More On the Proposed Revision to the PCUSA Translation of the Heidelberg Catechism

Thanks to Justin Taylor for pointing me to Robert Gagnon’s brief essay here. On one level the argument isn’t really about fidelity to the original German and Latin texts but about the meaning of the proof texts cited in HC Q. 87, particularly 1 Cor 6.

The earlier post is here.

Let me be clear that I have no sympathy for the pro-homosexual agenda in the PCUSA or anywhere else. It’s quite clear to me that, from a biblical point of view, homosexuality, like idolatry, theft, Sabbath breaking, coveting, adultery etc is a violation of God’s law. It is clearly the intent of the HC, understood in its original context and understood as the Reformed Churches adopted it in the 16th century that the churches should regard all forms of sexual immorality, including same-sex (homosexual) relations, as sin.

Gagnon is right that, today, we speak with a sort of openness in public about what was once regarded a deviant sexual behavior that is quite different from the way such things were approached in the sixteenth century.  Indeed, it’s quite different from the way sexual mores were discussed in 40 years ago. In a culture of overwhelming and overt sexuality it’s difficult even to remember the sort of modesty that once existed even in late modern America.

The HC simply uses biblical language thus pushing this question and others back to the original intent of Scripture and the understanding of 1 Cor when the catechism was adopted by the Reformed Churches. That intent and understanding is easily discerned from texts from the period.

Update 30 June 08: Carl weighs in. He’s ambivalent about this as I am.

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  • R. Scott Clark
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    R.Scott Clark is the President of the Heidelberg Reformation Association, the author and editor of, and contributor to several books and the author of many articles. He has taught church history and historical theology since 1997 at Westminster Seminary California. He has also taught at Wheaton College, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Concordia University. He has hosted the Heidelblog since 2007.

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