A Review of Chris Meyers' "The Moral Defense of Homosexuality"

The Moral Defense of Homosexuality: Why Every Argument against Gay Rights Fails by Chris Meyers, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2015. ISBN-10: 1442249315; ISBN-13: 978-1442249318.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://spectrummagazine.org/article/2016/02/11/review-chris-meyers-moral-defense-homosexuality

Anyone can bring good reasons for anything, but are we to follow man or God? We must never let the world change us from God’s teachings as a church if we don’t stand on God’s word then we are nothing, especially not a Christian Church!


Unless ALL of God’s teachings, including the many that no one today observes, no matter how pious, using God’s reasoning in this way is hypocritical. No one here always wears clothing made of only one product; no one here who grows plants never mixes two different ones in a garden and certainly, no one refuses sitting next to a menstruating woman! Those are only a few of God’s commands that no one observes today, other than Orthodox Jews.

Christ, who is our model gave no word against same sex marriage, just as many ideas since the canon was closed that are said to be from “God’s Word” but are silent. It is only a moral problem because it offends their definition of morals, but not found in scripture. But there is much He left us on accepting everyone who also accepted Him…


It is imperative, from the outset, that the issue of moral conduct as defined by God’s written counsel be distinguished from the definition of civil rights in a non-theocratic state. The Biblical argument against homosexual practice is clear, on the basis of Scripture’s definition of the divine image in humanity as comprising male/female intimacy (Gen. 1:27). But the same Bible also declares, in the words of Jesus, that His kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36), thus placing any secular political intrusion into matters of consensual intimacy outside the limits of the Christian agenda.

For one who holds the Bible to be God’s transcendent measure of human ideas and behavior, a problem invariably arises when morality is defined apart from Scripture and thus used as a means of measuring and judging Scripture. For the Christian, whatever is enjoined or condemned by the collective testimony of Scripture is the ultimate moral standard by which one’s faith and life is ordered (see Isa. 8:20; Acts 17:11; II Tim. 3:16). To step outside the limits set by the written Word is thus to forfeit one’s claim to the Christian worldview.

At the same time, the blurring of the line between—as Roger Williams once put it—between the garden of the church and the wilderness of the world so far as consensual morality and civil government are concerned, has served to poison the well for many honest observers who might otherwise give the Christian worldview a fair hearing. The end-time focus of classic Seventh-day Adventism on sanctified, consistent commandment-keeping (Rev. 12:17; 14:12) in contrast with the coercion of the conscience through state power as practiced by apostate Christianity (Rev. 14:8; 17:2), offers humanity the ultimate choice between the heart-based purity sought by God from His children and the superficial, surface piety imposed by the Antichrist system.


Thank you Bryan Ness for such a wonderful review of a book I will have to read!
I thoroughly agree with the author. My understanding of Christianity is that it is based on loving one another. And not judging other people. That is the job of our very generous, kind leader Jesus and God.
Although some still quote Scripture to say homosexuality is wrong, as has been shown many times before, the quotes/arguments are misinterpreted. You can’t use one argument in the Old or New Testament and leave out others.
No where in Scripture does it denounce same sex loving committed relationships. It does denounce pedophelia, rape and being unloving and being judgmental. I so wish we could be about including everyone in a loving way instead of being judgmental and exclusive. Exclusivity is a sin in my opinion.
Jesus excluded no one and welcomed everyone. I prefer that way to live than to judge. Too bad the church misses the boat so mucheck in this regard. It is a dinasour in terms of showing love, thus losing so many members, confusing the message of love with a message of exclusion. The church won’t grow based on hate, which is the current model I see being used.
So glad for this thorough book of moral direction.


Thank you Bryan for this excellent summation of Chris Meyers’ book . Iam hurrying to purchase such sound , and I dare say true Biblical reasoning and morality.

