Letter: Gays and the church

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ACCORDING to the Rev Neil Dawson's letter (28 April), Leviticus 18: 22 merely forbids homosexuality as "ritually unclean" and therefore is not a timeless moral principle. However, if we take Leviticus 18 as a whole we see that the chapter is concerned to forbid Israel from engaging in illicit sexual practices that were known among the Caananite nations. The chapter prohibits various kinds of incest and bestiality. Presumably Mr. Dawson would condemn both incest and bestiality. Why the special pleading for homosexuality?

The word translated "abominations" in Leviticus 18 does not only deal with matters of ritual impurity but also with moral evil. The same word is used to describe child sacrifice and idolatry in Deuteronomy 18.

The teaching an sexual morality in Leviticus 18 is not repealed in the New Testament. Paul explicitly condemns both lesbianism and homosexuality in Romans 1: 26ff. Homosexual practices are clearly contrary to the teaching of the whole Bible. It is the business of the church to both proclaim God's judgement against all sin and to offer people of all sexual orientations the forgiveness and wholeness that Jesus Christ offers us in the gospel.

THE REV GUY A DAVIES

Sturminster Newton, Dorset

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