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Showing posts from September, 2016

Issues Facing Missions Today 61: First Timothy 1:10’s Reference to Homosexuality

What is the significance of 1 Timothy 1:8-11’s reference to the Decalogue in the present discussion of homosexuality and the Church?  The passage reads as follows:
1 Timothy 1:8-11 Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully,  9 understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers,  10 the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers,liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sounddoctrine,  11 in accordance with the glorious gospel of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.
Note, firstly, that this list of sins picks up with the fifth commandment and runs through the ninth commandment in order: a table of comparison can make this clear.
Decalogue (Exodus 20) 1 Timothy 9-10 5th Command: Exodus 20:12 Honor your father and your mother those who strike their fathers and mothers 6t…

The Similes of Light and Sight

[continuing modern parables for the Anglican Communion--and others facing similar issues]

As the master and his disciples entered Cardiff, they made their way to the university area.  They found some students sitting on the grass, discussing the authority of Scripture.  
One student, wearing a Druid gown, said that Scripture was ancient revelation, not in the sense of the lifting of a veil but in the sense of being important, foundational documents of the Church that still enlighten and inspire discussions of faith and practice in Christian communities today.  
A second student, from Germany, claimed that Scripture had little value for Christian theology and ethics as its many authors did not always agree.  
A third student, studying practical theology, agreed but suggested that the problem was rather that many interpreters offered different interpretations and, therefore, there was no single interpretation.  
A fourth student, who had fashioned for herself a mitre from paper and had colou…

Interpretation of Scripture 2: Slaves, Women, and Homosexuals—13 Criteria for Distinguishing Transcultural, Normative Authority from Cultural Relativity

Introduction
The previous post suggested a list of thirteen criteria to consider when discussing the interpretation of Biblical texts and weighing whether they should be accepted as transculturally normative or culturally relative.  This concern arises for orthodox Christians, who take the Bible as God’s Word and seek to live under its authority.  Yet Scripture was given within cultural contexts and must be interpreted within cultural contexts, and these simple facts raise the present issue for interpreters of Scripture.
The present post offers some discussion for each of the thirteen criteria around the issues of slavery, women, and homosexuality.  There are still interpreters today who try to brush aside Scripture on the issue of homosexuality simply because of what Scripture says—or what they think it says—about slavery and women.  This all seems very logical to someone who reads Scripture with the lens of ‘liberation’ or the lens of ‘love’, but the logic does fall apart rather quick…

Interpretation of Scripture 1: Is This Text Culturally Relative?

The contextual interpretation of Scripture is relevant for ministry, missions, ethics, and theology.  The present discussion particularly has in mind the use of Scripture in Christian ethics by orthodox and Evangelical Christians--those who desire to submit to Biblical authority but have to ask whether a text is transculturally normative or culturally relative.


Thirteen Criteria for Determining Transcultural Norms Versus Culturally Relative Teaching in Scripture
The following criteria are suggested for consideration when trying to decide if a Biblical text is transculturally normative (speaks authoritatively to all cultures and people at all times) or culturally relative (speaks to a particular culture, people, and time).  This issue arises because the Church accepts Scripture as the supreme authority for faith and practice—it has not been and is not taken by orthodox Christians as an important document for a community because of its antiquity.  It is authoritative because it is ‘God-bre…