Book Review – We Cannot Be Silent: Speaking Truth to a Culture Redefining Sex, Marriage, and the Very Meaning of Right and Wrong (21/2)

There comes a time where courageous people has to stand up against what is wrong, no matter what the consequence. R. Albert Mohler, Jr. think homosexuality and same-sex marriage is one example of such issues that Christians have to stand up against.

We Cannot Be Silent: Speaking Truth to a Culture Redefining Sex, Marriage, and the Very Meaning of Right and WrongMohler wishes to show historically what has led to this shift in our culture. Mohler does this first by pointing readers to 60s and 70s — the sexual revolution. Mohler then traces through it highlights the various shifts that cumulates in what has happened in our generation finally — the call for equality in same-sex marriages. What Mohler does in this book is to honestly bring to light the agendas of the LGBT community. He quotes their strategies and plans and shows how they have achieved what they have today.

Mohler also very courageously talks about his own change in some stance over the years. Mohler  is rightly to be credited for how he has humbly stated, in writing what he has wrongly held that homosexuality is a choice, and that they have the ability to choose their orientation. Mohler has now believes that they may not have the ability to choose, but there still remains a responsibility for us to not to follow our sinful inclinations. Here is a lengthy quote from this book what on he said about this issue:

“We must also recognize that we have sinned against homosexuals by speaking carelessly about the true nature of their sin. I indict myself here. As mentioned in an earlier chapter, as a young theologian I was invited to speak at a conference of evangelical leaders and thinkers as the movement toward gay liberation was first taking organized shape. At that time, evangelicals were sure the element of choice was the central issue behind the sinfulness of homosexuality and the homosexual lifestyle. Thus, we felt the moral and theological obligation to deny the notion of a homosexual “orientation” and to insist that homosexuality was, in every case, freely chosen without regard to any predisposition. For this, I must apologize to the homosexual community, including a host of Christians who have struggled to be biblically faithful even as they have struggled with same-sex orientation.

In a fallen world, every single human being who has achieved puberty is a sexual sinner. Every single one of us has a pattern of sexual attraction, arousal, and interest that we cannot truly say we ourselves have chosen. Eventually, erotic interest comes into our awareness, and, as most adolescents can testify, it comes without any warning or explanation. I now know that a more mature, faithful, and consistent biblical understanding of human sexuality affirms that the fall has so impacted human existence that every single one of us has, to one degree or another, a fallen sexual orientation. Most Christians testify that their fallen sexual orientation is directed toward the opposite sex. Still, no Christian with a heterosexual pattern of sexual interest is free from sin or free from uninvited erotic impulses, interests, and thoughts.

Nevertheless, these uninvited thoughts do not acquit us. The Bible makes clear that we are always responsible for our sinful acts, even condemning us for our sinful thoughts.”

Mohler ends by highlighting some issues that Christians and churches have to think about in handling this issue. I thought this section was especially thought-provoking and will help christians think hard about it. Mohler also ends by answering some of the questions raised regarding the christian’s stance towards homosexuality. Regardless of whether you agree with the observations and conclusion of Mohler, you will find helpful materials on the movement and planning of how the homosexual movement has come to where it is today.

Rating: 4 / 5

If you’re interested, you can get it here and here (free international shipping), kindle.

Disclaimer: I was given this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

P.S. If you’re interested in the what the bible has to say about homosexuality, I recommend What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality? by Kevin DeYoung, you can get it here and here (free international shipping), kindle.

Book Review – What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality? (30/5)

At first glance, it may seem that the bible either speaks too much/little (depending on which camp you’re at) about homosexuality. But honestly, what does the bible have to say about this topic? Added on to this is the public’s demand that christians recognise the homosexual’s right to “equal rights”. But here is a book that seriously seeks to find out what the bible actually says about homosexuality.

What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality?Kevin DeYoung has written a book that wants to help christians really see what the bible teaches about the topic of homosexuality. Not only so, DeYoung also wants to answer some of the common objects raised to christians regarding this issue.

In the first part, DeYoung rigorously examines the bible and shows the readers what the bible actually says about homosexuality. He explores various passages that talks about this topic and through excellent exegesis shows the meaning of the text. In contrast to others who may want to make the text suit their thinking, DeYoung simply wants to hear what the bible has to say about homosexuality. Gently, DeYoung shows the readers that as christians we not do tell the bible what to say but rather we take heed to what the bible actually says.

