Un ejemplo a seguir cuando las denominaciones se desvían de la Palabra

Puerto Rico por la Familia felicita la decisión de la Iglesia Presbiteriana de Bayamón y el consistorio de dicha congregación. Estas son las decisiones firmes y radicales que las iglesias afiliadas a concilios deben tomar cuando está en juego la fidelidad y el comproimiso con la verdad.

Un comentario en “Un ejemplo a seguir cuando las denominaciones se desvían de la Palabra

  1. Esto es parte de un artículo escrito por el Rev. Mark D. Roberts de la iglesia Presbiteriana en EU.

    Why, If We Share the Same Bible, Do Presbyterians Differ So Widely on the Issue of Gay Ordination? Section 1
    As I pick up my blog series on the PCUSA, I want to consider the question of why we Presbyterians, given that we share the same Bible, differ so widely on the issue of gay ordination. I realize that some of my readers want me to stop analyzing the issue and start proposing solutions (or dissolutions!). I will get to the “What are we going to do about this?” question soon enough. But I believe that it’s essential for us to understand not only what Presbyterians believe but also why we believe as we do. Clarity about these matters will help us make wise choices when it comes to tangible actions. It will also help us speak truly and respectfully of those with whom we disagree. Too often in this debate folks on both sides have misrepresented the other side.
    A word of caution: I will be painting with a broad brush here as I try to capture major differences among Presbyterians. The reality is more complex than my analysis. But I think I’m getting the main brush strokes in the right place.
    The fact that Presbyterians disagree widely on gay ordination is beyond question. In my recent posts I have tried to show what’s underneath this disagreement. Supporters of gay ordination see their cause as a matter of biblical justice. Opponents of gay ordination see their cause as a matter of biblical righteousness. This means something rotten is the state of Presbyterianism, because God’s justice would never actually be in conflict with God’s righteousness! Somewhere along the line somebody has missed God’s will in the matter.
    A Question of Biblical Authority and Interpretation
    Opponents of gay ordination often explain why proponents believe as they do by saying something like: “We follow what the Bible teaches. They do not. We uphold the authority of the Bible. They do not. This whole debate isn’t really about homosexuality. It’s about the authority of the Bible.” Supporters of gay ordination sometimes object to this explanation: “That’s not true. We also uphold the authority of the Bible. We just interpret it differently. This isn’t a matter of the biblical authority. It’s about the interpretation of the Bible.”
    In my opinion, both sides are partly right. That means both sides are partly wrong as well. In fact, what leads Presbyterians to such different conclusions with respect to homosexuality is a matter both of biblical authority and of biblical interpretation. In the end, these are interlocking issues that can’t be completely distinguished.
    Almost all Presbyterians agree that the Bible is authoritative in some sense. Almost all Presbyterians agree that biblical truth comes to us embedded in culture (or cultures, to be more precise). And almost all Presbyterians agree that the Bible is both divine and human. We differ, however in our estimation of just how much of Scripture is divine, and therefore just how much of it is authoritative.
    In general, opponents of gay ordination believe that all of the Bible is divinely-inspired and therefore authoritative. The timeless truth of God, because it comes in a cultural package, needs to be carefully discerned, so as to clarify that which is authoritative for us. So, for example, those who believe that the whole Bible is inspired do not argue, on the basis of 1 Corinthians 11, that women in today’s church should be veiled. But they don’t dismiss 1 Corinthians 11 as something that was relevant for first-century Corinth at best, or simply wrongheaded at worst. They believe that Paul’s discussion of veiling contains and reflects timeless truth that is authoritative for us today, and that needs to be unpacked so we can implement it. This truth would include such things as the authority of women to pray and prophesy in church, the essential male/female character of creation and church, and the need for doing in church that which is edifying.
