Robert Gagnon debates gay activist Jayne Ozanne on Bible vs homosexuality

Gay activist vandalizes pro-marriage sign
Gay activist vandalizes pro-marriage sign

I am tempted to say that this is the best podcast I have ever heard on the Unbelievable show. Do anything you have to do in order to listen to this podcast.


Prof Robert Gagnon has become a well-known voice advocating the traditional biblical view on sexuality. In a highly charged show he debates the scriptural issues on sexuality with Jayne Ozanne, the director of Accepting Evangelicals who came out as gay earlier this year.

The MP3 file is here.

If you can only listen for 15 minutes, then start at 49 minutes in and listen from there.

The following summary is rated MUP for made-up paraphrase. Reader discretion is advised.


  • Speaker introductions
  • Gagnon: scholars who support gay marriage agree that the Bible doesn’t support it
  • Gagnon: scholars who support gay marriage agree Jesus taught male-female marriage
  • Ozanne: I went to the hospital because I was sick from trying to suppress my gay desires
  • Ozanne: Doctors told me that I would die if I didn’t act on my gay desires
  • Ozanne: I decided to reinterpret the Bible to fit with my gay desires
  • Ozanne: According to my new interpretation, Jesus actually supports my gay desires

Segment 1: Genesis

  • Ozanne: In Genesis the Bible says that Adam needs a woman to complete him
  • Ozanne: I reinterpret this to mean that Adam needed a “complementarian human being”
  • Ozanne: Genesis doesn’t say whether Eve was complemented by Adam in that chapter
  • Ozanne: It’s not critical that men are complemented by women, a man could complement a man
  • Ozanne: Genesis 2 doesn’t talk about children, it’s all about adult needs from a relationship
  • Gagnon: Genesis 2 has never been interpreted that way in all of history
  • Gagnon: Genesis 2 language specifically implies a human being who is opposite/different
  • Gagnon: Genesis 2 language translates to complement or counterpart
  • Gagnon: Genesis as a whole teaches that the sexuality is for male and female natures
  • Gagnon: The extraction of something from the man that is given to the woman is complementarian
  • Ozanne: I think that people can be complementary outside of male-female Genesis language
  • Ozanne: I don’t want to discuss specific words and texts and Greek meanings
  • Gagnon: the text has always been read and interpreted to support male/female complementarity
  • Gagnon: the male-female nature argument is made because the two natures are complementary
  • Ozanne: the text was interpreted by patriarchal males who treated women like property, it’s biased
  • Ozanne: what is important to me is how Christ interprets Genesis (?? how does she know that?)
  • Ozanne: I am passionate about my interpretation of Scripture which supports my gay desires
  • Gagnon: just because a person is passionate about their interpretation it doesn’t make it right
  • Gagnon: I am not arguing for the male-female view based on passion, but on scholarship, evidence and history
  • Ozanne: both sides are equally passionate about their interpretations (?? so both are equally warranted?)
  • Ozanne: the real question is why God “allowed” two different interpretations of Scripture

Segment 2: Is homosexuality a sin?

  • Gagnon: Jesus affirmed traditional sexual morality, which forbids homosexuality
  • Gagnon: Jesus teaches that marriage is male-female, and limited to two people
  • Gagnon: No one in history has interpreted the Bible to say that homosexuality was not immoral
  • Ozanne: Jesus came to bring life, and that means he supports homosexuality
  • Ozanne: I was dying, and embracing my gay desires allowed me to live, so Jesus approves of me
  • Ozanne: God says “I am who I am” and that means he approves of me doing whatever I want
  • Ozanne: There is an imperative to be who I am, and that means embracing my gay desires
  • Gagnon: Jesus argued that the twoness of the sexual bond is based on the twoness of the sexes
  • Gagnon: Jesus did not come to gratify people’s innate desires, he called people to repent of sin
  • Gagnon: Jesus did reach out to sinners but he never condoned the sins they committed
  • Gagnon: Jesus’ outreach to tax collectors collecting too much and sexual sinners is the same: STOP SINNING
  • Ozanne: I don’t think that Romans 1 is talking about homosexuality
  • Ozanne: I think it’s talking about sexual addiction, not loving, committed gay relationships
  • Ozanne: Paul was condemning pederasty in Romans 1, not loving, long-term, consensual sexual relationships between gay adults
  • Gagnon: nothing in the passage limits the condemnation to pederasty
  • Gagnon: the passage was never interpreted to be limited to pederasty in history
  • Gagnon: rabbis and church fathers knew about committed two-adult same-sex relationships, and said they were wrong
  • Gagnon: the argument for marriage is based on the broad two-nature argument, with no exceptions
  • Gagnon: the condemnation is not limited to exploitative / coercive / lustful / uncommitted relationships
  • Gagnon: even pro-gay scholars agree the passage cannot be interpreted Ozanne’s way (he names two)

