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              What many would consider their worst nightmare has become a reality for Christopher Yuan. While attending dental school, he began living promiscuously as a homosexual and experimenting with illicit drugs. Within a few years, he was expelled from dental school, imprisoned for drug dealing and discovered that he was HIV positive.

              But God has turned his nightmare into an exciting and inspiring story of redemption, grace and transformation. Christopher has an understanding heart for and a desire to minister to those working through issues of sexuality and to those living with HIV/AIDS. He speaks locally and internationally to youth, on college campuses, in churches and in prisons.

              Christopher graduated from Moody Bible Institute in 2005 and Wheaton College Graduate School in 2007 with a Master of Arts in Biblical Exegesis and is currently pursuing a doctorate of ministry at Bethel Seminary. He now teaches at Moody while continuing his speaking ministry which has reached four continents around the world. Christopher has spoken at both Saddleback Church and Willow Creek Community Church in America and at many conferences including InterVarsity's Urbana and the Moody Pastors' Conference and Men's Conference. He is also featured in the award-winning documentary, "HOPE Positive: Surviving the Sentence of AIDS" and has co-authored with his mother, Out of a Far Country: A Gay Son's Journey to God, A Broken Mother's Search for Hope (forthcoming May 3, 2011 by WaterBrook Multnomah a division of Random House).

Saturday, November 20, 2010

"Just as the Bible condones slavery and is wrong, so is the Bible wrong about..."

I've heard this argument so many times as an attempt to prove that the Bible is wrong about [you fill in the blank]. So does the Bible really condone slavery? Watch this great video from Wayne Grudem (a top evangelical theologian and general editor of the ESV Study Bible). It is the first 4 minutes and a great articulation of what the Bible really says about slavery. I strongly suggest you watch this because this assertion is probably one of the most overused and abused. Tell me what you think!!


Blogger jcd46 said...

Better theologians than Wayne Grudem used the Bible to condone slavery in the 1800s. I think evangelicals have retrospectively decided that the Bible is crystal clear on the slavery issue because a Bible that can be ambiguous, interpreted in many ways, and that intelligent people can disagree about doesn't fit with their theology.

April 1, 2011 at 12:12 PM  
Blogger Christopher Yuan said...

So I guess you've conveniently forgotten about all those Christians who fought to abolish slavery.

And you've conveniently forgotten an entire book in the NT which talks about the freedom of a slave. That would be Philemon if you didn't know.

April 1, 2011 at 3:17 PM  
Blogger jcd46 said...

But that's precisely my point. Yes, the Bible can be used to support abolition and yes it can be used to support slavery, just like a piece of art or a movie can legitimately be interpreted in several ways. Which position a given reader takes on the matter isn't decided by the Bible, but by the complex of assumptions, theology, and cultural values the reader brings to the Bible. Suggesting that the Bible clearly condemns slavery fails to explain why the leading theologians of the day thought otherwise. And, as a matter of fact, many biblical scholars have argued, including, for example, Dale Martin and Wayne Meeks (both at Yale), that from a purely historical critical point of view, the defenders of slavery had better arguments.

I'm not saying that the Bible has position X on slavery. I'm arguing that, precisely because the Bible can be interpreted in both helpful and harmful ways, on a range of issues, Christians have some moral responsibility for how they interpret it. Interpreting the Bible requires the employment of principles and values to choose between different possible interpretations. As Augustine wrote in Christian Doctrine: "Whoever, therefore, thinks he understands the divine Word or any part of it so that it doesn't build double love of God and neighbor does not understand it at all."

I'd recommend you check out Sex and the Single Savior by Dale Martin, an NT professor at Yale. I think it will give you some helpful perspective on the topic.

BTW, and I mean this in all seriousness. I think it's admirable that you are choosing a sexual lifestyle that I'm sure is more difficult than, say, finding a male partner and getting married. It's admirable when someone denies their basic impulses because they prioritize their moral values over their own comfort. What I worry about is that the moral values of a given culture, even a culture, such as evangelicalism that claims to just take the Bible at its word, can arise from prejudice and fear of social change, and needlessly impoverish the lives of many who choose to follow them. Don't forget that today's evangelicals also opposed the Civil Rights movement and fought for legislation that would deny gays and lesbians basic civil liberties.

April 1, 2011 at 4:56 PM  
Blogger Christopher Yuan said...

Hey jcd46:

Thanks for your thoughts and appreciate or see the tension that I live in with my impulses and my faith. But it is a tension that actually leads me into a deeper appreciation for the hope that I have in Christ.

April 1, 2011 at 8:02 PM  

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