Robert A. J. Gagnon

Associate Professor of New Testament

Pittsburgh Theological Seminary


          New Material on This Site

  • On Passing the Love Test: A Response to an Op-Ed in the Walla Walla Walla Union-Bulletin by Rev. Greg Kammann (UCC) (html)

  • Why the Disagreement over the Biblical Witness on Homosexual Practice? A Response to Myers and Scanzoni (112 pgs.) (here for summary [down one], here for table of contents, here for article)

  • On being quoted for the Pittsburgh City Paper article on "Gay" African-American Christians (pdf/html)

  • Evaluation of the PCUSA's Task Force Final Report: Part 1: A Local Option Trojan Horse (pdf/html)



Robert A. J. Gagnon Home
Articles Available Online
Response to Book Reviews
Material for "Two Views"
Material for "Christian Sexuality"
Answers to Emails








  Last Updated: 5/7/06


Robert A. J. Gagnon is Associate Professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. He came to PTS in the Fall of 1994 after a one-year position as Visiting Professor of Religion at Middlebury College in Vermont. He has a B.A. degree from Dartmouth College, an M.T.S. from Harvard Divinity School, and a Ph.D. from Princeton Theological Seminary. His main fields of interest are Pauline theology and sexual issues in the Bible. He is a member both of the Society of Biblical Literature and of the Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas [Society of New Testament Studies]. He is also an ordained elder at a Presbyterian Church (USA) in Pittsburgh. He is the author of The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2001; 520 pgs.); co-author (with Dan O. Via) of Homosexuality and the Bible: Two Views (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2003; 125 pgs.); has a 50-page article entitled "Does the Bible Regard Same-Sex Intercourse as Intrinsically Sinful?" in Christian Sexuality (ed. R. Saltzman; Minneapolis: Kirk House, 2003); and, as a service to the church, provides a large amount of free material on the web dealing with Scripture and homosexuality ( In addition, he has published scholarly articles on biblical studies in Journal of Biblical Literature, New Testament Studies, Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Novum Testamentum, Zeitschrift für die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft, Horizons in Biblical Theology, and The Christian Century.

For a partial curriculum vitae of Dr. Gagnon go here.

To contact Dr. Gagnon send an e-mail to: If you would like to be included on his mailing list and notified once a month or so regarding new materials on his website, e-mail Dr. Gagnon with the request.

The views expressed on this website are Dr. Gagnon's own and make no claim to representing the official views of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.



         Upcoming Engagements

  • Dr. Gagnon will be presenting on "The Bible and Homosexuality" at St. Stephen Presbyterian Church in Fort Worth, Texas on Sunday Apr. 30, 7-9 PM  (2700 McPherson Ave., 76109;, 817-927-8411). On Monday May 1 at noon at St. Stephen's Dr. Gagnon will be meeting with area pastors.



If you would like to hear online a presentation that I gave on the subject of the Bible and homosexual practice in 2005 go to (scroll down). I presented at St. Martin's Episcopal Church in Houston, Tex. on Jan. 29, 2005. The talk runs 3 hours. The quality of the audio varies and at least at one point the audio from a later portion of the talk somehow skipped to an earlier portion. Nevertheless, this will give listeners some idea of what I present. Each talk that I give is updated, with some reconfiguration of the material.



A Four-Hour Audio Presentation on Four CDs

Robert Gagnon, "The Bible and Homosexuality at the Church's Crossroads"

A Presentation Given at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary on Oct. 18, 2005

(part of the Pastor Builders series put out by Gordon-Conwell)

For further description and to order a copy click here (

(Note: Dr. Gagnon receives no royalties from the sales of these audio CDs)



Truth in Love: The Bible and Same Sex Behavior

(recorded June 2003; released June 2004)

A 2 DVD set of Dr. Robert Gagnon presenting the biblical and theological case against homosexual practice, interviewed by Dr. Merton Strommen. The set contains seven 30-minute sessions (three-and-a-half hours total), with discussion helps. Ideal for church or individual use. An adult Sunday School class can set aside 7 sessions in which it views a 30-minute segment of the DVDs and then has discussion around the study questions for that segment.

