Bible, Gender, Sexuality: Reframing the Church’s Debate on Same-Sex Relationships by James V. Brownson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
If you hold to the traditional, historic Christian position on same-sex relationship (like myself), this is a fantastic book to read in order to engage with the best of the revisionist position. It is well written, structured, and formatted. And his position, although one with which I disagree, is one with which to wrestle. In other words, this is not a “pop” apologetic of the revisionist position. This is a rather scholarly defense. (Don’t read this if you merely want to be able to “straw man” the revisionist view.) I find its position unconvincing and unacceptable; but this position that I hold to be dangerously wrong is nonetheless well presented and argued here. It serves as a fantastic representation of the revisionist position. And it would greatly serve as a catalyst for strengthening and forming a well thought out traditional position on marriage and sexuality. With that said, even though I disagreed with Brownson’s final proposals, I nonetheless learned from him and agreed with much he had to say leading up to those conclusions.
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Join us at Rolfing Memorial Library (the library of Trinity International University) for this upcoming Table Talk event on contemporary sexualities with Dr. James Gruenewald.
SBTS has made Al Mohler’s response to Matthew Vine’s book, God and the Gay Christian: A Response to Matthew Vines, available for free. Get it here.
Christians and homosexuality is a hotly debated topic in today’s evangelical world, and Southern Seminary continues that conversation in this publication. Matthew Vines’s new book, God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships, argues that homosexual orientation and committed same-sex relationships are consistent with a “high view” of the Bible and evangelical Christianity. Southern Seminary president R. Albert Mohler Jr. and four other seminary faculty members refute this claim in the new SBTS Press e-book, God and the Gay Christian? A Response to Matthew Vines.
Each chapter refutes Vines’s claims from six specific Scriptural references to homosexuality. Mohler’s chapter provides an overview critique of Vines’s book. James M. Hamilton Jr., professor of biblical theology, addresses the Old Testament claims; Denny Burk, professor of biblical studies, addresses New Testament claims; Owen Strachan, assistant professor of Christian theology looks at the church history assertions; and Heath Lambert, assistant professor of biblical counseling, answers whether there is such a thing as a “gay Christian.”
As contemporary Christian continues its debate over homosexuality and (so-called) same sex marriage, my mind keeps drifting back to one of my favorite books of all time, Christianity and Liberalism (originally published in 1923) by J. Gresham Machen, one of my favorite authors of all time. (See my review of this book here.) This ‘Christian’ position in support of same-sex marriage as Christian is merely one manifestation of an ever present liberalism to which Machen’s words are as relevant as the day he originally wrote them.
If you haven’t yet read this book, please do yourself a favor and do so immediately. But in the meantime, allow me to share with you some snippets that I think exemplify this current relevance.
On standing for and proclaiming the truth.
The type of religion which … shrinks from “controversial” matters, will never stand amid the shocks of life. In the sphere of religion, as in other spheres, the things which men are agreed are apt to be the things that are least worth holding; the really important things are the things about which men will fight. (1-2)
The things that are sometimes thought to be hardest to defend are also the things that are most worth defending. (8)
Vote Against “Gay Marriage”
In America, we have the amazing privilege of actually being a small portion of our government. But with this privilege comes the question of what we will do with the political movement that seeks to make homosexual marriage legal. Most conservative Christians would probably impulsively respond to this question by voting against laws to pass “gay marriage.” But let’s think through this, considering it is no light matter.
If homosexuality isn’t primarily a political issue but a spiritual one (see next point below), why should we be concerned with homosexuality on a political level at all? Isn’t it irrelevant whether homosexual marriage passes? If homosexuals already have the political right to practice homosexuality and live together with their homosexual partner, why should we disallow them from being seen as married in the government’s eyes? Are the said “government’s eyes” that important to us? There are several Christian moral standards that are not regulated by law for which Christians are not trying to push legislation (i.e., sex outside of marriage, lust, greed, using the Lord’s name as a curse word, homosexual practice, etc.) Is it the Christian’s duty to try to impose Christian ethics on others through the political realm? And if so, how do we determine which of our views we should seek to put into law as legal requirements? All of these questions are extremely good reasons not to immediately assume that we should vote against “gay marriage.”