Homosexuality Gone Mainstream

Dr. Vic Reasoner

THE ARMINIAN MAGAZINE. Issue 35. Spring 2017. Volume 35. Posted May, 21, 2017  

The largest and most in-depth biblical study of homosexuality from a conservative position, is The Bible and Homosexual Practice (Abingdon, 2001 by Robert Gagnon, 522 pages). He pointed out that both idolatry and homosexuality are denials of natural revelation. In their vertical relationship with God, Gentiles ignore the truth about God and pursue idolatry, which is an absurd course of action. In their horizontal relationship with each other, Gentiles ignore the truth about the complementary nature of male and female and pursue the absurd course of action of having sexual intercourse with members of the same gender.

More recently, Rosaria Champagne Butterfield wrote The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert (Crown & Covenant, 2012). She was a tenured professor at Syracuse University and her specialty was Queer Theory. She describes her conversation from her identity as a lesbian to one who lives for Christ and Christ alone as a train wreck. The local Methodist pastor told her that since God made her a lesbian that he did not require her to surrender that lifestyle to become a Christian. But as an English major, she had read the Bible enough to know that "there are no such marks of postmodern 'both/and' in the Bible." Today she is healed and she says her life is the proof. "Today, I don't recognize myself in the pictures from my life as a lesbian." She is married to the pastor of a Reformed Presbyterian Church.

She said that since all major US universities had Christian roots, too many Christians thought they could rest in Christian tradition, not Christian relevance. Today feminism has a better reputation on all these university campuses than does Christianity and the church does not know how to dialogue with the university culture. Our biggest barrier to this culture is our religious pride and what the author calls "club Christianity."

Yet this powerful transformation is ultimately overshadowed by her apology for the Reformed Presbyterian Church and their "Regulative Principle of Worship"doctrine which sets them apart as singing a capella and only the psalms - not any man-made hymns. The first chapter, twenty-nine pages long, is still worth the price of the book.

Two Views on Homosexuality, the Bible, and the Church (Zondervan, 2016). The editor admits that such a volume would not have been possible "ten or even five years ago. Until recently, there was only one view of homosexuality within evangelicalism." The editor then introduces the four scholars all of whom "maintain a high view of Scripture." Yet two affirm homosexuality and one of the two who hold to the "traditional" view identifies himself as a "gay Christian." How about that for balance?

William Loader is widely regarded as the foremost scholar on sexuality in ancient Judaism and Christianity. His editor introduces him as maintaining a "high view of Scripture" and his writings are published by "evangelical" publishers. Loader fervently believes that we must take the Bible seriously and that the Bible prohibits all forms of same-sex relations. But argues for an affirming view of same-sex relations on the basis of advancements in biology, anthropology, sociology, and other fields related to sexuality and gender. Therefore, he affirms the sanctity of faithful, monogamous, same-sex relations in spite of what Scripture teaches.

In 1999 Kenneth Grider presented a paper at the Wesleyan Theological Society meeting entitled, "Wesleyans and Homosexuality." In A Wesleyan-Holiness Theology (1994) he wrote,

Even homosexuality, as a tendency, will not always be extirpated when we are converted or when we are sanctified wholly.... It cannot be a characteristic of carnality, else all persons would experience it. When carnality is extirpated, therefore, homosexuality as a tendency might or might not be corrected.

At the Wesleyan Theological Society meeting at Asbury Theological Seminary over March 3-4, 2017, Keegan Osinski presented, "Queering Wesley, Queering the Church: Toward an Ecclesial Circumcision of the Heart." She presented a queer feminist reading of Wesley's sermon, "The Circumcision of the Heart" from the perspective of the LGBG+ community. She concluded,

If Kierkegaard identified holiness as purity of the heart, that is to will one thing, we might say that Wesley identifies holiness as circumcision of the heart, to will queer things. Inasmuch as circumcision of the heart is queer, holiness is queer, and we can read Wesley's understanding of holiness as urging us toward a love as expansive as God's in Christ.

Sadly, we are living in a time when uncleanness is advocated as holiness and sanctification is unrelated to sexual orientation.

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