Homosexuality and the church -- post 1

Dan Kimball includes a thought-provoking chapter on the church and homosexuality in his book, They Like Jesus but Not the Church. He correctly underscores the importance of dealing with this issue openly by observing that "homosexuality is increasingly becoming a normal part of our emerging culture" (136). Whereas Kimball has settled on the position that homosexual practice is a sin, he challenges the church to a much more open and respectful dialogue about the issue.

In the next four posts, I will mention some points from Kimball's chapter that caught my eye and add some brief comments.

Point #1 -- What Scripture really teaches.

-- From Kimball: There are fairly sophisticated arguments that Scripture only condemns homosexual promiscuity, not homosexual practice in general. These arguments are increasingly well known and used by Christians of the emerging culture, regardless of sexual orientation. Church leaders who want to promote an open and respectful dialogue must deal with these arguments thoughtfully rather than brush them aside.

-- My comment: I agree with Kimball that arguments that the Bible does not condemn homosexual practice can be sophisticated, and that we ministers need to take them seriously. However, like Kimball, I am not convinced by those arguments. They stretch the writings of Scripture too far to accommodate a specific interpretation. I am well acquainted with the human tendency to read our desires into Scripture. As much as part of me would prefer not to have to take a strong stand against homosexuality and potentially alienate people, my best reading of Scripture is that no, God does not condone homosexual practice.

Our best response to this challenge or any other is to humbly listen to opposing arguments, do our best to understand them, and then think critically about their merits -- and do all this in a community of mutual respect and love. How we go about drawing conclusions is at least as important as the conclusions we draw.

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