Search Results for: sex





Justin Taylor|10:40 pm CT

Karnick on How the Forced Recognition of Same-Sex "Marriage" Undermines a Free Society

S. T. Karnick:

From the beginning, the debate over “same-sex marriage” has been one of those topsy-turvy issues in which the side that is truly tolerant and fair has been characterized as narrow-minded and oppressive, while the side that is intolerant and blatantly coercive has been depicted as open-minded and sympathetic.

Favoring government-enforced recognition of same-sex “marriage” is not, as the media invariably characterize it, a kindly, liberal-minded position, but instead a fierce, coercive, intolerant one. Despite their agonized complaints about the refusal of the majority of Americans to give in on the subject, those who advocate government recognition of same-sex “marriage” want to use coercion to deny other people their fundamental rights.

The issue, it’s important to remember, is not whether society will allow homosexuals to “marry.” They may already do so, in any church or other sanctioning body that is willing to perform the ceremony. There are, in fact, many organizations willing to do so. . . . Such institutions either explicitly allow the consecration or blessing of same-sex “marriages” or look the other way when individual congregations perform such ceremonies.

No laws prevent these churches from conducting marriage ceremonies—and nearly all Americans would agree that it is right for the government to stay out of a church’s decision on the issue. Further, any couple of any kind may stand before a gathering of well-wishers and pledge their union to each other, and the law will do nothing to prevent them. Same-sex couples, or any other combination of people, animals, and inanimate objects, can and do “marry” in this way. What the law in most states currently does not do, however, is force third parties—individuals, businesses, institutions, and so on—to recognize these “marriages” and treat them as if they were exactly the same as traditional marriages. Nor does it forbid anyone to do so.

An insurance company, for example, is free to treat a same-sex couple (or an unmarried two-sex couple) the same way it treats married couples, or not. A church can choose to bless same-sex unions, or not. An employer can choose to recognize same-sex couples as “married,” or not. As Richard Thompson Ford noted in Slate, “In 1992 only one Fortune 500 company offered employee benefits to same-sex domestic partners; today hundreds do.”

In short, individuals, organizations, and institutions in most states are currently free to treat same-sex unions as marriages, or not. This, of course, is the truly liberal and tolerant position. It means letting the people concerned make up their own minds about how to treat these relationships. But this freedom is precisely what the advocates of same-sex “marriage” want to destroy; they want to use the government’s power to force everyone to recognize same-sex unions as marriages whether they want to or not.

Read the whole thing.

HT: A-Team





Justin Taylor|8:24 pm CT

Robert Gagnon on Homosexuality and the Bible

Here’s an excellent 28-minute video from Robert Gagnon answered some common objections about homosexuality and the Bible:

Pure Passion Season 3 / Episode 2 – Robert Gagnon from Pure Passion on Vimeo.





Justin Taylor|6:01 pm CT

Exegeting Obama on Homosexuality

Robert Gagnon–the leading evangelical scholar on homosexuality and the Bible–has a new article online: Barack Obama’s Disturbing Misreading of the Sermon on the Mount as Support for Homosexual Sex. On his homepage, Dr. Gagnon writes:

Regardless of how one votes on election day, it is important to be aware of how this presidential candidate interprets Scripture to fit his political views and what kind of impact this will have on his policies regarding government endorsement of, and incentives for, homosexual practice should he become president. Obama’s record is clear:

  • Obama wants to repeal the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which he has called “abhorrent”, even though the Act’s main purpose is merely to prevent “gay marriage” adopted in one state from being foisted on all other states. Even Hillary Clinton did not come out in opposition to the Defense of Marriage Act. In Obama’s own words: “Unlike Senator Clinton, I support the complete repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) – a position I have held since before arriving in the U.S. Senate. While some say we should repeal only part of the law, I believe we should get rid of that statute altogether.”
  • Obama strongly opposes California’s Proposition 8, which merely limits the definition of marriage to a “marriage between a man and a woman.”
  • Obama has stated that he “respects” the California Supreme Court decision foisting “gay marriage” on the state.
  • Obama opposes any federal constitutional amendment to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
  • Obama strongly endorses granting every single marriage benefit to homosexual unions, not to mention every “sexual orientation” special protections law imaginable. Such legislation will make civil and cultural bigots of everyone who espouses a male-female prerequisite to sexual relations, in the workplace, at school, in the media, and throughout the public sector.




