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Homosexuality and the Christian: A Guide for Parents, Pastors, and Friends

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Mark Yarhouse gives honest and accurate answers to parents and pastors who have questions about homosexuality. Throughout the book, the author uses a new framework for understanding the issue, carefully separating the concept of "same sex attraction" from a "gay identity." In a clear and compassionate style, he explains the research regarding what causes same-sex attractio Mark Yarhouse gives honest and accurate answers to parents and pastors who have questions about homosexuality. Throughout the book, the author uses a new framework for understanding the issue, carefully separating the concept of "same sex attraction" from a "gay identity." In a clear and compassionate style, he explains the research regarding what causes same-sex attraction and whether or not it can be overcome. He also discusses what Christians can do when someone they know opens up to them about their homosexual attractions.


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Mark Yarhouse gives honest and accurate answers to parents and pastors who have questions about homosexuality. Throughout the book, the author uses a new framework for understanding the issue, carefully separating the concept of "same sex attraction" from a "gay identity." In a clear and compassionate style, he explains the research regarding what causes same-sex attractio Mark Yarhouse gives honest and accurate answers to parents and pastors who have questions about homosexuality. Throughout the book, the author uses a new framework for understanding the issue, carefully separating the concept of "same sex attraction" from a "gay identity." In a clear and compassionate style, he explains the research regarding what causes same-sex attraction and whether or not it can be overcome. He also discusses what Christians can do when someone they know opens up to them about their homosexual attractions.

30 review for Homosexuality and the Christian: A Guide for Parents, Pastors, and Friends

  1. 4 out of 5

    Adam Gossman

    While this book was a slight breath of fresh air, I think that we are missing the whole, entire point. We are addressing this as "an issue" and that, no matter what your intent, is insulting and, to be honest, archaic. Why is it so hard to put homosexuality on the same line as heterosexuality? Why is it so hard to believe the God who hardened Pharoh's heart and allowed/required Christ's death on the cross as atonement, would not make people gay? And if so, at least they have someone to love. I p While this book was a slight breath of fresh air, I think that we are missing the whole, entire point. We are addressing this as "an issue" and that, no matter what your intent, is insulting and, to be honest, archaic. Why is it so hard to put homosexuality on the same line as heterosexuality? Why is it so hard to believe the God who hardened Pharoh's heart and allowed/required Christ's death on the cross as atonement, would not make people gay? And if so, at least they have someone to love. I put this here with hopes that my conservative friends won't get wind of it and shower me with examples and proof-texted verses- which most all of them have more to do with idolatry- what really pisses God off the most of all the things people can do- than it has to do with sexual attraction. At least this book is a step in the right direction. He seems pretty respectful of both camps. I would recommend it... but at the same time, if you are where I am, by the end you will become frustrated that this is even an "issue" any more. This is people. It is a reality and if we were not so concerned whether we were gay, it would not be so hard. It is a great resource for parents who struggle though, I do appreciate this book. My issue is more with the "argument" on a whole.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Greg Wilson

