One of the most formidable figures in the world of Christian thought weighs in on hot topics such as natural disasters, homosexuality, and whether he thinks Christians can believe in Darwinian evolution.

One of the most formidable figures in the world of Christian thought weighs in on hot topics such as natural disasters, homosexuality, and whether he thinks Christians can believe in Darwinian evolution.

(Note: This is part two of my interview with NT Wright. The first part addresses the Bible and why he doesn’t call himself an inerrantist.)

TIME Magazine called him “one of the most formidable figures in the world of Christian thought.” Newsweek once labeled him “the world’s leading New Testament scholar.” His name is N.T. Wright, and he has just written a controversial book on the Bible.

In “Surprised by Scripture: Engaging Contemporary Issues,” Wright comes out swinging on theological hot buttons such as Darwinian evolution, whether Adam was a historical figure, and why he thinks the Bible makes space for women pastors. Here, we discuss the issues of homosexuality, science and gender.

RNS: Many American evangelicals believe that the Bible requires the rejection of Darwinian evolution. You dedicated your book to Francis Collins and address science right out of the gate. Do you think American evangelicals have created a false choice between what they believe the Bible says and the dominant views of modern science?

NTW: Some have, some haven’t. Sadly, many have been taught that there is a straight choice: either biblical Christianity or Darwinian evolution. Actually, some of the great conservative American theologians in the late 19th century—I’m thinking of B. B. Warfield and others—didn’t see it like that at all.

The problem is that Darwin’s findings were “heard” by the wider community within the popular Enlightenment “Epicureanism” (Jeffersonm etc.) in which God—if there is a God—is a long way away, so the world just does its own thing. That is a modern version of an ancient philosophy which Jews and Christians always rejected. The trouble is that much “conservative” Christianity in America has bought into the same split-level worldview and simply emphasizes the “God” side of it. The false “either-or” of “Bible or Darwin” is thus itself a dangerous symptom of a sub-Christian culture. I explain all this in that first chapter, of course. But yes, it is a false choice. We urgently need to take a couple of steps back in order to see the issues more clearly and go forward with confidence.

Book cover courtesy of HarperOne

Book cover courtesy of HarperOne

RNS: There’s a chapter in your book about natural disasters and the problem of evil. I’ve heard some theologians outright declare that God “caused” an earthquake or flood or tsunami. Is this wrongheaded in your view?

NTW: The way in which God “causes” things in the world is a complicated and difficult issue. It’s important that we resist the temptation to think of God as the kind of celestial CEO, sitting in an office upstairs and pressing buttons to make some things happen and stop other things. Apart from anything else, God has said from the start that he wants to work in the world through human agency. It isn’t a zero-sum game—either God causes things or they happen by “natural causes”, whatever that means.

Our split-level worldview forces us into dangerous and foolish places (when someone says that God arranged for them to be held up in traffic so they missed being in the Twin Towers that day . . . what about all those who did make it in to work? What does that say about them? And so on). God is sovereign; but the world is out of joint, and God’s solution to this, to work from within through the death and resurrection of Jesus and the power of the Spirit, is not that he will then wave a magic wand and automatically stop everything bad happening, but that he will go on groaning from within the heart of the painful world until the new creation is born (Romans 8.18-27).

RNS: In your chapter, “A Biblical Case for Ordaining Women,” You challenge the way many today read Galatians 3:28, which asserts that, in Christ, “there is no male and female.” How have we gotten this wrong?

NTW: Galatians 3:28 does not mean that differences between men and women are now obliterated. It’s rather like what Paul says about Jews and Gentiles. The point he’s making in Galatians 3 isn’t that all differences are erased, but that in terms of membership in God’s people they are irrelevant. In Romans 11, he is very clear that a Jewish Christian and a Gentile Christian, though both Christians, are coming from somewhere different, and need to be aware of the particular challenges and dangers of their position. I’ve written a lot more about this in Paul and the Faithfulness of God.

RNS: Your book hits a lot of the hottest debated issues of the day, but you don’t address sexuality. Why did you choose to skip this one?