Justin Taylor|9:18 pm CT

J.I. Packer on Homosexuality

Mark Driscoll relays a conversation he and some others had with J.I. Packer the other night in Orlando. The conversation included many more interesting insights on other topics, and I expect Mark will post those later, too.

Below is a video clip of an interview with Packer from earlier in the year, where he talks about Anglicanism and same-sex unions.





Justin Taylor|8:09 pm CT

Gagnon DVDs: Love, the Bible, and Homosexual Practice

If you’re looking for a good resource on thinking about homosexuality, you probably can’t do much better than this new 4-hour, 3-DVD set by Professor Robert Gagnon, entitled, Love, the Bible, and Homosexual Practice. (It’s $35, plus $7 for shipping and handling. If you live outside the US, you have to order by phone: 615.507.4166. The DVD set is in NTSC form.)

DVD 1: What’s at Stake & What Are the Closest Analogies (83 min.)

Treats why we disagree in the church about homosexual practice; what’s at stake in this debate; why the oft-cited, alleged analogies to Gentile inclusion, slavery, women in ministry, and divorce and remarriage are not in fact good analogies to the Bible’s prohibition of homosexual practice; what the main problem with homosexual practice is; why adult-committed incest and polyamory are the closest analogies; and responses to audience questions.

DVD 2: The Witness of Paul on Homosexual Practice (72 min.)

Treats the witness of Paul, showing how Paul opposed homosexual practice absolutely by looking at: echoes to the creation texts in Romans 1:24-27 and 1 Corinthians 6:9; the meaning of Paul’s argument from nature in its historical context; the case for identifying Rom 1:26 with an indictment of lesbianism; the conception of caring homosexual unions in the ancient world; the condemnation of even such caring unions by some Greek and Roman moralists; and the case for identifying the terms for homosexual practice in 1 Cor 6:9 and 1 Tim 1;10 with homosexual practice per se.

DVD 3: The Witness of Jesus & the OT on Homosexual Practice (76 min.)

The first 11 minutes completes the discussion of Paul by showing why the “orientation argument” (i.e. had NT authors known about sexual orientation it would have changed their view on homosexual practice) doesn’t work. The next 19 min. are devoted to discussing the witness of Jesus; 8 min. to the witness of Genesis; 7 min. to Sodom and related texts (Ham & Noah, the sacred cult prostitute texts, Levite at Gibeah, commentary on Sodom in Ezekiel, Jude, and 2 Pet); 5 min. to the Levitical prohibitions and the problems with alleged analogies to menstrual law and cloth mixtures; 2 min. to David and Jonathan; and 23 min. to responding to questions from the audience.

CD: The Importance of Sexual Ethics in the NT (72 min.)

You can also get the three DVD presentations on audio CD, along with the CD above, for $20 plus $5 shipping and handling.





Justin Taylor|8:53 am CT

Open Letter to a University President on Race and Homosexuality

I greatly respect Robert Gagnon’s wisdom, persistence, and scholarship on the issue of homosexuality.

He recently wrote an open letter to the President of the University of Toledo, suspending his Associate Vice President of Human Resources (a black, female, Christian), threatening her with worse penalties if does not recant. Her crime? Questioning the comparison of homosexual desire-and-practice with being black.

In Gagnon’s letter he cites six scientific studies that demonstrate this fallacy of equality same-sex attraction and race, and he makes a brief philosophical case against incentives for homosexual practice.

Read the whole thing.





Justin Taylor|8:20 am CT

Sex Education

Donna Freitas, author of Sex and the Soul: Juggling Sexuality, Spirituality, Romance, and Religion on America’s College Campuses (foreword by Lauren Winner, published by Oxford University Press), wrote a column in Friday’s Wall Street Journal about the hookup culture on Catholic and nonreligious private and public colleges and universities. Among the findings in her national college survey: “Not a single person at these schools said that their peers valued saving sex for marriage, and only 7% said that they felt that their friends wanted to reserve sex for committed, loving relationships.”

