Bible, Gender, Sexuality: Reframing the Church's Debate on Same-Sex Relationships

Bible, Gender, Sexuality: Reframing the Church's Debate on Same-Sex Relationships

Bible, Gender, Sexuality: Reframing the Church's Debate on Same-Sex Relationships

Bible, Gender, Sexuality: Reframing the Church's Debate on Same-Sex Relationships

Synopsis

Grapples conscientiously with biblical texts at the heart of the church's debate over same-sex relationships

This thought-provoking book by James Brownson develops a broad, cross-cultural sexual ethic from Scripture, locates current debates over homosexuality in that wider context, and explores why the Bible speaks the way it does about same-sex relationships.

Fairly presenting both sides in this polarized debate -- "traditional" and "revisionist" -- Brownson conscientiously analyzes all of the pertinent biblical texts and helpfully identifies "stuck points" in the ongoing debate. In the process, he explores key concepts that inform our understanding of the biblical texts, including patriarchy, complementarity, purity and impurity, honor and shame. Central to his argument is the need to uncover the moral logic behind the text.

Written in order to serve and inform the ongoing debate in many denominations over the questions of homosexuality, Brownson's in-depth study will prove a useful resource for Christians who want to form a considered opinion on this important issue.

Excerpt

The church needs this book.

Presently the church is locked in a polarized debate about same-sex relationships that is creating painful divisions, subverting the church’s missional intent, and damaging the credibility of its witness. We’ve all heard the sound-bite arguments. For some, condoning or blessing samesex relationships betrays the clear teaching of the Bible and represents a capitulation to the self-gratifying, permissive sexual ethic of a secularized culture. For others, affirming same-sex relationships flows from the command to love our neighbor, embodies the love of Jesus, and honors the spiritual integrity and experience of gay and lesbian brothers and sisters.

The way the debate presently is framed makes productive dialogue difficult. People talk past one another. Biblical texts collide with the testimony of human experience. the stakes of the debate become elevated from a difference concerning ethical discernment to the preservation of the gospel’s integrity — for both sides. Lines get drawn in the ecclesiastical sand. Some decide that, in order to be “pure,” they must separate themselves spiritually from others and break the fellowship of Christ’s body. Then the debate devolves into public wrangling over judicial proceedings, constitutional interpretations, and property ownership.

Mirroring the dynamics of contemporary secular politics, the debate is driven by small but vocal minorities with uncompromising positions at one end or another of the spectrum. For the majority in the “middle,” who may be unclear about their own understandings, exploring their questions becomes all the more difficult because of the polarized toxicity of the debate. Furthermore, those in positions of leadership in congregations or de-

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