A Matter of Integrity

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Joined in 2005
January 17, 2013, 10:26

A link to what I think is quite an interesting essay from Rowland Crouchers Facebook feed.

Here is my question. Shouldn’t we take the same principle that we readily apply to the role of women, slavery, and numerous other issues, and apply it our understanding of permanent, faithful, homosexual relationships? Wouldn’t it be inconsistent not to?

How has the whole Church found itself believing something about slavery which is so at odds with the Bible?

William Wilberforce and friends were condemned by huge swathes of the Church as they fought for abolition. They were dismissed as liberal and unbiblical for their ‘deliberate abandonment of the authority of Scripture’. But, on the basis of a straightforward biblical exegesis of the Bible’s text, their critics were right.

The Old Testament not only endorses slave keeping and trading, it sets out terms and conditions for its practice (eg. Leviticus 25:44-46). Although the New Testament proposes a more humane form of slave keeping, it fails to deliver a clear cut protest against it. Of course, Galatians 3:28 explains “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” However, this passage is no more a call for the abolition of slavery than it is of the sexes or of national identities and cultures.

How then did Wilberforce and friends reach their conclusions? It was their view of the proper interpretation of scripture. They saw that the biblical writers did not take blind dictation from God, instead, their personalities, cultural and social understandings all played a part in the formation of their writing. So, rather than basing their approach on isolated proof texts, the abolitionists built their stance around the deeper resonance of the trajectory of scripture – the compass for which is Jesus who was radically inclusive of women and other social outcasts of his day, challenging social norms and perceived orthodoxy.

This is quite an interesting view – and he makes (I believe) a number of excellent points. What do people think ?

Ann Maree
Joined in 2008
January 17, 2013, 23:20

Hi Shadow Boxer

Yes it's all about studying the bible or any other texts in context while being aware of and suspending personal and cultural bias. I think it's also imperative to remember the overall spirit of love that holds the bible together, and so any passages need to be read with that spirit in mind.


Ann Maree

Joined in 2012
January 19, 2013, 20:59

Yep, it's all about context, context, context. I suppose it is like what my mum and dad say though, unfortunately most of the time it isn't until an anti-gay person is confronted by a gay relative, close friend or member of their own family, for them to even remotely consider the possibility of studying their bible more in depth.

I really admire what Timothy Kurek did. It gives me hope that people can actually change their views. I just wish more people did what he did, because as nice as it is to hear some Christians say nice things about gay people, in reality, talk is cheap. I think it would mean more if people acted and walked a mile in a gay person's shoes – to see and understand what it's really like.

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