Dr. David P. Gushee's bio on Wikipedia states he is an historian, ethicist, public intellectual, and professor dealing primarily with ethical issues and Christian thought. Gushee is the Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics at Mercer University, and was formerly the Graves Professor of Moral Philosophy and the Senior Fellow of the Carl F. H. Henry Center for Christian Leadership at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. Gushee also serves as the president of Evangelicals for Human Rights, an organization advocating for an end to torture, especially that sponsored by the United States government. Additionally, he is a columnist for Christianity Today and the Associated Baptist Press.
For all that, here is some news about something he said and did recently- this is from the Associated Baptist Press--
Gushee: Covenant best model for sexual relationship
"The co-convener of a conference on sexuality and covenant said April 20 that long-term committed relationships are the best model for Christians struggling to make sense of changing morals about sex."
Don't get excited. It sounds good. But it is not good. Read on.
"I believe that covenant is a, if not the, single best way that has emerged in the great Christian tradition to talk about what we are supposed to do with our sexuality, and for that matter, our relationality,” said David Gushee, an ethics professor at Mercer University, co-sponsor with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of the April 19-21 conference at First Baptist Church in Decatur, Ga."
Still don't know why I'm disappointed? He hasn't said MARRIAGE yet. Read on.
"Gushee defined covenant as a “voluntarily entered sacred pact between two persons and between those two persons and the God to whom both are committed.” OH NO! Why, you ask? Because he said 'two persons'. Not "man and woman." Read on:
"Gushee said he doesn’t think the main issue facing the church today is which groups of people are to be viewed as eligible to make covenants. “The main issue is to rescue the very practice of covenant before it disappears forever, not only in society but in our own house,” he said."
BAD BAD BAD. He wants to 'rescue" covenants (like God needs human help with maintaining covenants) but declines to specify who is eligible to enter them. However the bible is clear on who is eligible to enter the type of covenant he is talking about, marriage. It is a man and a woman. The Bible condemns homosexuality as an immoral and unnatural sin. Leviticus 18:22 identifies homosexual sex as an abomination, a detestable sin. Romans 1:26-27 declares homosexual desires and actions to be shameful, unnatural, lustful, and indecent. Defining "which groups" are eligible to enter sexual covenant is not a necessary endeavor for today's Christian because it already has been defined for us. All we need to do is proclaim the truth and obey it. Failing that and instead focusing on the covenant and not the people in the covenant is a backwards approach that leaves out Jesus.
First Corinthians 6:9 states that homosexuals are unrighteous and will not inherit the kingdom of God. it stands to reason that a sacred covenental relationship between same genders would be entering a sinful relationship and not approved by God. That Gushee declined to specify that, thereby proclaiming less than the whole counsel of God, is a severe disappointment.
The Baptist Standard covered the conference this way--:
Christians lack consensus on sexual ethics, speaker tells conference
"Christians no longer share a consensus that sex outside of marriage is always wrong and must find new ways to deal with that reality besides splitting into smaller and smaller groups over issues like homosexuality and contraception, a keynote speaker said April 19 in the opening session of a [Baptist] Conference on Sexuality and Covenant co-sponsored by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and Mercer University’s Center for Theology and Public Life. ... David Gushee, head of Mercer’s Center for Theology and Public Life, said the university was happy to co-sponsor the event because of its long identity as a Baptist institution and interest “in promoting dialogue about an important and sensitive issue that some people would be afraid to host a dialogue about.” Gushee said his center normally deals with public policy issues, but in this case cordoned off that part of the discussion to make it easier to have conversation. He said the conference still could have implications for public policy if it demonstrates that people really can discuss a sensitive issue like sexuality constructively and with respect."
Here is the perspective on "dialogue". I've always been interested in language, and how language, particularly through media, influences the mind. How it can clarify or obfuscate. The Emergent Church penchant for insisting on 'respectful dialogue' is part of the tactic of obfuscation. It brings muddiness to the clarity of scripture and it is simply a defense mechanism for satan to deflect dogmatic truth.
I posted a blog entry a short while ago titled "It's 2012 and homosexuality is still a sin" as a jab at emergent post-modern culture that says we have to get with the times and dialogue about these points to see whether they are still relevant. I have an answer for you. They are still relevant. End of dialogue.
As a result of my interest in how language is used or misused, the emergent church, and John MacArthur's solidly biblical sermons, I've heard just about everything MacArthur has said or written on the subject. Here is his explanation of the tendency toward dialogue in his essay "The perspicuity of scripture"
He wrote- "A new movement is now arising in evangelical circles. Apparently, the main object of attack will be the perspicuity of Scripture. Influenced by postmodern notions about language, meaning, subjectivity, and truth, many younger evangelicals are questioning whether the Word of God is clear enough to justify certainty or dogmatism on points of doctrine. Ironically, this new movement to a certain extent ignores all the previous debates. Instead, its proponents are more interested in dialogue and conversation. As a result, they scorn and rebuff propositional truth (which tends to end dialogue rather than cultivate it) as an outmoded vestige of twentieth-century modernism."
He's right. Proclamation tends to shut them up. There is no debating God.
Peter said that Jesus preached to the spirits in prison, (1 Peter 3:19) and the word preached means proclaimed. The Greek word is kērýssō ("to herald") and refers to preaching the Gospel as the authoritative (binding) word of God, bringing eternal accountability to all who hear it. (Strong's Concordance).
Do you really believe that scripture is so unclear about what's a sin that we need to have endless discussion as to whether marriage is meant for life between a man and a woman under God or can be included to mean two men for whatever period of time as their lust brings them together? If so, do you believe that when Jesus descended to prison to speak with the demon spirits, He said "Let's promote a dialogue about an important and sensitive issue that some people would be afraid to host a dialogue about. And I promise to be respectful”?? NO. He proclaimed GOD's RIGHTEOUSNESS. His death & resurrection meant He triumphed over death, over hell and over sin, sin that includes homosexuality!
I'm really disappointed in the Baptist segment of our denomination that is behaving this way. Failing to stand on the word of God as authoritative and binding means one is actually standing on a house of sand. And we all know what happens when the storm comes.
“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.” (Matthew 7:24-27)
Note the last line of the parable. "Great was its fall." The Greek word defines 'great' as megas, "large, as in the widest sense." Jesus is saying that unless you stand on His word as the foundation, your fall will be so great it couldn't be any greater!