One of the most polarizing issues in our society today is the whole issue of homosexuality, especially when it relates to homosexual marriage. While very few people would insist on discriminating against someone with a homosexual orientation with regards to a job for example, there are many who struggle with the homosexual lobby’s attempts to redefine marriage away from the traditional (and biblical) definition of one man and one woman.
Into this hot button issue steps Pastor Kevin DeYoung with his new book What does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality? With a blend of serious scholarship, clear thinking and a pastoral heart, DeYoung explains what the Bible does say about homosexuality and then counters many of the common arguments society offers against the biblical data.
DeYoung begins by saying that while the Bible says something about homosexuality, it is not a book about homosexuality. Rather it is a book about God, His creation, sin and salvation. It is a book about God seeking to dwell eternally with His creation, His holy people. And so while the Bible is not a book about homosexuality, the issue of homosexuality touches on many of the important truths the Bible upholds. The question then must be asked: “Is homosexuality a sin that must be repented of, forsaken and forgiven, or given the right context and commitment, can we consider same-sex sexual intimacy a blessing worth celebrating and solemnizing?” (p. 15)
DeYoung begins to answer this question by first unpacking the handful of Scripture passages dealing directly with homosexuality. He begins in Genesis 1-2, which sets out God’s clear design for marriage as a union between one man and one woman. He argues that heterosexual relations are the only relations that fit the biblical description of a “one-flesh union.” DeYoung moves onto to Genesis 19 and the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. It has become fashionable to argue from Ezek. 16:49 that the sin of these cities was a lack of hospitality. But when one views Ezek. 16:49 in context (Ezek. 16:47-50), it becomes clear that the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah is abomination, the same word used in Lev. 18 and 20 for homosexual behavior. Moving on to the Law of Moses, DeYoung investigates Lev. 18:22 and 20:13, arguing that these verses forbid homosexual behavior because it is an affront to God’s holy order. He then lists 6 reasons why these verses cannot be just set aside as an ancient law for another time. In his chapter on Romans 1, the author makes a clear case that God sees homosexual practice as an example of mankind’s rebellion against God and a willing, sinful suppression of the truth of God’s good design. Finally, DeYoung investigates 1 Cor. 6:9-10 and 1 Tim. 1:8-11, two passages based on the Leviticus law in which the apostle Paul condemns men who have sex with other men. According to DeYoung, the argument of Scripture is clear – homosexual activity of any type is a sin against the clear creation design of God.
Having unpacked what the Bible says, DeYoung moves on to counter 7 common arguments against the clear teaching of Scripture. They are:
· The argument that Christians are making much too big a deal about this, since the Bible hardly mentions homosexuality.
· The argument that the kind of homosexuality practiced today in committed relationships is not what the Bible is condemning.
· The argument that the church is hypocritical, failing to deal with its own sins.
· The argument that the church should be a place for broken people, and labeling homosexuality a sin closes the door for such people.
· The argument that in opposing homosexual advances, Christians are on the wrong side of history.
· The argument that labelling homosexual behavior a sin is not fair.
· The argument that says that God is a God of love who would never condemn someone practicing homosexuality.
In countering these arguments, DeYoung communicates truth, but does it in a sensitive, pastoral way. Not everyone will agree with his conclusions or his counter-arguments, but despite that I believe DeYoung does a good job staking a position on the truth of the Bible.
The author concludes his book with three appendices worth reading. The first explains what is at stake in the homosexual marriage debate. The second provides 3 building blocks in dealing with the issue of same-sex attraction. And the third lists 10 commitments every church should make in response to the issue of homosexuality.
As I mentioned, some people will disagree and hate this book. They may even hate my review. But in a time when the homosexual lobby has been incredibly successful in changing public perception and opinion regarding homosexual marriage and homosexuality in general, this is a book that every serious, thinking Christian should read. Is it the ultimate resource on the issue? Probably not, but it is a great one, a resource that will equip you to think seriously and biblically about one of the most contentious issues of our day.