Play this game with me. Read these statements: 1) God loves every human being. 2) You are a human being.
What comes next? God loves you. Correct? This is a simple deductive argument. Conclusions follow the premises.
Okay, so try this one: 1) Jesus Christ is the incarnation of God’s love. 2) No one should be shut out from God’s grace. 3) Anything that attempts to limit or control God’s love must be transformed.
What comes next? What is the obvious and necessary conclusion of these premises? You need more don’t you? There are missing premises here. You can’t get from these three statements to any specific conclusion.
I ask because these three statements, so far as I can see, are the argument by a United Methodist bishop on behalf of changing the denomination’s law and doctrine on same-sex marriage. Unless I’m missing something, I just don’t see how he makes his argument work, though.
Here’s where I came across this puzzle.
The RMNblog reprinted a letter from United Methodist Bishop Grant Hagiya expressing joy at Washington state’s adoption of a same-sex marriage law and calling United Methodists to dialogue on the issue. In the letter, he expressed his disagreement with current United Methodist law and doctrine.
I also personally grieve over our United Methodist Church polity that will not recognize same-sex marriage. I believe that it is wrong, and we should work for a more inclusive and humane response. The reason for this stance is that I believe that Jesus Christ is the incarnation of God’s divine love for the entire creation, and no one should be shut out from God’s embracing Grace. God’s Grace is so pure and encompassing that anything that attempts to limit or control this love must be transformed.
You can download a .pdf version of the bishop’s letter here.
I have read through the argument the bishop makes starting with “The reason for this.” I have tried to figure out the bishop’s reasoning. I really have. But I cannot make heads or tails of it. I can’t follow the logic from his premises to his conclusion.
The letter is fairly long, so I do not see what harm would have been done by more fully laying out his reasons. I would appreciate understanding them better. If we are going to have a dialogue, it would help to fully understand the various arguments.