She also describes teaching a class at Boston University on “Spirituality and Sexuality in American Youth Culture, and the students’ responses upon reading Wendy Shalit’s A Return to Modesty, Joshua Harris’s I Kissed Dating Goodbye, and Lauren Winner’s Real Sex.





Justin Taylor|8:43 am CT

Sex, Life, and Videotape

From my reading, I would say that’s Will Saletan is one of the most fairminded, thoughtful writers who favors abortion and seeks to understand the arguments of his opponents.

His latest article is on the recent SCOTUS decision on partial-birth abortion and the impact of the ultrasound machine on the future of the debate. Here’s an excerpt:

Pro-lifers are often caricatured as stupid creationists who just want to put women back in their place. Science and free inquiry are supposed to help them get over their “love affair with the fetus.” But science hasn’t cooperated. Ultrasound has exposed the life in the womb to those of us who didn’t want to see what abortion kills. The fetus is squirming, and so are we.

Read the whole thing.

(HT: Al Mohler)





Justin Taylor|8:49 am CT

Powlison on Biological Tendencies, Homosexual and Beyond

In light of recent postings about the genetic causes of homosexuality, I received a helpful note from David Powlison. In the book, Psychology and Christianity: Four Views (IVP, 2000), one of the contributors to that volume, David Myers (professor of psychology at Hope College), advocates a genetic basis for homosexuality. Powlison addresses that issue in the course of his response to Myers’s essay. With Powlison’s permission I’ll reprint below the section from his response, preceded by my restatement of some of the points in his correspondence.

Powlison’s perspective both broadens and nuances the discussion. For example, he discusses biological predisposition to homosexuality in the context of biological predispositions that we all have. He also digs a bit deeper into the motivational patterns for lesbianism.

He also speculates as to what sort of genetic ratio we might see if an “H-gene” is every discovered behind homosexuality (though the ratio, he says in personal correspondence, is probably stronger than anything that will be discovered). But genetic findings won’t be determinative–they will only slide a bell curve one direction or the other.

Powlison often talks about his three children, and that within 10 minutes of their birth he and his wife could see instinctive qualities that showed a continuity with what would prove to be their characteristic gifts and typical tendencies.

The point is that our various “tendencies” are part of a complex picture of the way in which all of us–not just homosexuals–work.

Here’s the relevant section from Powlison’s essay:

[Myers's] case study of homosexuality . . . illustrated how a scientist’s interpretive grid can introduce biases, propelling him to do hard thinking with frail data in order to contradict the mind of Christ. The facts that “prove” the legitimacy of homosexual orientation – chiefly the experience of ongoing struggle and cases of recidivism among those who attempt to change – equally “prove” the legitimacy of the historic Christian view that homosexuality is a typical sin from which God progressively redeems his children.

It is no surprise that people being redeemed out of homosexual lust still battle with temptations – and that some fall back. This is true of every pattern of sexual lust, not only homosexuality: a woman whose romantic-erotic fantasies are energized by reading romance novels and watching Tom Cruise in Top Gun; a man whose eyes rove for a voyeuristic glimpse down a blouse; a woman aroused by sadomasochistic activities and implements; a man obsessed with young girls. In each of these cases, lust has been patterned around a characteristic object; love will learn a different pattern in Christ’s lifelong school for reorienting the disoriented.

But there is no reason that an energetic, ideologically committed researcher could not find some data that might suggest that each of these sexual disorientations might arise from some biological predisposition. What if future research suggests that a particular personality characteristic, brain structure, hormone level, and perceptual style correlates to adult-to-child homosexuality? To bestiality? To heterosexual promiscuity? The last mentioned might even prove the strong case for the style of argument Myers makes. Would his argument generalize to these cases? He would have to say Yes, if the statistics seemed to tilt that way. If any of the above persons continue to struggle, or at some point slid back into old patterns, then it might mean that their particular morph of sexuality is innate and valid.

