Glenn Davies – ABC Australia 4 Sep 2013
In recent days a number of strange claims have been made about slavery and shellfish in the Bible. The line normally goes something like this: although the Bible prohibits God’s people from eating shellfish and also endorses slavery, we can disregard these ethical instructions because we have come of age and can see things differently – indeed, more clearly – with our advanced knowledge and superior wisdom concerning what is right and wrong. Therefore, when it comes to novel concepts such as redefining marriage to include two persons of the same sex, we can simply abandon the teaching of the Bible, and in particular, even the teaching of Jesus, on the grounds that the Bible has been superseded by the moral insights of the twenty-first century. This confused way of handling the Bible springs from an ignorance of the Bible’s own narrative…
…While Australians wrestle with the implications of redefining marriage to include a union of two persons of the same sex, it would be a much more enlightened debate if proponents of this novel redefinition did not misuse the Bible in mounting their arguments. It would be more honest to declare their disagreement with biblical teaching, rather than pretend by shallow, ill-informed exegesis that they are following the Bible’s primary theme of love. Here again, Jesus’s words are instructive: “If you love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15).
Glenn Davies is the Archbishop of Sydney and Metropolitan of New South Wales in the Anglican Church of Australia.