Monday, November 20, 2006

Scripture, Creation, and Heterosexual Nature.

Post #13 Understanding Homosexuality meets Straight Into Gay America, a dialogue between Pastor Dave Glesne and Pastor Lars Clausen

Dear Lars,

Because of schedule I have not been able to log in to this blog since my last post of November 9. When I logged on yesterday (November 17), I see that I have been missing a lot of reader activity! Feeling the pressure of sending in my next post, I actually wrote the majority of this post before reading the comments. Only then did I sit down to read the 22 entries of the last two posts. I’m probably a fool for not running for cover!

Although my last post obviously provoked a strong but not totally unexpected reaction, I am encouraged that there seems to be some agreement at least that we were able to get to at least one root of the differences. As a rookie blogger, while I see the positives of writing exchanges back and forth, I also see the inherent weakness in not being able to sit face to face with a reader and clarify meanings, agreements, misrepresentations, nuances, etc. I’m not sure how finally successful that can be by the very nature of the medium we are using.

In spite of a barrage of comments, the best I can do is to focus on our exchanges, Lars. I’m sorry if that is not acceptable to some. So I am responding to your last post here.

Identity vs. Behavior: heterosexuality and homosexuality – a response: Following up on the statement that there is no scientific, medical, or biological evidence that homosexuality is inborn or unchangeable, you ask the question whether or not the same could be said of heterosexuality.

I believe there is a difference and would cite the following: As I state on page 82f of my book, from God’s revelation in the Scriptures I understand that when God created Man (collective noun) in his own image, he created male and female. In other words, there is a sexual differentiation within Man. Man is properly understood when seen as ‘male and female.’ So as created by God, then, Man is heterosexual by nature. Science then shows us that this sexual differentiation within Man is biological. An XY chromosome combination is a boy and an XX chromosome combination a girl. Genetically, we are born either male or female. (I speak to the issue of hermaphrodites in this section.) So I see science and biology (which investigates created reality, i.e. natural revelation) confirming the truth of the Scripture’s teaching on creation (which we know as special revelation). I am suggesting from this that within the worldview of Christian revelation science and biology give evidence that heterosexuality is inborn.

Having said that, I go on and say (page 83) that from creation there is something even prior to our creation as male and female. I say that from creation, gender precedes sex. By ‘gender’ I mean masculine and feminine, a wider concept than sex, something more like an ‘emotional identity’. There is an identity that is rooted in ultimate reality, the very being and nature of God. God is Spirit. As such there is no physical or sexual aspect to God. But there appears to be an emotional identity in God (maleness and femaleness) which is the pattern for our sexual nature as male and female. This gender pattern is our true gender identity because this is the way God created us and sees us. (This is what I would understand as objective reality). Gender then is a given. It is given in the most secure and purposeful way possible, in the very image of God Himself. It is a gift from God. The first man and woman’s gender identities were consistent with their biological sex – their sexual identity as male and female. This is why, on the basis of Scripture and the testimony of science, I am saying that our true identity is heterosexual, for this is the way God created us (natural revelation and the testimony of science) and this is who God tells us we are (special revelation), image bearers of God – male and female.

But the fall into sin has spoiled everything. Everything in creation is now marred and abnormal. Now in this fallen, abnormal world biological abnormalities appear (as with the phenomenon of hermaphrodites). Sexual identity can also become touched and marred and twisted. The very image of God in Man is marred and spoiled (but I don’t believe destroyed). At this point I’m going to quote myself on page 84:

“Our true nature then is not what presently exists, but what God originally created and intended. After the fall, the nature that existed was no longer pure. Neither human beings nor the created earth escaped the curse. Identity, sexuality, and all the created order are now broken and disordered. Nowhere does nature now reflect the perfect will of God, and the divine intent can never be established merely by observing human behavior. That is why our true nature as human beings cannot be known apart from revelation nor separated from the Doctrine of creation.”

