After having reviewed Jack Rogers’s “Jesus, the Bible and Homosexuality” over the past few weeks, I still want to say I highly encourage you to check out this book and give it a read yourself. Even if you are already someone who is 100% affirming of LGBT persons, it’s still an important and helpful book to read. Rogers lays a strong foundation for supporting an affirming perspective and gives good scriptural support for such a view.
One of the strengths of Rogers’s book is that he actively engages with Scripture all throughout his book. One of the many critiques of those of us who are affirming of LGBT persons is that we are completely disregarding scripture. Or that we’re allowing culture to dictate our understanding of scripture. However, Rogers shows that the interpretations of the few passages typically used to speak of the sinfulness of homosexuality are simply incorrect interpretations. Or, if you’re not willing to accept that they’re “incorrect,” Rogers at least shows there is the possibility of holding a different interpretation of the passage while still remaining faithful to scripture.
In one of my more controversial posts about homosexuality on this blog, I said “enough with the Bible already.” If you read the entirety of the post (and some of my responses to the comments), it would be clear that I was not saying we should throw out scripture. In fact we need to engage with scripture even more, engage with the passages that some claim are so black and white, and focus on the entirety of the scriptural narrative. Rogers serves as a helpful example for one way to engage with scripture and be able to argue for acceptance and celebration of LGBT persons in all areas of the church and ministry today.
I also appreciate how Rogers shares some of his own personal experience with LGBT persons in the church. While some may not agree with this, everyone interprets scripture at least partly based on their experience. No one can completely deny, nor should they, the experiences of their life when they come to interpret scripture. That is one of the reasons I initially said “enough with the Bible already.” There are many who believe homosexuality to be sinful and have never had a friendship with an LGBT person. For some, I think they should set their Bibles aside for awhile and spend some time actually getting to know someone who is gay.
The Presbyterian Church (USA) is in the middle of some very heated debates over homosexuality. We are not alone: this issue is impacting most of the mainline denominations. Unfortunately, it’s something that will probably be consuming our churches for some time. I’m hopeful, as are many others, that one day this will not be an issue for our churches. I’m hopeful that we can move toward a place not of tolerance, but of acceptance and celebration of the gifts that our LGBT brothers and sisters can offer to the ministry of Christ’s church.
Jack Rogers’s own witness in his book is an excellent example of how one can be a faithful Christian who loves God, honors Christ, seeks after the Spirit, respects the authority of scripture and works for the full inclusion of LGBT persons in our church today.
This post is the final one in a series of reviews of Jack Rogers’s book “Jesus, the Bible and Homosexuality.” For more information about the series, you can read the first post here. Individual Chapter Reviews: Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6 and Chapter 7.