Making the case

Tobias Haller continues to do heavy lifting in graceful prose. His case for a positive view of same-sex relationships, informed by Scripture, tradition and reason, has now grown to nine parts, the most recent of which are here, and here.

The ninth part concludes:

The legal code of Deuteronomy is book-ended with citations that indicate its contents derive from God: These are the statutes and ordinances that you must diligently observe in the land that the LORD, the God of your ancestors, has given you to occupy all the days that you live on the earth… Moses and the elders of Israel charged all the people as follows: Keep the entire commandment that I am commanding you today. (Deuteronomy 12:1; 27:1) The same sort of general description applies in Leviticus, which often takes of the refrain of the need to keep all of the statutes and ordinances delivered by Moses. (Lev 20:22, 25:18)

Yet Jesus clearly distinguished between these collections of Law and the commandments of the Decalogue: when the young man asked him how he might inherit eternal life, Jesus cited only Decalogue commandments. (Mark 10:19, Luke 18:20 — though in Matthew’s version at 19:19 he added the Law on love of neighbor from Leviticus 19:18).

I by no means wish to suggest that because Jesus emphasized the Decalogue over the other laws, and set aside a number of the latter laws explicitly (more on this below) that all of these laws are no longer to be observed. I am merely observing here that this places these laws in a category in which we are able to review them for their applicability, in keeping with the general principle which Jesus affirmed as his own touchstone for moral action: loving one’s neighbor as oneself. This is the explicit conclusion reached in Jesus’ discussion with the lawyers concerning what is most important in the Law. (Luke 10:27-28; Mark 12:33-34)

As a bonus, have a look at Tobias’ take on recent developments regarding the proposed Anglican covenant, which may see the light of day on Ash Wednesday.

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