BOOK | TWO VIEWS ON HOMOSEXUALITY, THE BIBLE AND THE CHURCH | EDITED BY PRESTON SPRINKLE
Homosexuality commonly draws out strident views. Oppositional positions seem to be the norm; dialogue is often elusive. The editor notes this is not a ‘Christian’ versus ‘non-Christian’ debate: it is a discussion within the church.
Seeking to encourage deep engagement, evangelical publisher Zondervan asked two scholars to present an ‘affirming’ case for marriage equality and two a ‘traditional’ view. Elsewhere, the editor says, the “question of homosexuality defies simple answers … I refuse to give thin answers to thick questions …” These scholars do the same.
Two of the authors were new to me. Knowing little about intersexuality, the contribution of theologian Megan DeFranza’s work in this area intrigued me.
On the opposing side, Baptist Stephen R Holmes sees no room for same-sex marriage and, with US evangelical Wesley Hill (a self-identifying gay man), perceives celibacy as the only same-sex Christian option.
The book is detailed, careful, and care-filled. The authors know their arguments affect real people. Each brings valuable perspectives and engages respectfully and thoroughly with others’ views.
Bill Loader’s contribution is built on years of research and many publications about ancient views on sexuality, particularly in the New Testament.
Whatever position readers bring, I believe this book is worth the trouble and it challenged me a lot. It needs to be read as a whole, so that all of the discussion enriches one’s response.
Rev Dr Ian Tozer is the deputy general secretary of the Uniting Church WA
Available at: www.zondervan.com RRP $16.99