Over the past few years, I've read several books about homosexuality and Christianity as I have sought to sort out how I feel about this issue that has become a difficult point of contention for many Christians. There are Christians who say that it is not sinful to be homosexual and live an active homosexual lifestyle. There are other Christians who disagree with these claims and say that it is unbiblical.
I have watched as our society has been grappling with this issue. Periodically I have reviewed different books about homosexuality written by Christians. These books include Washed and Waiting by Wesley Hill, Rosario Butterfield's books The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert and Openness Unhindered, and I read a book last year in which the author, a father of a lesbian daughter, justified that homosexuality is not a sin, nor is it a sin to be in a homosexual relationship because God wants us to be happy.
Reviewing Washed and Waiting was a learning experience for me. I spent time contemplating and writing my review so that it would be clear, but not condemning. I received several scathing comments on my review from people who disagreed with the book's premise and ideas. For a few days, my mind churned and my stomach clenched when I read and responded to the comments written. They were harsh and upsetting. I tried to respond with grace. It was one of my first experiences with how mean people could be with their comments on reviews. But, those comments compelled me to sort through and understand why people would make such comments and understand my own beliefs.
I came to several conclusions. One is that many people in our culture have embraced the belief that God wants us to be happy and that that belief supercedes what the Word of God says. That belief is the justification many people use for discarding several translations of the Bible and whole parts of the Bible. That belief is what drives people to say that the Bible was mistranslated. People throughout history have been twisting God's Word to say what they want it to.
A second belief is that parents can have a hard time acknowledging the sin of their children. It is a hard thing to acknowledge sin in our own hearts, but our children are even more precious to us. The book written by the father who's daughter is a lesbian was written to explain that homosexuality is biblically okay.
Yesterday, I was reading Jerry Bridge's book He Took Me By The Hand, in which he explains that it is not the Holy Spirit that is fallible, but that our interpretation of the Word can be fallible and that we can not see clearly because of things we are holding on to. So, we must test what we believe by the what the Scripture says.
Recently, another book on this subject came across my desk. Hope for the Same-Sex Attracted by Ron Citlau is written by a pastor who has struggled with same sex attractedness during his own life.
This book is a teaching book--more sermon than memoir, but filled with personal acknowledgements. It is different than other books I've read because it is more cut and dried, straight to the point. I appreciate the topics Mr. Citlau tackles such as marriage and whether it can be a help or a hinderance to someone who struggles with homosexuality. He cites Scripture throughout his book. He begins with tackling the primary issue at hand--one of identity. I think it is wise that he begins there because claiming that something is "my identity", or is "just the way I am" along with a belief that God wants me to be happy is the justification many people use for all sorts of bad decisions--from having affairs, to leaving their spouses, to using marijuana... I think this book starts in a good place and tackles some difficult topics that others don't.
If you're looking for a book on this topic that explains why homosexuality is a sin and how to love people who struggle with it, or if you are a Christian who struggles with homosexuality, this book may give you some food for thought.
Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House publishers for review, but these opinions are my own.