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Did God Really Say?

I think I’ve mentioned in a previous blog post that I was fortunate to not attend a church that preached abusively regarding homosexuality.  In fact, I had never heard the subject brought up in church at all.  And it was a good thing, in a way – I’d still prefer to hear nothing over some of the horrible teachings that I’ve heard others had to sit under.  But better yet would have been hearing the truth taught in love…

As it was, when I became more aware of my same-sex attractions, and wondered what the Lord thought about it, I had to learn on my own.

This will be the introduction in a series of posts on what the Lord tells us in His Word.  This is what I have learned – I encourage you – implore you – to take some time to read more on your own!

Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.  Acts 17:11

I attended a small home church called Berea, which took it’s name from the verse above.  Everyone there was encouraged to ask questions at the end of each sermon about what was being taught.  (Really, you could approach the pastor at any time, but he made a point of opening up the floor for questions, as it were, at the end of each service.)  I thought it was a bold and humble approach to teaching.  God wants us to be real with Him, and it’s a good thing to have an investigative mindset regarding what we may be listening to.  It is good to own your faith – to know why you believe what you believe.

One other point before we go further…  When I was looking through the Scriptures on my own, I came at it knowing that it was possible that I would not like at all what I would find there.  I wanted to come across re-assurances that everything would be OK, that I could just find a new way of working out my desires without having to make any major changes…but I also wanted to know the truth.

I had to ask myself:  Am I willing to put all my earthly loves at His feet, and ask Him what He would have me do with them?  If the Lord says it’s not OK to move in this direction, am I willing to press on with Him leading, or am I going to choose to drop God on the curb and do my own thing?

“Do I have the courage to face the truth, either way?”

~ Rosaria Champagne Butterfield, The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert

What are you looking for in your own investigation of the Scriptures?  Do you want to know what God really says, or are you looking for support for the answers you’ve already settled on for yourself?  It’s hard to be open to things we might not really want to hear, to learn what we might not really want to know.  But for those who would like to live a life of integrity, it can make all the difference.

Starting Point

First, let’s step back and look at what the Scriptures are, and what I mean when I’m writing about the Word of God.

After hearing her speak at a banquet last month, I picked up a copy of Rosaria Champagne Butterfield’s book, The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert.   Although short (148 pages), I’ve been struck by it’s density.  It’s the story of her life as a tenured professor at Syracuse University English Department, where she and her female partner did a great deal for the GLBT community.  Early in the first chapter she writes, “I believed then and I believe now that where everybody thinks the same nobody thinks very much.”  (A concept I just saw repeated this morning when I read an essay by CS Lewis that will be in next week’s blog post.)

Rosaria had “drafted and lobbied for the university’s first successful domestic partnership policy,” and was the faculty advisor for the campus GLBT undergrad student group.  She was in the midst of writing a book “on the rise of the Religious Right in America, and the hermeneutic of hatred that the Religious Right uses against their favorite target…people like me.”  She had written an article critical of the Promise Keepers that was posted in the local newspaper when she received a letter from a pastor:

He didn’t argue with my article; he asked me to explore and defend the presuppositions that undergirded it.

…Ken’s letter made me confront the presuppositional problem of my research:  as an intellectual, I was working from a historical materialist worldview, but Christianity was essentially a supernatural worldview.

…I had never thought about presuppositional questions that were supernatural or spiritual in nature, and yet here I was embarking in a writing project that made me confront this worldview-divide.  Pastor Ken’s letter punctured the integrity of my research project without him even knowing it!

…It takes spiritual eyes to discern spiritual matters.”

~ Rosaria Champagne Butterfield, The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert

I’m hoping in this post to invite you to look at questions of faith from a spiritual point of view.  To pick up and read the Bible in a different way – as Pastor Ken did in writing that letter to Rosaria, asking her questions about what she had assumed to be true.

The Bible is the Book of Books – Genesis to Revelation, Old and New Testaments.  It was written by many different people, but has only one Author.  The words in it are inspired, “God-breathed”(II Timothy 3:16-17), and contain what the Lord wants us to know about Himself and who we are. It contains poetry, narrative, history, letters and lists.  You’ll rarely if ever see or hear me use the phrase, “the Bible says…”  The Bible doesn’t “say” anything – the Lord, however, does teach us through His Word.  You can engage the Author and ask God to help you understand what you’re reading.

I’ve been involved in extended debates on my Facebook page and elsewhere regarding the question of the reliability of Scripture, as well as questions regarding authorship, how the canon came to be, etc.  I’ve done hours of research from a variety of resources with as open a mind as I could muster, and have found my peace with the authority that comes through these written words.

If you have questions concerning any of these issues regarding what Scripture is and how it came to be, I do ask you to take some time to look into these matters further.  I’m not planning to get involved in debating these things on this blog, as I’d rather spend time on what has been written in the content of the Bible itself.

There is a very good compilation of information on a website which I’ve mentioned under the “Resources” tab of this blog, which a librarian named J.P. Holding has put together.  These are the links for questions about the NT and OT:

New Testament http://www.tektonics.org/nthub.html

Old Testament http://www.tektonics.org/othub.html

Of course there is a ton of other information that you can look into on the internet, and in your local or university system library.  Feel free to dig in and learn as you wish.  I’ve just found that there is a wide variety of issues covered on the Tektonics website and I appreciate the convenience of at least getting started there.

In the next post I hope to start getting into the actual content of Scripture as it relates to our sexuality.

 

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