Saturday, June 20, 2015

A First Attempt at a Christian Understanding of Marriage and Sexuality

1. We will attempt to understand any biblical passage in its biblical context. In Leviticus 18, we may read this prohibition: You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination (v. 22, New Revised Standard Version, here and following).

Let’s put that verse into its biblical context. Leviticus 18 is largely about the prohibition of certain sexual acts. In it Yahweh forbids sexual intercourse between close relatives (vs. 6-18, 20), with one’s wife while she is menstruating (v. 19), between two men (v. 22), and with any animal (v. 23). In this passage Yahweh also forbids the sacrifice of children to Molech (Jupiter).

Thursday, June 18, 2015

How We Christians Make the Issue of Homosexuality an Olympian One

1. We treat it as a moral issue rather than as a spiritual one. Jesus did not come to get us to conform to some new moral code—not even one based on the Bible. Instead, he came to free us from any and all moral codes. The question, then, is not one of morality. The question is one of spirituality. In our way of living, are we devoting ourselves to the six rather dull Olympian gods of power? Or are we witnessing to the one true god of freedom?

Saturday, June 13, 2015

A Chalcedonian Glance at Platonism and Augustine on Human Nature

In The Civilization of the Middle Ages (1993), Norman Cantor tells us that the “most influential philosophical system in the ancient world…was Platonism” (14). Everyone who was anyone had to understand, if not embrace, this dominant Olympian way of thinking. According to it, “ignorance was the cause of evil and…properly educated men would exercise their rational faculties and do good” (75).

Friday, June 12, 2015

Understanding Human Nature Using the Chalcedonian Formula

Today we will briefly discuss an understanding of human nature from a Chalcedonian, paradoxical, biblical point of view. Quickly, we may say that every human being has (1) a wholly Christian personality as well as a wholly Olympian personality, (2) without separating the two, (3) without mixing the two, and (4) keeping them rightly ordered.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

The Chalcedonian Formula (AD 451): An Insight for the Ages

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways,” says [Yahweh] (Isaiah 55:8). From the prophet Isaiah we learn that the thoughts and ways of Yahweh are unimaginably different from our own.  We may even boldly affirm that Yahweh’s way of being god is absolutely different from our creaturely (let alone sinful!) way of being human. The pressing question for us is how to understand him.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Disentangling Church and Empire

Augustine's world
Augustine of Hippo remains one of the most influential theologians in the history of the Church. One reason for his enduring significance: he responded creatively to difficult days.