The question is, can one be an orthodox Christian and deny the virgin conception? It is proclaimed as early as the Apostles’ Creed, thus it does seem to be a matter of orthodoxy. But I know of many liberal Protestants and Catholics who reject Mary’s virginity and yet claim orthodoxy.The answer to the question of his post title is, "not much." Post-modern theology won't directly demean orthodox theology, just dilute it by moving the boundary stones of his spiritual fathers (Proverbs 22:28), so that it means very little. But sex is important to God. That's why his Word, makes an emphatic point about Mary's virginity. To minimize that which God emphasizes is not something I recommend.
What you can see in my theological rationale above is that I do not consider Mary’s virginity to be important primarily to preserve the doctrine of Jesus’ sinlessness.
Post modern theology results in church's claiming the name evangelical while denying orthodox restrictions on sexual practice. Joseph Smith did this with polygamy in the early LDS church. He claimed he was restoring the gospel to the world. Jones thinks he also is part of a movement to restore the gospel to the world. This summer, he blogged a series this summer on why today's church needs to let go of its historic position on sexual ethics. I wrote there,
If Jones is hesitant to acknowldege a settled Biblical issue due to controversy over clear verses and consistent ecclesiastic historical understanding then what doctrine is settled. All heresy comes from disagreeing with an established hermeneutic, which for the first 4 centuries was settled by a church wide council. Can anyone be a heretic in Jones' world? Is a Jehovah's Witness a heretic in danger of hell due to his different opinion on several key verses? What about a Mormon? How is their extra scripture any different from the new revelations of scientists, our modern priesthood? It's controversial because it means some people are wrong. Hurt feelings does not necessitate re-interpretation.Post-modern theology plays out in churches that call themselves evangelical but accept sexual freedom. Their logic goes like this.
Tidd said Highlands is not a one-issue church but one committed to social justice. He describes it as "radically inclusive but still rooted in the essentials of the Gospel." The church discourages promiscuity and encourages healthy lifelong relationships.
Tidd said he supports gay marriage and would perform same-sex blessings if asked. A gay man in a committed relationship sits on the church's board of trustees.
"Our position is not one of lenience, but a matter of justice," said Tidd, a married father of five. "It's not that we don't acknowledge the reality of sin. It's not a sin to be gay or act in accordance with your nature."
He accepted the Biblical interpretation of other gay-affirming Christians: that verses condemning homosexual behavior refer to idolatrous pagan worship or violence.
"We reach an understanding of the Bible not just by studying God's word, but by studying his world," Tidd said. "If you think he's the author of both, they both inform each other."
Key words are "social justice, essentials, discourage and encourage, nature." If "forbid" is not one of those words, then, there is no basis for church discipline. It seems one of the few sins in this church is denying one's nature. But our nature is sinful (Psalm 51:5). We are supposed to deny ourselves and pick up our cross daily (Luke 9:23). I've covered all this ground before, many times.
What are the essentials of the gospel? Part of is must be that God saves sinners. Immoral sex is one of those sins he saves us from, not saves us for, as now advocated by Jones or in the "evangelical" church noted above or the Evangelical Lutheran church or as in the Episcopal church.
Would those clergy deny the historic understanding of marriage in the church and bless the marriage of a Christian to a non-believer, which Paul warned against in 2 Corinthians 6:14? This verse isn't that explicit. Even if it were, what if the guy can't find a believing gal? Should he deny his heterosexual nature? should he be forced to endure his passion without release? Surely God is not so cruel. Such a discouraged gent might even leave the church. We don't want that. Do we? "We" should want what God wants. Faithfulness, self-control, unity.
Maybe there is another way to retain these poor men. How about church prostitutes? this tongue-in-cheek proposal uses the same logic of these post-modern theologies.
First off, let’s address the common objections. Sure, there are a handful of Bible verses that might seem to condemn the practice. But all the condemnation of temple prostitution involves pagan practices or worship of false gods. The objectionable thing is the idolatry, not the physical act itself...
Secondly, let’s not cherry-pick verses selectively. We don’t stone disobedient children to death. We don’t refrain from pork or sodomy merely because this or that verse says we should. We have to look at the whole Biblical witness in light of the freedom we have in Christ. For example, God ordered Hosea to marry a prostitute...
Thirdly, Jesus himself seemed to have a soft spot for prostitutes. Many reputable scholars today think he may have been married to one. And Jesus showed radical inclusivity, breaking taboos by hanging out with prostitutes...
The opportunity for a woman to explore her sexuality in a controlled, churchly environment surely beats the back seat or back alley. She would have the mutual trust of knowing her client is a fellow faithful Christian. There would be proper testing, protection, and hygiene standards in a suitably sterilized environment. What she might have done in service to the devil, the world, and her own sinful nature she would now do in service to God, whom we serve by serving our fellow man...
Think of the number of single males who would be saved from living a lie concerning their deepest emotional and psychological desires...
Furthermore, even if there are some controversial points, they do not touch the heart of the gospel. This plan does not eliminate John 3:16; it exposes more people to John 3:16 on Sunday (or, more likely, the Saturday night service). And if there is some Biblicist objection that such behavior could be considered immoral according to traditional, puritanical mores, well, everyone is a sinner, right? Salvation by grace through faith says nothing specifically about prostitution, right? And Jesus never explicitly addressed the issue, either. Do we think we’re saved by proper sexual behavior? I think not. Nor are we saved by our interpretations of a few non-gospel related verses of the Bible...
Post-modern theology at its finest. Can any post modern theologian refute this reasoning?
But hey, I understand we’re all in different places on this. This needn’t be church-dividing. We can live together with diverse views on this. Some traditionalists may not be comfortable having temple prostitutes in church. They don’t necessarily hate prostitutes; they might just need time. They don’t have to offer it themselves; besides, what seems crazy at first might, with several years of repetition and refining, become perfectly acceptable. Must those of us who are in favor of it be written out of the body of Christ?
God cares about our bodies as well as our spirits. He wants to save us, body and soul. His Word shows us how. We are fools to ignore it.