    Albert Mohler asks a “haunting question” concerning the tragic suicide of the college freshman who was the victim a roommates’ webcast of his homosexual encounter. “Was there no one who could have stood between that boy and that bridge?” (http://www.albertmohler.com/2010/10/0...) All of us struggle with the affects of the fall. The sin nature is as universal as are the ways it manifests itself. However, the vast majority of us cannot imagine what it is like for those who struggle with same-sex at Albert Mohler asks a “haunting question” concerning the tragic suicide of the college freshman who was the victim a roommates’ webcast of his homosexual encounter. “Was there no one who could have stood between that boy and that bridge?” (http://www.albertmohler.com/2010/10/0...) All of us struggle with the affects of the fall. The sin nature is as universal as are the ways it manifests itself. However, the vast majority of us cannot imagine what it is like for those who struggle with same-sex attraction. Conservative churches in general and fundamentalists in particular have been slow to develop a biblical response towards this issue. Professor of Psychology Mark A. Yarhouse has written a book that can at least help get the conversation started. Homosexuality and the Christian: A guide for Parents, Pastors, and Friends is a must read for anyone who has found themselves conflicted over a biblical response to the ever increasing acceptance of homosexual behavior. Chapter One asks “What does God think of Homosexuality?” Yarhouse suggests that rather “than looking at Bible verses related only to homosexuality, it is important to take a broader look at how God’s Word deals with sexuality as a whole. A Christian understanding of sex is best understood through the four stages of redemptive history in the Bible: creation, the fall, redemption, and glorification” (p 19). Chapter Two (“Why is Sexual Identity the Heart of the Matter?) is the most important of the book. The key principle is that “experiencing same-sex attraction is not the same thing as having a gay identity or being gay” (p 105). The author delineates the differences between attraction, orientation and identity (pp 41-43). The problem as he sees it is that we have allowed homosexual advocates to hijack the discussion. “In our culture today, experiences of same-sex attraction are typically treated as synonymous with gay identity, and a gay identity carries with it many connotations; e.g., if you are attracted to the same sex, then you are gay. However, being gay means not only are you attracted to the same sex, but you are personally fulfilled through engagement in same-sex behavior” (p 48) They have done this by supplying the “gay” script. Yarhouse suggests this “script” reads like this • Same –sex attractions signal a naturally occurring or “intended by God” distinction between homosexuality, heterosexuality, and bisexuality. • Same-sex attractions are the way you know who you “really are” as a person (emphasis on discovery). • Same-sex attractions are at the core of who you are as a person. • Same-sex behavior is an extension of that core. • Self-actualization (behavior that matches who you “really are”) of your sexual identity is crucial for your fulfillment (p 49). He suggests another script for Christians however. Instead of allowing their attractions to determine their identity, a believer should develop an identity in Christ. They choose to identify with their beliefs and values. The “identity in Christ script” looks like this • Same-sex attraction does not signal a categorical distinction among types of person, but is one of many human experiences that are “not the way it’s supposed to be.” • Same-sex attractions may be part of your experience, but they are not the defining element of you identity. • You can choose to integrate your experiences of attraction to the same sex into a gay identity. • On the other hand, you can choose to center your identity on other aspects of your experience, including your biological sex, gender identity, and so on. • The most compelling aspect of personhood for the Christian is one’s identity in Christ, a central and defining aspect of what it means to be a follower of Jesus. (p 51) Rather than “discover” who you are, a Christian should “integrate” who they are into their sanctification. It’s not who are you, but who are you in Christ? In other words, a believer’s sanctification process is a battle against whatever sin it is that so easy besets him or her. It is not just giving into one’s particular temptation. There is a great different between same-sex attraction and homosexual behavior. Struggling with one’s “affections” and giving into sin is not the same thing. The sin of homosexuality is committing homosexual acts, not having same-sex attractions. “A person’s attractions or orientation is not something they choose. They find themselves being attracted to the same sex. This is an important point for parents and the church to recognize. But people do have choices to make – choices about their behavior and their identity. They can choose whether or not they engage in same-sex behavior, and they can choose whether or not they integrate their attraction to the same sex into a gay identity” (p 78). What about First Corinthians 6:11? After all, isn’t Paul saying that some of the people in Corinth were homosexual at one time and are now heterosexual? I don’t think we can draw this conclusion from the text. What I think we can say with greater confidence is that people had engaged in patterns of behavior that fell outside of God’s revealed will. Perhaps the pattern of behavior also reflected in some way a condition of the heart. But with the change in behavior came a change in identity, a change in heart. You were this type of person (a person who engaged in this pattern of behavior), but now you are not. This is similar to what Paul is saying about those who committed adultery. Such were some of you. Some of you were adulterers. People ceased to be adulterers when they ceased a pattern of behavior (sex with someone other than their spouse) that characterized them and reflected a condition of their heart (p 192). Other topics dealt with include a discussion of causes of homosexuality, the possibility of changing orientation, how parents should respond, how spouses should respond and questions for the church to ponder. The conclusions and the “take home” bullet points at the end of each chapter are excellent. I do not recommend this book to those, especially young people, who are struggling personally with this issue. As the title says, it is for parents, pastors and friends. Because of its brutal honesty about the difficulty of change, the material needs to be filtered through the loving encouragement of those trying to help someone else. But I do highly recommend it to the target audience. It is certainly not the last word on the subject, but it is an excellent start. To answer Mohler’s question, I want to be that someone. I want individuals in the congregation I pastor to be that someone. I want you to be that someone. Bethany House Publishers freely provided this book for review and there was no expectation of a positive review.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Valerie

