Prominent Evangelical ethicist David Gushee has announced that on November 8th, in a major address at The Reformation Project conference, he will announce he has changed his mind about LGBT relationships and will now not only affirm them but also work to protect the LGBT community from further harm. He will also release a book putting his considerations into print.
In less than a day, he has received swift and severe criticism from Fundamenlists, who (as always) allege he has defected from orthodox faith. Additionally, they try to discount his change as being that of a late-comer, adding nothing significant to the matter. But that’s not true.
When Evangelical Christians like Gushee, holding firmly to their orthodox faith, change their minds on matters of human sexuality, they do, in fact, offer something very significant. They offer themselves and their scholarly reputations, confirmed by decades of careful and credible work–work which has often been applauded and honored by the schools where they have served.
They are not people who go off half cocked in the academy or in life in general, but rather do careful study and engage in deep reflection before stating their convictions. And that is what Gushee and other Evangelical scholars are doing now in relation to same-sex relationships.
Over against the lie that they are late comers who add nothing significant, we have only to cite the parable of the workers in the vineyard (Matthew 20:1-16), where the owner of the vineyard regards those who work fewer hours as equally valuable to the agricultural effort as those who had been in the field longer–and pays them the same wage.
So, in the current complex and controversial debate regarding same-sex relationships, let’s be sure not to embrace the caricatures leveled against people like David Gushee, who have paid their scholarly dues, and have earned the right to speak with the same credibility as has been characteristic of them and ascribed to them in the past–even if it is a more-recent word.
And just so there is no doubt, I offer my own changes of view in the same context as that of Gushee’s despite the opposition I too have received the past six months.
[To see the Huffington Post Report that prompted my meditation, go to http://huff.to/1t8XR4S%5D