Eunuchs for the Kingdom: A radical realignment of human identity and sexuality

“Although some mental health providers do attempt sexual orientation conversion, other practitioners question the ethics of trying to alter a trait that is not a disorder and that is extremely important to an individual's identity.” – Australian Psychological Society

“For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others—and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.” – Jesus, Matthew 19:12

In the last thirty years the issue of homosexuality has become a crucible for the Christian church, and society at large, where conflicting approaches to the authority of scripture, and Biblical ethics collide. The issue has been brought to the fore by a vocal Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, and Transexual (LGBT) lobby group that draw comparisons to previous civil rights movements on the basis that homosexual orientation is natural. This civil rights comparison is supported by modern science, particularly psychology, sociobiology, and anthropology. The evidence suggests that homosexual orientation is a product of a complex mix of nature and nurture, and not the product of individual choice.

We will suggest that the biblical account of humanity caters for natural explanations of human predispositions that conflict with the created moral order, and argue that a theologically consistent response to “natural” accounts of homosexual orientation involves questioning the current constructed centrality of sexuality in establishing human identity, and working to re-establish Jesus’ category of eunuchs for the kingdom.

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Introduction: Assumptions & Methodology The debate surrounding homosexuality is a flashpoint in Christian moral discourse, where various approaches to the Biblical text, the world, and Christian ethics, meet the findings of modern science.1 No resolution to the debate, either within the church, or in the public domain, seems forthcoming.2 In this work we will distinguish between homosexual orientation, actions, and identity, arguing that only actions and identification are problematic within a Christian framework.3 We will define orientation as same-sex attraction being the individual’s predominant experience,4 and acknowledge that sexual attraction occurs on a spectrum.5 Homosexual orientation was once considered a psychiatric disorder.6 However, after etiological studies established environmental (nurture) and possible biological (nature) contributors, now discomfort with one’s sexual orientation is viewed as a psychological disorder, 7 for such orientation forms a vital part of sexual identity, and thus human identity.8
1 O. O’Donovan, A Conversation Waiting to Begin: The Churches and the Gay Controversy, 87, This debate represents a clash of modern and traditional hermeneutics and ethical approaches. 2 We will, for the purpose of this piece, largely ignore the question of the morality of gay marriage, preferring an alternative focus for the debate, and for Christian contributions to public discourse. We will also be steering clear of discussions pertaining to the issue of homosexuality within the church, via homosexual ordination, recognition of gay marriage, or the ethics and efficacy of “reparative” therapy, all of these issues, while important, are ancillary to this argument, and thus, will not be treated in detail. 3 It is the official position of mainline Christian denominations that it is actions, not orientation, that bring moral culpability, R.A. Nelson, ‘Homosexuality and social ethics.’ Word & World 5, no. 4 (September 1, 1985): 380-394, 381, T. Paterson, ‘An introduction to the ethics of homosexuality,’ Journal Of Theology For Southern Africa, no. 48 (September 1, 1984): 45-54, 45 4 S.L Jones, and M.A Yarhouse, Ex-Gays?: A Longitudinal Study of Religiously Mediated Change in Sexual Orientation, (Downers Grove, IVP, 2007), Kindle Edition, Location 364, Also D.O Via in R.J Gagnon, and D.O Via, Homosexuality and the Bible: Two Views, (Minneapolis, Ausburg Fortress, 2003), Kindle Edition, Location 232 5 J.K Balswick, and J.O Balswick, Authentic Human Sexuality: An Integrated Christian Approach, (Downers Grove, IVP, 1999), Kindle Edition Location 1105, S.L Jones, and M.A Yarhouse, ExGays?: A Longitudinal Study, Location 367, J.W Paris, The End of Sexual Identity: Why Sex Is Too Important to Define Who We Are, (Downers Grove, IVP, 2011), Kindle Edition, Location 460, 6 J.K Balswick, and J.O Balswick, Authentic Human Sexuality, Location 1094, “Later, embarrassed by the lack of a secure scientific explanation, the American Psychiatric Association stopped identifying homosexuality as a mental disorder, removing it from the DSM [dialogical and statistical manual]. The current DSM manual retains dystonic homosexuality as a category only for those who are in conflict about their sexual orientation and desire to change.” 7 S.L Jones, and M.A Yarhouse, Ex-Gays?: A Longitudinal Study, Location 406-408 8 Alongside biological gender, gender identification, sexual orientation, practice, identification, see S.L Jones, and M.A Yarhouse, Ex-Gays?: A Longitudinal Study, Location 352, J.R Beck, ‘Evangelicals, Homosexuality, and Social Science.’ Journal Of The Evangelical Theological Society 40, no. 1 (March 1, 1997): 83-97, 93, identifies seven dimensions of human

                                                                                                               

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We will assume the premise that one’s sexual orientation is “natural,”9 and not chosen,10 but that it is not immutable.11 We argue that equating sexual orientation with sexual identity, and thus, morality, promotes an indefensible biological determinism.12 Both sexual practice and identity are matters of choice,13 limited by social constructions that equate sexual identity with

                                                                                                               
sexual identity, J.K Balswick, and J.O Balswick, Authentic Human Sexuality, Location 92, suggests sexual identity depends on “biology, sociology, psychology, theology, gender, emotions, behaviors, attitudes and values,” but at 261 these are split between “developmental” and “relational” aspects, 308-310 establishes this fourfold distinction, and at 374 highlights the difficulty presented by individuals with gender abnormalities, while this is a significant pastoral and ethical issue outside the scope of this piece, we will argue on the basis that gender is typically biologically determined, while gender identity is subject to a similar range of biological and environmental factors to sexual orientation, at 1296, after a less than critical survey of the scientific research, it is concluded “a more adequate explanation of homosexual orientation conceptualizes biological and psychosocial factors as interactively related, meaning that they are mutually affecting and being affected by each other simultaneously and continually,” J.W Paris, The End of Sexual Identity, Location 312-322 also makes the case for being sensitive to intersex people in the language used regarding gender. 9 Sexual orientation is “natural” in that they represent a complex mix of biological and sociological factors outside the control of the individual, see S.L Jones, and M.A Yarhouse, Homosexuality: The Use of Scientific Research in the Church's Moral Debate, (Downers Grove, IVP, 2000), Kindle Edition, Location 206, J.K Balswick, and J.O Balswick, Authentic Human Sexuality, Location 306, M. Hill, The How and Why of Love: An Introduction to Evangelical Ethics, (Sydney, Matthias Media, 2002), 180, accepts some biological factors in male homosexuality, but suggests homosexual orientation in women is largely sociologically determined, We must acknowledge the weakness of the biological evidence, to date, scientific studies have been methodologically flawed, and inconclusive, and there is no readily identifiable biological determinant of sexual orientation agreed upon by the majority, see J.W Paris, The End of Sexual Identity, Location 107, However, it is possible that a biological factor will one day be established, and by assuming this development we are able to ensure our response to the issue is consistent, and not reactive to scientific discovery, J.R Beck, ‘Evangelicals, Homosexuality, and Social Science,’ 87 10 S.L Jones, and M.A Yarhouse, Homosexuality: The Use of Scientific Research, Location 206 11 J.K Balswick, and J.O Balswick, Authentic Human Sexuality, 588, Further, research suggests that even if sexual orientation is innate, it is not immutable, and that individuals are able to attempt change in orientation with some success, and little chance of harm, see conclusions in S.L Jones, and M.A Yarhouse, Ex-Gays?: Longitudinal Study 12 This determinism is incompatible with any philosophical position held in this debate, particularly with Christian anthropology, which holds man accountable for his actions, and God as sovereign, rather than biology, S.O Cole, ‘Biology, homosexuality, and the biblical doctrine of sin.’ Bibliotheca Sacra 157, no. 627 (July 1, 2000): 348-361. 13, J.K Balswick, and J.O Balswick, Authentic Human Sexuality, Location 266-299, “We believe that each of the deterministic positions yields a limited understanding of human sexuality and fails to provide an adequate grasp of authentic sexuality.” 13 J.K Balswick, and J.O Balswick, Authentic Human Sexuality, Location 596

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human identity.14 Those who seek to argue that sexuality is essential to human identity overstate its importance.15 We will argue that biology has little bearing on morality,16 and an argument against homosexuality from the natural order (generic) is possible,17 we will consider homosexual behaviour as outside of the purpose for humanity established by the created order (telic), based on Biblical revelation.18 Scientific observations, as natural revelation of the generic order, describe the fallen world (Gen 3, Rom 8:20-22), not this created order,19 and the telic order has moral priority.20 Our participation in public discussion must pay heed to the complexity of moral philosophy, and we will suggest discussions about

