Thank you, Dr. Weima. This is a great article showing the false teaching that we all lament as it causes great harm to all members of the CRCNA. May God continue to bless you, your studies, your teaching and your ministry.

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Thank you for excellent exposition of scripture and lesson on hermeneutics. This is certainly not the first time that people trapped in sin have tried to redefine God's word in an effort to excuse it. Sin is sin but grace is the example God gives us in the New Covenant for delivering people out of it. The only hope for sin is Christ.

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Hello, Jeffrey, I am one of the main researchers on the 1946 project. As would be expected, I do not agree with your theological interpretations on this issue. Perhaps when my second book comes out on this topic, you will consider reading it. Until then, my first book may be helpful in trying to understand a POV unlike yours. You interpretation and understanding of the affirming POV is skewed.

What I DO care about in this short message to you is corrected two general facts.

1946 is NOT a "Hollywood" film, whatever that is. As is true with most documentaries, one person or a small group, decide to undertake a project. In this case, it was one person, Rocky Roggio. The film was supported by THOUSANDS of individual contributors. It might be better termed as a "grassroots" film.

Next, I was not raised in a conservative home or community. You wrote, "All three were born into conservative Christian communities but experienced such hurtful responses from their family and local church that they felt compelled to reject the historic, orthodox understanding of human sexuality and embrace an affirming position on LBGTQIA+ issues."

No, I was raised in a minimally Catholic home in NYC in the 1960s and became a born-again Christian at 27. I have NOT rejected "the historic, orthodox understanding of human sexuality" because of some experiences rooted in my faith community. I started exploring other ways to understand Scripture when I encountered LGBTQ+ people in friendships. (This is clear in the doc.)

Calling the doc "Hollywood" and positioning my re-negotiation of some passages of Scripture might better nuance the project as something it is not, but facts are facts. Not Hollywood and I do not do the work from a place of pain.

I do this work because I see it as just, equal, and resembling the Savior I choose to emulate.

Consider my first and next book. They may be helpful.


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Dear Dr. Weima:

Thank you for a clear, concise and compelling response to what is clearly a propaganda piece designed as "fake news" to sway those on the fence. I recently attended a venue, and true to form the presenter who affirmed the practise of same-sex marriage had to take his swipe at the 1 Corinthians 6:9 passage. Rather than affirming its clear intent, he affirmed "we just don't have enough cultural information" to understand the term arsenokoitai. He had already dismissed the clear intent of the Leviticus passages with saying, that they were "troublesome at best." In comparison to your straightforward exegesis, this person appealed to the "we just don't know" argument, or what others have called the "cultural distance" argument---i.e. what happened then, is different today.

I am glad that you also addressed the abusive sex argument as that is standard stock and trade and was used both by the presenter at the venue I attended and also by Duane Kelderman at his Neland Avenue CRC presentation. The unoriginality is striking.

As I read the 'pushbacks' to your piece, I see that they are stock arguments from a repertoire that have been marshalled against the clear intention of Scripture, not to mention their appeal to their go-to theologians. I see this as a tactic to win the hearts, minds and souls of those who are wobbly. Thank you once again for your efforts.

Blessings in Christ


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Apr 16·edited Apr 16

I found this quote to be especially pertinent to our current discussions:

"It is also true that the word “homosexual” is not the best way to translate the key Greek term in 1 Cor. 6:9. This is because it is a modern word that refers to a class of people—who people are, whereas the ancient Greek word refers to conduct—what people do."

While the difference between conduct and class/identity has this temporal aspect, it also informs our conversation. I suspect for many, "homosexual" (and perhaps the spectrum of LBTGQIA+) is understood as some combination both of class/identity and of conduct, where we give differing weights between one and the other. And this presents a task for those favoring a strong focus on conduct: how will one speak faithfully into what is also a class or identity location? This is not a heart-failure, as if conservatives do not care or love their neighbor, but rather, I take it, as something like an invitation for further intellectual, theological and social engagement; a growth area.

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Good thoughts, Bill.

"how will one speak faithfully into what is also a class or identity location?"