    In general, proponents of gay ordination believe that the Bible contains divinely-inspired portions, but also portions that are merely human, and therefore not authoritative for us today. Paul’s claim that women should be veiled, therefore, is seen as culturally-bound, or even as simply wrong. One must look elsewhere for the timeless truth of Scripture, which is found, for example, in Jesus’s instruction to love, or in the consistent call of the Bible to seek justice for the oppressed. The interpreter of Scripture has the responsibility of sifting out the timeless from the time-bound, so that God’s Word might be properly understood and applied today.
    When we come to the issue of gay ordination, therefore, opponents of gay ordination believe that the Bible clearly reveals the sinfulness of homosexual activity because such teaching is found in several biblical passages. Proponents of gay ordination deny this. Some argue that the Bible never addresses the case of loving, mature, committed homosexual lovers. But proponents tend to believe that even if the Bible condemned all homosexual activity, this would not reflect God’s inspiration, but rather human enculturation and limitation. As they interpret the Bible, they believe they have the freedom and the responsibility to sort out what is inspired and authoritative and what is neither inspired nor authoritative. The Bible’s consistently negative teaching on homosexuality falls in the neither inspired nor authoritative category.
    In my next post in this series I’ll continue this conversation.
    Why, If We Share the Same Bible, Do Presbyterians Differ So Widely on the Issue of Gay Ordination? Section 2
    In my last post I suggested that the gap between Presbyterians who endorse gay ordination and Presbyterians who oppose it has much to do with their views on the authority and interpretation of Scripture. Opponents tend to affirm the inspiration and authority of the whole Bible, while proponents tend to limit biblical inspiration and authority to certain transcendent passages.
    Consider, for example, two New Testament passages that address homosexual behavior. Romans 1:18-32 and 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 both speak of homosexual behavior in a way that, at least on the surface, appears to censure it. Here are the passages in the NRSV translation:
    For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of those who by their wickedness suppress the truth . . . . Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the degrading of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen! ¶ For this reason God gave them up to degrading passions. Their women exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural, and in the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the due penalty for their error. ¶ And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind and to things that should not be done. They were filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, covetousness, malice. Full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, craftiness, they are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, rebellious toward parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. They know God’s decree, that those who practice such things deserve to die—yet they not only do them but even applaud others who practice them. (Rom 1:18, 24-32)
    Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! Fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes [malakoi], sodomites [arsenokoitai], thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, robbers—none of these will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Cor 6:9-10)
    I don’t want to get into the exegetical issues right now, but rather to make another observation. In my experience, those who oppose gay ordination would say about these passages, “If, after careful study, they can be shown to condemn all homosexual activity, then such activity is always sinful.” Those who favor gay ordination disagree. They tend to say, “If, after careful study, Romans 1:18-32 and 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 can be shown to condemn all homosexual activity, then these passages are incorrect.” For example, while teaching at San Francisco Theological Seminary, a Presbyterian seminary with an extension program in Southern California, I had a brilliant Christian student who was also a lesbian. She wrote an exegesis paper on Romans 1:18-32. She concluded that this passage cannot be used to support the cause of gay ordination because it condemns all homosexual behavior. Yet she did not believe that gay ordination was wrong because, in her view, Paul was wrong in his views.
    For more than thirty years, I have been involved in discussions of homosexuality and ordination. In the early years of this conversation, there was lots of debate about the meaning of biblical texts that deal with homosexual behavior. There seemed to be a common assumption among the debaters that biblical teaching, if rightly understood, should be binding on the church. But, in the last decade, as folks who oppose gay ordination have kept talking about specific biblical texts, those on the other side have mostly stopped this conversation. I haven’t heard one proponent of gay ordination say: “If it can be shown that the Bible truly regards all homosexual behavior as sinful, then I will change my mind and oppose it.” Rather, I have heard many say, in effect, “Whatever the Bible might teach about homosexuality, I am convinced that homosexuality is not always wrong. So, given this conviction, the biblical call to love and justice means that I will support gay ordination, no matter what the Bible might actually say about homosexuality.” Notice that this position is still based, to an extent, on Scripture and its authority. But the individual interpreter assumes the freedom to decide which portions of the Bible are inspired and which are not.