                                                                                                               
J.K Balswick, and J.O Balswick, Authentic Human Sexuality, Location 1330 supports this link, a position criticised by J.W Paris, The End of Sexual Identity: Why Sex Is Too Important to Define Who We Are, (Downers Grove, IVP, 2011), Kindle Edition, Location 406, “Sexual identity is a Western, nineteenth-century formulation of what it means to be human. It's grounded in a belief that the direction of one's sexual desire is identity-constituting” 15 So, for example, R.A. Nelson, ‘Homosexuality and social ethics.’ 394, “Human sexuality, while rooted in biology, is not primarily a question of biology; it is a question of the total person, of who one is.” 16 For morality to be determined biologically, the action must be completely biologically determined, S.L Jones, and M.A Yarhouse, Homosexuality: The Use of Scientific Research, Location 71, the morality of the behaviour does not depend on its immutability, S.L Jones, and M.A Yarhouse, Ex-Gays?: A Longitudinal, Location 1543, as “the Christian moral demand is not orientation change but rather, at a minimum, "chaste behavior,”" relying on biology to remove moral culpability is equally problematic in natural law ethics, see S.J Pope, ‘Scientific and Natural Law Analyses of Homosexuality : A Methodological Study,’ Journal Of Religious Ethics 25, no. 1 (March 1, 1997): 89-126, 90-91, 100, we also reject contrary views presented by those who ignore the fall, and equate our experience of creation with the created order, see, D. L, Balch, ‘Romans 1:24-27, Science, and Homosexuality.’ Currents In Theology And Mission, 25, no. 6 (December 1, 1998): 433-440 For consistency’s sake we must recognise that establishing that a behaviour is “unnatural” is not necessarily the same as establishing that a behaviour is immoral, see S.J Pope, ‘Scientific and Natural Law Analyses of Homosexuality,’ 91, we will argue below that questions of morality rest in a separate field altogether. We will argue that morality is determined by the creator, and revealed through the Bible. 17 R.A. Norris, ‘Some notes on the current debate regarding homosexuality and the place of homosexuals in the church.’ Anglican Theological Review, 90, no. 3 (June 1, 2008), 437-511, 460, suggests Aquinas’ Summa theologiae, argues that homosexuality is unnatural from a philosophical definition of "nature" that was “determined by, and rooted in, the moral theories of Aristotle,” M. Hill, The How and Why of Love, 196, mounts an argument from the mental and physical health implications of homosexual behaviour. 18 O. O’Donovan, Resurrection and Moral Order, (Leicester, Apollos, 1994, 2nd Edition), 19, “any certainty we may have about the order which God has made depends upon God’s own disclosure of himself and his works,” 31-38, we will adopt the distinction between generic and telic orders described by O’Donovan, who suggests observation of a “generic” order is within the realm of science, while the telic order, based on purpose, requires a form of revelation 19 Our ability to correctly interpret natural revelation has also been damaged by the fall, A. Cameron, Joined Up Life, (Nottingham, IVP, 2011), 152, O. O’Donovan, Resurrection and moral order, 19, “In speaking of man’s fallenness we point not only to his persistent rejection of the created order, but also to an inescapable confusion in his perceptions of it.” 20 O. O’Donovan, Resurrection and Moral Order, 19-20
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moral presuppositions are more useful than discussions about moral absolutes. We will approach the relevant Biblical texts through a Biblical Theology framework, arguing that the Biblical position on homosexuality is clear, and relevant for framing a Christian contribution to public discussion.21 We conclude that Christian approaches to moral issues must begin with Christ and the transformative power of the gospel.22 Our answer to the dilemma posed by homosexuality involves redefining the core of human identity. We suggest the church should reaffirm celibacy as a legitimate life choice, and work to support those called to be “eunuchs for the kingdom” (Matt 19:12). Homosexuality and Science: “Natural” ethics The search for a biological determinant of homosexual orientation has so far included studies of twins, chromosomal abnormalities, genetics, pre-natal hormone levels, and observations of sexual behaviour in the animal world. These studies have located various links, but have typically been unable to reproduce results, based on inadequate or non-representative sampling, and been over-zealously reported by the media.23 Most scientific studies suggest an etiological overlap of nature and nurture, and while such studies raise the possibility of biological influences on sexual orientation, no single determinative biological factor has been identified to                                                                                                                
While this may seem a case of stating the obvious, there are those who would dismiss appeals to scripture as unduly “conservative,” see L.C. Stahlberg, ‘Modern day Moabites: the Bible and the debate about same-sex marriage.’ Biblical Interpretation 16, no. 5 (January 1, 2008): 442-475, 446-447 22 O. O’Dovovan, Resurrection and Moral Order, 11-13, suggests more specifically Christian ethics springs from Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. 23 S.L Jones, and A. W. Kwee. ‘Scientific research, homosexuality, and the church's moral debate: an update.’ Journal Of Psychology And Christianity 24, no. 4 (December 1, 2005): 304316, 304-312, details each of these studies and their failings. Also M.A Grisanti, ‘Cultural and medical myths about homosexuality.’ Master's Seminary Journal 19, no. 2 (September 1, 2008): 175-202, 185, 201-202, J.W Paris, The End of Sexual Identity, Location 580, suggests the science is weak and conflicted, See also S.J Pope, ‘Scientific and Natural Law Analyses of Homosexuality,’ 97-99, J.R Beck, ‘Evangelicals, Homosexuality, and Social Science,’ 89-95, M.A. Yarhouse, ‘Homosexuality, ethics, and identity synthesis.’ Christian Bioethics 10, no. 2-3 (August 1, 2004): 239-257, 241, also S.L Jones, and M.A Yarhouse, Homosexuality: The Use of Scientific Research in the Church’s Moral Debate, Location 262-268, 672-835
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date.24 Sexual orientation is best understood as the result of a complex mix of factors.25 What can be concluded from the research is that it is very rare for an individual to choose a homosexual orientation,26 so orientation can be described in a meaningful way as “natural.”27 These scientific findings have little bearing on the morality of homosexual behaviour from a Christian perspective. Sinful predispositions forming part of human nature is accounted for by the fall, and the doctrine of inherited sin.28 Moral culpability is only excused if nature completely determines action. Sexual Identity: Essence or Construct

See D. Westberg, et al. ‘Same-sex marriage and Anglican theology: a view from the traditionalists,’ Anglican Theological Review 93, no. 1 (December 1, 2011): 1-50, 33-35, A. Nelson, ‘Homosexuality and social ethics.’ 382, J.W Paris, The End of Sexual Identity: Why Sex Is Too Important to Define Who We Are, (Downers Grove, IVP, 2011), Kindle Edition, Location 1022, M.A Grisanti, ‘Cultural and medical myths about homosexuality,’ 185, quotes the APA who acknowledge that no consensus exists on the “exact reasons.” 25 See S.L Jones, and M.A Yarhouse, Homosexuality: The Use of Scientific Research in the Church’s Moral Debate, Location 517, “Many psychological theories look at the parent-child relationship, early childhood development, early homosexual experiences and childhood sexual abuse.” S.L Jones, and M.A Yarhouse, Ex-Gays?: A Longitudinal Study, Locations 309-310, 694, in a survey of 882 individuals dealing with unwanted same sex attraction,“520 (almost 60%) reported having had a childhood homosexual contact at an average age of 10.9 years, with the person initiating that contact being an average age of 17.2 years.” 26 S.L Jones, and M.A Yarhouse, Homosexuality: The Use of Scientific Research in the Church’s Moral Debate, Location 205, J.W Paris, The End of Sexual Identity, Location 592, This runs contrary to the conservative position that homosexuality is a choice that can easily be “unchosen.” “This is a vestige of premodern Christian thought, when same-sex activity was thought of purely in terms of behavior and in religious terms: the sodomite needs to repent. That line of reasoning simply doesn't fit the world today. Even scientists who emphasize "nurture" agree that homosexuality is not always freely chosen.” 27 There is some confusion in the moral debate as the modern scientific definition clashes with the classical philosophical definition of nature. See, O. O’Donovan, Resurrection and Moral Order, 17-18, D. Westberg, et al. ‘Same-sex marriage and Anglican theology: a view from the traditionalists,’ 38, “the problems associated with traditional terminology, including exaggerated claims made for natural law in the recent past, and with the conflation of natural moral law with natural laws in a physical or biological sense.” S.J Pope, ‘Scientific and Natural Law Analyses of Homosexuality,’ 92, “The heart of the confusion lies in conflating and confusing the classical teleological and normative meaning of "nature" used by Aristotle with the modern mechanistic and non-normative use of the term employed by contemporary scientists and philosophers.” O. O’Donovan, A Conversation Waiting to Begin, 89, argues that the terms are historically based in Stoic philosophy, and it is not out of bounds to apply them to either scientific or Christian approaches to ethics, “"Natural" and "unnatural" are terms that come into play when questions arise about how we shall conduct ourselves as embodied souls and ensouled bodies.” 28 S.O Cole, ‘Biology, Homosexuality, And The Biblical Doctrine Of Sin,’ 11, O. O’Donovan, Resurrection and moral order, 19, R.B Hays, The Moral Vision of the New Testament: Community, Cross, New Creation, (New York, HarperCollins, 1996), 398

                                                                                                               
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Assuming sexual orientation is natural, the moral question now turns to whether orientation necessarily leads to action and identity, particularly whether a homosexual identity is “essential” or a “construct.”29 Anthropological studies of different cultures and their approach to sexual identification suggest the view that sexuality is the heart of human identity is a western construct.30 However, an essentialist view, made possible if homosexual orientation is absolutely biologically determined, sees sexuality as a fundamental part of the human essence, or identity.31 Strong essentialists argue that the nature of homosexuality universal.32 The reality is less clear-cut. The absence of a clear biological determinant, and the presence of environmental influences in the etiology of homosexual orientation, supports the conclusion that sexuality is partly a social construct.33 A Biblical anthropology, which regards human nature, and sexuality, as effected by sin, and Jesus’ statement that some eunuchs are “born

