Along with Compassion Without Compromise by Adam Barr and Ron Citlau, What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality? by Kevin DeYoung should be required reading for every Christian adult in the 21st century. While not explicitly billed as such, DeYoung's book is essentially a response to critiques of conservative Christian attitudes toward homosexuality by the likes of Matthew Vines and others—writers who claim to stand both in the stream of Christianity and homosexual practice.
From the outset, DeYoung is clear: the Bible is a book about everything, not specifically about homosexuality. It tells us where we came from, what our relationship to God was and is and (for Christians) has become, and to what end all this is heading. So before we look at the specific question of the Bible's teaching on homosexuality, he reminds us, we must bear in mind that the Word of God is a metanarrative with implications for all things and all people.
There are two parts to the book. The first is "Understanding God's Word" which looks positively at the teaching of Scripture through the lens of some hot button passages, including Romans 1, Genesis 19 (Sodom and Gomorrah), and 1 Corinthians 6. DeYoung lays out his exegesis plainly and carefully, presenting interpretations that are not novel and which are consistent with the historic teaching of the Reformed church.
Part two answers specific objections, such as the suggestion that Paul was only against promiscuous homosexual relationships, the idea that the Bible rarely if ever speaks directly to the issue, and the increasingly touted affirmation/accusation that God is a god of love who doesn't want to hurt anybody or stand in the way of their self-actualization. DeYoung's answers are both gentle and firm, and presented so clearly as to withstand misinterpretation.
In the introduction, DeYoung says he isn't speaking to "the choir," but to three distinct choirs. He addresses those who are already convinced that homosexuality is wrong but may have arrived at that conclusion the wrong way; those who just want to use the debate to cause trouble within and for the church; and those who genuinely don't know what to think. In keeping with these three audiences, DeYoung is by turns gracious and stalwart, but above all he is always loving and honest. This book is a must-read.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he's a husband and father who loves church, good food, and weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here
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