    This view of biblical authority is relatively new in the Presbyterian church, and is certainly inconsistent with our Reformed heritage. You can’t exactly imagine John Calvin saying, “Well, the Bible shows that homosexual activity is sinful, but I think it’s just fine.” What has led so many Presbyterians to endorse a view of biblical authority and interpretation that is far removed from our theological roots?
    I can think of several factors, though surely there are more. For one thing, the view that the Bible is not fully inspired, but contains culture-bound errors, is held by many if not the majority of professors in PCUSA seminaries. For decades, pastors in training have been taught this view, which they in turn have passed on to their churches.
    Second, there are many portions of the Bible that are troubling for Christians, passages in the Old Testament, for example, that call for the killing of Israel’s opponents, or Old Testament laws that contradict our sense of decency. Some people have dealt with this problem by concluding that these offensive passages are simply not inspired. Once they have rejected the authority of some passages, it’s easy for them to do the same with others, passages such as Romans 1 and 1 Corinthians 6
    Tomorrow I’ll suggest two more reasons why, in my opinion, many Presbyterians have begun to think of the Bible as authoritative in parts, but not in other parts.
    Why, If We Share the Same Bible, Do Presbyterians Differ So Widely on the Issue of Gay Ordination? Section 3
    I closed yesterday’s post by suggesting two reasons why many Presbyterians no longer regard the whole of Scripture as authoritative. These were:
    1. The fact that this view is held by many seminary professors in PCUSA seminaries.
    2. The fact that some passages in the Bible are troubling has led many to reject their authority.
    Today I’ll suggest two more reasons.
    Third, the rejection of the full authority of the Bible reflects our postmodern and relativistic culture. In general, people today don’t accept established traditions and authorities. They claim the right to pick and choose what to believe and obey, especially in matters of religion. People who affirm the full authority of Scripture and who live in obedience to Scripture are a counter-cultural minority.
    Fourth, and perhaps most importantly, many Presbyterians have come to know faithful Christians who are gay and lesbian, people who have truly confessed Jesus as Savior and Lord. Often they have tried to live by biblical teaching about sexuality, but have found this burden to be unbearable. In the end, they have come to believe that their homosexual orientation is not a result of the fallenness of the world, but rather a gift from God. They believe that God blesses their same-sex intimacy just as he does heterosexual intimacy. And some of these people also believe that they are called by God into ministry, and they deeply desire to be ordained. Many good-hearted Presbyterians, paying close attention to the experiences of gay and lesbian believers, and feeling empathy for them in their painful struggle for denominational approval, have chosen to give more authority to the experience and feelings of gay and lesbian Christians than to Scripture. For these Presbyterians, if Scripture teaches that homosexual behavior is always wrong, then Scripture itself simply has to be wrong in this teaching.
    I can understand why some of my Presbyterian brothers and sisters have gone this direction. Throughout my life and ministry, I have had several close personal or pastoral relationships with gay and lesbian Christians. As I have walked with them on the tortuous road of their discipleship, I have wished that I could simply bless their homosexual feelings and behavior. No matter how hard I’ve tried to be kind and compassionate, I haven’t been able to tell folks what they have wanted to hear from me. Usually, this has led to brokenness in our relationships, as people have felt personally misunderstood and judged by me. I must confess that if I had only a tad less confidence in the inspiration and authority of the whole Bible, I’d be on the other side of this issue. But my convictions about biblical authority and interpretation, combined with my conclusions about what the Bible actually teaches, leave me no choice but to conclude that homosexual activity is not okay in any situation. I am not able to say, “Well, I guess Paul was wrong here,” even though his teaching contradicts the experiences of well-intentioned Christians I have known.
