×

Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Bible, Gender, Sexuality: Reframing the Church's Debate on Same-Sex Relationships
     

Bible, Gender, Sexuality: Reframing the Church's Debate on Same-Sex Relationships

5.0 3
by James V. Brownson
 

See All Formats & Editions

Grapples conscientiously with biblical texts at the heart of the church's debate over same-sex relationships

This thought-provoking book by James Brownson develops a broad, cross-cultural sexual ethic from Scripture, locates current debates over homosexuality in that wider context, and explores why the Bible speaks the way it does about same-sex

Overview

Grapples conscientiously with biblical texts at the heart of the church's debate over same-sex relationships

This thought-provoking book by James Brownson develops a broad, cross-cultural sexual ethic from Scripture, locates current debates over homosexuality in that wider context, and explores why the Bible speaks the way it does about same-sex relationships.

Fairly presenting both sides in this polarized debate — "traditional" and "revisionist" — Brownson conscientiously analyzes all of the pertinent biblical texts and helpfully identifies "stuck points" in the ongoing debate. In the process, he explores key concepts that inform our understanding of the biblical texts, including patriarchy, complementarity, purity and impurity, honor and shame. Central to his argument is the need to uncover the moral logic behind the text.

Written in order to serve and inform the ongoing debate in many denominations over the questions of homosexuality, Brownson's in-depth study will prove a useful resource for Christians who want to form a considered opinion on this important issue.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Search
"Brownson's argument is careful and sensitive. . . . An important addition to the conversation on the Church's response to people in same-sex relationships."

Books at a Glance
"[A] thoughtful, complex and comprehensive work."

Wesley Granberg-Michaelson (from foreword)
"Instead of being trapped in shallow debates over the meaning of a few isolated biblical passages, James Brownson grounds his approach in foundational biblical understandings of gender and sexuality. He takes the Bible seriously, engaging it faithfully and deeply, and he encourages the reader to do the same. . . . The church needs this book."

David G. Myers
— author of A Friendly Letter to Skeptics and Atheists
"With gentle wisdom Brownson reveals an implicit moral logic beneath scriptural teachings about sexuality and same-sex relationships. His insights — which are both prophetic and pastoral — build a much-needed bridge across the sexual divide that separates people of shared biblical faith."

Brian McLaren
— author of Naked Spirituality: A Life with God in 12 Simple Words
"Jim Brownson has written what I believe is a 'game-changing' book on the hotly disputed topic of same-sex orientation and relationships in light of the Bible. He approaches the biblical texts with no less care and respect than the most conservative or traditional scholars, but he makes overt and clear what many seem unconscious of — the moral logic that operates in a text. By surfacing and grappling with that moral logic, Brownson can explore the why behind the what of biblical prohibitions. In so doing, he provides not only a masterful work on human sexuality in light of Scripture, but also a model for the kind of robust and faithful biblical hermeneutic that our churches desperately need at this point in our history."

Peggy Campolo
— speaker, writer, and editor
"If ever a book spoke the good news of the gospel with biblical authority to those children of God who happen not to be straight, it is this book. Brownson addresses with clarity an issue that is tearing the church of Jesus Christ apart, as he gently insists that all of us allow new facts and insights to illuminate our understanding of what Scripture has to say to gay and lesbian Christians."

Booklist (STARRED review)
"An outstanding presentation of academic scholarship to general readers. . . . Reframes biblical debate about same-sex relationships. . . . This strikes to the heart of the Bible-versus-homosexuality fracas."

Englewood Review of Books
"Fascinating and incredibly helpful. It would be hard to suggest that Brownson is anything other than meticulous, transparent, and authentic in his treatment of the issues and of scripture."

Studies in Christian Ethics
"Perhaps the greatest challenge facing those seeking to argue a biblical basis for same-sex unions is that — in contrast to debates over gender equality or war or remarriage after divorce — the canonical evidence is uniformly, often strongly, negative. Brownson's work asks whether there is 'anything inherent in the moral logic that shapes the Bible's discussion of one-flesh unions that not only assumesbut also requires' (p.106, italics original) such unions to be male and female. Answering in the negative, he has presented the most thorough case so far that one can still be faithful to the Bible by going beyond its explicit witness in this area and appealing to moral logic and cultural change to argue that 'what is normal in the biblical witness' — only male-female sexual unions — 'may not necessarily benormative' (p. 109, italics original)."

Library Journal
"A remarkably thorough, patient, and learned treatment of the knotty questions that surround Christian stances toward same-sex relationships. . . . [Brownson's] writing and thinking are deliberate and clear, and may supply a crucial tool for discussion based neither on impulse nor unexamined cultural tradition."

The Bible Today
"This thoughtful book bears reading as an example of a civil and earnest discussion of a sensitive issue."

Theological Studies
"An ambitious challenge to Christians to read the Bible imaginatively if they wish to understand more fully elements found in committed same-sex relationships."

Biblical Theology Bulletin
"In the ongoing debate surrounding same-sex relationships in general, and same-sex marriage in particular, James Brownson's recent work is a welcome addition, providing a calm and well-reasoned examination of Christian Scripture that can be appreciated by all sides of the debate. Regardless of whether or not a person ultimately agrees with Brownson's conclusions, readers on all sides should find food for thought at numerous points throughout the book."