NTW: I didn’t choose to skip it. It’s just that I haven’t been asked to do a lecture or equivalent on that topic. The book is a collection of things I have been asked to talk about; none of the chapters was written just “to address hot topics.”

RNS: Fair enough. Then how does your view of scripture inform the sexuality debates today? Would your approach to the Bible allow, for example, the blessing of monogamous, lifelong same-sex relationships?

NTW: Monogamous, lifelong same-sex relationships were known in the ancient world as well as in the modern—there is plenty of evidence, despite what people sometimes say. When Jesus reaffirms the traditional Jewish standards of sexual behavior (he was talking in a Jews-only context where people would know what his shorthand sayings meant), and when Paul, speaking in a largely Gentile context, spells out a bit more clearly what is and what isn’t part of the new-creation lifestyle for those “in Christ,” this way of life was always counter-intuitive in that world, as it is again today.

But it’s important that we do not reduce the Bible to a collection of true doctrines and right ethics. There are plenty of true doctrines and right ethics there, of course, but they come within the larger thing, which is the story of how the Creator is rescuing and restoring the whole creation, with his rescue and restoration of humans at the heart of it. In other words, it isn’t about “do we allow this or that?” To ask the question that way is already to admit defeat, to think in terms of behavior as a set of quasi-arbitrary, and hence negotiable, rules.

We must ask, with Paul, “This new creation God has launched in Jesus—what does it look like, and how can we live well as genuine humans, as both a sign and a means of that renewal?” We need to remind ourselves that the entire biblical sexual ethic is deeply counter-intuitive. All human beings some of the time, and some human beings most of the time, have deep heartfelt longings for kinds of sexual intimacy or gratification (multiple partners, pornography, whatever) which do not reflect the creator’s best intentions for his human creatures, intentions through which new wisdom and flourishing will come to birth. Sexual restraint is mandatory for all, difficult for most, extremely challenging for some. God is gracious and merciful but this never means “so his creational standards don’t really matter after all.”

71 Comments

    • Apologetics are always dancing a little sidestep. Whether they are saying God loves everyone or God hates (insert object of bigotry here).

      The ability to excuse any position as “godly” or “biblical” is why religious based morality is an utter joke. Totally subjective nonsense.

        • Anything but “God tells me so”. It is far too subjective and prone to excusing malicious and harmful things.

          How about something simple. Being a good person, one who refrains from harming others maliciously, because you want others to do the same to you. Take responsibility for your decisions and understand how it affects others. You do not live in a vacuum.

          The Golden rule does not require divine rewards or punishments, nor ever did. It is simply the sanest way to interact with people. You understand fellow people are no different from yourself.

          Morality is all about weighing in the choices of how acting affects one’s self and how it affects others. Throwing God into there is simply taking shortcuts which remove all meaning to such decisions.

          • This is a shallow response that any good philosopher would discount. Morality has long been a topic of reflection in search of deeper meanings and origins. To simply say it is about choices does not reflect any real thought whatsoever. Most would rather not debate the concept of origins of anything (morality, creation, truth, etc.) but prefer to remain at the shallow level of opinion and personal experience. Religion is a paramount aspect of this historical debate because it does concern itself with origins and meanings, something lost in a shallow world only interested in itself in the immediate moment.

          • So who’s the judge of whether or not someone is *maliciously* harming someone else? And how can you weigh how your choices will affect someone else? Can you control that?

            And is that your description of a good person? “One who refrains from harming others maliciously”?

          • Larry – you cite “Anything but ‘God …” and then proceed to quote “The Golden Rule.” Hence, you don’t deny the existence of a moral imperative, but you can’t seem to acknowledge a source for same. Why is one “rule” golden (which is not found in scripture) and those rules that are found in scripture not “golden.” Whence morality?

      • Sorry Larry, but biblical Christian morally is not subjective. That’s the whole point. It is based on an objective moral standard as recorded in Scripture. What is a joke is that people who define their own morality point at biblically faithful, historic Christian morality and call it subjective. By what authority do you call the 2000 year old (and long before that, the moral code of the Jewish faith) historic belief and practice of the church “subjective”? What is the “objective” standard from which you pronounce judgment upon the “subjectivity” of the historic Christian faith?

