Both liberal and conservative Christians are ignorant about scientific studies of homosexuality. Further, few understand the appropriate role of these studies in the church's ongoing moral debate. This brilliant book provides common sense, reasoned analysis and biblical wisdom for Christians who seek a clear-eyed understanding of this inflammatory issue.
How prevalent is homosexuality? What causes it? Is it a psychopathology? Can it be changed? Questions like these often accompany discussions of homosexual behavior. For answers we naturally look to scientific studies. But what does the scientific research actually show? More important, what place should this research have in shaping the church's response? Stanton Jones and Mark Yarhouse help us face these issues squarely and honestly. In four central chapters they examine how scientific research has been used within church debates--in particular within Methodist, Presbyterian and Episcopal contexts. They then survey the most recent and best scientific research and sort out what it actually shows. Next they help us to interpret the research's relevance to the moral debate within the church. In a concluding chapter they make a strong case for a traditional Christian sexual ethic. Church groups considering these complex issues will find helpful discussion questions at the end of each chapter. This book is essential reading for anyone involved in the church's debate.
About the Authors
Stanton L. Jones is provost and professor of psychology at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois. During his tenure as chair of the psychology department (1984-1996), he led the development of Wheaton's Doctor of Psychology program in clinical psychology. He received his B.S. in psychology from Texas A & M University in 1976, and his M.A. (1978) and Ph.D. (1981) degrees in clinical psychology from Arizona State University. He is a member of the American Psychological Association and served on the Council of Representatives, the central governing body of the APA, representing the Psychology of Religion division from 1999 to 2001. In 1994 he was named a Research Fellow of the Evangelical Scholars Program of the Pew Foundation. He was a Visiting Scholar at the Divinity School of the University of Cambridge and a Visiting Fellow at Clare Hall, University of Cambridge, for the 1995-1996 academic year. Jones authored the lead article, "Religion and Psychology," for the Encyclopedia of Psychology, jointly published in 2000 by the American Psychological Association and Oxford University Press. His article in the March 1994 American Psychologist, titled "A Constructive Relationship for Religion with the Science and Profession of Psychology: Perhaps the Best Model Yet," was a call for greater respect for and cooperation with religion by secular psychologists. Jones has also written, with his wife, Brenna, a five-book series on sex education in the Christian family called God's Design for Sex. He is also the coauthor of Modern Psychotherapies (with Richard E. Butman) and Homosexuality: The Use of Scientific Research in the Church's Moral Debate (with Mark A. Yarhouse) and editor of Psychology and Christianity: Four Views. He has published many other professional and popular articles and chapters.
Mark Yarhouse (PsyD, Wheaton College) is the Hughes Endowed Chair and professor of psychology at Regent University where he directs the Institute for the Study of Sexual Identity and is a core faculty member in the doctoral program in clinical psychology. A licensed clinical psychologist, he practices privately in the Virginia Beach area, providing individual, couples, family and group counseling. Yarhouse has published over eighty peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters and is author or coauthor of several books, including Ex-Gays? A Longitudinal Study of Religiously Mediated Change in Sexual Orientation, Modern Psychopathologies, Understanding Sexual Identity: A Resource for Youth Ministers, Sexuality and Sex Therapy and Homosexuality and the Christian: A Guide for Parents, Pastors, and Friends. He serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Psychology and Theology and Christian Counseling Today and has served as an ad hoc reviewer with Journal of Homosexuality.