Recently Read: Hamilton takes on conservative biblical interpretations on same-sex relationships

hamiltonAdam Hamilton is well known throughout the United Methodist Church as the very successful pastor of the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, KS, the largest UMC in the United States. He’s recently been generating some buzz with his new book Making Sense of the Bible, in which he articulates a moderate approach to the interpretation of scripture. Salon.com recently excerpted his chapter on sexuality under the title: Stop twisting the Bible: There is no message against same-sex marriage:

Again what I am hoping to demonstrate is that we might explain the condemnations related to same-sex intimacy in the Bible as pertaining to these kinds of situations: gang-rape, temple prostitution, idolatry, and pederasty. If this is what the scripture writers were condemning, I suspect most of us would agree with their condemnations of these practices. But these practices, and the motivations behind them, are very different from two people sharing their lives together in a covenant relationship.

via Stop twisting the Bible: There is no message against same-sex marriage – Salon.com.

Click on the link above to read the article.

Recently Read

Recently Read

Recently Read posts are stories the editors of The United Methodist Reporter have found interesting from other sites and wanted to share with our readers. The editors do not necessarily endorse the opinions shared in these stories, and referral here should not imply endorsement of that content.

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65 Comments on "Recently Read: Hamilton takes on conservative biblical interpretations on same-sex relationships"

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The United Methodist Reporter wants to encourage lively conversation about The United Methodist Church and our articles in the belief that Christian conversation (what Wesley would call conferencing) is a means of grace. While we support passionate debate, we cannot allow language that demeans or demonizes others, and we reserve the right to delete any comment we believe to be harmful or inappropriate. We encourage all to remember that we are all broken and in need of Christ's grace, and that we all see through the glass darkly until that time we when reach full perfection in love. May your speech here be tempered with love, and reflection of the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. After all, "There is no law against things like this." (Galatians 5:22-23)
 
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Jay
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The hatred of so-called conservatives has been obvious for so long, but it is still good to see it in black-and-white directed at a fellow-believer. Most of the commenters in this thread seem utterly oblivious to the Gospel’s great message of love.

Mel Hazlewood
Guest

My, the vitriol and recriminations over a difference of opinion is disappointing. One does wish for more grace among and between Methodist brothers and sisters but, then again, after reading this string of comments I am not thinking or feeling very grace-filled either. Instead, I am feeling rather flattened by it all. Cannot we disagree and at least suspect that those with opposing opinions hold them do so with sincerity and good will? There is no need for the personal attacks on Rev. Hamilton.

Mel Hazlewood
Guest

Sarcasm? Really?

Mark
Guest
Excellent observations by both Wes and WAD. Actions by orthodox believers have been IN RESPONSE to liberal provocations. Traditionalists are not the agitators. They didn’t ask for this. Liberals have been saying since the 60’s that marriage is an outdated social institution, thereby ushering in the “shack-up” culture and the fatherless society (with all its attendant societal costs, social dysfunction and moral decay). Now they have suddenly found new importance for an institution that they previously branded unnecessary. That is, these “progressives” want to correct injustices for which they were largely responsible. In a sane world they would be ignored… Read more »
Mel Hazlewood
Guest
To Wes, WAD and Mark, someone once said that the only thing in the middle-of-the-road is yellow stripes and dead armadillos (they must have been from Texas). Perhaps I am either one of the stripes or a dead armadillo, but it seems to me that there are two groups that are entrenched in sincerely held beliefs. It is unfortunate that, some on one side belittle and attack the character, beliefs, and sincerity of those on the other. Certainly this is one thing that the over-the-top reaction to Hamilton’s change of opinion further substantiates. For what end? For the most part,… Read more »
Mark
Guest
Mel, I am afraid you are only tuned in to the hatefulness on one side of this argument. I tire of people protesting “vitriol” just when their arguments are being objectively refuted. We need to learn to deal in facts, not perceptions, sanctimonious emotional appeals or ad hominem attacks. Adam Hamilton has voluntarily placed himself in this position, possibly because he has had a true change of heart (based on subjective reasoning), or possibly because he wants greater acceptance and recognition by secular culture (which could lead to further fame and fortune). He has placed his credibility among thinking people–especially… Read more »
dave werner
Guest

Mel, thank you for your comments!

james
Guest
I come to this article and read and reread the comments that are made–and wonder how in the world can Adam Hamilton generate so much comment. He–after all–is just a man who has his own opinion. The umc moves step by step with the government of this once great country. Progressives seem to have won the battle–if not the war–should one consider that is what is taking place. To me it seems a sign of the times. Confusion will reign when the time of Christ’s Return comes close–(and it could be before I strive to post my comments or it… Read more »
Wes Andrews
Guest
Mel, all the UMC has done for forty years is offer grace toward the pro-gay marriage/ordination progressives. And instead of being gracious about it, they ignore the due process and also betray the kindness that has been offered in an open-hearted and loving way and do what they want. And it’s not a justice issue, because THEY HAVE HAD A VOICE at GC for forty years. It is fair to say that their voice has been disproportional to their numbers. They have also disrupted fair minded proceedings. The progressives are the source of the vitriol, and when fair minded UMs… Read more »
Paul W.
Guest
Wow. In any earlier comment, Russ joked about how the next step will be Adam speaking at Foundry UMC. I thought this was tongue-in-cheek, but, guess what? Russ called it! Just in on Adam’s blog: He is opening his book tour at Foundry of all places on 23 April. http://www.adamhamilton.org/blog/view/161/join-me-online-wednesday-as-book-tour-begins#.U1dK2GYU9aQ Is there any more evidence we need for how far Adam has strayed from orthodoxy? Read his blog post. He’s even going to give a presentation on his book that will specifically discuss how the Bible is not accurate, how you can pick and choose the parts you want to… Read more »
Mark
Guest

Well….it’s starting to make sense now. How sad.