    Homosexuality and the Christian: A Guide for Parents, Pastors, and Friends is a thoughtfully delivered book by Professor and Director of the Institute for the Study of Sexual Development, Dr. Mark A. Yarhouse. Not exactly an easy, quick read, it is a thoughtful one. It covers many topics and is beneficial to the Christian homosexual, parents of a homosexual - either adult or teen, people struggling with "how do I respond" to homosexuality, even spouses who've learn of their mate's homosexuality. Homosexuality and the Christian: A Guide for Parents, Pastors, and Friends is a thoughtfully delivered book by Professor and Director of the Institute for the Study of Sexual Development, Dr. Mark A. Yarhouse. Not exactly an easy, quick read, it is a thoughtful one. It covers many topics and is beneficial to the Christian homosexual, parents of a homosexual - either adult or teen, people struggling with "how do I respond" to homosexuality, even spouses who've learn of their mate's homosexuality. I quickly got bogged down in the first section where he breaks homosexuality down into three tiers; same-sex attraction, homosexual orientation, and gay identity. Initially I didn't "get it" but as I read on I grasped the distinctions and saw the benefit of them. My favorite idea presented was that we are all called to be stewards of our sexuality. Not just the homosexual, but all of us. Another favorite section was the church's response and how it's not been altogether helpful in regards to homosexuality. I greatly respect anyone who can address this subject with grace and kindness but also conviction. Dr Yarhouse did that beautifully. My book was provided by Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kendall Davis

    Yarhouse is a shining example of intelligent, thoughtful, careful, and compassionate work on difficult topic. Particularly helpful is his three-tier distinction between attraction, orientation, and identity; his honest presentation of the psychological/sociological data on this topic; his call for compassion, patience, and understanding on the part of orthodox churches; and his attention to the difficult personal and interpersonal dynamics at play. Yarhouse models an approach that recognizes tha Yarhouse is a shining example of intelligent, thoughtful, careful, and compassionate work on difficult topic. Particularly helpful is his three-tier distinction between attraction, orientation, and identity; his honest presentation of the psychological/sociological data on this topic; his call for compassion, patience, and understanding on the part of orthodox churches; and his attention to the difficult personal and interpersonal dynamics at play. Yarhouse models an approach that recognizes that we are primarily dealing with an issue of pastoral care for actual people and not primarily an abstract ethical-theological debate. It's not fault of Yarhouse, but culturally things have changed so much with regard to this issue since he wrote this that at times the book does feel slightly dated, but not in any way that hampers Yarhouse' main points.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Carrie Daws

