Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Bible's Yes to Same-Sex Marriage: An Evangelical's Change of Heart

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press (June 13, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0664239900
  • ISBN-13: 978-0664239909
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 
In the early 2000's, Mark Achtemeier embarked on a personal journey with the Bible that led him from being a conservative, evangelical opponent of gay rights to an outspoken activist for gay marriage and a fully inclusive church. In "The Bible's Yes to Same-Sex Marriage," Achtemeier shares what led to his change of heart: the problems with excluding groups of people and the insights into the Bible's message that led him to recognize the fullness of God's love and support for LGBT persons. Readers will discover how reading snippets of Scripture out of context has led to false and misleading interpretations of the Bible's message for gay people. Achtemeier shows how a careful reading of the whole Scripture reveals God's good news about love, marriage, and sexuality for gay and straight people alike
  My Impressions:

When this title first came across my e-mail I was a little more than hesitant to yes to this review. I do not believe that the Bible condones same-sex marriage, but since I know many individuals that state they are homosexual or bi-sexual and still believe in God, I knew this was a book I needed to read to have the other view and to be able to think critically about this subject. I also wanted to approach this book without my bias on the subject already in place, which was very difficult to do. After all I am a reasonable person and I do not believe you can argue against something if you do not know the stance and reasons behind those feelings on the other end of the spectrum. 

What bothered my most about this book was how the author tried to explain everything away by using fragmation theory. The author basically states the bible is not whole and complete and parts of the word of God are missing from it that would give us a more complete view of Gods approval for homosexual relationships and marriage. If that is the case, then we would have to call into account the views of every topic within the  whole bible since it is filled with fragments. 

Although my heart breaks for the situations in the lives of those that are struggling with homosexuality, I have to rely on the Word of God as being without error (even if fragmented) and therefore it is a sin. People of God wrestle daily with different trials they must overcome. Sin is sin and it can be very painful to try and lay it at the feet of Jesus and live without something we feel is a natural part of us. God does not give us all our desires, but he gives us what we need in life and with that we are called to glorify Him. The author on numerous occasions alters the word of God by saying we are living and interpreting the Bible on "old translations" and not what we have come to  learn about God. He tells us that Paul's teaching on homosexuality were only for pagens and not believers. Believing that all instances in the bible that talk about homosexuality, including Leviticus, were all fragments that are only read in Biblical, literary, and cultural contexts, they condemn violence and oppression only, not the act of homosexuality.

Although I do not agree with the theology behind this book, it was a thoughtful and critical examination of the topic and I enjoyed the read.   
This book is provided to me courtesy of Westminster John Knox Press and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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