David Runcorn, Love Means Love, a review.


David Runcorn is an ordained priest in the Church of England, he is a writer and a theologian, and in recent years he has been a prominent voice among those arguing for the Church of England to accept same-sex relationships as a legitimate form of Christian discipleship. He describes his new book Love Means Love – Same-sex relationships and the Bible[1] as ‘the fruit of a personal journey with the Bible offered to all who are seeking to explore our often conflicted understanding of human being and becoming.’ (p.9

I. The argument of Runcorn’s book.

His book consists of fifteen chapters. Chapter 1 is entitled ‘On opening doors: introducing the discussion.’ In this chapter Runcorn describes the challenges facing members of the Church of England as they discuss the issue of same-sex relationships. He argues that in the face of these challenges:

‘We need to open up this discussion without anxiety. We need to learn how to love without fear as we explore new patterns of relating and belonging. We have not been here before. There are still too few open, exploratory places where Bibles can be studied, difficult questions asked, understanding tested out, wounds healed and differences faced respectfully’ (p.13).

He further argues that supporting same-sex relationships does not means ‘abandoning the Bible’ because ‘supporting same-sex relationships does not involve any contradiction or denial of what the Bible teaches’ and that it does not mean ‘condoning promiscuity’ (p.14). On the latter point he comments ‘sexual infidelity and relational fragility are endemic within heterosexual communities, but no one claims that supporting heterosexual relationships means condoning promiscuity’ (p.14).

Chapter 2 is entitled ‘’That my house may be filled’: Jesus and the new community.’ In this chapter Runcorn argues that the way that Jesus welcomed ‘the poor, disabled, victimized and sick, and penitent outsiders,’ Paul’s teaching about mutual tolerance between those with different views, and the way the early Church was led to accept both Jewish and Gentile believers on the same basis, point to the need for Church to be a welcoming community and one in which those with different views of sexuality move ‘to a place that neither has been before’ (p.21).

Chapter 3 is entitled ‘The Surprise of God?  Dialogue with and beyond the word.’  In this chapter Runcorn argues that we need what he calls a ‘dialogical’ approach to Scripture in relation to issues which it ‘(1) originally addressed in more than one way and in very different contexts; (2) does not address at all; or (3) would not even recognise or understand within its own world – the issue we are faced with today’ (pp.26-27).  Runcorn holds that a dialogical approach involves the ‘unsettling process of reading, re-examining, repenting, reinterpreting and revising even long unquestioned biblical convictions under the compelling of the Spirit, and in the light of contemporary questions’ (p.26)

Chapter 4 is entitled ‘The Bible in an age of anxiety: worry, reality and trust.’  In this chapter Runcorn argues that the Church should not be anxious about the current debate about same-sex relationships. It needs instead to develop ‘ways of being present to one another and to the challenges of life and faith in non-anxious ways’ and should approach differences about same-sex relationships in a ‘non-judgemental way’(p.35).

Chapter 5 is entitled ‘Reading the Bible with Jesus: Midrash, jazz and the continued conversation.’ In this chapter Runcorn argues that Jesus’ uses of parables and the importance of the narrative elements in the Bible mean that we should adopt the sort of approach to Scripture that the Jewish tradition calls Midrash. ‘Rather than seeking certainties and unchanging truths, Midrash keeps the questions open and is not threatened by disagreements. Above all it offers a creative and imaginative way of connecting ancient Scriptures with the challenges of life and faith today. All voices are welcome. So in the process of meeting round the text we may grow in empathy  and understanding and in our relationships with one another’ (p.42). For Runcorn biblical interpretation needs to be like jazz music, a form of creative improvisation that allows ‘many possibilities’ (p.42) 

Chapter 6  is entitled ‘’Lie the lyings of a woman’ seeking the meaning of Leviticus 18:22’ In this chapter Runcorn notes that Leviticus 18:22 has been interpreted in a variety of different ways  and declares that ‘There are clear grounds for saying that we do not have enough background yet to understand this verse: ‘The social and cultural significance of this verse within its ancient context is still waiting to be uncovered’ My own view is that a reverent agnosticism rightly surrounds the interpretation of this text’ (p.50). Furthermore, ‘given this lack of certainty, there are surely no grounds for imposing the traditional view’ (p.50).