    I thought this was a good discussion on a complex and sensitive topic, encouraging everyone to find their identity in Christ. The author did well in laying out his case with great compassion for all. His experience in counseling came through on every page.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    As much as I adore Yarhouse's positive, open-minded outlook, and his sincere attempt to be objective about the matter, I believe this book starts on a false definition of what homosexuality is, causing the entire second half of the book to simply collapse on itself. Near the beginning of the book, he outlines a "three-tier" process, one by which a person would measure his or her attractions to the same gender, versus an actual gay identity. It is as follows: there are same-sex attractions, which As much as I adore Yarhouse's positive, open-minded outlook, and his sincere attempt to be objective about the matter, I believe this book starts on a false definition of what homosexuality is, causing the entire second half of the book to simply collapse on itself. Near the beginning of the book, he outlines a "three-tier" process, one by which a person would measure his or her attractions to the same gender, versus an actual gay identity. It is as follows: there are same-sex attractions, which someone does not choose to have; homosexual orientation, which is a clear preference for the same gender (he admits we don't know exactly how nature and nurture fit in quite yet); and the "gay identity," which someone *does* choose to take, and as he indicates on page 202, consists of conforming to the gay subculture. More on this later. He claims that most people who have chosen to identify as gay have internalized a certain "script," a series of personal assumptions that culminate to make someone believe they are gay. He then posits that if the church were to create a different "script," we could prevent people with same sex attractions from labeling themselves as gay. This position is invalid for multiple reasons. One, "gay" does not mean "conforming to the gay subculture" any more than "enjoying rock music" means "conforming to the punk subculture." Someone who claims to be gay merely acknowledges that they wish to be in a sexual relationship with someone of the same gender. That's IT. There is literally nothing else that all gay people have in common. The second tier of "sexual orientation" IS the third tier! There's no difference! So by the author's own logic, being gay is not a choice, at least not a totally conscious one. Also, I know plenty of gay people who have never followed the "script" he speaks of. The entire argument seems implausible and unnecessarily complicated. At one point, he even admits that gay people who have embraced their identity are happier than "ex-gays," as they're called. It seems to me that everyone would be happier if we all just had equal rights. In that sense, this book almost makes the argument for me.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ernie Bowman

    Homosexuality and the Christian by Mark Yarhouse is supposed to be “a guide for parents, pastors, and friends.” Overall it was a good book and one that I think accomplishes a needed and significant thing for Christian readers. The author helpfully and clearly distinguishes between same-sex attractions, homosexual orientation, and a gay identity. He emphasizes this three tiered distinction of description throughout the book and if that is all he accomplished it would have been worth it. Too many Homosexuality and the Christian by Mark Yarhouse is supposed to be “a guide for parents, pastors, and friends.” Overall it was a good book and one that I think accomplishes a needed and significant thing for Christian readers. The author helpfully and clearly distinguishes between same-sex attractions, homosexual orientation, and a gay identity. He emphasizes this three tiered distinction of description throughout the book and if that is all he accomplished it would have been worth it. Too many of us (on both sides of the issue) confuse those three. On the other hand I was slightly disappointed with the lack of active guidance on what to actually do when you are confronted by some of the issues he raises in the book, but I think that disappointment is owing more to my unfair expectations than to any fault on his part. Yarhouse is teaching us how to think, but not necessarily what to do. I can accept that and be thankful for the lesson. If you can’t readily articulate the difference between same-sex attractions, homosexual orientation, and a gay identity, or you don’t understand how such distinctions will impact your counseling or decisions, I recommend reading the book.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Allison

    This book was better than I expected. I appreciate that it was well written, and the author has created some frameworks for Christians to consider sexuality in a way they might not before. He has come up with some ideas and structures that seem to really help many of his clients begin to accept themselves, which is really valuable. It is understandable that he starts the book of with his argument for why "homosexual acts" are sin, and why his premise is based in helping Christians with same sex This book was better than I expected. I appreciate that it was well written, and the author has created some frameworks for Christians to consider sexuality in a way they might not before. He has come up with some ideas and structures that seem to really help many of his clients begin to accept themselves, which is really valuable. It is understandable that he starts the book of with his argument for why "homosexual acts" are sin, and why his premise is based in helping Christians with same sex attraction understand themselves, but it's unfortunate that he doesn't also give any weight to the fact that there are also other views, and the "accepting" view is legitimate. His attitude and posture is kind and gracious, and he gives many important reminders to the Church. But I think this book is always going to be very limited for who it can help.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kimberley Mundil