After settling the foundations for the discussion, DeYoung then moves to answers the questions that are commonly raised. DeYoung answers them with tact but also firmly guided by the foundations set what the bible says. I am thankfully that DeYoung tackles such questions as they prepare me to be able to answer in the same manner when I’m asked by others.

Whether you are a just a lay-christian or a pastor, this should be one of the books you read to gain an understanding of what the bible really says about homosexuality. You might not like what you read, but ultimately I’m sure DeYoung wants us to wrestle with what the Bible says. Read, learn and continue to stand firm in what the Word of God says.

Ratings: 4.25 / 5

If you are interested, you can get it here and here (free international shipping), Kindle.

Disclaimer: I was given this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Book Review – Compassion Without Compromise: How the Gospel Frees Us to Love Our Gay Friends Without Losing the Truth (8/1)

Homosexuality has been a hot-button issue for christianity for past few years. As a result, christians and theologians have given this topic more thought about it. This is certainty a good thing for the church. We should always be ‘semper reformanda’ — always reforming.

Compassion without CompromiseHowever, this has also been an extremely polarising issue for christians and non-christians. Somehow it seems hard for anyone to disagree with homosexuality to be still be ‘loving’ or not be called a ‘bigot’ or ‘homophobic’. It seems hard for christians to be able speak the truth in love, to remain unwaveringly in the truth of God, and to still be loving our neighbours no matter what their response is. This is why I found this book so helpful. This book seeks to do both of them. It seeks to help christians to be faithful to the unchanging word of God, yet to be able to love our gay friends.

Adam Barr and Ron Citlau first grounds the christian in bible. They set forth what the bible has to say about sex and marriage. Next, the tackle the “problem” that Jesus has never explicitly rejected homosexuality. Very helpfully, Barr and Citlau then answers the critics that christianity should either abandon all the laws found in Old Testament or keep all of them. Barr and Citlau shows how Christians do not cherry pick the laws that they follow, rather they follow the principles that Jesus and the apostles have already laid down for us.

In the next section, Barr and Citlau then deals with the practical questions that people will have and think through about the practical implications we will have living in a culture that is aggressively promoting homosexuality as the norm.

I found the section on how the gospel can transform one’s sexual orientation very helpful and fills an important gap in existing literature. What makes this chapter even better is the fact that this was written by one who had struggled with homosexuality. The authors make it clear that the gospel does have the power to transform, though that might not always be the case for every christian who struggles with homosexuality.

Although this book was not as practical as I hope it would be, I must commend the authors on doing an excellent job in building their principles on the bible. Furthermore, they have helped me think through some issues that I have never considered.

Overall, a good book that all christians should read and consider.

Rating: 4.5 / 5

If you’re interested, you can get it here and here (free international shipping), Kindle

You can have a quick preview on the book here
(http://www.compassionwithoutcompromise.com/)

Disclaimer: I was given this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Here’s the trailer for the book

Book Review – Loving my (LGBT) Neighbor (7/10)

With the deluge of homosexuals “coming out” combined with the ferocious publicity and offence from the LGBT community, I’m sure most readers would at least know or are acquaintances with at least one or a few of them. The pressing question most faithful Christians wants answered is how do we love these neighbours of ours? We neither want to dilute God’s clear truths written in the bible about this topic, nor do we want to be seemed as unloving, bigoted or intolerance as the social media portrays us to be. So what can we do?

Loving my (LGBT) NeighborThe first thing we could do, would be to buy and read this book. I must say when I first saw this book, I greeted it with much skepticism as I found it hard for myself to hold on to God’s teaching and be very loving to the LGBT community, but as I read, I found that this book would really help us christians on this topic.

Within this book, Glenn Stanton, the director for Family Formation of Focus on the Family gives christians a well grounded teaching on what marriage is, how for us chrisitans to love our LGBT family, friends, church mates or colleagues.

First, Stanton very helpfully explained the term LGBT, along with the various connotations that goes along with it, such as queer, questioning, intersex, and ally, to help readers be aware of what these terms mean (or do not mean), and also the nuances between some of them.

Then Stanton moves to an elaborate definition of marriage which forms the backbone of the whole argument of what we as christians can or cannot do. Stanton also very perspective help the readers see that in some situation, christians are often presented with false choices, situation or scenarios that presents to us choices that are both equally bad, an example that was shown within the book was along the lines of “Either accept all of me, even my personal convictions, or we can’t be friends.”

