The above tweet by a leading liberal Evangelical is why the Nashville Statement is necessary. There is nothing new in the Statement. It is basic orthodox Christian theology on sexuality and gender — the sort of thing relatively few Christians would have challenged until recent years. A Southern Baptist theologian who signed the document and helped produce it tweets:

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This is exactly right. Here is a subsequent tweet from Hatmaker:

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This is what happens when you theologize guided by nothing but emotion. This is not Christianity. This is Moralistic Therapeutic Deism. Don’t misunderstand: theology does not stand abstractly apart from the world. You would have to have a heart of stone not to contemplate the lived experiences of people with doctrines. But you would have to have a head of pudding to think you could dismiss very clear and deep Biblical anthropology and moral teaching about sex and sexuality, to say nothing of the consistent witness of the Church from its founding until pretty much the day before yesterday.

You might recall my writing earlier this year about a speech I gave at a conservative Evangelical college, about The Benedict Option. A young woman in the audience asked me why “practices” are important in Christian living, and why it’s insufficient “to love Jesus with all our hearts, as I was taught growing up.” I explained that emotion alone is a poor guide to faithfulness and obedience. If we only follow our hearts, we will lose the Way. After the speech, a professor told me that nearly all of the Christian students reason (“reason”) in the fashion of this student. They are completely defenseless before claims that Biblically orthodox Christianity is “mean”.

Two years ago, the Southern Baptist leader Russell Moore penned an essay for First Things, titled “Evangelicals Won’t Cave.” In it, he wrote:

Now that the Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court case has nationalized same-sex marriage, America’s last hold-outs, conservative Evangelical Protestants, will eventually, we’re told, stop worrying and learn to love, or at least accept, the sexual revolution. As Americans grow more accustomed to redefined concepts of marriage and family, Evangelicals will convert to the new understanding and update their theologies to suit. This is not going to happen. The revolution will not be televangelized.

More:

But however confident and complacent are these helpers, they can’t change the fact that the Evangelical cave-in on sexual ethics is just not going to happen. There is no evidence for it, and no push among Evangelicals to start it. In order to understand this, one has to know two things about Evangelicals. One, Evangelical Protestants are “catholic” in their connection to the broader, global Body of Christ and to two millennia of creedal teaching; and two, Evangelicals are defined by distinctive markers of doctrine and practice. The factors that make Evangelicals the same as all other Christians, as well as the distinctive doctrines and practices that set us apart, both work against an Evangelical accommodation to the sexual revolution.

I wonder if Dr. Moore — a signer of the Nashville Statement — would say the same thing today. A Pew survey earlier this year found a profound generational divide among white Evangelicals regarding homosexuality. Excerpt from the Washington Post account:

Just a decade ago, the gap between younger evangelicals and older evangelicals on the issue was not wide, according to the Pew Research Center. But a new survey suggests that the generational divide has grown much wider, with about half of evangelicals born after 1964 now favoring gay marriage.

According to Pew, 47 percent of Generation X/millennial evangelicals (those born after 1964) favor gay marriage, compared with 26 percent of boomer and older evangelicals (those born between 1928 and 1964).

But there’s a wrinkle:

Some evangelicals believe there’s a difference between supporting gay marriage as a public policy matter and gay marriage as sanctioned by churches. A large majority of white evangelicals (including younger generations) continue to see homosexual relations as morally wrong, according to the General Social Survey.

The 2016 survey found 75 percent of white evangelicals saying homosexual sexual relations are always or nearly always wrong. That number is down from 82 percent in 1996 and 90 percent in 1987. The survey does not show a large generational gap, however. In 2014-2016 surveys, 70 percent of Generation X/millennial white evangelicals said same-sex sexual relations are nearly always or always wrong, compared to 81 percent of baby boomers/older generations.

I understand the distinction being made here, but I don’t see how “personally opposed, but” can stand over time, given the rapidity of cultural change, and the severe sanctions, social and legal, that will be inflicted on religious believers who dissent from this ideology. And you’d have to be a fool to believe that if Biblical orthodoxy on sexual matters becomes optional within the church, that heterodox Christians like Hatmaker would tolerate the orthodox. After all, why would you put up with those who believe in doctrines that cause “suffering, rejection, shame, and despair”?

