Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Theological considerations on the present 377A issue

How certain Christian communities interpret the current debate on whether to repeal 377A or not is not doing good to the society or the Church, methinks.

They have come to see this as a "battle" for God. And I'm not sure if God wants this case to be his battle. While we are deciding over this matter, there are several theological considerations to bear in mind:

1) The Church is to be the salt and light in the world, and seeks the welfare of the city. So at certain times and on certain issues, it is taken for granted that the Church should be involved in the country's legislation. For eg. the criminalization of infanticide, which was common, through Christian influence in the Roman imperial court. So the question the Church needs to decide is to discern whether consensual-non-heterosexual-sex-between-adults is an act so sinfully intolerable that it should be criminalized like infanticide?

2) The demarcation between the Church and the world will never be clear until Christ's coming again. Hence the weed and wheat are existing together (Matt. 13). This is the Church condition. If the Church herself is not entirely pure and perfect in knowledge and conduct in this present age then perhaps this parable can serve as the guiding principle for co-existence not only among the worldly and the godly in the Church, but also between the Church and the world.

3) Notwithstanding the Church condition, our theological position on homosexuality must constantly be negotiated based primarily on our reading of the scriptures. We should recognize the main texts related to this matter and should not re-use defunct interpretation or irrelevant passages (eg. the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah is primarily homosexuality despite Eze. 16:49-50). To me, the main texts are Lev. 18, 20, 1 Cor. 6, and Rom. 1 vis-a-vis 1 Cor. 11:14.

4) How (1), (2), and (3) above be connected to each other. For example, if we have come to conclude from (3) that the homosexual act itself is sinful, then we have to link it to (1), whether is such act so sinfully intolerable that it should be criminalized even among the non-Christians? If so, then should the Church also advocate for the criminalization of all acts considered sinful, such as adultery and abortion? On the other hand, if our reading of scriptures conclude that homosexual act itself is NOT sinful, does that mean we should decriminalize it despite there are many acts that are not sinful but are crime such as jay-walking?

May God help us to discern over this issue.

Update (23 January 2013): Yesterday, the Attorney-General's Chambers has issued this statement: "All parties are therefore advised to refrain from making any public comments on these matters that are sub judice, pending final determination by the courts. (The AGC) takes a serious view of any statements which are sub judice and will, if necessary, act to protect the integrity of the administration of justice." It is therefore important for me to clarify that this blog post is not a comment on the court proceeding on the case, but a comment on how certain local Christian communities are interpreting their social activism.

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