I’m an engineer by training, which means that I’m always looking for ways of measuring and quantifying things. So when I was putting together this post, the thought occurred to me that Robert Gagnon’s fabled method of responding to those with whom he disagrees just might be an instructive measurement. We can call it the Gagnon Score, which measures the reaction by at least one spokesman for established Evangelicalism to challenges to his beliefs. The Gagnon Score is measured in the number of pages he devotes to his response, and it goes like this:
When Alan Chambers renounced Reparative Therapy and Sexual Orientation Change Efforts (SOCE) and said that gay people who are Christians can be as assured of salvation as anyone else who accepts Jesus as their savior, Gagnon’s response was 35 pages in length. This gives Alan Chambers a Gagnon Score of 35.
When Andrew Marin’s non-condemning outreach to Chicago’s gay community drew Gagnon’s ire, Marin earned a Gagnon Score of 24.
When BTB’s Timothy Kincaid questioned what he saw as Gagnon’s “unorthodox approach to doctrine,” He earned several successive scores: first, a measly 3, then a 15, then falling back to 5 before rising up to 19. Kincaid’s final Gagnon Score came in at an impressive 57.
Other examples: Prof. Lee Jefferson’s op-ed piece for the Huffington Post on the Bible and gay marriage scored a 10 on the Gagnon Scale. Dr. Jennifer Wright Knust’s piece on CNN’s Belief Blog on The Bible’s surprisingly mixed messages on sexuality registered a 9 on the Gagnon Scale. And the book Reasoning Together: A Conversation on Homosexuality by Mennonite theology professors Ted Grimsrud and Mark Thiessen Nation registered a 20 on the Gagnon Scale.
So far, I think Timothy is the champion, but Alan Chambers has come in at a respectable second place. So far. I have a feeling Gagnon isn’t finished with Chambers yet.
Update: If you’re going to introduce a new unit of measure, its important to be accurate. I had missed this 26 page response to Marin, which brings his total score up to 50. It’s seven points behind Timothy’s score but it does make for a very impressive second place. My apologies for the error.