Review of Biblical Literature
"This work has taken the church forward in its deliberations regarding the same-sex debate, both in terms of the centrality of Scripture and of the concerns that face us today."

Times Literary Supplement
"A thorough discussion. . . . Brownson concludes that it is crucial to frame passages that worry about ancient cultic sexual excess or hierarchical relationships between men and women in the cultural assumptions of their time. These assumptions may be as alien for many today as are those of the ancient Near East on slavery."
Library Journal
In Brownson's (The Promise of Baptism) remarkably thorough, patient, and learned treatment of the knotty questions that surround Christian stances toward same-sex relationships, he reviews traditionalist and revisionist approaches, and addresses the issue through the categories of patriarchy, procreation, celibacy, lust, purity, honor and shame, and nature. He concludes that a careful understanding of the moral logic that underlies Biblical texts does not consistently support homophobic conclusions. VERDICT While Brownson's treatment may be too scholarly for some readers, his writing and thinking are deliberate and clear, and may supply a crucial tool for discussion based neither on impulse nor unexamined cultural tradition.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781467437370
Publisher:
Eerdmans, William B. Publishing Company
Publication date:
02/03/2013
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
312
Sales rank:
587,170
File size:
2 MB

Meet the Author

James V. Brownson is James I. and Jean Cook Professor of New Testament at Western Theological Seminary, Holland, Michigan. His other books include Speaking Truth in Love: New Testament Resources for a Missional Hermeneutic.
James V. Brownson is James I. and Jean Cook Professor ofNew Testament at Western Theological Seminary, Holland,Michigan. His other books include Speaking Truth inLove: New Testament Resources for a MissionalHermeneutic"

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Bible, Gender, Sexuality: Reframing the Church's Debate on Same-Sex Relationships 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Bible Gender and Sexuality by James Brownson is a wonderful text to help people explore their questions on faith and sexuality. As a gay catholic, I too struggled with reconciling my sexual orientation with my faith. All of those questions on what the bible says, how to think about this issue, and whether or not being gay is a sin all went through my head. Brownson does the leg work to really explore the topic from all sides. Other 'scholars' like Robert Gagnon who claim to have all the answers haven't done the exhaustive scholarship Brownson has. I highly recommend it! 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As more Christians come out as gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender, the church has to face the unpleasant reality the religious institutions have been some of the most unwelcoming places for this group of people. No one who is gay should have to choose between being gay and being a follower of Christ. This book offers hope that the Bible does not support the need to make this choice. Jim Brownson approaches this subject with the mind of a scholar and the heart of a pastor. In light of contemporary issues that face the church today, Brownson helps us understand the minds and cultures of the people that wrote the Scriptures, and how moral logic necessitates a more careful examination of what these passages mean to contemporary society.  He validates the experiential reality of those who identify somewhere outside the heterosexual mainstream and yet remain Christian.    He skillfully refutes Robert Gagnon (self-proclaimed "expert" on this topic) arguing, among other things, that the traditional doctrine of gender complimentarity is not normative for all people. Unlike Gagnon, I get the idea that Brownson sees gay people as PEOPLE, and not simply sexual offenders. Brownson beckons us to reconsider the non-affirming message that contributes to the toxic shame of gay and lesbian persons by the ambivalent response, “We welcome you, but we abhor the way you operate emotionally". His language is not flowery or emotional. It is not too technical or scholarly for the average person. This book IS a game-changer for those who believe that 6 bible passages should not be grounds for dismissing an entire group of people.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Over the past eight years of reading books in this genre, I have read dozens of books. Brownson's book "Bible Gender Sexuality" does an excellent job of tackling the Biblical objections most commonly presented in the conservative Christian arena. As I was reading Brownson's book, I was thrilled to see that a biblical scholar was taking a serious approach at tackling the controversy surrounding faith and sexual orientation from a point of view of gender. Being a female advocate in this conversation, it is apparent to me that the conservative church even today struggles with gender-based discrimination. Brownson clearly and methodically presents new questions and information the church has not productively considered in the last 40 years. The lazy approach to understanding the verses in the Bible used to create dogma about gay Christians has relied heavily upon what the black-and-white words on the page say. We have neglected to understand what those words mean. Brownson does a great job of explaining the difficult verses in context and history. Over the years, as I have had conversations with conservative pastors in hopes that they would consider broader understanding of biblical texts, it is apparent that many of these pastors have relied heavily upon the writings of Robert Gagnon. Prof. Brownson tackles Gagnon's objections with ease. Gagnon is masterful at taking a verse, making a supposition, calling that a fact and creating a "biblical truth." Brownson skillfully confronts those assumptions. If you are a church leader, or a pastor, and know that a shift is coming, and you do not know how to handle it or even how to have a conversation in your church, make this the first book you read to help you understand objections you have held. Any pastor, Biblical scholar, serious student of the Bible, or someone that needs help to overcome long-held objections should read Brownson's book. One of the primary beliefs held by the conservative church community and conservative political community that creates the strongest wall against marriage equality is the belief that marriage, as described in Genesis 1, insists that only one man and one woman can constitute an accurate reflection of God. Section 2 of Brownson's book addresses this brilliantly. If I were to pick ONE book, and have it placed on the desk of every conservative pastor in the United States, that book would be Brownson's book.