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Theological guidance for Farron on gay sex | Letters

Tim Farron
Regarding Tim Farron (pictured), Fr Alec Mitchell says: ‘It isn’t our state of being that makes us sinful; it’s what we intend when we do things, to ourselves, to others, to God.’ Photograph: A Davidson/SHM/Rex/Shutterstock

Tim Farron needs better theological education and spiritual direction (Farron: I misled voters on gay sex, 11 January). He says that “if you’re a Christian you’ve got a very clear idea of what you think a sin is”, but I’m not so sure he’s so clear himself. Theologically, sin is not so much a breach of law (which would be dealt with by punishment) but rather a breach of grace (dealt with, thank God, by forgiveness). It isn’t really about what is done, but what is meant by what is done. Thus it is possible to be sinful while sharing heterosexual love (for example), and yet sinless while sharing homosexual love. We all live lives afflicted to greater or lesser extent by sin; but it isn’t our state of being that makes us sinful; it’s what we intend when we do things, to ourselves, to others, to God.
Fr Alec Mitchell
Manchester

• I wish Tim Farron would stop claiming exclusive use of the word “Christian” for those who share his negative attitude to same-sex relationships.

As to there allegedly being no Christians among his advisers, there are thousands of Christian Lib Dems who would be very happy to advise him, only of course they take a very different view from him on this issue.

He has got himself into a terrible twist by not recognising that there are indeed issues which, while they may be sinful, are legal. Roman Catholic Christians, for example, believe that all abortions are sinful, but recognise that it is not illegal, under some circumstances, to have one. He could have avoided all this fuss by simply saying: “I recognise that Christians have different views on same-sex relationships, and while my Christian faith leads me to believe that they are sinful I recognise that people have a legal right to enter into them.”
Richard Harries
House of Lords

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This article titled "Theological guidance for Tim Farron on gay sex" was written by Letters, for The Guardian on Friday 12 January 2018 06.23pm

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