    I found this book quite disturbing as it appears to support the "sincere strugglers" and then is critical and judgemental that the "advocate" is trying to change Chrisian doctrine. Having worked with a variety of individuals who struggle and who are very comfortable with their sexual orientation and sexual identify, it seemed to me that this book is shaming unless they are willing to deny their attraction and follow the Christian doctrine. I was sadly disappointed and it would not be a text that I found this book quite disturbing as it appears to support the "sincere strugglers" and then is critical and judgemental that the "advocate" is trying to change Chrisian doctrine. Having worked with a variety of individuals who struggle and who are very comfortable with their sexual orientation and sexual identify, it seemed to me that this book is shaming unless they are willing to deny their attraction and follow the Christian doctrine. I was sadly disappointed and it would not be a text that I would encourage any of my clients who are struggling in the realm of their faith and sexual identify to read.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Katja Jablonski

    A one star rating demands a review. Some of my dislike for this book has to do with its dismissal of the questions I was asking and its focus on the questions I didn't care about. So the author had different intentions for his book. However... Much of the book was focused on answering what causes homosexuality and whether sexual orientation can be changed. Yarhouse supports conversion therapy (that in itself is enough for one star...). In arguing this point, he presented many different studies but A one star rating demands a review. Some of my dislike for this book has to do with its dismissal of the questions I was asking and its focus on the questions I didn't care about. So the author had different intentions for his book. However... Much of the book was focused on answering what causes homosexuality and whether sexual orientation can be changed. Yarhouse supports conversion therapy (that in itself is enough for one star...). In arguing this point, he presented many different studies but curiously only explained the ones that supported his belief that conversion therapy is not harmful. (One of the doctors cited as supporting conversion therapy has since publicly apologized) This book was also painfully repetitive. I likely would not have finished it if it weren't for a class. In the last chapter, Yarhouse summarized every argument in the book without providing any feeling of cohesion or conclusion. Not a great way to end a book. If you have questions about same sex attraction, find a different book!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Tim Hall

    This book was a challenge to read. It was well written and well researched information on same sex orientation. It was a lot of information to digest. I really appreciated the challenge to churches to hold all struggles to the same level of critique. I appreciated the challenge to live love out loud, even when it's uncomfortable. This book was a challenge to read. It was well written and well researched information on same sex orientation. It was a lot of information to digest. I really appreciated the challenge to churches to hold all struggles to the same level of critique. I appreciated the challenge to live love out loud, even when it's uncomfortable.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Chris Pitts

    A well-researched book but one that should be approached with great discernment. Take the research, critique the recommendations. The author does helpfully distinguish among attraction, orientation and identity; and we all must find our identity solely in Christ.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

    Highly recommend - a great tool for parents to be equipped in initiating this conversation in their homes.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Joshua Stager

    This is a great summary of the traditional Christian perspective on sexuality, bathed in charity and humility.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Alonzo Berry

    Must read for Christians finding understanding on the subject of homosexuality.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Benjamin

    (See handwritten review)

