Inclusion or exclusion? : a Christian ethical investigation into biblical perspectives on homosexuality

Le Roux, Olivia (2006-12)

Thesis (M.Th.)--Universiteit van Stellenbosch, 2007.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The debate on homosexuality has become increasingly painful and divisive between people of the Christian faith. A very relevant question is asked; are homosexual people included in the ecclesial community? The aim of my research paper is to propose a way forward for the inclusion of homosexual people in the ecclesial community. Inclusion, however, does not imply legitimization of wrongs. Conceptual clarifications are given in the definition of words such as; ekklesia, ethics and homosexuality. The Wesleyan Quadrilateral is used as an interpretive framework to illustrate that “evidence from four sources: scripture, tradition, reason and experience” is necessary when seeking guidance on complex moral issues. The role of scripture in ethics, specifically with regard to the homosexuality debate is mentioned while the different interpretations of scriptures are discussed. Two dominant opposing approaches are identified, namely the conservative-traditional approach and the liberal approach. The ethic of inclusion and the hermeneutic of hospitality is introduced. It is argued that inclusion and hospitality constitute the thrust of the ethics of the bible and the church through the ages. The point is made that the debate on homosexuality should take this broader ethic of inclusion and hospitality of the bible into consideration. One of the implications is that even though dissensus exist among Christians on the meaning of the biblical texts that deal directly with homosexuality, consensus should exist that the broader biblical message, as well as the witness of the long church history, is one of inclusion and hospitality. Heterosexual Christians are challenged to function with love, embrace and recognition of the full membership of homosexual brothers and sisters. The same challenge of love and embrace are directed to homosexual members of the body of Christ.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die debat oor homoseksualiteit veroorsaak verdeeldheid tussen gelowiges en het toenemend pynvol begin word. ‘n Baie belangrike vraag word gevra; word homoseksuele mense ingesluit in die gemeenskap van die gelowiges? Die doel van hierdie navorsingstuk is om ‘n rigting aan te wys wat homoseksuele gelowiges deelmaak en insluit in die kerk. Deelmaking beteken nie dat dit wat verkeerd is, nou wettig verklaar word nie. Woorde soos ekklesia, etiek en homoseksualiteit word gedefinieer om die begrippe te verduidelik. Wesley se viersydige metode van skrifuitleg word gebruik om komplekse aangeleenthede te vertolk. Hierdie metode word as noodsaaklik bestempel veral wanneer leiding benodig word rondom morele aangeleenthede. Twee oorheersende, teenoorgestelde posisies van skrifuitleg word geïdentifiseer, naamlik die konserwatiewe-tradisionele vertolking en die liberale vertolking. Die etiek en skrifverklaring van gasvryheid word voorgestel. Die argument word aangevoer dat gasvryheid die kern van etiek is wat deur die jare in die bybel en in die kerk saamgestel is. Alhoewel gelowiges nie saamstem met die verskeie skrifverklarings nie, behoort hulle saam te stem oor die wyer boodskap in die bybel, naamlik dat die getuienis van die lang kerk geskiedenis een is van deelname en gasvryheid. Heteroseksuele Christene word uitgedaag om in liefde op te tree, om die homoseksuele gelowige te omhels en ten volle te aanvaar as mede lidmate in die gemeenskap van die gelowiges. Homoseksuele Christene word uitgedaag om met dieselfde liefde hulle heteroseksuele broer en suster te omhels.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/19638
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