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Evangelical Village recently posted this quotation from Tony Jones.
I now believe that GLBTQ [people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender/transsexual, queer] can live lives in accord with biblical Christianity (at least as much as any of us can!) and that their monogamy can and should be sanctioned and blessed by church and state. —Tony Jones
In the past I had always defended Tony Jones against anyone who accused him of sanctioning the homosexual lifestyle as compatible with Christianity because he never had come right out with a statement about his position. Even Mark Driscoll said he didn’t know where these men stood. When people would accuse them of things, my response was usually to challenge people to offer quotations from their writings or lectures or sermon’s in which they could demonstrate warrant for their accusations. I suppose I won’t be doing this anymore with Tony on the issue of homosexuality.
I prefer still yet, however, to see that people have attempted to understand where these guys might be retaining their integrity in their own minds. I think the key to understanding how Tony might consider his statement as compatible with the biblical teaching is his parenthetical statement. (at least as much of any of us can)
Sure homosexuality is sinful, but so is pride, and who would argue that there aren’t plenty of Christians who “live in” pride?
Sure the bible claims that those who are “homosexual” will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor 6:9), but it also says that the “slanderer” will not inherit the kingdom of God. Who is willing to defend a position that no Christians are consistently engaged in slanderous activity?
So you see … it’s not like Tony thinks there is some verse in the Bible that says, “Homosexuality is not a sin,” nor is he claiming that. He’s just trying to do a little interpretive realism. We don’t seem to be eager to conclude that slanderous behavior calls people’s Christianity into question, so why consider homosexuality that way? Tony (and others) may think such a hermeneutic is arbitrary when you consider the list in 1 Cor 6:9. Why interpret one form of sin in this list as on a different level than another?
I’m not saying Tony is right. I don’t think he is. Maybe we should just treat slanderous activity as having more ability to call someone’s Christianity into question. Before I would consistently interpret this 1 Cor 6:9 list so as to water it down, I would be more inclined to interpret them all more strictly.
But I do understand how Tony might justify his position biblically, even if I disagree with him.
___-___-__–__–_—_—HT: Evangelical Village—_—_–__–__-___-___
Evangelical Village asks the question, “Has the Emergent Church been beneficial in any way? How?”
I answer … Yes. They have forced me to wrestle with tons of theological questions. For example …
About culture … Is the American church out of touch with the postmodern culture and therefore failing to contextualize the gospel in a way that is faithful and relevant?
About sectarianism … Are theological conservatives too uptight about their theological differences amongst each other and especially with those outside their understanding of “conservative”?
About church … Do we do church the way we do church because it’s biblically commanded or because we are incredibly bias and legalistic in our preconceptions about the regulative principle?
About the genres of scripture … Are we reading the Bible more like a science book for theological information than like it’s supposed to be read? Is our approach to reading scripture with the purpose of systematizing its teachings a result of Western European rationalism rather than our commitment to follow its teaching? Are we reading the Bible in the way it was intended to be read, or are we forcing an alien grid upon the text and therefore misapplying it?
About what it means to be a Christian … Can a female pastor who believes in annihilationism or limited inerrancy or inclusivism still be a Christian because she still believes in the deity, redemptive death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus?
That’s not an exhaustive list, but it should demonstrate that the Emergent Church has forced the church to ask really, really important questions.
(HT: Evangelical Village)