I’m not familiar with the studies of female homosexuality, but let me offer an “unscientific” observation arising from pastoral experience. I’ve known many lesbians driven more by “intimacy lusts” than by the unvarnished eroticism of many heterosexual or homosexual males. In fact, most of them had once been actively heterosexual, unsuccessfully looking for love from a man or men. They eventually found that other women were similarly wired to intimacy and companionship as the context for erotic feelings. An emotional closeness initially developed that was progressively sexualized during the process of redefining oneself as a lesbian. Such a process makes lucid sense on the Faith’s analysis of the outworking and inworking of sin. And I’ve seen the fiercely tender grace of God break in, progressively rewiring some of these women. Statistics might give definition to words such as “most,” “many,” and “some.” But statistics could neither confirm nor disconfirm the point of view whose plausibility is established theologically, anecdotally, and pastorally.

Myers’s biological data on homosexuality was admittedly rather dim light, not something that could drag a researcher along who was not otherwise willing. But let me offer another “unscientific” comment about data that might yet be discovered. When or if the “homosexuality gene” is discovered, I predict that the facts will be of the following kind. Among people without the H-gene, say 1.5% are oriented towards homosexuality, while among people with the H-gene, say 15% are oriented towards homosexuality. That would be a very significant statistical difference. But what would it prove? Only that characteristic temptations differ, that our bodies are one locus of temptation, that nothing is deterministic either way. It will be analogous to finding any other “gene for sin.” Those with the “worry gene,” the “anger gene,” the “addictive pleasure gene,” or the “kleptomania gene” will be prone to the respective sins. Such findings cause no problem for the Faith. They do trouble a Pelagian view that defines sin only as conscious “choice.” But sin is an unsearchable morass of disposition, drift, willful choice, unwitting impulse, obsession, compulsion, seeming happenstance, the devil’s appetite for souls, the world’s shaping influence, and God’s hardening of hard hearts. Of course biological factors are at work: we are embodied sinners and saints. That some people may be more prone to homosexuality is no more significant that that some may be more prone to worry.

Grace is similarly personalized. Some of God’s children find Phillipians 4:4-9 breathes particular comfort amid their besetting temptation to anxiety. Others find the Spirit pacifying their fierce temper and writing James 3:1-4:12 on their hearts. Still others find Proverbs 23:29-35 clobbers them about the madness of their heavy drinking, and that they grow wiser as they quit hanging out with old drinking buddies and spend time with new, wiser companions (Prov. 13:20). Still others experience a keen-edged joy in earning a pay check, paying for things they once stole, and sharing money with people in need (Eph 4:28). Others find that Christ’s comprehensive vision for rearranging everyone’s sexuality – in the whole Bible, not just “a half dozen verses” – reaches into their particular form of disorientation, teaching them to love people, not lust after them. One and all, former neurotics, rageaholics, drunks, thieves, and gays find that truth rings true and rings with hope.

Each of us deals with what Richard Lovelace termed “characteristic flesh” (Lovelace, Dynamics of Spiritual Life, p. 110). Repeat temptations and instances of recidivism do not change the rules. Strugglers with indwelling sin genuinely grow in grace, but often the generic issue remains on stage in some manner throughout a person’s lifetime. Abiding struggles are no reason to throw over the Christian life which is defined as growth amid struggle unto a future perfection (1 John 3:1-3). Those being redeemed out of homosexualized lust are examples of the rule, not exceptions granted license to give up the fight and rationalize their sin.





Justin Taylor|4:58 pm CT

More Mohler on Homosexuality

Thanks for all of you who have weighed in–and are still commenting–on Dr. Mohler’s post on the causes of homosexuality.

I’d like to commend his chapter in the book Sex and the Supremacy of Christ. His chapter is on homosexuality, but the focus is on the kind of people that we—the body of Christ—must be. (You can listen to the audio online for free.)

Dr. Mohler’s main points are as follows:

  1. We must be the people—the body of Christ—who can’t start a conversation about homosexual marriage by talking about homosexual marriage.

  1. We are people who can’t ever talk about sex without talking about marriage.

  1. We must be the people who cannot talk about anything of significance without acknowledging our absolute dependence upon God’s revelation—the Bible.

