Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Book Review: "Is God Anti-Gay?"

Recently my good friend, Asa Veek, wrote the following review of Sam Allberry’s, Is God Anti-Gay? It’s my privilege to re-post his review here on my blog. Enjoy

Many books deal with important topics.  Some books are timely.  But it’s not often that I read a book I feel is of utmost, timely importance. Sam Allberry's Is God Anti-Gay? is one of these rare works.

Initially I was intrigued by the title and description of the book.  When I saw a comment written by Dr.  Russel Moore, I was more interested.  It turned out this was a book that helped me process, as a Christian, a difficult topic, leading me to repentance, and helping me better process how to interact with those who claim homosexuality.

Before I get into the depth of my review, I would like to thank Pastor Sam for his work.  That this is a deeply personal topic for him must have made writing this very challenging.  I appreciate his honesty and candor, and I am impressed with this book. 

Allberry does several things - some of which may have been unintentional - and they help frame his argument.  First, he explains the biblical purpose for marriage.  Second, he demonstrates that homosexuality is a sin, a grave sin, and one that is among other grave sins.  Third, and probably the most convicting for me (and, hopefully, from believers in my thread of the church), he affirms godly singleness as the gift that it is.

As a heterosexual Christian in a committed marriage, I learned more about the meaning of marriage reading this book.  The deep insights Allberry demonstrates early was very illuminating, and I found myself in worship for the picture and parallel that marriage demonstrates.  This alone was worth the read.

Second, Allberry writes from a very personal struggle, and it's in that context that he demonstrates, from Scripture, the sin that homosexuality is.  Four things become very clear: homosexuality is a sin, it is one of a multitude of sins (and one among many abominations), we all struggle with sin, and we all need a Savior.  He is honest in his struggle, and he is honest in his need for a Savior. One particularly profound quote was how he describes his struggle,

But describing myself like this [as struggling with same-sex attractedness] is a way for me to recognize the kind of sexual attractions I experience are not fundamental to my identity.  They are part of what I feel but they are not who I am in a fundamental sense.  I am far more than my sexuality.

Allberry is not excusing or denying the sin; he's identifying it so he can deal with it.  He also shows how this sin is grave, but it's grave along with many other sins that take away our attention from Christ.  For that, he reminded me personally that we all struggle with sinful tendencies.

Third, and maybe somewhat unintentionally, Allberry affirms singleness.  Singleness is praised and highlighted throughout the New Testament, but, in many veins of the church, singles are relegated to second-class citizens.  This is a serious injustice we pay to those in our churches who are single, for whatever reason.  Allberry reminds us to affirm, care for, and utilize the singles among us.

He closes the book with some very practical ways to love those we may encounter who struggle with homosexuality.  I highly recommend these two chapters...but only after reading the rest of the book.

I cannot commend this book strong enough.  Please, please read this one.

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