Rogers Advocates for LGBT Equality, Part 2

Rogers_review_06162015Jack Rogers. 2009. Jesus, The Bible, and Homosexuality:  Explode the Myths, Heal the Church.  Louisville:  Westminster John Knox Press. (Goto Part 1)

Review by Stephen W. Hiemstra

The single, most important organizational issue facing the Presbyterian Church (USA; PCUSA) in this generation has been the loss in membership. Since the merger of the Northern and Southern denomination in 1984, total membership has declined from 3,100,951 in 1984 to 1,667,767 in 2014 [1]. This is a loss of about half (46%) in 30 years or an average of 1.5 % per year [2]. Because the primary evangelism practiced in the PCUSA is with our own youth, slowing the departure of young people from the church has been an obvious, but unattended priority [3]. So what was PCUSA leadership doing while this was going on? Part of the answer is the subject of Jack Rogers’ book, Jesus, The Bible, and Homosexuality [4].

What was the biblical warrant for the priority given in the PCUSA  to gender confusion?

Bible Passages Pertinent to Homosexuality

Rogers (66) lists 8 biblical texts that get the most attention in debating homosexuality:

  1. Genesis 19:1-29 (Story of Sodom and Gomorrah).
  2. Judges 19:1-30 (Rape of Levite’s concubine).
  3. Leviticus 18:1-30 (law).
  4. Leviticus 20:1-27 (law).
  5. 1 Corinthians 6:9-17-17 (vice list).
  6. 1Timothy 1:3-13 (vice list).
  7. Jude 1-25 (unnatural relations). and
  8. Romans 1 (new covenant rejected).

To this list, Rogers (86,128-136) adds several other passages which he sees as biblical analogies, including:

  1. Acts 10-15 (acceptance of gentiles).
  2. Luke 10:25-37 (good Samaritan).
  3. Matthew 19:10-12 (Jesus on marriage).
  4. Acts 8:26-39 (Ethiopian eunuch).
  5. Isaiah 56:4-5 (Eunuch’s acceptance).

Most authors start a conversation of homosexuality with a discussion Genesis 1-3 because the Bible’s discussion of sexual relations from that point forward assumes monogamous heterosexual marriage is the exclusive model for sexual relationships. This is why, for example, polygamous marriages are never raised up as a Biblical standard (even if tolerated by ancient society) and homosexuality is later condemned as sin (Lev 20:13).

Biblical Model for Marriage

The modeling of monogamous heterosexual marriage in Genesis is obvious and has always been the focus of church moral teaching.  A creator God creates Adam and Eve in His image (Gen 1:27) and immediately tells them to continue His work of creating (Gen 1:28), which heterosexual sex makes  possible (Gen 2:24). Sin arises when the woman believes a talking snake’s word over God’s word (Gen 3:1-6).

Intensification of Sin

This story of original sin is followed by stories of intensification of sin—Cain’s murder of his brother (Gen 4:8) and Lamech’s introduction of polygamy (Gen 4:19; Feinberg 1998, 30). The story of Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen 19) can accordingly be thought of one of these examples of intensification of sin.

This intensification of sin is evident both because the story follows a sequence of increasing greater sins in the Genesis accounts culminating in Noah’ s flood where  God brings an apocalypse of water.  Why?  Because of sin (Gen 6:5-7). Modeled on the flood, God then destroys the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah through fire.  Why?  Again, it is sin (Gen 18:20). God’s judgment is reserved for especially egregious sins.

Rogers Response to Traditional Reading

Rogers disputes that Genesis 1-3 lay out monogamous heterosexual marriage as a model (83). Stripping out the biblical model of marriage throws the interpretation of the later passages that deal with homosexuality into confusion.  In general, he tip-toes around the problem of sin.

Sodom and Gommorrah

For example, taking the story of Sodom and Gomorrah out of context Rogers views the story primarily as a problem in inhospitable behavior towards a traveling guest.  He argues this interpretation because “in the ancient world homosexual rape was a traditional way for victors to accentuate the subjection of captive enemies and foes” (67) However, this sociological interpretation is contrary to the tradition of scripture.  For example, in Ezekiel we read:

“As I live, declares the Lord GOD, your sister Sodom and her daughters have not done as you and your daughters have done. Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. They were haughty and did an abomination before me. So I removed them, when I saw it.” (Ezek. 16:48-50) [5]

Two things about this passage stand out.  First, the word abomination stands out here because it normally evokes the Mosaic law (Lev 20:13) where homosexual sin is condemned and subjected to the death penalty.