One of the ways that we can, should, and do attempt to speak faithfully as to class or identity location is to challenge the prevailing identity mantras. Christians faithfully remind Christians: You are not your own, but belong body and soul to your faithful Savior Jesus Christ. As Christians we root our identity in Christ. As the culture continues to push every sort and manner of illegitimate, superficial, secondary, and skin-deep identity, the church faithfully recalls and proclaims both our ingrafting into Christ and the imago dei.

For instance, contrary to the world's insistence, I am not interested in addressing you as straight white man Bill. Instead to me you are a brother in two senses. First, in that we share the image of God as created human beings. Second, in that we are brothers in Christ. If you began all of your interactions here (or elsewhere) with the superficial identifiers that the world wants you to use to define yourself, I would challenge you to relocate your "class or identity location". You are not defined by your straightness, your whiteness, or your maleness. Nor is a same-sex attracted person defined by their homosexuality, most particularly (but not solely) for the Christian.

So, I think we must conclude that the only faithful way to speak about a class or identity location is to lovingly challenge its very premise, principles, and purpose as constituted.

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Apr 18·edited Apr 18

I would (slightly) push back on your choice of "challenge," it is sort of a bright light in a dark room. Instead of "challenge" I've been mulling over the two senses of Confession: there is an internal one, that related to ethics, how we govern ourselves, but there is also the outward facing one, an articulation or proclamation of the Gospel. This is Confession as it connects with out neighbor; it is Confession as apologetics.

To apply that here: Dr. Weima rightly notes that "homosexual" also has a class definition, that is, it is something of sociology. There are lots of statistics that can be summoned here, I think one of the more important is that 60+% of all those identifying as LGBTQIA+ also identify as atheists. When a student comes out or identifies as LGBTQ (I have several CRC kids in my debate group like this), they are drawn into a thought world of spiritual alienation. Here is where that work of apologetics has its importance.

I don't write this as a critique of conservatives so much as a belief that you have something to say. But how? This is an opportunity that will require some fierce intellectual work. Because at stake is that other moment Wiema notes, this failure to be caring and compassionate, a failure that has asked for our repentance. It is the kind of work that will most definitely benefit all who work with our college youth. My prayer is that some one takes up this task.

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I think your reply reinforces my assertion above. One of the things we desperately need is to love people enough to not acquiesce to worldly, superficial categories, sociology notwithstanding. That "bright light" you seem uncomfortable with is just the type of illumination needed in our current context. Now, to be clear (carrying your metaphor further), we don't shine the light right into peoples' eyes, as if to blind them. But we must introduce that light into a dark conversation. The "identity" question leads naturally right into a gentle and irenic gospel announcement.

This type of work is going on now, and has been for a long time. It doesn't get press. It's not glamorous. It doesn't get celebrated alongside our numerous laments. But it's happening. We agree that care and compassion are at stake, but we disagree on what care and compassion look like. Care and compassion cannot look like the embrace of false categories and identities and the worship of self. That way lies ruin, though we are too often told that is the only way. The CRC has rejected that message, and whether or not it is publicly acknowledged there are many faithful and humble leaders and lay persons working to gently love every day. That is the essence of the task being taken up. There is no HSR2 coming to guide us into the perfect life together. The work that lies before us is the challenging day-to-day work of being the body of Christ together. Bearing burdens. Bending the knee in prayer. Practicing hospitality. Preaching the gospel of hope, peace, and reconciliation. Living in gratitude. Rooting our identity in Christ. Being gentle. Forgiving others, as much has been forgiven us. Submitting to authority. Serving with joy. Dying to self. Picking up and carrying our cross. Spurring one another on toward love and good deeds. Refusing to despise others. We know these things and have heard them proclaimed in one form or another for our whole lives (many of us). We don't lack the way; may God grant that we don't lack the will.

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Oh just this about “bright light” : sometimes a word choice can be distracting. So a true story: I’m off to rehearse students, it’s 6:15 AM and dark and up ahead are runners. They’re wearing these new LED running lights. Oh they’re bright, but around them I miss certain features in the surroundings, like the massive pothole that I duly hit. The opposite of “bright lights” would be the ‘gentle and irenic gospel.’

