Since the Bible seems only to condemn same-sex relations, how can some Christians affirm same-sex marriage or the ordination of openly gay and lesbian Christians? Where is there any support for this approach in the Bible?

– Jeffrey S. Siker

This is a crucial question that calls for a constructive response.  A constructive response is one that helps to build and to edify the church as the body of Christ (see, e.g., 1 Cor 12-14).  A constructive response also means that as faithful Christians we are seeking precisely to construct an answer that addresses competing claims that we feel must be included in any response. What does it mean for us to discern God’s Spirit as we seek to construct a faithful response to the question of the status of lesbian and gay Christians in our midst? 

 

We are not the first ones to ask comparable questions about a constructive response that seeks to discern God’s Spirit in addressing controversial and divisive issues. The history of the church is full of such struggles, whether we look to the Apostle Paul, the split between Eastern Orthodoxy and the Roman Catholic tradition, the fights between the Protestants and Catholics, or the debates in the United States over slavery and the status of women in the church. In all of these debates both sides appealed to the witness of Scripture, church tradition, reason, and experience in light of God’s Spirit to argue positions that were exactly the opposite of one another. As we address the current crisis regarding the recognition of openly gay and lesbian clergy and same-sex relationships, we must do so in light of the church’s long history of heated debates over discerning the leading of God’s Spirit. It is our challenge, our responsibility, and our opportunity to be engaged in such discernment where, to be sure, we do our best to see through a glass darkly as we work out our salvation in fear and trembling…

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