(SMH) Keith Mascord—Beliefs must be tempered by facts

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Those who, like me, grew up in ''Bible-believing'' churches are likely to think they have little choice but to accept what the Bible says (or implies) on same-sex marriage. They may secretly wish it were otherwise. They might acknowledge the strength of arguments in favour of honouring and encouraging long-term homosexual unions. However, they are also likely to believe they have no room to move.

I once thought that way until some surprising implications of the story of Noah's flood began to dawn on me. I discovered that, as a Christian, it is possible to go back to the relevant biblical texts, to understand again what they are saying in context, and to rethink them in the light of contemporary knowledge and experience.

Indeed, in failing to do this, those Christians who refuse to budge on homosexuality also find themselves locked into unsustainable ways of reading the Bible. Let me explain.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAustralia / NZ

11 Comments
Posted June 18, 2012 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. jkc1945 wrote:

One huge problem with concluding, as the author does, that “God made (gays) gay, and what we see is ‘a result of His creative handiwork is - - - it totally ignores the basic and major theological doctrine of Original Sin.  If we correctly understand ‘original sin’ as, not “the first sin;’ where Eve ate that nasty fruit, but rather as “the sin that inhabits our very origins, our very being, the sin that inhabits the DNA of the creation itself,’ then we begin to understand where gayness comes from.  It has nothing to do with whether one “can help being gay’ or not.  It has to do with the very nature os sin in the universe.

June 18, 7:47 am | [comment link]
2. Archer_of_the_Forest wrote:

It is interesting he makes an argument for science and Noah’s Ark. The same science would seem to suggest that if Darwinian “survival of the fittest” is at play in biology, then how a “gay” gene, which does not by its inherent nature reproduce itself, would not have been bred out of the species eons ago.

June 18, 8:14 am | [comment link]
3. Father Dal wrote:

Re. Dr. Mascord’s statement:

But we now know, or have increasingly strong reasons to believe, that people are born gay or lesbian. Far from this being unnatural for them, it is an example of God’s creative handiwork.

IMHO Dr. Mascord would benefit from reading Jeffrey Satinover’s book Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth, which has an excellent clinical discussion of the factors contributing to one’s sexual preferences and behavior.

Re. Dr. Mascord’s problems with interpreting Noah’s flood as a local flood, he might benefit from reading the material at Reasons To Believe as well as appropriate passages from several of Hugh Ross’ books such as The Genesis Question.

June 18, 8:20 am | [comment link]
4. Capt. Father Warren wrote:

This whole “scientific” argument about whether people are “born” gay or not misses a significant point which is the Cross.  It does not matter one bit how you were born, whether your mother ignored you growing up, or your dad shouted at you, or any of the other victimologies we like to dream up.

We are called to carry our crosses and to follow Jesus to new life, transformed beyond whatever worldly baggage we carry with us.

What about the person who was born to lie?  The person born to steal?  The person born to abuse alcohol?  Do we glorify these, do we write liturgies of special blessing for these?  Of course not.

Dr. Mascord’s arguments have been demolished by Prof Gagnow at TSM and the argument that “I was born that way” was rendered useless on the day Jesus died for us on His Cross.

June 18, 8:49 am | [comment link]
5. Undergroundpewster wrote:

By choosing to pick on the Flood, Dr. Mascord demonstrates a typical revisionist strategy. Each and every story in the Bible will fail the test of the revisionist razor therefore substantiating whatever claim they are espousing, in this case gay marriage. To the revisionist, the Bible cannot be trusted because it is a human creation, but modern “science” is to be trusted because it is 100% objective and trustworthy.

June 18, 9:51 am | [comment link]
6. J. Champlin wrote:

The flaws are beyond depressing.  The early chapters of Genesis take over prevailing cultural myths and science and render them as an affirmation of creation and judgment—both themes that are rather vital to Scripture’s witness to the one God.  Included within the doctrine of creation is the affirmation of orders of creation (Genesis 1!)—marriage being an obvious and important example.  And, yes, I hold in faith that the world was created (Hebrews 11).  Mascord exhibits an utter failure to attend to the theological witness; rather, Scripture is nothing more than an arbitrary collection of stories that can be picked apart and ridiculed one by one.  Alas, evangelical proof texting and moralism are the mirror image of Mascord’s depressing column.