Segment 3: The showdown (49:00)

  • Ozanne: I don’t care how many pages people have written on this
  • Ozanne: God says that “the wisdom of the wise I will frustrate” so you can’t use scholars, even pro-gay scholars, to argue against my passionate interpretation
  • Ozanne: I am not interested in the text or history or scholarship or even pro-gay scholars who agree with you
  • Ozanne: what decides the issue for me is my mystical feelings about God’s love which makes my sexual desires moral
  • Ozanne: you are certain that this is wrong, but your view does not “give life” to people
  • Ozanne: your scholarship and historical analysis is “a message of death” that causes teenagers to commit suicide (= you are evil and a meany, Robert)
  • Ozanne: “I pray for you and your soul” (= opposing me will land you in Hell) and “I hope that listeners will listen with their hearts” (?? instead of their minds?)
  • Ozanne: you can prove anything you want with research, even two mutually exclusive conclusions, so you shouldn’t rely on scholarship and research since it could be used to prove my view as well
  • Ozanne: instead of relying on research, you should rely on your heart and your feelings about God’s love to decide what the Bible teaches about sexual morality
  • Gagnon: you are distorting the gospel in order to make your case
  • Gagnon: attacking my “certainty” is an ad hominem attack to cover your dismissmal of the scholarship and history
  • Gagnon: you distort the gospel to make it seem like Christ just wants us to get what we want, when we want it, with who we want it with
  • Gagnon: Christ calls us to take up our cross, to lose our lives and to deny ourselves
  • Gagnon: you have a notion of what “fullness of life” is, but it’s not reflective of the gospel
  • Gagnon: Paul’s life was much more troubling than yours, mine or anyone else around here
  • Gagnon: Paul was beaten, whipped, stoned, poorly sheltered, poorly clothed, poorly fed, shipwrecked, and anxious for his churches
  • Gagnon: on your view, he should have been miserable and angry with God all the time
  • Gagnon: but instead Paul was constantly thankful and rejoicing to be able to suffer with Jesus and look forward to the resurrection
  • Gagnon: I have suffered too, but the suffering we go through never provides us with a license to violate the commandments of God
  • Ozanne: “the ultimate thing is what people feel God has called them to”
  • Ozanne: My goal right now is to tell young people that homosexuality is fine so they don’t commit suicide
  • Ozanne: the view that homosexuality is wrong is “evil and misguided”
  • Gagnon: the greater rates of harm in the gay community are intrinsic to homosexual unions, not caused by external disapproval of homosexuality

Segment 4: Concluding statements

  • Gagnon: gay male relationships on average have more sex partners and more STDs
  • Gagnon: female relationships on average have shorter-length relationships and more mental issues
  • Gagnon: the greater rates of harm are because there is no complementarity / balance in the relationships
  • Gagnon: everyone has some disappointment or suffering in their lives that hurts them, and that they are tempted to break the rules to fix, but we should not break the rules in order to be happy
  • Ozanne: both sides are passionate, so no one can be right, and evidence proves nothing
  • Ozanne: only feelings about “what God is doing” can allow us to decide what counts as sin or not
  • Ozanne: the main thing that is at stake here is to make people like us, not to decide what the Bible says about sin
  • Ozanne: my message to people is to do whatever you want, and ignore mean people who don’t affirm you
  • Ozanne: we should be more opposed to mean people who make non-Christians feel unloved than about doing what the Bible says

8 thoughts on “Robert Gagnon debates gay activist Jayne Ozanne on Bible vs homosexuality”

