Hath God Said ...?

By Murken, Todd | Currents in Theology and Mission, June 2005 | Go to article overview

Hath God Said ...?


Murken, Todd, Currents in Theology and Mission


The questions about sexual acts between men, or between women, are not only contentious but complex. That is, to come to a responsible decision demands consideration not only of biblical texts and the lived experiences of our gay Christian brothers and lesbian Christian sisters but also of what authority the biblical texts have, the varying history of biblical interpretation, changes in society and its understanding (or misunderstanding) of sex, and newer understandings of the homosexual orientation--and beneath it all, what is the will of God. I offer this essay hoping it will help my sisters and brothers to sort through the many levels of argument and come to a sound conclusion.

Time for decision

I sense that the path I have walked through these issues may be like that of many others. It has not been short or direct. Initial prejudices or assumptions fell to new thoughts and possibilities. Namely, at first I was shocked at the mere suggestion that homosexuality was not simply perverse. Eventually--and I am grateful to those who speak up as, or for, gays and lesbians--I was made aware of how their orientation is primarily determined by forces beyond their control. Second, I came to see that their condition is one that no one would choose: to be very different from the vast majority of humanity in so basic a matter as sexuality. And with this rise of empathy for gays there also came to me the wish to make their situation better: to remove the condemnation, the ridicule, and the social and ecclesial prohibitions.

On the most important plane, I hoped that the biblical criticism toward homosexuality could be removed or at least modified. I was glad to learn to distinguish between homosexual people and homosexual acts. For the Bible never condemns people of homosexual orientation, only homosexual acts. Are homosexual acts condemned wholesale? What about when they are a part of an otherwise laudable relationship, like two men who love and care for each other? Perhaps the Bible intends to condemn only promiscuous homosexual acts. Maybe, in a good gay relationship, homosexual acts are the equivalent of marital coupling. Then the burden of condemning the actions of people we know and love and respect, fine church members and leaders, would be lifted from us--a longed-for relief.

But this revision was opposed by those arguing for the correctness of the tradition, even though maintaining that the tradition is awkward or even painful for us. I continued to listen to both sides, revisionists and traditionalists, and eventually I was persuaded that the latter were correct.

Order of presentation

I reckon with two considerations:

1. We must first arrive at a theological judgment: Does God prohibit or permit homosexual acts? Practical decisions about what then we must do, whether in civil legislation or church policy decisions, do not follow automatically from theological judgments (as when Moses, being a sensible legislator, allowed divorce simply because strict enforcement would have done more harm overall in society than controlled lenience). But the theological determination must be first, and this essay concerns only that.

2. I do not begin with scriptural texts, because our thinking does not in fact always begin with the Bible. We have many assumptions and values that we bring to our Bible reading. These must be reckoned with first so that we can better hear the biblical voice.

This, then is my order of presentation:

1. My understanding of how God has created sexuality to be.

2. On the authority of the Bible--what authority it has and why.

3. The Bible on slavery and the position of women.

4. Interpreting the Bible in the twenty-first century.

5. The biblical texts in question.

Sex

My understanding of the biblical teaching on sex comes from Genesis 1 and 2 and their quotation and interpretation by Jesus in Matt 19:3-9 (similar is Matt 5:32). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Hath God Said ...?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.