Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Homosexuality and the Bible

Robert Gagnon is Associate Professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and is "the leading scholarly defender of the church's historic understanding of homosexuality as revealed in the Bible."

You can access his work online at www.robgagnon.net.

I would recommend starting with this interview, which gives an overview and defense of his position.

Those who want something more in depth may want to look at a 112-page review written by Prof. Gagnon, available here.

Readers will find treatments here of every major issue in the debate, including discussion and analysis of:
  • The different hermeneutical scales or interpretive grids used by proponents and opponents of homosexual practice (pp. 19-25).
  • The difficulty in neutralizing Scripture for a pro-homosex agenda (pp. 25-30).
  • The nature argument (pp. 30-46).
  • The relevant biblical texts and the arguments used to limit their relevance for today's debate: Old Testament (pp. 46-54) and the New Testament (pp. 54-85), including Jesus (pp. 56-62) and Paul (pp. 62-85).
  • The three main "new knowledge" arguments for dismissing the biblical witness against homosexual practice: the exploitation argument (pp. 65-76), the orientation argument (pp. 77-79), and the misogyny argument (pp. 80-82).
  • Whether homosexual practice is the diet and circumcision issue of today (the Gentile inclusion analogy; pp. 86-90).
  • The alleged analogies to slavery, women's roles, divorce/ remarriage and other changes to marriage over the centuries (pp. 90-97) vs. analogies to incest, polysexuality, and pedosexuality (pp. 98-101).
  • Manipulative rhetoric in the church debates about homosexuality (pp. 103-114).
  • The science side of the debate (pp. 114-30), including the question of the moral relevance of congenital influences and claims to an unchanging orientation (pp. 116-19), the question of whether culture can affect the incidence of homosexuality (pp. 120-25), and the question of whether "gay marriage" is good for society (pp. 125-30).
Finally, for those want to explore the issue in depth, you can purchase his monograph, The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics (Nashville: Abingdon, 2001).