Does Belief in Women’s Equality Lead to an Acceptance of Homosexual Practice? -- By: Catherine Clark Kroeger

Journal: Priscilla Papers
Volume: PP 18:2 (Spring 2004)
Article: Does Belief in Women’s Equality Lead to an Acceptance of Homosexual Practice?
Author: Catherine Clark Kroeger

Does Belief in Women’s Equality
Lead to an Acceptance of Homosexual Practice?

Catherine Clark Kroeger

Catherine Clark Kroeger is adjunct associate professor of classical and ministry studies at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and coauthor of No Place for Abuse: Bblical and Practical Resources for addresssing Domestic Violince, and she is coeditor of the IVP Women’s Commentary. She was CBE’s founding organizer and president emerita.

Editor’s note: all passages of scripture are quoted from the New English Bible unless otherwise noted.

This oil painting by Louise de Hem titled “Return of a Procession in Flanders” is on display in the Museo Stedelijk, in Ypres, Belgium. The image—published in the book Great Women Masters of Art, ed. Jordi Vigue, (New York: Watson-Guptil, 2002)—is used with the permission of Gorg Blanc.

As Katharine Bushnell pointed out nearly a century ago, there are some hundred passages in the Bible that bespeak God’s direction, affirmation, and blessing upon the ministry and leadership of women. There is also profound sympathy for those conditions that leave women most vulnerable: widowhood, childlessness, pregnancy, famine, and atrocities in times of war. It is the very breadth of these supportive passages that started many of us on the journey to understand the limited number of scriptural selections that appear restrictive of women and their ministry.

Respected theologian Cornelius Van Til once taught me that if one finds apparent contradictions in scripture, then it is important to study far more deeply, to ask the hard questions, to examine both text and context with the confidence that God’s word can stand the test. I became convinced that the Bible provides a consistent, though multi-faceted, unity built of many disparate parts. There is harmonization that may not at first be evident, and it is the Christian’s duty to seek it out.

It was necessary to weigh Bushnell’s hundred-odd passages of affirmation with the putatively negative texts that could be counted on the fingers of one hand. I do not think that Dr. Van Til would necessarily approve of the direction in which my quest took me, but he was one of the important influences in my growing conviction that the scriptures are essentially life giving and life saving, empowering and supportive of women.

I have been asked to explain why the conviction that the Bible affirms the equality of men and women does not logically lead to an endorsement of homosexual practice. My first response is that although the Bible contains a handful of references to same-sex eroticism, nowhere is there given any sign of appr...

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