I also want to thank College Hill United Methodist for graciously agreeing to host the event. I was born and raised here in Wichita, in a loving Christian home and in a church community that holds to the traditional interpretation of Scripture on this subject. The issue of homosexuality, of the ordination of gay clergy and of the blessing of same-sex unions, has caused tremendous divisions in the church in recent decades, and the church remains substantially divided over the issue today. On the one hand, the most common themes voiced by those who support changing traditional church teaching on homosexuality are those of acceptance, inclusion, and love, while on the other hand, those who oppose these changes express concerns about sexual purity, holiness, and most fundamentally, the place of Scripture in our communities. Are we continuing to uphold the Bible as authoritative, and are we taking biblical teachings seriously, even if they make us uncomfortable? The traditional interpretation, in summary form, is this: There are six passages in the Bible that refer in some way to same-sex behavior, and they are all negative.
The Christian case for gay marriage
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In the ancient world, same-sex behavior was widely considered to be a vice of excess that might tempt anyone, like gluttony or drunkenness. The Bible honors celibacy as a worthy calling, but it also makes clear that celibacy is a gift that not all have 1 Corinthians , Matthew In the Old Testament, those who were sexually different—like eunuchs and barren women—were barred from entering the assembly of the Lord see Deuteronomy But within the text of Scripture, we see greater inclusion of gender and sexual minorities: one of the first Gentile converts to Christianity was an Ethiopian eunuch see Acts The Bible explicitly condemns Sodom for its arrogance, inhospitality, and apathy toward the poor, but never for same-sex behavior. Moreover, the prohibitions of male same-sex relations reflect culturally-bound concerns about patriarchal gender roles, which the New Testament points us beyond. In the ancient world, it was assumed that all people could be satisfied with heterosexual sex, but that some people went beyond it due to their insatiable lust—leading them to engage in same-sex behavior.
Homosexuality and religion
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Within Christianity , there are a variety of views on sexual orientation and homosexuality. Even within a denomination, individuals and groups may hold different views, and not all members of a denomination necessarily support their church's views on homosexuality. The history of Christianity and homosexuality has been much debated. Some maintain early Christian Churches deplored same-sex relationships , while others maintain they accepted these relationships on the level of their heterosexual counterparts.