What we have seen is that Dr Warner’s argument is misleading in several respects.
- It is not the case that Deuteronomy 22:13-29 is the foundation for the biblical rejection of sex outside marriage:
- It is not the case that what is said in depends on the idea that a woman ids the property of her father or her husband;
- It is not the case that these verses simply echo the ideas of the surrounding culture;
- It is not the case that Exodus 22:16-17 and Deuteronomy 22:28-29 are about a woman being married off to someone who has sexually assaulted her.
In addition Dr Warner has failed to acknowledge the way in which the actual foundation for biblical thinking about sexual ethics is the creation narrative in Geneses 1 and 2 and what St Paul says in Ephesians 5:32 about marriage being a reflection of Christ’s relationship with his Church.
For all these reasons her article does not make out a persuasive case for the Church to reconsider its traditional view that faithful Christian discipleship requires sexual abstinence outside marriage and sexual fidelity within it.
This does not mean that Christians today need to adopt the specific laws laid down in Deuteronomy 22. As Article VI says, is it not the case that the ‘civil precepts’ contained in the Old Testament ‘ought of necessity to be received in any commonwealth.’ What it does means, as Oliver O’Donovan writes, is that as Christians we need to learn to see within this law (as within the Old Testament law as a whole) ‘a revelation of created order and the good to which all men are called, a ‘moral law’ by which every human being is claimed and which belongs fundamentally to men’s welfare.’
Martin Davie–A response to Meg Warner ‘Does the Bible really say … that sex outside marriage is wrong? https://t.co/tYzlpsnfpt #christianity #sexualethics #marriage #bible #anglican #anthropology pic.twitter.com/qdQI0oGk5j
— Kendall Harmon (@KendallHarmon6) May 30, 2019
(img: Gilead Books)