According to Molvaer, both heterosexual and homosexual relations were very freely practiced in St. Paul’s day. Love and sex were only tenuously linked, and marriage was not primarily contracted for emotional reasons. In disgust, some rejected sexual relations altogether, whereas others believed that homosexual practice could, more easily than heterosexual relations, bring people into harmony with their pagan ideas of an emotionless God.
In these surroundings, St. Paul gave his advice, which has often been misunderstood in the churches. He was himself sexually abstinent, and some Christians of an ascetic mind turned to him for support of their view, but this he refused to give. Celibacy is only for the few with a special gift. For others, he recommended faithful sexual relations, preferably in marriage, or alternatively in a faithful relationship without marriage. This is the main direction for Christians he gave in the seventh chapter of his first letter to Corinth.
According to Molvaer, St. Paul did thus not limit legitimate sexual relations to marriage, but he strongly condemned the religious basis of a cultivation of homosexuality advocated by some of the more philosophically minded. False religion leads to moral aberration. This is his emphasis in what he wrote about this in Romans 1. He never wrote about or condemned “natural” homosexuality, but it is a logical inference from what he wrote in 1 Corinthians 7, about different gifts in relation to sex, that loving, faithful, lasting homosexual relations for genuine homosexuals are ethically as valid as heterosexual relations.
Dr. Molvaer’s innovative research explains St. Paul’s words about these questions against contemporary ideologies, leading necessarily to an understanding of what the New Testament says about sexuality that in some respects goes against some cherished views in the churches today.
Publisher’s website: http://www.eloquentbooks.com/
About the Author:
Reidulf Molvaer was born in Norway and educated in Norway (Oslo) and England (London University, PhD). He spent 20 years in development work for churches and the UN in Africa, and was a senior researcher in Oslo until retirement.
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