                                                                                                               
M.A Grisanti, ‘Cultural and medical myths about homosexuality,’ 187 J. Meyerowitz, ‘How Common Culture Shapes the Separate Lives’: Sexuality, Race, and Mid-Twentieth-Century Social Constructionist Thought.’ Journal Of American History 96, no. 4 (March 2010): 1057-1084, 1063-1074, studies in Africa, Samoa, and other non-Western cultures where Western views of sexuality have been adopted demonstrated a rapidly changing view of homosexuality and sexual identity as a result of cultural assimilation which suggests even if biology plays a part, the view that sexuality is “essential” is a western view, Also, J.W Paris, The End of Sexual Identity, Location 574-580 31 S.L Jones, and M.A Yarhouse, Homosexuality: The Use of Scientific Research in the Church's Moral Debate, Location 227, “Essentialists argue that the term homosexual accurately defines a person's self or inner core or nature, so that sexual orientation is intimately intertwined with a person's true identity as a human being.” also S.J Pope, ‘Scientific and Natural Law Analyses of Homosexuality,’ 97, “Recent research on the biological basis of homosexuality by neuroanatomist Simon LeVay and biochemist Dean Hamer has attracted wide interest. They contend that homosexuality in some individuals is constitutional, rooted in their genes and expressed in their phenotypes, and therefore an essential component of their humanity”, also M.A. Yarhouse, ‘Homosexuality, ethics, and identity synthesis,’ 244, 247, “This metaphysical assumption prescribes identification with same-sex impulses and makes efforts to “reorient” a person appear vulnerable to the charge of coercion” 32 S.L Jones, and M.A Yarhouse, Ex-Gays?: A Longitudinal Study, Location 318, M.A. Yarhouse, ‘Homosexuality, ethics, and identity synthesis,’ 245 33 S.L Jones, and M.A Yarhouse, Homosexuality: The Use of Scientific Research in the Church’s Moral Debate, Location 244, most scientists studying sexuality are construcionalists, M.A. Yarhouse, ‘Homosexuality, ethics, and identity synthesis,’ 243-246 “sexual orientations can be universal realities across times and cultures without having a strictly biological etiology, and they can have an environmental etiology and not be social constructions as such.”
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that way” (Matt 19:12) supports a weak essentialist position, where one’s propensities are not the product of one’s environment.34 Construct, Essence, and the LGBT Movement The early LGBT liberation movement depended on the view that sexual morality was a construction to be deconstructed.35 This involved the removal of constructed constraints, and freedom to determine one’s own sexual identity.36 Current LGBT advocates adopt scientific research to argue that sexuality is essential, recognising that if one’s sexual orientation is biologically determined, and sexuality is essential, then it becomes difficult to argue against the morality of homosexuality.37 A strong essentialist view establishes a link between orientation and identity. Aristotelian approach to ethics would suggest that the homosexual is acting morally and flourishing, when they act according to nature and embrace this identity.38                                                                                                                
As opposed to the strong essentialism described above, see M.A. Yarhouse, ‘Homosexuality, ethics, and identity synthesis,’ 243-247 35 M. Hill, The How and Why of Love, 178-179 36 M. Hill, The How and Why of Love, 178-179, “It is important to understand that at the centre of the whole gay political program was the idea that the goal or purpose of sexuality was not given or fixed. According to the deconstructionist understanding, the goal of one’s sexual nature had to be individually discovered,” while elements of the LGBT movement have now started arguing on an “essential basis,” The process of social deconstruction has now moved to a more aggressive attempt to reconstruct society according to their own agenda, at 203-205, the antidiscrimination element of the pro-gay movement has moved past property rights, employment, housing, and freedom from vilification, towards seeking the ability to censor dissenting views, the deconstruction argument is still used in moral debate, even if the LGBT lobby has moved on, this argument basically says that individuals have the right to determine their own destiny, which means society has no place making moral declarations, R.A. Norris, ‘Some notes on the current debate,’ 437, 37 R.B Hays, The Moral Vision of the New Testament, 394-395, outside of Biblical revelation there is a strong natural case to be made for the acceptance of homosexual behaviour. M. Hill, The How and Why of Love, 179, “From a logical point of view, if it is accepted that there is no objective goal for human sexuality built into the very order of creation, then the ‘gay argument’ is both logical and powerful.” D. Westberg, et al. ‘Same-sex marriage and Anglican theology,’ 48 38 Especially as Aristotle limited ethical determinations to the generic order, see Aristotle, Ethics, Produced T. Garvin, D. Widger, Book 1, Kindle Edition, Location 353, If it can be shown that such behaviour represents a “telos” involving human flourishing for the individual concerned, modern ethical philosophers hope sociobiology, a fusion of evolutionary science and anthropology, may be able to objectively define human flourishing, see G. Graham, Eight Theories of Ethics, (London, Routledge, 2004), Kindle Edition, Location 1345, although, at 3511, it is suggested that evolutionary theory and Aristotelian ethics seem inherently contradictory, “However, the attempt to wed Aristotelian philosophy and Darwinian biology cannot be considered wholly successful. The heart of ethical naturalism is the attempt to settle questions of moral conduct by reference to our nature as human beings, but because human beings have proved adaptable to a host of different environments, it inevitably leaves many disputes between conflicting styles and modes of life unresolved.” Some have modified this position within a Christian framework, suggesting committed and
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However, the post hoc moral argument that equates nature, behaviour, and essence, is severely flawed for the following reasons. Firstly, one must argue that a natural predisposition completely predetermines behaviour to the exclusion of culpability. A flaw in the application of this principle can be demonstrated through a crude analogy with phrenology.39 While phrenologists believed a particular head shape predisposed an individual to anti-social behaviour, culpability for this behaviour was not removed, because a moral society functions on the assumption that individuals bear some responsibility for their actions.40 Secondly, it falls foul of the is/ought fallacy, where an inference is drawn from how things are, and extrapolated to suggest this represents how things ought to be.41 Thirdly, the LGBT community is inconsistent in its approach to the relationship between biology, identity, and essence, when it comes to
stable homosexual relationships are the best end possible for those with homosexual orientation, see R.A. Norris, ‘Some notes on the current debate,’ 474-477, some hold that homosexuality is objectively wrong, but homosexuals are operating with a diminished capacity which means their actions are not immoral, see T. Paterson, ‘An introduction to the ethics of homosexuality,’ 50, 52, “…no blanket condemantion of homosexual action is possible. It may be objectively wrong, but from within the context of diminishment of insight and capability may it not be possible to act positively in an ethical manner?... (52) We must ask whether some form of societal recognition of homosexual relationships is not desirable, not to encourage homosexuality per se, but in order to encourage responsible homosexual relationships.” 39 Phrenology, or the study of head shapes, was used to suggest that particular individuals were criminally predisposed, this piece will seek to avoid objectionable analogies regarding universally abhorred behaviour that may be demonstrated to be natural, we will also seek to avoid emotive slippery slope arguments or unnecessarily emotive analogies, R. J. Gagnon, Homosexuality and the Bible: Two Views, Location 569, suggests incest and bestiality are the best analogies, G. Graham, Eight Theories of Ethics, Location 1430, uses an analogy of a genetic predisposition towards racism, which potentially has an evolutionary rationale, but this does not make such behaviour commendable. 40 G. Graham, Eight Theories of Ethics, Location 1448, appealing to nature is a denial of human freedom, “Faced with an account of the 'natural' way of life we are still free to choose it or reject it.” 41 Also known as the “naturalistic fallacy,” most famously articulated by David Hume, cited in G. Graham, Eight Theories of Ethics, Location 340, “statements of fact cannot of themselves have prescriptive implications. If so, then propositions referring to 'real' moral properties could provide no rational basis for action since, being descriptions of how the world is, we could not infer from them how the world ought to be. Actually, the position is worse than this for the moral realist, because according to another version of the naturalistic fallacy, we cannot even infer good and bad from is and is not,” at 393, moral rationalism holds that deriving “oughts” from what “is” is possible via the process of reason, but a relationship cannot simply be asserted. Aristotle, Ethics, Produced T. Garvin, D. Widger, Book 1, Kindle Edition, Location 385, frames this as reasoning from principles, rather than reasoning to principles.

                                                                                                               

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gender.42 Though one’s physical gender is biologically fixed, the LGBT movement does not recognise a necessarily link between nature and identity. Gender identity appears to be constructed, with a partly environmental etiology,43 while one’s sex is, in most cases, biologically fixed.44 LGBT advocates accept gender realignment procedures on the basis that physical gender is a construction,45 and only one’s chosen identity is essential.46 At the same time, the LGBT community abhors individual attempts to realign sexual orientation because orientation is essential.47
R.J Gagnon, Homosexuality and the Bible: Two Views, Location 1008, “It is one of the great ironies of the modern pro-homosex lobby that it often argues for the insignificance of sexual differentiation while insisting that most homosexuals have a rigid "orientation" toward persons of the same sex.” 43 J.W Paris, The End of Sexual Identity, Location 312-330, Gender roles are definitely constructed, sex is biologically assigned in a straight forward way in most cases, and gender identity is the result of combining these two factors in a manner satisfactory to the individual. 44 J.W Paris, The End of Sexual Identity, Location 322, we must be careful not to exclude those whose biology makes categorization difficult when discussing gender. 45 In Australia, the Australian Human Rights Commission, Addressing Sexual Orientation and Sex and/or Gender Identity Discrimination, 2011, retrieved 13 Nov 2011, http://www.hreoc.gov.au/human_rights/lgbti/lgbticonsult/report/SGI_2011.pdf, 37, made recommendations regarding “Gender Affirmation Treatment” (reassignment), The American Psychological Association (APA) makes a distinction between “sex” and “gender” to distinguish between that which is essential, and that which is constructed, see APA, ‘Answers to your Questions about Transgender People, Gender Identity, and Gender Expression,’ online article, retrieved 13 Nov 2011, http://www.apa.org/topics/sexuality/transgender.aspx, Further, the APA recommends psychologists guide transgender patients through the reassignment process, American Psychology Association, ‘APA Policy Statement: Transgender, Gender Identity, and Gender Non-Discrimination,’ 2008, retrieved online 13 Nov 2011, http://www.apa.org/about/governance/council/policy/transgender.aspx, “Therefore, be it further resolved that APA recognizes the efficacy, benefit and medical necessity of gender transition treatments for appropriately evaluated individuals and calls upon public and private insurers to cover these medically necessary treatments.” 46 P. Gherovici, ‘Psychoanalysis Needs A Sex Change,’ Gay & Lesbian Issues and Psychology Review, Vol. 7, No. 1, 2011, 3-18, 13-15, “The wish to correct the ‘error of nature’ is often observed in transsexual practices; it is the refusal to accept a sexual discourse that is built on an error, that of taking the phallus for a signifier of sexual difference...” gender reorientation technologies “are now grafted onto a discourse of essentialist identity. For many transsexuals, starting as they do from a perceived problem presented as a birth defect, the issue is simply how to change their bodies to reach the ideal of being just the other sex.” Also, J.W Paris, The End of Sexual Identity, Location 312 47 S.L Jones, and M.A Yarhouse, Homosexuality: The Use of Scientific Research, Location 63, “in a recent Christianity Today news report Elizabeth Birch, director of the gay-rights organization Human Rights Campaign, expresses concern that "endorsing reparative therapy for homosexuals and telling people they have a choice about their sexual orientation is 'hateful.'” also, M.A. Yarhouse, ‘Homosexuality, ethics, and identity synthesis,’ 242 cites further opposition, ”Clinicians who offer or even consider conversion therapy for their clients are ignoring the sociopolitical context that perpetuates both external and internal homophobia.” S.L Jones, and M.A Yarhouse, Ex-Gays?: A Longitudinal Study, Location 329, Also The Australian Psychological Society (APS), ‘Sexual Orientation and Homosexuality,’ retrieved 13 Nov 2011, http://www.psychology.org.au/publications/tip_sheets/orientation suggests conversion therapy doesn’t work, and is harmful, and in Australian Psychological Society, ‘APS Position Statement on the Use of Therapies that Attempt to Change Sexual Orientation,’ 2000, retrieved 13 Nov 2011, http://www.psychology.org.au/Assets/Files/reparative_therapy.pdf, “recommends that ethical practitioners refrain from attempts to change individuals’ sexual orientation.” the APA also

                                                                                                               
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Even if homosexual orientation is biologically determined, the assumption that orientation necessitates action, which necessarily leads to a homosexual identity,48 is the result of the western world’s flawed ontology of human identity.49 For any meaningful definition of morality, be it with regards to homosexual activities or otherwise, individuals must be free to choose both their actions and the identity in spite of, or in conformity to, what is naturally supplied.50 A Methodology for determining Biblical Ethics

                                                                                                               
opposes “reparative” or change therapies, American Psychological Association, ‘Answers to your questions: For a better understanding of sexual orientation and homosexuality,’ 2008, retrieved 13 Nov 2011, www.apa.org/topics/sorientation.pdf, “Furthermore, it seems likely that the promotion of change therapies reinforces stereotypes and contributes to a negative climate for lesbian, gay, and bisexual persons. This appears to be especially likely for lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals who grow up in more conservative religious settings.” This, in part, must be acknowledged to be the product of some of the language of “repair,” and the fear that when this is applied at a systemic level, discrimination against those who reject changes will inevitably result, the concerns raised by the LGBT community outlined above have some merit if conversion is a systemic process rather than an opt-in. 48 So, for example, T. Paterson, ‘An introduction to the ethics of homosexuality,’ 47, “What is important to us is that all theories show that the homosexual person is in no way responsible for his condition. Further, he cannot simply decide to be otherwise. His very being is to a greater or less extent homosexual” 49 O. O’Donovan, A Conversation Waiting to Begin: The Churches and the Gay Controversy, 94, “if we fail to inquire what the erotic body is a medium for, then we end up investing our perfectly ordinary experiences of sexual attraction with an ontological weight that is, in fact, a borrowed transference, and in our confusion we fail to understand either ourselves or our bodies,” As would appear to be demonstrated through anthropological observations of the adoption of western sexual identity categories in non-western cultures. J.W Paris, The End of Sexual Identity, Location 577580, “Even in a culture as remote as the Bugis, people are beginning to identify as lesbian instead of calalai, and as gay or transgender instead of calabai, because Western identities carry more cachet. The reality is that same-sex feelings and behaviors take on different configurations and meanings in various cultures, and they change over time. Thus, the notion that people have sexual identities is a social construct: because people believe it, it becomes real in its effects.” 50 This is the case in classical ethical theory, its truth within a theological framework under a sovereign God, is somewhat debatable, and we will argue below that the reality is that the human condition involves a limited ability to exercise such freedom as a consequence of sin, on classical ethical philosophy, see G. Graham, Eight Theories of Ethics, Locations 1448-1977, for the application to the homosexual debate see, R.A. Norris, ‘Some notes on the current debate,’ 464 “On the other hand, human beings (and in principle any other rational creatures endowed with the capacity for some degree of self-determination) are capable of acting in ways that deny or frustrate their own nature. As we have seen, what is natural for humans—in the sense of "nature"—includes a determination of the way in which their nature is fulfilled: i.e., voluntarily. For them, "doing what comes naturally" is therefore to a significant degree a matter of choice, and to the extent that this is true, it becomes a moral issue,” 477, “The other possibility, or course, is that both heterosexual and homosexual proclivities are, at least to some extent, matters of choice… This assertion need not, after all, entail the belief that such a choice is ever made either abstractly… or on some single, identifiable occasion or series of occasions, each accompanied by clear and open deliberation,” S.J Pope, ‘Scientific and Natural Law Analyses of Homosexuality,’ 103,

