Evangelicals, Homosexuality, And Social Science -- By: James R. Beck

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 40:1 (Mar 1997)
Article: Evangelicals, Homosexuality, And Social Science
Author: James R. Beck

Evangelicals, Homosexuality, And Social Science

James R. Beck*

On the otherwise bleak landscape of America’s decaying urban neighborhoods shines one bright spot: neighborhoods stabilized and improved by an influx of affluent gays. “Predominantly gay neighborhoods have arisen in a dozen major cities over the last two decades, at once bolstering those cities’ sagging tax bases, pumping thousands of dollars into the economy and sometimes making tired neighborhoods safer and more attractive to heterosexuals.” 1 Where is this happening? In New York’s Greenwich Village, in the Castro district of San Francisco, in the Cheesman Park area of Denver.

Cheesman Park is the previous home of Conservative Baptist Theological Seminary. We moved out before they moved in. 2 We have become suburban; they have become urban. They know we exist; we know they exist. We politely pass each other as the decades change the demography of our city. But our contact with that community or with this issue has been minimal. Such has been the experience of our school with Denver’s homosexual community, at least to date, and such may be the experience of many other evangelical seminaries across the nation.

Our insulation from dealing with the homosexual issue may be short-lived. Consider the experience of former seminary adjunct instructor Douglas D. Webster. Soon after he arrived at his new pastorate at the First Presbyterian Church of San Diego he was embroiled in a very public squabble centered around the church’s gay organist, who was a fine musician and Bible teacher. The church passed a policy that prompted the organist’s resignation. The ensuing media coverage in the San Diego Union newspaper consumed every ounce of Webster’s energy for several weeks. Of his encounter with the homosexual issue he says, “It may become the ecclesiastical issue of the nineties.” 3

To help make sure just such an eventuality occurs, Mel White has lobbed into the evangelical court quite a challenge. 4 One gets the impression that

* James Beck is professor of counseling at Conservative Baptist Theological Seminary, P.O. Box 10,000, Denver, CO 80250.

the evangelical world and especially the famous authors for whom he ghosted are the primary targets of his book. 5 Many evangelicals who read it will not be very impressed, although many will recognize that White has a standard, 1950s-style fundamentalist/evangel...

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