Homosexuality and the Bible
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Few recent issues have sparked such debate in the churches as homosexuality, same-sex unions, and ordination of gays and lesbians. A key point of contention is the meaning and authority of the biblical witness.
In this brief book, two New Testament scholars discuss the relevant biblical texts on the subject of homosexual behavior and orientation. Discussing both Old Testament and New Testament texts, each author also raises important interpretive and moral questions and then offers a response to the other's main assertions. Chief questions examined by each include what the Bible has to say about homosexuality and homosexual behavior, the meaning of those texts in their cultural contexts, and the larger hermeneutical dilemma of what kind of authority the Bible's teaching, if recoverable, has for Christians today.
A thoughtful and irenic dialogue, this volume can facilitate reflection and discussion among church members on a vital and contentious issue in American church life.
"Homosexuality and the Bible is a timely
contribution that should be read by all sides in the debate that threatens to
divide all churches. I know of no other work that so clearly illumines the
biblical issues at the heart of the controversy surrounding homosexuality."
Stanley Hauerwas, Gilbert T. Rowe Professor of Theological Ethics, Duke Divinity School
"This is an excellent contribution to a debate which is
set to run and run in most parts of Christendom. I know of no finer
presentation of all the main issues. The authors set out their cases and
responses to one another with rigour and yet with an admirable absence of
rancour. Be warned: this book may force you to change your mind!"
Graham Stanton, Lady Margaret's Professor of Divinity, University of Cambridge
"The issue of homosexuality before the church is indeed a
wearisome task, and people of good will on both sides of the vexing question
wish we could for a while talk about something else. But of course that is not
possible because not only are there real issues at stake, but the lives of real
people are at risk around the issue. This book presents the key arguments, pro
and con, with clarity, reasoned thought, and for the most part with civil
discourse. We will wait, along with Via and Gagnon, to be led to newness beyond
competing advocacies to a new chapter yet to be written. That of course is the
work of the Spirit...."
Walter Brueggemann, William Marcellus McPheeters Professor Emeritus of Old Testament, Columbia Theological Seminary
"Two esteemed New Testament scholars claim the Bible as
ultimate authority for Christian faith and life, address the biblical witness
regarding homosexuality, and come to strikingly different conclusions. How can
this be? Issues of exegetical meaning and theological method are pivotal, and
the interpretive choices confronting us are here clearly on display. Christian
leaders and churches challenged by questions surrounding the voice and role of
Scripture on same-sex relations will find in this dialogue an invaluable chart
for navigating these confusing waters."
Joel B. Green, Dean of the School of Theology and Professor of New Testament Interpretation, Asbury Theological Seminary
"Here, in brief and eminently readable form, are presented
two opposing views of the controversy that rages within our churches. Robert
Gagnon's brilliant and lucid condensation of his principle arguments should be
a significant asset for clergy and laity alike, while Dan Via opens new vistas
Catherine Clark Kroeger, Associate Professor of Classical and Ministry Studies, Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary
"Two adept spokespersons propound contrasting ways of
listening to Scripture on the question of same-sex erotic relationships.
Readers who already hold positions on either extreme will likely find here only
reinforcement for their views. But the great, often silent, majority in the
middle that struggles with this vexing issue will find provocative material on
both sides that begs for critical reflection."
Robert L. Brawley, Albert G. McGaw Professor of New Testament, McCormick Theological Seminary