Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics

The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics


Gagnon offers the most thorough analysis to date of the biblical texts relating to homosexuality. He demonstrates why attempts to classify the Bible’s rejection of same-sex intercourse as irrelevant for our contemporary context fail to do justice to the biblical texts and to current scientific data. Gagnon’s book powerfully challenges attempts to identify love and inclusivity with affirmation of homosexual practice. . . . the most sophisticated and convincing examination of the biblical data …

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Ok guys, what’s the deal with being a gay Christian?(r/Christianity)

Hey. Sorry this is long but maybe it would help.

I’ve decided I don’t care if people spam my mail-box and say I’m a liar (it’s the Internet… you guys can’t get me! Why have I been so afraid for so long about the response?) but I’ve been aware of predominant and heavy, but not exclusive, same-sex attractions within myself since I was around 11 or 12.

So in a way I know what it’s like. But since I’m attracted to some, albeit very few, people of the opposite sex (women) I won’t claim to be in the exact same situation.

I have never had sex and do wonder if I’ll ever marry. I’m young though so it’s easy to put out of my mind now but I know any future wife I may have I cannot reasonably expect to live with without her knowing what one of my primary struggles is. So she’ll have to know. I can see a lot of young women rejecting me over that. I can’t blame them. But part of the struggle is is the ever-increasing idea that if you don’t follow your sexual passions that you are doomed to an unfulfilled life… which saddens me. The more this idea is accepted the more people have difficulty accepting or respecting my decision when I tell them. And when you’re berated with that idea, you want to believe it. You want to cave. But I believe I can, and am, fulfilled in Christ. Not sex.

That doesn’t make it easy. I’ve failed in some ways. Like when a friend of mine, a guy, earlier this semester came onto me and we started making out. I don’t want to get graphic or overly-descriptive but let’s just say we messed around (though I wouldn’t call anything we did “sex” it was “sexual” and, well, Jesus was pretty hard-lined about lust). Every time we hang out, alone, he tries to do the same thing. (“I’m cold. I’m just cuddling” –BULL CRAP. I saw guys pull that on girls in Middle school. Does he think I’m stupid?) It really damaged our friendship and when I told him I couldn’t do that anymore, the next day, he gave me a speech about my impending, unending, future happiness for denying “who I am.” I have stuck to my decision since despite numerous opportunities and temptations. Fortunately, I DO have Christian friends who support what I believe the bible clearly teaches and are, because of that, understanding and supportive of my efforts. They keep me accountable — (one friend receives emails of my internet history from a program provided by xxxchurch to make sure I’m not looking at porn, for example).

The point is you don’t need to be self-loathing to accept the “traditional” (i.e. what scripture teaches) about the purpose of marriage– one man, one woman, being reunited (one flesh) — that is the proper context of sex.

In practice, it IS difficult to accept. So many reinvent what Paul and Jesus taught. Jesus spoke against “pornea” (and of course adultery too) which include all sex outside of marriage.

When people complain about Christianity there are “The Big four” which people take issue with.

1.)The problem of evil. 2.)Sex. 3.)Money. 4.)Christian hypocrisy. So it’s no surprise this issue keeps coming up–even among those who do not experience same-sex attractions.

Scripture is a strange thing– it simultaneously has the highest view of sex imaginable and says that if you’re not married you should do without. Sex is meant to be enjoyed. But at the same time Paul says “It is better for a man to remain single.” To look into this mystery I would suggest looking at Tim Keller’s sermon “Sexuality and Christian Hope”. It’s a good resource for everyone, regardless of their situation..

Pertaining more to homosexuality, I’ve found hope and explanations in several people’s stories. Two of whom are alive today. I wish to tell you about them..

Wesley Hill is a gay Christian who believes in what scripture says about sexuality and strives to live accordingly. We all have struggles. We have have our temptations. But he doesn’t downplay anything. He doesn’t say “Oh well” and ignore it. He thinks critically (currently going after a Ph.D in theology, I think, at Oxford) and talks openly about these topics. Here are a few articles by him which may prove enlightening. He also has a book called “Washed and Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality”.

Here are a few articles by him:

A–“A Few Like You”: Will the Church be the Church for Homosexual Christians?

B–What Place Is There for Celibacy? Wesley Hill on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality

Christopher Yuan, who lived for many years as an openly-gay man before becoming a Christian, has also provided answers for me. Here is his website.. He has a book which he wrote with his mother entitled “Out of a Far Country: A Gay Son’s Journey to God. A Broken Mother’s Search for Hope.”

Finally, here is a lengthy article about sexual identity and the church:

At the Intersection of Religious and Sexual Identities: A Christian Perspective on Homosexuality

by Mark A. Yarhouse

Starting at part II on that last article really delves into the issues with Christians, who believe in the “traditional” view of sexuality, who nonetheless have same-sex attractions. Because too many churches focus on “change” (not of behavior but of attractions and feelings), there is a huge void in identity. They can’t accept gay labels because that implies they intend to engage in homosexual relationships. They don’t feel attracted to the opposite sex, so they do not qualify as straight. The author challenges Churches to be a place where people can find their identity in Christ. The goal is not “heterosexuality”– can God change our attractions? Yes, of course, he’s God, but that doesn’t mean it’s likely….– just as when we become Christians not all temptations go away (they may intensify!) our sexual passions do not go away. The goal is “Holy sexuality”. As Christopher Yuan remarks God says “Be Holy as I am Holy” not “Be heterosexual as I am heterosexual”. Holy sexuality involves either sex within marriage (with our First parents, Adam and Eve, as the example– one man and one woman completing one another) or celibacy.

Now, I’d venture to say most feel intense sexual attractions outside of marriage. That doesn’t mean we must act on them. Celibacy is a legitimate option. Maybe one day you will marry a person of the opposite sex who truly understands your situation and whom you love and loves you. I do not know.

But just as the prideful man does not lose his pride overnight, no Christian loses their desire for sex in a sinful manner. The heart is deceitful. What you feel is a legitimate longing– a longing for intimacy and love– but the problem with sin is that it seeks to fulfill a legitimate longing in an illegitimate way (with the desires flesh instead of the desire of God).

Jesus said: “Pick up your cross and follow me.” What a difficult command. Remember, Paul wrote of the “thorn in his flesh” which the LORD had chosen not to take away. Sanctification is a long, hard, process for the Christian. BUT it is NOT HOPELESS, we have a great, loving, God. He has compassion for us. The Father wants us to be what we were made to be– not what we feel, solely, but who we were chosen to be: his flock, his people, his children.

To further expand what Paul said I quote him:

> So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. >
>(2 Corinthians 12:7-10 ESV)

I pray these resources may help you and that you may find support among good Christian friends. God shares love through people. And now that I have friends supporting me, I can’t imagine going it alone. Telling my parents and best friends from Church was the biggest help for me. I told them last Summer.

EDIT: clarification and addition of a little bit about my experience.

EDIT 2: For a scholarly look at what scripture says I’d recommend “The Bible and Homosexual Practice” by Robert Gagnon. It answers many of the revisionist interpretations thoroughly.

A shorter article of his explaining his defense of the male-female requirement of marriage is found here.

EDIT 3: Formatting.

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Robert A. J. Gagnon

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Abingdon Press

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The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics

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Ok guys, what’s the deal with being a gay Christian?

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