Talk:Gordon Hugenberger

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Opposition to same-sex mariage, and support for public referendum on same-sex marriaqge[edit]

Dr. Hugenberger is signator of the same-sex marriage referendum, please follow the following link:

Please follow link to the church's own web site on this subject. Link at bottom of page.CApitol3 12:21, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

I wasn't able to find anything regarding his church's official position on their website. Could you provide a link? --Flex 14:17, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

herewith, a link to Park Street church's own web site:

It is rare, near to never, that the majority of citizens have been allowed to vote on the rights of a majority in the United States. Support for the current referendum under consideration in Massachusetts, that would allow the majority to vote on the civil liberties of the states homosexual minority is pertinent to articles related to institutions or individuals supporting this. While the motto Let the people vote! sounds reasonable enough, it is interesting to consider what sort of nation the U.S. would currently be had the people voted in referenda on woman's suffrage, integration of the armed forces, interracial marriage, public accomodations, etc. To refuse to separate civil marriage from religous mariage is to ask for state endorsement of a particular religous belief. Selective interpretation of Scripture is at work here most often, affirming Leviticus or I Corinthians 6:9 but conveniently ignoring the bible's support in places for female rape, human slavery, or nonsensical casting into the fires of hell those who eat shell fish, wear a cloak made up of two kinds of fiber, or plant their fields with multiple kinds of seeds. If you signed the petition and you or an institution you administer have an article here on wikipedia, a citation with a link is pertinent. CApitol3 13:55, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

Dr. Hugenberger does not really profess to support the institutions of marriage as found in the bible as you claim, this is selective. CApitol3 14:21, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

Inclusion of how the referendum works (allows the majority to vote on the civil marriage of a minority) albeit inconveninet is pertininent fact , exclusion of this is POV oriented editing.CApitol3 14:35, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for the link (I would again note that it doesn't mention anything about the referendum but only discusses his understanding of the Bible) -- I converted it to a reference. Your mini-essay above about selectivity are fine for a talk page but not for the article itself (see WP:OR and WP:NPOV). My recent changes are more neutral because they present the facts without evaluating them (which is WP:OR and against WP:NPOV#Let_the_facts_speak_for_themselves) by saying that his position derives from "his understanding of marriage in the Bible." Written this way, it doesn't matter if Hugenberger is misunderstanding what the text says or is being selective -- it's still his understanding, and that understanding determines his position. Regarding minority vs. majority: we must let the facts speak for themselves and let the readers draw their own conclusions. --Flex 14:54, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

You're welcome. Yes, but the facts are being deleted (repeatedly) by you. I have contained my essay to the discussion page. There is no conjecture or POV in stating the referendum Dr. Hugenberger supports allows the majority to vote on the rights of a minority. Neither is it POV to point out that the referendum is not about banning only religous marriage of same-sex couples, but civil marriage as well. You have suggested that the church does not in any official or organized way support the referendum. If you are a member, or perhaps, know a member, you will know differently. Signatures ahve been actively collected at the church, and organization of demonstrations at the State house and on the common have been coördinated there. I believe they are entirely in their rights, but I believe it is in error or misleading to leave this out. Best, JimCApitol3 15:02, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

Re how the referendum works: leave that to the page that deals with that issue; this page is about GPH, not politics or referendums (cf. WP:NPOV#Undue_weight). Re civil vs. religious marriage: unless you have a reliable source with him describing his position on that distinction, the topic does not seem relevant on a page about him (rather than the referendum). Re his church's position: I'm not a member, I have never been a member, and I don't know any members (I live several states away). If signatures have been collected on church premises or sermons preached by him urging support for the referendum, I agree that is relevant, but you'll need a reliable source to list it. --Flex 15:15, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

Seems we need arbitration here[edit]

Would you like for me to appeal for a third-party review? Best, Jim CApitol3 15:08, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

If you don't agree with my comments above, then sure. --Flex 15:15, 11 October 2006 (UTC)
I made one final edit, which contains the text that you want but that I contend is POV. However, it handles the external links better. I suggest we leave it in that state until arbitration is complete. The contentious part is this sentence (italics mine):
[Hugenberger] personally supports the 2006 referendum, which would allow the majority of citizens to vote to ban civil marriage for the state's homosexual minority.
I contend that the italicized clause is POV because it does not let the facts speak for themselves. How the referendum works (or doesn't work) is not relevant on a page about a preacher (unless perhaps he himself has made a statement in that regard, which we currently have no evidence of) and only serves to add spin. The version I propose is:
[Hugenberger] personally supports the 2006 referendum, which would ban same-sex marriage in Massachusetts.
Note that the link in the italicized portion removes the piping but goes to the same page as the allegedly POV version. --Flex 15:31, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

