It hasn’t been 48 hours yet, and I can’t help but regret how I responded to the topic. What topic? The topic du jour of course, is homosexuality a sin, or can someone be born gay or how can I possibly think the Bible says that being gay is a sin. I was defensive and almost argumentative as I refused to trade acceptance for tolerance. As a pastor, I cannot act as if this issue is not real to our flock and does not exist. You know and I know there are people in the pews, people who have been in your baptismal that have indeed been tempted to commit the sin of homosexuality. Furthermore, the media and Hollywood is doing us no favors in our desire to see people recognize any sinfulness as a damning condition that only Jesus can rescue one from.
So I chose to review this book in the hope that God would give me the heart to listen, pray and share the same overwhelming Grace of God that compelled ordinary men to lose everything about themselves for the pleasure of following Jesus, in the event I have this conversation with a person whom I am charged to shepherd.
Sam Allberry has done the Christian community and other men and women who struggle with this particular sin (and many others for that matter) because right on the outset he diagnoses same-sex attraction (SSA as the chosen term, not “gay”) as a gospel issue. We both have the affinity for eating meat, so his illustration that what one desires or may have a carnal appetite for is not how God defines humans, so nor should we define ourselves by a particular appetite or desirous characteristic. We are first and foremost men and women created in the Image of God who desperately need to deny ourselves and everything associated with our carnal nature so that we may be the blessed recipients of God’s overflowing and life changing love through Jesus Christ.
That was just the introduction.
The book went on to lay a foundation for biblical sexuality and marriage, not merely in overly broad theological brushstrokes, but in real practical ways that relate to the human condition and emotions. He had the foresight to anticipate a couple of questions that come up in the caricature of the sexuality discussion. He addresses outright the biblical content pertaining to the sin of homosexuality, acknowledging that it is not the central topic or theme (Jesus is) but is certainly conspicuous enough that one cannot honestly say this issue is not addressed, and sadly he shows that the biblical truth is that God’s wrath is made manifest in homosexuality acts. God’s wrath is seen as “giving us what we want”. But it is not so bad that the Gospel of Jesus Christ cannot renew a heart and empower them with the Spirit of Truth which overcomes what they once were.
Then we turn to surely God is okay with monogamous committed relationships right? As well as Jesus never mentioned it. These are caricatures of the post-modern narrative that tries to rob the author of his intent when he wrote the words of Scripture. Thankfully they are addressed.
Lastly and most importantly the book is jam-packed with biblical wisdom on how to address the temptations if you struggling yourself with this, and how to listen and shepherd with the Good News of Jesus Christ.
It was informative, gracious, realistic and most importantly biblically sound. I commend this to just about anyone who like me needs to know how to be a better biblical counselor or to one who may need to “Repent and Believe”.
I received the book in exchange for an honest review from Cross Focused Reviews