The relationship between modern social and cultural life and Christianity has sparked numerous discussions on the acknowledgement of some practices and shifts in relationships. In particular is the issue of sexual relationships which has seen the increase in the number of homosexuals. The discussions have been based on whether these activities should be allowed by the church or not. While more and more people are arguing that the scriptures do not mention anything that condemns these acts, the church still maintains its position on this behaviour that it is wrong. This paper thus analyzes one of the articles put forward by L.T. Johnson on the issue of sexual relationships and Christian churches. It also discusses how Paul and other apostles handled the pastoral and ethical questions and the debate which Paul and other Christians faced in the Council of Jerusalem. The final discussion is the approach by L.T. Johnson on the modern churches dividing the church and my stand towards the subject which is the current issues such as homosexuality should be accepted, and more focus shifted on the morality involving other factors such as pornography, adultery and prostitution.
Paul and Early Christian Community
The controversies in the churches believe and correction on their stands date back in the history of the apostles. Here, the main figures were the Disciples of Christ; Paul, Peter and James, the Gentiles and the church leaders. The main issue in the debate was the exclusion of the Gentiles for the church based on their failure to observe the Mosaic Law or be circumcised. It took the church leaders much time and difficulties to understand what God was up to. Though Peter, John and James were open to whatever truth God wanted to learn, it took showing of evidence of the gentiles transformed lives for the apostles to accept. The apostles needed to be shown that the same Holy Spirit that had visited them was the same to the Gentiles. Important to note on the debate is that the Gentiles were considered unclean and evil (Luke Johnson, 2016). Also, it was hard finding a way in which the Jews and the Gentiles were to live together while sharing the table fellowship. Despite the differences, compromises on both sides were essential in keeping the church united.
Also, there are some of the patrol problems that Paul addresses. In response to these problems. Paul considers no sin or offence that is different from others. He classifies all sins to be equal and judges that none of these offenders is right or different in the sins (Luke Johnson, 2016). Such include adultery and prostitution.
L.T. Johnson on Homosexuality and Women Religious Leaders
L.T Johnson is concerned with the issue of sexual relationship and the inclusion of women in the leadership of the church. According to him, the church uses the homosexuality issue to as a scapegoat to real issues such as pornography and the exploitation of women and children caught in prostitution. Johnson uses the scriptures to base his arguments. He states that he is yet to see in the scripture where the same-sex relationship is condemned. Johnson uses Pauls approach to the issue as he categorises all sins equally. He states that Christianity does not live according to the scriptures. Some of the defied rules that are according to the scriptures include putting the individuals in adultery to death and divorce that defies Jesus prohibition. Also, the issue of war according to Jesus times is condemned but continues to happen. As Paul characterises all types of sins to be the same in the eyes of God, Johnson also categorises all sins into one such as those of adultery and war. Also, how Paul approaches the issue of the Gentiles being accepted by the Jews, Johnson is similarly considering the homosexuals as Gods creations which should be accepted and integrated into the modern society. Important to note is that Johnson has lesbian daughter who has accepted it and currently lives a successful and fruitful life (Luke Johnson, 2016).
My personal view on the issue is in line with that of L.T.Johnson. Indeed, times are changing which will lead to the introduction of other issues and factors affecting the society. The issue of homosexuality should be allowed due to two facts. First is that it is how the individuals are created and since we are all created in the likeness of God, the church should accept these individuals. Secondly, if it is considered as a sin, then sufficient proof should indicate the same from the scriptures. Additionally, if the issues of prostitution and adultery are being pardoned in a broad perspective, then homosexuality should also be reconsidered regarding the sexual relationship. The issue of women in religious leadership should also be reconsidered since religious leadership is a calling that can happen to anyone. The interpretation according to L.T.Johnson has an effect on modern churches since they will be characterised by women leaders and also everyone will be allowed to worship at free will especially the homosexuals.
The issue of society values and practices have sparked several questions concerning the church position towards the matters. Homosexuality in churches and inclusion of women in the religious leadership continue to be the main topics of discussion drawing attention as to why they have been denied over years. According to the scriptures, Paul is a figure used to argue these two topics due to his ways of dealing with patrol and ethical questions. Paul is responsible for seeing the enhancement of relationships between the Gentiles and the Jews which was difficult to the church leaders. The Gentiles in this context have been considered unclean and sinful, yet the holy spirits have visited them changing their lives. Personally, I agree with L.T. Johnson that the church stand on homosexuality and women leadership should be revised and the two issues allowed in churches. The reasons for this includes appreciating the way we are created, living in peace with other communities and giving everyone equal opportunities particularly in religious leadership.
Luke Timothy Johnson,2016. Homosexuality and the Church, Commonweal magazine. http://www.commonwealmagazine.org/homosexuality-church-1
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