Skip Navigation

Sexuality (including homosexuality)

Paul's Theology Of Sexual Practice: A Study of 1 Corinthians 6:9-20, by Rev. Dr. Kenneth E. Bailey, New Testament and Middle Eastern scholar.  

Some people have claimed that sexual relationships are a side issue, apart from the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They insist that Christians can affirm and practice a wide variety of sexual behaviors without compromising the Gospel. In the Nov/Dec issue of Theology Matters, Dr. Ken Bailey demonstrates, in his careful analysis of 1 Corinthians 6, that this assurance is false.  Right sexual conduct is an expression of fundamental truths of the Gospel.  Attempts to separate sexual behavior from the Gospel deny the Gospel!

By uncovering Paul’s use of the Hebrew technique of literary parallelism in which themes are repeated and compared and contrasted,  Dr. Bailey shows how biblical sexual ethics are interwoven with the doctrines of Creation, the Trinity, the Cross, the Resurrection, and the Church. Sexual immorality denies the truths of who Christ is, why he came, what he has done, and who we are in light of our redemption in him. The Gospel not only addresses our spiritual lives but it also involves our physical bodies. The two cannot be separated: spiritual and physical, Gospel and sexual behavior.

Dr. Bailey’s ground-breaking analysis of 1 Corinthians stems from his extensive Middle Eastern and New Testament studies.  Dr. Bailey completed degrees in Arabic Language and Literature, and Systematic Theology with a doctorate in New Testament. Ordained by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.),   Dr. Bailey spent 40 years living and teaching in seminaries and institutes in Egypt, Lebanon, Jerusalem and Cyprus.  

Dr. Bailey’s most recent book is Paul Through Mediterranean Eyes: Cultural Studies in 1 Corinthians (2011) from which this article is adapted with permission from InterVarsity Press.  Dr. Bailey also presented a version of this article at the Presbyterians for Renewal breakfast at the July 2012 PC(USA) General Assembly.  Nov/Dec 2012 Theology Matters ,
One-page Study Sheet 1,  One page study sheet 2  One page study sheet 3   One page Sudy Sheet 4

Homosexuality and the Church: Moving Through and Beyond the Debate  by Rev. W. P. Campbell, senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Hendersonville, NC.  Campbell challenges conservative Christians to continue to proclaim Scripture's call to holiness while also demonstrating God's love for gays and lesbians through ministry. At times, according to Campbell, evangelicals have failed to proclaim and demonstrate "the love of a Savior who leaves ninety-nine sheep behind to pursue the one."  Campbell examines the ministry to sexually broken people that evangelicals often overlook; the barriers that must be overcome; clarity and complexity about change.  He also examines the Debate: Our Tone: Our Perspective: Defending the Truth.  Campbell includes a chapter from his recent book, Turning Controversy into Church Ministry: A Christlike Response to Homosexuality.    Additional resources can be found at  Jan/Feb 2011 Theology Matters, p. 1

The Pastoral Dilemma, by Dr. Thomas Gillespie -- 
Gillespie reminds Christians that the homosexual debate is not about an "issue" but real people with faces and names.  He calls the church to pastorally reach out to those experiencing homosexual attraction with the transforming hope of the Gospel. Nov/Dec 2008 , p. 1

Offended: How My Family Offended and Brought Me Back to Christ, by Mr. Mike Goeke --
Goeke shares his personal witness of leaving his wife for a homosexual life.  His wife, friends and parents would not accept his decision and persisted in reaching out to him with love and truth.  Goeke says, "Thank you, dear friends, for your offense to me.  "At the time, the Truth you shared was the aroma of death to me (2 Cor 2:15) but today it is the sweet fragrance of life."  Nov/Dec 2008 p. 3

Change in Homoerotic Behavior and Feelings is Possible, by Dr. Christopher Rosik --  
Rosik, shares the latest research on the gay gene theory--at best there is a weak correlation between genes and behavior.  Nov/Dec 2008  p. 4

