Embracing the Curse?

Rod Martin takes me to task for my view on the Obama/Romney match-up here. I am sure I will have other things to say on that subject later, but something else came up in the course of his post that I should deal with first.

In the course of dealing with the election issue, Martin brought up an old issue of Credenda, the one entitled “Sodom As Yawnsville” (Vol. 16, No. 2). He misrepresents the overall argument of an article co-written by Doug Jones and me, saying that we were urging a “support” of the legalization of homosexual marriage. I think he says this because the binary approach of Republican/Democratic politics tends to think that lack of adequate support for one side must be understood as support for the other. This is wrong on various levels, but again, a fuller response to that can wait for another time.

Because of Martin’s post, I went back and read those articles again. Let me begin with the context for what follows. In the Thema of that issue, written just by me, I said this:

“From this time forward, the pulpits of America must be filled with holy demands for reformation of liturgy and worship, sound teaching on what marriage is and what it is for, and prophetic calls for the nation as a nation to repent — and as a nation to come to Jesus.”

This has been my consistent position for many years, and it necessarily involves the exclusion of homosexual marriage, and was intended at the time to exclude it. So where did the idea come from that we were supporting the legalization of homosexual marriage? That is an inaccurate impression, and something I would never support, but it was not invented from whole cloth.

Those who have followed the ministry here for some years know that Doug Jones was for many years a key player here with us. A few years ago, he left our ministry because of a widening gap between his theological vision and ours. Since that time, some of the convictions that were driving Doug Jones (earlier on) have in hindsight become clearer to us (later on). We were moving apart earlier than we fully recognized at the time. What this means is that it appears clear to me (now) that he was intending some of the phrases in our co-written article in a way that I was not intending them. Because Doug and I were working so closely together, it also seems to me that some outsiders saw some of the implications of those words themselves more clearly than I did. Hence a retraction, at least from me, now clearly appears necessary.

Now Martin says that in the World magazine kerfluffle that followed, I simply tried to ignore what we had said. That is not true — I knew what I had meant and what I was arguing for, and so I just continued to argue for that. But, in retrospect, reading over the article again (after Doug’s departure), I do want to retract the following phrases, italicized below. Along with the retraction, as the editor of Credenda, I would like to apologize for the confusion we caused. If we were to republish this issue, I think these phrases should either be deleted or rewritten. And because of possible differences at the tectonic plate level, it would probably be a good idea to thoroughly review the whole article. But in retracting these phrases, I do not in any way want to indicate that Doug would agree with me in wanting to retract them.

So here they are:

“Under a curse, we should own the curse of same-sex marriage and not fight it so far as it concerns them.”

“In the brewing culture wars, we ought not to stand with those seeking to ban same-sex marriage (or with those seeking to impose it). We ought to declare publicly (frustrating both sides) that we embrace this curse. If the civil authority demands our political tunic, we let him have our political cloak also.”

“At the same time as offering no resistance in the civil realm, we increase the fight within the Church.”

At the same time, I would still endorse the larger points of that article, including the arguments that the Church is responsible for the mess we are in, and would point out (again) that Christians ought not to be working for a political salvation detached from the Savior. But more on that later.



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