The comment is made that if I argue that no one can authenticate that he or she is homosexual then no one can authenticate the he or she is heterosexual either. If we are talking about identity here I would agree. I cannot authenticate that I am heterosexual. In this fallen, abnormal world I can look at my human experience and declare myself heterosexual but is this my true identity and nature? It is only a self-declared identity wherein I am trying to make sense of and give meaning to my experience. I do not think that human experience is finally self-authenticating for it never breaks out of the circle of the finite.

As I have stated in a previous post, my true identity is communicated to me through divine revelation in God’s view of me, that I am a human being made in His image and likeness. My identity then is not rooted in my sexuality, in the created, in being a heterosexual man. For me, drawing my identity from my sexuality, i.e. from something created, would be to shift the ground of my identity subtly and idolatrously away from God. Rather, my identity is drawn from having been created in God’s image and then that broken image (because of sin which separates me from God) being restored in Christ – the very image of God Himself. That is why I state above that our true nature or identity as human beings – male and female – cannot be known apart from revelation nor separated from the Doctrine of creation.

It may be worthy of note here that in the Scriptures there is no Hebrew or Greek word for a homosexual person as such. Scripture simply does not identify people by their sexual orientation as our culture does now. It does not identify any of us by our besetting temptations or sins. Rather, all of the bible’s references to homosexuality specify homosexual behavior or acts.

You state, Lars, that “biblically, I hear you saying heterosexuality is good. Homosexuality is bad.” I am saying that, as above, God created us male and female in his image and that creation is good. I am also saying that since the fall into sin, ALL OF US to some extent are sexual deviants with aberrations of fantasy and behavior. There is not one of us that are the perfect sexual being that God intended us to be when He made us male and female. We are ALL broken and fallen. I am saying that the norm for sexuality is heterosexuality which is firmly rooted in the Scriptural teaching on creation and reinforced over and over again by the negative condemnation of homosexual behavior. Homosexual tendencies like, for example, extreme expressions of anger are the result of the brokenness of the fallen world. Homosexual practice represents a move away from the one flesh ideal that God intends for the most intimate of human relationships and heterosexuality represents a move toward the one flesh ideal God intended. So if we allow our homosexual orientation to govern our lifestyle, our behavior is moving us away from God’s ideal. If we allow our heterosexuality to govern our lifestyle – within the right context – our behavior is moving us toward God’s ideal. Then I would add that sexual sin (heterosexual or homosexual) basically is not worse that other sins. In fact, Jesus condemns sins of the spirit (pride, self-righteousness, etc) more strongly than he does sins of the flesh. Obviously, heterosexual and homosexual sin does involve other people and therefore it can and most assuredly does produce worse effects but before God sins such as pride and jealousy are just as bad.

Women and black people: I think we both agree on the rightness of equal rights for women and black people. I would understand those rights to be rooted in women and black people being equally created in the image of God and as such equally valued in the eyes of God. I would disagree with your statement, however, that the Bible says it’s fine to regard women as property and to hold people as slaves. I would not understand that as God’s intention from the beginning. I do not believe it is his intention for life within the Christian community, the church, which exists in this in-between time between the “already” and the “not yet”. It will not be a reality in the new heavens and earth. In this in-between time, the Bible records realities, many of which are descriptive of life lived under the burden of sin and injustice and brokenness and which are not prescriptive of the way he desires us to live with each other.

When the bible says to the woman after the Fall, “Your desire shall be for your husband and he will rule over you” (Gen. 3:16), I believe that is descriptive of what life lived under sin will be like not prescriptive of the way God desires it to be. Likewise, in dealing with the slavery analogy on pages 136-137, I point out that nowhere does Scripture command or encourage or sanction slavery. There is no enforcement of slavery in Scripture the transgression of which would incur a penalty. Rather, the Scriptures regulate existing situations. The Bible’s teaching is always in the direction of the curtailment and eradication of slavery. The Church, to be sure, has at times in its history failed miserably in appropriating the bible’s teachings and living out those teachings and we are all undoubtedly glad when we see progress being made in bringing its practices more closely in alignment with God’s desires. We are glad also for the progress towards equality that has been made in society in these areas.

