In November of 2015, the Newberg Friends Church Elders, Pastors, and clerk invited our church to begin studying human sexuality.
A list of books, articles and videos from various viewpoints was created. Four copies of each of the books on the list are available to be borrowed in the church library.
Resources for Individual Study
The NFC Elders have assembled a beginning list of resources on issues around human sexuality, inviting interested members of the congregation to begin informing themselves. This is in the spirit of the statement by the Yearly Meeting Board of Elders that has encouraged Friends to do the hard work of study and reflection on issues of human sexuality. These resources should not be seen as “required reading” but as a direction to help prepare for more specific directed study in the new year. The Elders intend no endorsement of any of these resources but rather are hoping to represent a spectrum of thought on the conversation for those that have the time and motivation. Several of these books will be available in the NFC library.
A task force will be formed soon to plan a structure for study groups with a more specific curriculum. Friends are invited to join the NFC Elders for a time of corporate prayer 6:30-7:00 p.m. in the church sanctuary on the second Monday of each month, beginning December 14, 2015.
How Does the Bible Lead Us to Truth?
How to Read the Bible for All its Worth. Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart, Zondervan 4th ed. 2014.
This book is a basic introduction to help with interpreting the Bible. It is a classic used for decades in colleges and seminaries but very readable for anyone interested.
Slaves, Women & Homosexuals: Exploring the Hermeneutics of Cultural Analysis. William J. Webb, Intervarsity Press 2001.
This book is designed to give a framework to help the reader consider why you apply Scripture the way you do, no matter what position you take. Webb offers his perspective on developing interpretation principles that help address what issues are cultural and what are timeless.
The Bible Tells Me So: Why Defending Scripture Has Made Us Unable to Read It. Peter Enns, Harper One, 2015.
Trained as an Evangelical scholar, the author earned his Ph.D from Harvard University. This book is his personal journey of wrestling with the more rigid lens of viewing the Bible he experienced growing up, and coming to what he calls “a more honest way to love and appreciate God’s word.” Written with humor and not a highly technical book.
Scripture and the Authority of God: How to Read the Bible Today. N.T. Wright, Harper One, 2013.
Many people agree with the authority of the Bible, but the sticking point is what that means. N.T. Wright “shows how both evangelicals and liberals are guilty of misreading Scripture” and uses the Bible’s teaching on Sabbath and monogamy as case studies for developing a solid interpretation practice. An Anglican, Wright roots the authority of the Bible in the authority of God, similar to the Quaker perspective.
This selection of readings helps give an idea of the different ways Quakers have viewed the Bible. Part of a chapter from Barclay’s Apology is reprinted with permission from Barclay Press here in Newberg.
Stories of People with Same Sex Attraction and a Commitment to Evangelical Christianity
Washed and Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality. Wesley Hill, Zondervan 2010.
In this book, Hill writes of his own journey to be faithful to Jesus with his own same sex attraction, which has led him to live a life of celibacy.
Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs-Christians Debate. Justin Lee, Jericho Books 2013.
In this book, Lee writes of his own journey as an Evangelical Christian attracted to men, which has led him to conclude that the Bible can be understood to support same sex marriage.
How Do Different People Interpret What the Bible Says about Human Sexuality?
David Platt is a pastor in the Southern Baptist denomination, and author of several books including “Radical: Taking Back Your Faith From the American Dream”. He preached in 2013 on Romans 1:18-32, outlining why he believes the Bible teaches that sexuality should only be expressed in a marriage between a man and a woman.
Debra Hirsch is a church leader and trained counselor, and co-founder of Forge Mission Training Network. She’s also an author, most recently of “Redeeming Sex: Naked Conversations About Sexuality and Spirituality.” This video isn’t focused narrowly on same sex issues, but takes a broader view of human sexuality. She was speaking to pastors in Southern California. She, too, offers a more traditional interpretation.
Matthew Vines grew up in an Evangelical Presbyterian church, and attended Harvard University for two years. He dropped out to study full time what the Bible teaches about homosexuality. This video was filmed in 2012, was viewed by hundreds of thousands of people, and led to him writing the book “God and The Gay Christian”. In the video, he details “his controversial belief that “the Bible never directly addresses and certainly does not condemn, loving, committed same-sex relationships”.
Article: Homosexuality and The Bible. Walter Wink. Fellowship of Reconciliation website.
This piece begins and ends with a call to tolerance and against allowing sexual issues to tear churches and denominations apart. He then looks at Old and New Testament scriptures on sexual issues. After the review of the scriptures, he questions why we don’t follow some admonitions found in the Bible and we do follow others.
Article: How Christians Can Flourish in a Same-Sex-Marriage World Michael Gerson and Peter Wehner. Christianity Today. November 2, 2015
The authors respond to the Supreme Court decision that the Constitution guarantees the right to same-sex marriage by looking at the cultural changes that have been occurring in the US. They encourage Christians to participate in cultural and social discussions rather than withdrawing or engaging in dogmatic proclamation. Instead, they discuss ways that Christians can and should continue to be involved in culture and social issues, while continuing to live within their beliefs.
The Bible’s YES to Same-Sex Marriage: An Evangelical’s Change of Heart. Mark Achtemeier, Westminster John Knox Press 2014.
The author long held a traditional, conservative view of these issues. This book gives his account of how he changed his mind, and addresses his interpretation of biblical passages that leads him to affirm same-sex marriage.
The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics. Robert Gagnon, Abingdon Press, 2001.
The most thorough exposition of the traditional Christian view of homosexual practice. An able scholar who interacts with a wide range of scholarship up to its time of publication, now about 15 years ago.