Session One: Clarifying the Issue  

Session Two: The Proper Use of Analogies

Session Three: Love and Grace According to Jesus and Paul

Session Four: The Old Testament Witness

Session Five: The Witness of Jesus

Session Six: The Witness of Paul

Session Seven: Sexual Orientation and a Pastoral Word

Within the United States, the 2-DVD set is available for $25.00, plus $4 for shipping and handling per set (Minnesota residents add sales tax of 6.5%). If you prefer to put your order on credit card, specify Visa or Mastercard, the name on the card, the card number, and the expiration date. Provide a "ship to" address and telephone and mail to:

New Creation: Marriage and Family Advocates, P.O. Box 390535, Minneapolis, MN 55439

To order by phone call toll-free: 1-888-696-1828 (Kirk House Publishers). (Some ordering from Canada have had trouble getting through using this toll free number. If that is the case try 952-835-1828.)

To order through the internet: Contact Mr. Leonard Flachman (publisher, Kirk House) at

Overseas orders: People ordering from outside the United States can do one of two things: (1) Send the order via AIR MAIL to New Creation, P.O. Box 390535, Minneapolis, MN 55439 U.S.A. Include credit card information (card number, expiration date, and your name on the card) and a "ship to" address. Indicate whether you want the DVD sent Airmail or surface mail (4 to 6 weeks). (Note well: The shipping and handling charge will likely be more than the $4 noted above for shipping within the United States.) (2) Do an internet order. For this contact Mr. Leonard Flachman (publisher, Kirk House) at



Robert Gagnon on The Mars Hill Audio:

"MARS HILL AUDIO exists to assist Christians who desire to move from thoughtless consumption of modern culture to a vantage point of thoughtful engagement. . . . We endeavor to encourage the sensibilities and habits of thoughtful cultural engagement through creative audio resources." To visit their website click here or go to

A New MARS HILL AUDIO Conversation
"Texts, Sex, and Sanctity: Robert Gagnon on Homosexuality and the Bible
. This is a 50-minute audio conversation with Dr. Robert Gagnon about the Bible and homosexual practice. Gagnon’s discussion is augmented with a reading of an article by theologian Philip Turner called “The Episcopalian Preference,” in which he examines the role of individual preferences in the Episcopal Church’s stance on homosexual practices. "Texts, Sex, and Sanctity" (Conversation 20) is available on cassette ($7) or CD ($9). It may be ordered online (scroll down), by telephone at 1-800-331-6407, or in writing to: Mars Hill Audio, P.O. Box 7826, Charlottesville, VA 22906-7826 (or fax to: 1-434-990-9090). Go here to print an order form. Add a $3 shipping and handling for orders totaling up to $9; $4 for totals of $10-19, and $5 for totals of $20-29. Sales tax is for Virginia residents only (4.5%). Canada add $3; Foreign add $10.

(Note: Dr. Gagnon receives no royalties from the sales of these Mars Hill Audio tapes.)



For online copies of articles on the Bible and homosexuality go here.


To order a copy of The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics (Nashville: Abingdon, 2001; 520 pp., paperback, list $39), at the unbeatable deal of 37% off (down to $24.57) plus free shipping, click on the image below, which will take you to


Even better, buy the book from through the Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD) website. You will get the same low price and will rebate IRD, a worthy organization, 10% of your payment.

If you prefer to order by phone or mail, and/or to do business with a Christian retail outfit, you can order the book from, 1-800-247-4784, for a 25% discount plus shipping charge. Click here if you prefer a mail order form.

For a list of endorsements go here for pdf and here for html. For responses to critiques go here A comprehensive treatment of the subject.




To order a copy of Homosexuality and the Bible: Two Views (co-authored with Dan O. Via; Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2003; 127 pp., paperback, list $13), at 25% off, for only $9.75 (and free shipping, if combined with other orders totaling over $25), click on the image below.


If you prefer to order by phone or mail, and/or to do business with a Christian retail outfit, you can order the book from, 1-800-247-4784, for a 15% discount plus shipping charge. Click here if you prefer a mail order form.

For endorsements go here for pdf and here for html.

In this book I provide a 52-page, updated synthesis of some of the key arguments of The Bible and Homosexual Practice. I tackle such issues as: what constitutes a core value of Scripture, the proper use of analogies, love and grace from the perspective of Jesus and Paul, the pervasive Old Testament witness, the Levitical proscriptions and the issue of purity, the witness of Jesus, the witness of Paul against three hermeneutical counterarguments (the exploitation, orientation, and misogyny arguments), and concluding thoughts about the structural incongruity of homosexual unions. Dan O. Via, professor emeritus of New Testament at Duke University, contributes a 39-page essay that attempts to make a "biblical" case for supporting homosexual unions. Via and I each contribute a 6-page response to the other's essay.