    Because so many proponents of gay ordination do not affirm the full authority of Scripture, arguments by opponents that continually point to biblical texts have fallen on deaf ears. A substantial number of Presbyterians today simply don’t care what Romans 1 actually teaches about the morality of homosexual activity. Similarly, claims by proponents that depend primarily on the experiences gay and lesbian people and not on Scripture have little impact on opponents. We are simply talking past each other because we no longer share a common understanding of how God makes his will known to us.
    Thus, every time Presbyterians form groups of people with diverse views on the gay ordination issue, charging these groups to understand and to love each other, hoping that such a process might lead to some sort of compromise on the ordination issue, the results are the same. People with diverse perspectives do come to understand and love each other. They often develop close relationships in the context of mutual respect. Yet they almost never change their minds on the matter of gay ordination. No compromise is produced. No matter what the Bible says, those who favored gay ordination going in continue to favor it. And no matter how many testimonies by gay and lesbian people are heard, those who opposed their ordination going in continue to oppose it going out. In the end, both sides do their favoring and opposing with more love and mutual respect, which is surely a good thing. But it fails to resolve our denominational impasse. The idea that we can somehow sit down and come up with a loving compromise about this issue, one that maintains our denominational unity in practice, is naïve and unsupported by years of valiant efforts.
    But Won’t Presbyterians Ultimately Change Their Position on Gay Ordination, Just Like They Did on the Ordination of Women?
    One of the most common arguments you’ll hear these days from proponents of gay ordination goes something like this:
    Presbyterians used to oppose the ordination of women on the basis of the Bible. But in spite of biblical teaching to the contrary, we now ordain women. So it will be with the ordination of gays and lesbians. In time, we’ll realize that they should be ordained. It’s inevitable.
    On the surface, this argument from analogy seems to be convincing. It’s true that Presbyterians once opposed the ordination of women, but now we ordain them. (To be precise, some Presbyterian denominations, such as the PCUSA or the EPC, allow the ordination of women, while others, such as the PCA or the OPC, do not.) And when we see how our culture is moving rapidly in the direction of normalizing homosexuality, it seems reasonable that many Presbyterians will follow suit. In fact, I am convinced that within relatively few years there will be either a Presbyterian denomination or a large grouping within an existing Presbyterian denomination that does, in fact, ordain gay and lesbian people.
    But the analogy between the ordination of women and the ordination of active homosexuals is a flawed one. It is quite logical for someone to endorse the ordination of women while opposing the ordination of active homosexuals. For one thing, the “women’s issue” has to do with including or excluding people on the basis of their identity. Women were precluded from ordained ministry, not because of anything they had done or not done, but simply because of their gender. The “gay issue,” on the contrary, is primarily about behavior, not identity. In the Presbyterian Church USA, a person with a homosexual orientation is not prevented from being ordained if that person pledges to live a chaste life. It’s only a person’s intention to be involved in homosexual behavior that prohibits his or her ordination.
    Secondly, a perhaps more importantly, the analogy between women’s ordination and gay ordination is flawed because it implies that biblical teaching about women in ministry is more or less similar to biblical teaching about gay people in ministry. But this implication ignores the huge differences between biblical teaching on women and biblical teaching on homosexuals. Let me explain.
    The biblical case against the ordination of women depends primarily on three New Testament texts: 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 (veiling of women); 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 (silence of women); 1 Timothy 2:11-15 (silence of women). Opponents of women’s ordination will often point to Ephesians 5:21-33 (submission of wives to husbands) and Genesis 2 (secondary creation of women) to buttress their position, as well as to Jesus’s choice of twelve males as his most intimate disciples. Now I happen to believe that all of these biblical passages, when rightly understood, actually support the ordination of women. But I will grant that, on the surface, 1 Corinthians 12, 1 Corinthians 14, and 1 Timothy 2 appear to oppose this practice.
