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Progressive Scholar Says Bible is Clear about Sexual Sin

There is a movement within evangelicalism that is trying to argue that the Bible affirms, or at least does not prohibit, same-sex sexual relationships. But renowned progressive New Testament scholar Luke Timothy Johnson disagrees with this approach, even though he himself also holds an affirming position.

He writes, “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.”

He continues:

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. And what exactly is that authority? We appeal explicitly to the weight of our own experience and the experience thousands of others have witnessed to, which tells us that to claim our own sexual orientation is in fact to accept the way in which God has created us.

Possible Preaching Angle:

While we disagree with Johnson’s conclusions, we have to admire his intellectual integrity. On this subject of same-sex sexual relationships, the Bible is clear: “We know what the text says.” The only question is whether that is the authority one chooses to live by.


Luke Timothy Johnson, “Homosexuality & The Church” Commonweal Magazine (6-11-07)

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