David P. Gushee, author of Changing Our Mind and 19 other books, is distinguished university professor of Christian ethics at Mercer University, and an Evangelical minister. He has come to notice via the Washington Post recently.
He has changed his mind of the LGBT community. He says “For most of my career, these ideas formed the foundation of my views and teachings as an evangelical minister and professor of Christian ethics. I co-authored a popular textbook that stated this position flatly: “Homosexual conduct is one form of sexual expression that falls outside the will of God.” I wasn’t mean about it. But I said it.
However, in sentiments familiar to many of us he continues :
“In recent years, my moral position has shifted. It has dawned on me with shocking force that homosexuality is not primarily an issue of Christian sexual ethics. It’s primarily an issue of human suffering. With that realization, I have now made the radical decision to stand in solidarity with the LGBT community.
Working through this issue has taken me back to the very roots of my faith.
In 1978, when I was a hopelessly confused 16-year-old ex-Catholic kid, I stumbled into a Southern Baptist church near my Virginia home. I was looking for something — anything — to make sense of life. Four days later, I was a newly minted born-again convert. I was attracted by the vibrant faith, moral certainty and loving spirit of the people I met in that church. My life was transformed. By 1993, I had been ordained in a Southern Baptist church and received a doctorate in Christian ethics from Union Theological Seminary in New York.
For me, the answer to [the gay debate] has become simple: There is a sexual-minority population of about 5 percent of the human family that has received contempt and discrimination for centuries. In Christendom, the sexual ethics based in those biblical passages metastasized into a hardened attitude against sexual- and gender-identity minorities, bristling with bullying and violence. This contempt is in the name of God, the most powerful kind there is in the world. I now believe that the traditional interpretation of the most cited passages is questionable and that all that parsing of Greek verbs has distracted attention from the primary moral obligation taught by Jesus — to love our neighbors as ourselves, especially our most vulnerable neighbors. I also now believe that while any progress toward more humane treatment of LGBT people is good progress, we need to reconsider the entire body of biblical interpretation and tradition related to this issue.
Put simply, it finally became clear to me that I must side with those who were being treated with contempt, just as I hope I would have sided with Jews in the Nazi era and with African Americans during the civil rights years. With that realization, I began working on my new book, “Changing Our Mind.”
I am pro-LGBT in just the same way I hope I would have been pro-Jew in 1943 and pro-African American in 1963. I stand in solidarity with those treated with contempt and discrimination. And I do so because I promised in 1978 to follow Jesus wherever he leads. Even here.”
Hopefully, many other evangelical leaders would learn from his heart felt change of attitude. Thank you David.