Candler Professors Spar on Gay Marriage in United Methodism

Juicy Ecumenism | 7/18/2019 | Benjamin Saine
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Two professors from Candler School of Theology, an influential United Methodist Seminary, sparred in a debate near Atlanta arguing for and against embrace of same-sex marriage within the United Methodist Church.

Dunwoody United Methodist Church in Dunwoody, Georgia, hosted the May 8th debate between Kevin Watson and Kendall Soulen on the topic of same-sex marriage in the church. Watson is a distinguished scholar of Methodist history who argued the traditionalist perspective. He is the one of the few traditionalist faculty members at Candler School of Theology.

Soulen - Professor - Systematic - Theology - Candler

Soulen is a professor of Systematic Theology at Candler. He has written extensively on the Trinity and Christian-Jewish relations.

Watson argued that the current position of the UMC is correct, and same-sex marriage is not permissible in the church. Soulen argued the opposing position: that the official position of the UMC is wrong and same-sex marriage should be permissible in the church.

Watson - Argument - Parts - First - Biblical

Watson broke his argument into two parts. First, he established the clear Biblical teaching on the issue of same-sex marriage, and then he spoke directly to those who disagreed with him and highlighted some oft-repeated counterarguments. In establishing the Biblical teaching on the issue of homosexuality and by extension same-sex marriage, Watson listed a series of passages from the Old and New Testaments that explicitly condemn homosexual behavior.

Watson also commented on the proceedings from the Jerusalem Council, which tried to remove as many restrictions on Christianity as possible so that Gentiles would have easier conversion. However, sexual immorality remained forbidden. Finally, Watson drew support from the creation story and specifically how mankind was created male and female. He used this to draw in the procreative aspect of marriage which specifically precludes same-sex marriage.

Teaching - UMC - Marriage - Watson - Critiques

In talking to those who do not support the teaching of the UMC and support same-sex marriage. Watson had the following critiques. First, he...
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