Chapter 7  is entitled ‘Romans and the wrath of God: who was Paul writing about?’ In this chapter Runcorn examines the teaching of Paul in Romans 1:18-2:1. He argues that the people Paul describes in Romans 1:26-27 are not what we would today call ‘homosexual people’ but rather ‘heterosexual people indulging in anal sex (and much else besides in that context of rampant and unrestrained promiscuity’ (p.53). It is difficult to know why Paul saw such behaviour as ‘against nature’ and in any event ‘There are huge and complex areas of insight into human development and identity in the natural world that Paul would have had no knowledge of in his time.’ (p.54). Finally, because there are godly Christians in the Church today Paul’s argument that same-sex sexual activity involves a ‘deliberate rejection of God’ is one that ‘simply does not transfer to our own church’ (p.57).

Chapter 8 is entitled ‘On giving it a name: the origin of the word ‘homosexual.’’  In this chapter Runcorn observes that the word ‘homosexual’ was invented in the nineteenth century and only used in the translation of the Bible in the twentieth. This means, he argues, that we need to exercise care when arguing that the Bible ‘teaches against homosexuality’ (p.61). ‘The word itself does not appear in the Bible at all. The texts that are assumed to teach that homosexual relationships are wrong, in every case, describe forms of sexual subjugation through rape or violence, excessive lustful behaviour, patterns of coercive male dominance, or a disregarding of acceptable norms of social and religious behaviour’ (p.61).

Chapter 9 is entitled ‘The sin of Sodom: when names become labels.’ In this chapter Runcorn argues that the sin of Sodom was not, as has commonly been held, same same-sex relationships, but rather  a failure to show hospitality to strangers. ’The message of the ancient story of Abraham and Sodom is clear. Hospitality offered leads to blessing. Hospitality rejected leads to destruction. The irony is that this message poses a very direct challenge to the historic treatment of gay communities by the Church and society’ (p.65).

Chapter 10 is entitled ‘Male and female he created them:’ gender, partnership and becoming.’ In this chapter Runcorn notes that Christian arguments against same-sex relationdhips are increasingly rooted in God’s creation of human beings as male and female as described in Genesis 1 and 2. For Runcorn: ‘The key question at this point is whether anatomical and procreative complementarity is what the Bible writers had in mind when they appear to condemn same-sex relationships elsewhere. There is no evidence for this view’ (p.71). Paul’s apparent blanket condemnation of same-sex relationships in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 is ‘aimed specifically at coercive and abusive behaviour of various kinds’ (p.73).

According to Runcorn we may not even ‘fully know’ what it is to be a man or a woman:

‘To be a man or a woman is no one thing. There has always been a spectrum of self-understanding and expression. What we have in common is the call to authentic love, living, giving and belonging. Each of us must travel our own path and accept particular gifts and challenges on the way. The stories we hear of gender transition warn us of the danger of assuming that someone’s identity is defined solely by the physical body’ (p.74)

Chapter 11 is entitled ‘One flesh: Genesis: kinship and marriage.’ In this chapter Runcorn concedes ‘that there are no examples of same-sex marriage in the Bible. Nor is there a hint of a trajectory in that direction’ (p.81). However, he says:

‘….what we are living with in our times is so significantly new that there are limits to how much we will be helped by looking back. Rather than focussed on supposed origins, we should recognise that Christian marriage, like all discipleship, is significant for what it points towards. We have in our midst an important company of fellow Christians who simply do not recognise themselves, or their vocation to love and partnership, in those ancient texts. What, then, is the objection to opening marriage to couples of the same sex whose union will not conceive children but who have recognised each other in love and so would leave, cling and become one flesh?’ (p.81)

Chapter 12 is entitled ‘Call nothing unclean: the vision beyond the text.’ In this chapter Runcorn considers the vision for Gentile inclusion into the Church that was originally given to Peter and then endorsed by the Council of Jerusalem.  Runcorn comments:

‘This was a vision that the New Testament Church initially received as disturbing and contradictory through the converting work of the Spirit. It was a vision of a new community, based on a radically new belonging and identity in Christ. It was yet to be fully revealed and was based on no familiar divisions of race, gender or social class: ‘There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus’ (Galatians 3:28)’ (p.87).

He further explains :

‘This story is not included here because it says anything about sexuality. It doesn’t, but it is an example, from the first Christian churches, of a vulnerable stepping out in faith, into something very new, shocking, even unthinkable. It presents the challenge of responding obediently to what feels to be the inspiration of the Spirit even though it appears to contradict the plainest traditional understandings of the given texts. For me, that illustrates something of the challenge facing the church today in relations to issues of sexuality and gay relationships’ (pp.87-88).