  17. 5 out of 5

    Brad

    A tender book on a tough topic. And it should be near the top of the reading list for such an important topic. The author (Professor of Psychology at Regent University) writes from his experience as a researcher, a professional psychologist and counselor, a member of the American Psychological Association, and as a Christian. In the last chapter, Yarhouse calls for humility and charity when interacting with the issues surrounding same-sex attraction, and he models both well in this book. In addi A tender book on a tough topic. And it should be near the top of the reading list for such an important topic. The author (Professor of Psychology at Regent University) writes from his experience as a researcher, a professional psychologist and counselor, a member of the American Psychological Association, and as a Christian. In the last chapter, Yarhouse calls for humility and charity when interacting with the issues surrounding same-sex attraction, and he models both well in this book. In addition to his humble, charitable, and a caring tone, Yarhouse’s work is well researched and well laid out. The book is also realistic about the struggles people have with same-sex attraction. From an Organizational Standpoint... The book divides into three sections. Part One deals with the Big Picture questions: (1) What Does God Think About Homosexuality? (2) Why is Sexual Identity the Heart of the Matter? (3) What Causes Homosexuality? (4) Can Someone Change Sexual Orientation? Part Two deals with Honest Answers to Questions Facing Families: (5) What If My Child or Teen Announces a Gay Identity? (6) My Adult Child Announced a Gay Identity: What Now? (7) What If My Spouse Announces a Gay Identity? Part Three deals with Questions for the Church: (8) Whose People Are We Talking About? (9) What Is The Church’s Response to Enduring Conditions? The last chapter (10) provides a helpful summary of each chapter in the book, and would also serve as good starting point to help orient the reader the book’s content and approach. Also, Chapters 1-9 conclude with “Take Home Points,” which provide a bullet point summary of the main argument in each chapter. From a Theological Standpoint... The most helpful chapters are 1-2, 8-9, where Yarhouse emphasizes how the issue fits in the flow of redemptive history and how the Christian worldview provides an alternative script to the one provided by the homosexual community at large. Must one put his or her identity in the same-sex attraction or same-sex orientation; or is there there actually another identity to consider? Yarhouse asserts that for a Christian our real identity is found in Christ and anything less is counterfeit. From a Psychological Standpoint... The most helpful chapters are 3-4. In Chapters 3-4 Yardouse provides summaries of several psychological studies conducted over the last several years. He interacts briefly with each study, pointing out the potential errors as well as contributions of such studies. Chapter 3 ends with a quotation from the APA: “There is no consensus among scientists about the exact reasons that an individual develops heterosexual, bisexual, gay, or lesbian orientation” (79). These chapters were valuable to me in orienting myself to the studies that have been done, and the chapters also injected some honesty and realism into the whole issue. From a Pastoral Standpoint... The most helpful chapters are 2, 8 and 5-7. In Chapters 2 and 8 Yarhouse provides valuable insight in how to frame the discussion when reaching out to someone who want helps. It’s here where readers will benefit from his insights as a psychologist and a professional counselor. He argues we should encourage discussion within the framework of a three-tier distinction: same-sex attraction, homosexual orientation, and identity. In Chapters 5-7 Yarhouse provides helpful guidelines and insights for helping people who are affected in various ways by the issue: a teen, an adult child, and a spouse. Two "weaknesses" of the book. 1.The book relies heavily on a psychological model, which leads to the second weakness. 2. The book doesn’t interact much with Scriptural data on the issue. This is not to say he doesn’t quote the Bible, or he doesn’t affirm the supreme authority of the Bible (cf. 163-164; 183). But readers who are interested in a vigorous interaction with what the Bible says on the issue will need to look elsewhere. Again, this book shouldn’t be the only work one reads on the subject, but it's an important one.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Yiya

