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Faith Comment published in the Petersfield Post

12 July 2017: Tim Concannon, Joint Convenor of PACT

The pressures of bearing witness in the modern world

“So if anyone declares himself for me in the presence of man, I will declare for him in the presence of my Father in Heaven. But the one who disowns me in the presence of men, I shall disown in the presence of my Father” (Matt 10:32)

So what are we to make of Tim Farron who, after some hesitation and obfuscation stepped down as leader of the Liberal Democrats because he found that their position on sexuality and abortion was not compatible with his faith?

Repeated questioning by a hostile press certainly counts as being dragged before governors and kings for the Lord’s sake. What could he have said? Personally, I have long had no problem with homosexuality, but I have supported marriage as being only between a man and a woman and long been anti-abortion, taking on many campaigners in these areas. I, however, am not a public figure, and I am extremely unlikely to lose my job, or indeed any friends because of my views.

A little further on in Matthew 22 we see just how Jesus dealt with awkward questions, designed to entrap him, “Render unto Ceasar what is Ceasar’s and unto God what is God’s.” His take on marriage was interesting: “At the resurrection men and women do not marry; no, they are like angels in Heaven.” He concludes the episode with the command to love our neighbours as ourselves.

That made me think. I am on corresponding terms with the gay activist Peter Tatchell and have had many conversations with him about his views, which are surprisingly Christian. His support for the “Queer” community (as he calls it) is founded on love. He calls for any actions to take place on the context of a loving relationship. It makes me wonder if we are, actually moving into another age, where maleness and femaleness are not important, as long as there is love.

We no longer observe the Old Testament dietary laws. Maybe the time has come to abandon Leviticus’ strictures against homosexuality. After all, we know what Jesus made of the command to put adulterers to death: “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone… Woman, where are your accusers? Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.”

He came to fulfil the Law. The word that is used, Πλϵρωσαι, can also be used in the sense of “satisfy”. Maybe that is part of His mission, to atone for those breaches.

Today's Faith Comment is scheduled to be written by the Chair of PACT - Tim writes it as part of his role as a Joint Convernor of PACT but here is expressing his personal views



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