Source title[edit]

Inclusion of the contextual information "Park Street Pulpit" is pertinent, and is found on their site and even in the URL. I did not author that. I have appealed for third-party review, and opinion:

I added my two-cents to the 3rd opinion page. I'd suggest you summarize your case in the above section. Re "Park Street Pulpit": What's the deal? It's not part of the title of the article; it's a section of the webpage (where you can also find GH's bio and the other articles listed in the external links section -- none of which mention the section title here). The Template:Cite_web gives the standard way to cite webpages, and includes no place for section information. I'm not exactly clear on why this is even an issue. Why do you want it in there so much? --Flex 17:17, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

Herein is the deal: you argue above that Dr. Hugenberger's opinion regarding same-sex marriage are personal, not related to the pulpit. The context of the heading "Park Street Pulpit" on that web page clearly was not my work, and his church's use of that context is significant, suggesting less of a personal opinion and more or a pastoral one. I do not for a moment confuse Gordon Hugenberger with the likes of Fred Phelps. Dr. Hugenberger is a decent, reasonable man, and I am not intending to portray him as any kind of a hate monger. Yet to sanitize this out of an article on the man, as it has been, strikes me as a bit soviet. The repeated deletions of my explanation of the referendum, and avoidance of the word "pulpit" with the subject suggests POV and posturing to me. CApitol3 17:54, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

I entirely agree that he opposes same-sex marriage personally and preaches that from the pulpit. It is a different story, however, as to whether he advocates political causes from the pulpit (that may be the case, but it has yet to be proven). Perhaps a satisfactory resolution would be to cite the Q&A as being published by the church:
Hugenberger, Gordon (2004-06-15). ""Questions and Answers on Issues Related to Homosexuality and Same-Sex Marriage"". Park Street Church. Retrieved 2006-10-11. 
Re "soviet" and "posturing": please see WP:CIVIL. I am not trying to sanitize the article; only make it conform to Wikipedia policies (particularly neutrality). The pulpit business, however, doesn't fall under that category. It just seems irrelevant to list the section of the website where the article can be found, and I hope the citation above meets with your approval. --Flex 18:10, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

Third Opinion[edit]

Per GearedBull's request on Wikipedia:Third_opinion, I've come over here to take a look at the dispute and offer my opinion. I'll post more in a few minutes. --Aaron 18:16, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

  • Okay, looking at this diff, I have a problem, and it's not about the phrasing. My question is, does anyone have any direct evidence that Hugenberger is supporting this referendum? Making assumptions about his support based on his past writings is not acceptable on Wikipedia (see WP:BLP for more details); if it turned out not to be true, he could sue Wikipedia for libel. You've got to find some verifiable statement where Hugenberger has said something along the lines of, "I support this referendum and urge people to vote for it!" Otherwise the statement has to be removed entirely, and that renders moot the question of how to phrase the referendum. --Aaron 18:31, 11 October 2006 (UTC)
Digging deeper, I now see the link. However, I'm not sure whether that would be considered strong enough evidence, since anyone can sign anyone's name to a petition. WP:BLP is pretty clear that on controversial issues, if there's any room for doubt, it has to come out, especially if the subject is not particularly famous (as this gentleman is not). --Aaron 18:36, 11 October 2006 (UTC)
Hmm, that wasn't the question we were debating, but now that you mention it, you're probably right about the WP:BLP rule applying here. --Flex 18:41, 11 October 2006 (UTC)
Yeah, it's a huge problem. I can offer my opinion on which phrasing is better if anyone wants, but it seems beside the point if nobody can find some direct verification that he's for the referendum. --Aaron 18:45, 11 October 2006 (UTC)
I see that specifically disavows the accuracy of its listings (" presents this data as it was provided by Secretary Galvin and is not responsible or liable for the correctness of the list's content including correct spelling, correct or current corresponding addresses, or authenticity"), so I've had to pull the gay marriage section of the article for now per WP:BLP. --Aaron 18:44, 11 October 2006 (UTC)
Right. From the sources, it is clear that he opposes same-sex marriage theologically, but his political stances may differ. IMO, it's not worth noting this particular theological opinion here, however, without introducing a more thorough section on his thought on various topics. --Flex 18:49, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

Request for third opinion -- take two[edit]

The contentious part is this sentence (italics mine):

[Hugenberger] publicly supports the 2006 referendum, which would allow the majority of citizens to vote to ban civil marriage for Massachusetts's homosexual minority by ammending the state constitution.