Looking at social policy: Gender and race are categories of persons who display unchangeable characteristics of being. History would testify that it has been in the best interests of societies to legislate protection for such classes of people. A growing number of ex-gay persons today are testifying to the reality, however, that homosexuality is not an unchangeable characteristic such as gender or race. (This is not to speak to the degree of difficulty in changing or to the numbers who do so.) So what we are being confronted with in the drive for equality with regard to homosexuality, it seems to me, is something entirely new. For the first time we are confronted by a group of persons who are demanding special laws because of their behavior – having sex with partners of the same sex. (The argument that same-sex marriage is about loving relationships – which few would deny - rather than sex doesn’t change the sexual aspect of the relationship and what is involved here). Persons who engage in same-sex behavior already have the same legal protection against abuse and the same rights as other citizens. The question before us then is, “Because of the moral, health, and social issues involved with homosexual behaviors, should this group be allowed special legal protections?” Were we to open the door by giving special legal protection to this group based on their behavior rather than on state of being, there also would be no logical reason for denying special protections for other minority groups such as polygamists, etc.

Orientation and behavior: I’m a bit confused as to meaning when you say that, “Now I see you writing about gay orientation as a lethally dangerous pseudo identity.” But let me take a stab at clarification. I do make a clear distinction between homosexual orientation and homosexual behavior. Individuals do not choose their sexual orientation but they do choose their sexual behavior. The homosexual condition is a result of being part of a broken, fallen world just as the male heterosexual propensity to promiscuity is a part of a broken, fallen world. It is the practice of homosexuality (as with illicit heterosexual practice), however, rather than the orientation which is contrary to the will of God. So I am not saying that the orientation in itself is medically risky but rather the behavior (i.e. anal intercourse, etc.) that physically expresses itself from out of that orientation.

Relook at my understanding of homosexuality: Your challenge to relook at the way I understand homosexuality is a good one. That ought to be something that one does ever so often lest one becomes locked into a mode of thinking that is not open to other information, lest we find ourselves saying, “My mind’s made up, don’t confuse me with the facts.” That’s why this discussion we are having with each other – and our readers – is so good and healthy. It is a good challenge.

The argument that it is the quality of the relationship (i.e. loving, caring, nurturing, faithful, etc.) rather than the kind of relationship (man and man and woman and woman) that is all important at first has such appeal because in God’s eyes and in human experience love and care is so central and good and it seems so in sync with the two great commandments of our Lord – loving God and neighbor. And indeed, love is the greatest good. But love separated from truth is not love and as I understand it, God’s revelation says that sexual love is to be expressed only within the bonds of the marriage of a man and a woman. The quality of the relationship is extremely important and always needs to be worked at but the kind of relationship is equally important.

The book of creation still confronts me with the complimentarity of the male and female bodies, that the structure of our bodies does not appear made for homosexual intercourse, and that the medical consequences of homosexual behavior – AIDS, STD’s as gonorrhea, syphilis, hepatitis A and B, anal cancer, amoebic “gay” bowel disease, and herpes, to name a few - are destructive of human life. These medical conditions do not come from homosexual orientation but from sexual behavior. In his book Straight and Narrow, Thomas Schmidt rather meticulously documents the myriad of health problems connected to gay sexual behavior and the reason why male homosexual life expectancy, even without AIDS, is so much shorter than heterosexual male life expectancy. Readers might also benefit from looking at The Health Risks of Gay Sex by John R. Diggs, Jr., M.D., a board-certified Internist.