I wonder though why Myers uses the term Homosexuality ? And not "same sex attraction " Heterosexuality and Homosexuality are terms coined by Karl Maria Kertbeny an Austrian novel writer in 1860 see : https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl-Maria_Kertbeny

Because homosexuality is only a recently coined term not ever mentioned in the Bible except that only American Evangelical Homophobic Bible translators took Karl Maria’s Kerbenys newly coined phrase and began their hatefull incorrect and malicious interpretation in hating same sex attracted people, families and couples. Thereby breaking one of the Ten Commandments about " not bearing false witness."

( Contrast this with The Netherlands were same sex attraction were decriminalised in 1791 under the Napoleonic Code Penal, Myers therefore argues his case purely from an American stance )

The outcome of all this immoral hate and division hate can be seen in the GOP which is now representing the "Christian voice Party of America " operating on a platform of fear and ignorance hating same sex people and annulling Equal Marriage, unfortunately Adventist are implicated in this sorry Republican saga , by having the dull witted and not too politically bright, homophobe extremist Ben Carson.

Contrast this with the morality of Jewish Atheist Presidential candidate Bernie Saunders whose message of total inclusion of all Americans regardless of sexual orientation, colour, race , creed, has struck a cord with the Milinials of America, including thousands of Adventist Youth who have caught Bernie’s vision of total inclusion of Gay people including the sharing of wealth…Bernie is what a Christian should be is what Adventist should be …practicing the Christian admonition of “having all things in common.”


Yes, Keith, I wondered the same. I chalk it up to him being an outsider coming to the table. As I said in the review, the term is “clinically” correct, but not very thoughtful and respectful of the gay community. If the book had not been as good as it is otherwise, I might have skipped reviewing it, but after reading just the first few chapters, I was impressed enough to look past the terminology. He has set himself up for some misunderstanding from the gay community, and I would have thought his publisher might have questioned his word choice. Maybe he thought gay rights opponents would be more likely to read it? Who knows.

Oh well, it is what it is.

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Thanks to the monumental work of straight couple, Daneen Akers and Stephen Eyer, producers of the movie Seventh Gay Advenitists, the denomination has radically moved towards more gay/lesbian acceptance.

Akers and Eyer should be awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Adventist Academy Awards, a deserved “Oscar”.
Instead, they have been blacklisted from denominational employment!

Until the very recent past, the majority of the denomination promoted the idea that gays/lesbians deliberately chose their orientation. Huge blame, guilt and derision was heaped upon them for this supposed deliberate decision. The converse, that what was chosen could be reversed, led to the concept of conversion therapy.

Decades after the Colin Cook fiasco in Reading Pennsylvania, where the church wasted huge amounts of tithe payer dollars, in trying to change gays to straight, the notion still persisted that change was possible.

Even today, the church expends huge resources in parading around the planet, three aging gay men who previously advocated "change " but now call it “redemption”.
Having sown their "wild oats " for years (one even admits to being a gay prostitute), as their declining testosterone values, and need for Viagra/Cialis kicks in, they have finally found “redemption”. I label it for what it is, lowered sex drive from age and previous substance abuse ( which several admit to).

Be that as it may, Adventism, except for a few homophobic diehards, has largely accepted the mainstream view, long endorsed by both American Psychology Association and American Psychiatic Association, that orientation is not a choice nor is it changeable.

The one remaining hurdle for Adventism is same sex marriage.

Since our founding the anti- Catholic stance of the church has heaped scorn on the celibacy of nuns and priests. But there is a considerable difference between Catholoc celibacy and gay celibacy.

The Catholic priests/nuns make a deliberate, calculated, ADULT, informed CHOICE when they take their vows. Our gay/lesbian Adventist offspring have NO choice in their orientation.

The Catholic priests/nuns, live in large supportive communal convents/monasteries/homes, with much conviviality, companionship, camaraderie and mutual support. Our celibate gay/lesbian offspring are asked to spend a lifetime in solitude and loneliness.

The priests/nuns in return for the vows, have life-long shelter, food, and medical care .

