Homosexuality, Science, and the 'Plain Sense' of Scripture

By David L. Balch | Go to book overview

Introduction

DAVID L. BALCH

This book arises out of current discussions in our churches concerning the interpretation of the Bible in relation to the morality of homosexual acts and relationships. At a meeting in Washington, D.C., in 1993 of persons who are both ordained pastors and professors, we had a vigorous discussion of a proposed social statement of human sexuality by a church body. I emphasize that this debate arose among persons concerned for the church, not primarily in the academy. The group asked Karl Donfried and me to help generate more discussion. The Louisville Institute first gave a planning grant, then a conference grant that supported further, balanced debate. In the proposal to the Louisville Institute and at the conference, I arranged the discussions so that persons who represent both poles of the discussion presented their interpretations of evangelical and mainline church understandings of science, Old and New Testaments, and theology. I am grateful to the Louisville Institute and Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company for making these discussions and their publication possible, but neither institution is responsible for any of the particular writers' opinions.

1. Mark Toulouse, a Disciples of Christ minister, surveys the current state of the discussion among both evangelicals and mainstream churches. There has been change over the past forty years in both these groups' discussion of sexuality, as reflected in their widely read church journals. He concludes that language of "culture wars" is inappropriate to describe our present conflicts over sexuality, but that the majority of Christians leaning left and those leaning right can be described as belonging to a "muddled middle." Several recent denominational social statements belong to this muddled middle.

-1-

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