Thursday, May 17, 2007

Homosexual Debate – Part IV

After writing my earlier postings on the subject of homosexuality, I came across an article that examined the two sides of the debate from a slightly different theological viewpoint than I had. While the article is clearly coming from the traditionalist side (that the practice of homosexuality is a sin), it does highlight the contrast between the opposing views from a theological perspective. The author, James V. Heidinger II, explains another way of understanding the debate and how Christians reading the same Bible can arrive at quite different conclusions on the subject. Below is an excerpt from that article:

Dr. Les Longden, professor of Evangelism and Discipleship at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary, notes that the controversy … reflects what biblical scholar Karl Donfried describes as the struggle of “two contrasting work in much of mainline Protestantism: a theology of acceptance versus a theology of redemption.”

The “theology of acceptance” has reduced the mystery of God “to one who simply wants us to love one another with an emphasis on the affirmation of the other, especially those who have been marginalized by society.” A “theology of redemption,” by contrast, “recognizes the power of sin, acknowledges that evil can only be overcome through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and accentuates the call to a call to holiness” (Donfried, “Who Owns the Bible? Toward the Recovery of a Christian Hermeneutic,” p. 7. Donfried cites Philip Turner, “An Unworkable Theology,” First Things, June/July, 2005, p. II).

Longden correctly notes that this whole controversy provides us with the opportunity to test whether the principle of “inclusiveness” is rightly normed and informed by a “theology of redemption” or is in competition with it.

For sure, the theologies contrasted above reflect more than just nuances of difference. They refer to, essentially, two different gospels.

From “Good News Magazine,” May/June 2007, Vol. 40, No. 6, page 9. © 2007, Good News, Wilmore, KY 40390

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