What the New Testament Says About Homosexuality

Posted by Censor Librorum on Sep 13, 2008 | Categories: Lesbians & Gays, Sacred Scripture

Mainline christian denominations–Catholics and Protestants alike–are bitterly divided over the question of homosexuality. But what does the  New Testament really say about this controversial issue?   Most people assume the New Testament expresses strong opposition to homosexuality.  bible.jpg

William O. Walker, Jr., a member of the Catholic Biblical Association of America, and  professor emeritus of religion at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, developed six propositions that, considered together, lead to the conclusion the New Testament does not provide any direct guidance for understanding and making judgements about homosexuality in the modern world.

Proposition 1: Strictly speaking, the New Testament says nothing at all about homosexuality. The paucity of references to homosexuality in the New Testament suggests that it was not a matter of major concern either for Jesus or for the early Christian movement.

Proposition 2: At most, there are only three passages in the entire New Testament that refer to what we today would call homosexual activity.

Proposition 3: Two of the three passages that possibly refer to homosexuality are simply more-or-less miscellaneous cataloges of behaviors that are regarded as unacceptable, with no particular emphasis placed on any individual item in the list.

Proposition 4: It may well be that the two lists of unacceptable behaviors – 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 and 1 Timothy 1:8-11 do not refer to homosexuality at all.

Proposition 5: Even if 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 and 1 Timothy 1:8-11 do refer to homosexuality, what they likely have in mind is not homosexuality per se but rather one particular form of homosexuality that was regarded as especially exploitive and degrading.

Proposition 6: The one passage in the New Testament that almost certainly does refer to homosexuality is based on some highly debatable presuppositions about its nature and causes.

The Catholic group, Informed Conscience, also presents homosexuality and the New Testament in depth.

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2 Responses to “What the New Testament Says About Homosexuality”

  1. Steve_Z Says:

    These propositions seem to rest on the dubious assumption that the individual, any individual, can rightfully comprehend scripture, when in fact, scripture says otherwise (e.g., Proverbs 3:5-6).

    There are plenty of verses that indicate homosexual behavior is opposed to God’s master plan:
    http://www.veritasbible.com/resources/sacred_scripture_shortcuts/categories/Sin/Homosexual+Behavior

  2. Karen Says:

    It seems to me the Gospels are very clear about what would happen to anyone who sexually abused children, allow it to happen, or covered it up: “It would be better for him, that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should scandalize one of these little ones.” (Douay-Rheims, Luke 17:2)

    On the basis of that statement, do you think the late Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua of Philadelphia is “swimmning with the fishes”? Cardinal Bevilacqua, who headed the Archdiocese of Philadelphia from 1988-2003, was discovered to be deeply involved–responsible–for protecting hundreds of sexually abusive priests and ignoring their child victims.

    Is Bishop Robert Finn, head of the Kansas City and St. Joseph, MO Archdiocese, also headed for a dip in the deep blue sea?

    Bishop Finn, an Opus Dei and Knights of Columbus member, also has the distinction of being the first Catholic bishop convicted for failing to report a priest suspected of sexually exploiting children.

    What do you think Jesus would have to say about these two “shepherds”?

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