Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Review - Homosexuality and the Church: Defining issue or Distracting Battle

Awhile back a friend of mine suggested that I read this book by Howard Snyder. Being concerned by the Christian Church's response to the LGBT Community, it seemed to be a worthwhile read.

Howard Snyder attempts to very briefly discuss his views on homosexuality and Christianity. Apparently, this had started on a posting he had done on the Internet and grew into this quick and easy reading. Although he comments on the LGBT question in a very respectful manner, he fails on several points to explain why homosexual practice and Christianity are incompatible.

Probably one of the quick "red flag" remarks that appear are how often he states that Scripture "clearly" says that homosexuality is sinful. In fact, this word, "clearly" he uses several times. He doesn't expound on the Scripture passages. He doesn't justify them. He interprets the "clobber passages" of Scripture (specifically in Leviticus and Romans) as self-evident of their meaning when not all theologians are united in their understanding of these passages.

Here is a quote that really brought up my ire:  "Women deserve full and total equality in the church and in society because of creation. The same cannot be said, however, of practicing homosexuals within the church." His reasoning for this is bizarre.

Another quote:  "The church is based largely (though not exclusively) on marriage and family life, and stable, health society is built largely on healthy and stable Christian families." If this is the case, he has not only insulted all people in the LGBT community, but also all single Christians who have decided not to marry.

Snyder also seems to assign levels of evil to sin, implying that same-sex orientation is a worse sin.

Despite the vast amounts of current research into same-sex attraction, showing that, if not genetic, that there is a hormonal aspect to it that forms in the womb, he dismisses these scientific claims by saying that it is inconclusive. He supposes that even if it were conclusive, it does not justify it, comparing same-sex attraction to alcoholism.

Probably the strangest issue is the fact that Snyder brought in examples from the past where people were devout Christians, but practiced slavery and racial discrimination, yet were still Christians. By way of conclusion, he implies that people can be homosexual and a Christian at the same time. If that is the case, what is the point? He states that they aren't living in full holiness, but are still Christians. This is his weakest argument. He inadvertently justifies the Gay Christian's claim that one can be gay and a Christian at the same time.

Perhaps the only area where I agreed with Snyder is that he does not hold any credit to the "slippery slope arguments." Although he believes that same-sex attraction is not a "tipping point," it is a "turning point."

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