How can we bless what God detests?

Posted on January 24, 2023 
Filed under Church of England, Culture wars, Theology

“Arguments against the use of Leviticus 18 in any serious discussion in the church about same-sex relationships have become so commonplace as to feature in everything from Radio 4’s The News Quiz to Aaron Sorkin’s The West Wing.

If we want to argue that homosexual sexual activity is wrong, the argument goes, we must stop eating prawn sandwiches, put people to death for working on the Sabbath, and get rid of any polycotton garments we might own.

And yet, even a quick glance at the chapter in question will show that none of those things are mentioned. In fact, the list of things prohibited in Leviticus 18 is rather more sinister: various forms of incest, child sacrifice and bestiality. I wonder whether President Bartlet would have been happy to make those things legal. I certainly doubt that Bishop Stephen Croft would want to support them, despite his willingness to use the argument of President Bartlet his recent publication Together in Love and Faith (p31-32).

I suggest that we need to take a clearer look at (i) the place of the Old Testament law in Christian ethics and (ii) the particular context of Leviticus 18, rather than rely on the tired lines of stand-up comedians and political satire. …”

– This was written in December 2022, after the Bishop of Oxford had released his booklet endorsing same-sex marriage. Church Society’s Associate Director, Dr. Ros Clarke addresses the big question behind the call for the church to bless same-sex relationships.

In her conclusion she asks,

“How can we tell people that something God has said will lead to death, will actually lead to life? How could we be so wicked as to lie about something so important? How could we hope to avoid God’s judgment on us for knowingly leading people astray?”