Both my essay and response have note numbers that key in to online notes, here for pdf and here for html. Also online is a substantial rejoinder to Via's response, here for pdf and here for html;  as well as an expanded bibliography of important works on both sides of the issue (pdf and html).  




New book just released in December 2003: Christian Sexuality: Normative and Pastoral Principles (ed. Russell E. Saltzman; Minneapolis: Kirk House, 2003; 165 pp., paperback, list $15). To order a copy at 15% off, down to $12.75 (and free shipping if combined with other orders totaling over $25), click on the image below.


For a flyer from Kirk House Publishers advertising the book click here.

I have a 50-page article in this collection of essays: "Does the Bible Regard Same-Sex Intercourse as Intrinsically Sinful?" (pp. 106-155). It can serve as a companion piece to my essay in Homosexuality and the Bible: Two Views (above). It treats two main concerns: (1) the significance of Genesis 1-2 for establishing an other-sex prerequisite in human sexual relations; and (2) a rebuttal of the so-called "new knowledge" argument which contends that the church can disregard Scripture's clear prohibition of homosexual practice because, allegedly, homosexual orientation was unknown in antiquity. The article also treats a third concern: the claim made by New Testament scholar Mark Allan Powell (Trinity Lutheran Seminary) in an important essay ("The Bible and Homosexuality" in Faithful Conversation: Christian Perspectives on Homosexuality [ed. James M. Childs Jr.; Minneapolis: Fortress, 2003], 19-40); namely, that the Bible allegedly regards same-sex as only "normally contrary to God's will," not intrinsically so.

For the unabridged version of sections I-III of my article, as well as online notes to the most important sections of the article, IV-VI, go here.

Other essays in the book include: Robert Benne, "The Limits of Tolerance: Homosexuality and the ELCA's LPD (Liberal Protestant Drift)" (pp. 7-17); James A. Nestingen, "Is There a Law? The Lutheran Reformation and Homosexual Practice" (pp. 18-37); Russell E. Saltzman, "Clergy and Divorce" (pp. 47-58); Amy C. Schifrin, "Ritualizing Life or Ritualizing Death?" (pp. 59-72); and Merton P. Strommen, "Homosexuality: A Youth Issue" (pp. 89-105).



How to make a valid secular case against cultural endorsement of homosexual behavior. Emphasize the following six reasons:

1) The nature argument. Marriage is not just about more intimacy. It is about merging with one's sexual other half or counterpart, a complementary sexual other. Erotic desire for what one is as a sexual being is sexual narcissism or sexual self-deception: an attempt at completing oneself sexually through merger with a sexual same. Most people intuit something developmentally deficient about being erotically attracted to the body parts and essential gender that one shares in common with another. . . .

Click here for the continuation of this essay.




Why use the word "homosex"?

The term homosex is now in use by some advocates of homosexual behavior (for examples go here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here; note that I do not endorse these sites). It focuses on the behavior of same-sex intercourse rather than on the homosexual persons per se and can be utilized as a shorthand adjective or noun by analogy to the term sex. I prefer to use it in such expressions as pro- or anti-homosex rather than to make use of pro- or anti-homosexual. The latter expressions are open to abuse because the term homosexual can refer to a homosexual person. The present debate about homosexual practice is not a debate about whether one should be pro- or anti-homosexual persons. All believers are called on to love persons with a homoerotic proclivity or, for that matter, any other sexual "orientations" that are at variance with Scripture. To oppose a person’s self-destructive behavior is not the same thing as opposing the person. Indeed, to support a person’s self-destructive and other-destructive behavior is, in effect, to oppose the person, albeit unwittingly. True love works in the best interests of those who experience homoerotic desires.





I recommend, in particular, four other books on the subject, which can serve as companion pieces to my own work:

  • Alan Sears and Craig Osten, The Homosexual Agenda: Exposing the Principal Threat to Religious Freedom Today (Broadman & Holman, 2003; $15)

  • Stanton Jones and Mark Yarhouse, Homosexuality: The Use of Scientific Research in the Church's Moral Debate (Intervarsity Press, 2000; $14)

  • Christopher Wolfe (ed.), Homosexuality and American Public Life (Spence Publishing, 1999; $18).

  • Jeffrey Satinover, Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth (Baker Books, 1996; $20)

Clicking on the pictures below will take you to for discounts of 32% for the Sears/Osten book ($10.19), 30% off for the Satinover book ($14) and Wolfe book ($12.57), 20% for the Jones/Yarhouse book ($10.40), with free shipping for purchases totaling over $25.

For a fine collection of books on transformation out of the homosexual life, go to Regeneration Books.