The weight of choosing a moral perspective creates a great burden for some to carry. At the center of all I believe and am is Jesus Christ, his teachings, and the sacrifice he made on the cross. As sin is named, there is a cost that we as believers are also called to carry on behalf of each other. That cost is all of ours to bear, in all areas of our lives, not just sexuality. Grace should be present, and harsh judgment should be absent. At the same time making any moral declaration, no matter how nuanced, will be heard as harsh and judgmental to some. Grace can also be quickly mistaken for affirmation, and leaders are left in a very difficult place in the midst of a deeply polarized conversation. As a result, many leaders refuse to speak directly to the questions that are asked, leading to further distrust and separation. Language quickly shifts, complexity is reduced to two sides, and the most extreme views highlight the negatives on the other side.
The first matrix below helps identify how these perspectives answer two questions. I am personally committed to the Costly Discipleship perspective. I believe that leadership from the Unity perspective is not ethically consistent and its effect is to split the church in two. Leadership from the Costly Discipleship perspective will be most effective at drawing the church together under a common vision and direction. In another post I will say more about why I believe what I believe.
The table at the bottom gives more detail about the seven perspectives on marriage and orientation. Another version of this table has been passed around in Mennonite circles that does not include the Unity perspective. I added that column, and also changed some of the wording from the original to better reflect what I have heard in conversations I've had. I'm not an expert with html coding, so this table is the best I could do. You will need to scroll sideways to see all of the perspectives.
This is a very quick summary, and I recognize that there are more nuances that could be placed in them, that some may not fully embrace the language used to describe their perspective, and that simply outlining this may be offensive to some. I am focusing conversation in the comments to suggestions for better and fairer descriptions of perspectives. I will not approve comments that argue for a particular point of view.
-John M Troyer
L. R. Holben's What Christians Think about Homosexuality: 6 Representative Views
Dennis Hollinger The Meaning of Sex
Clyde G. Kratz
John Troyer reworked many of the definitions, added the Unity view, and developed the welcome-marriage matrix
Below is a jpg of the table for printing.