I contend that the italicized clause is POV because it does not let the facts speak for themselves and adds spin. The version I propose as more neutral is:

[Hugenberger] publicly supports the 2006 referendum, which would ban same-sex marriage in Massachusetts by ammending the state constitution.

Note that the link in the italicized portion removes the piping but goes to the same page as the allegedly POV version. --Flex 19:46, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

I have to admire your perseverance. I am clear where you see spin, please note that it is your desire to avoid three things: 1) acknowledgement of the majority voting on civil liberties of a minority; 2) Dr. Hugenberger's opposition being associated with the pulpit (the church web site uses it, I did not write that); and, 3) Dr, Hugenberger opposing civil as well as religous same-sex mariage is where I sense your POV.

Your #1 is the only issue for which I have requested a 3rd opinion. #2 seems to be a clear cut case of citation format, not POV. The church publicly endorses his theological position by them having it on their website without a disclaimer, but I just don't think website layout is a proper part of the citation format. Do you dislike the formatting by Template:Cite_web? On #3, I think you could be mistaking my change of wording to a more succint version as POV. I was attempting to reduce the text so that it makes mention of the issue rather than trying to explain it here. The content of the amendment is not the subject of this article, after all. Why is that distinction relevant to Dr. Hugenberger in particular? I'm not principially opposed to having that part in there; I just think it makes it unnecessarily verbose. --Flex 20:52, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

Let me think here, gotta pick the kids up. Will get back to this. Best, JimCApitol3 21:12, 11 October 2006 (UTC)
This is in reply to the WP:3O request. I strongly agree with Flex' argument and his (or her) preferred version, because it is factually accurate, considerably more succinct and because the alternative version violates WP:NPOV in that it carries the implied viewpoint that a referendum on banning same-sex marriage is less legitimate because it involves the majority deciding for the minority; this is a debatable assertion that the encyclopedia should not make. Incidentally, "amending" is spelled with one "m". I've made the appropriate changes. Best, Sandstein 20:21, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

Sanitization is now complete[edit]

One can now read the bio and have no idea that:

1) Dr. Hugenberger as clergy opposes same-sex marriage that is civil, not just religious in nature;
2) The referendum Dr. Hugenberger supports allows for the majority to vote upon civil liberties of a minority;
3) That the issue actively comes from his pulpit, not purely his personal beliefs as Flex would like us to believe.

The politics of this issue are in fact argued from, and associated with the pulpit of the church, anyone taking the time to go to (Park Street Church's web site) will see the church heads that page "Park Street Pulpit."

  • Questions: Why label "proposal" that which you deliver as fate? How is a user in Switzerland equipped to review and pass judgment on a constitutional issue in the U.S. commonwealth of Massachusetts; is this user familiar with the constitution of Massachusetts; has this user read the text of the referendum being voted upon; performed rudimentary online searches showing media coverage of Dr. Hugenberger's political actions on the subject; is this user familiar with the current political climate and culture of Massachusetts in the midst of this ongoing current event?
  • Correction: the referendum is not for 2006 as article currently states. CApitol3 21:10, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
Look, you're massively over-reacting here. The only thing that 3rdOp addressed was the wording of the one sentence. I said above that I'm not opposed to making the distinction between civil and religious marriages here, but I do think it makes it excessively verbose. I invited you to make the case for the more detailed version, and you said you would think about it and come back but have not supplied any argument. Finally, I will note that I formerly (and prematurely) agreed that GH and his church are publicly against SSM, but on a second look, you'll have to come up with a better source for the church. The link you provided does in fact have a disclaimer:
Please understand that the views expressed here do not represent the views of Park Street Church, its leadership, or its membership.
It's clear that he is personally against it from the Boston Globe statement, but that doesn't mean the church is officially. You need a different source to prove the church's official position. --Flex 21:21, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
PS, Gordon Hugenberger does not have any on-going role in the current events surrounding the amendment so far as I can tell. How do you justify that tag. (I'm fine with requesting a POV check.) --Flex 21:31, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

No need to personalize this Flex. I believe I will reserve for myself, as a married homosexual facing the majority of my fellow citizens voting on my marriage and my civil liberties, just exactly what is, as you say, "massively over-reacting." I have made no attempt to paint Dr. Hugenberger as a Fred Phelps or James Dobbs sort. My observation is that you have attempted several times here to soften and sanitize the perception of GH. The issue of gay marriage is a current event here, and GH has played, and continues to play, a role in it. Please consider this: I observe and percieve at least as much an agenda in your own editing of this and other articles, as you do my own.