June 18, 1:36 pm | [comment link]
7. RandomJoe wrote:

The same science would seem to suggest that if Darwinian “survival of the fittest” is at play in biology, then how a “gay” gene, which does not by its inherent nature reproduce itself, would not have been bred out of the species eons ago.

Actually archer - there is an argument that women who are carriers of the male gay gene might be more sexually active and therefore have more children, etc… If this is true, then ironically, the creation of birth control will eliminate the gay gene from population.

June 18, 4:00 pm | [comment link]
8. MichaelA wrote:

Mascord was a lecturer at Moore Theological College, no less, until 2006.  But thankfully any further advance seems to have been blocked and he moved out. 

One still wonders what sort of damage he did to our Ordinands in Sydney while he was there - the seminaries are vital, and unfortunately they are the place to which closet liberals often gravitate.

June 18, 10:19 pm | [comment link]
9. David Ould wrote:

Mascord was a lecturer at Moore Theological College, no less, until 2006.  But thankfully any further advance seems to have been blocked and he moved out.

As I understand it Keith left his full-time position in 2002 (or thereabouts) but continued teaching one class till 2006 (I was in the last year to have him teach philosophy).

One still wonders what sort of damage he did to our Ordinands in Sydney while he was there - the seminaries are vital, and unfortunately they are the place to which closet liberals often gravitate.

Look, to be honest my experience of Keith, and others say much that same thing, was that he was a very likeable man who garnered a good deal of affection, but he was also regarded by students as a little bit different to the normal Moore type (if there is such a thing - you’d be surprised by the variety of people on the faculty).
Students who arrive at Moore tend to be already very well educated by others’ standards and not prone to being swayed. In my year I can say for a fact that not many were particularly persuaded by Keith’s particular approach to apologetical philosophy which leaned heavily on Plantinga.

the ship’s hull was not breached.

June 19, 8:50 am | [comment link]
10. High_Church wrote:

Very interesting case this Keith Mascord.  The article is so poor reasoned its not even worth mentioning, but the author is.  Here you have a guy teaching in a supposedly Calvinist seminary that doesn’t seem to understand the first thing about original sin.  I noticed the title of his new book “A Restless Faith: Leaving fundamentalism in a quest for God.”  I certainly wouldn’t consider Sydney Anglicans to be fundamentalists by any measure.  I wonder where Mr. Mascord’s religious roots lie, particularly because the tenor of the article is that of one who escaped some form of anti-intellectual legalistic Christianity (i.e. I used to read every passage of the Bible literally and believe all that superstitious non-sense, but know I have a PH.D. and I know better).  At least here in the states, so many of our militant athiests and religious revisionists did not come from strong thinking Reformation and confessional churches, but from anti-intellectual revivalistic legalistic churches.  I think of guys like Richard Rorty and Brian McLaren.

June 19, 2:09 pm | [comment link]
11. MichaelA wrote:

David, thanks for the response.

High Church, I suspect your comment that Mascord “doesn’t seem to understand the first thing about original sin” is wide of the mark, although not your principle.  In other words, I suspect that Mascord understands the doctrine of original sin very well, but chooses to reject it.

You also wrote:

“At least here in the states, so many of our militant athiests and religious revisionists did not come from strong thinking Reformation and confessional churches, but from anti-intellectual revivalistic legalistic churches.”

From what I have seen, there are numerous exceptions even in the USA.  Plenty of graduates of Nashotah House and Trinity have turned to the liberal side over the last 30 years, for example.  The same is true here in Australia where over the last 30 years many anglo-catholic and quite a few evangelical clerics have turned liberal in similar fashion to Mascord.

The reason for my question above is that liberal take-overs usually happen through the seminaries.  Sydney has survived so well against liberalism (in particular a ferocious onslaught during the 1980s) because the lay and clerical leaders have always made it a first principle to keep liberals out of Moore Theological College.  This has become even more imperative in the last decade as Moore provides teaching and teaching materials to many provinces in the Global South.

Hence my question above, and hence why David’s response as a recent alumnus of Moore is reassuring.  Nevertheless, like Mad-Eye Moody, we must all bark “Constant Vigilance!!” at each other on a regular basis!

June 19, 7:26 pm | [comment link]
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