As to compassion and care—well, I was thinking less of that than the worldview, the framing that goes with contemporary LGBTQ culture—this is the “identity” I take Prf. Weima to be speaking about. As it has a social reality, it’s something of sociology. Anyway, how does one address that? Here’s where the “challenge” can take root. A worldview analysis. The trick here, is also to provide that analysis or apologetic in a way that is also gentle and irenic, something that the other can recognize. I think of this as an opportunity.

Finally, “Amen” to “The work that lies before us….” All that. There’s no other way to be.

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Yes, as noted above, "we don't shine the light right into peoples' eyes, as if to blind them." But note two additional things about your true story. First, without the headlamps these runners would likely trip and fall in the same massive pothole. Second, without the headlamps you might have run them over. The lamps illumine, for your benefit and for theirs.

To that extent I don't think (and we're just jostling over semantics here, to a degree) that "bright lights" is the *opposite* of a gentle and irenic gospel. The brightness of the light is not a problem, but a feature. The brighter the light the greater the illumination. What can be a problem is when the bright light is wielded or directed in a harsh manner, such as someone's high beams blinding an oncoming driver.

We have a gift. It is the gospel truth. It is light in a dark world. It shatters the world's conceptions of self, truth, and identity. We do well to let that light shine, and to do so in a manner that is gentle and kind. I think we are on the same page with that, just perhaps choosing some different ways to phrase it.

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we are on the same page. I also like your expansion of my story. That's useful.

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Bill, I think this gets into the kind of thing where if someone steals something it is best not to refer to them as a thief. Yes, stealing is wrong, but because someone did it doesn't mean they will always be a thief. Past synodical reports dealt with whether it is a sin to be attracted to a member of the same sex. I think we still need to work further through those details, but this article is very good in dealing with these issues over all.

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Apr 15·edited Apr 17

Thank you, Dr. Weima, for sharing your perspective on the film "1946."

In the above, you refer to the "online panel discussion" organized by Hesed. For those interested, that panel discussion can be found here: https://www.hesedprojectcrc.org/learn/#a13lightbox-work-13044

One of the panelists is Dr. Sylvia Keesmaat, a biblical scholar with expertise in biblical hermeneutics and New Testament, studying at Oxford with Dr. N. T. Wright (as I understand it).

In that panel discussion, Dr. Keesmaat critiques the work of Dr. Weima and the Human Sexuality Report (HSR) itself when that report engages with her own scholarship (i.e. "Romans Disarmed") as well as other biblical scholarship, suggesting that the HSR "cherry-picks", "misinterprets", takes quotes "out of context", and generally avoids a fullsome engagement with the major arguments made by other biblical scholars.

Abide Project leadership - I would love if you could organize a fair and open dialogue between Dr. Weima and Dr. Keesmaat (who was on that panel). I would imagine hosting a civil dialogue between Dr. Keesmaat and Dr. Weima might be a good gift to the conversation on the topic, if such a dialogue is possible.

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Hi Paul,

I can't speak for others, but I don't see such an interaction happening. It is not surprising that Keesmaat differs from Weima and the content and conclusions of the HSR. Her accusations of cherry-picking, misinterpreting, and taking quotes out of context can just as easily be used against her, which gets us right back to where we started.

I watched the panel discussion that you reference and found it to be lacking in intellectual rigor. Beyond that, I'm not sure that your referenced scholar comported herself in a very scholarly manner. I'm not sure if I was more disappointed by her affirmative and gleeful reference to a "pu**y parallel" or her immature and noncritical reaction to Teakema's story about how David and Jonathan perhaps fell to the ground and "orgasmed" instead of "wept".

I think Weima's analysis above is persuasive. If you have disagreement with particular assertions that Weima makes, I'd be interested to hear them. Thanks for engaging.

