Homosexuality and Christian Faith: Questions of Conscience for the Churches
Vetter, Benjamin, Journal of Church and State
Homosexuality and Christian Faith: Questions of Conscience for the Churches. Edited by Walter Wink. Minneapolis, Minn.: Fortress Press, 1999. 133 pp. n.p.
Walter Wink, professor of biblical interpretation at Auburn Theological Seminary in New York, gets points for diversity in his collection of essays. Among the authors are prominent theologian William Sloane Coffin, a Lutheran bishop, Episcopalian theologians Morton Kelsey and Barbara Kelsey, Peggy Campolo, wife of evangelist Tony Campolo, and Father Richard Rohr, a Franciscan serving in the New Mexico Province. Unfortunately, the diversity of authors does not reflect a diversity of thought. The obvious assumption, often stated and sometimes not, in every essay is that homosexuality is a natural condition and is neither immoral nor ungodly on its face. While there is not unanimous agreement within the book whether it is the result of genetics, at a minimum the authors argue for moral approval of homosexuality. For the reader who disagrees with that assumption (or fact, as the authors believe), the book quickly becomes a tired repetition of old arguments that will neither go away nor suffer to be refuted. For those who agree, the book affirms their beliefs and encourages them to continue fighting the good fight.
Wink divides the essays into six broad categories covering everything from accepting gay Christians into the church to the proper understanding of scriptural proscriptions of homosexuality. While Wink and his fellow essayists might hope to build some consensus regarding their arguments on the former, the essays on the latter, Wink's in particular, merely highlight intractable disagreements within the Christian community. …