What About The Homosexual?

Christians who see homosexuality as a value-neutral sexual preference start with a fundamental presupposition. It is well stated by John J. McNeill: “Only a sadistic God would create hundreds of thousands of humans to be inherently homosexual and then deny them the right to sexual intimacy.”

That sentiment, of course, counters the Bible’s unremitting assumption that homosexual acts are wrong. Despite considerable trying, those who advocate a positive attitude toward homosexuality have had little success in convincingly reinterpreting the Bible’s attitude.

Thus, questions about whether homosexual behavior should be condemned turn not on scriptural positions, which are uniformly negative, but on whether this narrow scriptural view should shape our attitudes. As James Nelson writes, “Our ancestors-in-faith did not know what we now know about homosexuality as a psychosexual orientation, nor can we blame them for being persons of their own historical time.” Should we not consider homosexuality within a larger scriptural concern—the call to love, or the concern for welcoming strangers, for instance?

The key challenge to the traditional biblical view is the question of will. The modern assumption is that a person is only culpable for something he chooses. Since many homosexuals say they did not choose homosexuality, how can it be sinful for them?

Historian John Boswell’s interpretation of Paul raises this question, and his argument has been much repeated by evangelical scholars. Boswell tried to show that Paul’s judgment against homosexual behavior in Romans 1 has nothing to do with “constitutional homosexuals” (those who did not choose to be ...

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