Sexuality has been a hot topic in the Church for some time. Not only has it been at the epicenter of the culture war; it has divided congregations and denominations, leaving many of us hesitant to even bring up the issue in Christian company for fear of unhelpful heated debate (meanwhile the LGBT people in our midst often feel misunderstood, targeted, and marginalized). There now exists among Christians a spectrum of approaches on this matter. That does not mean that all positions are equally right. But it does mean that we should be open to having conversations where we speak the truth with grace, and steer clear of using loaded words like “apostate” or “bigot” to describe those who take the view opposite our own.
In all the Moltmann books I have read, the topic of homosexuality does not come up, not even in his writings that were explicitly ethical (I’m thinking specifically of Ethics of Hope and On Human Dignity). The first mention I have heard of it was in the audio for the Emergent Village Theological Conversation with Moltmann in 2009. Below I have posted the audio with transcript for this short segment. Here, Tony Jones asks Moltmann about the gay debates in the church and the schism they have been causing here in America. I suspect that Molty’s answer will displease some progressives and most conservatives, because: 1) he does not quite affirm gay marriage; and 2) he does not believe that homosexuality is a sin.
A thought-provoking conversation… No matter where you stand on this debate. Enjoy!
T.J. Paul seemed to think a lot about sex. Augustine certainly thought a lot about sex. And in the American church in a lot of the denominations represented around here, sexuality is a schismatic topic currently, and its the reason some of us have withdrawn from those denominational fights because of the schismatic nature of these debates. It might’ve been Filioque 1000 years ago, but now its the questions of who can be ordained and who can be in a sacramental marriage, and who can be in a legal marriage, and those kinds of questions.
J.M. Let me first say, this is no problem in Germany. We never have a struggle about sex and homosexuality in the churches and between the churches.
J.M. Because the church is about the Gospel and not about sex. And we believe in the justification of human beings by faith alone, and not by faith and heterosexuality or whatever. You can’t add to it. This is for us, in the Protestant tradition in Germany, heresy. And homosexual or heterosexual, whatsoever believes by faith alone is saved and is certainly able to be ordained in a Christian community. I will not say that a lesbian or a homosexual partnership is equal to a marriage, because a marriage is intended to father children, while these partnerships are not intentionally directed to adopt children. But I have no problems in blessing such a partnership. Why should I not bless a partnership between human beings? And homosexuality is neither a sin nor a crime. To be short-sighted, as I am, is neither a sin nor a crime. So I don’t see the schism or the heat of the debate on it. I know how much this is destroying churches in this country, but I don’t know why this is more important than the question of war and peace, for example.