    • I thought he made it rather clear. Wright is obviously referring to the pro-gay argument that the Bible doesn’t condemn loving, monogamous couple who happen to be homosexuals because such arrangements didn’t exist back then. He also points out Jesus did not annul or modify proscriptions against homosexual behaviour. Don’t how much clearer he could have made it without being pedantic.

      • Gregory Peterson

        I’m sure that loving same-sex couples existed in antiquity, but they appear to have been based upon other-sex couple relationships…which were extremely sexist. Someone had to “the woman” in relationships…the passive one, the feminine role, the submissive role to the active, free, dominating man. The story of Jesus curing the beloved, gravely ill “boy” of the Centurion might illustrate that.

        This was an era when love and mutual consent were not prerequisites for marriage, when the brideprice and the marriage contract were negotiated by men, usually by the fathers.

        If you weren’t lucky in marital love, the old double standard allowed free men to find love elsewhere…other-sex or same-sex.

        • Watch out for the fanciful eisegesis, Gregory. There is nothing in the story of Jesus healing the Centurion’s servant that would naturally lead us to think what you imply “might” be illustrated. In fact if anything, Luke’s version of the story should lead us to assume the opposite. The Centurion was obviously a man who himself had converted to the Jewish faith or at least was highly respecting and supportive of it and loving of Israel. He funded the building of the local Jewish synagogue and the elders of the Jews plead with Jesus to heal the Centurion’s servant because he is a worthy man. This is not something they would have said had the Centurion practiced personal lifestyle ethics in direct contradiction to those of the Mosaic law.
          Blessings.

      • I thought he made it rather clear, too, when he said that it wasn’t necessary for Jesus to clarify his position on homosexuality, because He did so by affirming the Jewish understanding of marriage to His audience…the Jewish people. In other words, His hearers would have understood His position. He further states that Paul clearly spoke to his Gentile audience against the practice. He then says that ALL people have struggled with sexuality and that restraint is necessary for all and extremely difficult for some.
        In other words, I understood NTW to say he’s pretty sure scripture teaches against the practice.

      • He wasnt speaking in favor of the virtue in same-sex relations. He stated it was, by society’s standards, normal then and normal now. He also mentioned Paul’s teaching against this in the new creation life in Christ was counterintuitive, meaning what Paul preached went against the normal acceptance of promiscuity and homosexuality. He also is not dancing around the subject however. He is suggesting that instead of debating ethics, Christians should love. Christains see sin in a scale of severity which leaves little room for love. This scale HAS been perpetuated by establishment religion. Christians are called to follow Christ, not Christ’s Church. Christ calls us to love the liar, the porn addict, the adulterer, and the homosexual alike. We don’t scorn liars and porn addicts but when we see a sin flaunted in public we rise in anger. Christ calls us to love. You can minister better to a friend struggling with sexual immorality in an intimate setting than you can to a stranger by rallying with fellow supporters showing your displeasure not only for their lifestyle but they themselves.

      • Jonathan Ferrier

        I actually thought it was clear on the other side. His last statement “God is gracious and merciful but this never means “so his creational standards don’t really matter after all.” suggests that while God’s grace reaches to all, the way he created still matter. Namely, he created them male and female, and brought them together in monogamous relationship. That’s how i read it anyway.

    • EricW and larry – thats nonsense. He very directly and clearly affirms the biblical (and Christian and Pauline) position of one man, one woman and that other expressions of sexuality ‘do not reflect the creator’s best intentions’, and stand in contrast to ‘new-creation lifestyles’ but manages to do so without resorting to words and tones that convey or fit in with hate-filled, self righteous judgement upon other fallen human beings – perhaps thats why you missed it?

      • He didn’t say anything clearly to that point. You are responding to something I did not say. Maybe Ben, you should not engage in strawman posturing.

