Friday, 28 March 2014

WorldVision's Mistake

I am disappointed to read of World Visions reversal of their courageous and Christian decision to hire people in same sex marriages. Their statement that the rejection of homosexuality is a core Trinitarian value makes little sense to me. How is rejection of homosexuality core to the Trinitarian faith? Surely it is a perfect example of a belief that even if accepted as important is not core. Core would be, for example, the divine and human nature of Jesus or justification by faith acting in love.

What World Vision seems to be meaning about their core Trinitarian faith is their commitment to the authority of scripture. According to their interpretation of the Bible the Hebrew Testament forbids homosexuality and the New Testament declares it sinful. I hold heartily to the authority of scripture, but what does that mean? Surely not that we can interpret scripture without regard to the context in which it was written, without regard to linguistic and anthropological studies. It is not feasible to to approach a 2,000 plus year old text written in an ancient language in this way. The truth is, as outlined here ( there are good reasons to believe that the Bible does not address homosexual love or marriage as these exist in our culture at all.

In the absence of such clear guidelines we are left with a responsibility to decide how to respond to homosexuality in the light of the Word, that is, the example of Christ in the scriptures. In light of this barometer, how should we act? Should we exclude married homosexuals from our fellowship? Should we refuse to do business with them, hold back from hiring them?

How did Jesus act? As is well known he was famous for including in his fellowship "tax collectors, prostitutes and sinners". the Pharisees were those who said that to eat with such was to sanction their sin. What did Jesus call them? "Hypocrites" "unfruitful trees" and worse. It seems that in the light of Christ we should be inspired to radical fellowship and inclusivity. Was Jesus castigated for eating with "former prostitutes"? Did Zaccheus give up his work as extortioner for the Roman occupier before Jesus decided to eat at his house alone above all the houses of Jericho?

Jesus calls us to be sanctified, not sanctimonious. Even if we believe that scripture condemns homosexual love (which I do not believe the evidence unequivocably supports) our authority is not a rulebook and our method is not the politics of purity and exclusion. Our authority is Christ and our method is reconciliation and reliance on grace. World Vision almost took a courageous step in the footsteps of the Master and then drew back. I hope that they were motivated by fear of wrongdoing and not fear of losing the praise of people and the funding of congregations.

No comments:

Post a Comment