Transforming Homosexuality: What the Bible Says About Sexual Orientation and Change Denny Burk and Heath Lambert (P & R Publishing 2015, $9.99)
The gospel ultimately demands a heart change from homosexuals, Boyce College professors Denny Burk and Heath Lambert write in their new book Transforming Homosexuality. Burk, a professor of biblical studies at Boyce, and Lambert, executive director of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors and assistant professor of biblical counseling, examine how the truth of the gospel is for homosexuals because it is for all people. While homosexuality might be an uncomfortable subject to talk about, the authors say the Bible sets clear boundaries that need to be revealed.
“If we withhold that truth from them out of fear of offending them, then we don’t love them. We cut them off from salvation,” they write. “The only way for them to be saved is to receive Christ. The only way to receive Christ is by repentance and faith.”
Written for an audience who has an interest in what the Bible says about sexuality, the main goal behind the book is to be persuasive about the truth found in Scripture, specifically relating to homosexuality, by combining a discussion on ethics and ministry to provide biblical truth and practical application.
Expositing Ephesians 5, the book challenges readers to consider the depth of their sin, and to “humbly confess this reality is the only way to experience the full, saving love of Jesus Christ.” Burk and Lambert argue that holiness is the pursuit of sinners made possible only through the repentance and belief in Jesus as Lord and Savior.
“In place of sexual immorality, impurity, and covetousness, Paul tells us to put on thanksgiving,” they write. “As same-sex attracted men and women walk the path of repentance toward change, one of the most practical things they can do is to be thankful. … Be thankful for God’s unflinching purpose to make you like Christ. … God will never waste your struggle. He is sanctifying you. Be grateful.”
The book emphasizes clearly that the goal for a person who struggles with same-sex attraction is not to be attracted to the opposite sex, but to “seek to honor Jesus with their sexuality.”
Lambert and Burk also make a clear distinction that sin is not only a choice, but it is part of being human; it is innate. This impacts the depth to which people understand their fallen nature and the distortion of being image-bearers of God.
“The truth is that persons with same-sex attraction, like all of us, are far more sinful than they have been told,” they write. “The good news of the love of Jesus Christ means that grace is always greater than all of our sin. Jesus lived. Jesus died. Jesus rose. Those realities are the foundation of the truth that ‘Where sin increases, grace abounds all the more’ (Rom 5:20).”
They also challenge the notion that sexual orientation can be an identity marker for a Christian.
“Accepting sexual orientation as an identity-defining element of the human condition is foreign to Scripture — except as a feature of human sinfulness,” they write. “We are not to define ourselves as the sum total of fallen sexual desire. We are to define ourselves according to the purposes that God has revealed in his Word.”
The book also encourages believers to minister to people who struggle with same-sex attraction by speaking the truth of the gospel in love and humility. Transforming Homosexuality offers hope for sinners by reminding them of the grace of the gospel that provides the power to change through the process of sanctification.