Galen Colbert
Guest
Oh, pish posh. I might give credence to your reasoning IF you took the same stance on divorce and women speaking in church — after all, according to the Bible, those are abominations, too. But I’m hearing crickets on those issues. Let’s cut the through the Bible-speak and call a spade a spade: the main reason you’re so rabid about this issue is because the thought of two people of the same sex having sexual relations absolutely disgusts you….or it absolutely excites you — take your pick. Also, the reason you’re so frustrated is that you’re not controlling the conversation… Read more »
Wes Andrews
Guest
Galen, a study regarding the passage to which you refer might very easily clarify that women in leadership are in NO WAY looked on as an abomination. That is your word, and is meant to confuse. 1Cor. 14:34 “…women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says.” I find it interesting how much bashing Paul gets from feminists, and how conveniently progressives will use misinterpretations to their advantage rather than addressing them as all students should. Actually, Paul is quite the champion of women, and just a… Read more »
james
Guest
“Frothing,” Galen? Those progressives who choose to read the Holy Writ as a document that changes and embraces what they choose to believe on any given day–and blesses anything that feels good to them are the ones who are “Frothing.” And, add to that list the majority of the council of bishops who refuse to lead–who would do nothing to put in jeopardy the fancy trappings the “office of bishop” affords them. And, add to that list those individuals on the districts of the conferences of the umc who expect laity to sit with folded hands and pay their tithe… Read more »
John Donaldson
Guest
Hamilton has this interesting analogy of dividing God’s word into three buckets — never true, once true – but not now, always true. He seems to put the prohibition against same-sex union in the never true category (saying God was really prohibiting rape, etc., not committed same sex-unions.) Seems like if you can pull out a command against same-sex union and doctor it up until it just means rape, what is to keep a person from doing that to all the commandments? Didn’t Jesus say something about this kind of reasoning? (See Mt. 15:5)
Wes Andrews
Guest
Exactly. John. And Galen, we’re not frothing. We are leaders. What we teach matters to thousands of people. We can either point them to the truth that is transcendent, or we can compromise the truth based on what we “feel” under the pressure of culture. How we affirm or reject the authority of Scripture, which is the source of the Good News, matters. Rev. Hamilton is a leader, what he says impacts thousands of people. The way he reimagines Scripture is methodologically impossible to sustain. One day this verse means one thing (truth.. perhaps), another day, the same verse means… Read more »
dave werner
Guest

This interview reminds me of the obvious, hidden in plain view: this article represents just a part of Hamilton’s latest book. There’s a larger context for the remarks being discussed here.

http://www.readthespirit.com/explore/the-adam-hamilton-interview-on-making-sense-of-the-bible-while-growing-the-church/

Paul W.
Guest
Thanks for posting the link to this interview. In Adam’s own words, it shows that he has now fully embraced liberal theology and abandoned his evangelical roots — he now “believes” the Bible only through re-interpreting, allegorizing, or assigning to the realm of poetry those parts he does not like. It also shows that he has fully bought into the lies of the so-called “higher critics”. His goal, as stated, is to educate his readers so that they will travel down the same false path he is travelling. Very sad indeed. Be in prayer that Adam will return to his… Read more »
Galen Colbert
Guest

WAD and Wes: You two seem to be frothing at the mouth over this inconsequential issue. Down, boys — you’re going to have a stroke.

Wes Andrews
Guest
Gal. 1:1    Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead— 2 and all the brothers with me,   To the churches in Galatia: Gal. 1:3  Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5 to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. Gal. 1:6   I am astonished that you are so quickly… Read more »
Wes Andrews
Guest
Alas, the council, over the past several decades, has done NOTHING to lead the UMC to be a healthy kingdom expanding church. Among many failings, they have not addressed UNITY issues with our colleges, universities and seminaries which for decades have been actively working AGAINST the doctrines that have been affirmed at GC. Money should have been tied to affirming the UMC doctrines. And a minority of pastors, like Adam Hamilton have been sitting quietly compromising those doctrines until they stumble on being honest about what they believe, which should put them in a position to resign, or go to… Read more »
Wes Andrews
Guest
2 Cor. 11:1 I hope you will put up with a little of my foolishness; but you are already doing that. 2 I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him. 3 But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 4 For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if… Read more »
d
Guest

Hamilton writes:
“That, for me, leaves open the possibility that Moses and Paul did not accurately capture God’s will concerning same-sex relationships.”

So, in Hamilton’s eyes, Moses and the Apostle Paul got it wrong but Hamilton gets it right. The inspired God breathed words of Paul and Moses are wrong but Hamilton is right. That, in effect, makes Hamilton the prophet and the Apostle Paul and Moses some mystic that cannot understand God as well as Hamilton.
Hamilton places himself and his understanding superior to Paul and Moses.
That is a problem.

Jamie
Guest
I agree with Adam Hamilton; that is, the 2004 version, not the 2014 version. Hamilton 2.0 has certainly evolved in a short period of time: “In reading the Scriptures, I find that homosexual practice is included in a category of sins that are common to most of us. I cannot dismiss these passages and say they don’t matter.”1 “Yes, I believe homosexual practice is not God’s will for us.”2 “Having carefully studied the latest progressive arguments regarding homosexuality- particularly those dealing with the biblical texts- I remain persuaded that Scripture, tradition, experience, and reason point to the fact that God… Read more »
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