My friend and colleague, Mark Osler, an Episcopalian, wrote a piece for CNN the other day explaining that he is in favor of gay marriage because of his Christian faith. The piece has generated an enormous number of comments at Huff Post and at a lot of e-mails sent to Mark.
Leave aside whether or not you are persuaded by Mark’s argument or think it is impossible for a Christian to support gay marriage. What I’m more interested in for present purposes is one form of response. One person e-mailed to Mark the following (an excerpt from a much longer piece):
You must repent, admit, and confess to God that you are a sinner misusing the Holy name of his beloved son Jesus Christ to advance the homosexual agenda, and he will forgive you, and God will give you a new heart that will be willing and able to follow his Commandments.
However, if you refuse, you will be thrown into the fiery lake of burning sulfur with unbelievers, idolaters, liars, thieves, self-seekers, murderers, witches, warlocks, pedophiles, zoophile lesbians, and homosexuals, and with those that love and practices falsehood.
I don’t know about you, but I feel completely unable to judge how God will deal with each of us on judgement day. I don’t feel I have any qualification to judge whether anyone will be “thrown into a fiery lake of burning sulfer.” My hope is that no one is. But whether or not that hope is realized, I know the judgement is not mine to make.
I think we’d all be a lot better of if we let God be God and didn’t try to fill that role ourselves.
At the risk of moving the conversation in an unwelcome direction, I’d like to suggest that the fundamental question that needs addressing here is the inerrancy of the Bible. If we consider the Bible to be the inerrant word of God then it’s not unreasonable to think that, having read it, we have an insight into God’s mind and intent. Carrying that perspective to its logical conclusion, of course, leads us to a place where the famous
Letter to Dr. Laura makes sense. When we talk about “fundamentalism,” it is biblical fundamentalism that we usually mean.
Re: interpreting accurately what the repeatedly translated collection of books called the Bible states – one of my favorite people says “everything in the bible is absolutely true – and some of it actually happened.”
Let us not put ourself in the judgment seat that only God can occupy. We are only human and do not have the intellect, the source of all knowledge, all of the background of each situation nor the qualities of mercy and compassion exhibited through God’s Son.