What Wolfhart Pannenberg says about this debate in the church.

When mainline denominations debate whether to ordain practicing homosexuals or to sanction same-sex marriages, one wonders: Where are the persons of Christian stature and theological wisdom who will stand up for the biblical truth about human sexuality? In Germany there is such a person: Wolfhart Pannenberg, eminent professor of theology at the University of Munich. While evangelicals would question aspects of Pannenberg's theology, his critique of liberation theology and his defense of the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus Christ have been widely influential. In this essay he takes his stand on the issue of homosexual behavior. Perhaps his voice will give courage to others to speak the truth about love—in love.

Can love ever be sinful? The entire tradition of Christian doctrine teaches that there is such a thing as inverted, perverted love. Human beings are created for love, as creatures of the God who is Love. And yet that divine appointment is corrupted whenever people turn away from God or love other things more than God.

Jesus said, "Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me" (Matt. 10:37, NRSV). Love for God must take precedence over love for our parents, even though love for parents is commanded by the fourth commandment.

The will of God—Jesus' proclamation of God's lordship over our lives—must be the guiding star of our identity and self-determination. What this means for sexual behavior can be seen in Jesus' teaching about divorce. In order to answer the Pharisees' question about the admissibility of divorce, Jesus refers to the creation of human beings. Here he sees God ...

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November 11, 1996

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