In Touch – March 15, 2013
Posted on March 15, 2013 by under Touché,

The Last Word on Scripture-The Last Word on Homosexuality

My ChristCare group started a study of Revelation today.  We are using Eugene Peterson’s book Reversed Thunder as a guide.  Peterson builds his approach around famous last words.  The first chapter is titled  “The Last Word on Scripture”  based on Revelation 1:3: Blessed is he who reads aloud the words of the prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written therein; for the time is near.  Peterson unpacks his view of scripture in light of Revelation.  I am sure it will not be the last word.

For the last two years I have worked with a study group from the four Formula of Agreement churches: (The United Church of Christ, The Presbyterian Church USA, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America and the Reformed Church in America).  It was a group that was called together around the issue of homosexuality. Each communion sent a biblical scholar, an ethicist and a pastor.  I was included as the RCA pastor, but I was in water way over my head with some very brilliant and articulate folks.  The group was called by the RCA because at the 2009 General Synod of the RCA there was a motion to break fellowship with the “formula” churches because of their stand on gay marriage, gay clergy and homosexuality in general.  The RCA invited the three other communions to come together to form a group that looked beyond homosexuality to the larger issue of “Using Scripture in Moral Discernment.”  The request from the floor of General Synod was to settle the issue of the Bible and homosexuality once and for all.

Our study group has finished its report and it will be presented to the General Synod of the RCA and the other bodies as well.  I know it is not the last word on using scripture in making moral decisions, and I know it is not the last word on scripture and homosexuality, but I hope it will continue dialogue and discourage division.  I will be sharing a report with the Classis of Mid-Hudson this week and so I thought I would share the report with you.  It is attached here.  I invite you to read this paper and understand implications around its three major themes: 1) The Lordship of Christ; 2) Our understanding of scripture; and 3) How scripture functions in our life together.

If you wish to read further, I invite you to explore Jim Brownson’s just released book: Bible Gender Sexuality: Reframing the Church’s Debate on Same-Sex Relationship published by Eerdmans. Jim teaches at Western Seminary and was the New Testament scholar from the RCA on this study group.  Jim is known as a conservative, evangelical scholar.  His son is gay and that has caused him to look deeper into the scriptural understanding of sexuality.

I look forward to the Last Word that is spoken when Jesus returns but in the meantime, I enjoy continuing to speak to each other and letting God’s living word speak to all of us.

In Christ,

Taylor

 Rev. Taylor Holbrook
Lead Pastor
Hopewell Reformed Church
143 Beekman Rd
Hopewell Junction, NY 12533