Thursday, October 15, 2015

A Human Sexuality Reading List

There has been so much written on this subject but there is no avoiding that this debate will probably absorb many of the the newly elected good folk of General Synod over the next five years post-Pilling. Of course, instead of this we should really be attending to the development of a strategy for mission, evangelism and church planting to salvage what remains of the C of E while we still have time. According to one Bishop we have six years left to save a sinking ship but there is also some hope of regeneration.

Here are a few books among the huge number of resources that have and are helping me form my understanding of some of the issues. I take a traditional view, in keeping with the current stance of the C of E on human sexuality which is:

The Church of England’s teaching position on same-sex sexual activity has been set out in a series of reports and motions. The 1991 report Issues in Human Sexuality endorsed the traditional Christian belief that the teaching of the Bible is that heterosexual marriage is the proper context for sexual activity between two people. It went on to declare that what it called 'homophile' orientation and activity could not be endorsed by the Church as:

 '... a parallel and alternative form of human sexuality as complete within the terms of the created order as the heterosexual. The convergence of Scripture, Tradition and reasoned reflection on experience, even including the newly sympathetic and perceptive thinking of our own day, makes it impossible for the Church to come with integrity to any other conclusion. Heterosexuality and homosexuality are not equally congruous with the observed order of creation or with the insights of revelation as the Church engages with these in the light of her pastoral ministry.' 

This position was endorsed by the pastoral letter and statement on same-sex marriage from the House of Bishops in February 2014, and is the basis of the view expressed there that ‘the Christian understanding and doctrine of marriage as a lifelong union between one man and one woman remains unchanged.

......Where the Bible mentions homosexual behavior at all, it clearly condemns it. I freely grant that. The issue is precisely whether that biblical judgment is correct. (Walter Wink)

This is an issue of biblical authority. Despite much well-intentioned theological fancy footwork to the contrary, it is difficult to see the Bible as expressing anything else but disapproval of homosexual activity. (Diarmaid MacCulloch)

The task demands intellectual honesty. I have little patience with efforts to make Scripture say something other than what it says, through appeals to linguistic or cultural subtleties. The exegetical situation is straightforward: we know what the text says. But what are we to do with what the text says?... I think it important to state clearly that we do, in fact, reject the straightforward commands of Scripture, and appeal instead to another authority when we declare that same-sex unions can be holy and good. (Luke Timothy Johnson)


(Quote from the essay by Ian Paul in 'Grace and Disagreement'- setting out the Traditional Biblical position- which is the official reader for 'Shared Conversations')

Reading that I have found/am finding helpful around this subject:


Homosexuality and the C of E Andrew Goddard

Grace and disagreement: A Reader

The Bible and Homosexuality Gagnon

The Moral Vision of the NT Hays

Who is my enemy? Nathan

A Review of 'More Perfect Union?' by Andrew Goddard

The Bible and Same-sex Relationships: A Review Article by Tim Keller and a Response from Matthew Vines

Have we misread the Bible?

The Plausibility Problem Ed Shaw

The Righteous Mind Haidt

Tim Keller answering 'What do Christian's have against Homosexuality?'

Openness unhindered Rosaria Butterfield

Personal Identity in Theological Perspective Eds Lint, Horton and Talbot

Feel free to add anything else to my list in the comment section that you may think constructive and helpful.

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