Same-Sex Marriage: What are Christians to make of it?
resources – a small sample of some of the good material
Online resources – Milbank article, Chaplin,
Goddard, Sentamu.
Christopher Roberts, Creation and Covenant:
The Significancce of Sexual Difference in the
Moral Theology of Marriage. London:
Continuum, 2007.
Robert Gagnon, The Bible and Homosexual
Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics. Nashville:
Abingdon, 2001.
Wesley Hill, Washed and Waiting. Powerful
testimony of a celibate gay Christian with
really good pastoral and practical guidance.
Jenell Williams Paris, The End of Sexual
Identity: Why Sex is too Important to Define
Who we Are. IVP, 2011. Critique of easy
separation into ‘gay’ and ‘straight’.
What Some of You Were: Stories about
Christians and Homosexuality. Edited by
Christopher Keane. Good Book Company,
2001. Some powerful stories which show
everyone is different.
Resources for Church Leaders: Biblical and
Pastoral Responses to Homosexuality. Ed.
Andrew Goddard and Don Horrocks.
Evangelical Alliance, 2012.
Unwanted Same-Sex Attraction: Issues of
Pastoral Counselling and Support. Andrew
Goddard and Glynn Harrison. CMF, 2011.
Looks at some of the scientific evidence.
Richard B Hays, The Moral Vision of the New
Testament. Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1996. Ch.
16 – pp. 379-406. (Some or all of this is free
on Google Books)
Holiness and Sexuality: Homosexuality in
Biblical Context. Ed. David Peterson.
Paternoster, 2004. Good collection of
exegetical and pastoral material. Includes a lot
of testimonies and pastoral help. About the ‘postgay’ idea.
Jonathan Chaplin, ‘The churches’ stance on
gay marriage is not homophobic.’ August
2012, online at
Andrew Goddard, ‘Should we redefine
marriage?’ online at And, ‘Gay
marriage would undermine a sacred
institution’, May 2009. Online at
John Milbank: ‘Gay Marriage and the future of
human sexuality’ March 2012. Online at
What is same-sex attraction?
universal experience and permanent orientation (essentialism) – prioritises feelings
socially constructed (prioritises human society)
A choice? (prioritises human will)
No scientific consensus regarding its cause or moral consensus regarding its meaning
Explore for yourself – a selection of viewpoints (warning – Daily Mail link)
Theological answer: male/female gender identity is a beautiful gift of God in creation
same-sex attraction therefore a result of the Fall
this approaches prioritises the human body.
Scripture and Tradition: it’s not just about proof texts
deep biblical pattern:
the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27)
importance of procreation (1:28)
but procreation is not the only factor (2:18-23)
human life is bodily, physical life (2:7)
male-female union is ‘one flesh’ (2:24) – the meaning and purpose of sex
beauty and integrity of sexuality ‘without shame’ (2:25)
desire is good but now fallen
unity and difference in marriage comes from Christ-church relation (Ephesians 5)
in Christ, marriage no longer the primary human community and solution to human
solitude (Matthew 22:23-33, Mark 3:31-25 and parallels, 1 Corinthians 7)
no marriage in new creation, but sexual difference continues (resurrected Jesus is
still a man)
and abiding significance for sexual difference because of bride-groom image for
Christ & church (Revelation 19)
Augustine’s De bono conjugali: proles, fides and sacramentum - not three goods but one.
Read the big seven in this context: do they mean what they are sometimes taken to
Genesis 19 and Judges 19
Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13
Romans 1:26-27
1 Cor 6:9-11 and 1 Tim 1:9
My story, and a radically theological ethic
we are all sexual beings
sexuality defined by bodies not feelings: goodness of the body
‘ex-gay’ movement: seeking change in ‘orientation’ through prayer/counselling etc.
not ‘ex-gay’ but ‘post-gay’
not healing or deliverance but discipleship and sanctification
Pastoral care
urgent need for recovery of positive ethic of celibacy
same sex attraction
same sex friendship
family life: adoption and fertility treatments
attending civil partnerships
C of E today: inclusion without approval (differentiating ‘ordinary’ Christians from those
in leadership/ordination)
Political Ethics
Is this a case of Christians seeking to impose the views of their particular subsection of
society on the whole of society?
The task and limits of government: whose is marriage?
How then should Christians make their case?