This really is a bright red line — and it’s far more important than many conservative Christians understand. If the Church surrenders on this issue, it will abandon more than its members understand. As I write in The Benedict Option:

Early Christianity’s sexual teaching does not only come from the words of Christ and the Apostle Paul; more broadly, it emerges from the Bible’s anthropology. The human being bears the image of God, however tarnished by sin, and is the pinnacle of an order created and imbued with meaning by God.

In that order, man has a purpose. He is meant for something, to achieve certain ends. When Paul warned the Christians of Corinth that having sex with a prostitute meant that they were joining Jesus Christ to that prostitute, he was not speaking metaphorically. Because we belong to Christ as a unity of body, mind, and soul, how we use the body and the mind sexually is a very big deal.

Anything we do that falls short of perfect harmony with the will of God is sin. Sin is not merely rule breaking but failing to live in accord with the structure of reality itself.

The Christian who lives in reality will not join his body to another’s outside the order God gives us. That means no sex outside the covenant through which a man and a woman seal their love exclusively through Christ. In orthodox Christian teaching, the two really do become “one flesh” in a way that transcends the symbolic.

If sex is made holy through the marriage covenant, then sex within marriage is an icon of Christ’s relationship with His people, the church. It reveals the miraculous, life-giving power of spiritual communion, which occurs when a man and a woman—and only a man and a woman—give themselves to each other. That marriage could be unsexed is a total novelty in the Christian theological tradition.

“The significance of sexual difference has never before been contingent upon a creature’s preferences, or upon whether or not God gave it episodically to a particular creature to have certain preferences,” writes Catholic theologian Christopher Roberts. He goes on to say that for Christians, the meaning of sexuality has always depended on its relationship to the created order and to eschatology—the ultimate end of man.

“As was particularly clear, perhaps for the first time in Luther, the fact of a sexually differentiated creation is reckoned to human beings as a piece of information from God about who and what it meant to be human,” writes Roberts.

Contrary to modern gender theory, the question is not Are we men or women? but How are we to be male and female together? The legitimacy of our sexual desire is limited by the givenness of nature. The facts of our biology are not incidental to our personhood. Marriage has to be sexually complementary because only the male-female pair mirrors the generativity of the divine order. “Male and female he made them,” says Genesis, revealing that complementarity is written into the nature of reality.

Easy divorce stretches the sacred bond of matrimony to the breaking point, but it does not deny complementarity. Gay marriage does. Similarly, transgenderism doesn’t merely bend but breaks the biological and metaphysical reality of male and female. Everything in this debate (and many others between traditional Christianity and modernity) turns on how we answer the question: Is the natural world and its limits a given, or are we free to do with it whatever we desire?

What these pastors, theologians, and Evangelical leaders have done is hugely important. So much is at stake! But it is only a start — and the laity cannot leave these leaders standing alone. The challenge Christians face to Biblical orthodoxy is overwhelming — and heterodox Evangelicals have a hurricane-force wind at their backs. For example, when our children are going to schools — public, private, and yes, even religious — in which their peers enthusiastically endorse homosexuality and gender ideology, we cannot realistically expect them to embrace fidelity? Again, from The Benedict Option:

Peer pressure really begins to happen in middle childhood. Psychology researcher Judith Rich Harris, in her classic book The Nurture Assumption, says that kids at that age model their own behavior around their peer group’s. Writes Harris, “The new behaviors become habitual—internalized, if you will—and eventually become part of the public personality. The public personality is the one that a child adopts when he or she is not at home. It is the one that will develop into the adult personality.”

Harris points to the example of immigrants and their children. Study after study shows that no matter how strong the home culture, first-generation offspring almost always conform to the values of the broader culture. “The old culture is lost in a single generation,” she writes. “Cultures are not passed on from parents to children; the children of immigrant parents adopt the culture of their peers.”

