Mea culpa. And so has Rachel Held Evans.

Shouldn't have signed on so quickly to that Rachel Held Evans piece (the post endorsing it now deleted) on what Millennials want from the Church.

I continue to believe that she's on target in decrying the attempt to be gimmicky and "cool," and to play down the very things that make the Church worth bothering with: the Word and the Sacraments.

But I missed something even more important in my initial (and culpably cursory) reading of the article. Trouble is, as David French points out, that she doesn't "get" the corollary: that if we end up denying what the Word says and the Faith teaches, there's no point in bothering in the first place.

If Ms. Held's suggestions concerning the content of the Faith were adopted, and the Bible's clear and consistent teaching about sexual ethics were changed, the Church would have no reason to exist. It would have denied its very reason for being. It would confess to being merely a changeable set of human ideas, or to worshipping a God Who doesn't know what He's talking about- and doesn't even know His own mind.

This is a point that a great many people- Millenials and otherwise- don't seem to get: the Church cannot change its teachings on homosexuality or the biblical sexual ethic. If it did, it would by that very act become "salt that had lost its savor," to use Christ's expression. It would deny the very thing that makes its existence matter.

The Faith once delivered to the saints simply does not- and cannot- change. And the condemnation of homosexual behavior is an intrinsic and constitutive part of the Faith once delivered to the saints. It is both consistent and insistent, repeated in every stratum of both Testaments.

And yes- Jesus did endorse it.

What, after all, would it profit the Church to gain the Millenials and lose its own soul? If the Church followed Ms. Evans' advice, it would be of no use to anybody of any generation.

I'm still completely "down" with Ms. Evans' appreciation of the historic sacramental and liturgical nature of Christian worship. But we gaoin nothing if we end up preserving form while sacrificing substance.


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