Saturday, June 13, 2009

Scharen Responds to Hinlicky on the Proposed Recommendations to the ELCA

Some of you may know that I am one of 150+ signers to the statement, "Appropriate Next Steps for the ELCA," whereby we state that we wish to "to affirm and support the four recommendations on Ministry Policies proposed by the Task Force for ELCA Studies on Sexuality to the 2009 Churchwide Assembly in Minneapolis" which will be held this August. Our support for the recommendations has been attacked by ELCA theologian Paul Hinlicky as "misleading and self-contradictory." Among other things, he accuses us of not affirming the authority of Scripture and of teaching material anti-nomianism.

I signed the statement because I agree with the recommendations and the rationale behind them, even though I am not pleased with the Sexuality Statement itself which I think is theologically weak and insufficient in its treatment of the first use of the law. Indeed, I think a strong case *can* be made for same-gender marriage from a non-Thomistic understanding of natural law, or as Lutherans have preferred, "ordering of creation." This is a project that Chuck and I hope to work on once he finishes his dissertation.

In the meantime, I would like to draw your attention to some recent blog posts of my colleague at Luther Seminary, Christian Scharen, who makes his own argument for a pro-gay ethic that is Scripturally and Confessionally based. Chris makes his argument in four posts:

"God Loves Gays: On Lutheran Debates, Part 1"
"God Loves Gays Gay: On Lutheran Debates, Part 2"
"God Loves Gay Desire: On Lutheran Debates, Part 3"
"God Loves Gay Desire: On Lutheran Debates, Part 4"

You can find more of Chris's writings on this topic (among others) on his faculty web site at Luther Seminary.


christian scharen said...

Thanks for the props, Cheryl!
It is worth noting, friend I've not seen in too long!, that Paul Hinlicky commented quite appreciatively on one of my posts.
I'd love to talk about all this at greater length. I agree something could be done from a kind of 'orders' or 'natural law' perspective, and I've gone some way in that direction. I wonder, however, if we Lutheran theologians have not worked well enough together to offer the church a really robust set of theological arguments for engaging this debate. Paul's comment on my blog posts makes me think so.

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