(The original blog post on this from August, 2009 is there.)
Budde: I’m not disagreeing with that, either, except that I think it is very dangerous to take our understanding of marriage and fidelity in relationships and try to imagine that even what Jesus was saying when he spoke the words that you quoted earlier because understandings of marriage in that time and that eras is very different from how people may experience marriage today. And to imagine that Jesus was speaking to the kind of realities that we are addressing now in same-gender, lifelong, committed relationships is just a huge distortion of the Palestinian world view that he was addressing.
He was addressing property issues. He was addressing men treating women like property and disposing of them at will and calling for a more egalitarian and respectful way that — and loving way — that men and women were to deal with one another. This is a time when women were treated like chattel and to have that idea of marriage held up to the standard that God calls us to now is, I think, is trying to take any view of order which was true in the Biblical era and make that standard for us now. It flies in the face of everything we know about now about how the Holy Spirit moves and works with us over time.
Harmon: This is exactly the kind of argument I think we need to have, by the way. The difficult here is the context that becomes the trump card, notice in her remarks, is the modern context. And so the Biblical context in the ancient world gets derated and we somehow suddenly know better how the Holy Spirit works in this modern era.
What’s so crucial to point out is there is such a thing as the history of the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit works through the church, especially the church globally and the church historically through time. And the church historically through time that has always understood that this kind of behavior is out of bounds and marriage is the context and what’s the height of the arrogance is that you impose this new understanding on the shoulders of the all the Christians we now understand, all the Christians around the world who haven’t been persuaded by these arguments.