The book of Scripture confronts me with the teaching that God created us male and female and his desire and intention for the human race is that human sexuality be expressed within the marriage relationship of a man and a woman. This teaching on creation is then reinforced over and over again by the negative condemnations of homosexual behavior.

Science tells me some of the reasons ‘why’ a compassionate and loving God does not approve of same-sex behavior. However, Scripture alone can answer the moral question. I am not persuaded either by Scripture or science as yet, however, to begin saying ‘yes’ to what God has said ‘no’.

As with many of the people you met on your fascinating journey, I too am happy that gay and lesbian persons that I know have not outwardly appeared to experience health consequences of homosexual behavior. I hope that that will continue in the future as well. We and they are still faced with the moral question, however.

Where do we go from here? Although I will be traveling over Thanksgiving, I will try to steal time and work on a response to your concern about science and data.

Blessings,
Dave

14 comments:

Tim Fisher said...

Dave,

While there is a lot to talk about in your recent post, I feel but slight inclination right now to do so. Regardless of what people might think about God saying yes or no to loving, committed same-sex relationships, it is just FAR too easy for your readers to attach "promiscuous, pedophilic, diseased, fisting, feces eating" to our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters. The fear that this kind of talk engenders in the church is just too hurtful for us to amble onward to discussions of "complementarity" etc… The question of "complementarity" can hardly matter if one believes your presentation and ascribes all those horrible things to gay and lesbian people as a category as you do. To go forward from here without adequately addressing your use of the social science materials seems irresponsible.

Tim Fisher
Minneapolis, MN

Nadine Anderson said...

That God made male and female does not mean that God made all with heterosexual attraction. Further I am offended by the use of the term “Man”, capitalizing it makes it no less sexist. Male counts, female is along for the ride. That is the message I get from this use of Man. Are you aware of and do you see the irony of the paper titled, “Menstrual Cycle in Man”?
Again, the creation story does not say God created all with heterosexual attraction.
You identify those to whom we are attracted as “our besetting temptations or sins.” I identify who we are attracted to as God’s great gift to help us form closeness and intimacy.
How can you call “special legislation” laws that disallow eviction from housing or firing from jobs because of sexual orientation? We clearly cannot communicate if you can find normal human compassion to which all are entitled special rights.
You put so much emphasis on behaviors that relatively few of the LGBT population does and you speak of these sexual acts in such a way as to imply that all participate in these behaviors. After your comments about restricting your attribution of these behaviors to those who follow what you define as the gay lifestyle, you continue to speak of them when talking about the GLBT community. I guess you are not open to talking about the general GLBT community, but only the one that interests you. To me it looks like prurient interest under the guise of concern.
As always you must bring in these things that have been wide spread within the heterosexual world: – AIDS, STD’s as gonorrhea, syphilis, hepatitis A and B, anal cancer, and herpes. I don’t know what amoebic “gay” bowel disease, is so I leave it out. These existed long before the current GLBT community became active, and are transmitted by heterosexual behavior far more than by homosexual behavior.
We are indeed at a point of such differences in basic, unprovable assumptions that I wonder whether any real communication is happening.
Nadine Anderson

Anonymous said...

If God had intended the male and female bodies to be anatomically "complimentary", God would have made man with a concave chest. When a man and woman marry, it may sound eupemistic to say they are "one flesh" but, in reality, they stillmaintain their own individual identities.

Paleoantropolgoists now know that there were people living in Australia, Afrrica, China, Europe and North and South America at least 15,000 years before Adam and Eve lived in the Fertile Crescent some 7,000 years ago. Those peole lived in family arrangements, they jlived, lvoed, had cnildren, propagated, and died (this is all before "the Fall".

Black peopel, women, eunochs, left-handed people, gay men and lesbian women were all created in teh Image of Gode."

Dr. Glesne, your paragraph beginnign with "My true identity is.... and ending in "the very image of God Himself (sic)" is absolutely true for every gay and lesbian Christian---every chil,d of God. Your identity, thier identity is primarily "Child of God". But you also have other identities, inslucing male, pastor, American, heterosexsual, married man, father, etc..

