During his time at our church, Christopher Yuan mentioned two resources that he most recommended for understanding same-sex attraction and how the gospel speaks to it. I have read and summarized the major thrust of each of these books in hopes that you’ll put them on your reading list. They are worth your time and will strengthen believers in better understanding an often neglected and misunderstood arena of struggle.
Rosaria Champagne Butterfield, The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert: An English Professor’s Journey Into Christian Faith (Crown & Covenant, 2012): In her brief memoir, Rosaria recounts her unexpected and emotionally-traumatic conversion. As a tenured professor at Syracuse University, she proudly fought for women’s and LGBT rights through academic pathways. But, an unexpected letter from a gracious Presbyterian pastor (and a critical book project on the Religious Right) led to friendship and eventually, conversion. But the journey was hardly a smooth one! In this gripping testimony, Rosaria peels back the layers of her mind so that you can see the tumultuous journey of a woman caught in the struggle to understand her own heart and the transforming power of Christ. She speaks boldly of the ugliness of sin and the beauty of the gospel. But, the best take-away for me was that she painted a vivid (though, tactful and appropriate) portrayal of the thoughts and feelings of being a homosexual as Christ turned her world upside down. Her story helped me to stand in her shoes and better understand the painful, yet-life-giving journey that takes place when Christ saves His people from sexual sin.
Sam Allberry, Is God Anti—Gay? And Other Questions About Homosexuality, the Bible, and Same-Sex Attraction (The Good Book Company, 2014): In this primer, Sam analyzes what the Bible says about homosexuality, as well as sex, marriage, and singleness. He begins by sharing his own experience of coming to know Jesus, and how that knowledge intersected with a growing awareness of his own sexuality. He stays tethered to the gospel throughout the book and boldly articulates its implications for all believers, including those struggling with same-sex attraction (SSA). After presenting a biblical case for sex and marriage, he addresses the Bible and homosexuality, noting that the Bible is not fixated on homosexuality. In fact, God condemns several other sins found in Sodom just as much (if not more) than homosexuality. All sin is serious to God, including sexual sin. As sinners reject God, they find themselves craving all sorts of perversions, whether heterosexual or homosexual. While such sins are serious and evidence of God’s judgment, they are nevertheless escapable through the grace of God. Christians who are struggling with SSA can find strength in the power of Christ as they navigate those confusing waters. He offers sympathy and hope as he points his fellow strugglers toward Jesus Christ; and calls them to holiness through living in spiritual community while embracing singleness and abstinence. He also calls the church to be a place of spiritual healing and intimate community for those struggling with SSA. The book is brief and informative, yet loaded with practical, gospel truth! It’s worth your time.