One of the most divisive issues in the Church today concerns homosexuality and same sex marriages. And it's not just an American issue, churches in other countries are chiming in with their opinions on the stance being taken in this country, and other Western countries. Somewhere between Jesus loves the LGBT community so we'll be progressive and fully embrace members of that community and allow them to fully participate in the life of the church, including serving in pastoral roles, and Homosexuality is a sin, they need to give up their evil ways or be doomed to hell, there has to be some middle ground. A stance that is firmly grounded in scripture. A stance that acknowledges that God loves people, and so should we. But also a stance that allows us to call sin a sin.
Many Christian conferences include breakout sessions on how to talk with or deal with the members of the LGBT community that come to our churches. And there recently seems to be an increased focus on helping LGBT teens, as well as the different takes on whether same sex marriages should be allowed, and the impact that they may have on children and on the definition of family.
This is a difficult blog for me to write, because I believe in the inerrancy of scripture, which by extension means that I think we should love people, but see homosexuality as a sin. I'm also reluctant to condemn members of the LGBT community until the church takes the same approach to other sexual sins. Remembering this middle of the road position, I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to read books like Joe Dallas' Speaking of Homosexuality: Discussing the Issues with Kindness & Clarity (Baker Books, 2016).
Dallas is a former gay activist, who changed his mind about the lifestyle he was engaged in and promoting, and has now written several books on human sexuality from a Biblical perspective. I found this book to be helpful because the author addresses several of the sub-plots involved with this argument between traditional mainline Christianity and a new revisionist theory that manages to convey the impression that we've mistranslated, misinterpreted and otherwise gotten it wrong for the past several thousand years.
As he discusses each of his subject areas, Dallas offers the traditional position on the subject, the scripture that backs it up, and highlights the main points of the revisionist argument, followed by a response to the argument. Much of the discussion has to do with how individual words are used throughout scripture, making a case for or against a certain position.
Especially in this election season, I'm tired of harsh rhetoric, so it was refreshing to read this book. The author is obviously passionate about his beliefs, but he expresses his arguments in a gracious and loving manner. A manner that reminds us that God does love people who think differently than we do, but also charges us to accept the word of God as it was written for us rather than try to change it to fit the views of a fallen world.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for my review. The opinions expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.