Homosexuality Biblical Interpretation and Moral Discernment Ebook

Posted March 18th, 2010 at 2:03 am

One of Willard Swartley’s most significant contributions in this book is to model how one can hold strong convictions on the issue of homosexuality without ostracizing homosexuals or regarding persons with different opinions as un-Christian. Swartley defends the church’s traditional position, but his peaceful, prayerful, and pastoral approach provides hope that Christians with opposing views can dialogue respectfully on an issue that generates so much unhealthy energy and un-Christian conduct.

Swartley is currently professor of New Testament at Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary, where he was also academic dean for many years. This book, written with church leaders and educated lay {214} people in mind, features the same careful attention to the biblical text which characterizes Swartley’s earlier writings on the Gospel of Mark and on biblical peace and justice issues.

Swartley discusses all the biblical passages which mention homosexuality, but he also brings to the table other biblical texts dealing with marriage, family, Jesus’ relation to marginalized people, and the biblical call for both mercy and discipline. Swartley asserts that on some issues, like slavery or the role of women, the Bible speaks with more than one voice, and, therefore, the church needs to discern which texts to follow. In contrast, biblical texts related to homosexuality are unanimous in condemning homosexual practice, and therefore the church has clear guidance.

In addition to discussing biblical texts and themes, Swartley engages a variety of theological perspectives, arguments, and issues. He encourages the church to welcome homosexuals and to relate compassionately to them. The church should be clear that homosexual orientation is not sinful, but homosexual practice is. The church should support homosexuals and unmarried heterosexuals who are seeking to remain celibate, and homosexuals who desire a change in orientation.

For the most part Swartley avoids simplistic explanations. He acknowledges that homosexual orientation may have numerous causes, including biological ones. Some homosexuals may be “freed” from their orientation, but this is not an easy process and may not be possible for all. Unfortunately, including an appendix which discusses the horrible toll of AIDS, perpetuates the mistaken notion that homosexuality is largely to blame for AIDS. Swartley attributes the AIDS crisis to the “philosophical legacy of Western individualism” (150). The reality is that AIDS is spreading most rapidly in Africa and other non-Western societies where it is almost exclusively a heterosexual disease.

Swartley observes that in most of the world homosexuality is not considered an appropriate lifestyle, which leads him to identify features of our Western urban culture that have allowed homosexuality to become socially acceptable. Two of these features are emphasis on sexual freedom and experimentation, and the sexualization of culture in general, so that sexual expression is now considered to be both a human right and a necessity. Swartley offers a brilliant critique of Western culture and issues a passionate plea for the church to be a counter cultural community in its understanding of sexuality. But his reasoning becomes flawed when he suggests that homosexuality is sinful because its acceptance is the product of a decadent Western culture. This is akin to arguing that the acceptance of new opportunities and rights for women is {215} sinful because it is the product of this same Western culture.

Despite being concerned enough to write a book on homosexuality, Swartley cautions us not to let the debate and conflict over this intractable issue overwhelm the mission and energy of our congregations and denominations. We do well to heed this advice, and we do well to read this book.

Homosexuality Biblical Interpretation and Moral Discernment Ebook Download

Homosexuality Biblical Interpretation and Moral Discernment Ebook

Sounds like a fucking arsehole to me. Anyway if your interested in one mans view on homosexuality, or his interpretation on some book, then you can download the shit below. The best part about the download is the inclusion of a very nice image which has nothing to do with the book, but you might find as I did,  the picture to be more interesting than the reading material.



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