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A Time to Embrace: Same-Gender Relationships in Religion, Law, and Politics Hardcover – November 1, 2006
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Top Customer Reviews
The first half of the book is devoted to religion and the second half to law and politics. His expertise and broad reading in all three areas blends these issues into one sustained and persuasive argument. I continually found gems of information cropping up in all three areas.
Johnson outlines seven different ways of viewing same-gender relationships theologically from prohibition to consecration. He is careful to describe the merits and weaknesses of each argument before presenting any conclusions. Johnson believes that the way to resolve the present conflict over same-gender relationships is to be welcoming, affirming, and also ordering of those relationships.
He sets the whole of his position in the context of a three-part exposition of the Christian story of creation, reconciliation, and redemption. He develops a biblical position on marriage that shows it to be a nurturing context for companionship, commitment, and community. He believes that gay and lesbian couples can embody all three of these purposes of marriage. In the process he deals in detail with texts of Scripture used to prohibit same-sex relationships, carefully examining the original languages and their historical context. In the end he finds: "The immorality, debauchery, and licentiousness about which Paul complains bears no resemblance to the exclusively committed same-gender relationships we are being asked to assess today" (p. 154).Read more ›
This book fleshes out all the different positions that are taken within the Christian community. Johnson, as a Princeton Theological seminary professor, takes seriously the biblical passages cited against homosexual relationships and provides thoughtful exegesis of those passages, concluding that they cannot be used to oppose homosexual relationships.
Drawing upon his background as a lawyer, he then analyzes the legal basis for same-sex marriage, and ends with a thought-provoking discussion of what it means to live in a "welcoming democracy", drawing upon the work of political scientist Amy Guttman (president of the University of Pennsylvania) and Harvard philosophy professor, Dennis Thompson, who have written about deliberative democracy.
Christians who swear by Robert Gagnon's The Bible and Homosexual Practice should balance it with Johnson's book. Although Johnson's exegesis of the biblical passages is not necessarily new, the connection of it with a discussion of what it means to live in a democracy is unique.
The selected bibliography is extensive and the footnotes are extremely detailed.
In discussion of what the Bible does and does not say about same gender commitments,Johnson quotes pivotal biblical passages and creatively advances his argument. "Learning the reason for an ancient rule helps us reformulate what that rule might mean in a new day with a new set of moral issues."
And as it concerns the Law, Johnson is equally as competent, creative and convincing. In addition to the author's expertise, because of the way in which it combines religion, law and politics, this book is certain to become a definitive work dealing with a most controversial topic of our time.
carolyn h. manosevitz, mfa
visiting lecturer, Austin Presbyterian T heological sSeminary/ Wesley Theological Seminary
The first reason is that it passes the "fairness" test. William Stacy Johnson examines critically all of the various ways that people of faith might approach homosexuality. We tend to think in bi-polar ways about gays and lesbians...either we are for or against ordination; or we see it as an abomination or celebration; yet Professor Johnson examines seven different possible viewpoints, and he is fair to all of them. Though he makes a very effective case for his stance, (one which I have come to agree with after a lifetime of questioning, changing, and hopefully growing) he views all of them critically, pointing out the biblical and theological basis for each, but opens each one up to thoughtful critiques.
The second uniqueness to this book, and another reason why it is so valuable, is that it contains not only the religious aspects of same-gender relationships, but also puts forth in a very clear manner the legal and political implications that the judiciary and legislative branches of government have established, including the very latest in court cases. As a non-legal type, I found Dr. Johnson's analysis quite helpful. (He is uniquely qualified to write on both aspects, as a lawyer and seminary professor.)
Finally, I found this book accessible to those who are genuinely interested in discerning where the church might be led in these issues. This is a book written for the religious and the legal community.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I've read many books on this topic over the past few years. My conscience and "gut" have already led me to new truth, as have my gracious, patient gay Christian friends (not their... Read morePublished on December 21, 2011 by Michelle B. Mcconnell
The author of this book, A Time to Embrace: Same -Gender Relationships in Religion, Law and Politics helps the reader to understand that folks are same gendered or gay because they... Read morePublished on April 25, 2011 by l00kn4sumpn
Johnson holds the Chair of Systematic Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary and is an ordained Presbyterian minister, so he should know better than to give us bad theology. Read morePublished on January 7, 2010 by rossuk
I have read widely on both sides of this debate and I am deeply dismayed that this book has so many positive reviews on Amazon. Read morePublished on September 26, 2009 by Stephen Hess
While I have read other books making a case for Gay/Lesbian marriage, this was the first that really convinced me. Read morePublished on February 18, 2008 by Paul H. Pallmeyer
This is the most scholarly and well researched book on the topic of same gender relationships that I have ever read.Published on November 21, 2007 by Dean A. Genth
Stacy Johnson is a good man and a deep thinker; the church is indebted to him for this book. He avoids polemic on either side of his discussion of the issues of homosexuality in... Read morePublished on August 28, 2007 by Frank McNair
From my vantage point, as a Ph.D. in Church History and on the farthest heterosexual side of Kinsey's spectrum, I regard Johnson's book as far and away the best book yet on the... Read morePublished on July 3, 2007 by K. E. Christopherson
Johnson spent much of his time in Church listening to people on both sides of the issue about same sex relationships and discovered that while people had "sides" they didn't all... Read morePublished on May 19, 2007 by Eric