        My point is either position, positive or negative, towards the subject represents the kind of ridiculous maneuvering, stretching and excuse making one does to justify a Biblical position. ANY “biblical” position on a modern issue.

      • Ben I think your conclusions are right about what Dr Wright was trying to say… But all the questions and discussions prove to me that whatever he said is definitely not clear.

    • Wright doesn’t dance around the issue at all. You can only say so much in an interview. But what he does say lines up very well with what he has written about elsewhere in greater detail. As one instance, in his comments around 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (‘Paul for Everyone; 1 Corinthians’ page 67) he rather pointedly writes, “. . .the creator God has unveiled his genuine model for humanity in Jesus the Messiah, and there are certain ways of behaving which just won’t fit. If you want to be a truly, fully human being, those ways of behaving have to be left behind.”

  1. Did he give you the plenty of evidence that supports monogamous, same-sex relationships happening in the ancient world? I have heard people say there is evidence but that’s it, I’ve just heard them say that. No references to anything. I would love to be able to read those documents of how that was discovered.

    I also think that whether or not there were monogamous relationships is not necessarily the right question. So say there were, the question is actually “are these the kind of relationships the ones Paul is addressing the few times he talks about homosexual behavior?” I actually think it’s more convincing if there were monogamous relationships and Paul were to never address them because he didn’t feel the need to; if he only felt the need to address sexuality in the context of lust, idolatry, dominance, etc.

    I know the majority of the post isn’t about that but I do wish he would have expounded upon that either here or in his book. If he gave you any of that information would you be able to post it?

    • The poetry of sapphos, is a document which confirms ancient same sex relationships, in fact it sapphos’ fame which generated the word lesbian, as she was from the island of Lesbos. Paul’s reference to homosexuality is not to adult male consenting to sex with another adult male but rather is referring to the practice pederasty. The Greek Paul uses refers to Adult men raping boys, as was a common practice among the Greeks and the Romans.

      • The Greek word points to both relations with men and boys: “effeminate esp. of catamites, of men and boys who are sodomized by other males in such a relationship” (BDAG 613). Note that this word points to the role of the person in the relationship, but do not take this to mean Paul is condemning the role and not the relationship. Paul uses the dominate word in a letter to Timothy. Greek does have a completely seperate word for the act of engaging in sexual acts with boys/children.
        As far as the evidence of homosexuality as common practice, the early church referred to the practice at length. I am sure there are pre-Christ references as well, but I don’t have those sources readily available. Here are some of the earlier Church quotes taken from the Ante-Nicean Fathers:

        “The Greeks, O King, follow debased practices in intercourse with males, or with mothers, sisters, and daughters. Yet, they, in turn, impute their monstrous impurity to the Christians. Aristides, Vol 9 p 279

        “The Christian man confines himself to the female sex.” Tertullian Vol 3 p 51

        “The coupling of two males is a very shameful thing.” Tertullian Vol 3 p 509

        “Men play the part of women, and women that of men, contrary to nature. Women are at once both wives and husbands… O miserable spectacle! Horrible conduct!” Clement of Alexandria Vol 2 p 276

        The Greeks used to work out nude (males with males) in gymnasiums, as the Greek word gym means naked. One of the contributing factors to the Maccabeen Revolt was this fact. Homosexuality was “accepted” in Greek culture and many times when referring to boys, we must understand these are not necessarily prepubescent boys, but teens as well. Alexander the Great was know to have a few himself, approximately 300 years before Christ.

    • James Buckley

      Wright seems to not want to recognize such a contextual distinction. I love most of what he has to say, but he is rather notorious for intellectual laziness when it comes to matters of inclusion for LGBT persons in general, and committed, monogamous same-sex relationships in particular.

    • The Symposium of Plato, a series of speeches on the nature of love, spends a good deal of time exploring homosexual relationships. Two of the participants in the dialogue are in such a relationship, and Aristophanes’ speech suggests something very much like the modern idea of sexual orientation.

