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Permanent, faithful, stable
Christian same-sex marriage
by Jeffrey John
Publisher:DLT (Darton, Longman and Todd Ltd)
Published:30 November -0001
This is a revised and updated edition of Jeffrey John’s groundbreaking defence of same-sex marriage first published in 1993. Made famous by the church’s withdrawal of his candidature to the post of Bishop of Reading ten years ago, John - the Dean of St Albans - argues very persuasively in favour of same-sex marriage on theological, moral and pastoral grounds.
At the core of John’s argument is a call for the church to be both accurate and consistent in the way it reads scripture. John poses a challenge for conservative Christians who read scripture selectively by, for example, applying the Holiness Code inconsistently, failing to understand the context of Pauline passages used to condemn homosexuals or totally ignoring Christ’s own inclusivity.
The church’s double standards come under considerable scrutiny. Why for instance, is the church so liberal with regard to divorce where Jesus’ teaching is very explicit, yet so prejudiced with regard to homosexuality about which Jesus was apparently silent?
Given the legislation currently before Parliament, Christians of all theological persuasions need to study this book with some urgency. Those - like myself - who agree with John will find here all the arguments we need to support same-sex marriage in church. Those who differ will find John’s calm, balanced and reasoned approach very difficult to dismiss easily.
The book includes a select - yet quite extensive - bibliography and a very useful set of questions that would be ideal for small group study.
An ideal - if unusual - choice for study during Lent.
Reviewer: David Ford (20/12/12)