The Widening of God's Mercy: Sexuality Within the Biblical Story (Hardcover)

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The Widening of God's Mercy: Sexuality Within the Biblical Story By Christopher B. Hays, Richard B. Hays Cover Image
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A fresh, deeply biblical account of God’s expanding grace and mercy, tracing how the Bible’s narrative points to the full inclusion of LGBTQ people in Christian communities
Discussions of the Bible and human sexuality often focus on a scattered handful of specific passages. But arguments about this same set of verses have reached an impasse, two leading biblical scholars believe; these debates are missing the forest for the trees.
In this learned and beautifully written book, Richard and Christopher Hays explore a more expansive way of listening to the overarching story that scripture tells. They remind us of a dynamic and gracious God who is willing to change his mind, consistently broadening his grace to include more and more people. Those who were once outsiders find themselves surprisingly embraced within the people of God, while those who sought to enforce exclusive boundaries are challenged to rethink their understanding of God’s ways.
The authors—a father and son—point out ongoing conversations within the Bible in which traditional rules, customs, and theologies are rethought. They argue that God has already gone on ahead of our debates and expanded his grace to people of different sexualities. If the Bible shows us a God who changes his mind, they say, perhaps today’s Christians should do the same. The book begins with the authors’ personal experiences of controversies over sexuality and closes with Richard Hays’s epilogue reflecting on his own change of heart and mind.

About the Author

Christopher B. Hays is D. Wilson Moore Professor of Old Testament and Ancient Near Eastern Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary. He lives in Pasadena, CA. Richard B. Hays is George Washington Ivey Professor Emeritus of New Testament at Duke Divinity School. He lives in Nashville, TN.

Praise For…

“This book is an event of historic significance. Senior New Testament scholar Richard Hays here renounces his very widely quoted (and exploited) noninclusive treatment of human sexuality from thirty years ago. His son, Old Testament scholar Christopher Hays, here clearly and boldly embraces LGBT+ inclusion. Their case is made based on biblical materials, notably a trajectory-type vision emphasizing the ever-widening range of God’s mercy across the canon. This book is an occasion for celebration.”—David P. Gushee, Mercer University

“Quarrels regarding the Bible and human sexuality have ossified in recent decades, afflicting entire denominations and ostracizing many. In this remarkable book, Christopher Hays and Richard Hays combine intelligence, humility, and generosity in a conversation that is instructive both within and beyond communities of faith.”—Beverly Roberts Gaventa, Princeton Theological Seminary

“Hays and Hays compellingly show how the Bible undermines its own constraints on God’s limitless compassion. They move beyond the ‘clobber passages’ to a pervasive scriptural pattern that demands inclusion of those previously excluded by the Bible itself. As a gay Christian and biblical scholar, I enthusiastically welcome this book.”—J. Blake Couey, Gustavus Adolphus College

“When the best interpreters reread the Scriptures with intellectual acumen and humility, as well as keen attention to the Spirit’s call for reconciling love, both church and academy are strengthened. Praise God for this book.”—Ellen F. Davis, Duke Divinity School

“In this insightful book, the authors argue that in the Bible, God shows an incredible openness to rethinking. It will have an impact on contemporary ecclesiastical reflections about sexuality.”—Alphonso Groenewald, University of Pretoria

Product Details
ISBN: 9780300273427
ISBN-10: 0300273428
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication Date: September 10th, 2024
Pages: 288
Language: English