Is God anti-gay? And other questions about homosexuality, the Bible and same-sex attraction. Sam Allberry, Epsom, UK: the Good Book Company, 2013. Paperback, 93 pages, $8.98.
What if I were to tell you that I struggle with same-sex attraction? Would you write-me off or treat me differently? As it turns out, my battles with sin are in other areas; however, there are those among us who do wrestle with homosexual desires. The author of this book, Sam Allberry, is candid about his own such struggles. His honesty is part of what makes this book one of the best on the topic. Momentarily, I’ll tell you what else makes this little book the best.
But let me first tell a little more about the author. Sam Allberry is an associate pastor at St. Mary’s Church in Maidenhead, England. Within the Anglican church, there are still conservative, Bible-believing, Calvinistic remnants, and Allberry is one of them. I recently attended the Together for the Gospel pastors’ conference in Louisville, Kentucky. Allberry was one of the panellists for a discussion on homosexuality. He impressed me not only with his pastoral wisdom and compassion, but also his desire to be faithful to Scripture.
That leads me in to the other part of what makes this book so excellent. You might think that a book on homosexuality by someone who struggles with same-sex attraction would fudge at points or rationalize certain behaviours. Allberry does nothing of the sort. He has the highest view of Scripture. He regards it as the inspired, infallible, inerrant Word of God. Following from that, he is absolutely clear on what Scripture teaches about homosexuality. At the same time, he treats the subject through the lens of gospel hope in Jesus Christ. This is helpful reading to stir up compassion in those of us who don’t deal with same-sex desires. Most importantly, it also functions as encouragement for those who do deal with those desires.
I’m not going to give a full report of how Allberry works things out in this book. I will, however, share some of the questions that he asks and answers:
- Is God anti-gay?
- Surely a same-sex partnership is OK if it’s committed and faithful?
- But Jesus never mentions homosexuality, so how can it be wrong?
- Aren’t we just picking and choosing which Old Testament laws apply?
- Can’t Christians just agree to differ on this?
- What should I do if a Christian comes out to me?
I can assure you that all these questions are answered in a biblically faithful manner. Along the way, more questions are answered too – for instance, can same-sex desires disappear? It’s not a long book, only 93 pages, but a whole lot of value is packed into it.
Let me end this review with a brief quote from chapter 3:
Struggling with homosexual desires is just that – a struggle. But many Christians I know can testify to how God has brought good things out of their experiences. Some have said that the Lord has made them more compassionate and sensitive than they might otherwise have been. Others speak of ministry opportunities it has given them, and of how they have been able to support and encourage others they know who are trying to deal with same-sex attraction. Some have had opportunities to share their faith with parts of the gay community that would be unreachable by conventional church witness. But perhaps above all they can say how these struggles, with all the disorder and insecurity that can come with them, have led to a deeper appreciation of how unfathomably good God is. (58-59)
Highly recommended for pastors, elders, and everyone!