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" Three things: "Sin"—another counter-cultural word! But without the consciousness of sin the Gospel itself makes no sense.There can be no productive discussion of marriage and homosexuality, or really of any other moral question, unless we can agree that "all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." Sin threatens our relationships with death.Among the authors were several academics at liberal strongholds like Amherst, Princeton, Oberlin, Yale and Hebrew Union College.It hardly needs to be said that entering the debate in this way exposed the Ramsey Colloquium to angry denunciation and was, for some of its members, an act of courage.The tradition defines God's sovereign gift of freedom in words that are familiar to all of us: covenant, election, justification, vocation, and sanctification.These are words I want to explore as we attempt to understand the morality of same-sex relationships among members of our church. To begin with, I need to understand with you what we mean when we say that a "word" is addressed to the church, because there are many words to which you or I could appeal for authority.

So, in the familiar text of the Barmen Declaration: Word of God which we have to hear and which we have to trust and obey in life and in death.But the Reformed tradition affirms that the coherence that eludes our best efforts has already been established definitively in Jesus Christ. Through the covenant of Baptism, our primal covenant, in which Christ's obedient "Yes" to God becomes our own "Yes"—and this is the starting point for our lifelong journey from chaos to coherence.The self-disclosure of God in the covenant of Baptism reveals that God's being itself is covenant.In the reciprocal relationship of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we learn that God's nature is not solitude, but communion.God's inherent nature is to be God is not a sealed fortress, to be attacked and seized by our engines of war (ascetic practices, meditative techniques, and the like) but a house full of open doors, through which we are invited to walk.

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