    Yet the passages I have just mentioned are not all the Bible has to say about women in positions of authority in God’s kingdom. In fact, there are many, many passages that either portray women in positions of authority or provide theological support for this perspective. Let me mention some of the main passages:
    Genesis 1:26-28 – Man and woman created in God’s image; Man and woman given the command to fill the earth and subdue it.
    Genesis 2:18 – Woman is created as a “helper” for the man. Ezer, the Hebrew word for “helper,” almost always refers to a stronger person, and, in the Old Testament, usually to God.
    Judges 4-5 – Deborah was a prophetess and judge of Israel, with obvious and divinely endorsed authority over Israelite men.
    Luke 8:1-3 – Jesus had many women among his entourage of disciples.
    John 20 – The resurrected Jesus chose a woman to be the first “evangelist” who bore witness to his resurrection.
    Acts 2:17-18 – In fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy, the Holy Spirit is poured out on men and women, and it is stated that women will prophesy.
    Romans 16:1-2 – Phoebe is a minister (Gk. diakonos) and someone whose authority should be respected by the Roman church.
    Romans 16:7 – Junia is named as a prominent apostle.
    1 Corinthians 7:4 – A wife has authority over her husband’s body, even as he has authority over hers.
    1 Corinthians 11:5 – Women pray and prophesy in church.
    Philippians 4:2-3 – Euodia and Syntyche are leaders in the Philippian church and Paul’s co-workers.
    Titus 2:3 – Older women are “to teach what is good.”
    Revelation 2:18-29 – The church in Thyatira accepts a woman as a prophet and a teacher. This acceptance is never criticized, only the content of her teaching.
    Of course I could point to many other passages that, in my opinion, support the ministry of women, and therefore their ordination. And, of course, I realize that those who oppose the ordination of women have their own ways of interpreting the passages I have just mentioned. But even the staunchest opponents of women’s ordination would have to admit that some of these passages, at least on the surface, suggest that God can use women in positions of authority in his ministry, even in positions of authority over men.
    When it comes to homosexuality, do we find a similar division of the house when it comes to biblical teaching? No, not at all. Here are some basic facts:
    Every time the Bible speaks directly about homosexual activity, it regards it as sinful.
    When the Bible speaks positively about human sexuality, it always does so only in the context of heterosexual relationships.
    Two passages in the New Testament (Romans 1 and 1 Corinthians 6) appear to regard all homosexual behavior as sinful. Several leading biblical scholars show that this appearance is in fact what the biblical passages actually intended (Richard Hays, N.T. Wright, Robert Gagnon, etc.).
    Nowhere in Scripture is a homosexual person portrayed positively as a leader in God’s kingdom.
    So, whereas proponents of women’s ordination have many biblical passages to call as witnesses for their position, proponents of gay ordination have no specific biblical passages on their side. Thus you’ll find proponents building their case upon arguments from silence, such as: “Jesus never condemned homosexual behavior.” That’s true. But he also didn’t condemn rape or child molestation or fouling the environment or racism. So we’d better be wary of arguments from silence, especially when everything we know about Scripture and everything we know about Jesus’s culture points in the direction of his not approving of homosexual behavior.
    The fact that the Bible offers nothing specific to help proponents of gay ordination explains, to a great extent, whey they have stopped trying to interpret the Scripture to their advantage. They just can’t get any traction for their argument. The only way to get the Bible to support homosexuality is to point to passages that commend love or justice, and then to argue that it is loving and just to approve of the ordination of active homosexuals. But this exposition of love and justice flies in the face of Scriptural teaching. It is neither loving nor just to approve of that which the Bible reveals to be sin.
    Although I don’t claim to be a prophet of a soothsayer, I think it’s highly unlikely that Presbyterians who confess the full authority of Scripture will ever endorse the ordination of active gay and lesbian people, even though they endorse the ordination of women. From a social and cultural perspective, these two ordination issues might look similar. But from a biblical perspective, they are radically different.

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