  1. For podcast listeners the Unbelievable? episode aired April 25, 2015 so you can find it there in the podcast feed and download. What an awesome debate this was! Thanks for posting it WK.
    Gagnon was clear, direct, articulate and rooted in God’s Word. Ozanne was focused almost exclusively on personal feelings and near the end gave the largest indictment against her case by directly saying “And personally I’d say I’m not convinced that trying to unpack texts and recognizing the fact that we are going to view them differently is going to be the right way to proceed because there is passion, there is pain, difference in opinion on both sides. The bigger question is trying to understand what God is doing through all this. For me it is actually trying to really understand what Christ did on the cross, the breadth of His love for us, His healing power, His power to reconcile, and His power of acceptance.”
    She keeps saying “I personally believe…” which basically is an admission that her respect for what Scripture actually says is subservient to her personal feelings. The comment on getting to the truth of the matter won’t be achieved by looking / studying the text pretty much says it all.


    1. Friending Dr. Gagnon on facebook is very good by the way — he covers a bunch of things including exchanges he’s had with various people.
      Gagnon has covered that the assault on the traditional/orthodox view of male-female marriage is usually on two fronts:
      1) Those who basically claim that the Bible didn’t know loving committed same-sex (or gender indifferent) relationships,
      2) Those who think that the traditional view is hurtful to the LGBTQ(XYZ)… community.
      In Camp #1, you have Matthew Vines and all of his camp. WK, you mentioned it on this post:
      And yes, it is (the late gay Yale Divinity professor) John Boswell’s materials e.g., “Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality”, “Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe” etc. Vines even occasionally cites James W. Brownson (Bible, Gender, Sexuality: Reframining the Church’s Debate on Same-Sex Relationships. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2013.)
      Even celibate same-sex attracted Christian Christopher Yuan has observed that Vines is wrong and eisegetes (reads his own biases into the Bible):
      Yuan did his research — well, he was presented John Boswell’s views. I ran into Boswell’s views in the mid to late 90’s, way before Vines. I only have scathing and angry remarks about Boswell. Here’s clearly a false teacher who has misled many. I’m sure you can find out tons on John Boswell — the openly gay “New Testament scholar” at Yale who tried to redefine a ton of stuff. For instance, he says that Romans 1 is about people who falsify their nature — and thus, a homosexual would be falsifying his nature or going against his nature if he were to pretend to be heterosexual. Vines stated he read Boswell (Christianity, Homosexuality and Social Tolerance — all you have to look at is ).
      A number of these people want to reinterpret all the various texts in various ways:
      Jesus ‘never’ talked [explicitly] about LGBTQ.
      Romans 1 is about pederasty or (Boswell) falsifying one’s nature.
      1Corinthians 6 is about exploitative same-sex relations.
      Levitical codes are not for us
      Levitical codes also deal with (any number of interesting topics).
      Genesis 1+2 in talking of male and female and anatomical complementarity is not prescriptive or normative (Brownson)
      Of course, Christians should absolutely read materials like Dr. Michael L. Brown, Robert Gagnon, etc.
      In Camp #2, you have people like Ozanne, Mercer ethicist David P. Gushee. E.g.,
      A lot of people are being misled by these two camps.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Another great debate.

    Ozanne is typical of the “progressive” Christian in general, who claims that God wants us to be who He called us to be, while ignoring that God calls us to be holy because He is holy. In order to accomplish this, He gave us moral law, or if some find that too oppressive and works-based, a description of what ranks as displeasing to Him or “sinful”. And among those behaviors is homosexuality.

    Put another way, God does not call us to be the sinful beings we are, but as Gagnon rightly says, to have that part of ourselves die for Christ. The Ozannes of the world ignore that by her logic, liars, thieves, pedophiles and all other manner of compulsion should be acceptable for exactly the same reason she insists homosexual behavior should be…because the thief can’t help but covet and suffers to one degree or another if he doesn’t have what he covets, for example.

    What we are called to be by God is not based on our compulsions and carnal desires. Indeed, what we are called by God to be far more often than not is in total conflict with our compulsions. May God give her the epiphany she so desperately needs.


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