Religious Studies Review vol 35 no 3 Spring 2009, p 158.
REASONING TOGETHER: A CONVERSATION ON HOMOSEXUALITY. By Ted Grimsrud and Mark Thiessen Nation. Scottsdale, PA: Herald Press, 2008. Pp. 318. $17.99.
Grimsrud’s and Thiessen Nation’s dialog comes the closest of all attempts I have yet encountered to bridge the gap between what they label as the “restrictive” and the “inclusive” positions regarding committed, monogamous, homosexual relationships. These professors of theology at Eastern Mennonite Seminary each respectfully present their own thoroughly researched, documented, and thought-through positions on this vital, divisive issue and graciously offer a pointed critique of one another’s views, concluding with points of agreement.
Grimsrud grounds his position on the imperative of biblical concern for gracious and protective care of vulnerable people, including lesbians and gay men among them, while Thiessen Nation builds upon the imperative of a faithful living out of Jesus’s summary command- ments, to love God with all our hearts, souls, and minds, and to love all our neighbors as ourselves.
While these positions are highly complementary in their basic commitments, the essential dividing line remains what it essentially has always been, namely, the difference between an inclusive affirmation of those gays and lesbians who are experiencing or desire committed marital relationships, as opposed to a restrictive but compassionate submission to God’s creation design and thrice stated biblical affirmation of sexual activity taking place only within heterosexual marriages. This Mennonite-in-character interaction is must reading for all who also grapple with this challenging and continuing, unresolved divide.
GaryH. Strauss Rosemead School of Psychology, Biola University