Perspectives on Homosexuality: A Review Article -- By: Guenther Haas

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 45:3 (Sep 2002)
Article: Perspectives on Homosexuality: A Review Article
Author: Guenther Haas

Perspectives on Homosexuality:
A Review Article

Guenther Haas*

* Guenther Haas is associate professor of religion and theology at Redeemer University College, 777 Garner Road East, Ancaster, ON L9K 1J4.

Although much has been published—in journals and books—on the Christian approach to homosexuality, the steady stream of publications continues. This article reviews six recent books that deal with the topic.1 The content of these books reflects the diversity of opinion in the church today about the biblical teaching on homosexuality and about what the attitude of the church should be toward homosexual orientation and practice. In my view, some are better at dealing with the topic than others. I will begin with those that I find least helpful and conclude with those that are most helpful.

All book reviews reflect the views of the reviewer, and it is no exception with this review. My own views are evangelical—I accept the Bible as the verbal revelation of God, authoritative for Christian belief and practice, and I accept the biblical teaching as universal and constant, while recognizing that it must be embodied and applied in different contexts. Even as I evaluate the authors’ views in light of my assumptions, I will also strive to present fairly the opinions and arguments of the contributors to these books. The first three books that I review are all collections of articles by various authors, predominantly with a revisionist perspective on homosexuality; the last three are works by evangelical authors in which they defend the traditional perspective on the issue. I begin by examining the works containing various contributors.

The Loyal Opposition: Struggling With the Church on Homosexuality, edited by Sample and DeLong, contains articles written by members of the United Methodist Church (UMC) who disagree with the decision of the General Conference of the UMC in 1996 concerning homosexual practice and unions. The 1996 decision added the following directives to the UMC Book of Discipline: that homosexual unions shall not be conducted by UMC ministers, nor shall they be conducted in UMC churches; that homosexual practice is incompatible with Christian teaching; that self-avowed homosexuals

cannot be accepted as candidates, ordained ministers, or appointed to serve the UMC; and that no board, committee, commission, or council shall give UMC funds to promote the acceptance of homosexuality. Along with these directives, the General Conference affirmed that God’s grace is available to all, including practicing homosexuals, that the church is committed to supporting rights and liberties for hom...

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