IWU, along with all the other Wesleyan colleges but Bethany, is once again on the list of a certain group that treks across America yearly to confront various evangelical colleges on the issue of homosexuality. Last year this group stopped at Wheaton, Biola, Colorado Christian, Liberty, and Azuza Pacific, if I remember correctly. We were on the list last year as well but didn't make the final cut.
I'm speaking in chapel here on the 22nd to discuss what the Bible has to say about this issue. From what we've heard, I'm not actually convinced that this group really wants to discuss the biblical materials on the issue. The group seems to focus much more on the experiences of various individuals. For some, the argument is that since they believe God made them a certain way, it must be acceptable to God. For others, the argument is a testimony against the oppression they have experienced at the hands of Christians.
Of course I have little doubt but that many church people do exhibit less than Christ-like attitudes toward homosexual individuals. God wants all people to be saved, so to have an attitude that is anything but redemptive toward anyone else is not Christian. And I don't see how we could categorize the attitudes of some as anything but hateful.
But my task is not really to talk about these types of issues. My task is just to clarify what the Bible has to say about homosexual sex. Last year I blogged on this quite a bit for the same reason. I won't be as extensive this time. I only will have about 30 minutes.
It is beyond reasonable doubt that the Bible does in fact mention or allude to homosexual sex in a number of places. I should probably mention up front that there is an important distinction between homosexual sex and homosexuality. We hear of men raping men in prison in acts of violence that do not involve homosexuality. The rapist in these cases is not usually someone who would have male-male relations on the outside.
Similarly, there are child molesters, pederasts, who molest boys. But this is not homosexuality in the sense we are discussing any more than a male child molester who molests girls is heterosexuality.
In the sense we are discussing, a heterosexual is someone who prefers to have sex with someone of appropriate age in the opposite sex and a homosexual is someone who prefers to have sex with someone of appopriate age in the same sex. Notice that we today can speak of these categories in terms of desire, "orientation." This way of talking about the subject seems for all intents and purposes a fairly modern way of conceptualizing the issue. In other words, we are able to speak of a hetero- or homosexual apart from the act of sex. The desire can define the category. It would seem that in earlier times, the act defined the category.
More to come...