J/A and Dr. James Ach
On July 22, 2015, we wrote an article supporting the accusations that Pulpit & Pen had made against Karen Swallow Prior, noting that while she claims to oppose homosexuality and the LGBT agenda, her actions show quite another thing (we have expanded those allegations to include her associations with the Roman Catholic Church). Many wrote against her, and some wrote in her defense, although those defending her have yet to answer the 2 questions below, or address our contentions that she is endorsing Romanism in a Baptist environment.
The two burning questions we had that were never answered: 1) what did she mean by “different kinds of love” when she attempted to defend her comment that “gay marriage is an act rooted in love”, and 2) what injustices has the church inflicted on the “gay community”? (a question raised by James White).
We will, again, post our question to Karen Prior at the end of this article, but first want to point readers to an excerpt from Kevin DeYoung’s book, What Does The Bible Really Teach About Homosexuality? because there is a section that discusses “A Third Way” in how the church is addressing the problem of homosexuality among Christians, and we think DeYoung has hit the nail on the head as to why this “third way” is destructive and ineffective, and is precisely the reason that most discerning Christians have a problem with the “approach” of Karen Swallow Prior and her ilk on these issues, and are angry about the failure -or simply downright deliberate refusal- of so-called leaders in the Southern Baptist Convention to hold these figures accountable.
A Third Way~Kevin DeYoung
When the Bible uniformly and unequivocally says the same thing about a serious sin, it seems unwise to find a third way which allows for some people to promote this sin. Of course, there could be a third way if the other two ways are “perform same-sex weddings” or “be an obnoxious jerk and shun those who disagree.” No doubt, many on the traditional side must grow in asking questions, listening patiently, and demonstrating Christlike love. But those advocating for a third way usually mean more than this. They want churches and denominations and institutions to come to an “agree to disagree” compromise. They want a moratorium on making definitive pronouncements until we’ve all had the chance to mull things over a good deal longer. With so many emotions and so many other things to learn, shouldn’t we keep talking to each other? [Emphasis ours]
Talking is not the problem. The problem is when incessant talking becomes a cover for indecision or even cowardice. As one who has pastored for more than a dozen years in a mainline denomination, I have seen this far too often. It’s DEATH BY DIALOGUE. The conversation never stops after reaffirming the historic position. There will always be another paper, another symposium, and another round of conversation. The moratorium on making pronouncements will only be lifted once the revisionist position has won out. Every doctrine central to the Christian faith and precious to you as a Christians has been hotly debated and disputed. If the “conversation” about the resurrection or the Trinity or the two natures of Christ continued as long as smart people on both sides disagreed, we would have lost orthodoxy long ago. [Emphasis ours]
All of these third ways end up the same way: a behavior the Bible does not accept is treated as acceptable. “Agree to disagree” sounds like a humble “meet you in the middle compromise, but it is a subtle way of telling conservative Christians that homosexuality is not a make-or-break issue and we are wrong to make it so. No one would think of proposing a third way if the sin were racism or human trafficking. To countenance such a move would be a sign of moral bankruptcy. [If you want to finish the chapter, buy the book cheapskate!] [End of Excerpt]
What can be discussed is perhaps the attitudes of many of us toward homosexuals. Christians can be unkind toward the homeless, drug addicts, and even each other. However, the issue of whether same-sex relationships are sinful is not and should not be up for discussion. The only thing to discuss is repentance from homosexual behavior, not any possible alternatives regarding the meaning of marriage, or how the church and Israel could have missed something in the last 4000 years that is just now coming to light in the latter days to justify a paradigm shift on homosexual behavior. Same-sex sin is not like slavery, or other oppressive practices. Slavery was as wrong then as it is now. It was never an issue THAT it was wrong. It was only an issue that others saw it as an opportunity to gain immense profit while experiencing minimal physical fatigue, and ignored what they knew was right. Homosexual advocates are not asking us to recognize a sinful practice of which Biblical proscriptions against such treatment were ignored, they are asking us to reconsider making a sinful practice acceptable. Homosexuality will never be an issue where we realize that our prohibiting it in the church was a sin that needed to be repented of, like slavery. What the LGBTs are doing is asking us to make slavery an acceptable practice, to call something evil, good, all the while giving the appearance that the argument from slavery supports their position. It’s exactly the opposite.
