There's a fairly new Christian interpretive technique called Redemptive Movement Hermeneutic (RMH). The idea is best expressed in the book 'Slaves, Women & Homosexuals: Exploring the Hermeneutics of Cultural Analysis' by William Webb.
summarize it, RMH is an attempt by leftist Christians to reconcile
obvious confrontations between modern liberal egalitarianism and
Christianity. Proponents of RMH argue that God allows humanity to evolve
over time on issues like women's roles in the Church, slavery, and
For example, in the Old Testament God clearly endorsed race based chattel slavery. He even personally established it in Leviticus 25:44-46
(he called slaves "property"). In the New Testament, RMH advocates say
God softened this to the point that slaves were supposed to be treated
as subjugated brothers. Today, God wants us to evolve again on the
issue, override everything in the Bible, and preach that slavery is an
abhorrent abomination that should be discarded entirely.
same kind of progressive thought is repeated in the case of both
homosexuals and women. Women were chattel in the Old Testament, silent
sisters in the New, and now we should accept them as fully equals to men
and let them hold leadership roles in the church. Homosexuals were
stoned in the Old Testament, discouraged in the New, and now we should
embrace homosexual marriage.
The problem with the RMH
hermeneutic is that it suggests man can change the Bible's teachings
based on what he thinks God might want. It suggests man can read God's
mind and predict his desire for man to "evolve" on moral questions.
God wanted man to evolve in the past, however, he produced miraculous
signs to demonstrate it (the plagues, Mount Sinai, Christ's
resurrection, etc.). The only sign given in modern America recently is
the near miraculous apostasy of about half the Church on the homosexual
For nearly two thousand years,
the church stuck to a general consensus about women leadership,
homosexuality, and, arguably, slavery (opinons about slavery started
shifting somewhat earlier than other issues). Why should we accept that
man suddenly expected to evolve on these issues? The timing is off. The
most likely explanation for the ascendance of the RMH hermeneutic is
that it allows Christians to strike a peaceable compact with
contemporary liberal society. I doubt God would appreciate such an