Evangelical author’s support for marriage equality draws fire from opponents
Bob Allen | Baptist News
Southern Baptist fans of a best-selling Christian author are questioning his salvation after he said in an interview he thinks it is possible to be both Christian and gay and, if asked, he would be willing to officiate a same-sex wedding.
Eugene Peterson, best known for his 2002 translation of the Bible from Greek and Hebrew titled The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language, told Religion News Service senior columnist Jonathan Merritt that he has changed his mind about same-sex marriage and homosexuality over the years.
“I wouldn’t have said this 20 years ago, but now I know a lot of people who are gay and lesbian and they seem to have as good a spiritual life as I do,” Peterson said in a Q&A interview published July 12.
LifeWay Christian Resources, publishing arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, said if Peterson stands by his comments, the chain is prepared to stop selling his books.
“LifeWay only carries resources in our stores by authors who hold to the biblical view of marriage,” a spokesperson said in statement. “We are attempting to confirm with Eugene Peterson or his representatives that his recent interview on same-sex marriage accurately reflects his views. If he confirms he does not hold to a biblical view of marriage, LifeWay will no longer sell any resources by him, including The Message.”
Denny Burk, professor of biblical studies at Boyce College, the undergraduate school of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., said people are asking him in light of the revelation whether he believes Peterson “is a bona fide Christian.”
“The best way I can answer that is to say what I would do if he were a member of the church where I pastor,” said Burk, who also serves as associate pastor at Kenwood Baptist Church in Louisville.
“We wouldn’t immediately presume that he isn’t a Christian,” Burk said in a blog. “He would be given the opportunity to repent and to come back to the truth of scripture. If he refused to repent and persisted in this false teaching, we would eventually excommunicate him and treat him as an unbeliever (Matthew 18:17; Titus 3:10). This is what we believe our Lord teaches us to do in dealing with false teachers, so we would do it.”
Owen Strachan, who has read and appreciated Peterson’s books for years, said on Patheos the RNS interview “troubled me greatly.”
“These are not sound words,” said Strachan, associate professor of Christian theology at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo.
“We are called not merely to abstain from sin but to avoid giving approval to those who indulge in it,” Strachan said, referencing the apostle Paul in Romans 1:32. “None who practice homosexuality, and who take it as their identity, will inherit the kingdom of heaven,” he added, citing Romans 6.
Strachan said division over homosexuality in the church is not going away, but “division is not caused by the truth.”
“Division is caused by departure from the truth,” Strachan said. “Nothing is more loving, therefore, than to rescue those who are pulled away by unbiblical teaching.”
“Let us therefore preach the bloody cross of Christ and call for immediate repentance,” Strachan wrote. “In deep compassion for fellow sinners, let us tell of the wrath-absorbing crucifixion of Jesus, and help the lost discover the kindness of repentance. Let us not lose heart. And let us pray for Eugene Peterson, that he may return to the old paths, and let us instruct the younger generation of Christians, for the pressure upon them is great, and there is only one way to God: the way of repentant faithfulness.”
Russell Moore, president of the SBC Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, said he wouldn’t suggest throwing away Peterson’s books, but he probably will no longer recommend them to a new Christian.
“I wouldn’t now have him speak at my church or event — for the same reasons and for the fact I would never want to confuse anyone about the call to repentance,” Moore said in a Gospel Coalition blog.
Moore said he considers Peterson “a wise, gentle Christian,” and he hopes he will rethink his views on homosexuality.
Colin Smothers, executive director of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, described the RNS interview “alarming, disheartening and altogether sad.”
“After Eugene Peterson dies — and we wish him long life — he will face judgment,” Smothers, a Ph.D. candidate in biblical theology at Southern Seminary said in a CBMW blog. “And God will hold him accountable for everything he has ever said or done, including this interview that very well could lead many astray.”
Article link: https://baptistnews.com/article/evangelical-authors-support-marriage-equality-draws-fire-opponents/#.WWyuyoqLl0u
Image courtesy Clappstar, Wikipedia Commons
- Stepping down after misconduct allegations, Bill Hybels books halted by publishers
- Rugby’s Israel Folau cleared following gay comment controversy
- The human trafficking happening today in NZ
- Battling Child Abuse Includes Protecting Pre-born Babies From Abortion: Trump
- Christians in northern Nigeria fear “jihadist crusade” after Christians are shot dead
Children mimicking celebrities by taking ‘naked selfies’
Children are increasingly taking and sharing explicit images and videos. A report from the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) said this is a result of a...
Domestic violence: one mother’s grace to forgive her daughter’s killer
A story unfolds of a great tragedy, but it is also a story of forgiveness – sometimes a miracle in itself. There is a call to the judicial system...
8 Reasons Why Christians Have Lost Credibility in Today’s Culture
We’d like to say we were shocked, but the truth is, we were expecting the criticism. My friend and marketing expert Jonathan Bock and I were asking...
Making home the place where your kids learn to love God
The most famous parenting verse in the book of Proverbs says, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart...
It took 1000 coffees, but you've ﬁnished your book...
So where to now?
That's where we come in.
We have a team of publishing professionals ready to help you bring your book from your laptop to the world.
We offer cover design, typeset, eBook conversion, and competitive print prices. Oh and you'll also be on Amazon and thousands of websites worldwide.
Let us help you take the next step.LEARN MORE