“The Love We Dare Not Ignore”

My review of Justin Lee’s new book, Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate, is up over at Christianity Today.

An excerpt:

Many of us evangelicals may believe that LGBTQ ("lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning") folks are far removed from our churches and ministries. Surely gays and lesbians are out there, somewhere else, not here in our discipleship small groups, or kneeling at the Communion rail beside us—are they? But if Lee, the God Boy of his high school who could quote John 3:16 in his sleep, is an example of what it means to be "gay," then yes, they are. They’re here in our churches, and they’re here to stay, forcing us to reconsider what it might mean to love our own spiritual siblings.

For me, this is where the real importance of Justin’s book lies. For quite a while now, evangelical Christians have been able to take for granted that "gay affirming" theology and pastoral practice is the preserve of liberal, mainline denominations. But what Justin’s book forces us to recognize is that many people inside the evangelical movement—who are otherwise very traditional in doctrine and practice—are experiencing a shift in their convictions about homosexuality. I don’t presume to know what this might mean for the future of evangelicalism, but I think it’s a significant point to observe.

I hope many people read Justin’s book. Despite my strong disagreements with it, I think it’s smart, thoughtful, charitable, and shows a remarkable commitment to take the Bible seriously.

On Matthew Vines

Many of our readers have probably heard of Matthew Vines, who released a video earlier this year arguing for a revisionist understanding of Scripture on the morality of same-sex sexual activity. The video has gained a lot of attention—over 400,000 views—and he has also recently been profiled in the NYT.

Today, in First Things: On the Square, I offer a response, which can be found here.

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Understanding the context of debate

For almost 20 centuries, there was little controversy over Christian teaching about homosexuality. For the last few decades, there has been an extraordinary amount of controversy. How should Christians respond to this changing situation?

The core truths of the Gospel never change (Hebrews 13:8). However, each generation of Christians faces its own challenges in sharing the good news of God’s love. Different cultures ask different questions and require different approaches to preaching.

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