Tuesday, November 03, 2015

James White: The Same Sex Marriage Debate vs Codrington

Dr. White debated Graeme Codrington on the topic of same sex marriage (link to debate on SermonAudio). I agreed with Codrington that Dr. White did an excellent job defending the "traditional" view. I wanted to mention a few points that occurred to me in listening to the debate, while encouraging you, my reader, to go listen to the debate for yourself. Also check out the related debate that I mention in my comments below.

1) Heteronomative Scripture
Dr. White made a good point in the debate that it's more than just the "six verses" that specifically call out homosexual practices as sin. Instead, the remainder of Scripture provides a positive presentation regarding sexuality. That positive presentation makes heterosexual relations the norm. That's an important point, because it frames the issue. Within the context of Scripture, the pattern is "husband and wife" not simply life partners.

2) Patriarchal Scripture
Codrington raised the point that Scriptures present a patriarchal model in which there is male headship and even male ownership of wives and children. I noticed a similar issue arise in the debate between Jason Wallace and Scott Dalgarno (link to youtube video of that debate). One thing we need to be prepared to do is to confound Codrington and Dalgarno by affirming that the Biblical norm of patriarchy. Basic consistency does demand this from us - if we are going to affirm the creation ordinance of heterosexual marriage, we should also affirm the creation ordinance of how that heterosexual marriage is to be ordered. There is a sort of perverse consistency to Codrington and Dalgarno rejecting the Biblical norm of heterosexuality, given that they have already rejected the Biblical norm of patriarchy. If Biblical norms for the ordering of society matter, we should hold the. If they don't matter, we shouldn't insist on them.

3) Ownership of Humans in Scripture
Codrington and Dalgarno raised the ubiquitous objection that Scripture doesn't condemn slavery. Again, we need to be prepared to confound these men by affirming the Scripture's position. We are "bought with a price" (1 Cor 6:20 and 7:23). We are slaves of Jesus, our master. He owns us. We are his property. We are not absolutely opposed to slavery on Enlightenment grounds, even though we are opposed to any form of slavery that is based on denying the full humanity of people based on their skin color or the like. We recognize that the Bible affirmed that slaves were the property of their masters (e.g. Exodus 21:20-21 And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand; he shall be surely punished. Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished: for he is his money.). Thus, we don't agree with the idea that it is somehow intrinsically immoral for a man to own another man, even though we recognize limitations on that ownership (see the same verses above).

Both Codrington and Dalgarno seem to take for granted that the Bible was wrong on the relationship of masters and slaves, husbands and wives, and parents and children. The "liberal church" has certainly begun to take those debates for granted. We need to be ready to shock them by affirming that the Bible was right on those things.


Godith said...

Can you define patriarchy?

NotYetACalvinist said...

Point #2:

we should hold the.

should be:

we should hold them.

(at least I think that is what you mean)

Reformed Apologist said...

"Both Codrington and Dalgarno seem to take for granted that the Bible was wrong..."

In which case, maybe the debate should have been on the authority of Scripture. Or at least, maybe over what the Bible teaches about these matters, whether it's God's inspired word or not.