View Full Version : What the Bible says or doesn't say....repsonse
04-20-2006, 06:10 AM
Wheaton College is on the list for the Ride. This is how the school is preparing its students to talk to the Riders about the Bible....a basic attack Mel White's beliefs.
Just a quick response...haven't gotten very far through the document prepared by Stanton L. Jones (http://www.wheaton.edu/CACE/resources/booklets/StanJonesResponsetoMelWhite.pdf).
A couple items of note:
We recognize and grieve over violence and injustices perpetrated against persons because of their sexual orientation; we repudiate all such violence and injustice even while we affirm the continuing validity of our faith’s moral teachings and deny any causal connection between those teachings and such violence and injustice.
No surprise there. He makes the repugnant statement:
But years later, Matthew Shepard’s murder now appears to have had nothing to do with homophobia, but rather to have been a complicated instance of a drug-frenzied robbery gone bad. After years of the Shepherd case being used as a prime example of homophobic hate, it is now reasonably clear that Christian moral teachings and hatred of gays had nothing to do with this tragedy.
And references a couple news reports that say:
But Shepard's killers, in their first interview since their convictions, tell "20/20's" Elizabeth Vargas that money and drugs motivated their actions that night, not hatred of gays. Link to story (http://abcnews.go.com/2020/story?id=277685&page=1)
I don't think that makes his position "reasonably clear" at all. Rather, how revolting...to let the killers define the motivations of their crime (making themselves seem less horrible, of course). How disgusting to use a murderer's words to attempt to break the connection between vile, anti-gay rhetoric and the violence that it breeds.
Anyway...it's a large document. Don't know if I will even get through it all. Will admit that after reading the bible passages that Jones references, I am reminded again how little I trust Paul's writings. I know that probably makes my position and any arguments I might have useless for debating conservative Christians...
04-20-2006, 02:52 PM
A brief overview of Jones' piece:
What sticks out from the very first pages is the 'define the terms and circle the wagons' appproach of the author as evident in the following passage:
"The Soulforce theology as expressed is theistic rather than Christian—it affirms a loving and accepting God and stops there,rather than affirming a loving and completely righteous and just God who pursues sinful people by offering his own Son to die for us and rise in triumph over death." p. 12"
Can you feel the rug moving yet? Jones endeavors to prove from the outset that Soulforce has no ground to stand on because, by his definition, they aren't real christians. This is a tactic used by canny polititians: label the oppostion so it can be despensed with. And this comes even before the introduction.
By page 14, Jones asserts that White doesn't take the bible seriously enough, and by p. 19, makes the circular argument that White, of all people, should not be instructing others in matters of faith: "Many of those pushing for acceptance of homosexual persons in the Church argue that the best person to properly interpret of the biblical teachings about sexual morality is someone who is himself gay. But can you find biblical precedent for that? (Read,for example,1 Timothy 3 or Jude.) The apostles would not proclaim that the best person to interpret matters of sexual morality is the very person immersed in the behavior pattern in question."
Who then is the moral orbiter then? Jones claims that position for himself in short- enshrouded in the cloak of biblical certitude. He declares himself the moral arbiter in succeeding pages.
He posits that all conduct is something we can 'control' (p. 31) and asserts that since "Homosexual orientation is a proclivity toward a certain kind of sin..." the very nature of GLBT persons is in question. By p 35, he goes so far as to say that since GLBT people can change (it's about conduct- remember) they should change. Ergo- not a "legitimate class'." He goes on to argue that the matter should not be about the establishment of rights (there is no class- remember), but is, instead, about a conflict of rights. Guess who he thinks should be deciding that? He argues that the right to call something a sin is what is most important and defends- to this reader's eyes at least- the right to discriminate.
In the end, his argument is about: sin, sin and more sin. And there is something rather sadistic in his logic. In his summation, Jones makes light of the suffering of GLBT persons as if it is used as a tactic: "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 that predisposes us to distance ourselves from any moral condemnation of homosexual behavior."
Last I heard, the ERide wasn't about our claiming vctimhood. That, I would speculate- is a postion the author reserves for himself- defender of the faith that he is. Judgements set us apart it seems. And he is only too willing to make them.
I've haven't addressed his treatment of scripture here- I leave that to the scholars among us.
04-20-2006, 04:05 PM
I took some time to look at this earlier today and found it all rather discouraging. I was struck a few times by the way Jones describes a concept in a negative way, while I'm thinking it should be obvious to the reader that it's a positive.
Daniel's done a great job of disecting the arguments.
04-20-2006, 04:06 PM
I also noticed that Jones relies heavily on Gagnon to support this work.
04-20-2006, 06:51 PM
I have skimmed Jones' beating of a dead horse piece and find little new or worthy of deep analysis... Same ol' righteous pride...
However, being a tactic or not, the ecumenical nature of SF is a Truth which fractures this group's focus and these forums. It is in some ways a strength and in others, not. This broad group is open to Christians, as all others, but it is not a Christian group. Decidedly Christian institutions are justified in pointing this out. They have a right to define us, (thier adversary) as we do so carefully them.
Read whatever judgment you want to into this. I pass none on anyone but recognize at this stage the mere mention of this difference rubs the wrong way. So be it. It is the unspoken thorn in the side that is courteously overlooked, and it is at our core, tripping up all our noble efforts. It will rise again and again...
04-20-2006, 07:36 PM
I know it is a pain in the butt! (redemptive suffering) but we must counter these false claims each time. Even if we do it over and over. The pain in the butt is part of nonviolence......and I realize not all of us subscribe to nonviolence, but those of us that do.....we just need to do it...call it suffering, but we gotta do it!
04-20-2006, 09:34 PM
I'd like to contribute somehow, but I'm not sure what the best outlet is. Write a letter to the president? It will probably go unread. Write a letter to the college newspaper? Could just as easily be suppressed. To the city newspaper? Might get published, but would have to be too short to be substantial.
Does anyone have concrete ideas which direction to go?
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