Last year, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church USA appointed a Special Committee to Study Issues of Civil Union and Christian Marriage. The committee was given two years to study how the theology and practice of marriage have developed in the Reformed tradition and the place of covenanted same-gender partnerships in the Christian community.

This adult education course tries to do something similar over an eight-week period for St. Andrew Presbyterian in Iowa City. Throughout this discussion, we hope to hear from class participants’ personal experiences and questions concerning sexuality and the Presbyterian faith.

For questions or comments, contact Jeff Charis-Carlson at

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Discussion questions for Oct. 18 (Week 6)

Just a reminder that for this Sunday, I’ve asked you to reread the essays by N.T. Wright and Robert Gagnon (at least the pages specifically discussing responses to homosexuality). You might also want to read through an essay put out by the Presbyterian Coalition, “The First of Institutions,” by Gilbert Meilaender.

As you read, I suggest that you identify which passages you find to be the strongest response to the claims and arguments that have been offered in the “For the Bible Tells Me So” documentary. As we discussed in class last week, the question of where the “burden of proof” lies is an important one in deciding how the church in general — and our denomination and congregation in particular — responds to questions of sexuality in regards to opening up the requirement for marriage and ordination.

When responding to Dan Via’s essay in their co-authored book, “Homosexuality and the Bible: Two Views,” Gagnon ends his rebuttal (and the book) with a clear statement that the “burden of proof” now lies on the proponents of change to explain how the consequences to individuals of enforcing the biblical prohibitions against same-sex acts are greater than the consequences to the church of ignoring the testimony of scripture and overturning thousands of years of tradition.

Gagnon doesn’t believe such a case has been made. But the final third of “For the Bible Tells Me So” tries to make that case as powerfully as possible.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for sending in your comment. Because this is a moderated forum, it will need to be reviewed before going live. We'll try to get it on the site as quickly as possible.