Do I sense a connection to PSC or a connection you might not have divulged? How it is you might speak with any authority that Park Street is not "officially"?

I will follow Wiki protocol and give this a bit of a break. You have free reign. Revert away. Jim CApitol3 21:46, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

Ok, here is why I suggested you were over-reacting: we have the three issues that you listed above. On #2, we requested a third opinion regarding the neutrality of wording. The 3rdOp did not fall in your favor, and you responded by questioning his qualifications for judging the question because he lives in Switzerland. He doesn't need to know everything about the Commonwealth since we only asked him to evaluate the wording of that one sentence based on the Wikipedia guidelines. If you still disagree when you return from your hiatus, we can ask for more opinions (this time stipulating that respondents be lawyers practicing in the state of Massachusetts ;-) ).
Regarding #1, I have repeatedly said that I am not opposed to making that distinction in the article in principle and have invited you to make the case for the more verbose version. You have yet to say anything about it except that it's not currently the version you want. I'll invite you again to make your case for why that distinction is relevant here. (Hint: this is an easy one.)
Regarding #3, I have (almost) no doubt that Hugenberger has preached against homosexuality and gay marriage from the pulpit (I say "almost" because so far I have seen only indirect evidence of this). His Q&A (which does have a disclaimer about not being the beliefs of the church) and his signing that public statement demonstrate his opinion on the matter clearly enough, but a preacher is not identical to his church and he may not mention it much at all. His church may officially take a more moderate stance or may not take an official position at all. For all I know, he may be irritating the leadership and membership of his church whenever he preaches on the subject. Your primary beef here seems to be with the inclusion of the website section name "Park Street Pulpit" in the Q&A citation because you think it conveys some message or authority that just having the Q&A on the website does not. I don't see why (feel free to explain), and none of the standard citation formats include such information (see WP:CITE/ES).
I also don't think you can say he "actively preaches" against same-sex marriage without a reliable source that backs up your assertion. What does "actively" mean? If he hasn't mentioned it in the past ten years except once when it naturally came up while he was preaching through the Book of Leviticus and once while he was preaching through Romans (n.b., I don't know if he did or did not preach through Leviticus or Romans), can he be said to "actively" be preaching about it? Sounds too much like rhetoric to me. On the other hand, if you could find a primary source (like the text or MP3s of some sermons where he addresses the topic on several occasions) or another reliable source, that would make this one easy to accept. All you need to do is provide some evidence to back up your assertions (see WP:BLP).
As for the undivulged association with Hugenberger and/or PSC that you suggest, you are wrong. I have never been to Boston, I have never seen or heard Hugenberger in person, I have never met a member of his church (so far as I know), etc. I picked up a copy of his Marriage as Covenant in the discount bin long ago and read a small portion of it, and I know of his mentor Meredith G. Kline (i.e., I read a book and an article by him), which is how I think I came to this page in the first place. I have listened to two or three of Hugenberger's sermons in MP3 format from the church's website, but that's the extent of it. I generally like the guy, but I have no association with him. I just want to see the Wikipedia thrive with as little spin as possible. That's why he's on my watchlist.
As for reverting, what's to revert? It's in an acceptable state now for my taste, and I think it fully conforms to the Wikipedia guidelines for neutrality. --Flex 02:56, 13 October 2006 (UTC)

Signator of Petition #05-02, a public referndum on the definition of marriage being one man and one woman?[edit]

I wonder if you know whether the information on the website of know they Neighbor ( that showing Gordon Hugenberger with a 3 Park Street address as having signed the Petition #05-02, the Constitutional Amendment to Define Marriage, reads as follows:

"When recognizing marriages entered into after the adoption of this amendment by the people, the Commonwealth and its political subdivisions shall define marriage only as the union of one man and one woman."

is accurate? Know They Neighbor's claim is that the information originates with the Secretary of the Commonwealth's Elections Division.

