I was honoured to receive the following comment from my piece Rowan Williams and the High Price of Riding the Fence:
I have been catching up with stuff on the Web concerning the letters the Archbishop of Canterbury wrote me.
My reply to Dr. Williams’ first letter ran to more than six pages, and I brought up the same points you are making about Dr. Williams’ interpretation, or misinterpretation’ of scripture. I am praying that people with sound Biblical scholarship to show that DR. Williams is wrong, wrong, and that he is making grievous errors that will have widespread bad repercussions of momentous proportions if his ideas encourage homosexual sex.
Please keep abreast of this issue and keep writing. I appreciated your article and I agree with your conclusions. better to get things out in the open.
Yours sincerely in Christ
Dr. Deborah Pitt is the Welsh Evangelical psychiatrist (I hope Emily Stone is reading this) who published an exchange of correspondence she had back in 2000-1 with now Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams. In his reply to her questions, Williams basically stated that he had come to believe that relations between committed homosexuals were not sinful. Although such sentiments are buried in some of his public writings, Dr. Pitt’s revelation of these had the effect of “outing” (I love this terminology when used in this context) the Archbishop at an inopportune time, namely the 2008 Lambeth Conference.
I admire Dr. Pitt for making these letters public. And I appreciate her kind comments about my piece, which included decrying the “fence riding” that characterises so many Anglican ministers and prelates. It makes me wonder who really needs to be Archbishop of Canterbury…
Note about the “committed relationships” argument:
This is one of the most insidious traps that exists in the whole debate over homosexuality. One thing that most people note about homosexual relationships is their transience. The current “poster child” of this is the Nigerian homosexual “hero” Davis Mac-Iyalla, who managed to embarrass his host with his predatory practices during a visit to the U.S. That notwithstanding, the LGBT community’s response to this is that they promote relationships that a) are committed, b) are non-exploitative, and c) deserve sanction with same sex civil marriage.
Their emphasis on “commitment,” however, has lured people such as Williams into thinking that commitment is the essence of a Christian relationship, i.e., if a relationship is committed, it’s Christian. But that overlooks two important points.
The first is the sad fact that committed relationships, be they heterosexual or homosexual, are the exception rather than the rule in the West these days. For most people, commitment is more of a bother than an advantage; our divorce rate amongst heterosexuals (to say nothing of cohabitation) is a testament to that, and now we’re seeing same-sex civil marriages split up. If Williams and others are hoping to legitimise same-sex relationships based on a supposedly high level of commitment, the “choir” he’s preaching to is very small indeed.
Second, commitment is only part of a truly Christian relationship. It’s an important part, to be sure, but there are many other facets. There’s no evidence that the New Testament legitimises relationships of any kind primarily because they are committed. The truth is quite the opposite: first the New Testament calls a relationship such as Holy Matrimony between a man and a woman sacred, then makes commitment (along with other things) a “part of the package.”