The debate in the church over homosexuality has often focused on 7 or 8 sentences in the Bible or even a single word from the Old Testament taken out of context. That’s not the right way to read the Bible. The proper way to read the Bible is to treat it as a whole and to read individual passages through the lens of Jesus’ redemptive life and ministry. (Indeed reading the Bible through the lens of Jesus' redemptive life and ministry is the orthodox standard method of interpretation in the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. and many mainline Protestant denominations.)
So in the new edition of my book Jesus, the Bible, and Homosexuality I look at several passages which are not always included in our discussion about homosexuality. Specifically I look at God’s extravagant welcome for all who have faith. I hope this new chapter will contribute to the debate in the church and open new avenues of thought for most Christians.
Here’s the intro to the new chapter and below is a link to the book on Amazon.com:
I first started to read the Bible every day when I was in junior high. I wanted to know God, and I knew that this book would show the way. Now retired, I realize I’ve been reading the Bible daily for over sixty years. What is so astonishing about that experience is that after all this time, there is still so much more to discover about God’s revelation in Scripture.
I’ve been specifically studying the biblical texts as they relate to homosexuality since 1993, yet I still feel that I have just scratched the surface in terms of understanding all that is there. Through studying the increasingly rich scholarship in this field, I have come to believe that there are many biblical passages that are more helpful in understanding how Christians should relate to people who are LGBT than the verses that are commonly cited.
Jesus understood the sacred texts and God’s intention for humanity. So when we read the Bible through the lens of Jesus’ redemptive life and ministry, we are better able to discern God’s revelation. Jesus welcomed every kind of person into God’s community—especially the outcast, the alien, the marginalized, the forgotten, and the foreigner. Reading the Bible through the lens of Jesus’ redemptive life and ministry we see over and over again, God’s radically inclusive grace that welcomes all who have faith. Let us examine three passages that show how Jesus’ teachings illuminate God’s extravagant welcome…
--Jesus, the Bible, and Homosexuality: Explode the Myths, Heal the Church (updated and expanded second edition), p. 128.