Nazarene Clergy Respond to Queer People

Reginald Watson did his doctoral dissertation on Nazarene clergy responses to homosexuality and interactions with queer people. And his work has now been published.

Watson works from the previous Church of the Nazarene Manual, which claims that homosexuality is a perversion of human sexuality. He notes that the denomination and many of its members have also said same-sex sexual acts are sinful and subject to the wrath of God. Most Nazarenes maintains that “homosexual lifestyle” is sinful and contrary to scripture.

In his discussions with Nazarene clergy, Watson and his discussion partners note that the Church of the Nazarene says all people should be treated with dignity and grace and as God’s image bearers — regardless of sexual orientation or behavior. And the denomination’s theology is grounded in love and acceptance.

Using quotes from his in-depth conversations with clergy, Watson explores the tensions between the denomination’s position on homosexuality and ministering to queer people. Many clergy want to love and support queer people, but the denomination’s statement on human sexuality undermines love.

Reginald Watson’s qualitative study explores the lived experiences of thirteen Nazarene clergy. It identifies these clergy responses to homosexuality and clergy interactions with LGBT people. In this book, Watson identifies key themes from his study. Those themes affect clergy, the Church of the Nazarene as a denomination, LGBT people, counselor educators, and clinical practitioners.

“Reg Watson’s work points to the tension many Nazarene clergy feel as they relate with queer people,” says Thomas Jay Oord when endorsing Watson’s book. “On the one hand, they want to be loving, empathetic, and affirming. But the denomination’s view of queer people in general and same-sex relations in particular works against love. I recommend Reg Watson’s book to those who want to take seriously what it means to be a clergy person in a denomination that is not (yet) affirming.”

For a copy of the book, click here.

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