First TV interview with Vicky Beeching about coming out as gay

Here is Vicky Beeching, a big name in contemporary Christian worship (and a theologian), speaking about her coming out as a lesbian. Her story went public yesterday in The Independent newspaper. Here is the article. In the TV interview she is in discussion with an American fundamentalist bloke.

She remains a very devout evangelical charismatic Christian with a heart to walk God's way.

This raises the interesting question of the role that experience should play in Christian theology. Now all Christians give a role to experience in their theological reflections and in their interpretations of Scripture (even those who think that they do not). But often that role is unacknowledged or little thought has gone into how it should be integrated with other sources, in particular, Scripture, tradition, and reason.

So what is the proper role of experience in biblical interpretation and theological reflection? How can it help us better understand the gospel? How may it mislead us?

This is a tricky and perennial matter. Any thoughts would be welcome.


Anonymous said…
Well said, Scott!
James Goetz said…
Hey Robin, In my case, I am straight and dreamed an interesting dream about marriage equality. I then carefully evaluated the dream in light of people that I know, medical research, and Scripture, which I believe is the canon of God's Word. The following blog post summarizes my evaluation:
Terry Wright said…
Robin, Ian Paul's posted something that begins to address the experience question:
Anonymous said…
I thought the host and Ms. Beeching were not very amenable to the guest's comments. It was a little one-sided, to say the least. On the other hand, he could have used phrases like "in my view, the Scripture says" instead of "the Bible clearly says".
tom said…
There is a tension. Experience is important but I think needs to be rooted in something, I think in the Bible and good interpretation of it. People's experience and stories have a validity but it doesn't mean they're correct. If we over-emphasise experience, don't we end up with everything being right in itself, which is how the world sees things?
Anonymous said…
Robin, please clarify. Are you suggesting that homosexuality/lesbianism should be accepted as being consistent with normative Christian behavior?
Robin Parry said…

I simply asked about the role of experience in theological reflection. I am not intending to suggest an answer one way or the other to your question.

However, as you raise the matter, I do think that it is a question that we need to seriously consider. What does holiness look like for a gay Christian? How do we ponder this matter in the light of Scripture, tradition, reason, and experience? I think that both sides often tackle the question having already decided on what the outcome has to be. But perhaps we need to be open to new insights and new possibilites. (And I do think that the BIble is not as clear-cut as many would have us believe.)

The experience of gay Christians and of those who have worked with gay Christians pastorally HAS to factor in to that discussion. If it does not then we have a theology that is beautiful in theory but simply does not connect with the real world. And that will have disastrous pastoral consequences. (Well, this is no mere hypothetical—it already has had disastrous consequences for many people.)

However, my aim is not to suggest an answer to your question. My aim is to pose a question.

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