There are many issues regarding sexuality that face us as Christians today. Most controversial of all, however, are questions about homosexual behaviour, the blessing of same-sex ‘marriages’, and the ordination of practising homosexuals that is taking place in some denominations. This raises important questions about the Interpretation of Scripture.
In the Foreword to the volume of essays I edited, called Holiness and Sexuality, Vaughan Roberts, the Rector of St. Ebbe’s Church Oxford, writes:
The emotional heat engendered by the current controversies surrounding homosexuality and Christianity has not been conducive to serious thinking on the subject. The media has not helped either, often reporting sound bites rather than arguments. There is an urgent need for studies like this which help Christians to make a mature, robust and compassionate response to homosexuality in our culture, our churches and in many individual lives. It has all the right emphases: God, Scripture and people.
Too many approaches to this subject begin with a particular understanding of the phenomenon of homosexuality and argue from that base. But we must surely begin with God. What is the Creator’s will for sexuality? How has that perfect pattern been spoilt by human rejection of God at the Fall? How does the Holy God want his redeemed people to live since the coming of Christ our Saviour? For the answers to all these questions, we must turn to God’s word in the Scriptures. As we do so, we should not simply look for proof texts, but rather be prepared to do the hard work of responsible exegesis, taking into account the unfolding nature of God’s revelation, as modelled by the contributors to this volume.
But, even then, our work is still not done. Good theology will not start with human experience, but it will certainly listen to it and speak into it. Homosexuality is not simply an ‘issue’; it concerns people, created and loved by God. We should do all we can to understand, not just the Bible, but one another, so that we can lovingly reach out to those who do not know Christ, and support our fellow believers in the hard and joyful life of discipleship.
Professor D. A. Carson, Research Professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Illinois, writes:
This remarkable book offers much more than a merely traditional response to homosexuality. Although it engages in some detailed exegesis, it relates the contemporary discussion to much broader themes of the holiness of God and the nature and character of sin. No less important is the book’s honesty. Disagree if you must, but a reader would have to be remarkably myopic not to see the power and integrity of the presentation.