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David Runcorn is an ordained priest in the Church of England, he is a writer and a theologian, and in recent years he has been a prominent voice among those arguing for the Church of England to accept same-sex relationships as a legitimate form of Christian discipleship. His book consists of fifteen chapters.
He argues that in the face of these challenges:.
We need to learn how to love without fear as we explore new patterns of relating and belonging. We have not been here before. Dialogue with and beyond the word. Above all it offers a creative and imaginative way of connecting ancient Scriptures with the challenges of life and faith today.
All voices are welcome.
Hospitality offered le to blessing. Hospitality rejected le to destruction. There has always been a spectrum of self-understanding and expression. Love in runcorn we have in common is the call to authentic love, living, giving and belonging. Each of us must travel our own path and accept particular gifts and challenges on the way. However, he says:. Rather than focussed on supposed origins, we should recognise that Christian marriage, like all discipleship, is ificant for what it points towards. We have in our midst an important company of fellow Christians who simply do not recognise themselves, or their vocation to love and partnership, in those ancient texts.
What, then, is the objection to opening marriage to couples of the same sex whose union will not conceive children but who have recognised each other in love and so would leave, cling and become one flesh? Runcorn comments:. It was a vision of a new community, based on a radically new belonging and identity in Christ. It presents the challenge of responding obediently to what feels to be the inspiration of the Spirit even though it appears to contradict the plainest traditional understandings of the given texts.
This is because the lives of faithful gay Christians can be seen to be producing good fruit and thus show that they are good trees. As Runcorn puts It:. It is marked by a quality of life and spirit — love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
This is not fruit a bad tree can produce p. So much of Pauls pastoral advice on choice, abstinence and not burning speaks directly to the lives of gay men and women today. He then goes on to comment that Christians today:. Exploited carelessly for pleasure, fearfully held at a distance, or burdened with impossible expectations of fulfilment in relationships, human sexuality is the place where some of the deepest wounding and confusion in our culture are found. Is this not something to celebrate? Contrary to what Runcorn argues in chapters 1 and 4, the current discussions about same-sex relationships are something about which we should be anxious.
The one does not follow from the other.
However, the starting point for this discussion needs to be the clear and unequivocal teaching of the Bible and the Christian tradition that sexual intercourse should only take place between one man and one woman in the context of marriage.
Runcorn is again right to say in chapter 2 that Jesus and the early Church welcomed everyone regardless of their race, sex, social standing, or conduct. Because this is the case it makes perfect sense to say that the Church must welcome those with same-sex attraction and those in same-sex relationships, but that it must also make clear that they should not engage in same-sex sexual activity. The purpose of asking questions is to find answers and once the answers are known the questions should cease and appropriate action should be taken.
Runcorn is mistaken when he suggests in chapter 6 that we do not yet understand the prohibition of same-sex activity in Leviticus The background to the prohibition of same-sex sexual relationships both in this verse and in Leviticus is the existence of such relationships among the Egyptians and the Canaanites Leviticusthese verses contain a general prohibition of same-sex relationships per se without any qualifications and cover lesbian relationships as welland the rationale behind this prohibition is a wider prohibition of all forms of sexual activity outside marriage as being contrary to the order laid down by God in creation.
The continuing presence and power of sin in the lives of believers means that all Christians engage in various forms of sin see the General Confession in The Book of Common Prayer and these forms of sin remain Love in runcorn even though devout Christians engage in them. Saying that same-sex relationships should not be regarded as sinful because Christians engage in them is thus simply foolish. However, this does not mean that the biblical writers did not know of the reality to which the word refers, namely men and women who desire, or engage in, same-sex sexual activity.
Furthermore, contrary to what Runcorn claims, the biblical writers do not simply reject certain specific forms of same-sex relationships. That this is so is indicated by the following factors:. They carry no connotation of Love in runcorn or abusive behaviour, nor is this suggested anywhere else in the verses concerned. However, we can and do know on the basis of our biology that we are male or female. It is also true that there is a spectrum of what it means to be male or female. That is why men are different from other men and women are different from other women. Nevertheless we can say that woman are different from, and physically and psychologically complementary to, men and vice versa.
Furthermore, while it is true, as Runcorn says, that we are not defined solely by our bodies, since we are a compound of a material body and a immaterial soul,  nevertheless our bodies are integral to who we are and we are male if we have male bodies and female if we have female ones. Gender transition cannot alter this fact.
Through hormones or surgery some of the physical characteristics of a body can be altered, but that body will remain fundamentally male or female right down to the cellular level and the person whose body it is will therefore remain either male or female. Our basic, God given, sex is immutable. The fact that same-sex marriages have been introduced in this country does not change the fact that God ordained marriage to be a relationship between two people of the opposite sex GenesisMatthew Nothing the government has done, or can do, will alter this fact.
We do not have the authority to change the character of marriage established by God at creation and the government was guilty of a massive act of hubris when it thought otherwise. Two people of the same sex can enter into a permanent, exclusive, sexual relationship with each other if they wish, but this will not be a marriage and will not be approved of by God. Contrary to what Runcorn claims in chapter 12, the story of the inclusion of the Gentiles into the Church in Acts is not an example of Christians being led by the Spirit to act in way that went beyond the teaching of Scripture.
The words of James in Acts explicitly declare that the inclusion of the Gentiles into the Church was in line with what God had declared would happen in Amos and Jeremiah and the instructions given to Gentile believers in Acts correspond to the laws laid down for resident aliens in Israel in Leviticus Furthermore, these instructions include abstaining from porneia which would include same-sex relationshipswhich makes it even more inappropriate to cite the inclusion of the Gentiles as a Love in runcorn for the acceptance of same-sex relationships by the Church.
Runcorn cannot have it both ways. However, we know from elsewhere in his writings that Paul does believe that same-sex relationships are sinful and so the same argument would not apply to Christians who are thinking of entering same-sex relationships.
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You are commenting using your Facebook. Notify me of new comments via. Notify me of new posts via. Standard Posted by martindavie. Posted on October 27, Posted under Uncategorized. Comments Leave a comment. Introduction David Runcorn is an ordained priest in the Church of England, he is a writer and a theologian, and in recent years he has been a prominent voice among those arguing for the Church of England to accept same-sex relationships as a legitimate form of Christian discipleship.
The couples he is referring to are, of course, same-sex couples who are seeking to be married. This reading of the text is reinforced by the fact that in Judgesa text which scholars generally agree is based on the Sodom story and which is thus the first commentary on itthe verb yada is also used with a consistently sexual meaning. Finally, this reading of the text is supported by the fact noted by James De Young that in the literary structure of Genesis the story of Sodom forms part of a trio of stories that sit between the promise of the birth of Isaac in Genesis and its fulfilment in Genesisthe other two being the story of the incest of Lot and his daughters Genesis and the story of Abraham, Sarah and Abimelech Genesis Illicit sexual enjoyment or opportunism links all three episodes.
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Introducing “Love Means Love”