Confusing God's love, agape, with human love, eros
Rev Eric McKimmon in his letter re Prebyterian Church in Ireland and same sex relationships ('If respect were shown to conscience, it would relieve growing alienation between Presbyterian Church in Ireland and her sister churches,' July 3) makes a number of statements that require to be challenged:
1. He says that ‘where love is Christ is. In other words, faithful, committed loving relationships are a sign of the Kingdom of God in people’s lives’. Here Rev McKimmom is confusing God’s love (agape in the New Testament) with human physical love (eros).
They are totally distinct from one another. If we follow Eric’s line of reasoning then a man who ‘falls out of love’ with his wife and ‘falls in love with another woman’ is perfectly justified in God’s eyes in leaving his wife and committing himself to the other woman.
2. To limit the Bible’s condemnation of same sex practice to irresponsible or abusive relationships only, as Rev McKimmom does, will not stand up to the test of scripture.
Such practice in Romans Ch 1 included that by women as well as men (Romans 1 vs26) and there is no evidence of abusive woman to woman relationships in the Greco Roman world Paul was addressing.
Moreover the contrast in Roms 1 vs27 is clearly not between abusive homosexual relationships and loving homosexual relationships but between heterosexual and homosexual conduct.
From Paul’s perspective the fundamental problem with male homosexual conduct is not that it is abusive but that it is sexual gratification aimed at other males rather than females.
The blurring of the sexes, doing with the same sex what should be done with the opposite sex alone is the problem for Paul.
3. Rev McKimmom refers to people coming to a more accepting attitude largely due to meeting people of diverse sexual orientation in the community, in their churches and sometimes in their families.
In many respects we come here to the core issue which ultimately is the authority of God’s Word. For those who do not accept its full and final authority, experience trumps the Word of God while for those who do accept the authority of God’s Word, that authority is final in all matters of faith and practice.
The question Rev McKimmom and those who subscribe to his view need to answer is ‘Do we accept the authority of Scriptures or are we going to have our beliefs and practices shaped by our fallen society?’
In Romans 12 vs 1 we are urged by Paul not to conform to the standards of this world. PCI is following this injunction.
D. Howard Gilpin, Moira