It is not enough to think orthodox thoughts. We have to make our churches, our families, and our Christian schools places where a countercultural Christian orthodoxy is lived out and embedded in the practices of daily life. It is not remotely enough to say “thou shalt not,” not today. Young Christians — and even not so young Christians — need the bigger picture of why male and female matter so much, and why traditional marriage is inseparable from orthodox Christianity. You cannot excise these things from the Christian religion without it collapsing, in part (but not wholly) because the theological contortions one has to do to justify these things so radically opposed to the Bible’s revelation fatally compromises its authority.

Abandoning Christian sexual orthodoxy is the Prosperity Gospel of the Religious Left. In the US, majorities of Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and Mainline Protestant Christians have embraced heterodoxy on this vital issue. Evangelicals are still holding — for now. This tweet below is correct — and not just for Evangelical pastors:

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UPDATE: Here is liberal Lutheran (ELCA) pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber, with a point-by-point denial of the Nashville Statement. It really is a different religion. Be thankful for the clarity, at least.

UPDATE.2: Look, I’m not going to post liberal trolling. If you have a substantive critical comment to make from the left, fine, make it and I’ll approve it. Griping about Trump, or engaging in whataboutism, is not going to be published.

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126 Responses to Why The Nashville Statement Is Needed

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  1. ann arbor says:

    I work for a national evangelical org and there’s currently internal controversy over the Nashville Statement. None of our leaders have signed it and I have little doubt now that some folks would quit if they did. The fact that this is controversial in my org (when we’ve even taken heat for other evangelical commitments before) is evidence that the statement is needed.

  2. I do not believe that Jesus will accept your hatred.

    What a fallow statement. I believed and believe that Christian charity called for sparing Karla Faye Tucker the death penalty, as did the brother of one of her victims, although the same victim’s husband gleefully celebrated her execution. But, Tucker never asked for a full pardon and release from prison. Now, this analogy has many flaws, which I have a duty to detail if anyone is to make sense of it.

    I fully support Lawrence v. Texas, as a valid application of a well established constitutional right to be left alone. I do not support criminal penalties for homosexuality. So gay marriage is not morally or legally tantamount to murder. But, the mere fact that someone “loves their neighbor as themselves” does not, ipso facto, obligate them to celebrate their neighbor’s acts, if the Christian whose conscience is being dissected sincerely believes those acts to endanger the moral balance of Creation and the actor’s immortal soul.

    Why would anyone who is concerned with their Church “caving” not join the Catholic Church?

    Ummm… because they don’t believe that the Bishop of Rome is Christ’s Vicar on Earth? Because they don’t accept the Magesterium as a better guide to the meaning of Scripture than the earnest discussions of their own congregation, and fellowship between congregations of their own synod?

    The “traditional” view of marriage is just men dominating women. It’s absurd to act like it’s some finely tuned system.

    For many years, I have followed the teachings of a local WELS Lutheran church on that very subject, and studied the comments of both men and women in the laity of a local congregation. While I see no problem with women participating as Voters in congregational decisions, or serving as ministers, I can assure you that there are much more nuanced teachings in the most conservative of Protestant sects that “just men dominating women.”

    Since “Evangelicals” have largely caved in over women’s ordination, it is inevitable that they will do so over homosexual marriage.

    That hardly follows. Its a little like saying that if you accept baptism by sprinkling as valid, then you will inevitably accept offering the first born son in the fire as pleasing to God. (The latter would be supported by a horrendous mistranslation of Judges 11: 30-39).

    “I don’t see Biblical support for the idea that God opposes polygamy.”

    With apologies to William Tighe, I’ll see you and raise you. I once asked a Talmudic scholar how the early patriarchs were able to have so many wives. He asked “What gave you the idea that the Torah prohibits polygamy?” This is one subject on which there is NO “Judeo-Christian” morality. It is possible — and Prof. Tighe would probably know in detail — that the Qumran community, who were in a sense a Jewish Benedict Option for their day — prohibited polygamy. But, according to my Talmudic expositor, Jewish synagogues did not initially prohibit it, communities in Europe later did to reduce friction with their Christian neighbors, and Jews in the middle east and north Africa remained polygamous into the 20th century.

    Paul, remember, was a Roman Citizen, so it would have been natural for him to provide an early scriptural patina to the notion of monogamy, which was a very Roman principle.

