The Tuesday feature of the Worldly Saints is all about reading. The post is meant to share some of my reflections from the latest book or magazine article or blog post I have or am reading. At times, I may post a book blurb (a wannabe book review) or recommend books to be read by others.
How many non-fiction Christian books are there now on the subject of homosexuality, transgenderism, etc.? About ten years ago, I could count on one hand how many I knew of. Now, due to the cultural debate, there are a plethora of books on this biblical question of whether or not God condones homosexuality. Here is a quick run-down of the books available today and a brief blurb about each one that I have read:
Compassion without Compromise by Adam T. Barr and Ron Citlau (published by Bethany House Publishers, 2014) – If you are looking for a practical book on engaging with homosexual family members or friends or teaching schools or tolerance of homosexual behavior in the workplace, this is a helpful resource. It does not give help on specific passages of Scripture that others argue will support or forbid homosexuality. Questions asked and answered are as follows: Why did God make sex? How can a bunch of hypocrites cast the first stone? Why is sexual sin different from any other? How can homosexuals trust Christians when they act like a bunch of homophobes? How should my church deal with this issue? Can the gospel transform someone’s sexual orientation? How can we navigate the soon-to-be-everyday issues of living in a gay world? Included in the story is Citlau’s story of going from same-sex attraction to healing.
God and the Gay Christian by Matthew Vines (published by Convergent Books, 2014) – This book garnered much controversy last year when it was published, and rightfully so. Vines believes that God allows for homosexual relationships and he seeks to exegete the frequently-referred-to passages to state his case. Questions asked and answered are as follows: Do biblical teachings on the marriage covenant preclude same-sex marriage or not? How should we apply the teachings of Jesus to the gay debate? What does the story of Sodom and Gomorrah really say about human relationships? Can celibacy be a calling when it is mandated, not chosen? What did Paul have in mind when he warned against same-sex relations? Vines also weaves his own story about “coming out” as a gay man and how he was received by the Presbyterian church he attended in my hometown of Wichita, KS.
Is God Anti-gay? By Sam Allberry (published by The Good Book Company, 2014) – This book is a primer on both the practical questions about the current debate and it also addresses the key passages mentioning homosexuality. While the author condemns homosexuality, he does leave room for Christians to struggle with same-sex attraction for the duration of their lives. There are a plethora of other questions that the author asks and answers in this book: Surely a same-sex partnership is OK if it’s committed and faithful? But Jesus never mentioned homosexuality, so how can it be wrong? Aren’t we just picking and choosing which Old Testament laws apply? Can’t Christians just agree to differ on this? What should I do if a Christians comes out to me? Can God change our sexual desires? Can we really expect unmarried Christians with same-sex attraction to remain single?
What Does the Bible Really Teach About Homosexuality? By Kevin DeYoung – I am currently reading this book, which has received the “most praise” from those who support the view that God forbids homosexual behavior. In the book, DeYoung gives an explanation on this view from the five most common Scriptural battlegrounds: Genesis 1-2; 19; Leviticus 18; 20; Romans 1; I Corinthians 6; I Timothy 1. He also answers some of the most common objections from those who differ in their view that DeYoung takes – “The Bible hardly ever mentions homosexuality,” “Not that kind of homosexuality,” “What about gluttony and divorce?”, “The church is supposed to be a place for broken people,” “You’re on the wrong side of history,” “It’s not fair,” “The God I worship is a God of love.”