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Queer Theology in Evangelical Perspective


Church debates about same-sex relationships have been headline news for decades now. Countless books, papers, and reports have been published on this subject, and many congregations and denominations have been divided over it. Yet the focus of liberal and radical campaigning within and beyond the church has critically shifted of late, from recognition of gay male and lesbian partnerships to the much broader canvas of Queer Theory and Queer Theology. Rooted in European post-structuralist philosophy and intensified in the work of Judith Butler and others from the early 1990s, Queer Theory dissolves traditional distinctions of ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ and proposes a diverse and often daunting spectrum of trans, pansexual, polysexual, genderfluid, genderqueer, and other identities, all of which are presented as ‘performed’ and ‘constructed’ rather than as stable, innate, or given. This session will explore the development of Queer Theory and its adaptation into Queer Theology by an increasing number of scholars including Marcella Althaus-Reid, Patrick Cheng, Lisa Isherwood, and Linn Marie Tonstadt. It will also show how queer theological ideas are entering more mainstream church discourse around LGBT+ issues. In particular, it will show how these ideas are characterised by a more general shift of focus from creation to eschatology, and how classic Evangelicals will need to marshal counter-arguments in favour of biblical marriage and sexual chastity accordingly.