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01/28/2015

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Phil Ledgerwood

I also thought Brownson did a good job, and your analysis is pretty much where I ended up. I respect his approach, and I think his arguments are a great occasion to start up dialogue about this issue, but I think he tries to stretch many of his arguments a little too far to try to cover same-sex marriage (or marriage-like agreements or whatever - I think that bit of toning down might be more a concession to his intended audience).

For instance, I think it's important to realize that the "one flesh" argument does not definitively solve the issue, because, as Brownson points out, there are several places in the OT where the concept cannot mean "sexual union between male and female" and has a broader notion of kinship. However, that kinship is still tied to family and procreation. I guess that would sum up my basic take - he's usually got a good starting argument, but it doesn't viably extend as far as he wants to extend it. And, frankly, I've never been a fan of the "moral logic" way of dealing with the Bible.

But he does open the door to good conversation, and the church should be having these conversations. There are gay Christians whose sins have been forgiven in Jesus Christ and are our brothers and sisters, and we need to have something to say to them besides, "Stop being gay." So, like you, I found Brownson's work challenging from a pastoral perspective.

Interesting bit about the nature / culture argument. I actually do think Paul's comments are conditioned by Greco-Roman culture, but that's because he is encouraging the church not to imitate or assimilate into pagan Rome, in which homosexual behavior was part of the culture (although I think something like same-sex marriage is off everyone in the NT's cultural radar).

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