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Aristotelian moral arguments depend on establishing a human purpose based on human flourishing, from the generic order.51 Our proposed Christian ethical framework is also purpose based, but assumes that Biblical revelation establishes a created, or creator’s, moral order,52 which, taking heed of the fall, takes priority over purpose derived from the generic.53 Christians believe homosexual behaviour contravenes this order.54 The Christian position is in conflict with the popular sociobiological view of the nature and morality of homosexuality,55 so we will now discuss the biblical data.56 Homosexuality and the Bible The Bible contains clear prohibitions of homosexual behaviour, explicitly (Leviticus 18:22, 20:13, Romans 1:26-27, 1 Cor 6:9-10, 1 Tim 1:10),57 and                                                                                                                
R.A. Norris, ‘Some notes on the current debate,’ 441, 445-456, O. O’Donovan, Resurrection and Moral Order, 31-38, S.J Pope, ‘Scientific and Natural Law Analyses of Homosexuality,’ 120, suggests the question of the morality of homosexuality boils down to whether homosexuality can be shown to encourage human flourishing, D. L, Balch, ‘Romans 1:24-27, Science, and Homosexuality,’ 439, suggests “if hetero- or homosexual activity is not compulsive, then it may be healthy and good,” he affirms the “goodness” in his concluding remarks, A. Cameron, Joined Up Life, 152 suggests that not only is our ability to read “natural” revelation damaged by the fall, so to is our ability to recognise the created moral order. 52 O. O’Donovan, Resurrection and Moral Order, 19, D. Westberg, et al. ‘Same-sex marriage and Anglican theology: a view from the traditionalists,’ 38, “Christian thought mutually corroborates Scripture, which can be seen as special revelation, and insights from the natural moral order,” R.A. Norris, ‘Some notes on the current debate,’ 464, S.J Pope, ‘Scientific and Natural Law Analyses of Homosexuality,’ 107 53 This is the traditional protestant view, see D. Westberg, et al. ‘Same-sex marriage and Anglican theology: a view from the traditionalists,’ 35-37, natural law arguments must include the fall, to prevent a direct link being drawn between is and ought. The elevation of natural revelation, and the generic order, to the same level of importance is common in Catholic theology see R.A. Norris, ‘Some notes on the current debate,’ 466, “In considering the meaning of "unnatural" in Aquinas’ analysis, however, one must not forget that he adds something to Aristotle's picture: namely the belief that since God is exclusively responsible for nature, the "natural" represents the will of God; and since, as we have seen, natures are fixed, so is God's will,” or D. L, Balch, ‘Romans 1:24-27, Science, and Homosexuality,’ 436, “Catholicism teaches that the discoveries of science contribute to understanding God's original intention and ongoing will, a contrast to classical Protestantism, which rejected nature as corrupted by sin... Given the traditionally anti-intellectual ethos of conservative Protestantism, recognizing science as uncovering divine intention within creation will not be easy… Ironically, conservative Protestants emphasize the Creator God of Genesis 1, but understand that text as the only place one may look to discover more about the nature and purpose of creation!” Also, T. Paterson, ‘An introduction to the ethics of homosexuality,’ 49, S.J Pope, ‘Scientific and Natural Law Analyses of Homosexuality,’ 109, articulates the tension, which we hope to resolve by looking to the new creation, “Human beings as they ought to be are not utterly discontinuous with human beings as they are created, even if this creation is corrupted by Original Sin. This is especially true in Catholic theology, based as it is on the fundamental axiom that nature is perfected by grace.” 54 R.A. Norris, ‘Some notes on the current debate,’ 437, O. O’Donovan, Resurrection and Moral Order, 19 55 On the popular understanding of the impact of sociobiology on morality see G. Graham, Eight Theories of Ethics, Locations 1310-1345. 56 We are working on the assumption that the Christian position is established by the Bible. 57 Though homosexual activity was involved in the destruction of Sodom in Genesis 19, it seems more reasonable to suggest the judgment of Sodom was for more than simply
51

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implicitly, through the affirmation of sexual morality being based on the created order (Gen 1:27-28, 2:21-24, Mark 10:6-8, Matt 19:4-6, Romans 1:26-27). A theologically incoherent approach: The pro-homosexual case The liberal,58 pro-homosexual movement within the church falls into two camps: those who choose to suggest the Bible is not the primary ethical authority for the life of the church,59 and those who attempt to reinterpret the prohibitions via new hermeneutics.60 Liberals tend to operate on the assumptions that homosexual practice, in the form of committed monogamy, 61 and unchosen homosexual orientation,62
engaging in homosexual activity, see M. Hill, The How and Why of Love, 185, R.B Hays, The Moral Vision of the New Testament, 381 58 We will adopt “liberal” as a suitable epithet for describing those seeking to change the traditional position on homosexuality, not as a pejorative, but in recognition of terminology adopted by those it describes, so P.D, Browning, ‘A liberal appreciation of post-liberalism: implications for denominational ethical decision-making and the debate over homosexuality.’ Encounter 61, no. 2 (March 1, 2000): 144-165, 166, and already at play in the debate, so L.C. Stahlberg, ‘Modern Day Moabites: The Bible and the Debate About Same-Sex Marriage,’ 447, defines Liberal as “readers whose religious readings of the Bible are informed by such factors as the Bibles historical and sociological contexts, its literariness, or its metaphoric meanings.” Which seems an odd caricature of traditional interpretation as the absence of these factors, conflating literalism with any form of non-liberal reading. 59 D. L, Balch, ‘Romans 1:24-27, Science, and Homosexuality,’ 435, 440 “To see the Bible as the sole source for Christian ethics is idolatry, the worship of a text rather than of the God revealed in Christ, who continues to be revealed. The most fundamental scientific insight was established by Kinsey's research… do we learn about how God created us exclusively from Genesis 1 and Romans 1, or may we not also learn something new about God's creation from experimental science, from scientists like Kinsey? Like Paul, I assume that we can learn from the biology of our own century,” T.W, Bartel, ‘Some issues in human sexuality: a reliable guide to the debate on homosexuality?.’ Modern Believing 47, no. 2 (April 1, 2006): 13-24, 21-23, Suggests moral philosophy, not Scripture, should settle the issue, “traditional Christian rejection of homosexuality is nothing more than a taboo, however many biblical texts may condemn it... There is nothing wrong with allowing direct biblical teaching on a specific moral issue to have the first word. But, as noted above, on a variety of moral issues the Church has decided that such teaching cannot have the last word - that it is not, after all, normative for Christians of all times and cultures.” R.A. Norris, ‘Some notes on the current debate,’ 458, “Appeal to the Scriptures either functions—to speak charitably—as confirmation of already established attitudes; or else it functions—to speak uncharitably—as a rhetorical ploy that is intended less to persuade or enlighten than (a) to discredit the opposition as despisers of "the Bible," and (b) to break off rational argument…it cannot be illegitimate or unreasonable for participants in the debate about the regularization of homosexual behaviour to employ arguments in support of their positions that draw on other than scriptural sources” 60 L.C. Stahlberg, ‘Modern Day Moabites: The Bible and the Debate About Same-Sex Marriage,’ 448-449, “The wrestling involves a variety of hermeneutical moves, including situating those biblical texts that appear to condemn same-sex sexual behavior within their ancient historical and social contexts; reading them mythologically or metaphorically; understanding them to be finite (and timebound) rather than universal (and eternal) in their application,” For an alternative view of the “two approaches” see S.L Jones, and M.A Yarhouse, Homosexuality: The Use of Scientific Research, Location 116, “Two versions of an argument are typically offered to justify the revision of Christian teaching based on science: that the Bible is wrong and that it is vague.” 61 Liberal scholars assume and that the implication of this reconstruction is that thus these passages cannot speak to modern homosexual behaviour. L.C. Stahlberg, ‘Modern Day

                                                                                                               

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were foreign to Biblical times, that nature and experience are forms of revelation,63 sexuality is fundamental to humanity,64 Biblical views of sexuality are ancient social constructs,65 or that expressions of commitment and love are good and therefore moral.66 Some employ an argument from almost-silence, to suggest that because “not much” is said, the Bible is disinterested in the question.67                                                                                                                
Moabites: The Bible and the Debate About Same-Sex Marriage,’ 455, E.F. Davis, ‘Reasoning with scripture.’ Anglican Theological Review 90, no. 3 (June 1, 2008): 513-519, 515-517, “Can we readily convert that positive statement into a prohibition of lifelong committed sexual relationship between members of the same sex (a phenomenon that as far as we know was not publicly recognized as a social possibility in ancient Israel)? Producing a valid prohibition from a positive biblical statement is a dicey matter... The hermeneutical question with which the church must struggle is whether the acts that Paul condemns belong in the same category with mutually committed homosexual relationships between persons whose lives may on multiple grounds attest to a deep commitment to Jesus Christ and an exemplary love of neighbour.” This also rests on a questionable assumption that modern homosexual behaviour tends towards committed monogamy, see S.J Pope, ‘Scientific and Natural Law Analyses of Homosexuality,’ 96, M. Hill, The How and Why of Love, 201, “lifelong faithfulness is almost non-existent in the homosexual community.” There is statistically one monogamous homosexual couple for every 15,000 adults. 62 C.D. Myers, ‘What the Bible really says about homosexuality.’ Anima 19, no. 1 (September 1, 1992): 47-56, 55, “is the New Testament view not wedded to an outdated, first century perspective on homosexuality? Is homosexuality freely chosen, as Paul assumes in Romans 1, or is it the product of nature (genetics) or nurture (upbringing)?” M. Davies, ‘New Testament Ethics and Ours: Homosexuality and Sexuality in Romans 1:26-27.’ Biblical Interpretation 3, no. 3 (October 1, 1995), 315-331, 318, “We should also notice that homosexual behaviour is condemned. Nothing is said about people with a homosexual orientation... It is assumed that homosexual activity involves a free choice which people are able to make.” Also, R.A. Norris, ‘Some notes on the current debate,’ 442445, J.J Kotva, ‘Scripture, ethics, and the local church: homosexuality as a case study.’ Conrad Grebel Review 7, no. 1 (December 1, 1989): 41-61, 57, and D.O Via, Homosexuality and the Bible: Two Views, Location 215 63 R.A. Norris, ‘Some notes on the current debate,’ 466, D. L, Balch, ‘Romans 1:24-27, Science, and Homosexuality.’ 436, S.J Pope, ‘Scientific and Natural Law Analyses of Homosexuality,’ 109, R.A. Nelson, ‘Homosexuality and social ethics.’ 385, “The biblical material is itself not unambiguous; but even if it were, the contemporary question would not be settled because Christian theology must look to human experience as well as to the Bible for its data,” also, R.B Hays, The Moral Vision of the New Testament, 398-399, argues that while experience is a “serious case” but the normative principle regarding scripture requires “sustained and agonizing scrutiny by a consensus of the faithful,” which does not exist in this case, and suggests at best experience must only be considered a lens for reading the text, not an independent authority 64 R.A. Nelson, ‘Homosexuality and social ethics.’ 394, M. Davies, ‘New Testament Ethics and Ours,’ 330, “It [opposition to homosexuality] seems to be caused partly by an uncritical acceptance of biblical laws taken out of context and mostly by people's fears about loss of sexual identity. I think I am not alone in finding so much of my sense of personal identity bound up with my sense of sexual identity.” D. L, Balch, ‘Romans 1:24-27, Science, and Homosexuality,’ 435, 439, “Paul discovered that humans do not have bodies, but are bodies. Therefore, "sexuality is not some sort of addendum than can be easily set to one side,” T. Paterson, ‘An introduction to the ethics of homosexuality,’ 51, “The condemnation rests, rather, on ignorance concerning the being of the homosexual and his need for sexual fulfilment, and upon plain prejudice.” 65 J.S. Siker, ‘How to Decide? Homosexual Christians, the Bible, and Gentile Inclusion as model for contemporary debate over gays and lesbians.’ Theology Today 51, no. 2 (July 1, 1994): 219-234, 218, “Do we blithely adopt first-century (or ancient Israelite) social constructions of human sexuality and sexual relations and apply them to today? As far as I can tell, for the most part we do not.” 66 M. Davies, ‘New Testament Ethics and Ours,’ 319-323, also D. L, Balch, ‘Romans 1:24-27, Science, and Homosexuality,’ 435 67 R.A. Norris, ‘Some notes on the current debate,’ 442, “The writings that compose the small library called "the Bible" or, more accurately perhaps, "the Scriptures," are not preoccupied with