Chapter 13 is entitled ‘Good fruit: patience, trust and the test of time.’ In this chapter Runcorn quotes the words of Jesus about the nature of a tree being known by the quality of its fruit (Matthew 7:16-18) and argues that these words can be applied to the issue of same-sex relationships. This is because the lives of faithful gay Christians can be seen to be producing good fruit and thus show that they are good trees. As Runcorn puts It:

‘Faithful following of Christ bears good fruit. it is the fruit of faithful consecrated lives . It is marked by a quality of life and spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things’ (Galatians 5:22-23). This is not fruit a bad tree can produce (p.95).’

Chapter 14 is entitled ‘To whom it is given: sexual abstinence and celibacy.’ In this chapter Runcorn  argues on the basis of Paul’s teaching about marriage and singleness in 1 Corinthians 7 that it is not legitimate to argue that gay men and women should automatically be expected to be celibate. In Runcorn’s words:

‘When God says, it is not good that the man should be alone (Genesis 2:18) this is said of all human beings not just heterosexual ones. So much of Pauls pastoral advice on choice, abstinence and not burning speaks directly to the lives of gay men and women today. Some, like others in the Christian community, may choose singleness as a way of consecrated service in the Kingdom, but for others, including faithful but harrowed Bible believers, might Paul not say ‘if his/her passions are strong, and so it has to be, let him/her marry…it is no sin? (p.100).’ 

Finally, Chapter 15 is entitled ‘Sexuality and the sacred: joy, delight and sacrament.’ In this chapter Runcorn notes how the Song of Songs testifies to the importance of human sexuality and how sexuality and spirituality cannot be properly separated. He then goes on to comment that Christians today:

‘… are seeking a Christian vision for humanity in the midst of a society that reflects deep confusion in the area of sexuality and relationships and that has abandoned Christian moral teaching and lifestyle. Exploited carelessly for pleasure, fearfully held at a distance, or burdened with impossible expectations of fulfilment in relationships, human sexuality is the place where some of the deepest wounding and confusion in our culture are found.’ (p.104)

‘The good news’ he writes:

‘…In the midst of a society characterised by such casual, broken, misguided and destructive approaches to relationships, is that there are Christian couples who wish to make a public consecration of their love and commitment to one another before God and the world. Is this not something to celebrate? But this is precisely where the church is most deadlocked and, perversely, where it withholds the blessing of God’ (p.106).

The couples he is referring to are, of course, same-sex couples who are seeking to be married.

II. What are we to make of Runcorn’s argument?

1. Contrary to what Runcorn argues in chapters 1 and 4, the current discussions about same-sex  relationships are something about which we should be anxious. Just as Paul was anxious that the Christians in Galatians would be misled by those ‘who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ’ (Galatians 1:8), so also we should be anxious about individuals, and the Church of England as a whole, being misled by those who wrongly teach that same-sex relationships, and even same-sex marriages, are in accordance with the will of God.

2. Runcorn is correct to say in chapter 4 that differences over the issue of same-sex  relationships should handled in a ‘non-judgemental way’ if he means by this that people who do not approve of same-sex relationships should not regard themselves as somehow being better people than those who do. This is because none of us should ever regard ourselves as better than anyone else, but should simply say ‘God, be  merciful to me a sinner’ (Luke 18:13). However, this does not mean that we should not make a moral judgement that same-sex relationships are a form of behaviour that is contrary to God’s will. The one does not follow from the other.

3. Runcorn is right to say in chapter 1 that ‘There are still too few open, exploratory places where Bibles can be studied, difficult questions asked, understandings tested out, wounds healed and differences faced respectfully.’  There does need to be more open discussion in the Church about the issue of same-sex relationships. However, the starting point for this discussion needs to be the clear and unequivocal teaching of the Bible and the Christian tradition that sexual intercourse should only take place between one man and one woman in the context of marriage.

A good analogy would be the way in which in our cultural context there needs to be opportunity for open discussion about who Jesus was and is, but the starting point for this discussion should not be agnosticism about Jesus’s true identity, but the teaching of the Bible and the Christian tradition that Jesus is one person who is both human and divine.

