Sam Allberry. Is God Anti-Gay?: And Other Questions about Homosexuality, the Bible, and Same-Sex Attraction. Purcellville, VA: The Good Book Company, 2013. 88 pp. $7.99.
The media lights up with articles about the homosexual discussion daily. People discuss it everywhere and popular TV shows leverage their medium to push forward an agenda. Everyone has an opinion on this matter; it is the issue of our time.
But how informed are we? Are we airing opinion or are we studied? And how many views are grounded in Scripture? Likewise, what is the posture? Is it winsome, gracious, and loving?
A fitting voice speaking on this issue is important. The wrong one will be inflammatory: the right one, mollifying.
Sam Allberry, associate pastor of St. Mary’s Church in Maidenhead, UK, lends a disarming mouthpiece for a biblical view on homosexuality in Is God anti-gay?. Those who disagree with Allberry’s position will do so sympathetically because Allberry struggles with same sex attraction (SSA).
In the introduction, Allberry shares: “As the long summer began and there was less going on to distract me, the truth began to bite. The words began to form in my mind: I think I’m gay. This was not a welcome development” (7-8). Allberry discovered his struggle with SSA around the time he discovered Jesus, which immediately put him at a crossroad. Which would define him: sexuality or Christianity?
Allberry clarifies this from the beginning. Sexuality does not make up identity. Referring to his SSA feelings, he says, “They are part of what I feel but are not who I am in a fundamental sense. I am more than my sexuality” (11). That’s the launching point for Allberry. Fundamentally, identity is found in Jesus, so what he says about sexuality takes precedence.
In this brief – less than 100 page book – Is God anti-Gay? presents a well-reasoned and grace-seasoned argument for what the Bible says about gender, marriage, sex, and homosexuality. Allberry looks at the tough Scriptures on this discussion: Genesis 2:23-24; 19:4-5; Leviticus 18 and 20; Romans 1:18-32; and 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 to name a few.
With careful, honest exegesis and theological acuity, Allberry explains that acting on SSA is out of alignment with God’s complementary design for marriage (chapter 1). Furthermore, homosexual sin is unnatural, a sign of God’s judgment, but thankfully, not inescapable (chapter 2).
Before you rise up in arms against Allberry, realize that “a sign of God’s judgment” does not refer to individual judgment. Homosexual sin is one among many sins for which God judge’s society, and it is a “testimony to the warped nature of sinful humanity” (33).
Allberry goes on to offer pastoral and personal insight on how someone with SSA feelings should handle those feelings (chapter 3). Allberry offers pastoral counsel for how churches should care for homosexuals (chapter 4). He concludes with how individuals should respond when non-Christian friends shares their homosexuality, how to share Christ with that person, and how to be an effective witness in the world regarding this issue (chapter 5).
You’re still probably asking, “Is God anti-gay?” Be encouraged by Allberry’s closing words about the gospel: “The invitation is there for everyone. And so precious is this gift that God cannot be truly said to be “anti” anyone to whom this wonderful gift is being offered” (83).
Benefit for Pastoral Ministry
I sat across from a student in my living room – at the time I was a youth pastor – his question still lingering in the air. “My college roommate told me he is a homosexual. What do I do?” I wish I had read Is God anti-gay? at the time.
If something similar hasn’t happened to you yet, it will. You will have someone confess to you a struggle with SSA or someone will seek counsel about another. Are you prepared?
And what about when members or newcomers inquire about your church’s position on homosexuality? What is your church’s stance? What if a practicing homosexual couple asks to become members? How will you navigate forward?
Is God anti-gay? doesn’t merely promote biblical thinking; it promotes sympathetic living. Allberry’s wisdom and unique vantage point helps pastors anticipate how someone with SSA will respond to them or their view. This book gives pastors a tactful, direct, and loving approach to shepherd those who struggle with SSA. This is a resource for every church member to read and especially you, pastor.
Essential — Recommended — Helpful — Pass It By
Is God Anti-Gay? may well be the most important read for you this year. Prioritize it.