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Advocates of this position disregard much Old Testament material. They dismiss the creation account, due to its “mythical,” or patriachal nature,68 and dismiss the Levitical prohibitions either as abrogated purity laws,69 or laws solely concerned with idolatrous practices.70 Finally, some, in a novel approach, argue that all Biblical Laws were written to be broken.71

questions raised by the phenomenon of homosexuality, and, taken overall, have relatively little to say on the subject—a good deal less, for example, that on the subject of eating meat with the blood still in it.” See also, M. Davies, ‘New Testament Ethics and Ours,’ 315, C.D. Myers, ‘What the Bible really says about homosexuality,’ 55, “Homosexuality is not treated extensively in the Bible. In terms of emphasis, it is a minor concern. On those rare occasions when it is mentioned, homosexuality is not singled out. Instead homosexuality is always found in a list of prohibitions,” L.C. Stahlberg, ‘Modern Day Moabites: The Bible and the Debate About Same-Sex Marriage,’ 448 The paucity of texts does have a bearing on the emphasis that should be placed on homosexuality compared to other issues, but not on the morality of homosexual acts, R.B Hays, The Moral Vision of the New Testament, 381, R. J. Gagnon, Homosexuality and the Bible: Two Views, Location 854, ”All talk of same-sex intercourse being a minor concern in the New Testament, based on frequency of its explicit mention, denies the importance of historical context for biblical interpretation,” C.R Seitz, Word Without End: The Old Testament as Abiding Theological Witness, (Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 1998), Kindle Edition, Location 4248, “It has been pointed out that the Bible is not particularly obsessed with the topic of homosexuality - not nearly as obsessed, at any rate, as are church and culture in the late modern West. This may of course point to the relative infrequency of homosexual conduct within Israel, or in the frame of reference of the church's confessed Messiah of Israel, as was earlier suggested.” 68 L.C. Stahlberg, ‘Modern Day Moabites: The Bible and the Debate About Same-Sex Marriage,’ 447, “They turn to a core group of biblical prooftexts as evidence that, because God ordained heterosexual marriage at creation and also proclaims homosexual acts to be an abomination, homosexual marriage is a theological impossibility.” and 453, “the Genesis narratives are relatively easy to dismiss (if one is inclined to do so),” J.S. Siker, ‘How to Decide?,’ 226, “But, to use the creation stories to argue for heterosexuality as the exclusive norm is largely an argument from silence, since nothing there is said about homosexuality... This is to say nothing of how the story reflects the patriarchal context in which it was written, a context that, not incidently, subordinates women to men” Some particularly take umbrage at the notion that gender is fixed, and essential, see M. Davies, ‘New Testament Ethics and Ours,’ 330-331, “But these distinctions need to be deconstructed and reconstructed more radically, to question the absolute difference between male and female which they imply, so that we do not grow up with so much of our sense of personal identity invested in sexual difference.” T.W, Bartel, ‘Some issues in human sexuality,’ 17, prima facie dismisses our ability to draw any inference from Genesis, but “assumes it to be true” for the sake of argument, 69 J.S. Siker, ‘How to Decide?,’ 227, “So, if one chooses to take the prohibitions about a man lying with another man out of context and apply them to today, what is the rationale for not abiding by the other levitical prohibitions? To read and apply the biblical texts out of context leads inevitably to misreadings and misapplications,” C.D. Myers, ‘What the Bible really says about homosexuality,’ 55, R.B Hays, The Moral Vision of the New Testament, 382, suggests this distinction, while useful, is somewhat arbitrary, and we must consider how the New Testament approaches the prohibition. 70 R.K, Johnston, ‘Homosexuality. (2), Is ‘cure’ appropriate?’ Reformed Journal 31, no. 4 (April 1, 1981): 16-20, 17-19 71 Such is the argument in L.C. Stahlberg, ‘Modern Day Moabites: The Bible and the Debate About Same-Sex Marriage,’ 452-475, who suggests the welcome Ruth the Moabite receives runs contrary to the letter of the law, and thus the letter of the law was never to be applied, or “revised,” R.A. Norris, ‘Some notes on the current debate,’ 451, “Hence persons who raise questions about biblical prohibitions of certain species of sexual behaviour between individuals of the same gender may be "revisionists"; but they are no more so than many of the prophets—or Jesus, or Paul, or certain of the saints of later times”

                                                                                                               

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Regarding the New Testament they use critical reconstructions to dismiss some texts,72 reinterpret Paul as a product of his time,73 or argue that homosexuality was of no concern for Jesus and is therefore of no concern for his church.74 These positions ignore biblical theology,75 resulting in an anemic view of the transition from Old to New Testaments with little emphasis on the fall,76 and a low view of a required transformation of identity upon conversion.77

Many of these positions are arrived at by first rejecting, or minimising, the divine inspiration of scripture, then by applying critical methodology to pulling the text apart, either creating a disjunction between different prohibitions from the Old and New Testament, or within mini-canons, for example, some reject Pauline authorship of particular passages in order to dismiss the prohibitions, see: M. Davies, ‘New Testament Ethics and Ours,’ 317318,“only in Leviticus and in the Paulines and one Deutero-Pauline letter is homosexual practice condemned… Nevertheless, the genuine Pauline texts, first, contradict the argument about ' 'nature," and, second, undermine the ethos of the Priestly texts in such a way as to leave Rom. 1:26-27 and 1 Cor. 6:9 ungrounded. Pauline condemnation of homosexual practice is therefore to be understood as an anomalous emotional blindspot in an otherwise radical transformation of tradition” 73 In this view, Paul is unaware of “homosexual orientation,” and speaks against dominant sexual behaviour, pedestry, cultic practices of his day, or actions contrary to one’s sexual orientation, not against committed relationships, see T.W, Bartel, ‘Some Issues in Human Sexuality,’ 23, D. L, Balch, ‘Romans 1:24-27, Science, and Homosexuality,’ 439, also M. Hill, The How and Why of Love, 181-192, these arguments, especially related to Romans 1, are problematic both from the Greek, and Paul’s logic, R.B Hays, The Moral Vision of the New Testament, 382, suggests that the Greek words describing homosexual acts in 1 Corinthians 6 are “almost certainly” derived from Leviticus, and that the words were common in Rabbinic texts describing homosexual activity, 389, suggesting that Paul only writes against those acting against their natures is an anachronistic reading of the text. 74 This position assumes that Jesus’ references to Sodom and Gommorah (e.g Matt 10:14-15), do not contain implicit references to homosexuality, a position supported by this paper’s view of Genesis 19. Regarding Jesus’ lack of references to homosexual behaviour see S.L Jones, and M.A Yarhouse, Ex-Gays?: A Longitudinal Study, Location 657, R. J. Gagnon, Homosexuality and the Bible: Two Views, Location 836, “There was no reason for him to spend time addressing issues that were not points of contention and on which he had no dissenting view. Jesus could turn his attention to sexual issues that were problems in his society: the threat posed by divorce and by sexually errant thoughts to the one valid form of sexual union-that between a man and a woman.” C.R Seitz, Word Without End, Location 4200, “It has been objected in recent years that Jesus nowhere pronounces on homosexual behavior in the New Testament and that this silence is probative. It could just as easily be concluded that all we learn from this silence is that adultery was a more prevalent sin in Israel than homosexual behavior among men; this would explain its more frequent discussion in both the Old Testament” 75 Defined, and discussed at length below. 76 D.O Via, Homosexuality and the Bible: Two Views, Location 241, elevating general revelation of the generic order to the same level as special revelation and the telic order, “But the Bible itself implies that some findings of science may be recontextualized and made theologically and ethically useful, for science is the technical extension of the Wisdom teacher's observations of nature,” at 261, Via argues that to talk about the issue in an ethical and theological framework “is to deny that our social/cultural context and the knowledge gained from it have any significant part in deciding about ethical issues.” 77 See J.E. Johnson, ‘Looking from the outside in: social science and sexual identity in today's churches.’ Anglican Theological Review 90, no. 3 (June 1, 2008): 631-647, 643, who suggests nobody should have to choose between sexual and religious identities.