Second, the women of Sodom (as well as the men) are involved in this abomination. The involvement of women is important because Rogers argues that the men  of Sodom were just establishing male dominance in the Genesis account, not engaging in homosexual activity [6]. Because woman do not normally use sex to establish dominance, the usual biblical interpretation is that we are seeing the sexual perversion of both genders in Sodom and Gomorrah. This point is reinforced in the New Testament where we read:

“just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.” (Jude 1:7 ESV)

There is no reason to appeal to extra-biblical arguments, as Rogers does repeatedly, when the biblical text itself is clear.  [7]

God’s Role in Sodom and Gomorrah

In the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, it is important to understand that God himself destroys the cities.  If their destruction expressed a cultural bias, Abraham had ample opportunity to destroy the cities  when he captured them as a prize of war in Genesis 14.  He did not.  In fact, Abraham later interceded with God (an example of prayer) for the cities in Genesis 18:25-33.  Abraham’s behavior is an important object lesson for us.  We are to pray for those caught up in sin and leave judgment to God.

Holiness Code

How does Rogers deal with homosexuality in the holiness code of Leviticus?

Rogers cites 3 reasons for the holiness code focusing on the need to maintain ritual purity:

  1. Israel needed to distinguish itself from neighboring nations in order to survive.
  2. Mixing with other people or adopting their customs threatened purity.
  3. Male gender superiority had to be maintained. (68-69)

Rogers sees both Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 fitting into this cultural critique, but the Bible focuses on ritual purity as being modeled after God’s immutable character:

“For I am the LORD who brought you up out of the land of Egypt to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.” (Lev 11:45 ESV)

God’s immutable character also informs Jesus’ comments about the human heart. Jesus said:

“But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person.  For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.” (Matt. 15:18-19 ESV)

The expression, “out of the heart”, means feelings and emotions, and it implies that Jesus was suspicious of such motivations [8].  By contrast, Rogers abrogates these verses because they are inconsistent with the double love command (Matt 22:36-40) and—like the holiness code itself—they are an example of culturally conditions laws (69).  Using a general principle (double love command) to abrogate a specific command (prohibit homosexuality as sin) does have biblical warrant, but primary example in Genesis 3:1 is criticized as satanic.[9]  In any case, the church has historically abrogated the ceremonial codes in Leviticus, but not the  holiness codes which form the basis of much of the Apostle Paul’s moral teaching.

Roger’s Interpretation

Much more could be said about Rogers’ arguments about homosexuality. However, his frequent use of cultural arguments generally focuses not on what the Bible says, but why he thinks the Bible says it. He then questions the motivation of the biblical author and those that disagree with his interpretation. It is hard to reconcile this sort of rhetoric with a high regard for scriptural authority, on which he professes to be an expert (7-8).

Although I disagree profoundly with the argumentation and conclusions of Jack Rogers’ Jesus, The Bible, and Homosexuality, he does a better job than any author I know of chronicling recent changes in the PCUSA. Unfortunately, the changes that he has advocated have led even more rapid decline in denomination membership than in previous years and, as a parent of kids struggling to believe, I grieve the denomination’s insistence on majoring in minors rather than preaching, teaching, and supporting the Gospel.

Nevertheless, in Christ we are never without hope.  Consider this verse:

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (Heb 4:15 ESV)

This verse is a personal reminder that we all struggle with sin.  The irony is that the church offering the most healing [10] may not sing the sweetest siren song [11].

Soli Gloria Deo

Footnotes

[1] Total U.S. population grew from 225 million in 1980 to 309 million in 2010 or 36 percent or about 1.2 percent per year (https://en.wikipedia.org/?title=Demographics_of_the_United_States).  This implies that PCUSA membership has fallen even as population has increased.  This trend would be considered  a stunning failure in top leadership in any other organization.

[2] The rate of decline in membership in the PCUSA has been accelerating in recent years and jumped from 3.29 percent in 2011 percent to 5.26 percent in 2012 with the passage of provisions encouraging the ordination of homosexuals. See:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presbyterian_Church_(U.S.A.)

