Ihave read a couple gay-affirming books in the past by various authors, and I’ve observed that they tend to fall in one of two courts. Court A: While very sympathetic to the plight of gays and lesbians, they are full of theological errors that take a liberty with Scripture that borders on eisogesis. (While I have not read many in this court, they do exist.) And Court B: Incredibly conservative from a theological standpoint, but in a manner that delivers the text very clinically and without any passion behind the study. These books usually deal with the “Clobber Passages” (the handful of Scriptures that seem to attack homosexuality), but not well enough, in my opinion. The points made are correct, but they leave more to be desired.
If you are looking for a book that merely glosses over important issues, this is not for you. Far from being a liberal minded text, Pastor Romell actually challenges readers to follow along in Scripture, giving each passage considerable and reverent coverage. He will, however, get you to challenge preconceptions—even if you ARE gay-affirming. He recognizes that many pro-gay arguments have not been in line with Scripture, but he definitely doesn’t let traditionalist Christians off the hook either. This man clearly has a high appreciation for the Bible, and he manages fantastic exegesis that is packed with a passion for the love of God and neighbor.
Though the text deals with some weighty issues, it is not even the slightest bit dry. The theology is very powerful and present, but Romell’s unique voice for the topic really shines through in a mature, unbiased way.
One of the things I like most about this book is that it describes Romell’s own personal struggle with the topic of homosexuality—how he went from first believing that the gay orientation itself was sinful, eventually to the position that only same-sex relations were sinful. And then he reached a different conclusion entirely. Homosexianity was originally intended to be an anti-gay book … and I think the depth of his struggle, combined with his scholarly sincerity, will stagger people. Homosexianity reveals that the “gay issue” in today’s church is a serious, SERIOUS topic. The people we exclude from our churches have beating hearts of flesh and blood, and it is not exaggerating to say that lives literally hang in the balance. Threads that could be snipped by a pastor’s words—or saved by them.
The best part of the book is that it’s saturated with Scripture. They aren’t just picked out of context and thrown about willy nilly—they’re woven into the tapestry of the work. Even more interestingly, verses and passages that you don’t expect to surface for this topic actually resonate more strongly in light of the study.
I would highly recommend this book to any Christian (along with its companion, The Rebuttal). Whether you’re gay or straight, sometimes the Spirit challenges us to take another look at what we’ve been taught … and through the lens of love, you might be surprised at what He shows you.
KATHY BALDOCK, Executive Director of CanyonwalkerConnections.com, is a heterosexual Evangelical Christian who has transitioned to a fully affirming advocate over the past ten years. Understanding the language and issues on both sides of the dialogue, Kathy is able to foster the mission of Canyonwalker Connections: to educate, engage and encourage. It all began with a hiking relationship with an agnostic lesbian.