The Moral Teaching of Paul

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Updated: Mar 14, 2023
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In this section of The Moral Teaching of Paul, Furnish develops an argument about homosexuality. Furnish explains that in Paul’s letters, he mentions nothing about homosexuality but instead discusses the idea of homoerotic conduct which Paul barely speaks on in his letters. Homosexuality did not exist until the latter half of the 19th century. Since the idea of sexual orientation was non-existed during the time of Paul, it would be impossible for him to be able to use it as a topic in his writings.

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Furnish provides several points to keep in mind before using Paul’s letters as a source for condemning homosexuality. His first reason discusses that Paul only touched on the matter of homosexual conduct in two of his letters. Paul had only briefly discussed the matter of homosexual conduct in his letters and even gave no moral instruction about the subject.

Furnish informs us that Paul did not highlight or explain the two different references that mentioned which included 1Corinthians 6:9b-10 and Romans 1:26-27. The second point that Furnish mentions is that Paul’s references to same sex intercourse has to be interpreted in wilder theological contexts than they already are. Furnish again references Roman 1:26-27 as an example of this. Furnish mentions that Paul identifies homoerotic conduct as an example of moral chaos in which people participate in sinful acts freely, which he believes is refusing the gift of life that God has given them. The third point that Furnish brings up is that Paul’s public disapproval of homoerotic conduct does not involve any Christian roots and there was no proof that Paul used scripture or theological arguments to support his views. He states that Paul’s attitude on homoeroticism had been shaped by cultural norms and stereotypes that came from his Jewish background.

Furnish also mentions that it was commonly believed that homoerotic sex opposes nature because it causes the man to lose his dominant role to the female. He stated that it was believed that the man that got penetrated and the man that performed the penetration have shamed their selves by surrendering their manliness and not exercising their superiority over women. Female sex was also shown as a violation because it showed women that were trying to take on the male role and its superiority. Furnish finishes by stating that the knowledge gained about sexual orientation has made the presuppositions about gender and sex irrelevant.

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The Moral Teaching of Paul. (2021, May 24). Retrieved from