There is not Greek or Hebrew word for homosexual, it's true; yet some people translate arsenokoitai and molokai as "heterosexual". There was no English nor German word for it either until mid-19th century.

The "NORM" of sexual orientation is heterosexual, it is true. The norm of handedness is right handed. There are norms of ehight which do not include the very tall basketball player. Homosexual orientation, left-handedness, and very tall gheight are all deviations from the norm, but not deviant nor abnormal.

"Medical consequences" of some sexual behavior (AIDS, STDs --g.c., syphilis, hepatitis B, anal cancer ????, amoebiasis, and herpes) in my 37 years of medical practice in civilian, missioanry, and military experience, were primarily heterosexual diseases.

Gay people are askng for EQUAL RIGHTS, NOT "Special rights".

The writers of the Bible had not knowledge of swexual orientation.

Let's keep seeking the truth for "the Truth shall make you free."
Dr. Joe Norquist

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I must correct a couple staements of my last blog. First I apologize for too many thypos. I hope you can read the meaning of my misspelled words. Alspo I don't think I saw enough anorectal cancer to make the statemtn I made and my cases of amoebiasis were from unsafe food and water, rather than sexual transmission. I think the remaidner of my comments were accurate as intended. Dr. Joe Norquist

Dave said...

Tim and Nadine,

We are definitely missing and talking past each other and I agree, Nadine, that true communication is being stalled. Let me reiterate that the sexual behaviors under discussion are those I speak of on pages 44-45 of my book which I have said are descriptive of sexual practices that take place in what might be called the gay sub-culture. This chapter is primarily talking about what is happening in the wider society, and that not so much in the general gay population as such, as in that sub-segment. I am simply showing that the discussions we are having in the church are not taking place in a cultural vacuum.

I hear both of you saying that I am attributing all these horrible things (Tim's words) to our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters, that I am implying that all participate in these behaviors (Nadine's words). I DO NOT believe that. Forgive me for thinking that we have made that distinction clear in previous posts. I have acknowledged that the distinctions, perhaps, could have been more explicit in this chapter. Fair enough. But I have made it as clear as I can in our discussion what I am saying and meaning.

So let me reiterate once again: I am NOT ascribing all these male sexual behaviors to the overall gay population, MUCH LESS to our brothers and sisters in the church. To say that I am is a misrepresentation.

An additional note: I am FULLY aware that unhealthy sexual behaviors occur among both heterosexuals and homosexuals. Diseases and STD's etc. are common to both. Some have complained that I don't address the same practices and diseases among heterosexuals. The simple reason is that this discussion is about homosexual practices. We could surely have a similar discussion about heterosexual practices but here our focus is on homosexual behavior.

Nadine Anderson said...

Dave –
Yes, you have said in the blog that you attributed those promiscuous and unusual behaviors to a sub-culture of homosexuals and have said that you do not think all GLBT people participate in them. You also said the following:
“The homosexual condition is a result of being part of a broken, fallen world just as the male heterosexual propensity to promiscuity is a part of a broken, fallen world. It is the practice of homosexuality (as with illicit heterosexual practice), however, rather than the orientation which is contrary to the will of God. So I am not saying that the orientation in itself is medically risky but rather the behavior (i.e. anal intercourse, etc.) that physically expresses itself from out of that orientation.”
What in the statement above says that in speaking of “the practice of homosexuality (as with illicit heterosexual practice)” you mean those excessive actions by a small portion of the GLBT world? You did qualify the term heterosexuals to indicate you were speaking of a subgroup of them, you did not qualify the term homosexual to indicate a subgroup.
I read the statement I just quoted to mean that you are talking about most homosexuals. You could have said “It is the promiscuous practice of homosexuality (as with illicit heterosexual practice), however, rather than the orientation which is contrary to the will of God.” (Bold added for ease of finding what I added.) Then a reader might understand that you were referring to this subgroup. That would also imply that some homosexual behavior is not illicit, and I do not think you want to do that. So if you mean a small subgroup of homosexuals with your new comments, but we other bloggers mean the large group of “typical” homosexuals, then we cannot communicate. I will not use the term “homosexual” alone to refer to a small segment of that group, but you seem to. We cannot communicate if we cannot use language in similar ways.
Nadine Anderson

Anonymous said...