Given Hugenberger's views on marriage, it wouldn't surprise me in the least if it were accurate, but that doesn't make that site a reliable source on the matter. --Flex 14:43, 31 October 2006 (UTC)

Current event?[edit]

User:GearedBull, You restored the current event tag "based on upcoming constitutional convention Nov 11, and Higenberger's recent edits emphaisizing Alive in Christ ministry seeking to alter homosexual behavior." Category:Current events generally defines a current event this way: "[T]here is a statement on the page mentioning a date within the last month." Since there is no such date here, I have deleted the tag again. Yes, the amendment is still in process, but Hugenberger's listed activity on the matter is from two years ago, and edits to the WP don't count, no matter what the emphasis. --Flex 14:43, 31 October 2006 (UTC)

WikiProject class rating[edit]

This article was automatically assessed because at least one article was rated and this bot brought all the other ratings up to at least that level. BetacommandBot 16:28, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

some commentary[edit]

From what I know of Gordon (as one of his long-time parishioners) and his sermons, which I have everything that was done in MP3 format, I would say this by way of opinion:

1. He does personally view that marriage, as revealed in Scripture, is between one man and one woman,

2. It is a lifelong covenant relationship, as witnessed by God,

3. Only Scripture would tell you that it is meant for one man and one woman (i.e., natural theology does not reveal this),

3a. Corollary #1: Paul and others were well-aware of gay unions (Nero and his partner, for instance, as well as pederasty, e.g., Plato et al),

4. Certainly with other Evangelicals (such as Elaine Storkey, Robert A. J. Gagnon, et al), he distinguishes homosexual practice vs. homosex orientation and notes two things:

  • Paul does not have an understanding of orientation as different from behavior (in fact the former is not acknowledged)
  • Paul does condemn homosex behavior
  • many Evangelicals would say that homosex attraction (like attraction to members of the opposite sex outside of marriage) is a result of the Fall
  • malakoi and arsenokoitai (1Cor 6:9) refer to the effeminate and masculine (passive / active) partners in a homosex partnership, and homosex practice is condemned

5. Gordon did sign on a Vision New England encouraged document stating a constitutional amendment,

6. Park Street supports "Alive in Christ," a ministry to support those who desire to change from homosex attraction and want to become heterosex attracted, and are trying to abstain from acting out on homosex attraction,

I would offer this as my observation: Gordon is not certain whether legislation of such a mandate is the best policy, since obedience does come from volition. Many Calvinists take that one of the roles of the law is to restrain evil and to delineate what is wrong -- for instance, if you allowed road rage, you would get a lot more murders. Having laws that make murder a crime prevents murder from happening more frequently; it doesn't actually fully prevent murder or cause all people not want to murder.

In addition, these random factoids about Gordon could be mentioned:

  • Gordon was the junior Hebrew fellow at Gordon-Conwell
  • he was taught Hebrew from fellow Harvard graduate and friend Nicholas Granitsas
  • Gordon's doctoral dissertation was regarding marriage and family in the Old Testament (Marriage as Covenant is kind of redaction of that dissertation)
  • Gordon met his wife Janie at a Harvard-Wellesley mixer his freshman year
  • he's a regular speaker at the Thursday Morning Men's Prayer Breakfast at the Union Club (9 Park Street)
  • he used to teach Hebrew, but primarily he focuses on Theology of the Pentateuch, Christ in the Old Testament, and Exegesis in Judges
  • he speaks and writes in at least 7-8 languages including Aramaic, Hebrew, Greek, German, English
  • Gordon's favorite hobby (outside of memorizing multiple languages) is geology

Gordonisms worth mentioning:

  • The only current Park Street minister to have his own wikipedia page and facebook group
  • Prefers to be called by his first name, or barring that, "Mister" Hugenberger, taking seriously Matthew 23:8 and context ("doctor" is Latin for teacher), see
  • Good quotes from Gordon? Like:
* "Christianity is not just a crutch; you need a whole new pair of legs"
* "The Gospel is like one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread"

—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:18, 22 December 2008 (UTC)

—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:50, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for your comments. Feel free to be bold and take a swipe at the article, and when doing so, please take note of our policies on original research, neutrality, and verifiability. I would suggest, however, that putting this much material about homosexuality might give the impression that he is obsessed with it, which I don't believe is the case. --Flex (talk/contribs) 13:40, 23 May 2008 (UTC)