A Review of the Beals – Oliver Debate Homosexuality and Christianity
On October 27, 2022, George F. Beals (FSOP instructor) and Andy Oliver (United Methodist pastor) met in St. Petersburg, Florida, for a reasoned and frank public debate. Each was given fifteen minutes to explain his view of the proposition: “The Bible is the standard of authority determining right and wrong human actions.” Then, each was given thirty-five minutes to affirm his proposition. Andy Oliver was to affirm: “Human sexuality is God’s gift and can be used to glorify God and edify the church, no matter the sexual orientation.” George Beals affirmed: “All homosexual behavior is immoral (sin).” The evening concluded with a Q/A session. Only three were in attendance from the United Methodist Church (including Andy). We appreciate the in-person Central Florida brethren for showing support.
The debate was a bit disappointing in these respects: (1) Andy Oliver did not present a single logical argument; (2) he appealed to the Bible only once (though mentioning a few other verses); and (3) he relied on personal testimony, none of which addressed, “Human sexuality is God’s gift and can be used to glorify God and edify the church, no matter the sexual orientation.” Andy Oliver admitted he did not openly invite members of his church for fear they would be “traumatized.” The only time he actually appealed to the Bible was in the Q/A when he attempted to show from Ezekiel 16:49 that the sin of Sodom was inhospitality. However, if he would have read the next two verses, he would have referenced Sodom’s “abominations” as additional reason why the city was destroyed (Ezk. 16:50-52 cf. Jude 7).
George Beals proved as sound three arguments. First, “since (the Bible in Romans 1:26-27 has condemnatory language) and (the passage is making a wide-sweeping reference to sex between men plus sex between women), then (the Bible, in this passage, is giving a wide sweeping, unqualified condemnation to homosexual behavior).” Second, “since (the Bible in Colossians 3:17 requires everything to be done with New Testament authority) and (there is no New Testament passage that proves authority for any homosexual behavior — that is, there is the absence of authority for the behavior), then (the Bible thereby teaches all homosexual behavior violates Colossians 3:17 and is thus not righteous, but is sin [immoral]).” Third, by observing creation, or natural revelation (comparing sexual anatomies between the human male and the human female, how babies are made, and the pleasure made possible by God’s placement of that anatomy): “heterosexual behavior is consistent with God’s design and homosexual behavior is not. And anything which conflicts with divine intent is immoral.”
George concluded: “those who endorse or encourage the practice [of homosexuality] as moral do those engaged in the practice a great disservice. They are duping you. Choose to follow God’s word instead, as independent thinkers….Several of us would be honored to study with you.”—Brian Kenyon