A Biblical Perspective on Homosexuality

Speaker: Categories: Oct 11, 2003

 

[1hr, 19min, 5sec / 46min, 41sec]

ABOUT THE TOPIC:

"Homo,” or"homosexual,"or"homosexuality"- how does your mind respond to these terms? Are your responses different if you isolate them from a religious church setting? How about over time -- do you find your response(s) to these terms today to be different than in years gone by? To what extent, if any, has contemporary culture influenced, maybe even dramatically modified, your response? If modified, is that cause for concern - or appreciation.

To help put the topic in a bit more perspective AAFSD hosted a presentation by then Pastor Charles Sandefur entitled:Homosexuality and the Church. The date was January 12, 1985. The site was the fellowship hall of Paradise Valley SDA Church in National City, a community just south of San Diego. The meeting was well attended.

While the Q/A time was in progress, another meeting attended by many retirees residing in Paradise Valley Manor concluded and some of these Manor residents, still desiring further appropriate Sabbath activity, wandered into the Forum meeting. Be aware they were hearing the questions and answers but had NOT heard the initial presentation leading into the Q/A time.

An emergency Paradise Valley Church board meeting was convened during the following week. Action was taken immediately terminating Forum's future use of the Fellowship Hall facility.Please note: None of the members of the church board had attended the Forum meeting - either the initial presentation or the Q/A following!

Have times changed? Has San Diego Adventist Forum hosted any subsequent presentations on the topic of sex or homosexuality? The answer: a definite YES, as noted by the following: Alberta Mazat,Speaking Up for Sexuality, July, 1985; Ivan Blazen,Sexuality: a Biblical Perspective, May, 2001; and David Larson and Morris Taylor,Christianity and Sexuality: Ethical Concerns, October, 2001.

And what perspective might be brought to enlighten our understanding of this subject now? Has the biblical view changed over time - or has only our understanding of the biblical perspective changed? Dr. John Cobb, our speaker for October 8, has noted:

"There is no question that such comments as one finds in the Bible about homosexuality are negative. The question is the relevance of these comments to our situation today. Are they to be viewed as decisive for how Christians in all periods should treat this topic, or should they be viewed as many of us now treat the issues of slavery, divorce, women in church, and so forth?"

"The most important text for consideration,"advises Dr. Cobb,"isRomans 1:26-27. Here homosexuality is presented as the result of idolatry and as playing a central role in human degradation. These appear to be theological judgments on Paul's part, and from them the church has formulated rules to be enforced in all times and places. Has this use of this text been justified? What is Paul's own view of law in general? How does [or should] this relate to me church's formulation of laws about homosexuality?"

ABOUT THE SPEAKER:

John B. Cobb, Jr. is an ordained United Methodist minister who retired in 1990 from his position as professor of theology at the Claremont School of Theology. He was born of missionary parents in Kobe, Japan, and spent most of his childhood there. He graduated from Newman High School in Georgia and attended college Emory College at Oxford'before joining the army. After service he attended the University of Chicago where he received degrees from the Divinity School. He taught at Young Harris College and Emory University before coming to Claremont in 1958. He is a leader in process theology, having co-founded with David Griffin the Center for Process Studies in Claremont. He co-founded with Masao Abe the International Buddhist-Christian Theological Dialogue and was the first president of the Society for Buddhist-Christian Studies. He has

Tried to bring progressive Christian faith to bear on a range of ethical issues, and in this connection co-founded with George Regas what is now called Progressive Christians Uniting. He has chaired the Reflection Committee, which has recently publishedProgressive Christians Speak: A Different voice on Faith and Politics. This contains a chapter on homosexuality. He has addressed this topic in a number of essays, including one in his book,Matters of Life and Death. He is currently working with David Lull on a commentary onRomans.

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