    The culture is not asking you (general you, again) to paint the bright red lines between what is Christianity and what is not.

    This is so blatantly untrue that I can’t believe anyone of any ideological persuasion would believe it. The current liberal orthodoxy is that “every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess” that Jesus Christ loves gay marriage. I will vigorously oppose any effort to use secular police powers or even more subtle social coercion to make any knee bow or tongue confess to much of anything.

    Isn’t the point that Christians should be trying to live according to the Nashville Statement; not that we should give up Christianity because we aren’t?

    We are all sinners after all.

    Mhmm. An alcoholic who just fell off the wagon again may well KNOW that they fell short and have to find a way to climb back up again. Its different if everyone is “affirming” his “alternative lifestyle.” I’ve read whole books by people who went from straight to gay and back to straight again because they WANTED that back.

    I agree with Charles Cosimano that a statement without the power to enforce it is ultimately futile.

    That makes you a self-confessed enemy of the First Amendment. (I can’t remember if you are the Canadian secular, but here in The States we value our bill of rights.) As our Supreme Court wrote in one of the school prayer decisions, prayer is serious business. That is precisely why the state should not be enforcing the texts of prayers to be recited by anyone.

    Please, Jim Bear, where exactly is the Communist Party USA in all this stuff? When last heard from, and that was quite some time ago, they tended to consider homosexuality and pornography to be symptoms of capitalist decadence, which would disappear naturally in the bracing atmosphere of proletarian dictatorship.

  3. Norm says:

    I’m looking for the part where Jen Hatmaker explains how this statement is unscriptural but I can’t seem to find it. Can someone help me out?

  4. Jones says:

    A nice quote from Russell Moore:

    “While I am not worried about Evangelicals’ caving on marriage and sexuality in post-Obergefell America, I am worried about Evangelicals panicking. We are, after all, an apocalyptic people, for good and for ill. We can wring our hands that the world is going to hell, but then we ought to remember that the world did not start going to hell at Stonewall or Woodstock but at Eden. Adam was our problem, long before Anthony Kennedy. “

  5. Rob G says:

    “The argument from tradition simply is not going to work with these folks.”

    That’s because the vast majority of Evangelicals are A) convinced of their own “freedom” to interpret Scripture as they see fit and B) strikingly ignorant of how Tradition works in the Church. I know this because I was one of those Evangelicals.

    “And yes, she and my other nieces and nephews do indeed see parallels with the 19th century arguments about slavery and race.”

    As I say to anyone that ever brings this up: they need to read Mark Noll’s The Civil War as Theological Crisis to get a handle on what was actually going on in Christian America at the time of the C.W.

    But frankly, if you can’t differentiate between the putting oil on a burn and rejection of homosexuality you’ve got bigger intellectual issues to deal with.

  6. BlairBurton says:

    @Brian: perhaps it is the Lutheran churches in Latvia that have eschewed WO. Certainly not the few here in America. (e.g., http://www.latvianluthchurchphila.org/)

    I have a dear friend and former neighbor who is a Latvian-American. When her husband died in June, the pastor who officiated at his services was a woman, from the local (DC area) Latvian Lutheran church.

  7. William Tighe says:

    Siarlys Jenkins wrote:

    “I don’t see Biblical support for the idea that God opposes polygamy.”

    With apologies to William Tighe, I’ll see you and raise you. I once asked a Talmudic scholar how the early patriarchs were able to have so many wives. He asked “What gave you the idea that the Torah prohibits polygamy?” This is one subject on which there is NO “Judeo-Christian” morality. It is possible — and Prof. Tighe would probably know in detail — that the Qumran community, who were in a sense a Jewish Benedict Option for their day — prohibited polygamy. But, according to my Talmudic expositor, Jewish synagogues did not initially prohibit it, communities in Europe later did to reduce friction with their Christian neighbors, and Jews in the middle east and north Africa remained polygamous into the 20th century.

    Paul, remember, was a Roman Citizen, so it would have been natural for him to provide an early scriptural patina to the notion of monogamy, which was a very Roman principle.

