Our March 2006 eJournal addresses some of the most difficult issues of our day. This month we are featuring Dr. Stanton Jones "Study Guide and Response to: Mel White's What the Bible Says--and Doesn't Say--About Homosexuality". Dr. Jones has provided a summary of his booklet in this issue and we have a free pdf of the booklet available on our website.
Dr. Carol Swain's lecture on Immigration given at our Spring Conference directly addresses this week's news headlines. I'd like to encourage you to take advantage of the free audio downloads of our Spring Conference lectures by Dr. Carol M. Swain, Dr. Chap Clark and Dr. Mark Lewis Taylor.
I hope you are planning to be a part of Promises and Perils of Stem Cell Research: Human Ingenuity vs. Human Dignity? coming to campus April 3rd and 4th. More information is listed below.
Director of CACE
Promises and Perils of Stem Cell Research: Human Ingenuity vs. Human Dignity?speakers include: William Hurlbut, Stanford University, Dr. John Kilner, Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity, and Dr. Peter Andrews, Sheffield University, UK
Co-Sponsored by CACE and the Science Division.
April 3 & 4, 2006
Events will be free and open to the public
New for 2006:
Summary of A Study Guide and Response to: Mel White's What the Bible Says -- and Doesn't Say-- About Homosexuality
by Dr. Stanton L. Jones
Dr. Mel White’s booklet, What The Bible Says-And Doesn’t Say-About Homosexuality (published by Soulforce Inc., P. O. Box 3195, Lynchburg, VA 24503, and available as a pdf file at http://www.soulforce.org), is an influential and widely read gay-affirming resource. Dr. White is an effective communicator, but is his argument valid that we can read the Bible somehow to be permissive of homosexual, bisexual, and transgender lifestyle?
This A Study Guide and Response to: Mel White's What the Bible Says- and Doesn't Say has been written to help those swayed by White’s arguments to understand more clearly the strategies White employs and the misunderstandings he creates or exploits in advancing his arguments. You will find in White’s document very little in the way of a deep reading of the message of the Bible. Instead, we encounter a series of arguments-a rhetorical or persuasive strategy-that utilizes the following techniques:
He draws us into reading the Bible through tragic stories of the victimization of gay and lesbian people, stories that are truly tragedies but told in a way that elicits from us guilt and empathy in such a way as to predispose us to distance ourselves from any moral condemnation of homosexual behavior.
He strips or reduces complex scriptural passages to limited core teachings in such a way as to pass over or bury the rich and challenging additional meanings they embody.
He raises doubts and fuels skepticism about the meaning of passages that have been essentially clear in the eyes of the Church for millennia.
In the end, he proposes no clear Christian sexual ethic to replace the one he has sought to displace, rather just leaving us with the vague sense that GLBT people are nice, trustworthy people that we should affirm and accept.
In contrast, I urge you to consider again the core of what we understand to be the Gospel: The sovereign and loving God of the universe made us and loves us. We all are tainted with the contagion of sin, and we all rebel against God. We are all sexual beings by design, and our sexual natures reflect both creation and the fall, and are exceedingly mysterious, complex, deep, and conflicted. God revealed his truth and will for our lives, including his moral guidance for all of humanity, and did so both to diagnose our sinfulness and to guide us in our faltering efforts to follow him and express our love for him. And he sent his son Jesus to die for us and rise in triumph over death for us that we might be forgiven, adopted as his children, and live new lives as we abide in him.
As one small but clear part of his guidance for our lives, we have seen how there is clarity and consistency to the traditional understanding of sexual ethics derived from the Bible, and that in this ethic homosexual conduct is clearly condemned as contrary to God’s will. There are good reasons to see these moral laws as binding today. And quite significantly, we have seen that this Christian understanding offers hope to the homosexual person: hope for forgiveness of sins, hope for release from bondage to sexual and other sins, hope for grace and fulfillment in life submitted to sexual purity and healing, hope that the entire Church will embrace these persons experiencing same-sex attraction as fellow sinners and as fellow disciples who follow the Risen Lord in obedience and humility.
(adapted from the Conclusion to this Study Guide and Response by Stanton L. Jones)