Friday, March 18, 2011

Prof. Taylor: What Did Not Happen at the 2009 CWA

Shrimp here, with a tip o' the claw to Pastor Marshall Hahn writing on ALPB Forum Online. (Note that if you click that link and get a blank page, re-load the page and it should come up. This seems to be a "feature" of the software behind that forum.)
At the Conference of Bishops Academy on January 6, 2011, Dr. Walter Taylor was asked to give a presentation on the concerns of those "troubled by the use of the Bible in Churchwide 2009 documents and decisions." He presented 11 points outlining "what did not happen" at the 2009 Churchwide Assembly. (Pr. Tony Metz listed these on his blog, "The Bible Is God's Word - Lutheran Style." I contacted Dr. Taylor to be sure these were accurate, and they are.) His 11 points:
  1. What did not happen: adequate use of the Bible, especially the Old Testament.
  2. What did not happen: a clear, full statement of the biblical foundations for marriage.
  3. What did not happen: study and reflection - even refutation - of the texts on homosexuality that normally come into play.
  4. What did not happen: normal historical study of Acts 10:9-16.
  5. What did not happen: use of the Bible when trying to build a positive case for acceptance of same-sex relationships.
  6. What did not happen: an acceptable definition of the neighbor's need.
  7. What did not happen: adequate understanding of the Law.
  8. What did not happen: the need for a savior adequately stated.
  9. What did not happen: a positive biblical and theological understanding of being single.
  10. What did not happen: an attempt to resolve the hermeneutical issues.
  11. What did not happen: adequate foundation for bound conscience.
One more quotation from Dr. Taylor, which comes from an online article in 2008 which he wrote about the earlier draft, and which he repeats in his presentation at the Bishops Academy with regard to the 2009 decisions:

"By not engaging the debate regarding same-sex relationships, the document, I believe, has done a disservice to gay and lesbian people, as well as their family members and supporters. The document gives the impression that there is no argument to be made, only assertions to be stated. Thus any change to current practice that might be suggested will appear arbitrary and in conflict with the Bible. If the task force has a biblical argument to state, I think it needs to state it - for the sake of the ELCA, but even more for the sake of the people whose lives are most immediately affected."
Prof. Walter F. Taylor is the Ernest W. and Edith S. Ogram Professor of New Testament Studies at Trinity Lutheran Seminary, Columbus, Ohio. He is also the co-author of Background Essay on Biblical Texts", published in 2003 for Part Two of the ELCA's Journey Together Faithfully study of human sexuality. Prof. Taylor's on-line article referenced by Pr. Hahn is "The Use of Scripture in the "Draft Social Statement on Human Sexuality" and was published in the September 2008 issue of the ELCA's on-line Journal of Lutheran Ethics.

The Bishops' response these last 2 months to their opening of this discussion seems to have been utter silence. Perhaps we'll see some substantive response to Prof. Taylor's points by other ELCA pastors, laity, and other concerned folk over at ALPB Forum Online.

Shrimp out.

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