    ****************************

    This I find confusing. Why should Jewish scriptural exegesis control or overrule that of Christians? That is what you are seemingly advocating, given Mark 10:8 and Matthew 19:5. Or, rather, it is at least what you are advocating, since, given your reference to St. Paul at the end you almost seem to be assuming that the Jewish Torah is more authoritative than the Christian New Testament, even for Christians. I see no reason why this should be the case, nor any reason why we shouldn’t conclude that Jesus “perfected” standard Judaism (or, rather and better put, contradicted views that subsequently became standard in normative rabbinic Judaism) in the matter of monogamous marriage, as he did with regard to divorce-and-remarriage.

    As far as Jewish polygamy is concerned, I read that while it was banned by the rabbis of what we know as Askenazic Judaism in 1075, it was not banned by Sephardic rabbis until 1970, and is still at least “a living memory” among elderly Sephardic Jews living in, or originating from, Jewish communities in the muslim world (e.g., Yemen).

  8. MH - Secular Misanthropist says:

    @Siarly Jenkins, your completely missed my point. I am a big fan of the Constitution, and increasing secularization means that they won’t have the power to enforce their statement on others. So from my point of view their statement is a waste of time.

    From their point of view they’re probably doing something useful, but it’s an in group thing.

  9. Glaivester says:

    “I don’t see Biblical support for the idea that God opposes polygamy.”

    While God permitted polygamy in the Old Testament period, it is hard to see it ever portrayed in a positive light.

    The first polygamist mentioned was the vengeful descendant of Cain, who bragged about how great his retaliation against an enemy was (in context, clearly his line was clearly indicated to be the evil line).

    Abraham’s taking of a concubine led to all sorts of misery and family strife. Jacob had all sorts of problems between his sons by Rachel and by Leah and the other two.

    Deuteronomy forbade kings from “multiplying wives,” and it was suggested that doing so would lead the king away from God. Solomon proved that true, and David, while remaining faithful, basically had a horrendous family life with kids who hated him or didn’t care about right and wrong.

    Gideon had 70 sons by multiple wives, and 1 killed all the others.

    Even Samuel’s parents had some strife over the differential fertility, despite there not being any actual conflict mentioned.

    I don’t think the Bible portrays polygamy positively.

  10. Rich Gordon, TE says:

    Folks like Jen Hatmaker never ask the right question. Even if they did, they’d give the wrong answer.

    Here’s the right question: Which is more difficult for the Holy Spirit of God to do: to empower a person to so completely die to self that they can life in faithful obedience to the Word of God, or to raise a man from the dead?

    So, to say that there’s no way a person who wrestles with homosexual desires could never grow in Christ to the point at which they could live in contentment from the love of God, is to say that bearing such fruit in a person’s life is too hard for the Spirit to accomplish.

    And yet we are to accept the resurrection of Christ as real?

    Jen Hatmaker and her ilk are, as Paul said, among those most to be pitied, for they serve an impotent god.

  11. Perichoresis says:

    MH: “I am a big fan of the Constitution, and increasing secularization means that they won’t have the power to enforce their statement on others. So from my point of view their statement is a waste of time.”

    The document has nothing to do with enforcing it on others, so that does not make it a “waste of time”. It is a document in a theological dispute that is well worth the time for that purpose. I agree that it should be irrelevant to non-orthodox Christians–the fact that so many of them are freaking out about it is bizarre.

  12. JonF says:

    Re: I understand the distinction being made here, but I don’t see how “personally opposed, but” can stand over time

    Why not? It’s stood the test of time on many, many other theological issues, up to an including the very existence of God at all. There’s simply no reason why the civic law of a nation needs to incorporate sectarian doctrine in it. Doing so in the past yielded results much more gruesome than anything happening today.

