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Principles vs. Passages

Principles vs. Passages March 30, 2013

I’ve made this point before (see especially my article for Religion Dispatches from 2008). But since Jim West has written a blog post suggesting that liberal Christians neglect exegesis when it comes to subjects such as same-sex relationships, I thought I would respond to him here, just as I have in a comment on his blog:

We on the left have seen how a focus on exegesis rather than overarching principles has led to the defense of slavery, the forbidding of ordination to women, and much else that we think with hindsight is contrary to the core principles of our faith. And so we focus on principles, and are happy to follow them even to the extent of disregarding or rejecting specific texts’ views on a matter. We believe that in doing so, we are doing what Paul did, when he overturned the very clear teaching of Genesis that one had to be circumcised in order to be part of the covenant with Abraham, based on what he considered to be more fundamental teachings of Scripture.

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