In an arresting piece about his denomination’s struggles in dealing with homosexuality, United Methodist Pastor Talbot Davis writes:
When remedy turns into theology … our knowledge and our empathy decide our doctrine. I have been in individuals counseling periods. Requested to officiate a identical-gender marriage ceremony. Invited to bless a same-gender union. And the pastor in me longs to inform people what they want to listen to, yearns to affirm the narrative I’m privileged to be portion of. And however above against that private, pastoral want, I listen to another concern: have we turn out to be so excellent at empathetic listening that we have missing the capacity for critical thinking?
Simply because it looks to me that the function of the Scripture has been precisely to guard towards what so several of us now do in elevating personal encounter to the level of unveiled truth. Theologically, then, Scripture protects us from ourselves. Which is why Paul tells Timothy: “For the time will arrive when men and women will not set up with sound doctrine. Alternatively, to suit their possess needs, they will obtain all around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear” (and) why Jeremiah declares: “The heart is deceitful previously mentioned all issues and outside of remedy. Who can understand it?”
Individual knowledge and individual thoughts — even when others share individuals ordeals and feel those thoughts — are amongst the weakest of rationales for shifting theology and shifting doctrine. The reason the church does theology and comes at doctrine is to shield us from our normal inclination to switch what we truly feel into what we believe.
Emotions of heat and acceptance are normal with regard to folks we love, like, and respect. To deficiency them is digital sociopathy. However the Bible calls Christians to stand for real truth – not with rancor or anger, but with the right stability of kindness and firmness.
Not to uphold the Bible’s instructing on human sexuality is to show a lack of really like. Sexual intimacy as God supposed it – inside the covenant of marriage among one particular man and one female – is gorgeous, lifestyle-affirming, and existence-supplying. Sexual intimacy outdoors these parameters, nevertheless enjoyable transiently, qualified prospects to the withering of the soul and the erosion of society.
Pastor Davis is correct: We can not derive our theology from our emotions. Theological doctrine stems from another source, the unchanging Phrase of God, and is as it is since a loving Designer permits us to understand our sexuality very best in the context of heterosexual, monogamous marriage.