It is hard to imagine a more relevant subject in our culture than the issue of homosexuality. Specifically, the issue at hand is how religious liberty and gay rights relate. A more pressing issue, in my mind at least, is how the church is to understand homosexuality and relate to persons who identify as gay
In light of all that, Kevin DeYoung has written a book on the topic and Westminster Bookstore is offering a really great deal on individual and bulk orders of the book. As part of that, they offered me a chance to read an advanced reader copy. While this is something I would usually turn down, there was no expectation of a full review. With that in mind, this isn’t a full review per se, but after reading through the book earlier this week, I wanted to make sure you knew about it. There will probably be no shortage of more interactive and even critical reviews, so just consider this a kind of preview of sorts.
First off, I hope Kevin DeYoung continues to write books. I think I’ve read all of his most recent ones with Crossway, and am always struck as his clarity and readability. This is a rather emotionally charged issue (to say the least) and DeYoung handles it well in his tone and rhetoric. Also, this book is both short and to the point, yet broad in the material it actually covers.
With that in mind, second, it’s worth noting that the book is exactly what the title says it is. Unlike his last book on Scripture, there is no extended subtitle. DeYoung looks at the main passages that refer to homosexuality in Scripture, then spends the remaining chapters answering some common objections using sound theological reasoning. It’s hard to ask for a better combination.
That being said, the third point to note is that if a person doesn’t think Scripture is authoritative, this book is not written to them. If God’s Word is not the final authority for belief and practice, there is no reason to write this book, nor care about the contents. For readers that do, the evidence in Scripture that is acknowledged on both sides of the debate is that there is no positive case for homosexuality to be made from Scripture. Christians that want Scripture to be the final authority either have to inadvertently deny that in making a pro-homosexuality case from Scripture, or make arguments that amount to saying the historic understanding of the key texts is wrong for one reason or another.
With all that in mind, I found this book to be very helpful. I’ve done a fair amount of reading on the topic and I thought what DeYoung presents here is a good synthesis of the available material. His pastoral tone helps to deliver the information well, since at the end of the day this book is probably best for people on the fence on the issue. It is also a useful resource for Christians who may be morally convinced that homosexuality is wrong, but are not handling the issue particularly well in counseling and discipleship situations.
At the end of the day, if you’re involved in pastoral ministry you’ll probably want to take a Saturday afternoon and read this book. Likewise, if you’re not sure how to present a graceful argument on what the Bible teaches about homosexuality, this book offers an excellent example. I could also see it being useful for those who struggle with this particular issue to see what Scripture teaches and how to use Scripture to answer objections that our culture continually brings up. I think DeYoung is able to speak against homosexuality without bringing in a sense of condemnation. He is clear and to the point, but not without being gracious and kind in his rhetoric. For that reason, I hope it is widely read, and if you’re interested, you should take advantage of the deal Westminster is offering.
Kevin DeYoung, What Does The Bible Really Teach About Homosexuality?. Wheaton: Crossway, April 2015. 160 pp. Paperback, $12.99.
Read an excerpt
Visit the publisher’s page
Thanks to WTS Books for the review copy!
Here are some additional videos and resources on the subject: