The issue of homosexuality and same-sex marriage just won’t go away these days. Thus, Christians need to make sure they are well-equipped to meet the challenges of the post-Christian world we find ourselves in.
There have been many good books written to address this subject, but one of the most original I have seen is the recent volume by Don Fortson and Rollin Grams, Unchanging Witness: The Consistent Christian Teaching on Homosexuality in Scripture and Tradition (B&H Academic, 2016).
Don Fortson is the Professor of Church History here at RTS Charlotte, and Rollin Grams is professor of New Testament at Gordon Conwell.
What makes this book unique is simple. This book responds to those who claim homosexuality is compatible with Christianity by considering both the evidence from church history and the evidence from the Bible.
In other words, it considers not only what the Bible says, but what Christians have said the Bible says throughout the ages. I know of no other recent volume that does this.
And I can tell you, the result is absolutely devastating for the claim that Christianity and homosexuality go together. A person might be able to convince themselves that the Bible allows it (by reinterpreting even the plainest of passages), but it is a bit hard to explain away 2000 years of absolutely consistent church history.
And that is exactly what we find in the historical record. From the very beginning of the church, all the way to the modern day, Christians have uniformly declared homosexuality to be incompatible with the Christian faith.
This consistency is particularly noteworthy in the earliest centuries because the church was quite diverse and represented a variety of cultures, ethnicities, and pagan backgrounds. Yet, with one voice, the church was unified it its opposition to homosexual behavior.
In essence, this forces the pro-homosexuality camp to argue that only in the modern day, really only in the last few years, have Christians, for the first time, finally understood what the Bible really teaches about homosexuality. And, every other Christian generation, for two-thousand years, has been bigoted, discriminatory, and oppressive.
The arrogance and audacity of a claim is stunning. But, that is precisely what the pro-homosexual camp is forced to believe.
Of course, some who are committed to the superiority of the modern will no doubt respond by saying, “Just because the church believes something doesn’t make it right.” True. But, the key issue in this case is that the church believes something that is also clearly the plain teaching of Scripture. Thus, we have both the testimony of Scripture and the church on the same side.
And if the Bible and the history of the church both seem to be saying the same thing, then that is a compelling reason to think it is true.
For those who are intellectually honest, this just becomes too much to bear. After reading Fortson’s and Rollin’s book, they may not agree with what Christians have always believed. But, they would have to admit that Christians have always believed it.