[3] The aging of the membership underscores this assessment.

[4] Kinnaman (2011, 21) provides a research-based exploration of the dropout of our youth.  He sees the core problem as a “disciple-making problem”.  A distracted church is unlikely to spend the time necessary to make disciples or to commit resources to making it happen.

[5] The parallel between Ezekiel’s characterization of Sodom and Gomorrah and postmodern secular society is most striking.

[6] The rape of Levite’s concubine in  Judges 19:1-30 is a parallel passage.

[7] Solo Scriptura—in God’s economy all knowledge is God’s knowledge, but the only authority for matters of faith in the reformed tradition is scripture.

[8] Elliott (2006, 264) studied the use of emotions in the New Testament and concluded:  “Emotions are a faithful reflection of what we believe and value.”  Jesus’ teaching about the heart and suspicion about emotions suggests that the underlying problem of sin motivated his teaching.  This is why Paul could write: “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures…” (1 Cor 15:3 ESV)  Atoning for sin was at the heart of Jesus’ ministry both on earth and post-resurrection.  This is why the Gospel requires both truth and grace (John 8:11).

[9] The passage reads:  “Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, Did God actually say, You shall not eat of any tree in the garden?” (Gen. 3:1 ESV)  Satan infers from a general principle (any tree) that it is okay to eat from a specific tree (the tree of knowledge) which is, of course, not what God said.

[10]  Each time we mourn a loss, we have to make a decision.  Do we lean into our pain or do we lean on God?  (Matt 26:36-44) Our identity is defined by the answer we give to this question each and every time.  Healing arises when our identity is in Christ, the Great Physician.

[11] “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” (2 Tim. 4:3-4 ESV)

REFERENCES

Elliott, Matthew A. 2006. Faithful Feelings: Rethinking Emotion in the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel.

Feinberg, Jeffrey Enoch. 1998. Walk Genesis: A Messianic Jewish Devotional Commentary. Clarksville, MD: Lederer Books.

Kinnaman, David. 2011. “You Lost Me:  Why Young Christians are Leaving Church…” Grand Rapids:  BakerBooks.

Rogers Advocates for LGBT Equality, Part 2

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Gagnon: Bridging the Bible and Gender Confusion, Part 1

Robert Gagnon, the Bible and Homosexual PracticeRobert A. J. Gagnon.  2001.  The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics.  Nashville:  Abingdon Press. (Goto part 2; goto part 3)

By Stephen W. Hiemstra, Author of Simple Faith and other books available online.

At one point in seminary I asked a professor [1] to outline the biblical case for gay marriage. He responded that the Bible did not offer a strong case for gay marriage; it was just the right thing to do. Evangelicals typically focus on his first point while progressives typically focus on the second point. Robert Gagnon’s The Bible and Homosexual Practice outlines a detailed interpretation of the Bible’s teaching on this issue.

Introduction

Gagnon states his objectives as:

“to demonstrate two main points: First, there is clear, strong, and credible evidence that the Bible unequivocally defines same-sex intercourse as sin. Second, there exist no valid hermeneutical arguments derived from either general principles of biblical interpretation or contemporary scientific knowledge and experience for overriding the Bible’s authority on this matter” (37).

Gagnon’s conclusion that the Bible treats homosexuality as sin[2] (a theological statement) should surprise no one, but it is not obvious how the church should respond to it (a problem in ethics). Theology is easy because a statement is either true or not; ethics is hard because it necessarily involves trade-offs between multiple theological principles in tension. We are all sinners and stand in need of God’s grace.  This implies that no sin is unforgivable and we are to share the Gospel with everyone.  But, how do we properly love the unrepentant sinner?  And, what is special about witnessing to someone struggling with gender confusion?  These are not hypothetical questions.  Unfortunately, the postmodern church (like the church at Laodicea) has often neglected to teach the doctrine of sin which leaves it with scarce moral authority to provide advice on any particular sin (Rev. 3:14-19).

Homosexuality Contrary to God’s Intent

Gagnon summarizes his book with 4 reasons “why those who engage in same-sex intercourse act contrary to God’s intentions for human sexual relations”.  Those reasons (487-489) are:

  1. “Same-sex intercourse is strongly and unequivocally rejected by the revelation of scripture.”
  2. “Same-sex intercourse represents a suppression of the visible evidence in nature regarding male-female anatomical and procreation complementarity.”
  3. “Societal endorsement of homosexual behavior will only accelerate the many negative social effects [serious health problems, greater pedophilic behavior, erosion in expectations of marriage, annihilation of gender norms, and marginalization of those that speak out] arising from such behavior…”
  4. “The practicing homosexual’s own relationship with the Creator will be put in jeopardy.”

