Monday, December 1, 2014

Book Review: Is God Anti-Gay

Is God Anti-Gay?: And Other Questions about Homosexuality, the Bible and Same-Sex AttractionIs God Anti-Gay?: And Other Questions about Homosexuality, the Bible and Same-Sex Attraction by Sam Allberry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A very helpful book for those who are struggling with same sex attraction and for churches, ministers, and lay people who counsel, evangelize, or talk to homosexuals. It was a good reminder that the temptation to homosexuality is like any other temptation in the Christian life. It needs to be fought by prayer, the support of Christian friends, and looking to Christ and his cleansing power. As a pastor, it made me want to be more prepared to minister to those coming out of the homosexual lifestyle and those who trust in Christ, but still struggle with same sex temptation. It also reminded me to not be afraid, to be compassionate to individuals struggling with this sin, and to be aware of how common it has become in our culture.

It did have some drawbacks. First, it provides a very basic outline. It would great if a Christian pastor who has shepherded homosexuals could write a book giving more insight into how to minister to them over the long haul. That will surely become more of counseling burden in the coming decades.

Second, there is no discussion of the politics of sodomy. This may be because it is outside the purview of the book. But the political side of sodomy is huge, whether Christians want it to be or not. For one on one discussion with homosexuals the book was great. For how to interact with a world cramming sodomy down our throats it was not.

Finally, there was one statement that I thought needed to be qualified. He says that a homosexual should not be confronted on his homosexuality until he has been told about Christ (p. 64-65). He says he wants to start with the Gospel and then move to the person's sexual behavior. This is the modern evangelical way to do things. And there is a place for that approach. However, it is often the case that the need for the Gospel is only seen in light of one's sense of their own sinfulness. In other words, if you want people to see their need for Christ they must recognize their own depravity. So while I agree we should not pounce on a homosexual. I do not agree that we must begin with the Gospel and then move to sin. Often, we must work the other way.

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2 comments:

Pursue Christ said...

Thanks for the post, I enjoy reading your blog.
Disclaimers: I have not read the book, nor ever heard of the author. I believe that Scripture is clear: homosexuality is a sin and an outright attack on the image of God.

A few comments:
The Gospel is defined and embodied by a Person: Jesus Christ, not simply an event or set of events. The key question is "Who do you say that I am?" One of the answers to this question is "You are a holy God", and in the light of a holy God, sin is exposed.

And certainly, God uses sin as a tool to reveal Himself. But God is primarily interested in His own glory and revealing Himself, he is not primarily interested in saving mankind from sin. Saving mankind from sin is just one of the ways He reveals Himself.

As such, defining Christ is not a "modern evangelical" approach as you say. A Mormon can repent from their sins, but they are repenting to a jesus that is not my Jesus.

My Jesus is Trinitarian, God enfleshed, the crucified, risen God; the God who laid down His life for His enemies, Who will come one day with a sword in His mouth and will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty against the wicked.

Peter Jones said...

Thanks for commenting. My point is not that "defining Christ" is a modern evangelical approach. My point is that skipping sin and beginning with the Gospel is a modern evangelical approach. I agree they are connected. So you can go either way. You can begin with Jesus, as you said, and then move to sin. Or you can begin with sin and move to Jesus. This last option Allberry does not discuss in his book and I think it leaves a gap in how we evangelize homosexuals. Thanks, Peter

Let the saints be joyful in glory, let them sing aloud on their beds, let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two edged sword in their hand, to execute vengeance on the nations, and punishments on the peoples; to bind the kings with chains and their nobles with fetters of iron. Psalm 149:5-8