Is God Anti-Gay?
A starting point for me in thinking about how to address this is the recognition that sexually we are all coming from a place of brokenness. I doubt there is anyone who is not sexually troubled in some way. Simply thinking from the perspective of my own experiences and those of other Christians I know it is easy to draw up a list of causes of sexual discontent. Which of the following fits your case?
Or perhaps your sexual issue is that rather than experiencing sexual temptation you do not feel much or any sexual desire, and this makes you anxious as it seems so out of kilter with what society holds up as normal?
If there is anyone reading this who does not answer ‘Yes’ to at least one of these questions I would be astounded. They are the kind of questions that Christian communities need to be able to address and which followers of Jesus need to be able to work through. They affect us all and they also very much affect our interaction and witness to our neighbours. In that regard, the issue of same-sex attraction is the hottest button. Just last night I had a debate with my 15 year-old daughter who loves Jesus and knows that same-sex relationships are off-limits for Christian disciples but was once again needing to work through why this is the case. Everything in her culture tells her that same-sex relationships are normal, and good. Some of her friends have announced themselves to be gay. Some of their parents are in same-sex relationships. Same-sex ‘marriage’ is now with us. Surely the easiest thing is to go with the Steve Chalke flow and say that as long as same-sex relationships are faithful, there’s nothing to see here.
Against this backdrop Sam Allberry’s little book, ‘Is God Anti-Gay’ is very helpful. Sam is one of a small but growing number of evangelical church leaders who have had the courage to go public, both about their sexual orientation and their theological convictions. Sam’s preferred description of his sexual orientation is ‘same-sex attraction’ rather than ‘gay’. As he explains, “In western culture today the obvious term for someone with homosexual feelings is “gay”. But in my experience this often refers to far more than someone’s sexual orientation. It has come to describe an identity and a lifestyle.” Sam wants to escape this sexual pigeon-hole and explore instead what it means to be identified as a faithful disciple of Christ.
‘Is God Anti-Gay’ is a brief book, but gives a helpful overview of what the Bible teaches about marriage and sex, goes onto explore what the Bible says about homosexuality, including dealing with the (surprisingly sparse) texts that speak directly to the subject. Allberry then applies this Biblical teaching to the individual Christian, the church, and the manner in which we should engage with the world on this subject. He does all this with real pastoral sensitivity, theological integrity, and – obviously – the authenticity of someone for whom this is not merely an abstract issue.
Whatever your area of sexual vulnerability, I think this would be a helpful book to read because of the manner in which it is written, as much as its content. And for anyone who is asking the same kinds of questions as my 15 year-old, ‘Is God Anti-Gay?’ is essential.