Gagnon’s argues these points thoroughly.  For example, in talking about the health effects of homosexual behavior, Gagnon cites[3] an unspecified health condition and lists all the possible negative consequences of this condition.  Reading about this list, one is suspicious that the condition is homosexuality—it is not—the condition is alcoholism.  The health consequences of homosexuality are much worse (471-473), including:

  • “A significantly decreased likelihood of establishing or preserving a successful marriage.
  • A 25-35 year decrease in life expectancy.
  • Chronic, potentially fatal, liver disease—infectious hepatitis, which increases the risk of liver cancer.
  • Inevitably fatal-immune disease, including associated cancers.
  • Frequently, fatal rectal cancer.
  • Multiple bowel and other infectious diseases.
  • A much higher than usual incidence of suicide.
  • A very low likelihood that its adverse effects can be eliminated unless the condition itself is. An at least 50% likelihood of being eliminated through lengthy, often costly, and very time-consuming treatment.” (473)

Having worked in a hospital emergency room, this list is not surprising. I lost a pastoral mentor to AIDS as a young person and personally assisted a number of hospital patients suffering from problems on this list, including HIV, when I worked as a chaplain intern [4].  The Center for Disease Control estimates that more than half a million people have died from AIDS in the United States alone.  Meanwhile, more than a million people are currently infected with HIV [5].  Gagnon’s point is that the Bible’s teaching on homosexuality is of continuing relevance in postmodern moral teaching.

Pastoral Response

Ironically, pastors and churches that ignore people suffering from gender confusion (or, worse, condone it) are complicit in the Apostle Paul’s assessment in Romans 1:24-27giving them over to their ungodly passions. Gagnon compares homosexuality with alcoholism both because of the medical problems associated (including an addictive character), but also because recovery is difficult.  Clinical studies prior to politicization of the issue reported recovery rates of about 30 percent (28.8%), roughly on par with success rates reported by Alcoholics Anonymous (420-432) [6].  Recovery in this context means we are able to control our responses, not our temptations.

Background on Gagnon

Gagnon is a professor at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and elder in the Presbyterian Church (USA). He has a master’s in theological studies from Harvard Divinity School and a doctor of philosophy from Princeton Theological Seminary [7]. The acknowledgments section of his book reads like a who’s who of evangelical scholars.  The Bible and Homosexual Practice is written in 5 chapters:

  1. The Witness of the Old Testament,
  2. Same-Sex Intercourse as a “Contrary to Nature” in Early Judaism,
  3. The Witness of Jesus,
  4. The Witness of Paul and Deutero-Paul, and
  5. The Hermeneutical Relevance of the Biblical Witness (5-10).

The introduction and conclusions are not numbered.  These chapters are proceeded by the acknowledgments and followed by both a topical and a scriptural index.

Church Response

The response of the church to gender confusion is the defining issue of our day. Until the 1980s, no Christian denomination considered homosexuality acceptable behavior; now, many denominations, including my own, are having trouble establishing spiritual boundaries of any kind—the teaching on homosexuality stands out primarily in that it is the most obvious.  As a consequence,  Christians need to be aware of the arguments being made. In this debate, Gagnon’s research is an important resource.

Assessment

Here in part 1, I have given an overview of Gagnon’s argument and highlighted health effects of homosexuality.  Christians more normally focus on scriptural arguments.  So, in part 2, I will survey his review of Old Testament passages on homosexuality and, in part 3, I will turn to passages on the New Testament.

Footnotes

[1] The professor was on the faculty at University of Dubuque Theological Seminary.

[2] For example: “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.” (Lev. 18:22 ESV)  Also: “For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.” (Rom. 1:26-27 ESV)

[3] This reference is taken from Jeffrey Satinover’s “Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth” (Grand Rapids:  Baker Books, 1996).

[4] The issue of health effects relating to homosexual behavior was in the media only this morning (http://bit.ly/1RqrW7X).

[5] http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/statistics/basics/ataglance.html.

