Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Responding to the Same-Sex Marriage Issue - 2 - An Invitation to Study With Me

How do I respond to someone who asks me if I think we should legalize same-sex marriage? It depends on who they are.

If they are a Jesus-follower, I respond one way; if they are not a Jesus-follower, esp. if they say they are non-religious, I respond in a different way. I don't expect a non-religious person to consider biblical texts, just as I don't spend my time reasoning out the things of life within whatever worldview they adhere to.

If someone says they are a Christian, then I reason as follows.

1. We are obligated to follow God's will.
2. God's will is given to us in the Bible.
3. The Bible forbids homosexual behavior.
4. Therefore, homosexual behavior is gainst God's will, or is wrong.

On P1 (Premise 1): I find that virutally all Jesus-followers believe this is true.

On P2 - again, Jesus-followers have little problem with this. There may be discussion on the nature of biblical authority. That is another, and important, discussion.

Re. P3 - this is where the intra-Christian discussion lies. The best book available on this intra-dialogue is: Homsexuality: Two View, by Dan Via and Robert Gagnon.

Perhaps the best schoalrly book on the matter is Robert Gagnon's The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics.  

I just picked up Gagnon's book and have begun to read it.I invite you to join me.

If you'd like to join me in reading Gagnon's book:

1. Send me an e-mail - let me know you're joining my book study.
2. Purchase the book.
3. Read.
4. Begin to communciate, as you feel led, thoughts and ideas that come as a result of reading.
5. We'll have at least one teleconference call about the book - probably sometime in September.

Here are some reviews of Gagnon's book:

"...In its learnedness, [Gagnon's] book in the vanguard of its position and cannot be ignored...." -- Martti Nissinen, University of Helsinki, and author of Homoeroticism in the Biblical World (From the Jacket Flap)

"...the fullest and best presentation of the conservative position....expressing the case same-sex intercourse sympathetically and convincingly." -- I. Howard Marshall, Professor of New Testament, Emeritus, University of Aberdeen, Scotland (Blurb Inside Book)

"...the most thorough examination of the scriptural and theological...perspectives on same-sex relations....a tour de force." -- Marion L. Soards, Professor of New Testament, Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary (From Jacket Flap)

"Gagnon has offered a learned, judicious, and comprehensive examination of the biblical testimony....fair and compassionate...a major resource...." -- Brevard S. Childs, Sterling Professor of Divinity (Hebrew Bible), Emeritus, Yale Divinity School (From Inside Book)

"Gagnon's book is an extremely valuable contribution to the current debate....I recommend this book wholeheartedly." -- C. E. B. Cranfield, Professor of Theology (New Testament), Emeritus, University of Durham (From Inside Book)

"Gagnon's incisive logic, prudent judgment, and exhaustive research should make this book a dominant voice in the contemporary debate." -- Jerome Murphy-O'Connor, O.P., Professor of New Testament, Ecole Biblique, Jerusalem (From the Back Cover)

"I believe that this volume will become a classic in the ongoing discussion of the church's...response to homosexuality." -- Duane F. Watson, Professor of New Testament, Malone College (From Inside Book)

"I know of no comparable study of the texts and interpretive debates that surround homosexual behavior." -- Max L. Stackhouse, Stephen Colwell Professor of Christian Ethics, Princeton Theological Seminary (From the Jacket Flap)

"No Christian concerned with homosexuality can afford to ignore this book." -- John Barton, Oriel and Laing Professor of the Interpretation of Holy Scripture, University of Oxford (From the Back Cover)

"This is a brilliant, original, and highly important work,...indispensable even for those who disagree with the author." -- James Barr, Distinguished Professor of Hebrew Bible, Emeritus, Vanderbilt University (From the Back Cover) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.