                                                                                                               
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Others subsume the prohibitions under a Biblical meta-ethic, identifying themes,78 such as a “liberation theology,”79 the acceptance of outsiders,80 or love,81 as the basis for accepting homosexual behaviour. Identifying biblical themes is a legitimate part of the ethical process, but themes must be weighed against the content, and overall picture, of the Bible’s meta-narrative, not simply extracted. These are legitimate themes for framing Biblical ethics (Col 3:11-14), especially love.82 But they come after the transformation of identity that occurs upon conversion (Col 3:1-11), especially the putting to death of “whatever belongs to your earthly nature” (Col 3:5). Homosexuality and Biblical Theology: A coherent approach Establishing the Biblical position on homosexuality requires us to consider the prohibitions within their historical and literary context, but also within the                                                                                                                
78

D.O Via, Homosexuality and The Bible: Two Views, Location 347, “I have shown, however, and will show that there are biblical themes, as well as extra-biblical horizons, that countervail against this biblical proscription.” 79 J.J Kotva, ‘Scripture, ethics, and the local church,’ 59, also, some presume Scripture is weighted towards the oppressed, and thus passages against marginalized people should be interpreted in their favour, see C.H Cosgrove, Appealing to Scripture in Moral Debate: Five Hermeneutical Rules, (Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 2002), Kindle Edition, Location 462-475, so L.C. Stahlberg, ‘Modern Day Moabites: The Bible and the Debate About Same-Sex Marriage,’ 448, “all told, these prophetic instructions provide a model for encountering Otherness. In these times, the homosexual is the Other. Thus, from a biblical starting point, liberal readers argue that those privileged with the rights and protection of the law ought to extend not merely mercy and kindness to the Other, but justice as well.” However, Interestingly, unlike in the situations involving the liberation of women or slaves, the Bible contains no internal tension on the issue of homosexuality, it is “univocal” in its witness against homosexuality, see R.B Hays, The Moral Vision of the New Testament, 389 80 Arguing that the Jerusalem Council sets a precedent for setting aside the laws for those whom God accepts and calls, see J.S. Siker, ‘How to Decide?,’ 219-234, in response to this argument see R.B Hays, The Moral Vision of the New Testament, 395-397, this is a strong analogy, but fails to overcome the presumption against accepting homosexuality within both the Old and New Testaments, the church’s position on the issue throughout history is also telling. 81 D.O Via, Homosexuality and The Bible: Two Views, Location 273, “So if the heart is loving, the acts that flow from it cannot be evil, though this is a principle that cannot be absolutized,” also some suggest that because Paul was celibate he could not understand “love” in a heterosexual, let alone, homosexual context, see M. Davies, ‘New Testament Ethics and Ours,’ 330, “The genuine Pauline texts privilege the metaphors of relations between father and children, brothers and sisters, and contain wonderful descriptions of brotherly love (e.g. 1 Cor. 13), but not the love of husbands and wives. This Pauline blindness to the possibility that heterosexual relations might express love also obliterated the possibility that homosexual relations might express love,” C.R Seitz, Word Without End, Location 4165, “We relate to God's law in Christ, through Christ. To say that Christ has utterly abolished the law revealed in the Old Testament and that Christians have no law but "love" would be to move beyond the plain sense of the New Testament into the realm of "principles" or spiritual abstractions.” 82 While “love” can be said to be the essence of morality, the definition of “love” is important, see M. Hill, The How and Why of Love, 182, O. O’Donovan, Resurrection and Moral Order, 181203, any situational applications of “love” comes within the moral order, rather than defining the moral field.

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Bible’s meta-narrative, which operates around creation and redemption.83 An ethical framework derived from this meta-narrative considers the character of God, creation, the fall, the person of Jesus, resurrection, redemption, the Christian community, and the new creation.84 The Christian telic order is established through biblical revelation, and by looking forward to the resurrection, as well as backward to creation.85 The Biblical account of human flourishing is defined in, and by, a relationship with the creator.86 Observations of the generic order of creation support, rather than contradict, the revealed created order (Rom 1:19-20).87 Despite what liberal and LGBT biblical scholars might argue, traditional Biblical ethics is not arbitrary,88 nor can “themes” be identified outside a

                                                                                                               
O. O’Donovan, Resurrection and Moral Order, 19, “Creation and redemption each has its ontological and epistemological aspect. There is the created order, and there is natural knowledge; there is new creation and there is revelation in Christ.” O. O’Donovan, A Conversation Waiting to Begin: The Churches and the Gay Controversy, 88, “The dialectic of creation and redemption is not merely one episode in the struggle between orthodoxy and revision. It is its central and decisive battleground. It gives their shape to the creeds that differentiate Christianity from deism.” 84 A. Cameron, Joined Up Life, (Nottingham, IVP, 2011), 128-134, 141-182, identifies 5 poles of Christian ethics – the Character of God, creation and the moral order, biblical commands, a new future, Jesus shaped community, the “two poles” view combines these poles rather than presenting a different view of the basis of Christian ethics, M. Hill, The How and Why of Love, 121-128, presents a slightly different schema, while O. O’Donovan, Resurrection and Moral Order, tends to stick to two categories of creation and resurrection, which include these other elements, R.B Hays, The Moral Vision of the New Testament, 391, approaches the ethical question from the New Testament perspective of community, cross, and new creation. 85 O. O’Donovan, Resurrection and Moral Order, 85-97, this revelation is fundamentally based in the person of Jesus Christ, but provided via the Bible, M. Hill, The How and Why of Love, 129-134, life takes place between the fall and the new creation and individual actions are judged teleologically, based on divinely mandated purpose, rather than based on post-fall nature. 86 Westminster Shorter Catechism, Q1, retrieved 15 Nov 2011, http://www.reformed.org/documents/WSC.html, suggests man’s “chief end,” an expression common to Aristotelian ethics, is to “glorify God and enjoy him forever,” this statement can be understood in an ethical sense, Aristotle, Ethics, Book 1, VI, Location 430, “,” see also M. Hill, The How and Why of Love, 129-134 “an action or trait of character is right if and only if it promotes (creates or maintains) mutual love relationships between (a) God and humans, and (b) humans and humans,” 87 M. Hill, The How and Why of Love, 173, Hill suggests this is and enough to warrant Christians arguing for the acceptance of a Biblical moral order in society, but recognises that this task is becoming increasingly difficult with decreasing numbers of people committed to the Christian ethical framework. His general solution is to advocate a ‘retrieval ethic’, O. O’Donovan, Resurrection and Moral Order, 19, while the moral order is not recognised by all, it is an objective moral order rather than subjective, so is therefore not a set of esoteric rules, just for Christians, 87-89, one can not claim to know anything meaningful about the creation without first knowing something about the creator, but one can also know something about the creator by observing the creation. 88 It is neither the application of every rule, or a reductionist New Testament only approach, A. Cameron, Joined Up Life, 157-160, our guide to interpreting the Old Testament laws is found in Jesus’ summary (Matt 22:36-40)
83

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Biblical meta-narrative.89 Our approach to the texts, outlined below, is theologically coherent, and consistent with reformed and evangelical views of both Scripture, and general revelation.90 Creation and Romans 1 We begin at the beginning, with creation. Creation, and the rejection of the creator, 91 not idolatry explicitly (Rom 1:18-21),92 is the foundation of Paul’s argument in Romans 1, which finds its end in Romans 6 and Romans 13:8-14. Paul’s argument assumes homosexual behaviour (Rom 1:26-27), like idolatry (Rom 1:22-23), is a symptom of the rejection of the created order,93 a further symptom is the global inability to distinguish between natural and unnatural (Rom 1:24-32),94 it is clear from Romans 1 that what “is,” or appears natural, is not necessarily what “ought” to be.95 The effect of sin on human thought is a
89 Many of the liberal approaches to the biblical treatment of homosexuality outlined above are presuppositionally opposed to any meta-unity in the Biblical text, or functionally opposed to ethics based on divine revelation. 90 That which nature reveals is to be understood through the word, see ‘Of The Holy Scripture,’ Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter I.6, retrieved 15 Nov 2011, http://www.reformed.org/documents/wcf_with_proofs/ “and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and government of the Church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature, and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed.” Sin effects all of our human faculties and thus our ability to truly understand natural revelation, see ‘Of the Fall of Man, of Sin, and the Punishment thereof,’ Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter VI.2, “By this sin they fell from their original righteousness and communion, with God, and so became dead in sin, and wholly defiled in all the parts and faculties of soul and body.” 91 M. Hill, The How and Why of Love, 189-190, critiques those who see this passage addressing idolatry alone. The logic starts with creation, and highlights Paul’s anthropology, which is best expressed in 3:23 – that all have sinned. Homosexual behaviour is the result of exchanging truth about what is “natural” and created, for a lie. 92 Liberal scholars suggest Paul is specifically and exclusively targeting idolatry, so T.W, Bartel, ‘Some Issues in Human Sexuality,’ 23, D. L, Balch, ‘Romans 1:24-27, Science, and Homosexuality,’ 439, and J.S. Siker, ‘How to Decide?,’ 227, “From Paul's perspective, the practices of pederasty and male prostitution were conscious choices made by heterosexual (that's all Paul conceived of, if he had any conception at all) Gentile sinners, which was but an expression and consequence of their idolatrous rejection of God. (This is basically the logic of Romans 1 as well.),” and C.D. Myers, ‘What the Bible really says about homosexuality,’ 57 93 C.H Cosgrove, Appealing to Scripture in Moral Debate, Location 410-462, R.B Hays, The Moral Vision of the New Testament, 384-385, Paul moves from describing the gospel, to establishing the universal need for the gospel, Paul then addresses the root of sinfulness, and argues that humans are in active rebellion, not merely ignorant. 94 R.B Hays, The Moral Vision of the New Testament, 388, Paul is not describing every individual homosexual’s life story, but rather the life story of mankind, R. J. Gagnon, Homosexuality and the Bible: Two Views, Location 880, “Those who had suppressed the truth about God visible in creation went on to suppress the truth about themselves visible in nature.” 95 R.B Hays, The Moral Vision of the New Testament, 385-386, Even if homosexuality was not mentioned specifically, a case could be made that the logic of the passage precludes homosexual activity, at 386-387, Homosexual behaviour is an illustration of the problem that adopts an “unnatural” example common to Hellenistic thought, M. Hill, The How and Why of Love, 182, creation, not the current state of humanity, provides us with the “ought” that frames how things are to be.

                                                                                                               

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consequence of sin,96 which then limits the ability to infer moral positions from the generic order. While liberal theologians are quick to point to Paul’s subsequent injunction not to judge others (Rom 2:1), this refers to an attitude adopted in the light of universal human sinfulness, and cannot mean we do not make judgments about the sinfulness of particular actions, such judgments are required in order for personal repentance, and the love of others to take place.97 Sexuality, in the created order, is the monogamous, one flesh, relationship between a man and a woman (Genesis 1-2). However, if this our starting point in the homosexual debate, then it should be noted that there are locations of human identity created prior to an individual’s sexuality.98 Locating our essential imago dei nature in heterosexual relationships does not pay heed to the Genesis account of humanity.99 A person is first created as a person, then has a gender, then a family, before becoming “one flesh” with a member of the opposite sex (Gen 1:27-28, 2:21-24). To suggest human identity rests in this final stage is to elevate heterosexual orientation and action to an unhelpful position.100 Anthropologically speaking, individuals are not half a