Using this criteria, we could eventually allow a handful of dissenters to change church doctrines altogether. What if someone has a “revelation” that Christ was not God, gains a following, and prompts the church to consider that it could have been wrong all these years on the Trinity? After all, since some of the church got it wrong on slavery and eventually changed, then the church should be willing to “dialogue” about whether the Trinity should remain a relevant doctrine of the church. Or perhaps homosexual advocates will now argue that there should be no restrictions on age, e.g., if a homosexual “loves” a 9 year old boy than we should keep the lines of dialogue open to consider that perhaps the church has been wrong all these years about its view of sexual relations with minor children. After all, the church got it wrong on slavery, and there are other cultures where marrying minors is perfectly acceptable (as under Sharia Law in many Muslim countries).
Perish the thought.
It becomes death by dialogue where the church gives ear to “fairness” and the humanistic, philosophical relativism that mark today’s social progressives, and the social consensus becomes the standard in the church instead of authority of Scripture. The Bible message is NOT fair: THAT’S THE POINT. It cuts through what is accepted by the world as normal, and demands that the reader conform to the Absolute Moral Law Giver, not make the subject of Biblical proscriptions a matter of arbitration.
God has spoken on the matter of marriage, and homosexual behavior. There is no third way, there is no compromise. God said it, THAT SETTLES IT, whether you believe it or not. End of discussion.
QUESTIONS UNANSWERED BY KAREN SWALLOW PRIOR
Question 1: What “injustices” has the church inflicted on the “gay community” that we need to repent of?
Question 2: Which version of “love” did you mean? (reposting question and arguments from previous article).
Karen has responded on another blog about what she meant by “gay marriage is rooted in love”. Although her defense is still gay-affirming, this is her
As far as what I meant about gay marriage being rooted in love, I never imagined that anyone who has even a mild interest in Christian theology and doctrine would be unaware of the different kinds of love. I honestly did not know that pastors (let alone so-called discernment bloggers) existed who do not know this:
First of all, if Karen wanted others to understand her sentiment as a reference to “other” kinds of love, why didn’t she just say so? I mean, if she expects theologians to understand there are different kinds of love, shouldn’t we expect an English professor to make her statements clear? Moreover, was her target audience theologians? I mean, come on, if this information is something known to theologians, must we assume that everybody is aware of the four distinctions in Greek of love? So either her target audience consisted of theologians, or she’s being rhetorically dishonest. We have to assume that as an English professor she would expect her target audience to interpret her intent in the manner in which every day English speakers would read it, not how a theologian knowledgeable in Greek would construe it.
However, even giving her the benefit of a doubt (which we are not wont to do here), which love is she referring to? because all of the “other” loves in the Bible that are related to sexual relationships are always in the context of a 1-man-1-woman relationship. So was Prior claiming that she meant gay marriage is rooted in agape (ἀγάπη) love? I would hardly think that if Karen knows anything about Greek, and the various types of love that she pawns this excuse off on, she would at least have the decency not to attribute the strongest expression of love to homosexual relationships.
Did she mean philia (φιλία) love? If that were the case, then she couldn’t have qualified a conversation about sexual relationships among gays, not even same SEX attraction, because phileo is never intended to convey the concept of attraction, not even toward male toward female and vise versa. So we know she couldn’t have meant phileo love. Plus, the comment was about MARRIAGE which kind of rules of mere friendship and “celibate committed same-sex relationships” altogether.
Did she mean storge (στοργή)? the kind of affection shown in a parent/child relationship? Awk-ward!! [squeaky voice]
And finally, eros (ἔρως), used mostly to describe passionate and sexual love, between a male and female. However, if she means eros, is she granting homosexuals permission to claim their “love” is rooted in a Biblical expression of eros? She couldn’t have meant a perverted expression of eros because that just simply doesn’t exist in the Bible. Why didn’t she clarify that she meant to express that “their acts are rooted in a misguided and misunderstood version of love”? Wouldn’t something along those lines been a little less ambiguous than “gay marriage IS an act ROOTED IN LOVE”?
Karen has shot herself in the foot with her excuse. Even taking her explanation at face value, it doesn’t clarify her position any better than it did the first time she said it without the qualification. In fact, if anything, it makes her statement even worse. However, given that she deferred to this excuse, isn’t she then obligated to state which one she meant instead of just leaving us hanging waiting for the sequel?
Nevertheless, don’t believe for a second that she really intended to say “Oh, I really meant different kinds of love”. She had every opportunity to clarify her statement the first time. She said exactly what she wanted to say by using the rhetoric of the “gay community” which is kind of obvious by the fact she also used their condemnations (that the church needs to repent of its injustices toward them, another unqualified quip).
But let’s give her a chance to clarify this blunder. Tell us Karen, if you meant “different kinds of love”, WHICH ONE?