  2. Marcus Johnson

    I appreciate N.T. Wright’s assertion that the whole “Biblical Christianity or Darwinism” argument is a false choice. I’m not sure why he can’t reach the same conclusion about same-sex relationships. It’s not really a choice between affirming monogamous, heterosexual relationships and concluding that the “creational standards” God put in place don’t have their place. That’s a false choice, as well.

    • It seems Wright is strongly hinting at a creation standard as the best and intended purpose for people, combined with the realities of how the fallen state we live in has detrimentally affected human sexuality. As Wright continually uses the story motif in his writings, then he is proposing a God who is at work in creation even now by restoring and remaking all things into the perfect and intended states he had in mind all along (the Christian concept of the redemption of creation and mankind). That would and should include healing and restoring the sexual aspect of humanity. I would conclude that Wright would not agree with an embracing of that side of our sexuality that was affected by the fall, but rather that we should embrace the counter intuitive (and I would add counter cultural) conclusion that the intended state is the ideal and what God in working towards in his redemptive process.

    • I think the falsest of the choice is the rhetoric that states you have to be for or against homosexual marriage in the first place as it is in the arena of rights for someone. Can you not say I do not approve of homosexuality but I dont think that basic societal rights should be withheld from anyone…

  3. This must have been a fun interview, Jonathan. I have always appreciated how NT Wright brings well reasoned challenges to biblical issues, but in a respectful and thought provoking way. One should not doubt his deep commitment to the gospel message and the reality of Jesus’ death and resurrection. I am glad to hear his (brief) responses to contemporary issues from his usual analytical and narrative approach to the biblical story. But the real question is did you two share a good cold brew afterwards??

  4. Great interview, Jonathan. Thank you. I found it most interesting that Wright again asserts the case for women’s ordination and against the blessing of monogamous, lifelong, same-sex relationships. This has become somewhat of a rare and nuanced view. (E.g. In NYC, Episcopalians ordain women and are pro gay-marriage, PCA doesn’t ordain women and is against gay marriage).

    • I think the point is that we have come up with “ordination” (or perhaps more accurately the Apostolic Succession churches have) and try and shoehorn what the Bible says about leadership in the NT into it.

      I once heard another Dr Wright (The Rev Doctor Christopher Wright to be precise) say that he didn’t believe in woman’s “ordination”, mainly because he didn’t really believe in the “ordination” of men either.

  5. It seems to me, that, uncharacteristically, Wright is asserting a false equivalence when he says that what Paul teaches about male/female equality means that women could be in the priesthood. His implicit argument seems to be that a male-only priesthood would entail men and women having differing covenantal status in Christ (which is what the Pauline passages would be referring to, as Wright would surely agree). But that consequent doesn’t follow from the antecedent.

    But, moreover, settling the matter would require a definitive statement on what the priesthood *is* (if there’s any such thing in addition to “the priesthood of all believers”), and from Wright’s Protestant standpoint, ultimately, who’s to say?

  6. As a Transgender Christian I was excited by the title to see that N.T. would be discussing gender. Instead just another tidbit (however important) about ordaining women. Oh well. Maybe someday.

  7. I disagree with NT Wright that there was a lot of evidence of monogamous same sex relationships in the ancient world. Not sure where he gets that claim from.

    Same sex *non-monogamous relationships* certainly existed, but the ancient world didn’t divide people into “homosexual” or “heterosexual”. Rather people were divided into “top” (inserter) or “bottom” (insertee). Free men would have sex with women, men and slaves without any social consequence and remain respected as long as they were the “top”. (Women and slaves were merely expected to submit.) Instead of being divided into men-with-men and women-with-women the ancient Greeks and Romans were divided into a hierarchy where free men were dominant and everyone else was submissive. Sex itself was an expression of dominance and submission. It’s very different than the construct today. So what Wright is saying is at odds with most of the literature on the subject.

