In a previous post, we addressed several cultural claims regarding homosexuality and same-sex attraction. We discussed how Christians should approach this important issue in a manner that reflects the transformative love of the gospel of Jesus Christ. In this post, a number of resources will be considered that help contribute to a thoroughly biblical understanding of homosexuality. While the works listed are by no means exhaustive, they each help Christians navigate this issue in biblical, personal and practical ways.
Is God Anti-Gay?
What does the Bible say about homosexuality and same-sex relationships? Sam Allberry’s brief book Is God Anti-Gay? presents a biblical theology of homosexuality along with practical helps for those struggling with same-sex attraction and those ministering to persons with such a struggle.
For Christians to minister with love and hope to those self-identifying as gay or lesbian or fighting unwanted same-sex attraction, a biblical posture and vocabulary are essential. Beginning with the biblical text, Allberry addresses several common objections to the biblical, Christian perspective on homosexual practice with clarity and grace. Allberry then discusses how Christians who struggle with same-sex attraction should understand their experiences through the lens of Scripture.
Allberry also provides practical suggestions for how the church can approach the issue of homosexuality and those struggling with same-sex attraction with faithfulness before a watching world. Ultimately, the church must be able to speak truth in love (Eph. 4:15). To this end, Allberry’s work excels in equipping Christians to speak in a way characterized by gospel-fueled hope that is rooted in Scripture rather than cultural terminology alone.
If you are interested in a work that explains the biblical data on homosexuality and same-sex attraction with pastoral insight, Is God Anti-Gay? would be a good resource for you.
The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert
Deeply personal and philosophical, Rosaria Butterfield’s The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert highlights the importance of biblical worldview when considering homosexuality and same-sex attraction. How we understand the world shapes how we understand ourselves and others.
From this perspective, Butterfield recounts her experiences as a tenured literature professor in a committed lesbian relationship whose life is ultimately transformed by the gospel. Her work moves beyond many comparable resources on homosexuality, focusing on theology or practice; she simply and beautifully tells her story, and it is one that we need to hear.
Butterfield helps her readers to see how many non-Christians, particularly those in her Syracuse, New York, LGBT community, view Christians and their response to homosexuality. She also explains the difficulty of reconciling the miraculous nature of her conversion among her conservative Reformed Presbyterian college and denomination. Never overly didactic yet rich with wise counsel, her reflections of life in Christ, marriage and ministry reveal a thoughtful examination of a life defined not by past sinfulness, but by present union in Christ.
If you are looking for a book that reveals the personal experiences and faithful reflections of one transformed by faith in Christ amid homosexuality, The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert is the book for you.
Love Into Light: The Gospel, The Homosexual and The Church
How should the church approach homosexuality and minister to those who may be struggling with same-sex attraction? While in some ways similar to Sam Allberry’s work, Peter Hubbard’s Love Into Light emphasizes the importance of pursuing a biblical posture when walking with those who struggle with homosexuality and same-sex attraction. Where other resources speak to individual Christians (a good and necessary approach), Hubbard speaks primarily to the church and her response to Christians and those considering the claims of Christ who may struggle in this way.
We all possess a fractured, sinful heart; our only hope is the redeeming work of Jesus. While acknowledging some of the particular challenges that come with ministering to those who struggle with homosexuality, Hubbard encourages Christians and the church to communicate the reality of the gospel above any approach that would separate or single out. Same-sex attraction is not so isolated among believers as we might assume and as a result, the church must do more to broaden the scope of application in its proclamation of God’s Word. Whether in the context of worship, through testimony and teaching, or in community through confession and prayer, we must strive toward love, humility, grace and truth as we walk with those seeking freedom from sin, no matter its expression.
Love Into Light is an especially helpful work for those interested in how the church presents a gospel-empowered response to homosexuality and to those struggling with same-sex attraction.