Revisionist Theologian Reportedly Seeks to Avoid TruthPosted: September 24, 2014
The following post is quoted verbatum from the Facebook page of Dr Robert Gagnon. It is in reference to gay activist posts, written by Prof. David Gushee on the web site for Associated Baptist Press, and in particular, the post found here. Interesting stuff.
[Anyone is welcome to repost this post or the related posts on Sept. 16 and 19]
Prof. David Gushee, “Progressive” Baptist and Christian ethicist at Mercer University, posted a response on his FB page to my posts of Sept. 16 and 19. But before I could see the post he had blocked me from his FB page and from seeing any reposting of his post or of his added comments on other FB pages. Isn’t that intellectual cowardice? I hadn’t even posted anything previously on his FB page but sent him only private FB messages copying to him what I had posted on my own FB page. Only because two FB friends alerted me to his post and copy-pasted it to me am I even aware of his response.
For those not following the previous posts, I had critiqued the poor job that Dr. Gushee did in an Associated Baptist Press article on the meaning of the Greek terms malakoi (“soft men” = effeminate men who serve as the passive partners in male homosexual practice) and arsenokoitai (“men who lie with a male” as the active, insertive partner) in the offender list in 1 Cor 6:9. Gushee wanted to limit the meaning of the terms to exploitative forms of homosexual practice because Gushee can’t tolerate the notion that Jesus and the authors of Scripture held a strong male-female requirement for sexual relations. I noted that he misrepresented a key figure in the discussion, William Loader, and systematically ignored all the counterarguments that I have made to the kind of interpretations that he wanted to adopt. If he couldn’t spare the hour or two to read the 33 pages that I wrote on these terms in my first book, The Bible and Homosexual Practice (303-36; Abingdon, 2001), he could at least take out 15-30 minutes of his time to read the condensed 5-page online discussion athttp://www.robgagnon.net/JackRogersBookReviewed3.htm (point 4); pages 9-13 of the pdf version:http://www.robgagnon.net/articles/RogersBookReviewed3.pdf.
I asked Gushee to do a revision that would take these arguments into account. He did a revision but one that continued to ignore the counterarguments that I have raised. He was willing to check additional resources that agreed with his ideological objectives so he obviously made time to stroke his previous reading but not to challenge it.
When I noted that Dr. Gushee’s second “effort” still did not pass muster and sent a copy of my post to him by private FB message, he (ironically) sent me the message, “I appreciate your comments. Thank you,” then a day or two later blocked me from his site and produced this response on his FB page. He now claims that he is being persecuted.
He laments the fact that writing on biblical texts without doing even the minimum that would be required of a competent undergraduate in a Bible class “will cost me suffering, including public repudiations and stinging attacks from erstwhile friends and determined adversaries.” I’m quite sure that my work has received many times more attacks than his (by those long on vitriol and short on academic integrity), but I don’t cry about it. I rather investigate to see if the charges are merited.
He adds that by asking him to read 5 pages of material that differs from his preferred viewpoint I have demanded the impossible since he cannot spend his “entire life reading ancient Hebrew, Persian, Aramaic, Greek, Latin, Jewish, Greek, Roman, and Christian, laws, plays, poems, fables, and moral exhortations on sexuality, in the original languages, plus all associated scholarly literature produced in the last 40 years”; that he doesn’t have time to spend “his entire career doing [this] work.” Does not anyone not see the ridiculousness of this claim by the Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics and Director of the Center for Theology and Public Life at Mercer University?
Could you imagine an undergraduate, let alone first-year M.Div. student, far from a tenured full professor, making that kind of remark? “No, professor, I can’t read 5 pages of a single key work that condenses the work of the principal scholar who disagrees with my agenda because I can’t spend my entire life reading Hebrew, Persian, Aramaic, Greek, etc., and all the scholarly literature produced in the past 40 years.” Well, I wasn’t asking you to read all this, now was I?
Brave soul that he is, Dr. Gushee is resolute: “I will continue to publish articles each week @abp/rh on this LGBT issue reflecting my best, highly fallible, time-limited effort to address the relevant dimensions of the problem…. I will not be intimidated or rebuked into silence. I will follow what I believe Jesus is calling me to do.”
When did I ever want you not to follow Jesus? Just don’t cite Jesus as justification for shoddy work that deliberately hides from readers the problems with your position. Apparently now “intimidation” occurs when one scholar shows the deficiencies of a poorly researched and poorly argued position by another scholar who has the intellectual wherewithal to do much better but refuses to spend even a half hour to investigate the counterarguments.
Dr. Gushee has recast bad scholarship as martyrdom. According to him there are only two kinds of people in the world: Those who care for same-sex attracted persons and those who don’t. He feels that love for same-sex attracted persons demands that we twist Scripture to mean what it can’t possibly mean, read in its historical and literary context, so that such persons can now enter into homosexual unions free of any societal reservation or stricture.
Never mind that Paul viewed such behavior as a dishonoring of the integrity of one’s gender vis-à-vis one’s own sex or that Jesus viewed a male-female prerequisite for sexual relations as foundational for sexual ethics according to God. All of that must be dispensed since it can’t possibly be loving to believe such things. Jesus reached out in love to the biggest violators of God’s ethical demands, to both exploiters of the poor (tax collectors) and the sexually immoral, but did not in the process compromise that ethical demand. To have compromised that demand would have left the offenders under God’s judgment. Gushee apparently thinks that he is a better, more compassionate ethicist than Jesus.
I guess from now on I don’t need to pay attention to what Jesus and Paul really said. I can make them say what I want them to say (through bad scholarship) and call anything other than that a hate-filled message. When I get critiqued by another scholar, one who has done far more work exploring the issues and who wants me to pay a little attention to counterarguments to my position, even if it only takes half an hour to discover what some of those are, I can play the martyr card and declare that I will not be silenced.
Ah, the life of the scholar who espouses antiscriptural positions. Isn’t it wonderful?