Ordination of Sexually Active Gay Men and Lesbians, by Dr. Christopher Rosik
Rosik asks important questions about behavior --how do we treat bisexuals? what about those who do not say they were born with a disposition to homosexuality, but willingly chose it and what about transgendered individuals who are born as one biological sex but chose to live as the opposite one?  Nov/Dec 2008 p. 6

The Family of God and Healing Same-Sex Attraction, by Kristin Johnson Tremba, M.Div.-- 
Tremba helps the church to understand same-gender desires and how it can better minister to those caught in the sexual confusion of our time.  Mrs. Tremba is executive director of OneByOne ministry.   May/Jun 2008 Theology Matters p. 1

Sex and the City of God: Part I, sermon by David D. Swanson, p. 1 -- Text is 1 Corinthians 6:12-20. Your body matters to God.  It belongs to the Lord.  Jan/Feb 2007 Theology Matters, p. 1

Sex and the City of God: Part II, sermon by David D. Swanson, p. 5 -- Text is Romans 1:16-27.  "We all exchange the things of God for the thins of our own creation."  The remedy for all sin is the Savior.  Jan/Feb 2007 Theology Matters, p. 5

Subversive Virginity by Sarah Hinlicky Wilson, p. 8.  Hinlicky writes, "virginity is a battle against sexual temptation, and popular culture always opts for the easy way out instead of the character-building struggle."  Jan/Feb 2007 Theology Matters p. 8

The Bride and the Ten Commandments, by Susan A. Cyre, p. 11-- The Ten Commandments are not punitive laws designed to keep us from enjoying life.  Rather, they are the promises of a husband, YAHWEH, to love and care for his beloved wife, Israel. Jan/Feb 2007 Theology Matters, p. 11

The Duties of Love: A Christian Response to Homosexual Behavior, by Jerry Andrews, Susan Cyre, James Edwards, Robert Gagnon, Ulrich Mauser
The authors explain that love demands that we acknowledge and preserve the Truth as it applies to male and female as God's creation; reverence for the life of children; marriage and God's covenant; the love commandment; and sexuality and idolatry.  the authors also explain how the three-fold offices of the church that correspond to Jesus roles of prophet, priest and king, apply to this issue of sexuality.   May/Jun 2005 Theology Matters, p. 1

Drastic Measures, sermon on Matthew 5:27-28 by Kevin Finch
Finch exegets Jesus' admonition to not look at a woman lustfully. May/Jun 2005 Theology Matters p. 7

The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Theology, Analogies, and Genes by Robert A. J. Gagnon
Gagnon, who is author of the acclaimed book, The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics, Abingdon, 2001, looks at Scripture and some of the arguments put forward by pro-homosexual advocates.  Nov/Dec 2001 Theology Matters p. 1

Two Sexes, One Flesh: Why the Church Cannot Bless Same-Sex Unions by Stephen F. Noll, Professor of Biblical Studies at Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry, Ambridge, PA.  Noll writes, "This is an article about marriage, not about homosexuality. ...If these relationships cannot fulfill God's will for marriage, then to place them on an  equal footing is to dishonor marriage."  He looks at: 1) Revising Marriage; Sexuality and the Transformation of Intimacy; Straight Talk about Terms of Endearment; 2) Thinking Biblically about Marriage; the argument from silence; Can Biblical Sexual Norms be Revised?  3) The Natural Design of Marriage: the Purposes of Marriage, The Essential Nature of Marriage; Marriage Under the Power of sin and Death; Homosexuality and the Natural Purposes of Marriage;  4) Marriage and the Law: Same-Sex Marriage and the Traditions of Justice; Liberationism and the Context of Same-Sex Marriage;  5) The Sacred Character of Marriage: Holy Matrimony as a Sign of the Gospel; Marriage as a Means of Grace; Same-Sex Marriage and the Life of the World to Come;  6) Th Unchangeable Glory of Marriage.  May/Jun 2000 Theology Matters p. 1

