Sunday, September 15, 2013

Is God Anti-gay? by Sam Allberry

I have been reading books dealing with Christianity and the homosexual lately because the denomination I grew up in is moving towards ordaining practicing homosexuals.

I think I have just read the best book on the subject yet. And it is short – only 83 pages of text.

Allberry is himself a pastor in the UK who experiences same sex attraction. What he writes is not from a hypothetical position. He lives with being a Christian and having same sex attraction.

He answers the argument that Old Testament prohibitions of homosexuality deal with pagan worship practices or rape. He looks at Lev. 18:22 and 20:13 and the surrounding verses and their forbidding homosexual behavior. “None of these have any connection with pagan temples or idolatry. These things are morally wrong, irrespective of who is doing them and where they happen.” (27) Noting that both parties are prohibited equally, “We can't write it off as only prohibiting things like gay rape or a forced relationship. Leviticus prohibits even general, consensual homosexual activity.” (27)

Then he addresses another argument I recently read from a professor at a denominational seminary. Allberry looks at the Romans 1:26-27 passage, arguing that the words “against nature” do not refer to “our subjective experience of what feels natural to us, but instead refer to the fixed way of things in creation.” (29) He notes, “All of us have desires that are warped as a result of our fallen nature.” (30) It is the case for all of us, “...we find ourselves craving what we are not naturally designed to do.” (30)

With great care he goes through each of the Bible passages dealing with the issue. His conclusion: “In each instance where the Bible directly addresses homosexual behavior it is to condemn it. The consistent teaching of the Bible is clear: God forbids homosexual activity.” (36) “As far as Jesus is concerned, the godly alternatives before us are (heterosexual) marriage or celibacy.” (36)

He has suggestions for those experiencing same sex attraction, writing about the struggles of the homosexual Christian. This is a great section for Christians who are critical of homosexuals to read.

He explores how sinful tendencies can be part of God's “all things” that work together for good. He writes about what the church can do for people facing this issue. He reminds us, “All are sinners, and all need God's grace.” (62) We are all sick. We all need help. He encourages us to deal with biblical models of masculinity and femininity, not the cultural stereotypes.

Allberry is very clear. “A church leader who teaches that even certain kinds of homosexual activity are OK is actually sending people to destruction.” (70) The gospel is at stake, he says. So he ends with a section on responding to someone who reveals same sex attraction – with our love and the grace of the gospel.

I highly recommend this book.

Sam Allberry is associate pastor of St. Mary's Church, Maidenhead, UK.

The Good Book Company, 96 pages.

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