Is God anti-gay? A controversial question on a controversial topic. The answer Sam Allberry offers in the introduction to his book Is God Anti-Gay? is No. “But he is against who all of us are by nature” Allberry immediately follows his answer by saying. The author affirms the love God has for his people but also maintains the sinfulness of homosexuality throughout this work.
Reading this book it’s clear that Allberry cares very deeply about this issue and for those struggling with same-sex attraction, whether inside or outside the church. He knows what it is to experience this unwanted attraction so he is able to speak tenderly about this issue, but does not deviate from the truth of scripture.
In the first chapter, Allberry lays out what biblical marriage is. I absolutely love that he begins here because it’s easy to focus on the few passages dealing with homosexuality and ignore the positive case that scriptures makes about God’s design. He lays out his case that God is not against sex, “Genesis 1-2 shows us that God is for sex. It also shows us that sex is for marriage.” Various scriptures are examined, especially the words of Jesus regarding marriage and sexual immorality to make his points that marriage is based on gender rather than feelings of commitment. Again, it is great he starts here because, as he notes at the end of the chapter, “The Bible’s teaching on sex and marriage is the foundation for how Christians are to think about the whole issue of sexuality today.”
Chapter two is equally important as he examines the passages dealing explicitly with homosexuality. He explains the meaning of the Greek words Arsenokoitai, Malakoi, and porneia and presents a solid, if brief exegesis of key texts like Genesis 19, Romans 1, and 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. Here he also deals with the issue of Christians experiencing unwanted same-sex attraction, addressing concerns such as if we can really expect these Christians to live celibate. He shows readers that however ingrained it may be, homosexual behaviour is not inescapable. It’s possible for someone living a homosexual lifestyle to be made new by God.
In his last three chapters, Allberry looks at homosexuality both inside and outside the church. How should Christians handle it when they find themselves with these unwanted attractions? How should churches deal with homosexuality? He offers multiple ways churches can help same-sex attracted members and offers encouragement to those struggling with temptation. Allberry points out in chapter three that we live in a culture that defines our core identity by our sexuality. Though some temptations may remain, the fundamental identity of the same-sex attracted Christian has been radically changed. Each chapter is handled with care as he addresses topics like how to share Christ with homosexual friends and how to respond when a friend comes out to you.
This little book is only 91 pages, but contains a lot of grace and truth with many scriptural quotations. The author does not shy away from sobering truths. He states plainly that homosexuality is outside of God’s design and a sign of God’s judgement. But something unmistakable is Allberry’s tenderness in dealing with this topic.
At the end of a few of the chapters, Allberry tackles multiple questions of relevance such as Should Christians attend a gay wedding? Aren’t Christians being inconsistent regarding old testament laws? or Can’t we agree to disagree?
We have to think carefully when dealing with this issue as Christians. Homosexuality is a very real issue and unfortunately many Christians experience same-sex attraction. Is God Anti-Gay will equip readers to know how to respond to certain objections with truth and grace and to share their faith with their gay friends. While not exhaustive, this is an important work and short enough to keep its readers attention. Christians who struggle with same-sex attractions will also be encouraged by this book and be assured that there is repentance and their identity is in Christ, not their sin.
Many thanks to the Good Book Company for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for my fair and honest review.