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

By David L. Balch | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 3
The Use, Misuse, and Abuse of Science in the
Ecclesiastical Homosexuality Debates 1.

STANTON L. JONES AND MARK A. YARHOUSE

The Christian church has historically looked upon homosexual acts as intrinsically immoral. 2. The relational context, intentions behind, or consequences of these acts have not affected the fundamental moral evaluation — for instance, if those acts occurred in a loving, monogamous relationship or in an impersonal or promiscuous context. Such acts were deemed immoral by their very nature.

The American Christian church today, especially the mainline denominations, finds itself embroiled in a heated debate surrounding the morality of homosexuality and homosexual behavior. In the heat of this debate, both traditionalists and proponents for change from the historic or traditional position of the church are turning to the behavioral sciences in the hope that findings from this source will shape the discussion or inform our moral reasonings.

____________________
1.
The middle section of this chapter appears, in somewhat expanded form, as S. Jones and M. Yarhouse, "Science and the Ecclesiastical Homosexuality Debates," Christian Scholar's Review 26 ( 1997): 446-77. Readers desiring full citations of all important studies should refer to that document.
2.
W. S. Stafford, "Sexual Norms in the Medieval Church," and J. W. Trigg, "Human Sexuality and the Fathers of the Church," both in A Wholesome Example: Sexual Morality and the Episcopal Church, ed. R. W. Prichard ( Alexandria, Va.: Charter Printing, 1992); General Synod of the Church of England, Issues in Human Sexuality: A Statement by the House of Bishops of the General Synod of the Church of England ( Harrisburg, Pa.: Morehouse, 1991).

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