Preston Sprinkle, PhD, did not expect to become an “expert” in sexual ethics, especially in the most controversial areas, as he discusses with Dr. Mark Turman on The Denison Forum Podcast. Yet his voice takes Christ’s tone of clarity and compassion, cutting through the culture war’s noise.
His works, with titles like People to be Loved: Why Homosexuality Is Not Just an Issue, Nonviolence: The Revolutionary Way of Jesus, Living in a Gray World, and Scandalous Grace, might suggest someone who gets Jesus’ heart for the lost or, from another perspective, someone who might be dangerously close to sacrificing biblical orthodoxy for affirming love.
But throughout his ministry, Dr. Sprinkle upholds the historical interpretation of the eternal word of God.
Dr. Sprinkle does the act of graciously thinking better than almost any author I’ve read. He’s clear and concise on muddled issues and loving and compassionate on controversial ones. His latest book, Does the Bible Support Same-Sex Marriage?, is no exception. It takes a unique approach, answering the twenty-one most common objections to the orthodox interpretation of marriage.
As a frequent speaker on sexuality, Dr. Sprinkle has accumulated the most pressing questions from audiences and conversations with his friends and acquaintances who disagree. As a scholar, he presses into the most academic objections in a way that makes debates about translating the finer points of Greek words accessible. A veritable miracle.
How to disagree
Before he unpacks the twenty-one conversations, he lays out some fundamental starting points. The foundation chapter is worth the price of admission. Dr. Sprinkle unpacks how to have an uplifting, beneficial conversation over a controversial and disagreed position.
In seven steps, Dr. Sprinkle’s advice for difficult conversations could cover everything from politics to religion in general. It’s indispensable for questions on homosexual marriage:
- “Be willing to rethink your point of view.
- Be a genuinely curious person.
- Be a good listener.
- Ask good, honest questions.
- Find some point of agreement.
- Understand the power of belonging.
- Don’t be overly confident.
The final product of Does the Bible Support Same-Sex Marriage? demonstrates how closely Dr. Sprinkle follows his own rules. He does not demean his opponents, nor does he set up straw men. He presents strong, intelligent arguments by homosexual marriage-affirming Christians. And, in each case, he powerfully and humbly dismantles them.
Does the Bible support same-sex marriage?
In the next foundational chapter, Dr. Sprinkle outlines the basic historical (traditional) view of marriage. He offers the biblical purposes of marriage, expositing passages on marital union, wading through some difficult questions about procreation, the purpose of sex, and the theological base for marriage.
After the foundation is laid, each chapter can be read on its own. If you read it all the way through, it not only addresses the major challenges to the biblical position on gay unions; it also helps confirm God’s blueprint for marriage. Does the Bible Support Same-Sex Marriage? responds to objections, but, in doing so, it shores up the Bible’s teachings on marriage better than almost any other book on the subject.
Conversation four, “Paul was not talking about consensual same-sex relationships,” was perhaps the most enlightening of the chapters. We can’t all be Greek scholars and New Testament theologians, but the objection is perhaps the strongest against the biblical position, and it needs proper consideration. Dr. Sprinkle responds excellently, again maintaining the academic core without the jargon.
While some who hold the historical position alongside Dr. Sprinkle may disagree with him on finer points, Dr. Sprinkle’s core writings are illuminating for everyone interested in the subject.
In the end, Dr. Sprinkle magnifies and solidifies the historical position: marriage is between one man and one woman. As in all of Dr. Sprinkle’s works, truth is proclaimed and love is maintained.
“To believe in same-sex marriage, you must understand marriage to be something like a lifelong union between two consenting humans. According to the traditional view, while marriage is much more than sex difference, it involves no less than sex difference. Simply put, sex difference is an intrinsic part of what marriage is.”
“Genesis 2:18 and 20 describe Eve as a ‘suitable helper’ for Adam. It’s tough to pick up in English, but the Hebrew word for ‘suitable’ (kenegdo) expresses both sameness and difference. Kenegdo is a combination of two Hebrew words: ke, which means ‘as,’ or ‘like,’ or ‘similar,’ and neged, which means something like ‘opposite,’ ‘in front of,’ or ‘against.’ The combination of both words (ke + neged = kenegdo) captures Eve’s similarity to Adam and her difference.”
“For Jesus, the Genesis passage isn’t just the beginning of a story that’s subject to change; rather it’s the blueprint against which all other practices should be measured.”
“It’s also unhelpful to say things like, ‘the traditional view of marriage prevents gay people from getting married’ (since the traditional view is based on the biological sex difference, not sexual attraction) or ‘the traditional view just wants gay people to be lonely’ (since marriage isn’t the biblical solution to loneliness).”
“Ethnically and denominationally diverse contexts often help cross-check our biases and nudge us to read the text more sensitively.”