Christianity Today on polyamory: “the authors Preston Sprinkle and Branson Parler are clear that polyamory is a sin”

"The article does not take aim at the center, as the authors Preston Sprinkle and Branson Parler are clear that polyamory is a sin. But it is an article that takes aim at the edges and widens the Overton Window so that certain aspects of polyamory are now to be considered within the pale." - CBMW

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TylerR's picture

Editor

The CT piece was a wimpy, effeminate article. Pathetic. Read it when it came out ... courtesy of my new CT subscription!

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Bert Perry's picture

We could argue that the article is "shifting" the Overton window, but I would argue that the article is more trying to emphasize the fact that the Overton window has already shifted, and we might as well adapt our tactics to reflect that reality.  To draw a picture, what IS our Biblical response to any form of polygamy/polyandry?  Can we apply the (bad) experiences of, say, Abraham and Jacob to this?  

And in that light, a huge part of combating this "shift of the window" is to understand the psychology of a person who would voluntarily risk the consequences of this kind of relationship.  If, as the article indicates, the "felt need" of polyamorists is not sexual variety but rather extended family, you've got a powerful way of helping people out of that lifestyle; it is to simply live life in the church the way God intended.

(not an entirely academic point for me, as a dear friend of my family's at our church is apparently married to a bigamist....and we've also got the issue of "is this common in South Sudan, where the husband lives most of the time?")

Long and short of it is that I'm not entirely persuaded that this article is attempting to move the Overton window, as it more closely appears to reflect a shift that's already occurred and equip the church to deal with that.

Another thought; another powerful way of arguing against the lifestyle is to point out the experiences of prominent "poly" people.  To put it mildly, these relationships seem to have a rather short, and volatile, half-life.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

TylerR's picture

Editor

I read perhaps 15 books in preparation for a recent DMin class on homosexuality and hermeneutics. I had been paying close attention to this issue for some years prior. I am very concerned with the tentative, polite tones Christans often take towards homosexuality and transgenderism. The Bible does not take a polite tone. It condemns it.

I'm all for not being unnecessarily offensive. But, I believe society has conditioned us in the West to tietoe apologetically as we speak against homosexuality. Consider that the RSV, a product of the National Council of Churches in the mid-1950s, felt confident enough to render the 1 Cor 6 passage as "sexual perversion." A mainstream English translation would never do that now. Why? Because of tone. You know it's true. That's why the ESV, the true successor to the RSV, translates the two terms as "practice homosexuality." The moral judgment is expunged, even though it's technically accurate.

I am concerned Sprinkle (et al) are doing the same thing with polyamory. This is very concerning. Soon we will wake up and find ourselves tut-tutting and issuing caveats about child sex; reminding ourselves about the "good intentions" we can sanctify from these assignations ... all while affirming that it's sinful, of course.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Mark_Smith's picture

is many churches and pastors, maybe not you but many, turn a blind eye to divorce, sex, and pornography. They act like none of this is happening. Not in their church! Just looking at my church, several people are divorced. At a previous church my wife went to a women's meeting where several singles women were talking in the corner about how good in bed several of the single men were... she was flabbergasted. When she mentioned names I was flabbergasted...

It is common, yes common, for single adults to fornicate, even in our "evangelical" churches. And I mean single by divorce or death as well as being never married.

Well, if we don't speak against heterosexual sin, presumably because you want money and numbers, what are the chances we will teach against homosexual issues?

Its that simple in my opinion.