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.
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.