In 2014 Howard Snyder wrote a “personal and pastoral” reflection on homosexuality. It is presented here as another ingredient to our ongoing conversation.
Homosexuality and the Church:
Personal and Pastoral Reflections
Howard A. Snyder
One of the foundational problems with the contemporary discussion on same sex marriage is that the church has lost the debate before the first exchange of ideas takes place. This is because the underlying presuppositions of the dialogue are never properly disclosed. For example, the actual biblical teaching regarding marriage is utterly incomprehensible to the wider culture. If you read Christian interactions about same sex marriage, it is clear that the church has largely abandoned the notion that there is a divine design to marriage. In short, we have a priori accepted the culture’s view of marriage; namely, that it is a legal arrangement which allows two people to fulfill each other’s emotional and sexual needs and desires. Personal choice and autonomous notions of personal fulfillment are just a few of the values which fit neatly within the larger utilitarian framework of the modern understanding of marriage. Today, marriage has become commodified along with the rest of the culture, as even social relationships are often reduced to measurable economic and emotional exchange units.
In contrast, the Scriptures posit a covenantal view of marriage which is unitive,