Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Got Dry Rot in Your Timbers?

Me, I'm only a Marine Salvage Operator, but if you ask me, the ELCA should have known better. They had warnings long ago to do something about forgetting to do its homework on Christian Ethics regarding sexuality.

From www.robgagnon.net/articles/homoJourneyTogetherCritique.pdf

"The concept of “faithfulness” has been often invoked repeatedly by Director of the Task Force, Prof. James M. Childs Jr., and by members of the Task Force. It is invoked in the title of the book Faithful Conversation edited by Childs and stressed in its introduction and authors’ forum (Fortress, 2003; for a critique go to http://www.robgagnon.net/RevFaithfulConv.htm or here for pdf).

Obviously it appears also in the title of the two main study guides put out by the Task Force, Journey Together Faithfully, parts 1 and 2. However, those employing the concept have largely restricted it to mean that people are trying their best or are sincere in their efforts even as they affirm the authority of Scripture. Such a restriction is wrong. I am not questioning anyone’s ‘faithfulness’ defined as doing what one thinks is best for the church rather than what one thinks is best for one’s own personal advancement. I make no assumptions—one way or the other—though I am inclined to believe the best.

Yet some may perhaps note that any Christian mainline denomination worth its salt, especially one with roots back to Luther, will have a profound awareness of the sin’s ongoing effect even on self-professed believers. They may view the constant, insistent refrain that “we are being faithful” as an instance of “protesting too much, methinks” (Hamlet III, ii, 239). Then, too, some may seek an explanation for the terrible imbalance of the study guides, given that the material that could have provided the necessary balance was readily available to the authors. After all, they will wonder, why did the authors of these study guides time and again ignore or misstate numerous arguments that would have been devastating for a pro-homosex reading entertained or even espoused by the study guides? At any rate, the issue of people’s motivations or their claims to being faithful to Scripture is secondary. The reason is that a “good faith effort” is not what Scripture primarily means by the concept by faithfulness.

Faithfulness has to do with faithfulness to God’s revealed will and word—in fact and not merely in intent, much less in claim. Accurate teaching and preaching of Scripture is an essential component of this. An “elder” or “overseer,” for example, must “hold firmly to the faithful word, in accordance with the teaching (i.e. as taught), in order that he may be able both to exhort by means of the sound teaching and to refute those who contradict (that word)” (Titus 1:9)."

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