  8. I disagree with the accusation that Wright is being “intellectually lazy” by refusing a hard and fast dualistic black and white answer on same sex relationships! It’s always way easier to polarize! I think Wright’s getting at the reality that none of us are perfect, all of us fail at upholding the “creation ideals” on a daily basis! If we could achieve this perfection we wouldn’t need salvation… So perhaps he is suggesting we need to seriously chill out on same-sex relationships. Maybe we don’t “condone” them, but a little humility and a hard and honest look in the mirror will reveal that a same-sex relationship may be further down a path of reconciliation than many of our own private sexual thoughts or actions, even within the confines of a traditional marriage. Maybe we realize that homosexuality is no different than pride or fear or coveting or a hundred other things we “tolerate” openly within our churches? The only purpose of singling out and condemning homosexuals, the only point in railing against same sex marriage and committed relationships, is an ego building dualistic scheme to elevate self at the expense of others! Most of us aren’t “gay” so we will never even be confronted with that moral choice! So of course it’s a great target to line up in front of the firing range… What if we had the same approach to coveting or depression or anxiety? Nobody would be left in our churches, not a one!!! I think that is sort of what Wright is hinting at, and I agree and respect his very wise avoidance of such a foolish, egotistical, and dualistic attempt to polarize that issue.

    • Very well said Dave. I think you are correct about what Wright was trying to say, I only wish he would have said it so clearly. For manyi the issues surrounding homosexuality in particular are very complex. It is not clear at all whether the Bible actually addresses homosexuality per se as part of ones nature and being and not as a free choice. The Christian scriptures seem to address the issue as a coice for one man to be with another man and that is very different than
      many peoples understanding of homosexuality
      today…mine included. I have met too many Chritians over the years that would have changed from being gay if they could have and that tried to change but they couldn’t.

      Perhaps Wright’s most valid point is that we all have struggles and that humility is what is needed the most. God have mercy on us all.

      • Larry – if we think scripture is not being clear on the topic of gay orientation because they would not have understood that concept in antiquity, then from a Christian perspective, how do we go about working through a correct theological argument to get closer to an answer? Does the theology of the fall come into play as something that corrupted every part of humanity and creation? What role does God’s pre-fall design bear on this issue? Do we consider God’s intentions for making the sexes as we see in Genesis? I also think Wright is making a point that the concept of God’s redemptive plan includes making right what got messed up in the fall. If we think sexuality was a part of that, then how do we understand redemption in this area given God’s apparent sexual intentions and design? I also feel that somewhere in this argument that the validity of God speaking to all ages must come into play. If he is the inspired writer of scripture, then surely he has the ability to be clear about issues that arise over time and in different cultures. Just some thoughts and question I have.

      • I am a little confused by all the comments, yours included Larry, that NTW was not being clear. I thought he was shockingly clear with his message and it was aimed at all Christ-followers, regardless of what preference they profess. To even ask the question is to already admit defeat…and i would add, miss the point entirely. I don’t know how much more pointed one can be than to say: “sexual restraint is mandatory for all”? But until we are willing to pick our heads up and actually look to God and honestly ask with a sincere desire to know what the New Kingdom in Christ ought to look like, we will continue to chase our tail in a pointless effort to force something into the Kingdom that simply does not belong there and was never intended to be there.
        Unfortunately, our brains have been so hopelessly scrambled that neither gay nor straight Christians are able to conceive of what NT Wright is actually proposing God’s plan to be. And the relentless propaganda on the need to maintain an active sex-life in Christian marriages just keeps adding more distorted noise. It’s time for us to grow up and get serious about living as Christ-followers. And i say this as someone who tried in vain for too many years to battle an unhealthy preoccupation with sex. Looking for answers that would justify the disease is a complete waste of time, we can only appeal to God to heal us of it.

      • You are correct. Every person does have the choice to live a life of homosexuality, just as every person has the choice to lie, adultery, murder, etc. However, the choice made to “practice” this lifestyle does come with a price tag. Scripture specifically speaks against all these things. It amazes me how we try to make homosexuality fit, but yet are still yet to see the other wrong choices as verifiable. This is nothing but “man’s (mankind)” way of justifying ourselves in our incorrect actions. You see, the real problem is we try to make GOD fit our lives vs. our lives fitting his truest of intended blessings. Does a heterosexual have the option to live outside of marriage and be sexual with many partners, yes. Do heterosexuals have options to commit adultery (cheat on their spouse), yes. Does each also have the option to refrain completely from either or all of these wrongdoings, yes. So, yes, you are correct in we all have choices, and with those choices we choose to make a better world or a more condemned world. The consequences of generations ago are still seen today, and shall continue to be until the day of wreckoning.

