Hermeneutiek van inklusiwiteit : Handelinge 15 as Bybelse raamwerk vir aanvaarding van die homoseksuele persoon binne die Verenigende Gereformeerde Kerk in Suider Afrika (VGKSA)
Thesis (MDiv (Old and New Testament))--University of Stellenbosch, 2006.
In present day society and the context within which we find ourselves, the word “marginalised” is not altogether uncommon, therefore the marginalised is on the rise. It is precisely the marginalised that feel the need to hide their true identity. Finding refuge in this option offers them some degree of protection against discrimination/discriminatory practices. This is all too common-place for homosexuals who often find themselves existing only on the fringes of society. Homosexuality is a highly contentious and emotional issue within most denominations, because it goes against most people’s beliefs. This begs investigation into how the homosexual person is dealt with/treated within society as well as how accommodating the Church of Christ is towards them. This dissertation deals with the “hermeneutics of inclusivity” – the acceptance of the homosexual person within the faith-communities, and the ethics surrounding “hospitality”. Acts 15: 1-29, the text which is being dealt with/studied, does not deal with homosexuality, rather it deals with the inclusion of the other/others. Many Christians today long to experience the munificent power of God, this is precisely why Acts is used in this discussion as it is a book that vibrates with life – God’s new life that He bestows upon His people through the Holy Spirit. Looking at Acts 15: 1-29, which speaks about Christian leaders’ meeting in Jerusalem, will aid me in discussing inclusivity and how to incorporate lesbigays, who are seen as “different”, into the extended family within God’s church. By virtue of the text and stories that Paul, Barnabas and Peter had shared with their followers, they had convinced the church that heathens that were not circumcised could still be included within the faith-community. These apostles delivered personal testimonies about the “signs and wonders” and how they also occurred and succeeded amongst the non-believers. This is precisely the type of testimony that the church needs for, and by its lesbigay followers. It is important that we create room for each other to truly live out our Christianity, to be receptive and open to each other, to accept each other as Jesus Christ and God loves and accepts each and every one of us – basically a space where we include everyone in the covenant with God, and the Word of God that asks us to love our neighbour as we love ourselves, as Christ loves us. This love is witnessed in the crucifiction of Christ. We all have a stake in this be it Jew or non-Jew, slave or free man, man or woman, heterosexual or homosexual. If God can include everybody in His love, then that should be the role of the Church, and of each Christian. We should be able to live as one big, happy family whilst serving our God. God’s love and grace excludes no-one.