Monday, December 29, 2008

The God +Gene Robinson Knows

Kevin Eckstrom at Religious News Service has an interview with +Gene Robinson up today in which +Robinson explains that 'his God' is as well pleased with +Gene himself as God was with Jesus at Jesus' baptism by John. In this excerpt of the interview, they are discussing this NY Times article about Rick Warren:
Q: You told The New York Times that "the God that he's praying to is not the God that I know." What God do you think he's praying to?

A: I think he is praying to a God, at least around this issue, that calls upon God's homosexual children to deny who they are, to deprive themselves of love and intimacy that is permitted every other one of God's children. He's praying to a God who calls on me, as a gay man, to change, to submit myself to the power of Jesus so I can be healed of this `infirmity' of mine.

Q: And how is that different from the God that you pray to?

A: The God I know says to me, just like we hear God saying at Jesus' baptism, that you are my beloved, and in you I am well pleased. That's a very, very different God. Imagine the difference between a parent who loves you for you who are, and one that says I'll only love you if you change.

+Robinson's understanding of God's love is consistent with that of the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Katherine Schori. +Schori has suggested that all people should do a meditation imagining themselves in the role of Jesus at his baptism experiencing the loving approval spoken by God to Jesus. There are two problems with using the baptism of Jesus as the basis for understanding God's love for all humanity:
1) this conflates love and approval, and
2) this usurps the uniqueness of Christ.

God loves us unconditionally. But God's approval is conditional. We need only look to Jesus' parable of the Prodigal Son to understand the difference between love and approval. The father loved the son throughout the son's life, but not one would claim that the father approved of the son's behavior in squandering his inheritance. However, God's forgiveness is infinite and we are not judged by a standard of perfection but rather on our willingness to continue to turn back toward God as we inevitably stray from God's path for us.

Jesus was uniquely without sin. We know that Jesus was not just another human when he came to be baptized by John. John recognized that he was not fit to tie Jesus' sandal and John said that Jesus did not need baptism. The assertion that one is equal to Jesus in God's approval cannot be found in scripture and leads to the heresy that we are equal to Christ. An example of this theological drift into heresy is found in the Diocese of Northern Michigan.


The Underground Pewster said...

He needs to go back and attend Theology 101.

Bishop Robinson: "The God I know says to me...that you are my beloved, and in you I am well pleased."

Theology 101: Nature is not divine. In contrast to the other ancient religions, the O.T. teaches that although God created nature, nature was not itself to be worshipped.

The Bishop is making a golden calf of himself.

Or he may have gotten hung up on point 2 of Augustine of Hippo's argument:

"1. Everything that exists owes that existence to God. There is no alternative source or origin of existence.

2. Everything that exists was created good by a good God.

3. The evil that exists within the world is not to be thought of as something positive and real, possessing its own distinct substance. Rather, it is to be thought of as a 'lack of goodness' (privation boni).

4. Evil does not derive its origin from God, but from humanity's use of its God-given freedom."

(from McGrath Christian Theology 4th ed. p.226)

Perhaps the Bishop should rein in his God-given freedom a little.

BillyD said...

As you can imagine, my take on this is somewhat different than yours, Perpetua; I don't think that homosexuality per se is something that is an obstacle to Christian life. That said, this substitution of "come as you are!" for "repent and believe the gospel" is disturbing.

Matthew said...

But if love is not approval, then the whole Piskie Left will have to re-think their positions. And that lot will fight tooth and nail rather than re-evaluate their theology.

Dr.D said...

Gene is trying hard to secure his hold on John Spong's position. He may yet manage to do it, but he still has to work at it a bit.

Have you noticed how everything is all about Gene? He does not talk about serving Christ, he does not talk about serving others, he does not talk about discipleship, he does not talk about repentance, he does not talk about the incarnation, he does not talk about salvation, he does not talk about any of the conventional topics for a Christian leader. He talks about himself, much like a talkshow host might do.

When Gene says that "his God" is well pleased with him, I think he is being entirely truthful and correct because the god he worships is self. He is very pleased with himself; he has done just what he wanted to do. And he is correct when he says that Rich Warren is praying to a different God, because Warren is praying to the Triune God which is quite different from old Gene.

It all fits, you just have to understand who Gene's god is. It is not the God that most of us understand when we say "God."

BillyD said...

Even though I'm gay, I'm not a fan of Bishop Robinson. I'm quite willing to let him be the Bishop of New Hampshire; it is, after all, they who elected him. My problem is that ever since his election he's insisted on acting as if he were PECUSA's Gay Bishop At Large. He's forever in the media, and I wonder how he finds the time to administer even a small diocese like NH.