  9. Why not just repeat the Bible – homosexuality is a sin, but polygamy is not a sin, according to Bible, though the Greek-Roman world (including Christians in that world) think otherwise.

  10. The comments here are pretty telling. Everyone is looking for whether or not Wright’s thinking aligns with their own. Does he agree or disagree with my position? Why are his answers so vague?

    Because we’re asking the wrong questions, that’s why. Just like when the Pharisees set traps for Jesus and Jesus turned the tables on them (sometimes literally), Wright, as a good teacher, wants you to see the bigger story.

    I was taught once that a typical rabbi’s answer to any question was, “Why do you want to know?” For example, the question of whether or not homosexuality is a sin. Why do you want to know? Because you want to justify your own belief or behavior? Or because you have a heartfelt burden for yourself or someone else? Or because you want to know if the teacher is “right” or “wrong”?

    So if Wright says “yes” half of us can agree with him, and if he says “no” half of us can disagree. What’s the benefit of that? Instead, he asks, “Why are you so focused on this single issue when the brokenness of creation is so obvious, and the spreading of the love of God so necessary to fix it?”

    With Wright, we should stop focusing on getting a definitive answer, and instead look to the God of perfect love that silences all fear.

  11. I read several of N.T. Wright’s book for graduate studies at PLNU, he has challenged me to rethink some things i thought before. I think most people form an opinion and then go look for verses in the bible to validate those opinions. You can validate almost any preconceived opinion by cut and pasting scriptures. What I am trying to do now is read the bible as a whole and not go to scriptures to validate already held beliefs but let the scriptures inform of the beliefs it is trying to convey to me personally.

    • YES, YES, YES! John, i think you totally ‘get’ what NT Wright is saying in this interview and in everything he has written. The mess we find ourselves in today is the precisely because we started to ‘solve’ the issues from the wrong end, placing conditions on our search for answers instead of allowing the Bible to set the standard and thereby the framework through which we view the world, modern or otherwise (NT in first interview). When i find my beliefs at odds with the Bible, it is a pretty good chance that it is not the Bible that is at fault. But thanks be to God, He is always willing and able to redeem, restore and renew His erring children.

  12. It seems that everyone misses the examples in the NT and OT where God had the chance to show us in the story the true response to gay etc… Remember Noah? Read the story, what condemnation was brought down on his son for gay actions? Now meditate on it and do not add your prejudice.

  13. Peter Forrester

    Does anyone know what historical instances Wright is referring to here?

    “Monogamous, lifelong same-sex relationships were known in the ancient world”

  1. […] NT Wright on homosexuality, science, genderReligion News Service, on Tue, 03 Jun 2014 05:45:00 -0700Here, we discuss the issues of homosexuality, science and gender. RNS: Many American evangelicals believe that the Bible requires the rejection of Darwinian evolution. You dedicated your book to Francis Collins and address science right out of the gate. […]

  2. […] N. T. Wright     “Your faith will not fail while God sustains it; you are not strong enough to fall away while God is resolved to hold you.” ― J.I. Packer     “The Puritan ethic of marriage was first to look not for a partner whom you do love passionately at this moment but rather for one whom you can love steadily as your best friend for life, then to proceed with God’s help to do just that.” — J.I. Packer     “The will of God is not something you add to your life. It’s a course you choose. You either line yourself up with the Son of God…or you capitulate to the principle which governs the rest of the world.” ― Elisabeth Elliot     “To be a follower of the Crucified means, sooner or later, a personal encounter with the cross. And the cross always entails loss.” ― Elisabeth Elliot, These Strange Ashes […]

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