                                                                                                               
This state of knowledge is not a cause of judgment, but a result of God’s judgment, R.B Hays, The Moral Vision of the New Testament, 385, Incidentally, the argument, and its relationship to subsequent comments about the universal nature of this condition, and the implications this has on judging others, is that these sinful actions lead to the punishment prescribed by the Old Testament, death, but this occurs at the cross, see C.R Seitz, Word Without End, Location 4264 97 M. Hill, The How and Why of Love, 190-192, “Evaluations can legitimately be made. They are made so that each person can give an account of their own actions when they stand before the judgment seat of God (Rom 14:9-12).” O. O’Donovan, Resurrection and Moral Order, 224-225 98 J.W Paris, The End of Sexual Identity, Location 945-970 99 So D.O Via, Homosexuality and The Bible: Two Views, Location 388-390, “In the Bible sexuality is a defining feature of human being... To be human is to be sexual, and this is a reality that belongs to the defining structure of human existence” J.K Balswick, and J.O Balswick, Authentic Human Sexuality, Location 660-667, “the scriptural view certainly presents sexuality as basic to our human existence and the very thing that informs our way of being in the world as embodied persons” and 824, “God created us as sexual beings! Sexuality is therefore an integral part of being human. When we relate to each other as male and female persons, we do so in the context of our sexuality.” This logic and its conclusions regarding human identity are problematic, see J.W Paris, The End of Sexual Identity, Location 431-434, “The major problem for Christians with heterosexuality, and sexual identity in general, is that it is a social construct that provides a faulty pattern for understanding what it means to be human, linking desire to identity.” 100 C.R Seitz, Word Without End, Location 3457, “In light of this, to speak of being born "gay" or "straight" as an essential state of nature, whatever that means, is misleading and confusing. We are born "male" and "female." Acceptance of our bodily identity is frustrated above all by the power of death. The fact that complex sexual urges crowd in on us is a legacy of the fall, for positive developmental reasons as well as more negative ones involving the fear of death and the acceptance of our individual bodily identity and mortality.”
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person waiting for their match, but “one flesh” both before, and without being combined with another person. Jesus, Redemption, Resurrection, and the New Creation For the Christian, some part of our image bearing involves being in Christ and being transformed by the Holy Spirit (2 Cor 3:18, John 17:20-23, Rom 6:4, 8:28-29, 1 Cor 6:12-20, 1 John 4:7-11, 2 Peter 1:3-11). Basing one’s ethics solely on the created order locates our ethics in pre-fall Adam, rather than postresurrection Christ (1 Cor 15:44-49). Christians make Jesus the new basis of their human identity (Rom 5:12-21, 8:29, 12:15 1 Cor 15:20-23, 49, 2 Cor 3:18, 5:17, Gal 3:26-28, Eph 2:10),101 which has radical ramifications for the place of sexuality in the believer’s identity (Romans 6, 15:20-28, 30-35, 42-49, Gal 2:20, 4:13-26, Col 1:21-22, 2:6-15, 3:1-16, 1 Cor 6:11, 1 Thes 4:1-7). Our Christian identity and worldview, or Gestalt, is based on a new birth of living hope (1 Pet 1:3), distanced from desire (1 Pet 1:14),102 within a community.103 While Jesus is silent on homosexuality, he affirms the createdness of marriage and gender (Mark 10:6-8, Matt 19:4-6),104 while also making it clear that marriage is not carried over into the new creation (Matt 22:30). Both pre-fall Adam, and the resurrected Jesus shape Christian ethics (1 Cor 15:22,45). The resurrection affirmed and began the process of restoring the created order (1 Cor 15:15-19, 23-28), and resolved the battle between spirit and flesh for the believer (1 Cor 15:42-49).105 Living in eschatological anticipation means Paul can speak of celibacy as a desirable state of being (1 Cor 7:1-9, 29-35).106 Jesus frames celibacy as a sacrifice one might for the sake of the kingdom (Matt 19:12).
A. Cameron, Joined Up Life, 95-96, D. Westberg, et al. ‘Same-sex marriage and Anglican theology: a view from the traditionalists,’ 50 102 A. Cameron, Joined Up Life, 73 103 A. Cameron, Joined Up Life, 120-121 104 C.R Seitz, Word Without End, Location 4280 105 O. O’Dovovan, Resurrection and Moral Order, 14 106 D. Westberg, et al. ‘Same-sex marriage and Anglican theology: a view from the traditionalists,’ 50, Liberal scholars dismiss this as a representation of a heightened eschatological expectation in the early church, M. Davies, ‘New Testament Ethics and Ours,’ 330, “Clearly Pauline arguments in favour of celibacy depend on belief in the imminent eschatological transformation, a belief which few people share today,” and partly as a result of an inability to recognise a positive category of deliberate celibacy, D. L, Balch, ‘Romans 1:24-27, Science, and Homosexuality,’ 436, suggests that celibacy is bad for one’s health, and thus unnatural, “But

                                                                                                               
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A proper consideration of the Biblical narrative, within our ethical framework, makes it clear that appeals to human nature to establish morality are flawed, that the Christian account of human identity depends not on sexuality, but on our identity in Christ, and that this identity is established with reference to both the past, and the future.107 Christian Identity, Christian Ethics and Public Discourse Christianity in the west has too easily conformed to the world’s view that sexuality is the core of one’s identity, or the essence of humanity.108 Jesus was single and celibate, and we must not establish categories of humanity that dehumanise Jesus. Sex is not the basis of human identity.109 People who are celibate by choice are not victims.110 A fulfilled, celibate life within a loving community is a real possibility.111                                                                                                                

research also indicates that those who have little sexual interest or activity, which is what many churches require of homosexuals, have high incidence of suicidal thoughts, therapeutic counseling, and difficulty coping with life,” Some argue against celibacy because it is “difficult,” S.J Pope, ‘Scientific and Natural Law Analyses of Homosexuality,’ 109, “The official teaching that homosexuals ought to be celibate, for example, is premised on the factual assumption that human beings generally— homosexuals as well as heterosexuals—have the psychological capacity to live in this very demanding way. This assumption is open to empirical investigation,” others suggest it is a particular spiritual gift that can not be expected to apply to everybody, T. Paterson, ‘An introduction to the ethics of homosexuality,’ 51, “It has also often been pointed out that the condemnation of all homosexual activity amounts to insisting that all homosexuals are called to a vocation of chastity. But making universal what Paul considers to be a charism is simply folly.” Incidentally, Paul shares this view and provides heterosexual marriage as the solution to lust. 107 C.R Seitz, Word Without End, Location 3373-3393, suggests this conclusion is supported by Scripture, particularly the Old Testament, “In the sexuality debate or any other like it, we are taught by scripture that appeals to states of nature or human experience as revelatory of the purposes of God in Christ demonstrate nothing... Only that recognition can clear room for the individual to accept Christ's offering, which in turn frees the individual to love truly, mindful of Christ's sacrifice on our behalf, for the first time.” 108 J.W Paris, The End of Sexual Identity, Location 265, 406, “Sexual identity is a Western, nineteenth-century formulation of what it means to be human. It's grounded in a belief that the direction of one's sexual desire is identity-constituting, earning each individual a label (gay, lesbian, straight, etc.) and social role.” For an example of this western view in action see, R.A. Nelson, ‘Homosexuality and social ethics.’ 394, “Human sexuality, while rooted in biology, is not primarily a question of biology; it is a question of the total person, of who one is,” D. Westberg, et al. ‘Same-sex marriage and Anglican theology: a view from the traditionalists.’Anglican Theological Review 93, no. 1 (December 1, 2011): 1-50, 50, R.B Hays, The Moral Vision of the New Testament, 391, “Never within the canonical perspective does sexuality become the basis for defining a person’s identity. The things that matter are justice, mercy, and faith (Matt 23:23). The love of God is far more important than any human love. Sexual fulfillment finds its place, at best, as a subsidiary good within this larger picture” at is not a fate worse than death.” O. O’Donovan, A Conversation Waiting to Begin, 105, “Homosexuality is not the determining factor in any human beings existence; therefore it cannot be the determining factor in the way we treat a human being.” 109 A. Cameron, Joined Up Life, 288-293 110 A. Cameron, Joined Up Life, 297, Nor should they ever be spoken of as victims within the church community, R.B Hays, The Moral Vision of the New Testament, 401, “despite the smooth

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Christian ethics are part of Christian mission,112 and should always involve a proclamation of good news.113 Abandoning the field when it comes to sexual ethics means losing this opportunity to be distinct, to speak distinctly, and to speak in love. The real issue in the debate is not the morality of homosexuality, per se, but the consensus that sexuality is essential to human identity. The outcome of this position is that any expression of one’s sexuality is natural, promotes flourishing, and is therefore moral. Engaging the debate simply on moral grounds achieves nothing at best, and at worst reinforces the presuppositions behind the debate. This is no ‘retrieval ethic,’ shutting the gates after the proverbial horse,114 nor is it to say we should shy away from moral positions derived from the created order,115 but it is a case of responding to the underlying issues, not battling the symptoms. The traditional Christian position is losing the debate. We can agree with our liberal critics that the language employed by representatives of the church in this area has been unloving,116 fallacious,117 and misrepresentative of the                                                                                                                
illusions perpetrated by mass culture in the United States, sexual gratification is not a sacred right, and celibacy 111 A. Cameron, Joined Up Life, 297, “To be in Christ is to realise that our sexual self-identity isn’t an adequate summary of who we really are, and of who God intends for us to be. We discover reasons to believe that both chaste singleness and faithful marriage are liveable and good.” M.A. Yarhouse, ‘Homosexuality, ethics, and identity synthesis,’ 247-253 outlines the psychological process of “identity synthesis” somebody looking to recreate their identity might go through. 112 D. Westberg, et al. ‘Same-sex marriage and Anglican theology: a view from the traditionalists.’Anglican Theological Review 93, no. 1 (December 1, 2011): 1-50, 42, suggests this is particularly true in this high profile debate. 113 O. O’Dovovan, Resurrection and Moral Order, 11, Christian ethics should also avoid falling into moralism, lest moral proclamation be confused with gospel proclamation, O. O’Donovan, A Conversation Waiting to Begin, 102-104, this “good news” can include a hard word, it offers a “demanding comfort.” 114 M. Hill, The How and Why of Love, 133, Hill’s proposed “retrieval ethic” acknowledges the effect of the fall on human behaviour and avoids taking the “lesser of two evils” approach, by reframing the ethical approach as “doing the most loving,” and also avoids the at times overrealised eschatology smuggled in by “kingdom ethics.” 115 O. O’Dovovan, Resurrection and Moral Order, 16-19, we must also be careful, while being mindful of both moralism and antinomianism, not to fall into voluntarism, the post enlightenment Western approach to ethics, where moral standards only bind those who recognise them. 116 E.F. Davis, ‘Reasoning with scripture.’ 518, “If we renounce the language of disgust, then we will discover that the gospel gives us language that better expresses the often painful experience of homosexual Christians, with respect to their families, the church, and society as a whole: they have a cross to bear. That language does not in itself prejudice our view of whether or not permanent celibacy is an appropriate or necessary sacrifice for such Christians to make.” 117 Especially regarding descriptions of orientation as a “choice,” and overemphasizing the success of so-called reparative therapy. For a recent example, see T. Vineyard, ‘Letter to Oklahoma City Council,’ Nov 2011, 1-4, retrieved 20 Nov 2011, http://www.scribd.com/doc/73059152/Pastor-Tom-Vineyard-s-Letter-To-Oklahoma-City-