From Father God to Mother Earth: The Effect of Deconstructing Christian Faith on Sexuality by Berit Kjos, author of several books including Brave New Schools, Your Child and the New Age, Under the Spell of Mother Earth and A Twist of Faith. Kjos writes, "This spiritual movement demands new deities or a rethinking of the old ones.  The transformation starts with self, some say, and women can't re-invent themselves until they shed the old shackles.  So the search for a 'more relevant' religion requires new visions of God: images that trade holiness for tolerance, the heavenly for the earthly, and the God who is above us for a god who is us."  Kjos examines the Masks of the Feminine Gods; Gateways to the Goddess, the Paradigm Shift; Sex and Feminist Spirituality; Unholy Tolerance; The Nature of Temptation; and From Tolerance to Truth.  Sep/Oct 1997 Theology Matters p. 1

Don't Forsake Homosexuals Who Want Help by Charles Socarides, Benjamin Kaufman, Joseph Nicolosi, Jeffrey Satinover, Richard Fitzgibbons.  Reprinted with permission from the Wall Street Journal, copyright 1997 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights reserved. Jan 9. 1997.   "Young men and the parents of at-risk males have a right to know that prevention and effective treatment are available.  ..A variety of studies have shown that between 25% and 50% of those seeking treatment experienced significant improvement."  Jan/Feb 1997 Theology Matters p. 12

The Upward Call of God: Submitting our Sexuality to the Lordship of Christ by P. Mark Achtemeier, PCUSA pastor and professor of systematic theology at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary, Dubuque, IA.  Achtemeier writes, "real love means helping one another to discern God's will and to live truthfully in accordance with it."  Regarding the creation of man and woman, Achtemeier writes, "this divinely-willed complementarity and communion find their fulfillment and proper expression in the institution of marriage. " Sep/Oct 1996 Theology Matters p. 1

Sex and the Single Life by Philip Turner, Turner is Dean of Berkeley Divinity School at Yale University.  This article is reprinted with permission from First Things: A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life, No. 33, May 1993.  Turner examines the revisionist notion that sexual relationships outside the marriage of one man and one woman is permissible. According to Turner, the revisionist position is that "sexual relations are 'natural' to 'embodied' life, and so may be (and indeed usually are) necessary for the wholeness and fulfillment of individuals not matter what their marital status, sexual orientation, or gender identification may be."  Scripture takes a different view of sexuality.  Turner writes, "The struggle necessary if we are to direct our sexual energies to their appointed and life-giving ends becomes, in Christ, a battle with an old self that refuses to honor God and insists upon its own way.  In the power of the Spirit, this old nature must be put off and a new one put on. ..It is the teaching of the churches that both married and single people are called to say yes to this struggle and recognize it as part of the 'upward call of God.'"  Sep/Oct 1996 Theology Matters  p.7

Keeping Faithful: Homosexuality and Ordination by Jack Haberer, Senior Pastor of Clear Lake Presbyterian Church, Houston, TX.  Haberer first lays out the arguments of many people who support homosexual behavior then he addresses each one in turn looking at the faithful biblical response and how various authorities address each argument.  Mar/Apr 1996 Theology Matters p. 1

The Bible and the Practice of Homosexuality by James R. Edwards, PCUSA minister and Professor of Religion and Philosophy at Jamestown College, Jamestown, ND. Edwards looks at each pertinent OT and NT text explains its interpretation, then some pro-homosexual  advocacy people's objections to the text and finally a response to their objections.  This is a careful exegesis of the Hebrew and Greek texts that deal with sexual expression.   Edwards then addresses some questions raised such as the cultural attitudes toward homosexuality in the Ancient Near East and Why are references to homosexuality relatively infrequent in the Bible. Mar/Apr 1996 Theology Matters   p. 10