question is, do we oppose something that is essentially good, if not very necessary, because it might lead to mischief?

I come back to one unassailable fact, all the problems discussed here are rooted in making broad generalizations out of what are essentially private issues. A person stuck in homosexuality, a private issue, tries to justify it by forcing public acceptance - a broad generalization. So to make the broad generalization, based on the possibility of future problems, to oppose the adoption of this new confession only escalates the problem, pushing it ever more broadly public, when it should be dealt with privately.

But bottom line, should the confession be opposed? Yes, but on the grounds that it is not needed given the state of racial relations in our church, not because it might be used in the ordination battles. That is a fine distinction, but an important one.

The bottom line is this - our response to the pro-gay-ordination forces has to be over and over and over again, "No, but I love you." "You're wrong, but I love you." "That's not right, but I love you." They may, like the rich young ruler that confronted Christ, walk away - at that point they are in Christ's hands.

But to escalate the battle into a battleground where there is, as of yet, no fight is to say things like "NO! And I don't want you near me." That's not the redeeming message of Christ.

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