4. Runcorn is also right to say in chapter 1 that supporting same-sex relationships does not in itself mean ‘condoning promiscuity.’ There are indeed people who support same-sex relationships and who do not condone promiscuity. However, supporting same-sex relationships does mean condoning what the New Testament calls porneia, that is, a form of sexual activity that is contrary to God’s will and that renders those who engage in it unclean in God’s sight (Matthew 15:19, Mark 7:21). 

5. Runcorn is again right to say in chapter 2 that Jesus and the early Church welcomed everyone regardless of their race, sex, social standing, or previous conduct. However, what he fails to note is that Jesus and the early Church also insisted that those who became part of God’s new covenant community had to turn from their sins and seek to live God’s way hereafter. Because this is the case it makes perfect sense to say that the Church must welcome those with same-sex attraction and those in same-sex relationships, but that it must also make clear that they should not engage in same-sex sexual activity.

6. Runcorn is mistaken when he says in chapter 3 that we need to engage in a ‘dialogical’ approach to Scripture in relation to the issue of same-sex relationships because this is an issue which the Bible does not ‘recognize or understand.’ The Bible does recognise the existence of both gay and lesbian same-sex relationships,  and in the first century context this would have involved recognizing the existence of long-term committed same-sex relationships. The Bible also understands same-sex relationships theologically, consistently viewing  them as contrary to God’s will and so off limits for God’s people.

7. Runcorn is right to suggest in chapter 5 that applying Scripture to our lives today involves a degree of ‘creative improvisation.’ This is what the Christian tradition has called ‘casuistry’ the exercise of applying biblical teaching to particular circumstances which the Bible may not specifically address. However, this does not mean adopting an approach to the Bible which permanently ‘keeps the questions open’. The purpose of asking questions is to find answers and once the answers are known the questions should cease and appropriate action should be taken. In the case of same-sex relationships the question is ‘Are these relationships acceptable to God?’ The answer is ‘No’ and the appropriate action is for people not to engage in them.

8. Runcorn is mistaken when he suggests in chapter 6 that we do not yet understand the prohibition of same-sex activity in Leviticus 18:22. The background to the prohibition of same-sex sexual relationships both in this verse and in Leviticus 20:13  is the existence of such relationships among the Egyptians and the Canaanites (Leviticus 18:3), these verses contain a general prohibition of same-sex relationships per se without any qualifications (and cover lesbian relationships as well), and the rationale behind this prohibition is a wider prohibition of all forms of sexual activity outside marriage as being contrary to the order laid down by God in creation. [2]  

9. Contrary to what Runcorn argues, it is clear what Paul means in Romans 1;26-27 when he says that gay and lesbian relationships are ‘against nature.’ Paul’s argument in Romans 1 that just as idolatry involves the rejection of the witness to God borne by the created order, so also both gay and lesbian same-sex relationships involve a rejection of God’s intention that human beings should engage in heterosexual sex, an intention to which the complementary sexual biology of men and women (‘nature’) bears witness. In the words of Richard Hays, according to Paul: ‘When human beings engage in homosexual activity, they enact an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual reality: the rejection of the Creator’s design.’[3]

Furthermore, contrary to what Runcorn also writes in chapter 7, there are no ‘huge and complex areas of insight into human development and identity in the natural world’ that have emerged since Paul’s time and which negate his argument, and the existence of Christians in same-sex relationships does not negate his argument either. The continuing presence and power of sin in the lives of believers means that all Christians engage in various forms of sin (see the General Confession in The Book of Common Prayer) and these forms of sin remain sin even though devout Christians engage in them. Saying that same-sex relationships should not be regarded as sinful because Christians engage in them is thus simply foolish. The Christians involved may not subjectively think that they are rejecting the creator’s design, but nevertheless, objectively, that is precisely what they are doing. 

10. Runcorn is right to say in chapter 8 that the term ‘homosexual’ is a comparatively recent invention. However, this does not mean that the biblical writers did not know of the reality to which the word refers, namely men and women who desire, or engage in, same-sex sexual activity. Furthermore, contrary to what Runcorn claims, the biblical writers do not simply reject certain specific forms of same-sex relationships. They reject all forms of same-sex sexual activity as contrary to the creator’s design.

