Defining Terms for a Defining Moment: Homosexuality in the New Testament

By: Charles L. Quarles (Professor of New Testament and Biblical Theology, SEBTS)

Most readers of this blog are likely aware that Southern Baptists are facing yet another defining moment. On February 11, 2014, Pastor Danny Cortez announced to the congregation at New Hope Community Church in Los Angeles that he had changed his position on homosexuality. Cortez delivered an hour-long message explaining why he no longer believed that the New Testament condemns homosexual behavior. On May 18, the majority of the members of this Southern Baptist fellowship voted to become a “Third Way church” in which members agree to disagree on the issue of homosexuality and exhibit openness to a variety of positions on this moral question.

In his defense of his new position, Cortez raised a few linguistic arguments that I believe require a response. Cortez argued that those who believe the New Testament condemns homosexual practices are misreading the New Testament. They misread the New Testament because they improperly define the key terms.

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