Next, Stanton moves on oh how we can deal with different situations in our lives and how the biblical principles works out in a day-to-day context. Stanton then move to discuss about situations most would face in 3 areas, friends, homes, society. This is where the book really excels, because Christians hold on the biblical meaning of marriage as Stanton explains in the first part of the book, Christians are able to navigate through the many dilemmas that are presented to us using this undervalued institution. Many a times, Stanton shows us, the way to approach any of such situation is to ask, “Does what it entails violated any of God’s teaching of marriage?”. For example, one of the question raised within the book of whether we as christian can attend an same-sex wedding, or can we bless the same-sex marriages of your very own son/daughter.

However, Stanton is not always consistent with this approach, on one section, he says that it is not right for them to allow same-sex partners to have adoption parities on their centre, but it is ok for them to provide the venue for the birthdays of the children of same-sex parents (pg. 185), again on page 189, he says that it is not ok for service provides (e.g bakery) to provide cakes for same-sex marriages, but it is fine if it’s an anniversary. I see no big differences between the 2 situations as the birthdays and anniversaries, commemorates exactly what the christians support, namely, the definition of what is a family, or what is a suitable environment for a child to grow in.

Please do not be turn off by the two issue I raised, this area is sorely missed by books that have come out in the past and Stanton does provide many much-needed help in this area. So I do encourage any christian who wants to grow in knowing how we can love our LGBT in a practical and biblical manner to read this book. I predict that this book would be the go-to book in the near future for most christians dealing with this topic.

Rating: 4.5/5

If you’re interested, you can get it here, and here (free international shipping), Kindle.

Disclaimer: I was given this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review – Same-Sex Marriage: A Thoughtful Approach to God’s Design for Marriage (22/8)

Do you personally think same-sex marriage is permissible? Well… According to the authors, they think it should be, IF marriage is nothing more than just a way we acknowledge our feelings of love and affection between people. And that is the crucial point that Sean McDowell and John Stonestreet talks about in this book.

Same-Sex MarriageIn the first part, the authors defines what marriage is, and also find supports for it, both within the bible and also from historical and sociological records. What the authors brings across clearly is that marriage is not a social norm that is gradually formed, rather it is instituted all the way in creation and predates any civilisations or governments. And thus far, no civilisation has tried to do what the society is trying to do.

In the second part, the chapters centres about the “so what” aspects since we have a definition of what marriage is from the bible. First, there is a call for chrisitans to be willing to take a bold stand for the truth, there is also a clear call for christians not to mis-represent what is found in the bible, such as by telling others that it is ok for same-sex marriages to happen. The authors also calls the christian community to repent. This is a particular topic that has not been discussed by other books on this topic. It is true that chrisitans have had a hard time trying to show others marriage as defined by God, we’ve been a poor example and representation of it. This is one area that the churches have to work hard on in the future in order for us to show the world that marriages as defined by God, is right, true and beautiful.

Lastly, the book ends off with several suggestions on what to do in various situation, however this book is rather short and many may not find it to be sufficient. (Look out for the upcoming book, ‘Loving My (LGBT) Neighbor’ by Glenn Stanton, which will fill this gap very well) [my review here]. Included in the 2 appendixes are what the churches can and should do in order for churches to be better equipped to support our brothers and sisters who are struggling with homosexuality, and also how Christians can answer honestly to questions that are commonly raised by non-christians. The 2 appendixes are really helpful and in my opinion will prove to be helpful for all christians, and worth the price of the book!


This book is to be praised for their call to christians to take marriage seriously, and for christians not to give up in this fight. It is both a call for christians to take our stand, and also a call for us to recover the biblical definition of marriage. I hope that church leaders will take a serious look into this book and train your congregation to be better equipped to deal with the situation, and to take God’s definition of marriage seriously.

Rating: 4.5/5

If you’re interested, you can get this book here, and here (free international shipping), Kindle.

Disclaimer: I was given this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

For a similar view about this, read this article by Danny Burk on the impact of same-sex marriage.

How did Evil come into the world? & Homosexuality and the Bible? (6/6)

Came across some wonderful resources that I thought would be good for me to share. HT: The Domain for Truth

This speaker is William Edgar, the Professor of Apologetics at Westminster Theological Seminary.

 

How did Evil come into the world?

 

If you’re interested, you can get the booklet here, and here (free international shipping).

 

Homosexuality and the Bible: Who’s is the Best Narrative?