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A Biblical Argument for the Acceptance of Homosexuality
by the Christian Church
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My argument: Debates in the church about homosexuality are seldom constructive and often repetitive; thus, a new approach is necessary. These debates have not been deeply grounded in the Bible and a religious organization making a religious decision should base their decision in their sacred texts. To decide what the Bible requires of us, we have to agree on how to read the Bible. Popular assumptions about how to read the Bible do not square with the contents of the Bible itself.

The argument has to start with the question of how we read the Bible.  An examination of the hermeneutical issues debated during the Protestant Reformation gives us a more solid foundation for reading the Bible. Deciding about homosexuality is, in effect, deciding about sin. Assessing how the Bible defines sin shows us that we should look for behavior that show a love of God and neighbor and understand that limits on our passions are needed to stop abuse of the neighbor. With this definition, and examining the lives of homosexuals, we can see that homosexuality, in and of itself, does not meet the Bible's definition of sin.  Therefore, in order to be consistent with the unchanging gospel, we should reverse our position on homosexuality.

Entire essay in PDF format (340Kb)


Table of Contents


Introduction
  A. The current debate on homosexuality is not working
  B. A new argument - in one page
  C. To the reader: an invitation and a challenge
  D. Acknowledgments

2. The need for an authoritative biblical justification
  A. The need for a justification
  B. The need for a biblical justification
  C. the need for an authoritative biblical justification

3. Why non-biblical arguments for accepting homosexuality fail
  A. Introduction
  B. Examples of false justifications
  C. Conclusions

4. Why biblical arguments for rejecting homosexuality fail - literal meanings
  A. Introduction
  B. Selective application of inerrantist views
  C. The literal meaning of the proof-texts
  D. The Bible itself rejects a simple inerrant way of reading the Bible
  E. Conclusion

5. Why biblical arguments for rejecting homosexuality fail - thematic meanings
  A. Introduction
  B. Arguments by analogy
  C. Application of a Lutheran hermeneutic of "Law and Gospel"

6. How should the Bible be used?
  A. Introduction
  B. What the Reformation reformed
  C. What the Reformation affirmed
  D. What the radical Reformation added: Reason and the Spirit
  E. Guidelines for interpretation
  F. Are Reformation hermeneutics normative?

7. What is sin?
  A. Introduction
  B. What does the Bible say about sin, the law, and correct behavior?
  C. What do these texts tell us about sin?
  D. Passion, sexuality and sin
  E. The nature of the Bible's teaching on sin

8. Homosexuality is not inherently a sin
  A. The picture of an obedient Christian
  B. Changing our minds
  C. Homosexuals: the new Gentile Christians
  D. What about the homosexual proof texts?
  E. Homosexuality is not inherently a sin

9. The church's proclamation to its members

10. The church's proclamation to the world

Bibliography

Reaction

he's kind of a freelancer, but his religion-from-an-engineering perspective is one that i enjoy and appreciate. -- Brian Adams (no, not the musician)

While I appreciate the Nordin article for its intent, I have a problem with its message: it makes the Bible sound as if it is a serious, scholarly book, and not the hodgepodge of silly, self-contradictory anachronisms that it is.- A Nony Mouse (blog comment)

I thought we were here to discuss homosexuality - you're spending too much time on the Bible! - Angry parishioner

Last updated 2/5/13; posted 6/5/02; original content © 2013, 2002 John P. Nordin