Russell Reno on Gene Robinson's Faulty Theology

There are arguments to be made for why the Christian tradition (and all other traditions for that matter) is wrong to treat male-female sexual reciprocity as normative. I don’t find these arguments persuasive, but they’re not stupid.

But I’ve always thought it disastrous to use the “God loves you just the way your are” and “God doesn’t want you to change” slogans, along with the closely related “God doesn’t make mistakes” shibboleth.

Why? Because it turns Christianity into bourgeois religion, and the church into an affirming chaplaincy for the status quo. There’s no salt in a message that tells people that they’re basically good and don’t need to change.

Read it all.


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anthropology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Theology

12 comments on “Russell Reno on Gene Robinson's Faulty Theology

  1. Robert says:

    I posted this on the First Things website: “I don’t understand all that I know about the “God made me this way and therefore I must be good” argument. However, it seems to create a dilemma: either everything is created as God as God wanted it, thus raising the problem of evil in an extreme form, or not everything is created as God wanted it, which requires those who demonstrate why homosexual orientation is good because God made it, but severe birth defects that lead to suffering and death are not. As best that I can tell, any attempt to take the second horn will lead to special pleading which only confirms the author’s statement that Robinson and his apologists turn ‘Christianity into bourgeois religion, and the church into an affirming chaplaincy for the status quo.’”

  2. Br. Michael says:

    Also don’t forget the transgender people argue that God did in fact make a mistake and put someone in the wrong sex. The GLBT’s argue out of both sides of their mouth.

  3. justinmartyr says:

    I’ve never ever heard anyone, ever, use the slogan: “God doesn’t want you to change,” ever. Not conservatives, and not liberals. The writer is using straw men to set up his argument. And that destroys for me anything else he has to say.

  4. Ross Gill says:

    Actually, #3, Reno is quoting Gene Robinson who says, “God doesn’t want you to change.” So a liberal has said it.

  5. Robert says:

    Listen to the video in the First Things piece around 1:53.

  6. nwlayman says:

    The people who use that kind of reasoning have to work harder than they think. Once you’ve told someone they’re quite healthy as they are it’s more difficult to get them to come back to — be healed. If everything I want to do is fine, why exactly should I get up on Sunday, sit in an uncomfortable seat, listen to mostly bad music and *pay* someone to tell me *again* that I don’t have to change anything? How is that different from sleeping in? It also makes people (like the Australians) wonder quite aloud why any old layman can’t “celebrate” the eucharist himself. Why is that not OK?

  7. J. Champlin says:

    The thing that is so depressing is that it’s all so predictable. Just wind up the toys and watch them march around the room.
    Bullying, taunting, and all the rest of it are a violation of a young person’s dignity and need to be addressed as such. Period. But why politicize it? This whole effort arises out of polarized and entrenched sexual politics and feeds right back into it, leaving things exactly where they were — the same partisans screaming at each other. Meanwhile, there are bright, sensitive young people who don’t easily fit in; who struggle with themselves; some of whom may experience same-sex attraction (whatever that means). Not a thought is given to the long-term consequences for them in claiming a lifelong “identity”. Rather, young people become pawns in a very adult political game. And a bishop of the church is an all-to-predictable player.
    Two years can’t go by soon enough. Maybe the Diocese of New Hampshire could speed up the process?

  8. Brian from T19 says:

    Robinson has in mind, of course, the question of sexual orientation, but I found the sentiment arresting. The main word of Christ, it seems, is affirmative. You’re great. You’re doing fine. No need to change.

    I must say, by my reading at least, the New Testament says something very different.

    The author admits that +Gene is discussing a single behavior and then extrapolates an entire theology from it. The point is, of course, ridiculous.

  9. Randy Hoover-Dempsey says:

    Of course repentance is the issue. Repentance is my awareness that I am an enemy of Christ. I repent because I fail to be the person Jesus intends for me to be. I repent because I have done what I ought not, and I have not done what I ought. I am led to repentance because I desire to live as a friend of Christ and not His enemy.

    Once I recognize the depth of my own sin, my own enmity towards the One who loved and gave Himself for me, I dare not focus on what I may believe to be the sin of another. The Holy Spirit, who enables the grace of repentance in my own life, is fully capable of doing the same for my brother or sister in Christ.

    In the meantime, I am living daily in the Body of Christ, in community and fellowship with all of those for whom Jesus Christ gave His life.

  10. the roman says:

    #9. I don’t think pointing out moral relativism vis-a-vis the Gospel of Christ is the same as focusing on the sin of another. When someone pushes heresy it needs to be pointed out and opposed. Something about a millstone around one’s neck comes to mind. Who wants to be a party to that fate? This recognition doesn’t make me more righteous than the next fellow but maybe a little more cautious.

  11. Larry Morse says:

    For VGR and most homosexuals, because they do not recognize that their serious abnormality is in fact a serious handicap, they are unable to grasp that they must treat themselves differently and must expect to be treated differently by others when their handicap is an issue. Moreover, #8, like all serious handicaps,homosexuality in NOT a single behavior, but a complex of behaviors, physical, social, and cultural.

  12. robroy says:

    Arguing with VGR is completely pointless. He is not the least bit interested in theology. He is running a purely political campaign. His campaign points are simply chosen for their spin value. One can knock them down, and he will simply bring it up again the next day, e.g., the shellfish argument.