Homosexuality And The Church

This survey of several books on homosexuality is by Robert K. Johnston, associate professor of religion, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, Kentucky.

The flood of books and articles on homosexuality is unstanched. Here are evaluations of several titles that were issued last year by major religious publishers. Previously reviewed in these pages were Williams, The Bond that Breaks (Regal), and Scanzoni and Mollenkott, Is the Homosexual My Neighbor? (Harper & Row), in the May 5, 1978, issue and Barnhouse, Homosexuality: A Symbolic Confusion (Seabury), and Philpott, The Gay Theology (Logos), in the November 3, 1978, issue. Williams’s is the best source currently available for the Christian who wants a solidly evangelical and biblical exposition on the topic, but little concrete help for counseling is provided. Scanzoni-Mollenkott rightly argue that Christians need greater understanding of and compassion toward homosexuals, but their biblical “solutions” seem strained.

A book by Jerry Kirk, The Homosexual Crisis in the Mainline Church (Nelson, 192 pp., $3.95 pb), will be of real service and is on an elementary level. Kirk is a pastor experienced in counseling homosexuals, and he writes about them and their homosexuality (the distinction is important) in a style that is both biblical and compassionate. Kirk’s particular focus is the issue of ordaining homosexuals in the United Presbyterian Church, but he broadens his discussion beyond that question as it relates to his denomination.

Kirk rightly understands the ultimate issue at stake in this discussion is one’s faithfulness to God’s authoritative, revealed will. He also understands that Christians can only discover this by a careful reading of ...

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