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Holey Bible arguments against Margaret Court

By Spencer Gear - posted Wednesday, 7 November 2018

What would cause many in the tennis community, mass media and social media to get up in arms about world champion tennis player, Marg1aret Court's, support for heterosexuality? She has boycotted flying with Qantas because it supports homosexual marriage.

Some in the Christian community oppose Dr Court's stand against homosexual marriage.

One is Robyn Whitaker who took Dr Court AO MBE to task. This is my response to 'Note to Margaret Court: the Bible isn't meant to be read that literally', Dr Whitaker of Trinity College,Melbourne, 2 June 2017 (ABC News, Brisbane, Qld)


What are the holes in Dr Robyn Whitaker's arguments against Margaret Court and Court's support for heterosexual marriage over Whitaker's backing of modern Christian families that include gay couples? These are three holes I found:

Hole 1: It starts with Whitaker's title that the Bible is not meant to be understood as literally as Margaret Court reads it.

Then Whitaker proceeds to do exacly what she told Court not to do. She literally accepted the fact that there are 66 books in the Bible and Abraham fathered children with his concubine as well as his wife.

Her literal interpretation continued. She accepted David and Solomon had entire palaces full of wives and concubines and polygamy was common as well as slaves being used for concubines. There was no hint in her article these were supposed to be interpreted metaphorically, allegorically or symbolically.

She made self-defeating statements with her examples, thus failing to meet her own standard of the Bible not being read as literally as in Court's approach.

Thus, Whitaker promoted a contradiction.


Hole 2:What is literal interpretation? She assumed we knew. When I was in high school, I learned that to understand a document literally meant to accept the plain meaning of the text. This includes the use of figures of speech and symbols.

I used Berkeley Mickelsen's text, Interpreting the Bible, in seminary. He wrote that 'literal' means the customarily acknowledged meaning of an expression in its particular context. For example, when Christ declared that he was the door, the metaphorical meaning of 'door' would be obvious. Although metaphorical, this evident meaning is included in literal interpretation.

Therefore, 'by literal meaning the writer refers to the usual or customary sense conveyed by words or expressions' (Mickelsen 1963:17). So when I read Whitaker's article online, I assumed that figures of speech were included in the literal meaning.

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A longer version of this article can be read on Spencer Gear's homepage: "Fourteen Holey Bible arguments against Margaret Court".

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About the Author

Spencer Gear PhD (University of Pretoria, South Africa) is a retired counselling manager, independent researcher, retired minister of the The Christian & Missionary Alliance of Australia, and freelance writer living in Brisbane Qld, Australia.

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