Who Wants to Donate their Gagnon Book to the Cause?

Who Wants to Donate their Gagnon Book to the Cause? March 1, 2012

So, everytime I blog about gay in the church, or about same sex marriage — like I did this week — someone brings up the book by Robert Gagnon. It seems that, for a lot of people, his book is the final word on homosexuality and biblical Christianity.

But the fracking book is $25, even on the Kindle!!! (C’mon, Abingdon, get with the program — no book should be that much on a Kindle.)

So, I’m wondering if anyone has a copy of The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics by Robert Gagnon that they’d like to donate. Scot, my erstwhile guest blogger, has graciously offered to read the 500-page tome and see if it changes his mind. He’ll blog about the book here, and all of you Gagnon-defenders can have at him.

If you’re willing to donate yours, contact me here.

Why am I not reading the book?

Because, the picture below is the pile of books on my desk, all of which I’m due to read (a couple I’ve already read and haven’t shelved yet). There’s a similar stack by my bed, and another by my chair upstairs. That chair is also within reach of the remote control, which seems to magically switch on episodes of Battlestar Gallactica, making it much harder for me to get through the piles of books!

[UPDATE: That was fast. We’ve already got a generous soul willing to donate his book. Feel free to continue the thread below in the comments, however, on Gagnon’s book, or on my amazingly eclectic reading list]

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  • I am going to make the prediction that it doesn’t change Scot’s mind about gay.

    But I keep harping that you need to address bisex and transgender issues. You seem to leave them out of the discussion.

  • John D’Elia

    C’mon, Tony. Sneaking Brown’s DNTT in there just to make the pile bigger? Besides, where’s my book?

    • John, I was at a seminary library yesterday, and they were selling books for $.10. I grabbed 10, including Brown.

      Yours must be…um, er…on the pile in my bedroom.

  • toddh

    I’m glad Scot will be blogging about it here. I’m going to plunk down the $25 for it on Kindle anyway. From what I have read so far, people shouldn’t bet on it as the end-all-be-all for defending the traditional/conservative position. Gagnon’s work with the ANE context is excellent, but he also clearly has an ax to grind. It comes out in how he makes unclear passages in scripture suddenly clear (like what he does with the story of Noah).

  • Justin F


    You should add Richard Beck’s Authenticity of Faith to your list. I’m halfway through and it’s fan-fricken-tastic. Seriously.

  • While I was studying at Princeton Theological Seminary, Stacy Johnson released his book, “A Time to Embrace.” It stirred controversy.

    The conservative student group of PC USA students (for the life of me, I cannot remember their name, and I’m not a Presbyterian), invited Gagnon to a debate with Johnson.

    For reasons I will never understand, Johnson declined. I really wish it would have happened. It would have been a wonderful thing to listen to.

    In any case, Gagnon gave a series of lectures and had several Q&A’s at PTS instead. In my view, his work is the very best scholarship on the traditional side of this debate. Even if you don’t read his behemoth of a book (I’ve only read chunks myself), you can find a variety of free stuff on his website detailing his positions.

    And the thing I respect about Gagnon a lot is that he’s able to do what he does in a loving, respectful way. He treats everyone like God’s children, regardless of how he’s treated as a result of his views.

    I’m VERY anxious to read the reviews of his book that get posted as a result of this. Very, very anxious.

    • Frank

      Well I think we can know what to expect from Scot. An interpretation dismissing the text and a humanist counterargument. Same as always from the Pro SSM/homosexuality crowd. Tired, old, innaccurate and therefore totally unconvincing.

      Maybe I will be wrong.

  • ME

    Interesting stack of books. You’ve probably previously blogged about it but I’d be interested in what books you’ve already read that have been important to you.

  • Jay

    The pivotal issue is not what the Bible teaches about homosexual behaviour but whether or not sexual orientation is inborn or not. If it is inborn, then the Bible need to be interpreted accordingly but if it is a choice than perhaps then those who chose to follow the old traditions are not to be judged so harsh.

    • Frank

      Jay you cannot change the bibles teachings. Even if sexuality is proven to be immutable and innate it does not change the bibles teachings. In fact it would validate it either way.

      If its a choice, then its a choice that is not Gods choice for us.

      If its immutable and innate, its the reality of the distortion of sexuality by sin not Gods design.

    • Simon

      I disagree. The “chose it” / “born that way” is a red herring. Biological determinism is a discredited scientific construct, just as absolute freedom of choice is a discredited psychological / philosophicals. All of our choices, preferences, orientations, worldviews and other epistemological constructs are a complex and subtle blend of genetic, pre-linguistic experiences, environment, socialisation, memory, influence, culture and yes choices we think we make. You can add in some creation / fall / redemption into these factors if that’s your bag, or even some theology of the powers if you’re daring.

      The way Christians approach issues in human sexuality / sexual orientation / sexual behaviour are not reducible to how the impulse to behave arose.

      Although this is a response to a post from one “side” of the debate, I think the same argument needs to be levelled both ways.

  • I’m going up North this weekend. I hope they DON’T have wifi where I’m staying. 🙂

  • The Fifth Discipline is a good read – though you might get just as much out of the abridged audio book.

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