  1. We must be the people with a theology adequate to explain the deadly deception of sexual sin.

  1. We must be the people with the theology adequate to explain Christ’s victory over sin.

  1. We must be the people who love homosexuals more than homosexuals love homosexuality.

  1. We must be the people who tell the truth about homosexual marriage, and thus refuse to accept even its possibility because we love and seek the glory of God for all.

Because point #5 overlaps with the previous post, I’ll reprint it here in full:

The church of the Lord Jesus Christ, standing on the authority of Scripture, must have a theology adequate to explain how God’s glory can be so pervasively denied and how God’s design can be so utterly corrupted as it is in the advocacy of homosexual marriage. How is it that humans miss this point so entirely?

In reality, there is only one sufficient explanation for sexual brokenness, and this is the very essence of sin. In Genesis 3, the Bible presents the truth of the Fall and its consequences. Sin is the one category indispensable to our explanation of the human problem. We cannot possibly
reach a correct diagnosis of the human condition without getting to the very heart of what sin is and what sin means.

In Romans 1, Paul describes human sinfulness as an effort to suppress the truth in unrighteousness (v. 18). Thus, at the center of human sinfulness is an ambition to rob God of his glory and to hide the truth from ourselves, even as we give ourselves to lawlessness and moral

As Paul sees it, the human race is involved in a massive exercise of self-deception, suppressing the truth and hiding it even from ourselves. We are all without excuse in this, says Paul, because God has revealed his laws even in the very structure of the universe (vv. 19-21).
Nevertheless, “Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles” (Rom. 1:22-23). Rather than accept the truth, we have exchanged the glory of God for various forms of

As Paul makes clear, God’s verdict is devastating:

Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing

shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. (Rom. 1:24-27)

Can there be any doubt that this text speaks precisely about homosexuality? As a matter of fact, this important text speaks not only about the sinfulness of homosexual acts, but about the corrupted nature of homosexual desire. The language about women who “exchanged natural
relations for those that are contrary to nature” and “men likewise,” who “gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another,” indicates that homosexual desire is itself a perversion of the divine intention.

The devastating nature of God’s righteous verdict on human sinfulness is made clear with specific reference to the sexual sins detailed in this text. The formula repeated three times in this text (plus v. 28), “God gave them up,” is one of the most chilling words of judgment anywhere in the Bible. The utter finality of this formula stands as an irrefutable verdict
on the nature of homosexuality.

This text should not function as an intellectual “trump card” for Christians to use in argument, but rather as a foundation for revealing the universal and pervasive sinfulness of humanity. Paul’s purpose is to show that our human rebellion against God is the very essence of sin,
and according to Romans 1, homosexuality is the chief illustration of that truth. Rebelling against God’s design for sexuality is the primary exhibit of human sinfulness in action.

Again, we must acknowledge that homosexuality is not the only sin listed by Paul in this important chapter. As a matter of fact, Paul follows with a catalog of human sinfulness that encompasses all of us. By the time he mentions gossips, slanderers, haters of God, the insolent, the haughty, and the boastful, much less those disobedient to parents (vv. 29-30), he has included every single human being who ever lived. When speaking to homosexuals about the truth of God revealed in this passage, we must make clear that it not only indicts homosexuals for the sin of homosexuality, but every other sinner for every sin ever committed. Nevertheless, the specific reference to homosexuality here helps us understand the depth of sexual brokenness and sexual sin. We dare not miss this point or ignore Paul’s message.

An important dimension of Paul’s argument deals with the issue of idolatry. It is worth noting that the specific forms of idolatry common to the Graeco-Roman world, and to other ancient cultures, centered in exaggerations of human sexuality and fertility. A quick look at most museums of antiquity will reveal cases filled with figurines characterized by exaggerated genitalia. Many are explicitly pornographic, as the power of sex has been transformed into an idol and object of worship. This is an insight of inestimable theological significance.

When Christians address homosexuals and homosexual advocates with the reality that the Bible clearly condemns homosexual behavior as sin, we must acknowledge that we are sexual sinners speaking to other sexual sinners. Armed with the Bible’s profound understanding of human sinfulness, we understand that sin corrupts every dimension of human existence. The doctrine of total depravity affirms that the entire human being—including sexual desire and the emotions—is utterly corrupted and disoriented by sin and its consequences.