11. Contrary to what Runcorn maintains in chapter 9, the story of God’s judgment on Sodom in Genesis 19 is about sexual sin rather than inhospitality. That this is so is indicated by the following factors:

  • The juxtaposition of the use of the Hebrew verb yada (‘know’) in verses 5 and 8 indicates that the verb has the same meaning in both cases and since the meaning in verse 8 is clearly sexual, ‘Behold, I have two daughters who have not known man,’ it follows that the meaning in the request in verse 5 ‘that we may know them’ must be the same. The men of Sodom want to have sex with Lot’s visitors.
  • This reading of the text is reinforced by the fact that in Judges 19:22-26, a text which scholars generally agree is based on the Sodom story (and which is thus the first commentary on it), the verb yada is also used with a consistently sexual meaning.
  • This reading of the text is further supported by the nature of Lot’s counter offer to the men of Sodom, have sex with my two daughters instead of my two visitors, and by the double use of the specific term ‘male’ (anse) in 19:4 (itself an intertextual echo of the use of the term ‘male’ in the reference to the wickedness of Sodom in Genesis 13:13). Those who are proposing to act wickedly in Sodom are the male inhabitants of the city and the nature of their proposed wickedness is sex with Lot’s (supposedly) male visitors.
  • Finally, this reading of the text is supported by the fact noted by James De Young that in the literary structure of Genesis the story of Sodom forms part of a trio of stories that sit between the promise of the birth of Isaac in Genesis 18:9-15 and its fulfilment in Genesis 21:1-7, the other two being the story of the incest of Lot and his daughters (Genesis 19:30-38) and the story of Abraham, Sarah and Abimelech (Genesis 20:1-18). As De Young explains ‘each episode relates sexual sin and its punishment…The literary structure of the text demands a homosexual meaning for the sin of Sodom. Illicit sexual enjoyment or opportunism links all three episodes.’[4]
  • Ezekiel 16:49-50 in the Old Testament and Jude7 and 2 Peter 1:6-8 in the New Testament understand the sin of Sodom as being sexual in nature.

12. Contrary to what Runcorn writes in chapter 10,  the ‘anatomical and procreative complementarity’ of human beings is what is in the background of all the biblical texts that condemn same-sex relationships.  The basis for such  condemnation is God’s creation of human beings as male and female creatures who are anatomically  complementary and therefore capable of fulfilling God’s command to ‘be fruitful and multiply.’ From a biblical perspective the basic problem with same-sex relationships is they do not respect the fact that God has created human beings in this way and has also ordained marriage between a man and a woman as the proper context for sexual activity and procreation.

Runcorn is also wrong when he writes in the same chapter that Paul’s condemnation of same-sex relationships in Corinthians 6:9-10 is ‘‘aimed specifically at coercive and abusive behaviour of various kinds.’  The Greek words arsenokoitai and malakoi  used in these verses are terms which describe the active and passive partners in male same-sex activity respectively. They carry no connotation of coercive or abusive behaviour, nor is this suggested anywhere else in the verses concerned. [5]

13. Runcorn is right when he declares ‘we may not even ‘fully know’ what it is to be a man or a woman.’ None of us will ‘fully know’ who we are until the life of the world to come when we shall know ourselves as we are now known by God (1 Corinthians 13:12). However, we can and do know on the basis of our biology that we are male or female.[6]

It is also true that there is a spectrum of what it means to be male or female. That is why men are different from other men and women are different from other women. Nevertheless we can say that woman are different from, and physically and psychologically complementary to, men and vice versa. Furthermore, while it is true, as Runcorn says, that we are not defined solely by our bodies, since we are a compound of a material body and a immaterial soul,[7] nevertheless our bodies are integral to who we are and we are male if we have male bodies and female if we have female ones. Gender transition cannot alter this fact. Through hormones or surgery some of the physical characteristics of a body can be altered, but that body will remain fundamentally male or female right down to the cellular level and the person whose body it is will therefore remain either male or female. Our basic, God given, sex is immutable.

14. Runcorn is correct when he notes in chapter 11 ‘that there are no examples of same-sex marriage in the Bible. Nor is there a hint of a trajectory in that direction’  Where he is incorrect is saying that the situation we now face with regard to marriage is ‘significantly new.’ Nothing significant has in fact changed. The fact that same-sex marriages have been introduced in this country does not change the fact that God ordained marriage to be a relationship  between two people of the opposite sex (Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:4-5).  Nothing the government has done, or can do, will alter this fact.