    And as a personal aside I think it’s theologically dangerous to pursue “complementaity” and other such aery-fairy abstractions ahead of the Gospel which is really very simple, “Jesus Christ, God’s son, Savior”. Sure, there are theological questions beyond that, but that really is the one essential truth that should matter to Christians. And this “complementarity” is not even about God or salvation; it’s about humankind only– and pushing too far (and I think you begin to do so, Rod) pushes one into dangerous territory where we opine that there isn’t one humankind but two, male and female. No. Sex is an attribute of humans to be sure, but not to the point of overwhelming humanity itself. Everyday I bike past a building with two roses now in bloom, a red one and a white one (Hmm, maybe the Tudors live there). Yes, they are different of course, but both are roses, and their external color does not change that reality.
    Earlier eras argued about the details of the Incarnation or the relationship of the Persons of the trinity. We’re arguing about ourselves. That does not speak well of us.

  13. This I find confusing. Why should Jewish scriptural exegesis control or overrule that of Christians?

    It doesn’t. But to the extent that Christians reference The Holy Bible, which includes the Torah and the rest of the Tanach, Jewish understanding of those Jewish texts is relevant. To the extent you can show that Jesus changed, superceded, reinterpreted, or relegated those texts as anachronisms, you can of course set them aside.

    I am a big fan of the Constitution, and increasing secularization means that they won’t have the power to enforce their statement on others. So from my point of view their statement is a waste of time.

    Sure. But their statement is not offered as a legislative program. It is offered as a call to people receptive to that call to adhere to it. Also, it is defiant toward a current of secular thought that somehow they have NO right to that point of view, and should abandon it in the face of a new secular orthodoxy. So its not nothing. You continue to imply that if the statement is NOT a bid for enforcement by the police powers of the state, then it is irrelevant. Separation of church and state allows religious teaching to exist independent of political majority sentiment.

  14. JonF says:

    Re: There is not one dogma we have caved on in 2,000 years?

    The RC has certainly reinterpreted some of its doctrines over the years, in some cases almost to nullity. Hence the moral condemnation of usury, which originally meant charging interest, then reduced to charging excess interest, then largely back-burned to the point most people are barely aware of it at all. Then there was that Galileo business, and heliocentrism more generally. And of course the anathema against Constantinople was lifted not that long ago without the Orthodox churches submitting or changing one facet of their own doctrine on the Holy Spirit.

  15. JonF says:

    Cole,

    Some historical corrections:
    The Byzantines did in fact appeal to the West for help against the Turks in their last generations. A Western army even went to their aid– but was crushingly defeated by Sultan Bajazet I at the battle of Nicopolis (1396 I think). Some what later the Byzantine emperor and his bishops agreed to terms of ecclesial reunion at the Council of Ferrara-Florence. However Bishop Mark of Ephessos refused the deal, and the Russians were also very cold to it, and later rejected it. By the end, the West was far too divided by its own wars (e.g., Hundred Years War between France and England) to provide any aid and of course Constantinople fell to Turkish cannons.
    As an Orthodox Christian also I would not like to see the Church act as if it has a patent on iconography and I have no problem with other Christians making use of our icon images as long as it is done respectfully.

  16. Seven sleepers says:

    ” I once asked a Talmudic scholar how the early patriarchs were able to have so many wives. ”

    Wait…not this again. Still waiting for the reference to A patriarch with multiple wives, not less “Patriarchs”. It’s missing from my bible.

  17. Wes says:

    JonF, you are confusing dogma, doctrinal development, Church discipline, and even Church politics. Catholic Dogma is pretty narrow.

  18. Thaomas says:

    Neither in the Southern Baptist sermons I heard growing up or in the Nicene Creed I say every Sunday as Mass did/do I find anything about whether the state should recognize same sex marriages, which bathrooms transgender people should use, or what kind of contraceptives should be covered by the insurance corporations purchase n behalf of their employees. I find the “orthodox Christian” position on these issues incoherent.

  19. MH - Secular Misanthropist says:

    @Siarly Jenkins, I suppose I have been conditioned by the religious right to see religion as politics by other means. So my instincts tell me they would like to make it a legislative program.

  20. William Tighe says:

    JonF wrote:

    “A Western army even went to their aid– but was crushingly defeated by Sultan Bajazet I at the battle of Nicopolis (1396 I think).”

