Up until recently I’ve been able to think about the issue of homosexuality and Christianity from a detached position. It’s not been a near and present issue. However, there’s no escaping the fact that to be a pastor in the western world means engaging with this issue sooner or later. Firstly, we want everyone to come to Jesus – straight or gay. Secondly, the cultural and political climate is such that on this issue evangelicals are going against the tide and we need to know why.
So I’ve begun reading a few books on the subject and here is one I was sent recently for review. Mark Christopher is an American pastor in South Africa and was mentored by John MacArthur. He’s written this brief book to give a ‘heads up’ call to the church to be aware of what’s going on and to speak the ‘truth in love’. It deals with topics such as what is marriage, the assumptions behind same sex marriage (SSM), and the dangers of legalising SSM.
It presents a fairly straightforward conservative evangelical rebuttal of SSM and homosexuality. It’s a sin, it’s wrong, we should oppose it and we should put the issue on the regular teaching of the church to equip people to think biblically about this issue. Now I’m not really disagreeing with the author here, but this is not a book for engaging with this issue, this is for those who want to play defence. Maybe there are some western nations where it still makes sense as a strategy to fight a vigorous rear guard action against the gay lobby who have all the momentum. I’m not convinced but I’m also not ready to capitulate either.
So this is not a bad book, but it will reinforce the idea that Christianity is under siege and that Christian values (such as they were) are being eroded in our society. What it won’t do, is equip you to live in that new reality, which is I guess, what I’m looking for.