Monday, February 13, 2006

New from Dr Gagnon


I would like to alert you to an important new publication of mine: “Why the Disagreement over the Biblical Witness on Homosexual Practice? A Response to Myers and Scanzoni, What God Has Joined Together? This is my best and most updated "short" treatment—short relative, that is, to a 500-page book--on the subject of the Bible and homosexuality. This 112-page article appears in the online journal Reformed Review, a publication of Reformed Seminary (affiliated with the Reformed Church in America). Click here ( to be taken to the webpage for vol. 59.1 ("Autumn 2005," completed Feb. 2006), and then click on the pdf file containing my article; or, to go directly to the article, (

Readers will find treatments here of every major issue in the debate, including discussion and analysis of:

* The different hermeneutical scales or interpretive grids used by proponents and opponents of homosexual practice (pp. 19-25).
* The difficulty in neutralizing Scripture for a pro-homosex agenda (pp. 25-30).
* The nature argument (pp. 30-46).
* The relevant biblical texts and the arguments used to limit their relevance for today's debate: Old Testament (pp. 46-54) and the New Testament (pp. 54-85), including Jesus (pp. 56-62) and Paul (pp. 62-85).
* The three main "new knowledge" arguments for dismissing the biblical witness against homosexual practice: the exploitation argument (pp. 65-76), the orientation argument (pp. 77-79), and the misogyny argument (pp. 80-82).
* Whether homosexual practice is the diet and circumcision issue of today (the Gentile inclusion analogy; pp. 86-90).
* The alleged analogies to slavery, women's roles, divorce/ remarriage and other changes to marriage over the centuries (pp. 90-97) vs. analogies to incest, polysexuality, and pedosexuality (pp. 98-101).
* Manipulative rhetoric in the church debates about homosexuality (pp. 103-114).
* The science side of the debate (pp. 114-30), including the question of the moral relevance of congenital influences and claims to an unchanging orientation (pp. 116-19), the question of whether culture can affect the incidence of homosexuality (pp. 120-25), and the question of whether "gay marriage" is good for society (pp. 125-30).

I use the book by Myers and Scanzoni as a stage from which to assess these issues and show how Myers and Scanzoni have not done their homework well in grappling with them. In fact, Myers and Scanzoni have, for the most part, ignored the wealth of counterarguments that can be arrayed against their positions. David Myers is a prominent professor of social psychology who teaches at Hope College (affiliated with the Reformed Church in America) and has written a number of standard textbooks on psychology as well as a number of general interest books. See his website at or click here. Letha Dawson Scanzoni has written such books as All We're Meant to Be: Biblical Feminism for Today (with N. Hardesty) and Is the Homosexual My Neighbor? (with V. R. Mollenkott).

I also have 3 new articles in print publications:

1. “Scriptural Perspectives on Homosexuality and Sexual Identity,” in Journal of Psychology and Christianity 24.4 (Winter 2005): 293-303.

2. “The Old Testament and Homosexuality: A Critical Review of the Case Made by Phyllis Bird,” Zeitschrift fur die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 117.3 (2005): 367-94.

3. “Sexuality,” in Dictionary for Theological Interpretation of the Bible (ed. K. J. Vanhoozer, with C. Bartholomew, D. J. Treier, and N. T. Wright; London: SPCK; Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2005), 739a-48b.

For a description of these articles, go to

I hope that you will find these resources helpful.


Robert A. J. Gagnon, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of New Testament
Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

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