Thursday, August 9, 2012

Obedience from love

Over the last few days I've discussed several articles by Timothy Kincaid and Jim Burroway, both of Box Turtle Bulletin. There's a reason for that -- this is the only gay news blog that I went back through to read all they wrote while I was on vacation. I did it because I wanted to read about Burroway's visit to the Exodus conference. I'm almost caught up now. Perhaps tomorrow I'll start reading the others.

In that same entry I also wrote about the Restored Hope Network that is forming from the ministries that have left the Exodus umbrella. Kincaid has a bit more on the new organization and its theology.

RHN has put Robert Gagnon forward as its theological spokesman. It would have been hard to find anyone nastier, more virulently anti-gay, or sloppier. Kincaid is convinced Gagnon makes stuff up when necessary and offers an example.

Kincaid looks at the Statement of Basic Belief by RHN (I left out most of the Scripture references):
Salvation is a gift that cannot be merited by human deeds but naturally and progressively produces obedience as a fruit of the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:22-23). When believers succumb to sin, the kindness of God calls them to confession of sin and repentance.
That looks like standard Christian doctrine (or at least Fundie Christian doctrine) until one looks a bit closer. There are specific passages that list the fruits of the spirit, such as Galations 5:22-23, mentioned before and obedience is not listed.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance [patience], kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Kincaid then summarizes St. Paul's explanation wonderfully. There is no need for law. There is only love. If one follows Jesus, then love, joy, peace, and all the rest will appear. There is no need for law "because 'love each other' handles every situation, even the ones not in the rulebook." There is no need for obedience to the law because the law is no longer necessary. Other can tell if you follow Jesus because they see the love, kindness, gentleness, etc.

So why does Gagnon add "obedience"? Because the only way he can tell if you're a Christian is whether you follow the law. And his opinion about your soul is the only one that matters.

It is rare to get such a concise difference between Fundie and progressive Christianity.

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