Bishop Gene Robinson has been talking about Romans. The Episcopal Church is taking seriously the possibility that the Church of England at its forthcoming General Synod might take a decisive step on a journey towards communion with the Anglican Church of North America.
So we find Bishop Robinson saying this about Romans 1 and its limitations as a human document:
"“We have to understand that the notion of a homosexual sexual orientation is a notion that’s only about 125 years old," Bishop Robinson told CNSNews.com. "That is to say, St. Paul was talking about people that he understood to be heterosexual engaging in same-sex acts. It never occurred to anyone in ancient times that a certain minority of us would be born being affectionally oriented to people of the same sex.”"
And we find TEC offering this as a 'talking point' in the run up to the COE GS:
"The Episcopal Church laity and clergy believe the Christian faith as stated in the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds. We call the Holy Scriptures the Word of God because God inspired their human authors and because God still speaks to us through the Bible. We look to the Holy Spirit, who guides the Church in the understanding of the Scriptures. Our assurance as Christians is that nothing, not even death, shall separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Together the two statements highlight a challenge for hermeneuticists, Does the Bible being 'inspired' alter the status of statements? In this particular instance, can Paul's authoritative statements in Romans 1 be as casually set aside as Bishop Gene does, himself speaking with all the authority of modernism and its inherent presumption to know better than the eras which have gone before it?
It is intriguing that we simultaneously have an example of one statement from TEC underlining the divine origin of Holy Scriptures, and the continuing divine utilization of Holy Scriptures, and of another from a teaching officer of TEC underlining the human fallibility of Holy Scriptures!