    Correct – but not the last attempt. After the Council of Florence, Pope Eugenius IV devoted a great deal of unsuccessful effort to ending the Hundred Years’ War between France and England, and the long war in Italy between the Florentines and Venetians, and their allies, on the one hand, and the Visconti of Milan and their allies, on the other; but finally he proclaimed a Crusade in 1443 to drive the Turks out of Europe and rescue Constantinople. A large Polish/Hungarian/Wallachian army scored a number of initial successes against the Turks, but in November the army was defeated decisively at the battle of Varna, due in large measure to the recklessness of the Polish-Lithuanian-Hungarian King Władysław, who, as the Crusaders were in the process of defeating the Turks, launched a headlong attack in which he was killed and his force annihilated, turning the tide in the Turks’ favor.

  21. Perichoresis says:

    JonF: “And this “complementarity” is not even about God or salvation; it’s about humankind only– and pushing too far (and I think you begin to do so, Rod) pushes one into dangerous territory where we opine that there isn’t one humankind but two, male and female.”

    To the contrary, the entire anthropology of male and female joined in marriage is woven throughout the Christian metaphysic: God has “so consecrated the covenant of marriage
    that in it is represented the spiritual unity between Christ and his Church.”

  22. I suppose I have been conditioned by the religious right to see religion as politics by other means. So my instincts tell me they would like to make it a legislative program.

    Some would. They are ALSO wrong. For the same reasons. The whole point of our First Amendment is that neither religion nor rejection of religion, nor any point of religious doctrine, positive or negative, is ipso facto grounds for a legislative program.

    I find the “orthodox Christian” position on these issues incoherent.

    Fortunately, no law requires you to take it seriously. But some people find it very coherent. Why do you waste your time bemoaning this fact?

    Still waiting for the reference to A patriarch with multiple wives

    Jacob, for one. He had to work an extra seven years AFTER marrying the elder sister before he was granted the additional privilege of marrying the younger sister. And he had children by both of them. But before you go off on a “not this again” temper tantrum, did you read what the expert on Jewish doctrine said about the matter? Not binding on Christians, but good insight to Old Testament meaning.

    And of course David and Solomon weren’t patriarchs, but kings, and both had several wives, and sons by different wives who each advocated for her own son’s advancement.

    I agree that it should be irrelevant to non-orthodox Christians–the fact that so many of them are freaking out about it is bizarre.

    Well said.

  23. JonF says:

    Re: To the contrary, the entire anthropology of male and female joined in marriage is woven throughout the Christian metaphysic: God has “so consecrated the covenant of marriage
    that in it is represented the spiritual unity between Christ and his Church.”

    I’m not sure how that is a response to what I wrote. Like anything complementarity can be pushed too far, to the point where men and women cease to share a common humanity. The happy medium or golden mean is called for in this, much as in other matters where going to the extremes leads one astray.
    “Male” and “female” are attributes, of, yes, a binary sort. They reach deeper than skin color certainly (that really is skin-deep) but they do not reach all the way to the fundamental level where we are all human, and made in the image of God. “In Christ there is… neither male nor female”. And “In the Resurrection they shall be as the angels in Heaven, neither marrying nor giving in marriage.”

  24. JonF says:

    Re: JonF, you are confusing dogma, doctrinal development, Church discipline, and even Church politics. Catholic Dogma is pretty narrow.

    The usual response when someone inconveniently points out that the Catholic Church has changed its teachings at whiles.

  25. William Tighe says:

    BlairBurton wrote:

    “I have a dear friend and former neighbor who is a Latvian-American. When her husband died in June, the pastor who officiated at his services was a woman, from the local (DC area) Latvian Lutheran church.”

    My remarks concerned the Latvian Lutheran Church in Latvia. The Latvian Lutheran Church outside Latvia is indistinguishable in just about all respects from liberal Lutherans elsewhere. About 10 years ago one of their pastors told me that the organization would likely collapse without WO, as nearly 90% of its ordinands were women.

  26. About 10 years ago one of their pastors told me that the organization would likely collapse without WO, as nearly 90% of its ordinands were women.

    Interesting question… if few or no men were stepping forward for ordination, is it better that that the church perish, or that women be ordained?

    Sort of like, if only two humans were left alive after a nuclear war or pandemic, and one was a consecrated nun, would it be her duty to bear children who would continue in future generations to glorify God?

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