A Christian Perspective on Sexual Identity
How do we view homosexuality in light of a Christian sexual ethic? Perhaps this will come as a surprise, but homosexuality is not the focal point of the Christian sexual ethic. Rather, same-sex behavior is one of many sexual acts that fall outside of the context of a life-union between a man and a woman, including pre-marital and extra-marital sex, pornography, and so on. Christianity begins with a broader sexual ethic that affirms the good of physical creation and the good of our inherent sexuality. This essay engages the intersection of religious and sexual identities and the much-debated topic of Christianity and homosexuality.
Mark A. Yarhouse is the director of the Institute for the Study of Sexual Identity and is also Professor of Psychology and the Rosemarie Scotti Hughes Endowed Chair of Christian Thought in Mental Health Practice at the Regent University School of Psychology and Counseling, where he has taught since 1998. He earned his MA in Theological Studies, MA in Clinical Psychology, and PsyD in Clinical Psychology from Wheaton College. He has published several volumes on the issue of homosexuality, including Homosexuality: The Use of Scientific Research in the Church’s Moral Debate (co-authored with Stanton Jones, IVP Academic, 2000); Ex-Gays? A Longitudinal Study of Religiously Mediated Change in Sexual Orientation (co-authored with Stanton Jones, IVP Academic, 2007); and Homosexuality and the Christian: A Guide for Pastors, Parents and Friends (Bethany House, 2010).