Link to Christian Faithfulness and Human Sexuality: A Respectful Conversation

Woman and Woman Gears

Third Way encourages respectful dialogue while recognizing that the morality of same-gender attraction is a disputable matter in the church. However, Third Way is not a middle way or a compromise. Third Way practices full inclusion on all levels of leadership without discriminating against sexual orientation or gender identity. It is similar to “open and affirming” in that it calls for full inclusion of LGBT people but doesn’t use the term “affirming” since our unity in Christ is not contingent on granting each other moral approval. Instead, Third Way is grounded in a biblical understanding of how to approach one another through disputable matters in the church – without contempt or judgement of one another.

In the spirit of respectful dialogue, Professors David Myers of Hope College and Christopher Grace of Biola University, dialogue on the topic of Christian Faithfulness and Human Sexuality on RespectfulConversation.net. Their dialogue is respectful in tone, rich in language and scientific examples, and emphasizes both important similarities and differences in their approach to Christian faithfulness and human sexuality. It is worth the time to read through their responses to each other – each contributing 3 essays to the conversation.

“Disputable Matters”: an article by leading evangelical ethicist Dr. David Gushee

Dr. David P. Gushee wrote this comprehensive article in Sojourners in January 2015 examining five influential books, all published in 2013-14, that “represent the newest wave of U.S. evangelical reflection on LGBT matters.” His review includes Wilson’s A Letter to My Congregation where Third Way was first introduced. This helpful article gives a brief overview into the changing face of evangelical Christianity today. He notes that while over the past 40 years, evangelical Christianity has changed significantly on issues like gender, race and nation, it has not changed on homosexuality – until now. He writes, “This fight feels like it is reaching a crescendo.” Whatever perspective we bring to these matters – as a scholar, a pastor or simply as a person who cares – one thing is clear: with LGBT folks being among our most vulnerable members, it is time to think critically about how evangelical Christianity approaches this issue. Continue reading

Same Sex Marriage, Remarriage and Confessional Integrity by Danny Cortez

Danny Cortez was dismissed from the Southern Baptist Convention for refusing to enforce its policies against people who are LGBT. Before his dismissal, he stood trial before the ruling body of the SBC and defended his Third Way approach on the grounds that the SBC had already defacto adopted it with respect to divorce and remarriage. This post from Danny picks up that theme.

Continue reading

Parker Palmer Calls for a Third Way

Parker Palmer is an educator, thinker, writer, and Quaker best known for The Courage to Teach and more recently Healing the Heart of Democracy. In a recent On Being column, he says, “Today we Americans need to find a Third Way. That does not mean making cheap compromises, as in, “I’ll stop caring about the poor if you’ll stop caring about more money for the military.” Instead it means holding our differences in ways that open us to possibilities we never would have imagined if we had failed to hang in with each other”  Yet another sign of a brewing conversation in the face of growing polarization. (Parker’s column features an interview with Thich Nhat Hanh, an activist who influenced Martin Luther King,)

Evangelical Scholar, J.R. Daniel Kirk, on Ken Wilson’s Sermon to City Church, S.F.

J.R. Daniel Kirk is the author of Jesus Have I Loved, But Paul? and Unlocking Romans. He did his work at Duke under Richard Hays. Kirk attends City Church in San Francisco where he heard Ken Wilson speak recently on Romans 14.  This is the first of two posts by this evangelical New Testament scholar on Ken’s sermon.  Continue reading

Third Way: Helping Me Find My Way – by Micah Seppanen

Micah Seppanen shares his story and how Third Way helped him find his way through disputable matters. He writes, “…the root question of the culture war is this: what does loving same-sex attracted individuals look like? The Third Way invites us into a challenging sphere where dogmatic enforcement of either response is not loving. If we see same-sex relationships as a disputable matter, a key point for The Third Way, can we learn not to judge others as they live out their convictions?”  Continue reading

David Myers on a Third Way Approach to Marriage

David Myers, professor of psychology at Hope College, is a signatory to a promising approach to bridging the culture war marriage divide called Marriage Opportunity, an effort led by David Blankenthorn, once widely cited as a critic of same sex marriage who has changed his view. Myers calls for a third way approach to strengthen marriage without excluding gay and lesbian citizens from its benefits. Continue reading