The Body of Christ is going through a time of severe fracture. Schism is taking place on a scale not seen since the 16th century, and the reasons for this come into clear focus on the issue of homosexuality. The gay Christian movement and revisionist theologians and exegetes have set up an array of arguments, often mutually exclusive, in favor of homosexual practice. This book addresses these arguments on a single point: can they withstand the evidence of the primary sources?
The authors intend to articulate the orthodox view--Biblical teaching held everywhere, always, and by all--by presenting primary sources throughout Christian history and by interpreting the Biblical texts in their cultural context. The first part of the book makes available the key primary sources for understanding the Christian Church's view on homosexuality through the centuries. It opens with a chapter on the gay Christian movement and then works chapter by chapter through church history: the patristic period, the Middle Ages, and the Renaissance and Reformation periods. It then explores teaching within different Christian traditions: the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches, the Evangelical movement, and mainline Protestant Churches, including the recent revisionist readings of the last few decades. The first part of the book concludes with an excursus on the Church's various views on slavery and women, in contrast to the consensus view of the Church on homosexual practice.
The second part of the book engages the more familiar Biblical material in the debate facing Christians today. Like the first part of the book, it focuses on primary sources while also engaging the revisionist interpretations of these texts. The relevant primary sources from the Ancient Near East, Jewish, Greek, and Roman literature are quoted and discussed alongside the Biblical passages. A fresh interpretation of the Biblical material involves, among other things, the story of Sodom, Israel's unique law against any homosexual acts, the meaning of "soft men" in Greek literature, the variety of homosexual practices in antiquity (not just pederasty), the various understandings of homosexual orientation in antiquity (including Paul), and the "nature versus nurture" argument in philosophy and Paul's letter to the Romans.
The book examines the conflicting and changing arguments of revisionist readings and argues that, in light of the overwhelming evidence of the relevant texts, the real issue is not one of interpretation but of Biblical authority and Christian orthodoxy.