[6] Earlier I reviewed the story of a Lesbian conversion:  Butterfield Journeys from PC to JC (http://wp.me/p3Xeut-wj)

[7] http://www.RobGagnon.net.

Gagnon: Bridging the Bible and Gender Confusion, Part 1

Also see:

Fortson and Grams Bible Limits Sex to Christian Marriage, Part 1 

Campbell Turns Gender Confusion into Ministry

Rogers Argues for LGBT Equality, Part 1

Webb: Analyzing Culture in Scripture and in Life

Vanhoozer: How Do We Understand the Bible? Part 1 

Books, Films, and Ministry

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net, Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter at: http://bit.ly/2018_Ascension

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Butterfield Journeys from PC to JC

Rosario Butterfield
Art by Stephen W. Hiemstra

Rosaria Champagne Butterfield [1]. 2012.  The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert:  An English Professor’s Journey into Christian Faith.  Pittsburgh:  Crown & Covenant Publications.

Review by Stephen W. Hiemstra

What is conversion?

In postmodern thinking, conversion is an act of treason.  The modern thinker believes in objectivity—a single, objective reality exists which we can study, understand, and agree on.  By contrast, the postmodern thinker believes truth is socially constructed. There is not one objective truth; there is only your truth and my truth. The interpretative community (the social group) in power determines reality. Therefore, the convert from one worldview to another is accordingly a traitor (or heretic) to the interpretive community (social group) left behind.  Because community boundaries are vigorously defended, conversion can be accompanied by significant costs to the convert.

Introduction

In her book, The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert, Dr. Rosaria Champagne Butterfield writes about her conversion from lesbianism to Christianity.

Dr. Butterfield’s use of the word, convert, in her title suggests the vast distance that she traveled.  One converts from one religion to another, not from one hobby to another.  Lesbianism is a secular (atheistic) religion with its own philosophy (deconstructionism), cultural markers (hair-style; clothing; vocabulary; 8), public testimony (x), evangelism (8), and social networks (50).  She writes:

When I became a Christian, I had to change everything—my life, my friends, my writing, my teaching, my advising, my clothes, my speech, my thoughts.  I was tenured to a field that I could no longer work in (26).

A change in worldview requires a world of change.  She refers to lesbianism as a sin of identity (23).  What this means is that when we establish our primary identity in anything other than Christ, we commit idolatry—sin that violates the second commandment [2].  Workaholism is another common sin of identity.

Exploring Sin

In her biblical exploration of her sin, Dr. Butterfield focuses on an interesting passage:

As I live, declares the Lord GOD, your sister Sodom and her daughters have not done as you and your daughters have done. Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy.  They were haughty and did an abomination before me. So I removed them, when I saw it. (Ezekiel 16:48-50 ESV)

The sin of Sodom was not just immorality but more importantly pridea focus on self, entertainment-driven lust, love of money, and neglect of the poor (30-31).  Does this description sound familiar?

Conversion

The details of Rosario’s conversion experience are fascinating.  Her spiritual journey began with a research project.  She decided to write a book on the hermeneutic (interpretative principles) used by the Christian Right—people such as Pat Robertson.  Her research involved studying the Bible 5 hours a day (12) and led her to begin studying Greek (the New Testament is written entirely in Greek; 7).  A newspaper article that she published critiquing the gender politics of Promise Keepers [3] generated a lot of mail, including a thoughtful letter from a local pastor, Pastor Ken, who invited her to call and discuss the article (7-9).  She called. They began a conversation that extended over a period of years as she pursued her research. But the book was never completed.  From her own study of the Bible (aided by Pastor Ken’s non-anxious pastoral presence and biblical interpretation) Rosario became convinced that what the Bible said about God was true (13, 8).  Baptized and raised Roman Catholic, Rosario began attending and later joined the Reformed Presbyterian Church (RPC) [4].  She later married an RPC pastor (94).

Leader in the Gay Movement

Rosario’s claims to be a leader in the gay rights movement (4) are not lite fluff.  To see this, just check out her reading list in preparing her proposed book on the Christian Right.  For example, she read Augustine’s Confessions (50), John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion (17), and Kevin Vanhoozer’s Is There a Meaning in This Text? (87-89). These are books that challenge most seminary students—if they have read them at all—and they are required reading in understanding Christian hermeneutics (study of interpretation) and epistemology (study of knowledge).  If you think that English professors sit around reading Emily Dickson all day, you vastly underestimate Dr. Butterfield’s academic bona fides [5].

