Tuesday, January 24, 2023

The Rest is Just Details

On my reading of current (and historical) debate, lots of people seem to want to make Christianity complex and difficult. And, for reasons I won't go into here, I read a lot of that debate. One of those I read on a fairly regular basis is Rod Dreher, who has lots of interesting opinions on what constitutes "traditional" and "orthodox" Christianity, especially with respect to congregations and denominations. Like this one, for example:

Scripture is so clear and strong on the question of homosexuality that I could not stay in a denomination that treated the question of same-sex marriage as a matter of local opinion. Whether you are pro-SSM or anti-SSM, it is a very big deal, for what the practice says about the authority of Scripture and the Bible's teaching about what sex is, what marriage and married love is for, and indeed what it means to be a man or a woman created in God's image. It's such a big issue that I simply cannot see Christians agreeing to disagree within the same communion, as if something so central to Christian life was ancillary to the real work of the Church.

I don't claim to be a deeply educated theologian, nor am I an expert on the internal dynamics of churches. And my perception of the religion that Jesus taught (versus the Pauline heresy) is that it's what we today call "Judaism." But when I come across stuff like this, my tendency is to default to two passages from scripture.

The first is Luke 10:25-28:
25 And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?

26 He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?

27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.

28 And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.

The second is Matthew 18:20:

18 Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.

20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

If a congregation or denomination can agree, for whatever reason, that it's OK to eat shellfish, or plant mixed crops in the same field, or worship on the day of the Roman sun god rather than on the sabbath, or bond romantically/sexually/maritally within the same sex rather than opposite sexes, especially in light of that first passage, the only hangups I can see there are either Jewish or Pauline (aka pagan), rather than "Christian," in nature.

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