Neither Authoritarian nor Diffident: Conversing about Biblical Differences

Uniting Church Studies (Melbourne, Australia), 4:2. 11 pp.

Over the past several years Australian and North American Protestants have witnessed widespread denominational deliberations concerning matters of Christian living–particularly regarding what constitutes faithful sexuality. Sadly, much of this churchly discourse has conformed predictably to the polarized ideological battle lines of the wider culture wars. Thoughtful people are beginning to sense that the church may well lose no matter who wins the ecclesial plebiscites. They suspect that it is the adversarial discourse itself that is dysfunctional – including how the Bible is being employed. I believe they are right. The following reflections on how Christians can preserve community when they read the Bible so differently are offered against the backdrop of this struggle. I will try to summarize the problem, suggests two avenues for exploration if we would move toward genuine “conversation,” and conclude with a brief consideration of how the apostle Paul advised his churches in similar disputes.

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