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gospel.118 The church typically approaches the issue in a manner damaging to mission and gospel clarity, either by presenting inconsistent views of marriage,119 and human sinfulness,120 or by adopting conservative, secular arguments,121 rather than proclaiming the radical alternative view of human identity presented in a Biblical framework.122 Western ethical theories champion voluntarism, an attractive notion that morality is relative, and a human creation.123 Our position outlined above, based on the created order, is not a man-made construction, but rather divine, and thus is an objective moral standard for all mankind.124 It is a standard we understand and apply only through divine revelation.125 A lack of consensus regarding moral ontology in the public sphere, and the demonstrable lack of consensus on the nature of the Biblical position on homosexuality makes straightforward moral declarations difficult in the public square.126 The participatory nature of a liberal democracy,127 the
Council, which erroneously claims that “homosexuals account for half the murders in large cities.” 118 O. O’Dovovan, Resurrection and Moral Order, 16, Christian moral pronouncements often either emphasise grace, at the expense of morality and law, or law at the expense of grace, the reality holds the two in tension. 119 So, for example, arguments against gay marriage based on the premise that recognising gay marriage will weaken the traditional institution are risible in the face of the increasingly casual view heterosexuals have towards divorce, D. Watkins, ‘Two models of political engagement.’ Dialogue 42, no. 4 (December 1, 2009): 100-105 120 Singling out homosexuality for special treatment when it is Biblically presented as one sin amongst many, is particularly problematic, so, for example, the Presbyterian Church of Queensland Public Questions Committee documentation on the issue of homosexual behaviour, retrieved 15 Nov 2011, http://www.answerstolive.com/homsexuality, praised the Tasmanian government “on its decision to retain the criminality of homosexual practices” in 1994, and its current statement on homosexuality, drafted in 1984, includes a redacted quotation of 1 Corinthians 6:9, removing homosexuality from its context within a list of prohibited behaviour, and singling it out as an “abomination” – “1 Corinthians 6:9-10: "Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the Kingdom of God? ... neither... effeminate, nor homosexuals..." Ellipsising the text serves to emphasise the behaviour in a manner completely contrary to Paul’s intent, R.B Hays, The Moral Vision of the New Testament, 389, homosexuality is but one example of God’s judgment on all humanity, and our need for the gospel. 121 K. Wenger, ‘The church's use of secular arguments.’ Dialogue 42, no. 4 (December 1, 2009): 105-114 122 O. O’Dovovan, Resurrection and Moral Order, 11-12, Christian ethics needs to find a balance between moralism and antinomianism, where morality is part of the good news, but not the good news itself. 123 G. Graham, Eight Theories of Ethics, Location 3441, this has particular impact on the political sphere where the adage that morality should not, and cannot be legislated, in a democracy, has become popular, O. O’Dovovan, Resurrection and Moral Order, 16 124 O. O’Dovovan, Resurrection and Moral Order, 17-19 125 O. O’Dovovan, Resurrection and Moral Order, 19 126  Moral declarations, in the form “behaviour x is wrong because,” within the boundaries of the church should ideally involve discussion amongst people sharing similar philosophical

                                                                                                               

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“golden rule” (Matthew 7:12), and the link between the universal nature of sin and judging other (Romans 2:1), means Christians should participate in public discussion with some epistemological humility and grace. It follows, then, that when speaking of this moral order, we must first speak of the framework behind it,128 beginning with the gospel of Jesus, explaining why the natural order is a flawed foundation, and framing the message as one of grace and freedom, rather than judgment and slavery.129 It also follows, that within a democracy, we must extend the same rights and courtesy that we expect to those who disagree with us. The civil rights comparisons are, in some sense, justified by the complexity of the moral debate, and the science behind it, it is possible to support civil rights for homosexuals without handing over the keys to the kingdom.130 Our contribution to the debate should be tied to the individual’s desire for liberty. The gospel offers freedom from slavery to the flesh (Rom 8:4-9, Gal 5:13), slavery to one’s sexual orientation. Not because it allows individuals to express whatever sexual behaviour they want, but because through the transforming power of the gospel, those who follow Christ are free to redefine their identity, in opposition to the powers that define identity through sexuality (Rom 12:2). Our aim is to move this power from society, back to the individual.131 Historically, the powerful have attempted to re-educate, or
and theological presuppositions, though this is, as noted above, demonstrably not the case with regards to homosexuality.   127 G. Graham, Eight Theories of Ethics, 3441, not only should we be mindful of the participatory nature, whereby all individuals are afforded equal rights of participation, we should pay heed to the underlying philosophy of the democracy, the “house rules” so to speak, when entering the debate – namely “individual moral choice is a fundamental freedom, and it is not the proper business of the state to make its citizens' moral choices for them by forcing them to be good.” 128 O. O’Donovan, Resurrection and Moral Order, 11, 12, 19, This is especially important as we try to explain the relationship between moralism, antinomiansm, an objective moral standard, and divine revelation 129 O. O’Dovovan, Resurrection and Moral Order, 11-20 130 R.B Hays, The Moral Vision of the New Testament, 400, compares the extension of civil rights to homosexuals to the church influencing Caesar’s policies, M. Hill, The How and Why of Love, 202, suggests extending civil rights, or avoiding discrimination, on the basis of sexual orientation is a form of retrieval ethic which recognises that “the kingdom cannot be established in a mixed society of believers and unbelievers. Christian love is gracious and requires Christians to do good to all people.” Whether this extends to the question of marriage is far beyond the scope of this piece, but from a “created order” standpoint, marriage must be defined as between a man and a woman, and we must seek the right to maintain that distinction, and to say what we think, A. Cameron, Joined Up Life, 297 131 S.L Jones, and M.A Yarhouse, Ex-Gays?: A Longitudinal Study, Location 4617, and M.A. Yarhouse, ‘Homosexuality, ethics, and identity synthesis,’ 254, the individual’s right to selfdetermination is also a position supported in principal by psychologists, but not necessarily

                                                                                                               

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reconstruct, those with sub-optimal identities to a chosen view.132 The gospel message suffers if it is perceived that the powerful church is re-engineering “damaged” people via “reparative therapies,” rather than freeing individuals to define themselves. Ironically, this means adopting the constructionist account of sexual identity presented by the LGBT lobby in the 1970s.133 Deconstruction, not reconstruction is the answer. The deconstruction process surrounding sexual identity did not gone far enough. Sexual identity is a construct, nobody is born with a sexual identity intact, we are born human, and our identity should be the result of personal choice, not culture. The creator’s order demonstrates that sexuality is a social construct, so we can reclaim a life of celibacy, aided by the Holy Spirit (Phil 2:13), and lived within a community of believers, as a genuine option for human flourishing.134 This requires a radical revolution of thought, word, and actions, within the church, but represents an ethical approach to sexuality that is both theologically consistent, and relevant to the homosexuality debate. A change of orientation is demonstrably possible at an individual level.135 At a corporate level the
in practice regarding sexual orientation, M. Hill, The How and Why of Love, 202, selfdetermination and individualism are the dominant ideals of Western societies. This “ideal” is easily perverted by those in power, see J. Meyerowitz, ‘How Common Culture Shapes the Separate Lives,’ 1074-1076, suggests the same people who advocated using the education system to eradicate racism, saw its potential for eradicating homosexuality, citing research by Ashley Montague, who suggested “By adapting our educative procedures to the perfection of human personality, we can turn out a human being to almost any desired pattern.” Giving power over identity to lobby groups and societies at large is not a solution many modern citizens would support. While individuals without the Spirit are unlikely to find the Biblical view of morality compelling, arguing against the deterministic view put forward by those who see sexuality as essential to human identity is at least a case of speaking western society’s language. Further, this approach recognises the limits of ethics derived from a revealed telic view of nature, and allows us to proclaim good news as part of our ethics. 132 J. Meyerowitz, ‘How Common Culture Shapes the Separate Lives,’1084 133 J. Meyerowitz, ‘How Common Culture Shapes the Separate Lives,’ 1082, M. Hill, The How and Why of Love, 178 134 D. Westberg, et al. ‘Same-sex marriage and Anglican theology: a view from the traditionalists,’ 48, “Sublimation and abstinence—i.e., chastity—in the context of Christian discipleship will present a challenge for us to present as an attractive option in current culture, we admit. In most cases, with heterosexual young people, for example, sexual abstinence is normally meant to be a temporary aspect of moral character, in preparation for marital chastity,” J.W Paris, The End of Sexual Identity, Location 1290, “Christian communities must cultivate plausibility structures for sexual holiness in which long-term celibacy becomes not just moral, but also plausible and practical. When they practice it and support it, Christians keep the possibility (and the plausibility) of celibacy alive, both for our own communities and for the surrounding society,” J.R Beck, ‘Evangelicals, Homosexuality, and Social Science,’ 83-97, “We need to reactivate our theology of celibacy. We have too quickly allowed the world's agenda—that all people deserve full and joyful sexual expression—to become our own. What about celibacy? What about celibacy for both heterosexuals and homosexuals? How does it work? How can we use it to honor and serve God?” 135 What this change looks like is not necessarily a binary move from homo- to hetero-, studies of reparative treatments of homosexual orientation demonstrate more success in a move to a

                                                                                                               

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church must redefine identity away from the view that heterosexuality is the default human identity.136 The efficacy of this paradigm shift depends on widespread support and care for singles within the church.137 We must work to reestablish the category of “eunuchs for the Kingdom.”138 Our good news, while a hard word,139 is the offer of freedom from the flesh, freedom to choose one’s identity and moving the debate from the realm of moral theory, developed via a framework not acknowledged by all, frees the church to offer its own alternative vision for human identity based on the redemptive work of Jesus Christ.140

                                                                                                               
celibate identity, than to heterosexuality, S.L Jones, and M.A Yarhouse, Ex-Gays?: A Longitudinal Study, Kindle Locations 1064-1085, Followed work by former head of the APA, Robert Spitzer, who suggested change is possible, with a long term study, which found, at 4444, “empirical evidence that change of homosexual orientation maybe possible through involvement in Exodus ministries, either (1) in the form of an embrace of chastity with a reduction in prominence of homosexual desire, or (2) in the form of a diminishing of homosexual attraction and an increase in heterosexual attraction with resulting satisfactory heterosexual adjustment.” At 4496-4500, the breakdown of results from this study was 15% conversion to heterosexual identity, 23% conversion to chastity, 29% continuing the process, 15% non-responsive, 4% failure “confused,” and 8% failure “gay identity.” 136 A. Cameron, Joined Up Life, 233-239, 289-298, This is an issue for the entire church community, R.B Hays, The Moral Vision of the New Testament, 391, The community has a vested interest in sexual purity – this is a principle both at work in the Levitical prohibitions, and in Paul’s logic in 1 Corinthians 6. Weakening of the Christian community’s resolve, and an open slather approach across denominational boundaries, as advocated by J.J Kotva, ‘Scripture, ethics, and the local church,’ 59-61, fails to care for those trying to exercise selfcontrol regarding same sex attraction, D. Westberg, et al. ‘Same-sex marriage and Anglican theology: a view from the traditionalists,’ 46-50, J.W Paris, The End of Sexual Identity, Location 851-859, 1290 137 R.B Hays, The Moral Vision of the New Testament, 402, “The church must be a community whose life together provides true friendship, emotional support, and spiritual formation for everyone who comes within its circle of fellowship. The need for such support is perhaps particularly felt by unmarried people.” J.W Paris, The End of Sexual Identity, Location 1068 138 D. Westberg, et al. ‘Same-sex marriage and Anglican theology: a view from the traditionalists,’ 48-50 139 O. O’Donovan, A Conversation Waiting to Begin, 102-104 140 A. Cameron, Joined Up Life, 297

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