In the previous post regarding the Church of Scotland and the appointment of a practicing homosexual to a particular ministerial post, someone left a comment stating that this is a healthy move for the Church of Scotland, and American Christians should follow their lead, referencing this article by Walter Wink: “Homosexuality and the Bible.” In this article, Wink provides several arguments as to why the church should not condemn homosexuality, but at the heart of his article and argument is this statement: “The crux of the matter, it seems to me, is simply that the Bible has no sexual ethic.” Indeed…that is a crucial matter on several levels (not to mention an significance difference of opinion on the nature of Biblical revelation).
I do hope Christians can have open and civil discussions, even about this controversial matter, but it is important to realize that Wink’s arguments will not persuade Christians who oppose the practice of homosexuality and have thought through the textual, biblical, and historical issues. It is not as if Christian’s haven’t dealt with Wink’s arguments both throughout church history and in our more recent cultural situation. Robert Gagnon’s The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics is one of those books that helps Christians get the right perspective on this issue. It is the most comprehensive book-length response to the interpretive assumptions that go into this type of discussion.
I would also encourage you to check out Robert Gagnon’s website. Gagnon is Associate Professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, and his credentials are superb: a B.A. from Dartmouth College, an M.T.S. from Harvard Divinity School, and a Ph.D. from Princeton Theological Seminary. He is also an ordained elder in a Presbyterian Church (USA) in Pittsburgh. His website is a comprehensive response to the homosexual movement within the church, which he faces in the PCUSA. You can view some of his specific responses to particular articles and reviews here. This includes a response to Walter Wink’s arguments from Christian Century. Scroll to the bottom of the page and you will see links to the pdfs. If you prefer to hear Gagnon, Issues, Etc., has a two part interview with him (Part 1 & Part 2).