Friday, August 21, 2009

Division Begins with the Heterodox

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has voted to allow congregations' appointing of homosexual clergy in non-chaste same-sex relationships.

I am not wringing my hands.

This is not a rant about homosexual behavior (which I believe is a sin, in case anyone's wondering). It is about what happens in evangelical discourse when these sorts of things are discussed.

When concerned folks raise voices of protest and warning, when they say adamantly "This isn't right," they are accused of singling out the sin of homosexuality for special treatment, laser-focusing in on the homosexual as a sinner above all sinners, worse than the rest of us.

But I actually think it's sort of the other way around. It is the proponents of gay clergy who single out homosexuality. It is they who are pressing us to respond to this issue. Nobody is pushing for resolutions on the allowance of adulterous clergy, of gossipy clergy, of alcoholic clergy, of p()rn-addicted clergy, or what-have-you.

It is not those who protest who are singling out this sin. It is the proponents of the sin as normative -- or at least, passable -- who are singling it out.

This reminds me of where we got our creeds -- the original stands for normative truth -- in the first place. They were subsequent to heresy. It took heretics to promote their particular heterodoxy for the Church to say, "Supposing we summed up orthodox doctrine as a standard of sorts?"

And so it wasn't the crafters of the creeds who were being divisive. It was the heterodox.
Just as it wasn't God who was being divisive when he said, "Don't eat from this tree," but it was the serpent who introduced the option of disobedience.

And it isn't those who believe the Bible when it says homosexual behavior is a sin that are being divisive; it is those who are introducing the idea that it isn't. If you push a decision on something that innovates on the Bible's testimony, you're creating the division. But, sure, many of us will oblige in parting ways with you. If pressed -- as when votes like this go the way they did -- we will cooperate in division.


Anonymous said...

simply - 'homosexual clergy' is an oxymoron
any proponent of this oxymoron... is a moron, sorry

Jason said...

Great post. I couldn't agree more.