Showing posts from July, 2009

How to know what "love" is

A thought for the day... How do we know what love is? The word "love" is tossed around in our culture in so many different ways that it can easily lose any specific content and meaning. Since love is a very important word to us Christians, it is critical that we know what love is.

The apostle John gives us two ways to know love. One is that we connect with Jesus through story. We read and digest the stories written about Jesus in the Gospel of John and the other Gospels. For John, God is love, and Jesus is the human face of God's character. If you want to see what God's love looks like, immerse yourself in the stories about Jesus.

The other way is through engaging in love. Love cannot be known in abstraction. It can only be known in the act of loving. As John says, "God is love... Everyone who loves is a child of God and knows God; the unloving know nothing of God" (1 Jn 4:4, 7-8).

Says NT scholar George Caird, "Only those who, like Jesus, have allowed t…

Sexual orientation -- heredity or environment?

Because even a short post about sexual orientation can stir up a lot of feelings, I thought I would add a bit more background to my comments. One book that is very helpful is Sexual Ethics: An Evangelical Perspective by the late Stanley Grenz. Grenz, whom I had the pleasure of sitting down with before he unexpectedly passed away, takes an approach to theology that I find very helpful.

Grenz deals with all the major questions in his chapter on homosexuality. Here is one important question he covers: What seems to drive sexual orientation -- heredity or environment? There are two major camps on this issue. One argues that sexual orientation is hereditary. It comes from some combination of genetic makeup, hormonal levels, and the formation of reproductive organs.

The consensus among scholars is that genetic makeup alone is not sufficient to determine one's sexual orientation.

The other major camp relies on psychological findings to argue that one's environment drives sexual orientat…

On sexual inclination, desire, and activity

The subject of human sexuality, especially homosexuality and the gospel, has not particularly been on my mind lately, but I just read a post that quotes New Testament scholar and contemporary sage N.T. Wright on the subject. It's worth reading... here.

A few of the points on which I agree with Wright:
Scripture sets out a clear boundary for human sexual activity: it belongs within heterosexual marriage. In Scripture, the monogamous relationship between a man and a woman is woven into the very foundation of covenant society.This message has always been rejected as inconceivable by various forms of paganism, both ancient and contemporary.We must distinguish between inclination and desire, on one hand, and activity, on the other. We all have a variety of inclinations to sin. To argue that we have a "right" to act on our inclinations, or that God would want us to be happy and therefore condones us acting on our inclinations, is a baldfaced overturning of the heart of disciples…