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Apr 17·edited Apr 17

Thanks Eric. I wish I could share my own thoughts on Weima's analysis above in an open and respectful way. But as an officebearer in the CRC that wants to submit to CRC processes and church order, it seems to me quite complicated. If I were to provide any pushback at all - even if rooted in Greek words, Old Testament connections and variances in interpretations - it could be interpreted as not personally promoting and defending our CRC confessional position. If I were to do so in a way that submits with Church Order, it seems to me that this is not the appropriate venue, but such pushback would be better located in a confessional revision gravamen to synod. At least that is how I understand it.

This is why a conversation with Dr. Keesmaat was suggested. Dr. Keesmaat can speak openly as her ordination is not within the CRC, and Dr. Weima can defend our CRC position, as befits his office. I understand some of your concerns above about Dr. Keesmaat's responses in the 1946 panel video, but I imagine that asking both Dr. Weima and Dr. Keesmaat to join an academic dialogue could also include asking them both to commit to appropriate decorum fitting an academic conversation shaped by mutual respect for one another, focusing on arguments (again, if possible).

I myself think that Dr. Keesmaat has plenty of academic credentials to be a good conversation partner with Dr. Weima. And it might be especially appropriate to give her space to participate since her work was referenced by the HSR/Dr. Weima, and she has expressed concerns about the HSR/Dr. Weima missing her main points. But if Dr. Keesmaat is a concerning figure for the Abide Project leadership, then perhaps Dr. James Brownson would be a good alternative for an academic dialogue? His work is also quoted by the HSR/Dr. Weima, and he is also from a different denomination.

Would the concerns of Abide Project be focused on Dr. Keesmaat herself or with the idea itself of hosting an open, respectful dialogue of academics who disagree on this topic?

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Apr 17·edited Apr 17

Thanks for your the reply, Paul. I respect your desire to keep yourself from outright public advocacy outside of the confessional revision gravamen process and honor your desire to refrain from engaging further here in that manner. I do think it is worth noting that "promoting and defending" involves more than a neutral position. It seems to me that in this conversation "promoting and defending" would look like supporting Weima's conclusions and repudiating the unorthodox conclusions of 1946 while opposing the public advocacy that the Hesed Project is engaged in. The language of the Covenant for Officebearers seems to anticipate a posture that is actively and affirmatively, not passively and questionably, orthodox. If I promised to "promote and defend" your honor but would only refrain from speaking ill of you while others engaged in such, you may not feel very promoted or defending by me.

I noted above that I don't speak for others, and I would go further and specify that though I am a member of the Steering Committee of Abide I am engaging here as an individual, not on behalf of the group. To that extent any questions about the concerns of the Abide Project as a group are questions that I'm not positioned or prepared to speak to. Thanks for your understanding on that matter.

I think we might be coming at the question of conversation and the benefits thereof from a bit of a different angle. I would offer that the time for institutional conversations where the unorthodox position is platformed and considered is past. I would view a conversation like this between Weima and Keesmaat (or Brownson) as something more appropriate for the lead up to Synod 2022 when the church was still actively considering whether a deviation from its historical position might be the faithful decision. The CRC has been wrangling with this question (or family of questions, as it were) on and off in various forms for decades. Many of us believe strongly that ongoing conversation (outside of the interpersonal) in the CRC at this point is not healthy and would not help the church in her common mission, identity, and unity. I don't speak of conversation in general, but the specific type of conversation where unorthodox positions are afforded the chance to teach and influence within the church. At some point a church (or any organization) needs to have resolution and move past certain conversations. The Synods of '22 and '23 seem to have indicated fairly clearly that that time has come.

Weima in his role as an academic and scholar may of his own accord at various times and in various ways interact with his peers on various lines of argumentation, but I would view that differently. Similarly, if Keesmaat feels as though her work has been misrepresented by a peer she is free to press her case with that person and she may of her own accord seek a public conversation.

Hopefully that puts a little flesh on the bones of my earlier note that I don't see such an interaction happening.

