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Gay Marriage and the Christian

I want to commend three excellent resources to you that address the current culturally hot topic of homosexuality. They are, in alphabetical order by title, Compassion without Compromise, Is God Anti-Gay and What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality?

I read them recently and am commending them to you now for one primary reason; keeping directly in front of us the people who struggle with same sex attraction and the Person who addresses this struggle.

With all of the noise in our culture regarding homosexuals, the definition of marriage, the rule of law, the spheres of church and state and their relationship, I'm hearing lots of doom-saying, pessimism, squishiness and all out calls to retreat. As a minister and a Christian I needed help sorting through it all. These four authors (Compassion without Compromise was written by two men) have provided me that help in valuable ways.

This is not a review of any of the books. There are those who are much better at book reviews who have reviewed these books and I encourage you to seek out those reviews and reviewers.

This is my stab at telling you why I think you ought to read all three of these books, no matter where you come down on the issue of gay marriage.

The Authors

First, just a brief word about who wrote what.
Adam Barr and Ron Citlau wrote Compassion without Compromise: How the Gospel Frees us to Love Our Gay Friends Without Losing the Truth. Adam and Ron are both ministers and friends of one another. Adam is Senior Pastor of Peace Church near Grand Rapids, Michigan. Ron is Senior Pastor at Calvary Church near Chicago. Ron writes, "I am a Christian, husband, father of four boys, and a pastor, and I have had gay feelings for most of my life." (page 14) Both of these men are dedicated to helping the church serve and love those with same sex attraction and their book is written for that purpose.

Sam Allberry wrote Is God Anti-Gay?: And Other Questions about Homosexuality, the Bible and Same-Sex Attraction. (Questions Christians Ask). Sam is Associate Pastor of St. Mary's Church, Maidenhead, UK. He struggles with same sex attraction.  You can listen to Sam tell a bit of his story here: 

Kevin DeYoung wrote What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality. Kevin is Senior Pastor at University Reformed Church in East Lansing Michigan. Kevin also wrote the Forward to Compassion without Compromise and counts Adam and Ron as his friends.

Besides being ministers, all four men believe God's Word is absolutely true and is the lens through which they address the issue of homosexuality.

The Books

Sam's book is really a booklet, 88 pages long. Read this one first if you want to take a small bite first. 
Sam's booklet lays out what the Bible teaches about marriage and sex and then tackles the question of how we ought to think about homosexuality given what the Bible teaches. Boring down a bit more, he continues to think with us about homosexuality and the Christian. Then and finally he writes about homosexuality and the church and homosexuality and the world.
Included in Sam's booklet are shaded boxes. Some address common questions or responses from those who are arguing for the legitimacy of homosexual marriage. In other shaded boxes he attempts to answer questions we may be asking, such as, what should I do if someone shares with me their struggles with same sex attraction.

You can think of Kevin's book as an elaboration of what Sam has written. This book is also relatively short, 150 pages including 3 fabulous appendices, but not including a very helpful Annotated Bibliography. Part 1 of Kevin's book is "Understanding God's Word". In this portion he takes us through specific passages where the Bible speaks to marriage, gender and particular "abominations". They are Genesis 1-2 (chapter 1); Genesis 19 (chapter 2); Leviticus 18 and 20 (chapter 3); Romans 1 (chapter 4) and 1 Corinthians 6 and 1 Timothy 1 (chapter 5). Part 2 is "Answering Objections". Here we see Kevin's study and wisdom shine. He has worked hard to understand the point of view of those who may want to dismiss what the Bible says and winsomely provides answers to those who object.

Both of these books are wonderful compliments to each other as they both root the issues in what the Bible teaches. From there they both address how Bible believing Christians ought to seek to minister and love and encourage and walk along side those who are burdened with sexual temptation, most especially homosexual temptation. They both make the point that our identity is not our sexuality. We were created for something more as image-bearers of our Creator.

They are both very clear and make the sound biblical case that marriage is a gift of God designed only for one man and one woman. This is a pressing issue for the church and I am grateful for the clarity of both of these authors. 
But I am especially grateful for their call to Christians to care for those who struggle and to speak with, not screech at, those who might disagree with us.

Adam and Ron also root their book in the authority and truthfulness of Scripture, but their emphasis throughout is how, as Christians, we are to be people who help all sinners of all stripes know about the One who has died, risen and ascended to free us from sin.

The Purpose

In all three books you see the purpose is to speak and minister to real people about the real Person who came to deliver all of us out of our sin. All four authors provide real, substantive hope to those who seek to fight against same sex attraction. All four authors also provide for all Christians rock-solid confidence in God, His Word and His Son regarding this issue.

I commend all three of these books to you. Not so that you can increase your inventory of ammunition for the current culture war surrounding this issue, (although your confidence in God's Word will be strengthened). But I commend them to you so that we can all be better equipped to engage with those who might disagree with us and to minister to those who are fighting the temptation of same sex attraction. All four of these men encourage us to do all of it while standing on the firm foundation of God's Word so that we will see the One who sympathizes with our weaknesses and Who is committed to our good and glory.

The Challenge

If you are reading this and you are either undecided on the issue of gay marriage or if you are a strong proponent of gay marriage and believe that it doesn't make any difference who we love, as long as we are committed, let me invite you to do two things. First, get these three books and read them. Second, contact me (koliphintATgmailDOTcom) and recommend up to three books you'd like me to read that fairly lays out your side. Then, let's discuss the whole thing. You may think I am all-wet in basing my argument on the Bible. That's okay. I just want you to know why I believe what I believe. I owe you the same courtesy in knowing why you believe what you believe.

If you are reading this and you believe gay marriage is wrong, read these books. You may be surprised by how much the culture, or "conservative" politicians have provided for you weak arguments for opposing gay marriage. Regardless, these books will enlarge your heart for those who struggle and enable you to minister more effectively to those in your family, your neighborhood and your church who are burdened and/or confused with their own sexuality.


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