A little clarification of terms. GENDER is the sex of a person, male or female. Sometimes at birth it is very difficult to assign the sex of a child because of genital ambiguity.SEXUAL ASSIGNMENT is the decision of medical people to determine the gender oif a newborn. Spometimes a mistake is made, whic can create significant problems.SEXUAL IDENTITU os the realization that comes to a child around age 2. It 's when they say, "I'm a girl!". or "I'm a boy!"Gay aqnd lesbian peole do not have difficulty with sexual identity. They knwo they are male or female. They fit into the example of Dr. glesne's "gender identity in God (maleness and femaleness". SEXUAL ORIENTATION is thge identification or discovery that a person is attracterd to people of the same sex instead of the oppositge sex, as most of their friends seem to be.
There are some fetuses who have xy chromosomes but are lacking the "HY-antigen" so they develop and are born with a female body even though their chromosomes are xy or male. They are also made in God's image because they are humans.
A generation of two ago, some children were born left-handed but their parents and some teachers taught them to use their right hands to become right handed, sometimes at the ezpense of normal speech developmenmt. God creatd them left-handed but society decided it would be better for them to be right-handed. Some of them were studied at the U of MN.
We don't do that any more.

Dr. Joe Norquist

Tim Fisher said...

Dave Glesne writes:
>>Let me reiterate that the sexual behaviors under discussion are those I speak of on pages 44-45 of my book which I have said are descriptive of sexual practices that take place in what might be called the gay sub-culture. This chapter is primarily talking about what is happening in the wider society, and that not so much in the general gay population as such, as in that sub-segment.>>

Dave, if this were true--if you were only talking about some small sub-segment and not about homosexual people generally--then what is the point of your chapter? Why did you write it if it doesn't apply to homosexual people generally? Why did you tell me that the supposedly high rate of pedophilia among gay men "tells us something about homosexuality"? (Which is obviously a categorical statement on your part.)

If you are truly only intending to talk about a sub-culture, then you could just as well say more or less the same things about heterosexuals. But you haven't.

>>So let me reiterate once again: I am NOT ascribing all these male sexual behaviors to the overall gay population, MUCH LESS to our brothers and sisters in the church. To say that I am is a misrepresentation.>>

Dave, I'm sorry, I just can't believe you on this point--since I can distinctly remember you making the same sort of claims you make in your book in the context of our synodical discussions before and during the Orlando assembly. If you were not THEN talking about our homosexual brothers and sisters in the church, and if you are also not NOW talking about them, then what was the point of sending your book, with significant expense, to all of the delegates to the assembly? The context of that assembly was explicitly about our brothers and sisters in the church, not about some vaguely defined "gay subculture."

Your statements in your current blog post are just not lining up consistently, neither with what you have written in your book nor with what I have heard you say before.

Tim Fisher
Minneapolis, MN

Anonymous said...

A letter in yesterday's Washington Post helps to explain that our differences of perspective are not necessarily between liberal and conservative interpretations.
"..the American Academy of Pediatrics,...'one's sexual orientation is not a choice; that is individuals do not choose to be homosexual or heterosexual.'"
"..the Am. Psychological Assoc...'sexual orientation is not a 'conscious choice that can coluntarily be changed.'"
"...the A.M.A. opposes the use of reparative or conversiion therapy that is based upon the assumption that homosexuality per se is a mental disorder or... that a patient should change his/her homosexual orientation."

