Friday, September 12, 2003

Readers respond to Van Kuiken

Pastor's courage is inspiration for all

Thank you for printing Stephen Van Kuiken's guest column ("Sometimes the Bible should be seen anew, Sept. 10). Van Kuiken's humane and generous words are a welcome change in the Enquirer's pages from Peter Bronson's tired, but apparently and unfortunately tireless, vitriol. Van Kuiken's heroism as pastor of Mount Auburn Presbyterian Church was and is an inspiration to those who believe that justice, equality, and tolerance are the real "family values."

Tom Ford, Covington

God loves all sinners but hates their sin

What Stephen Van Kuiken stated in his guest column ("Sometimes the Bible should be seen anew," Sept. 10) about women years ago being considered second class and less than men was true. But, is there a word in the Bible that says God or Jesus viewed women in this manner? No, we will only find that God looks upon all of his people the same and loves them all. The same holds true for Jesus, He showed His love for all of us by dying on the cross for our sins.

Van Kuiken also stated that same-sex relationships are "fully blessed by God." Again, is there a word in the Bible that says God or Jesus blessed same-sex relationships. No, but we do find that he condemned them! Leviticus 18: 22, "Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable." Leviticus 20: 13, "If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable." And for those who do not accept the Old Testament today, read Romans 1: 18 - 27 where God's wrath is revealed against godlessness and wickedness.

People exchange the truth of God's word for the lies of the world and "God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. God gave them over to shameful lusts. The women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. The men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion." God unambiguously loves the sinner, all of us, but hates the sin.

Doug Wolf, Hamilton

Don't rewrite Bible for self-serving reasons

I was struck by Stephen Van Kuiken's words in his guest column ("Sometimes the Bible should be seen anew," Sept. 10). I appreciate the sincerity of his response. I also believe he makes inferences in his reasoning that aren't "seeing the Bible anew," so-to-speak, but rather changing the intent of what's actually written.

The issue of homosexuality is incredibly controversial. It is not an issue where those on either side of the dividing line have exhibited great measures of grace, respect, and even tact. The fact that people are so busy shouting at one other makes their actual words difficult to hear.

So in that light, let me just say that while I appreciate the passion Van Kuiken evokes. He bases his justification on the premise that some mainline churches have long decided to "move beyond the literal level" of certain biblical passages. It is fair to ask if those mainline churches were acting appropriately.

The Bible clearly states in four distinct passages that homosexuality is a sin. It also acknowledges numerous other behaviors as sin. But let's not rewrite the Greek and the Hebrew for self-serving purposes. Let's look at the truth. And let's look at it with grace.

Ann R. Albin, Loveland

Bible's meaning must change with times

For the past 18 years, I've been brought up in the Roman Catholic Church, as well as in a large Catholic family. I know the Church rely a great on the Bible for scripture reading, teaching both new and lifelong members, and for inspiration and guidance. I don't think the Bible was meant to be interpreted only one way. I strongly believe it's person's faith that lets them decide the depth of the Bible's meanings.

I also feel that the Bible should change and evolve with society, and continue to embrace how times have changed. The Bible set guidelines for us to live Christian lives and to help us get to heaven. Not everything in it now can be applied or related to modern times. Therefore, the Bible must be modernized to help keep us on the right path. If the Bible didn't change to keep up with the changing society, I think we would lose many members of the church. In order to keep people at church, they need to be interested.

Maggie Baumann, Westwood

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