Here is the bottom line question. Given that Jesus would not condone same sex activity, what would he do and say to people struggling with homosexual desires? How would he communicate God’s grace and truth without pushing them over the edge? Don’t tell me that my views are hateful bigotry unless you can answer that question, especially if you’re leading a session at ETS. I have seen the next fault line that will divide evangelicals, and it’s already here.
The Evangelical Theological Society’s annual meeting is different for everyone, as we attend different sessions and meet or miss (sorry, Jim!) different people. Here are a few highlights for me.
On Tuesday I attended Ligon Duncan’s session on “Recent Aspects of the Complementarian-Egalitarian Discussion.” Ligon noted that our present cultural moment has changed the dynamics of this conversation within the church. The culture says that gender no longer matters for marriage, egalitarians say the same thing about gender roles, while complementarians say both gender and roles matter. Complementarians face the challenge of looking like medieval bigots, as they are now two steps removed from the culture’s position. Egalitarians face the challenge of appearing unstable, as they oppose gender roles in marriage while still saying that gender matters.
Ligon noted that many are looking for a third way between the Bible and culture, but there are only two possible positions on each of the same sex marriage and the complementarian/egalitarian debates. He said it’s better to be honest with each other and live with the awkwardness than to be ambiguous about our positions and be perceived as disingenuous.
I then gave my talk, “Ordinary or Radical: Can You Serve Jesus and Still Enjoy Your Life?” I explained that though well-intentioned, the radical desire to not waste your life can lead to devastating effects on both ethics and doctrine. It can piously destroy the faith of Christians and also piously destroy the Christian faith. I discovered there is an echo effect to having a session on the first day. Throughout the rest of the conference I had the opportunity to meet people who were there and to talk further with them about what it means for their lives and ministries.
Read another opinion article on this topic: The Evangelical Theological Society after Obergefell by Denny Burke