New Morning Mercies

New Morning Mercies, by Paul David Tripp, is a devotional that seeks to help its readers to remember just how good God’s mercy really is. Tripp writes:

One of the stunning realities of the Christian life is that in a world where everything is in some state of decay, God’s mercies never grow old. They never run out. They are never ill timed. They never dry up. They never grow weak. They never, ever fail, because they really are new every morning.

The devotional is comprised of 365 readings on mercy, one for each day. Covering topics from “rebuking mercies” to “hope-giving mercies” this devotional is filled with God’s mercy. Each day is organized in a simple format. The devotion starts with a short, concise, summary sentence that Tripp has previously tweeted. The tweet is then followed with a short devotion that can be read in a few minutes. The devotionals are easy to read, filled with Scripture, and always encouraging. After the devotional, for further study and reflection, there are Scripture references given so that the reader can study and go deeper.

(To continue reading, click here.  This post was orignially posted at LifeWay Pastors.)

What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality?

Kevin DeYoung in his new book, What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality?, gives a concise evangelical guide to the issue of homosexuality. Divided into two parts, 12 chapters, and only 150 pages, this book is easily readable in one or two sittings. Part one—chapters one through five—tackles the significant biblical texts that deal with homosexuality and shows how they clearly prohibit homosexual behavior. He looks at Genesis 1 & 2, Genesis 19, Leviticus 18 & 20, Romans 1, 1 Corinthians 6, and 1 Timothy 1 to build a Biblical view on homosexuality. Each of the five chapters dealing with a biblical text is organized similarly. First, DeYoung shares the biblical text in question; then he gives common revisionist objections to why this should be read as not necessarily against homosexual behavior; and then he concludes with his own reading of the text.

Part two of the book—chapters six through twelve—answers the most common objections from revisionist Christians who believe that homosexual activity is not sinful. He answers objections like,

The Bible hardly mentions homosexuality
The Bible doesn’t prohibit committed, monogamous same-sex relationships
The Bible also condemns gluttony and divorce but the church doesn’t make a big deal out of those
Being against homosexuality is to be on the wrong side of history
It’s just not fair that God wouldn’t let someone express his/her love in a same-sex relationship

(To continue reading, click here. This post was originally posted at LifeWay Pastors.)

Love into Light

Love into Light

Peter Hubbard. Love Into Light: The Gospel, the Homosexual, and the Church. Greenville, SC: Ambassador International, 2013. 176 pp. $12.99.

In the midst of cultural chaos, the church is being pressed on every side to explain why homosexuality is not part of God’s good plan. So we need substantive, evangelical books on the issue of homosexuality. Peter Hubbard’s Love Into Light: The Gospel, the Homosexual, and the Church is such a book—one every pastor and lay leader should have and read.

Put simply, Love Into Light is a good book because it’s centered on Christ and glorifying to God. One of the weaknesses in the ex-gay community is an overreliance on psychoanalytic frameworks for purity and transformation. Same-sex strugglers don’t need more psychoanalysis; they need more Jesus. As Hubbard writes, “Jesus came to model and mediate the cure” (47). And while Hubbard uses psychological concepts in his book, they are not central. What is? Beautiful confidence in the person and work of Jesus. You get the sense that Hubbard and his church have seen Christ do marvelous things with those who struggle with same-sex attraction, and they want you and your church to experience the same thing.

(For the complete post, click here.  This post originally was published at The Gospel Coalition.)

Bible, Gender & Sexuality

James V. Brownson. Bible, Gender, Sexuality: Reframing the Church’s Debate on Same-Sex Relationships. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2013. 312 pp. $29.00.

I am acquainted with this book’s author, James Brownson, and I like him. He’s always been kind and gracious to me. Among other things, he’s a leading theological voice on issues of sexuality in the denomination in which I pastor (Reformed Church of America); to say I was interested in what he’d have to say about homosexuality is an understatement. I read Bible, Gender, Sexuality thoroughly and carefully. I was touched by Brownson’s personal family story and thankful for his thoughtful writing. But his book deeply saddened me, and I believe it should sadden all others who follow Jesus. At the end of the book, Brownson writes:

Can we imagine a world in which the divine pronouncement at the beginning of creation, “It is not good for the man to be alone” (Gen. 2:18), might find a range of deeply satisfying resolutions, from heterosexual marriage, to celibate communities, to gay and lesbian committed unions?. . . . For some Christians, this vision is imaginable as a form of “accommodation” in a broken world. . . . Other Christians may be more ready to acknowledge that, throughout the natural order, same-sex attraction is a naturally recurring “minority” experience. These Christians may celebrate the way in which, by the providence of God, such “queer” folk can naturally deconstruct the pervasive tendencies of majority voices to become oppressive and exclusionary. In this vision, the inclusion of committed gay and lesbian unions represents . . . [a] rather offbeat redemptive purpose in the new creation. (252, 253)

Brownson gets to this point via a complete reconstruction of the biblical narrative concerning sexuality. Unfortunately, however, he builds his biblical narrative on a shaky foundation. Below I have identified several problems with Brownson’s vision of sexuality. Though by no means exhaustive, I think they will grieve your heart like they did mine.

(To continue reading, click here.  This post was originally posted at The Gospel Coalition)