Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Interesting Premise, But I Disagree!

Yes, blog readers, your pastor read this book.  Occasionally, we need to read books which stretch us and even ones we know we are not necessarily going to agree with. 

I was hesitant to review this book because I do not believe the Bible says Yes to same sex marriage.  However, I wanted to read The Bible's YES to Same-Sex Marriage, by Mark Achtmeier.  The book because it would force me to think critically about what the author was trying to state.  I was intrigued by what Mark Achtemeier states, yet was very disappointed in his arguments for same sex marriage. 

I felt he was stretching for answers that were not present.  It was basically, if the Bible does not say, no, then the answer is yes, and even if the Bible does say no, we’ll find a reason to say yes.  I was disappointed even in his thoughts on premarital sex.  He speaks of “treating virginity as an arbitrary rule” and later states, “Treating Biblical sexual regulations as arbitrary expressions of divine authority also imbues them with a kind of radioactive aura that can do enormous spiritual damage to those who, even once, yield to temptation and fall short.”  In other words, give in to temptation so you don’t have to feel bad about the guilt of sin.  I totally disagree.

He also attempted to argue from the fact that there are rules and God needs to explain the rules to help us know why we can’t do something.  Yet, according to Achtmeier’s logic, adultery is acceptable since it is not a crime.  God does not need to explain why something is wrong, because God is the authority. 

He attempts to use logic by comparing answers with ice cream and cars.  He seems way off base on this. 

He attempts to explain the scriptures which spoke directly to homosexuality referring to these passages as fragments.  Again, with that type of logic, the Bible is filled with fragments and their interpretations would be scattered all over.  Furthermore, to say that they are contextual also takes away the Word and its authority to speak in our lives. 

At the same time, we often use fragments to our advantage if we can.  So, he is not totally off base, yet to use that as an argument for same sex marriage does not work.  Nor to say that as one of his chapter titles indicate, “Gay People have an Honored Place in God’s Heart” is almost an insult to gay people.  It’s like saying, “hey, I know some gay people and they’re nice.” 

He uses a number of examples in the first part of the book and while I can sympathize with the situations he describes and the people in their difficult situations, I still have to live according to the Word of God, which tells me this is sin.  Finally, in his conclusion, Achtemeier states, “I find that the biblical case in support of gay marriage is overwhelming.”  Overwhelming?  I think not. 

I appreciate the opportunity to read this book.  While I don’t agree with his theology, this was a great opportunity to read and grow in my own beliefs. 

I received this book from Westminster John Knox Press in exchange for an honest review.

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