Martin Luther is reported to have said “Theology is never naked.” What he meant by that is that all theology is connected, so if you change one part of your theology over here it will have knock on effects to this part over here.
This is never any more true with how we read the Bible. If we read the Bible on one issue in certain way we have to be consistent and allow people to read all parts of the Bible in the same way that we have read that one part.
This principle has hit home recently with the publication of John Dickson, Michael Bird and Kathy Keller’s books in the “Fresh Perspectives on Women in Ministry series”. Around Christmas and in the days following there was a lot of chatter on social media about these e-books and it seems that a lot of people have read them or have understood the books arguments because the authors have given summaries of their arguments. This is not only good marketing but it is very generous. This I applaud.
But since these books have been released two Christian men who have been struggling with same sex attraction for years have asked me “If these guys can read the Bible in such a way that gets us out from under what the Bible appears to be saying about gender in the church why can’t I read the Bible in such a way that lets me live in a committed same sex relationship?” Now I am not sure how Bird and Dickson would respond to these men. No doubt they would respond biblically and with great care but the question still remains if Dickson and Bird are allowed to deal with words in a way which makes us read the texts entirely differently than what they seem to be saying. (I think this is what Dickson does as he defines the words “to exhort” Gk. parakaleo and “to teach” Gk.didasko.) Why can’t a pro gay reader redefine the words that seem to prohibit homosexual unions in the Bible (i.e. the Greek words Malakoi and Arsenokoitai in 1 Corinthians 6:9 where we get prohibitions of homosexual sexual sexual activity)?
In putting forward this blog I am not saying that Dickson and Bird are pro gay. That would be stupid and sinful on my part. But the question I would love to know is “How they would respond to this question that our brothers in Christ have put forward?”
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