Christians have often sinned against homosexuals by arguing that homosexuality is simply a “chosen” form of behavior and lifestyle. Clearly, participation in homosexual behavior is a matter of choice, but the underlying desire is often not experienced by homosexuals as a matter of choice at all.

The biblical understanding of sin helps us to understand that every human being is a sexual sinner and every profile of individual desire is corrupted by sin’s effects. Even as our bodies show the effects of sin as we age, decay, and die, our affections show the corruption of sin because we desire what should not be desired. The church of the Lord Jesus Christ must stand before the world and acknowledge that we often do not even understand our own desires and inclinations.

When speaking of homosexuality, we must acknowledge that the pattern of male and female homosexuality is often different. We must understand that female homosexuality is often directly traceable to the misbehavior of men. Males have often acted toward women with such
violence, anger, and rejection that they can no longer trust men to meet their needs for intimacy.

Is a woman who resorts to lesbianism for such reasons responsible for her sin? Of course she is, but we must understand that all of us are inclined to lie to ourselves as we rationalize our misbehavior. This is true not only for homosexuals but for all human beings. As a matter of fact,
sin is so deceptive that we no longer even understand why we desire what we desire. The Scripture clearly identifies lesbianism as sin, but we must understand that this pattern of sin often follows an experience of sin at the hands of others. This does not excuse the sinner, but it helps us to understand why this sin can become such a deeply rooted part of an individual’s self-understanding.

Male homosexuality is usually a very different reality. The male sex drive—more essentially physical and genital—can be corrupted in so many different ways. There is no man who will be able to stand before God on the Day of Judgment and say, “I was only interested and aroused
by righteous and holy desire.” Each of us is a sexual sinner, and the male pattern of sexual sin includes corrupted desire, confusing arousal, and perverse thoughts.

No man, not even the most committed heterosexual husband, will be able to say on the Day of Judgment, “My sexual affections, my sexual arousal, was always, from the very beginning, only directly toward that which was holy—the covenant of marriage and the wife that I was given.” Every man struggles with a corrupted affection, and that corrupted affection, given the reality of the male sex drive, is often directed toward a desire for fulfillment entirely at odds with the glory of God. Every man bears a different sexual struggle, but every man is engaged in a sexual struggle, and this should give us an attitude of sympathy as we address homosexuals with the truth.

When homosexuals say, “I did not choose this,” they are often speaking the only truth they know. The homosexual movement tells homosexuals that their arousal is their destiny. This is a slander against God. We must learn not to trust our sinful affections and erotic interests, but to submit all of this to the objective authority of God’s Word.

By God’s grace, we must all come before the throne of Christ and pray that God will order our affections, our passions, and our erotic interests to his glory. We must say that to ourselves, even as we say it to the homosexual.

All of us stand under the same need for forgiveness and with the same accountability before our Creator. We must not sin against our homosexual neighbors by describing their pattern of sin as something they have arbitrarily chosen in terms of desire. We must declare God’s verdict that every single homosexual act is sin and that homosexual desire is itself sinful, but we must speak with compassionate honesty even as we seek to understand this reality.

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Justin Taylor|5:20 pm CT

Biological Factors in Sexual Orientation

Al Mohler has a very important blog post here regarding new developments concerning a possible genetic cause to homosexuality and the future possibility that such an inclination could be identified and changed while babies are still in the womb. I encourage you to read the whole post. Mohler rightly notes: “This question involves both abortion and gay rights — the perfect moral storm of our times.”

He concludes with 10 principles for “Christians who are committed to think in genuinely Christian terms” (the bolding of the main points is mine):

1. There is, as of now, no incontrovertible or widely accepted proof that any biological basis for sexual orientation exists.

2. Nevertheless, the direction of the research points in this direction. Research into the sexual orientation of sheep and other animals, as well as human studies, points to some level of biological causation for sexual orientation in at least some individuals.

3. Given the consequences of the Fall and the effects of human sin, we should not be surprised that such a causation or link is found. After all, the human genetic structure, along with every other aspect of creation, shows the pernicious effects of the Fall and of God’s judgment.

