NT Wright quote

Check out this post over at the Wesleyan/Anglican blog of Todd Stepp. It shares a great quote from N.T. Wright about God's accepting us as we are on the one hand and God's transforming our character just by loving us and calling forth our love of him on the other hand. This deep truth has implications not only for the Church's debates over sexual morality, but also over what it means for every aspect of our life to be "converted" and transformed by the grace of Christ, and brought under the reign of his Kingdom of Life.

I was blessed to attend a lecture by Bishop Wright this past Saturday at St. Matthew's Cathedral of the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas on this same topic.

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Anonymous Todd Stepp said...

Thanks for the mention.


11:59 AM, November 16, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In regards to the debate on sexual morality I'm just happy that all the evidence points to the ability of homosexuals to change their sexuality through prayer. If science had proved that sexuality is not a choice and is impossible to change than I would be forced to conclude that any god that punished someone for something they have no control over would be evil. It also warms my heart to known that homosexuals are not unfairly ostracized by our community largely because of a few scant mentions in the Bible of its sinful nature compared to say, adultery, which occurs many times throughout the Bible but is only considered bad today and is easily forgiven by the community at large. Like I said it’s a good thing god would never allow that to happen.

11:09 PM, November 16, 2010  
Blogger Daniel McLain Hixon said...

Hi Anonymous,

I would like to hear more of what evidence you are talking about. I have heard that some faith based programs (like Exodus International or Transforming Congregations) and some secular psychotherapy programs as well have had some success in helping individuals with unwanted homosexual desires, but I don't really know much about the extent of that work.

It seems to me, however, that your framing of the issue has some erroneous presuppositions built into it. In my church no one believes that God punishes people for that over which they have no control; this really would be (as you say) quite unjust on God's part. The United Methodist Church teaches that homosexual BEHAVIOR is contrary to God's will, and we always have control over our own behavior (unless we are coerced, in which case Christianity has long held we are not morally responsible). The existence of homosexual DESIRES is probably in large measure due to genetic and early childhood development factors that are beyond the control of individuals who experience same-sex attactions, so that simply having such feelings is certainly not a choice or decision made by the individual.

Part of the point of Christian living in any area of life is using our Reason and our Will to submit our behavior in loving obedience to God, regardless of what our desires are. We learn to say with Jesus in Gethsemane "not what I want, O God, but what you want..." We who trust God believe that this ultimately is the healthiest and finally most life-giving thing we can do - even if it hurts in the short term (Jesus himself being the supreme example whom we are called to "take up our cross and follow").

This is a hard message for many in our culture to hear precisely because we have been told many times that we need to be "authentic" and do "what comes naturally" and so on. But anyone who has been married can tell you that, in large part, you stay married by NOT doing what comes naturally (i.e. following our sexual desires where-ever they may take us with whomever they may notice). Instead we do what is in keeping with the new nature that God, by his Holy Spirit, has promised us in baptism and is working into us as we give ourselves to him. Then indeed our desires to do unbiblical things (of any sort) may begin to change, or at least, may be easier for us to say "no" to.

8:03 AM, November 17, 2010  

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