    In this book, Mr. Yarhouse describes his concern for the current way of dealing with homosexuality. As an experienced counselor, he is worried about the lack of empathy and understanding that people show, particularly for those parents who are not available, would not listen nor interact with their children when they express their interest for the same sex. He divides the book in three parts. In the first one, the author makes a sort of trip through history and customs in order to define what ho In this book, Mr. Yarhouse describes his concern for the current way of dealing with homosexuality. As an experienced counselor, he is worried about the lack of empathy and understanding that people show, particularly for those parents who are not available, would not listen nor interact with their children when they express their interest for the same sex. He divides the book in three parts. In the first one, the author makes a sort of trip through history and customs in order to define what homosexuality is. The second part is addressed to families that are dealing with a homosexual member and the third one considers the same, but in a church environment. I was disappointed when reading the first part, because there is such a resemblance with humanistic and philosophical texts, specifically with the politically correct speech with which Mr. Yarhouse carefully makes his statements. Actually, it seems that he is tiptoeing around the issue. For example, he says that "our conclusion is that homosexual behavior is not appropriate for the Christ-follower." (Page 35) It is unclear if he is saying that homosexual behavior is then appropriate for those who are not Christ-followers, particularly after considering biblical, scientific, social, ecclesiastical, cultural and doctrinal arguments. In this respect, I would have liked that he were a little more exact with his opinion, so that it did not seem as a justification for homosexuality or weakness of biblical principles. However, he does bring out a very good point, the fact that homosexuality is not the only sin and is often THE only sin many tend to see, forgetting about greed, lack of love, pride, guilt or labeling others. My opinion began to shift with the next sections, despite humanistic values permeating in the text. Mr. Yarhouse considers that there is a difference between attraction, orientation and identity. From this point on, he exposes how it is that people consider a number of factors that influence their decision to adapt their behavior and shape it into a homosexual identity. Therefore, he invites us to be good stewards of our sexuality, taking care of ourselves and our marriages, not conforming to the culture of this world (therefore, affecting our society and its worldview), as we also better our relationship with God. He invites people to be humble and charitable and consider a different approach, and empathic one, for the mere fact that Jesus also died for homosexuals. By doing so, he also invites us to reflect on what it is we believe and why, and not take judgment into our hands. What I think is the best way to summarize Mr. Yarhouse's opinion is a testimony of a homosexual man who was driven to church by Christians who showed him love and not rejection; he was authentically wanting to have a relationship with God (page 96). This man describes how, during prayer, God put in his heart the conviction that he had to change his preferences because they did not agree with Him. He says that his life was never the same after that prayer; I think this is what the author intends to take the readers to, focusing not on a sexual identity, but on identity in God. Bethany House Publishers gave me a copy of this book in exchange for a review, and this does not bias my opinion about the book or the author.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Clifford Luebben

    If I could describe this book in one word, it would be honest. Yarhouse is honest about how families and faith communities have struggled and continue to struggle with the issue of homosexuality. While he does give a brief defense of the conservative, Evangelical Christian view of the issue, that is not the main point of the book. It is really a practical guide for those who already hold to this understanding. Dr. Yarhouse is honest about what research has concluded about how same-sex attraction If I could describe this book in one word, it would be honest. Yarhouse is honest about how families and faith communities have struggled and continue to struggle with the issue of homosexuality. While he does give a brief defense of the conservative, Evangelical Christian view of the issue, that is not the main point of the book. It is really a practical guide for those who already hold to this understanding. Dr. Yarhouse is honest about what research has concluded about how same-sex attraction originates and the possibility of change, but attempts to turn our focus away from that. He is honest about the struggles Christian families go through when a member "comes out" - both the struggle of the "outed" as well as the rest - and how to realistically work through it, not to force each other to accept each others views, but to walk through struggle respectful of all parties involved. Yarhouse is also honest about how the church has often failed to be there for its members who struggle with the reality of their same-sex attraction and gives us some better guidance to work through it. The big idea Yarhouse constantly pushes for throughout the book is to separate same-sex attraction from identity. One does not have to make their sexuality a core aspect of their identity; especially if you're a Christian. I suspect most of those that hold to the ideals of the Gay Agenda would still find much of the book offensive, but I hope they would still find his more understanding approach to those attracted to the same sex refreshing. Due to the cultural attention and confusion currently surrounding the issue of homosexuality and the haphazard approach the church is currently been taking, I would recommend any Christian read this book, especially Christian leaders, but any Christian may find themselves in need of the information at some point in their walk

  20. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Richey

    Yarhouse provides some helpful distinctions and categories to frame same-sex attraction and Christian faith. I think this will be a helpful and compassionate resource for working through how to respond as Christians.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Darrell

