Book Review: Paul on Homosexuality, What You Need To Know

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By: Paul P. Jesep*/Special for TRT–

Civil and human rights will continue to move forward. Changing hearts and minds, however, even if laws are passed must go on. There remains widespread belief that LGBTQ families and individuals are sinful or mentally ill, even in places like Massachusetts and New York among a substantial minority of people.

How can these hearts and minds be changed? LGBTQ couples who live a positive example and show that they too are families is important. This is one way to change a heart, but what about the mind? Manhattan District Attorney quipped, “There’s no need to bang on the table. The facts will do it.”

Cryptographer Michael Wood, son of an evangelical pastor, has studied scripture by getting into the thick of it and taking a big picture approach. Scripture is often understood absent a greater context. Wood has spent much of his life looking to “converge” and make sense of distinct biblical passages that would otherwise dangle alone and be misused.

He’s authored several books, though one in particular may be of particular interest to those seeking to rebut arguments made by Christian conservatives. His latest, Paul on Homosexuality, takes a new approach to a topic that has been researched and written about by a growing number of LGBTQ-friendly theologians. He examines Jewish law from the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) cited or referenced in the New Testament. Apostle Paul is often cited as a key Christian authority that condemns homosexuality.

Mr. Wood describes scholarship on Paul’s views as a “confused state.” He cites Paul’s contradictions and the frustrations of scholars to reconcile them. To no avail it hasn’t been done. Mr. Wood thinks differently.

According to Mr. Wood, “Given the number of precious young gay lives lost every day, I desperately want the information in the public domain as fast as possible.  The sooner that happens, the more young lives can be saved.” He has graciously made available portions of the work for free online. In fall of 2012, Tubi Publishing will release a print edition.

This is not a beach book for the hazy, lazy days of summer. It has documentation and technical narrative. Despite the moderate heaviness to it even folks who prefer light and fluffy reading will find that the book keeps their interest. Mr. Wood’s passion comes through with each page.

Mr. Wood has made available his entire book, Jesus on Homosexualitya complementary book for free. “Christianity had been interpreting Jesus’ teachings based on an erroneous assumption,” according to Mr. Wood. He also observes that “Jesus taught five times that only Justices matter.”  This did not include the condemnation of homosexuality.

One personal observation is that Mr. Wood’s scholarship needs to reach a far larger audience than the faithful readers of this newspaper. His very important contributions need to be in the hands of students at, as one example, Liberty University, the evangelical powerhouse founded by the late Rev. Jerry Falwell. Just as important, his work needs to be discussed in the mainstream media.

Information is critical to making informed decisions and developing thoughtful, grounded opinions. But if it doesn’t reach the right audience then it might as well not exist. Please take the time to review Mr. Wood’s work and post links to your Facebook page and email friends and colleagues asking them to do the same. Hopefully, this will help get important information to the hearts and minds that still need to be changed.

*Paul is a priest and attorney.  He writes the “Faith, Family, and God” column for TRT. He may be reached at Dilovod@aol.com.