What does Romans 1 teach about homosexuality, and how should we live in response?

– Beverly Roberts Gaventa

 

In the first chapter of Paul’s letter to the Romans, we find an extended attack on humanity for its failure to live in a properly creaturely relationship to God. Among the things Paul says in this long accusation is that “their women exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural, and in the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the due penalty for their error” (Romans 1:26-27).  Understandably, these lines prompt many Christians to regard Paul as unequivocally opposed to homosexual relationships.

As with any text, however, whether an e-mail message or the Gettysburg address, we need to examine the literary context in which these verses appear…

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