This being the case, the answer to Runcorn’s question: ‘What, then, is the objection to opening marriage to couples of the same sex whose union will not conceive children but who have recognised each other in love and so would leave, cling and become one flesh?’ is straightforward. We do not have the authority to change the character of marriage established by God at creation and the government was guilty of a massive act of hubris when it thought otherwise. Two people of the same sex can enter into a permanent, exclusive, sexual relationship with each other if they wish, but this will not be a marriage and will not be approved of  by God.

15. Contrary to what Runcorn claims in chapter 12, the story of the inclusion of the Gentiles into the Church in Acts 10-15 is not an example of Christians being led by the Spirit to act in way that went beyond the teaching of Scripture. The words of James in Acts 15:15 explicitly declare that the inclusion of the Gentiles into the Church was in line with what God had declared would happen in Amos 9:11-12 and Jeremiah 12:15 and the instructions given to Gentile believers in Acts 15:20 correspond to the laws laid down for resident aliens in Israel in Leviticus 17-18. [8]

Furthermore, these instructions include abstaining from porneia (which would include same-sex relationships), which makes it even more inappropriate to cite the inclusion of the Gentiles as a model for the acceptance of same-sex relationships by the Church.

16. It is true, as Runcorn notes in chapter 13, that Christians who are in same-sex relationships do exhibit the qualities of ‘love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control’ that Paul lists as the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). However, from a biblical perspective their same-sex relationships are examples of the sexual immorality which Paul identifies as the ‘works of the flesh’ (in Galatians 5:18) and according to Paul ‘those who do those things shall not inherit the kingdom of God’ (Galatians 5:21). Runcorn cannot have it both ways. Either he accepts the authority of Paul’s teaching in Galatians 5, in which case he has to accept that same-sex relationships have the capacity to bar people from God’s kingdom, or he rejects it, in which case his own appeal to Galatians 5:22-23 ceases to carry weight.

17. It is illegitimate for Runcorn to appeal in chapter 14 to Paul’s teaching in 1 Corinthians 7 to support Christians entering into same-sex relationships. The reason that Paul thinks that Christians who have not been received a call to celibacy may marry is because he knows that marriage is a legitimate form of life for God’s people and consequently ‘it is no sin’ to marry (1 Corinthians 7:26). However, we know from elsewhere in his writings that Paul does believe that same-sex relationships are sinful and so the same argument would not apply to Christians who are thinking of entering same-sex relationships. To them he would say what he says to Christians who think it is OK to have sex with prostitutes – ‘shun immorality’ (1 Corinthians 6:18). [9]

18. While Runcorn is right to note the current sexual brokenness and confusion of our society in chapter 15, he is wrong to suggest that in this context a Christian’s desire to enter into a same-sex marriage is something to celebrate. How can we celebrate a Christian wanting to reject the nature of marriage established by God himself at creation and proposing to adopt a way of life which, unless repented of, has the capacity to exclude them from God’s kingdom?

For these eighteen reasons, while  Runcorn’s book is worth reading as a clear introduction to the arguments for the acceptance of same-sex relationships, it fails to make out a persuasive case for the Church of England abandoning its traditional view of sex and marriage.

M B Davie 27.10.2020

[1] David Runcorn, Love Means Love -Same-sex relationships and the Bible (London: SPCK, 2020).

[2] For these points see the detailed discussion in Richard Davidson, Flame of Yahweh – Sexuality in the Old Testament (Peabody: Hendrickson, 2007), pp. 149-159. 

[3] Richard Hays, The Moral Vision of the New Testament (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1996), p. 386.

[4] James De Young, Homosexuality: Contemporary Claims Examined in Light of the Bible and Other Ancient  Literature and Law (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2000), pp.39-40.

[5] For this point see Eugene Rice, ‘Paul, St.’, GLBTQ Encyclopedia, 2015 at http://www.glbtqarchive.com/ssh/paul_S.pdf.

[6] The only exception to this rule is the tiny number of genuinely intersex people who possess both male and female elements in their biology. 

[7] See J P Moreland, The Soul -How we know it’s real and why it matters (Chicago: Moody, 2014).

[8] See Richard Bauckham, ‘James and the Gentiles (Acts 15: 13-21) in Ben Witherington III (ed.) History, Literature and Society in the Book of Acts (Cambridge: CUP, 1996), pp.154-184.   

[9] ‘Immorality’ here is a translation of porneia, a term which, as we have seen,  includes same-sex relationships.

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