4. The biblical condemnation of all homosexual behaviors would not be compromised or mitigated in the least by such a discovery. The discovery of a biological factor would not change the Bible’s moral verdict on homosexual behavior.

5. The discovery of a biological basis for homosexuality would be of great pastoral significance, allowing for a greater understanding of why certain persons struggle with these particular sexual temptations.

6. The biblical basis for establishing the dignity of all persons — the fact that all humans are made in God’s image — reminds us that this means all persons, including those who may be marked by a predisposition toward homosexuality. For the sake of clarity, we must insist at all times that all persons — whether identified as heterosexual, homosexual, lesbian, transsexual, transgendered, bisexual, or whatever — are equally made in the image of God.

7. Thus, we will gladly contend for the right to life of all persons, born and unborn, whatever their sexual orientation. We must fight against the idea of aborting fetuses or human embryos identified as homosexual in orientation.

8. If a biological basis is found, and if a prenatal test is then developed, and if a successful treatment to reverse the sexual orientation to heterosexual is ever developed, we would support its use as we should unapologetically support the use of any appropriate means to avoid sexual temptation and the inevitable effects of sin.

9. We must stop confusing the issues of moral responsibility and moral choice. We are all responsible for our sexual orientation, but that does not mean that we freely and consciously choose that orientation. We sin against homosexuals by insisting that sexual temptation and attraction are predominately chosen. We do not always (or even generally) choose our temptations. Nevertheless, we are absolutely responsible for what we do with sinful temptations, whatever our so-called sexual orientation.

10. Christians must be very careful not to claim that science can never prove a biological basis for sexual orientation. We can and must insist that no scientific finding can change the basic sinfulness of all homosexual behavior. The general trend of the research points to at least some biological factors behind sexual attraction, gender identity, and sexual orientation. This does not alter God’s moral verdict on homosexual sin (or heterosexual sin, for that matter), but it does hold some promise that a deeper knowledge of homosexuality and its cause will allow for more effective ministries to those who struggle with this particular pattern of temptation. If such knowledge should ever be discovered, we should embrace it and use it for the greater good of humanity and for the greater glory of God.





Justin Taylor|9:09 pm CT

"The Truth About Married Sex"

That’s the title of a lecture that Lauren Winner delivered last month at Calvin College. (You can listen to it online; let me know if anyone knows of a transcript for it.) Andy Rau recently posted a summary of the lecture for Here is a portion of Rau’s summary:

Winner suggests that the solution may lie in our understanding of what the ideal domestic life is. We ought to see sex as a healthy part of the spousal relationship, whether or not it’s always as thrilling and exciting as you’d like. In other words, we need to see that “normal, routine” sex over the course of a marriage is good sex. Winner is not saying that we ought to lower our expectations for sex, but that we shift them to focus on the joys that come uniquely from married sex. It’s largely a psychological change that’s called for—we need to abandon unrealistic, mainstream-culture ideas of what sex should be, and learn to appreciate the ebb and flow of sexuality between two spouses who are sometimes tired, sometimes romantic, but nevertheless committed to each other. Married sexuality is infinitely more satisfying when it’s free of the pressure to conform to the unrealistic and shallow expectations of mainstream culture.

This reminded me of a very helpful quote from David Powlison’s chapter,Making All Things New: Restoring Pure Joy to the Sexually Broken, in Sex and the Supremacy of Christ, pp. 103-104.

Good sexual love is simply “normal.” Sometimes the idealized view of good sex can sound overheated, even when we prize and protect marital sexuality. Sometimes we can give the idea that good sex (in both senses) is a gymnastic, ecstatic, romantic, athletic, electric, semi-psychotic, erotic, high-wire, bug-eyed, luxuriating, ravishing bliss of marital passion! Sorry to disillusion you. But much of good sex is just . . . well, normal, everyday. Think about it. Most people in the history of the world have lived in one-room huts, where the kids sleep in the same room with their parents! Countless families have lived in flats, with only curtains for room dividers, your mother-in-law in the far corner, your wife’s younger brother sleeping on the couch. Or they’ve lived in tents, as nomads. Not much sound-proofing or major privacy operative in that housing arrangement! Not much in the way of gymnastics or sound effects is possible unless you have no children. That’s not to say that a married couple with children shouldn’t get away for a weekend, or close the door, or do things to make sex special. Nothing wrong with some high-wire encounters that bring a little extra spice.

