Homosexuality and the Modern Church

In modern cultures like America, every Christian is faced with the problem of homosexuality. Churches are pulled into the tension, too, because “there is no demilitarized zone in the homosexual debate.”

Shrugging isn’t an option. The implications are all around us, in schools, in politics, in denominational tensions, and — maybe most importantly — in determining how the Church lives out her faithful witness to a culture in desperate need of Christ.

With the marriage amendment on the Minnesota ballot, and with a growing list of personal questions in my Moleskine notebook, I contacted Dr. Robert Gagnon, a professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and a man who has for many years bravely addressed homosexuality from a biblical and theological perspective.

In 2002 he published the 500-page book The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics. A decade later his work remains the most thoroughly exegetical and hermeneutical book on homosexuality and the Bible (John Piper).

I put Dr. Gagnon on the line, peppered him with a dozen questions, and he kindly responded to each of them. The result is what I now get to share with you as episodes three and four in the Authors on the Line podcast series (iTunes).

What follows are links to each podcasts and a list of the questions we cover:

The Church in a Homosexual Culture: An Interview with Robert Gagnon (32 minutes)

  • What are the biblical and the structural prerequisites for a sexual union that magnifies God and honors his created design?
  • From that, what constitutes sinful sexual practices?
  • Does the Bible say anything about gender reassignment surgery?
  • Is homosexuality a modern phenomenon? Just how pervasive was homosexuality in the Greco-Roman world of the Apostle Paul?
  • By voting yes to the Minnesota Marriage Amendment, are Christians oppressing the freedoms of the gay and lesbian community? Why or why not?
  • What advice do you have for churches seeking to preach against the sin of homosexuality, and make sure the church doors are wide open and welcoming to all those in the homosexual community?

Same-Sex Temptations in the Church: An Interview with Robert Gagnon (30 minutes)

  • What role does the Church play in demythologizing sexuality in modern culture?
  • In the life of a professing Christian, what makes homosexual practice “an act of unbelief”?
  • Should we be okay with a professing believer who self-identifies as “a celibate gay Christian”?
  • What advice do you have for Christian parents who are fearful that their children will experience same-sex attraction in the teen years?
  • What are churches doing well in engaging those who struggle with same-sex attraction? What are churches doing poorly?
  • What guiding principles will help us to love and reach out to our homosexual neighbors?

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