Stephen Hayner’s recent seminar for about 20 InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF) students at Yale University got far more press coverage than he expected or wanted.
The IVCF president said reports on his talk—specifically on his views of homosexuality—give a misleading impression.
Various reports stated that Hayner believes God permits homosexual relationships in certain circumstances. Hayner told CHRISTIANITY TODAY that this is not an accurate portrayal of his position if “permits” is taken to mean God approves of homosexual behavior.
By “permits,” Hayner said, he meant to reflect the view that God does not abandon homosexuals, that he is patient with sinful people, regardless of the sin.
In outlining his views, Hayner noted that there are only seven verses in the entire Bible addressing homosexuality. “If we look at these verses alone, there is some room for exegetical ambiguity,” he said. However, he added that a more comprehensive biblical theology of sexuality leaves no room for ambiguity, stating, “One man and one woman is the paradigm. Anything other than that is a distortion of God’s perfect plan.”
Despite his recognition of the inherent sinfulness of homosexual behavior, in speaking with CT, Hayner referred frequently to “the homosexual tragedy.” He explained, “I call it a tragedy because I believe that most homosexuals, particularly those who have come to Christ, have no idea how they got that way and really don’t want to be that way.”
Hayner said the purpose of his talk at Yale was to “build compassion among students for people who are struggling with the tragedy of homosexuality in their lives.” This entails, he said, rejecting the view that a homosexual cannot be a true Christian.
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