Subversive Spirit

A key takeaway from Rosario’s conversion testimony is that it was the subversive activity of the Holy Spirit, not a clever evangelist, that led her to Christ.  Like many converts from Islam, her conversion began with study of the Bible [6].

Another important takeaway concerns Pastor Ken’s ability to be a non-anxious presence for Rosario.  The RPC has a strong intellectual grounding in Calvin’s systematic theology.  Systematic theology is holistic which implies that no aspect of life or faith is doctrinally neglected—its strength lies in its completeness.  A non-anxious presence begins with emotional intelligence but requires intellectual rigor.  Lesbians, like Muslims, ask tough questions.  One earns their respect by being able to field the questions credibly, honestly, and humbly without fear.  Pastor Ken’s RPC background helped him keep up his end of the conversation.

Rosario and Augustine

The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert reads like Augustine’s Confessions.  As a young man, Augustine also struggled with sexual sin.  And, after converting to Christianity, he played an important role in the monastic movement which encouraged candidates for ministry to practice celibacy.  Augustine’s deep theology particularly influenced a young monk in the 15th century—a certain Martin Luther whose work was at the center of the Protestant Reformation.  Protestants all owe a debt of gratitude to Augustine, who struggled with and overcame sexual sin.  The Apostle Paul writes:  And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28 ESV)

Organization

Rosario’s book is short having only 5 chapters:

  • Conversion and the Gospel of Peace;
  • Repentance and the Sin of Sodom;
  • The Good Guys: Sanctification and Public Worship;
  • The Home Front:  Marriage, Ministry, and Adoptions; and
  • Homeschooling and Middle Age.

These chapters are preceded by a forward and acknowledgments and followed by a bibliography and other resources.

Rosario’s confession is likely to become a classic, in part, because it is timely and, in part, because it can be read on multiple levels.  On the surface level, it reads as a reinvestment story [7]:  there I was; here I am.  For the surface reader, she provides lots of interesting details about her life both as a lesbian and, later, as a pastor’s wife and home-school teacher.  Beneath the surface, however, lies Dr. Butterfield, the intellectual.  What is a presuppositional problem? (8)  What is the ontological fallacy? (13) What does it mean not to believe in objectivity? (14)  I was intrigued and was sorry that Rosario did not write and explain more.  In particular, why did she become a lesbian? [8]

Copernican Revolution

What is conversion?  For Rosario, it was like the Copernican Revolution. The earth went from being the center of the universe to being a planet rotating around the sun.  The Copernican Revolution simplified the mathematics of planetary motion.  It was much the same for Rosario. When she displaced self with the Triune God, her life was simpler, more joyful, and kingdom focused [9].

Assessment

What are the implications for the church?  For the surface reader, Dr. Butterfield’s conversion is incomprehensible and terribly inconvenient for those that have been co-opted by ardent lesbianism and related postmodern philosophies.  For deeper readers, this review only scratches the surface.  Bottom line?  Read and discuss the book.  It is worth the time for those who believe in the resurrected Christ.

Footnotes

[1] http://RosariaButterfield.com.

[2] You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me (Exodus 20:4-5 ESV).

[3] www.PromiseKeepers.org

[4] RPC adheres to the Westminster Confession which does not permit ordination of women.  http://ReformedPresbyterian.org.

[5] By contrast, her academic specialty, Queer Theory, is a topic that I have no background to evaluate (2).

[6] For example, read or listen to the testimony of Khalil (www.MoreThanDreams.tv/Khalil.html).

[7] See John Savage.  1996.  Listening and Caring Skills:  A Guide for Groups and Leaders.  Nashville:  Abingdon Press, pages 82-84.

[8] The only real hint in the book arises when Rosario write:  I had not always been a lesbian.  But once I had my first girlfriend, I was hooked and I was sure that I found my “real” self. (14)  This description reads as if one who, having tasted blood, desired more—an addiction consistent with deconstructionism’s focus on power.

[9] One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.” And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “Say it, Teacher.” “A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.” Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven– for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” (Luke 7:36-47 ESV)

Butterfield Journeys from PC to JC

 

 

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