Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Theologically Orthodox and Socially Progressive

For many, many years now I have been making the assertion that it is quite possible to be both theologically orthodox and socially progressive. More specifically, it is possible to take Holy Scripture seriously, to see Jesus as the way to God, to hold mainstream views of the Incarnation, Resurrection, etc... and still believe in the blessing of same-sex unions and the ordination of homosexual persons. I happen to know several people, among them gays and lesbians, who nevertheless hold very traditional, orthodox views on core Christian doctrines.

Generally, when I make the above assertion to a conservative-leaning crowd, I am greeted with stares and responses of disbelief that such a thing is even possible. It seems that one's views on sexuality are the de facto litmus test on both one's orthodoxy and one's view of scripture as authoritative. I do not think that should be the case. Now, I have online proof that the orthodox theology and progressive views of sexuality can co-exist! Fr. Jake, in his blog, has a posting on Christians in a Pluralistic World which is well worth reading and pretty thoroughly orthodox, especially regarding evangelism and the unique revelation of God in Christ. Have a read, add to the more than 150 comments if you like, but note that Fr. Jake does in fact hold strong views of the uniqueness of Jesus Christ and the impetus for evangelism. He's revealing what he calls his "inner Baptist."

So it is possible. Given that, might we hypothesize that there are thousands, perhaps millions of people who can affirm the Nicene and Apostles Creeds without reservation, see scripture as "containing all things necessary to salvation," and yet still affirm same-sex blessings and homosexual ordination? If there are folks for whom that is true, then if the real issue is the authority of scripture, then let us dispense with questions of sexuality, affirm the creeds, core doctrines, and witness of scripture, and we're done! That just leaves those who have some particular axe to grind with the issue of same-sex blessings and homosexual ordination, but since that isn't the real issue, the rest of us in the Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion should be able to move on.

Gee, I solved the problem with more than a month to go before September 30! Hmmm....

2 comments:

David G. said...

I agree with you, but...tell that to the blind right!!

craig said...

... might we hypothesize that there are thousands, perhaps millions of people who can affirm the Nicene and Apostles Creeds without reservation, see scripture as "containing all things necessary to salvation," and yet still affirm same-sex blessings and homosexual ordination?

Well, yes we might. And I'm sure it's true. But there are approximately two billion people, including at least 50 million Anglicans, who would regard this as a demonstration either of an amazing degree of Scriptural ignorance or an even more amazing degree of self-serving doublethink.

Or, worse yet, an utterly incredible degree of complacent cultural arrogance.

So the natural question arises, since Christianity has always been countercultural (at some times more than at others), "it's all very well to claim that theological orthodoxy and social progressivism are compatible, and in many eras they have been, but suppose for the sake of argument they were not? How would you prioritize them?"