"So the reality is that the disagreement is between some organizations such as James Dobson's Focus on the Family on the one hand, and groups like the American Medical Association on the the other. signed, David S. Fishback, a board member of MetgroDC PFLAG

I would rather trust the research and opinions of mainstream professional societies than those pseudo-scientific proclamations of NARTH or Focus on the Family, just as I would rather trust the scientists of astronomy, paleontology, archeology, geology, than the pseudo=science of the Intelligent-Design writers. Dr. Joe Norquist

Anonymous said...

"Following up on the statement that there is no scientific, medical, or biological evidence that homosexuality is inborn or unchangeable..."

This is a funny comment coming from someone who is basing his entire opinion of gay people on nothing but superstition. It might surprise you to learn that "there is no scientific...evidence that your superstious beliefs are anything but a steaming pantsload.

Anonymous said...

The staatement, "There is no scientific, medical, or biological ecidence that homosexuality is inborn or unmchangeable,....." is misleading, inaccurate, and should not be used. There is much accumulated data from science, medicine, and biology to make most researchers in the field believe that there are mulotiple factors, not just one gene, hormone, or biological or environmental factor involved. Studies of twins, of parts of the brain, of hormones, of heredity and other factors show some evidence but none are absolutly conclusive. They have pretty well ruled out a "weak or absent father and a domineering mother" as significant factors. so the semantics of one's honestly saying "there is no single, proven factor that causes...." is quite different from one's dishonestly saying that "there is... no.. ..evidence....". clever, but dishonest.
Likewise, it is not completely true that sexual orientation is absolutely unchangeable. Some people in their lifetime have been know to change from heterosexuality to homosexuality and some have been t\known to change from homosexuality to heterosexuality. When this happens, it is usually in a person who would have been labeled either bisexual or in Kinsey's scale, a 3 or 4. Those who change from therapy ae really few. Dr> Joe Norquist

spierce5 said...

Lars,
I am testing to see if I have created a google account,and if that will allow me to post.

Dave said...

Tim, I am really have a difficult time trying to follow your line of reasoning. The center piece of the Orlando Assembly was the questions of whether to bless same-sex unions and ordain practicing same-sex persons. My book gives what I believe is an historical, biblical and theological response to those questions. Obviously, I wanted the voting members to consider carefully the biblical material, the historical and revisionist interpretations of that material, and the moral question. Those questions are dealt with most thoroughly in Part 2 "Is Homosexuality Contrary to the Will of God?" and Part 3 "What is to be the Church's Attitude?"

Part 1 "Understanding Homosexuality" paints the broad strokes on the canvas, four myths that we are confronted by in society at large, the question of causation of homosexuality, and the gay lifestyle and agenda. I would reiterate here what I said in the introductory paragraph to chapter three: "The discussions taking place within the church today regarding homosexual orientation and behavior, the blessing of same-sex unions, and the ordination of practicing homosexuals is not taking place in a cultural vacuum. It is really a part of larger questions being asked in society and within Western civilization regarding sexuality and marriage and the family, albeit taking place within the arena of the church." Part 1 then has the larger picture in mind - society, Western civilization, the surrounding culture. The discussion in the church is not an island unto itself. It is not taking place in isolation from wider social and cultural realities. It is these wider realities that Part 1 is dealing with. A part of this wider reality is the sexual behavior of the gay sub-culture within society.

Why did I not talk about the promiscuous sexual behavior of heterosexuals? Because the book is about understanding homosexuality! Of course, a counterpart book could be written about the sexual behavior of heterosexuals.

The book surely addresses the situation of our same-sex brothers and sisters in the church. Part 2 deals with what Scripture says about homosexual behavior. Part 3 is devoted to a pastoral response to our same-sex brothers and sisters in the church.

I must be missing something. I fail to see the apparent difficulty in not understanding and accepting the different focuses within the different parts of the book.