Think of the analogy with food, another of life’s very redeemable pleasures. Occasionally you pull out the stops for a memorable feast with all the fixings. But in normal life, you eat a lot of healthy breakfasts. In the redemption of sex, lots of normal things flourish. How about courtesy? Basic kindness and patience? How about humor–pet names, teasing, irony, private jokes? Good sex is not that serious! How about mercy? How about a shower, shave, and being relaxed? How about a fundamental willingness to be available to another, simply to give. How about conversation? How about quiet, slow, leisurely time together? Basic love goes a long way towards making good sex good. It’s great when the Richter Scale tops out at an earth-shattering 8.1. But in normalized good sex, you’ll also enjoy 3.1 temblors that hardly rattle the teacups.

Get your goals straight. It heightens the significance of your Savior. He alone restores you to practical love for God and to the practical love appropriate for each of your various kinds of neighbors. He alone makes daily life shine with visible glory.





Justin Taylor|9:32 am CT

How to Deal with the Guilt of Sexual Failure for the Glory of Christ and His Global Cause

John Piper has posted online his Passion 2007 address, How to Deal with the Guilt of Sexual Failure for the Glory of Christ and His Global Cause.

The great tragedy is not mainly masturbation or fornication or acting like a peeping Tom (or curious Cathy) on the internet. The tragedy is that Satan uses the guilt of these failures to strip you of every radical dream you ever had, or might have, and in its place give you a happy, safe, secure, American life of superficial pleasures until you die in your lakeside rocking chair, wrinkled and useless, leaving a big fat inheritance to your middle-aged children to confirm them in their worldliness. That’s the main tragedy.

Read the whole thing.





Justin Taylor|12:33 pm CT

Gagnon Correspondence on Homosexuality

Robert Gagnon posts some email exchanges he has had in response to his writings on homosexuality.





Justin Taylor|11:12 am CT

Homosexuality and the Bible

Robert Gagnon is Associate Professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and is “the leading scholarly defender of the church’s historic understanding of homosexuality as revealed in the Bible.”

You can access his work online at

I would recommend starting with this interview, which gives an overview and defense of his position.

Those who want something more in depth may want to look at a 112-page review written by Prof. Gagnon, available here.

Readers will find treatments here of every major issue in the debate, including discussion and analysis of:

  • The different hermeneutical scales or interpretive grids used by proponents and opponents of homosexual practice (pp. 19-25).
  • The difficulty in neutralizing Scripture for a pro-homosex agenda (pp. 25-30).
  • The nature argument (pp. 30-46).
  • The relevant biblical texts and the arguments used to limit their relevance for today’s debate: Old Testament (pp. 46-54) and the New Testament (pp. 54-85), including Jesus (pp. 56-62) and Paul (pp. 62-85).
  • The three main “new knowledge” arguments for dismissing the biblical witness against homosexual practice: the exploitation argument (pp. 65-76), the orientation argument (pp. 77-79), and the misogyny argument (pp. 80-82).
  • Whether homosexual practice is the diet and circumcision issue of today (the Gentile inclusion analogy; pp. 86-90).
  • The alleged analogies to slavery, women’s roles, divorce/ remarriage and other changes to marriage over the centuries (pp. 90-97) vs. analogies to incest, polysexuality, and pedosexuality (pp. 98-101).
  • Manipulative rhetoric in the church debates about homosexuality (pp. 103-114).
  • The science side of the debate (pp. 114-30), including the question of the moral relevance of congenital influences and claims to an unchanging orientation (pp. 116-19), the question of whether culture can affect the incidence of homosexuality (pp. 120-25), and the question of whether “gay marriage” is good for society (pp. 125-30).

Finally, for those want to explore the issue in depth, you can purchase his monograph, The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics (Nashville: Abingdon, 2001).