Opinion: A right that is wrong
As acceptance of gay partnerships grows, the church holds a different standardBy Harold N. Miller
Mennonite Church USA is largely silent on same-sex partnerships, only reiterating that in the past we said it is sin.
Should a denomination be silent on an issue while members are considering a major shift on it, one that follows the movement of the world around us?
As one voice, I offer several reasons why I view groups within the denomination who are trying to change our teaching position on homosexuality like I would a group trying to overturn our church’s stance on greed or war. I long for others to also make plain the underpinnings or “foundation poles” of their position.
No matter how sure I am on this issue, no individual decides for the church. We search together, all of us. To understand one another and move toward unity in the Spirit, we must first brave a confusion of many conflicting voices.
Several common arguments for same-sex partnerships are nonstarters for me.
- Many people sense that justice calls our society to grant marriage equality to gays. They further assume that this means our congregations should affirm gay partnerships. Think about this: Justice also calls our society to offer freedom of religion. Does that mean we affirm following Buddha? The fact that people should be given the right to do something does not mean it is the right thing for them to do.
- Another common argument is that God places a seal of approval on those in same-sex partnerships by giving them the Spirit, empowering and working through them. But what if the Spirit falls on an army officer (Acts 10)? Is that lifestyle thereby holy? Many of us know church leaders who were disciplined for sexual sin. During the time the sin was occurring, the Spirit was ministering through them, yet that did not mean their sexual relations were holy.
- Many point out that Jesus never mentioned homosexuality. But that silence is not necessarily significant: Jesus did not speak out even on the violent sexual sins of incest or rape. He had no need, for his culture stood against them with no dissenting voices.
The witness of Scripture is the main consideration that moves me toward the traditional approach to same-sex relations. I see the Bible giving unbroken testimony against all same-sex behavior.
Here are simple core understandings for three passages on homosexuality:
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