Same sex dating

There are the words of psychology, sociology and genetics. But all of these words are subject to the one Word whom we worship as Lord and to whom we owe obedience.So, in the familiar text of the Barmen Declaration: Word of God which we have to hear and which we have to trust and obey in life and in death.The tradition defines God's sovereign gift of freedom in words that are familiar to all of us: covenant, election, justification, vocation, and sanctification.These are words I want to explore as we attempt to understand the morality of same-sex relationships among members of our church. To begin with, I need to understand with you what we mean when we say that a "word" is addressed to the church, because there are many words to which you or I could appeal for authority." Three things: "Sin"—another counter-cultural word! But without the consciousness of sin the Gospel itself makes no sense.There can be no productive discussion of marriage and homosexuality, or really of any other moral question, unless we can agree that "all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." Sin threatens our relationships with death.

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Particularly in the witness of the Reformed churches, freedom cannot be understood as my self-liberation but only as the sovereign gift of God who, despite my opposition, rushes to my side and creates the right order that I have abandoned.

This is certainly so in all the greater and lesser injuries that we inflict on each other—in heterosexual marriage, in celibate life, and in the partnerships formed by gays and lesbians. The Heidelberg Catechism affirms that we do have this "comfort, in life and in death," that we belong not to ourselves but to our "faithful Savior, Jesus Christ, who at the cost of his own blood has fully paid for all my sins and has completely freed me from the dominion of the devil." Covenant: God's bridge to humanity This brings us to covenant, defined by the Westminster Confession as God's "voluntary condescension" which bridges "[t]he distance between God and the creature." 4 "Covenant" is a critical concept in Reformed ethics, as you all know, and I cannot possibly say much about it a few minutes.

Sin distorts our life together as the Body of Christ, so that no contentious issue in the church can possibly be discussed without anger and mutual recrimination—particularly an issue like sexual morality, which exposes our deepest fears of alienation, loneliness and chaos. Left on our own, we cannot live together as God intended. But I agree with Max Stackhouse that "it is likely that nothing less than an understanding of and a commitment to covenantal mutuality under God can bring moral and spiritual coherence to what is otherwise experienced as a seething, chaotic mass of dominations and arbitrariness." 5 Moral and spiritual coherence! We all sense that the scattered and broken pieces of our lives (and our relationships) belong together but we simply don't know how to re-build the structure we have demolished.

So every Christian covenant is a means of grace that draws us into the covenantal life of the Trinity.

God works through covenants to convert us to a life with God and with others.

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