Thursday, July 07, 2005

"Observations, Comments and Reflections On Issues ..." By Gary Weant.

From a article (to me) from the Center for Theology Colloquium, Lenoir-Rhyne College
November 6, 2003

"For many people, the very nature of homosexual relationships takes us to one of the more difficult and troubling aspects of the present conversation. In what way, if any, can The Church acknowledge, recognize or address such relationships? How can we be both caring and sensitive to people on one hand while at the same time remaining faithful to our call as God's people and to the teachings of The Scriptures? From a biblical perspective, relationships are understood as being informed and shaped on the basis of both kind and quality. For example, incest and pedophilia are deemed questionable on the basis of the kind of relationship present, regardless of how loving and caring one may argue the quality of the relationship is. One factor fueling the current debate is the tendency to drive a wedge between the biblical dimensions of kind and quality with respect to human relationships. In the current discussion, both extremes are present. There are those who want to place primary emphasis on the kind of relationship involved to the neglect of the importance of quality. There are others who argue the opposite extreme by insisting that the quality of a relationship trumps and overrides the kind of relationship involved. From a biblical and theological perspective, the issue is not an "either or" but a matter of "both and." For many across the church -- scholars, pastors and lay people alike -- The Church would be hard pressed to find a biblical basis for conferring upon homosexual relationships a status equal or equivalent to that of marriage, since marriage is defined biblically on the basis of both the kind of relationship as well as the quality of the relationship. Short of this move, however, there may be a way to find some common ground for viewing such relationships within the context of friendship."

Solid article, it contains a section warranting a shellfish sighting alert:

"With regards to the interpretation of Scripture, we subscribe to the classic theological model known as the Christocentric Hermeneutical Principle(16), (17) which was rediscovered during the Reformation of the sixteenth century but which has continuity with both the Scriptures and the life of the Church from the earliest apostles to the present.(18) This method of interpretation is grounded on the conviction that contained within the Scriptures themselves is an interpretive norm which enables the Bible to interpret itself. "And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father's only son, full of grace and truth" (John 1:14, John 1:1-18, and Hebrews 1:1-4). Jesus Christ is God's Living Word, the supreme and clearest revelation of God's ultimate love and will for all creation. The life, death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ is the lens through which all of the Scriptures, faith and life are to be interpreted. The truths revealed both indirectly and repeatedly throughout the Bible come to their cumulative sum and summit in the Christ Event. The grace, love and will of God revealed in Jesus Christ constitute the ultimate truth around which all other truths are placed in their proper perspective.(19) If we visualize the Bible as a large wagon wheel, Christ is the hub and center around which everything takes it rightful place. Unlike fundamentalism, the Christocentric Hermeneutical Principle or Evangelical perspective does not view every portion of Scripture with equal weight. Those texts which point to, preach and inculcate Christ ("treiben Christ" in the words of Luther) and which are consistent with what we know of God's love and will in Christ are given normative status and first priority. Hence, they are binding on the life of the Christian community. Examples: Luke 23:34, Isaiah 53, Psalm 23, Matthew 5-7, John 1:1-18, John 3:16, Romans 5:1-21, etc. Those texts which do not point to Christ or are not consistent with the teachings, life, death and resurrection of Jesus are placed in second priority. They are viewed as part of the Biblical record and may be used for historical and educational purposes but they are not necessarily binding on the Christian community. Examples: Psalm 137, many of the ritual and dietary requirements in the Leviticus Code, the prohibition against eating pork and certain kinds of shellfish, etc. The Christocentric Hermeneutical Principle also serves as an alternative to relativistic liberalism which "picks and chooses" from the Scriptures based on the personal likes and dislikes of the informed rational self. The Evangelical approach to Scripture uses a selectivity but it is a selectivity that is based on what is consistent with the clearest revelation we have of God's love and will made visible in God's Living Word, Jesus Christ."

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