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Good day Paul: I wonder if you have heard the phrase that Kevin DeYoung, formerly of the RCA made when he talked about "death by dialogue?" Essentially DeYoung saw that the RCA would die in the process of dialogue concerning interchanges between the orthodox and the so-called progressives around homosexual practise. History has shown---refer the Aaron V's chronology of the RCA---that DeYoung was not far off the mark. In a parallel way, in Muslim-Christian dialogue, there is one party that never deviates from its position--i.e. Muslims, and it is wobbly Christians who keep moving towards them. It is never the other way around. I wonder in your invitation to this Weima-Keesmaat 'dialogue' if you are hoping for the same outcome, namely that Weima will move towards Keesmaat as in Muslim-Christian dialogue? I also wonder if your commitment to what you think is the moral high ground is something that you are somewhat 'married' to, and no amount of information will sway your commitment?

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Thanks Herb. I fixed it, and deleted my request for help.

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Dr. Weima, The film is not a Hollywood-concocted story. It is a documentary filmed by Christians, both Affirming and LGBTQ+, who are involved in the search to understand scripture they love and live by. Your title, using the idea that Hollywood gets it wrong again and then continuing to sprinkle the word Hollywood throughout your opinion piece seems to me an attempt to smear the film and sway your audience to not view it. Add to that the fact that you call the people who made the film and those promoting it “fools,”discredits you and Calvin Theological Seminary.

You leave out any mention of the fact that the producer of the film is shown repeatedly with her father, who is a minister who doesn’t agree with same-sex marriage, her own acceptance of herself as LGBTQ+, as well as disagreeing with what the film says about the translation of the Bible. I appreciated that the film included his opinions so we weren’t hearing only one viewpoint and showed how he and his daughter continued to love and respect each other while deeply disagreeing.

You also failed to mention the fact that when the mis- translation was printed by the RSV publishers, it was quickly used by the Good News Bible, which Billy Graham liked and passed out to masses of people. It also influenced other translators, including the NIV. So most of us grew up, only hearing what resulted from a translation that the head of the RSV team agreed was incorrect and in a culture that acted in accordance with what seemed to be a Biblical condemnation of homosexuals. It’s only been since 1973 that the churches in the CRC were told to act with love toward LGBTQ+ individuals. And year after year we, at best, ignore them and now and then apologize for it at Synod.

I hope everyone in the CRC sees the movie. I don’t think your review did it justice.

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"The film is not a Hollywood-concocted story. It is a documentary filmed by Christians, both Affirming and LGBTQ+, who are involved in the search to understand scripture they love and live by."

I doubt this statement advocates a doctrine of the infallibility of all believers. It is not saying that if it was produced by Christians, it must be correct. I take the intent to be that we should be careful to not smear fellow believers. One of the responsibilities of pastors and professors is to protect the flock from false teaching. When the exegesis used to support a certain teaching is really shallow, that must be pointed out. I believe the intent of the use of Hollywood is to communicate that this film is very superficial in its exegesis. It referring to city watchmen Ezekiel 33 teaches that clear warnings need to be sounded when danger approaches. Mark 9:42 tells us that it would be better for anyone who leads others astray if a millstone would be hung about their neck and they would be thrown into the sea.

This is not a "friendly" thing to have to do. It is not easy. But it is necessary. May God help each of us to repent of whatever sins we are vulnerable to.

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ABSOLUTELY. I am one of the researchers on the film and the multiple casual (or perhaps causal) dismissals are deceptive.

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Thanks, Kathy, for your comment. As one of the researchers, and one claiming this article contains dismissals, if you can provide evidence that one or more of Dr. Weima's claims are incorrect, that would help to substantiate your claim.

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I have PLENTY of published work online, in videos, book, website. Investment in this venue for rebuttals is not a good use of my time. Youtube five hour teaching under my name is a great place to start.

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Apr 22·edited Apr 22

In this day and age, when there is so much research available on-line etc., it just isn't possible to read everything. Dr. Weima has graciously taken time in his busy schedule to put together his case here. As readers, we count on those who know the material to make their best case for their position. As it stands, the evidence is quite compelling for the position presented in the critique of 1946. If you feel you could present a clear case for your position, we would be more than happy to read it. If you could select just one point Dr. Weima made a present a strong case against it, that would be a good response. For someone who knows the material, it seems that would be relatively easy. In the absence of even one point, I, for one, will consider this case closed.

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