The Bible’s Yes to Same-Sex Marriage

Bob Thune | July 1, 2015

The title of Mark Achtemeier’s The Bible’s Yes to Same-Sex Marriage: An Evangelical’s Change of Heart leaves no doubt as to his conclusion. Achtemeier, a Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) pastor and theologian, wants to lead his readers toward the same “change of heart” that caused him to embrace same-sex marriage. He writes graciously and gently. But his book will be persuasive only to those who already agree with him.

Though he aims to make a biblical and logical case for same-sex marriage, the book fails on both counts. 

Hollow Definition of Marriage

Like many revisionist treatments of this subject, Achtemeier is anxious to get to the proof texts. He wants to show that the seven classic Bible passages used to condemn homosexuality have been misunderstood and misapplied. In his haste to do so, however, he completely misses the most important step of the argument: a coherent definition of marriage. If we’re going to argue about who should be married, we should first establish what marriage is.

Achtemeier seeks to establish this in chapter four, “God’s Plan for Love, Marriage, and Sexuality.” His biblical-theological conclusion is that “God gives human beings the gifts of love, marriage, and sexuality in order to help us grow into the image of Christ’s…

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