Book Review by Val Viljoen
One of the greatest challenges for the Church today is the rapidly increasing tolerance of homosexuality in society and the concomitant increase in social persecution of those who believe that the bible makes it clear that sexual behaviour between persons of the same
sex is deemed sin by God.
What should the response to such persecution be? Is there room for some sort of compromise? How should Christian love be manifested to those having same-sex attraction?
A good start is to take an in-depth look at the various passages in the bible which refer to the issue. In context, what is actually being said?
This book gives excellent coverage to all the key passages, (Gen 1-2, Gen 19, Lev 18, 20, Rom 1, 1 Cor 6 and 1 Tim 1) — a chapter being devoted to each. The author also addresses what can be concluded from seeing the bible in its totality.
Then follow seven chapters, each dealing with particular arguments popular with those not agreeing with the interpretation of homosexuality as sin. The counter arguments are logical and well put.
Chapter headings in this section include “Not That Kind of Homosexuality”, “What About Gluttony and Divorce?”, “It’s Not Fair” and “The God I Worship Is a God of Love”.
In addition, all three appendices add great value to the book.
The first deals with same-sex marriage, which the author sees as a matter apart from the practise of homosexuality per se. The real issue at stake here is the very nature of marriage and the intention behind this union, both as God’s design and as legislated by the state.
In the second appendix there is much food for thought around the the issue of seeing same-sex attraction in a way that is biblically faithful (is desire sinful?), pastorally sensitive (this is of major importance – and each case is different) and culturally conversant (are we understanding various terminology in the same way?).
The last has the title “The Church and Homosexuality: Ten Commitments.” In these suggested commitments we see some answers to the questions posed in the beginning of this review. These should make sense to anyone who had made a careful study of this book and who genuinely wants to understand God’s heart. The key is to have an open heart as well as an open bible.
This is such an important issue in today’s world and one that we cannot ignore. Kevin Deyoung has written an important and very readable book.