Thursday, July 13, 2006

Recommended Reading

Book Description: In a powerful new book, evangelical theologian and former Moderator of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Jack Rogers argues unequivocally for equal rights in the church and in society for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. Throughout history, he observes, Christianity has moved towards ever greater openness and inclusiveness.

Today's church is led by many of those who were once cast out: people of color, women, and divorced and remarried people. He argues that when we interpret the Bible through the lens of Jesus' redemptive life and ministry, we see that the church is called to grant equal rights to all people. Jesus, the Bible, and Homosexuality describes Rogers' own change of mind and heart on the issue; charts the church's well-documented history of using biblical passages to oppress marginalized groups; argues for a Christ-centered reading of Scripture; debunks oft-repeated stereotypes about gays and lesbians; and concludes with ideas for how the church can heal itself and move forward again.

A fascinating combination of personal narrative, theology, and church history, this book is essential reading for all concerned with the future of the church and the health of the nation. "This is an extraordinary book, arguably the best to appear in the long, drawn-out debates within churches over homosexuality," says J. Philip Wogaman, former senior minister at Foundry United Methodist Church in Washington, D.C.

"Rogers book will be useful to people of ALL mainline denomination..." says the Right Reverend V. Gene Robinson, Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire. "For those who truly wish to know what the Bible does and does not say, this is a real find."

About the Author: Jack Rogers is Professor of Theology Emeritus at San Francisco Theological Seminary and was moderator of the 213th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). He is the author of Reading the Bible and the Confessions; Claiming the Center: Churches and Conflicting Worldviews; and Presbyterian Creeds.

1 comment:

... said...

Dr. Rogers also has a web site ( and he provides some talking points on the book.

From the book's preface:
Preface to Jesus, The Bible, and Homosexuality
Why am I doing this? I am not gay. No one in my family is gay. That is why I was able to stay on the sidelines for so long. It didn’t touch me personally.

I am a Christian who cares deeply about Christ’s church. The church is being torn apart by controversy over whether people who are homosexual can have full rights of membership. It is not just my own Presbyterian Church, but all of the denominations in this nation that are divided.

Our country is also being rent by this controversy. Attitudes toward people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender are among the factors that have divided us into red and blue states, rural versus urban areas, midlands versus the coasts. How we choose to respond to this issue is a test of who we will become as a nation...

Another review:

“This is an extraordinary book, arguably the best to appear in the long, drawn-out debates within the churches over homosexuality. Rogers frames the issues on deep biblical and theological grounds, challenging superficial readings of scripture. While addressing the issues from the standpoint of Presbyterian traditions and polity, the book is wonderfully relevant to other denominations as well. I hope many of my fellow Methodists and Christians of other denominations will discover this book. It is a gift to all of us.”
—J. Philip Wogaman, former senior minister at Foundry United Methodist Church, Washington, D.C.