In the Contemporary Dispute over Homosexuality Within the Church, How and in What Balance Can the Anglican Three-Legged Stool of Scripture, Tradition and Reason Be Used as a Starting Point for the Benefit of the Whole

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In the contemporary dispute over homosexuality within the Church, how and in what balance can the Anglican three-legged stool of Scripture, tradition and reason be used as a starting point for the benefit of the whole Church and gay and lesbian people in particular?

The issue of homosexuality is a vital one for all churches. The Anglican Church is one of those that contains proponents on both sides of the argument and one of the ways it has viewed revelation is to see it being arrived at through a three fold cord- Scripture, tradition and reason. The essay’s main concern will be with experience and the dialogue of the interpretive community. This is because in an area of strong disagreement dialogue and the interpreters themselves are the keys to how both Scripture and tradition should be used. Natural law seems to be philosophically dead and yet the naturalness of an act is still used by some as an argument against homosexuality. As for science, it has offered no firm conclusions about why some people are homosexual. Therefore this essay will not cover these areas.

SCRIPTURE
“Slavery seeks refuge in the Bible only in its last extremity…. Goaded to frenzy in its conflicts with conscience and common sense, … it courses up and down the Bible, ‘seeking rest and finding none.’ The law of love, glowing on every page, flashes through its anguish and despair.” (Theodore Dwight Weld, The Bible Against Slavery: or, An Inquiry into the Genius of the Mosaic System, and the Teaching of the Old Testament on the Subject of Human Rights (Pittsburgh: United Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1865; republished by Negro History Press, 1970), p.13. in Swartley, p.31).

The anti-slavery movement’s exegetical battles against the Church’s defenders of slavery in many ways parallels the current discussion on homosexuality and on the ordination of women and the above quote could…...

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