They also have the ADULATION of their families and their parishioners.
Even our celibate gays/lesbians face ostracism, shunning, disparagement, and scorn. Amd while their straight siblings/cousins marry attorneys, accountants, architects, and anesthesiologists, leading to an affluent life style, the celibate gays/lesbians not only lack a high earning spouse, but could end up homeless, without an earning partner should he/she lose employment.

Our pastors/administrators when widowed, are frequently re-married within a year, because they cannot tolerate the loneliness and lack of a companion.
These same brethren demand a life time of companion less loneliness for our
gay/lesbian offspring.

Surely, the PARAMOUNT moral defense of homosexuality, is that a truly compassionate and loving creator, the one who emphatically stated: it is not
good that man live alone, should impose involuntary lifelong loneliness and lack of companionship, on humans who have done no wrong, made no false choice, and just deserve the same romance, love, intimacy, fellowship as their straight siblings.



Since I have not read the book, it’s difficult to comment accurately. My first thought is that I would ask Chris Meyers regarding morality and scripture that if an individual or group followed all of the Biblical texts accurately, does that give them the moral right to discriminate?

If I were an Orthodox Jew or extremely religiously strict Adventist; only wore clothing of one material, ate kosher or vegetarian, etc., etc.; then based on my religious observances, does that give me the moral right to deny housing to same sex couples at an apartment complex that I own or manage? Could I deny them the right to stay at my bed & breakfast or eat at my restaurant? Could I deny those rights to unmarried couples for those same reasons?

Later Brian Ness recounts from the book various intimate practices that may be current in today’s culture as a reason why the argument that homosexuality should not be considered immoral including birth control and various sexual-related activities that are not strictly about conceiving a child. However, there are various religious groups including some SDA’s for which those activities are considered to be immoral and/or sinful (i.e. they still teach in SDA schools against masturbation). Some groups are even against birth control such as the Quiverfull Movement and loosely the Catholic Church. Do those groups have the license to discriminate based upon their beliefs?

The article also briefly touches upon the slippery slope argument. That opening the door for SSM, also opens the door for incest, multiple marriage, and more. Meyers (in this article) dismisses those as being different. I’ll argue that some of them are different such as incest where there is a medical issue with children born of that union, or relations with underage or other issues of non-consent. However, multiple spouses (bigamy, polygamy, polyamory) between consenting adults I think would fit all of Meyers’ moral tests.

While I find the biblical arguments against SSM (which is really against same sex practices and relationships, not just marriage) to be unacceptable for me personally, I don’t see that this book does a good job at making the case that the Seventh-day Adventist Church should change it’s position on same sex relations. Of course I say that knowing that our church can’t even accept the fact that woman has the ability to pastor a church either.


Thanks for this review, Dr. Ness. This looks like an excellent contribution to the reading list of those willing to think and reflect more.


I still have my doubts about the homosexual lifestyle not being harmful. How can we be so sure about this? I mean not only unharmful in the moment but unharmful in the long run for the individual and society as a whole? And I also doubt that his moral code is valid. Why should it be? Or what makes it valid?
May be I should add, that I don’t see any problems to make a life long committment between two male or female partners like David and Jonathan. But why this committment should involve sex and should be treated the same as marriage, I don’t see any reason for. But I am still open for good arguments.

It may give them the moral right to discriminate, but does it give them the legal right? Our legal system is now engaged in that very battle: sorting out the balance of rights in light of the same sex marriage decision. MOST Christians are not seeking to discriminate against the person, but seek relief from having to engage in the ceremony with their business. Some states allow religious people to discriminate in housing up to a certain size of faucility that is owned and operated by a religious proprietor. If Jesus doesn’t come before then we are looking at decades of adjudication to sort this balance of rights out.

