The ELCA Studies on Sexuality Task Force's
report is due out Jan. 13. What might we learn from early equally
heated discussions on biblical teachings about proper heterosexual
sexual relationships? Our predecessor bodies discussed this in the late
1950s, primarily in response to perceived threats to family values
posed by divorce, remarriage, the "pill" and working mothers. The
writings of theologian Harold Haas set the tone for these discussions.
Based in great part on his interpretation of Genesis 1-2, buttressed by scientific and psychological studies, Haas urged a return to biblical family values by appealing to the divinely ordained headship of man over woman in the unequal gender role partnership of marriage ("Christian Faith and Family Life" by Haas; Christian Social Responsibility, Vol. 3; editor Harold Letts; Muhlenberg Press, 1957). Citing Matthew 19:4-9, Haas granted the possibility of divorce. Although that text forbade remarriage after divorce, Haas also allowed its possibility by setting the prohibition in the larger context of "the mind of Christ revealed in the totality of his mission and teaching rather than merely in specific words."
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