Seven Christian responses to gay marriage

OPINION  |  Centre For Public Christianity

Friday 17 June 2016

The first step in navigating your way through any complicated topic is to work out what the main approaches are and try (as best you can) to identify what is appealing about each position, as well as what might be a weakness. In our efforts to think through the fraught topic of same sex marriage, the Centre for Public Christianity has developed the following brief guide to seven approaches we’ve encountered amongst Christians wrestling with this topic. It does not claim to be exhaustive. It cannot capture every nuance. But we thought it might still be helpful to describe the various perspectives in a simple, convenient format, and invite readers to evaluate their own position in light of the alternatives. 

1.    Innovators: moving beyond scripture

Innovators enthusiastically support same sex marriage. They do so with what they hold to be a generous moving beyond the Bible’s teaching. For some this will be justified on the theologically liberal grounds that the Bible is a historically-conditioned document which contains some limited human teachings (hard Innovators may go so far as to accuse parts of the Bible of being wrongheaded and harmful). For others, this moving beyond Scripture is seen as a freedom granted by the Holy Spirit himself, as he moves the church into deeper expressions of love. Love, after all, is seen as the true heartbeat of Scripture.

Innovators may be vulnerable to the question of whether their approach to the Bible is too radical a departure not merely from ‘fundamentalist’ readings of Scripture but from the approach to the Bible found in all three historic forms of Christianity (Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant). It may also be asked whether ‘love’ in the Bible can so easily be set against God’s moral demands.

2.    Reinterpreters: reading the Bible afresh . . .

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