The One of the huge PURPOSES and RESULTS of Marriage, at least in the eyes of Same Sex Persons is the ability to Emancipate themselves LEGALLY from Parents, Family, Next of Kin.
The Marriage Document MAKES their Marriage Partner their NEXT OF KIN. The NEW Next of Kin now has the ONLY voice as to what to do with each others bodies in sickness, in health, in DEATH. The NEW Next of Kin is the ONLY recipient of tangible goods each hold and held in common.
The OLD Next of Kin can no longer refuse the partner to visit in the hospital. Can no longer refuse to allowed to attend the funeral. Will no longer be allowed to EVICT the surviving partner with only a few clothes and not have access to shared property each purchased together.
YES, MARRIAGE ability is VERY important!

You MUST be married, or at least married at some time in your life. So you can understand the NEED for TOUCH! Hugging, caressing, kissing, one person’s hands stroking the other’s body. This is only Part of Love, but it is an Important Part of Love and expressing Love. Whether it is a girl and boy, or two of the same gender it makes no difference when it comes to True Love. And especially when 2 have decided on "till Death do us part."
THIS is NOT Homosexual Lifestyle NOR is it Heterosexual Lifestyle ------- It is LOVE Lifestyle.

Regarding long term relationships being harmful. I did NOT address that. However I have known a number of Same Sex in long term relationships of anywhere from 10 to 55 years. Their relationship did not harm anyone. Several have had adopted children, and that was very good for the children. The children all attended Sunday School. Love their adopted parents and their adopted grand parents. One couple is pastor of a Sunday Church. Well loved and has an open ended contract for the next 20 years [when he will be required to “retire” by denomination policy.


It is presumptuous to assume, based on those facts alone, that Chris has no personal axe to grind. “Very little” might yet include, say, one close friend or relative–or other cause for which he has been handed the proverbial axe.

Philosophy is simply a study of human wisdom. The Bible calls human wisdom “foolishness with God.” How, then, can being a philosopher qualify someone to speak of moral issues, even if one claims to study “moral philosophy”?

I’ve lost more than one good job opportunity because I keep the Sabbath. While technically this amounts to “discrimination” under the law, I chose, as a Christian, to meekly look elsewhere for work. After all, how can the world see Jesus in someone who forces his or her way into the workplace via the strong arm of the law?

The question really becomes–whose law will he follow? God’s or man’s? The Bible tells us which we should follow whenever the two conflict.

Race is not a moral issue. Political affiliation is not a matter that concerns religion. Religion is a matter of conscience. But sexual “orientation” is a matter of God’s immutable law, and inherently, therefore, a moral issue.

On this I would agree. Sin is transgression of the law of God.

He missed the most important point: Sin is transgression of the law.

That’s because he went astray in point #2, such that, having missed the most critical definition of a moral wrong, some moral wrongs might slip past his notice, as he has here exemplified.

Conclusions based upon false premises become logical fallacies. If one were to use this same sort of reasoning which is exhibited here to apply to the Jim Jones’ “Drinking the Kool-Aid” experience, it would also be seen as “not morally wrong.” The “mutually consenting adults” in that case all agreed to drink poison, and killed themselves. But can we say that God blesses such obvious destruction of the body temples which He has made?

The fact that people “no longer consider” something to be morally wrong does not make it right by force of popular opinion. Again, basing a moral issue on the collective view of society seems a rather precarious foundation upon which to build. Since when was any sinful human society or culture inherently “moral”?

ALL of this reminds me of the simple story of Jesus about the two builders. All of us build. Every day we are building. Are we building upon the Rock? or will we build upon the shifting sands?


I think Carrol Grady’s study of Adventist attitudes toward homosexuality (now removed from the Adventist Today blog) bears revisiting:

The study was based on 441 completed surveys from members of 38 churches scattered across the U.S., and reflected reasonably well the denomination’s demography in terms of age, ethnicity (though whites a bit overrepresented), gender, and sexual orientation. Respondents self-identified as onservative or very conservative (31%), moderate (44%), or liberal (25%). Although unmeasured response bias always exists in surveys, comparisons from question to question offer meaningful comparisons. I’m condensing the actual wording of questions asked about homosexuals and homosexuality:

Results from factors beyond voluntary control: 45% agreed
Can be changed to heterosexuals: 55% agreed
Would welcome to my church: 94% agreed
Insist couple must separate before baptism: 48% agreed
Allowed to be members in good standing: 53% agreed
Allowed to serve as SS leaders or teachers: 29% agreed
Allowed to share musical talents in churches: 80% agreed
SDAs should politically oppose legal gay marriage: 56% agreed
Same rights to equal employment and housing: 77% agreed
Bible condemns homosexuality as sin: 86% agreed

Demographic variables statistically associated with attitudes (in order of strength):

  • liberal respondents
  • those more acquanted with gay men
  • younger respondents
  • white respondents
  • women
  • those who live in the northeast

There is no comparable study from an earlier time, so I wish the authors had asked another question or two about whether the respondent’s views had changed over time. Nevertheless, I’m confident, as others here have proposed, that SDAs are becoming increasingly tolerant and accepting of LGBTs and their rights.


Marianne, I see you repeatedly working the slippery slope angle here to the point of what some would call “concern trolling”. You are raising hypothetical dilemmas before they exit.

As altruistic as it may sound, children certainly are not guaranteed any particular right to have both a mother and a father. Life doesn’t always work out that way. I believe what is ultimately important is that a child has at least one dedicated parent or caretaker regardless of the biological link. In my opinion, if the child has two, all the better, no matter if the parents are the same or opposite sexes. Research seems to indicate that children of same sex couples can be every bit as well adjusted as those of opposite sex couples. Just because parents are of opposite sexes does not guarantee success in this regard. We have plenty of evidence that dysfunctional heterosexual relationships can have devastating impacts on the children they produce.

Your arguments were featured prominently in the court cases leading up to the SCOTUS decision in Oberfell. They were rejected.


But, of course, we’ve also seen court decisions made that may be more related to one’s access to/money for more skilled legal counsel rather than that a biological parent is totally unfit for parenting.

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Thank-you Brian for this lengthy blog. As a gay man who has tried to live as a straight man all my life, even marrying a woman and staying together 33 years, I see the damage it has done to me psychologically, to live in a closet and hide my true identity until recently. Gays have been favorite whipping boys by those who demean and marginalize us. Never has so much scorn been aimed by so many at so few. As more of us come out of the closet, I believe it really puts some flesh on what some folks just don’t want to accept, that gays are as normal as anyone else. So this book that you review here is a good starting point, and I hope the momentum builds for full inclusion of lgbt’s in the church as much as straights now enjoy.


Ithink there is a difference between moral and legal. I think the Court ruled on the legal basis, primarily to protect property rights morallity is is how we interact with others. shunning for any perceived cause is immoral. Christ ate with tax collectors and sinners. A big deal in those days. Acceptance is not the same as endorsement. I did humanitarian work at a V A hospital. the vast majority were there because of post war abuse. The major part of my visits was to listen. that is a major part of God’s work to listen. In many languages yet. TZ


As a point of information it should be noted that Lev. 18 and 20 are accepted as moral standards in the NT.

Paul quotes from the list in I Cor 5 and 6, and John the Baptist in his rebuke to Herod (He was living with his brother’s wife). And most scholars see this list alluded to in the prohibitions of pornia in other places. To ignore the fact that gay relations are forbidden by the NT is to wander from the opinions of the writers.

It is inconvenient that the Bible condemns same sex relations, for it goes against our evolving culture. We are going to take some heat. But to abandon scripture will result in taking more heat in the end. We do so at our eternal peril.

One other point, it is clear from the comments here that same sex marriage leads to the practice of adopting the idea that any other type of sexual relationship between anyone can be called marriage. Therefore the term marriage becomes meaningless. Some gay advocates of about 20 yrs ago had that very goal in mind.

And, the violation of the body by gay relations is a sanctity issue. It is the degradation of the body by inappropriate behavior. This is the view of nonwestern cultures by and large, and the view of western cultures until recently. See Haidt.