National Marriage Webcast 'Defining Marriage' was streamed into our own church and 500 others right across the nation last Tuesday night. If you missed hearing this panel of experts speak on this issue, you can now access this footage HERE.
The 'what is marriage' website also contains a simple tool for people to email their local member of parliament. We would also encourage this action in light of the current debate on same-sex marriage in the federal parliament.
As we consider the issues of same-sex marriage and homosexuality, I have included in this blog a balanced response to Dr Dyer's article (see previous blog). Please take the time to download and read this entire paper. The file is included below. I have also included a clip from the Equip Forum (Summit Church) dealing with the difficult issue of same-sex attraction from a biblical perspective. .J. D. Greear: "We tried to get past the myths, the political talking points, and discover how the gospel challenges this issue and those of us on both sides of it." (See below)
Dr Dyer’s Use of the Bible
Even though Dr Dyer has written about homosexuality, we think it is his use of Scripture which is most concerning. As Bible-believing Christians we turn to the Scriptures to learn what is true, to learn about God, to learn about humanity, indeed to learn everything that we need to know to be His people on earth. So we believe that our primary disagreement with Dr Dyer lies not in the area of sexuality, but in the way we read our Bibles.
What follows are three areas where we have grave concerns about Dr Dyer’s use of the Scriptures.
1. Experience over Scripture
As his title suggests, ‘A consistent Biblical approach to “(homo)sexuality”’, Dr Dyer attempts to engage with the Bible on the subject of homosexuality. However it is interesting to note what authority he feels the Bible has. He makes it clear to his readers that although the Bible is important, there is a sense in which it is subservient to human experience:
The attitudes of people are changed not by arguments or exegesis, but by personal encounters with a friend or a family member who is found to be 'homosexual' and Christian.After that comes the need for exegesis and reinterpretation, as we seek to understand this new reality in the light of our traditions- just as the early Christians struggled to come to terms with the presence of the Spirit in uncircumcised gentiles, against all their Biblical expectations. (8)
The first thing to be said is that Dr Dyer’s example of the early Christians does not hold up.He says they ended up accepting Gentile Christians ‘against all their Biblical expectations’. But was it their biblical expectations that were the problem? Not at all! The disciples’ expectations were not biblical enough, for the Old Testament itself expects the Gentiles to be welcomed in. Rather than their experiences reinterpreting the Bible, their experience needed to be corrected by the Bible.
(Continued ... please download this article below)
Our current sermon series looks at the issue of God's design for marriage at a time when pressure is being placed in many arenas for same-sex marriage. Our sermon series, looking at these issues from a biblical perspective, will conclude with a nation-wide webcast of experts looking at 'Defining Marriage- does it matter anymore?' In an effort to provide a balance of information from different quarters, I have included a couple of articles for you to read and consider in this and the following blog. The first is by Dr Keith Dyer and the following paragraph introduces his viewpoint with more of his paper following. You can download and read it in its entirety below. My next blog will provide a balanced response to Dr Dyer's concerning article and I would encourage you to download and read this article also.
Dr Dyer's opinion..
'Christians concerned for public morality surely should support the efforts of all homosexuals to gain State recognition for their committed relationships, so that they have full rights before the law, including adoption where appropriate. Whether we approve of homosexual relationships or not, or whether we want to use the term marriage in this context or not, some kind of State recognition is an obvious step to affirm for the greater public good. Long-term stable relationships are better for everyone concerned, and can only enhance the institution of heterosexual marriage by providing a different option for those who are not gifted by God in that way.'
Dr. Keith Dyer
(Professor of New Testament, Whitley College, University of Melbourne)
Placing Bible and homosexuality together in the one sentence always provokes questions. Some questioners are genuinely puzzled, some are angry: Why do we continue to ask what the Bible says about homosexuality when the few verses that do seem to refer to it are very clear in their meaning (particularly Lev 18:22; 20:13 and Rom 1:26-28)? Surely the incessant re-opening of this question is evidence itself of the moral bankruptcy of the Western church as it tries to twist the plain sense of Scripture to legitimate its own selfish and lustful behaviour? How can we possibly justify the time spent on discussing the deviant sexuality of a tiny minority in the face of such major human disasters as hunger, poverty, war, genocide and environmental degradation? How can we fail to see that opening the door to homosexuality in the Church will undermine the Christian family and begin a slippery slide that will lead inevitably to paedophilia, bestiality and all kinds of immorality? These are the sorts of questions that generate so much heat that they often threaten to derail any discussion before it begins.
Yes, there are more important issues facing Christians today that affect the lives of many more people and which must therefore take priority, but that is no excuse to avoid the question altogether and thereby ignore those homosexuals living on the margins of our churches and our society. This is not just an issue concerning private morality and sexual preference. It is a justice issue an issue of righteousness in the private and public spheres and a matter of life and death for some in our community so traumatised by the perils of discovering their sexual identity and orientation that they live in constant fear and even take their own life. Sadly, this seems to be particularly true of young men in Christian circles, though this is not a claim that can be substantiated with hard statistics only by the retrospective reflections of pastors, counsellors and grieving families.
I sometimes wish that I could avoid this whole topic in the hope that it might one day go away. But it won’t, and I can’t. I am not pressing for a militant campaign to force Church authorities to change their mind on this matter. Rather, I simply wish to argue in support of those local congregations that are both welcoming and affirming of faithful Christian homosexuals who are already in our midst or perhaps who have been forced out of Christian fellowship by the Church’s stand on these issues and to support the wider claims of justice for all homosexuals before the law.
Download and read the entire article below..
Church planting and growth has been a focus for most of my ministry. I frequently lecture and speak on church planting and have been actively involved in many church plants. Under God's hand and direction, my wife, Kaye, and I planted the