    As a researcher and psychologist, one of Dr. Yarhouse's greatest contributions to any discussion about same-sex attractions is his ability to communicate with and challenge the Christian faith community. He addresses the usual topics most people are interested in (what causes homosexuality?, can someone change sexual orientation?, how should I respond if someone I love announces a gay identity?, etc.). But he also emphasizes two points I think too many people overlook: (1) A discussion about sexu As a researcher and psychologist, one of Dr. Yarhouse's greatest contributions to any discussion about same-sex attractions is his ability to communicate with and challenge the Christian faith community. He addresses the usual topics most people are interested in (what causes homosexuality?, can someone change sexual orientation?, how should I respond if someone I love announces a gay identity?, etc.). But he also emphasizes two points I think too many people overlook: (1) A discussion about sexual identity can be more constructive than the narrow (and often divisive) debates about what causes sexual orientation and whether it could be changed. (2) Rather than being marginalized by the church, the sexual minority Christian should be embraced as a valuable member of his or her spiritual community. I believe these three quotes are representative of the tone and approach you will find in this book . . . "The church doesn't lead with the thought and attitude that Christians who struggle with homosexuality are our people." But it should. - page 157 "Questions about causation and change are important" but "the traditional Christian sexual ethic does not hinge on the causes of sexual attraction or orientation." And "the gospel does not hinge on whether people can experience change of sexual orientation." - pages 163 - 164, 182 "When churches value being single not as a stage to 'get through' but as a good state to be in, they can provide a place that is valued and meaningful to the Christian who is also a sexual minority." - page 173

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy

    This book was incredibly helpful to me in understanding and filtering the hyperbolic claims on the opposite poles of the same-sex attraction dialog. Yarhouse's fleshing out of the three tiered process of attraction, orientation, and identity is incredibly helpful, and created a nuanced framework for engaging in dialog about our identity being found in Christ and not other attributes of our selfhood. Yarhouse writes from the perspective of a psychologist and therapist, presenting research from an This book was incredibly helpful to me in understanding and filtering the hyperbolic claims on the opposite poles of the same-sex attraction dialog. Yarhouse's fleshing out of the three tiered process of attraction, orientation, and identity is incredibly helpful, and created a nuanced framework for engaging in dialog about our identity being found in Christ and not other attributes of our selfhood. Yarhouse writes from the perspective of a psychologist and therapist, presenting research from an objective viewpoint and illuminating overstated conclusions put forth by researchers in all camps. Yarhouse's emphasis on grace and love is also vital and I appreciate his return to it throughout the book. Highly recommended book.

  23. 5 out of 5

    David Monreal

    Excellent book on the topic of same-sex attraction coming from a conservative Christian position. He is careful in expressing his ideas to not cause confusion or misunderstanding. He tries to move the debate beyond the positions that people don’t change vs. homosexuality is s choice. He uses Wesley’s quadrilateral as a prism to evaluate the “Christian” response to SSA and homosexual behavior. This may have a broader appeal to the culture but may seem as a concession or compromise to many Evangel Excellent book on the topic of same-sex attraction coming from a conservative Christian position. He is careful in expressing his ideas to not cause confusion or misunderstanding. He tries to move the debate beyond the positions that people don’t change vs. homosexuality is s choice. He uses Wesley’s quadrilateral as a prism to evaluate the “Christian” response to SSA and homosexual behavior. This may have a broader appeal to the culture but may seem as a concession or compromise to many Evangelicals. However, the majority of the book wrestled well with the biblical position on sexuality. I would put this in the top three books to read on the subject.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Rob McFarren

    Good book and primer...particularly for those coming from a Christian background. While many will jump to conclusions one way or another, I felt the author, as a Psy.D., did a great job of showing the understanding for practical understanding without first coming from a political or ideological viewpoint. The way of understanding this situation when close to home for so many is important. Not simply to deny, or to embrace, but to acknowledge our equality with them, in a broken world, and embraci Good book and primer...particularly for those coming from a Christian background. While many will jump to conclusions one way or another, I felt the author, as a Psy.D., did a great job of showing the understanding for practical understanding without first coming from a political or ideological viewpoint. The way of understanding this situation when close to home for so many is important. Not simply to deny, or to embrace, but to acknowledge our equality with them, in a broken world, and embracing each others brokenness to move forward - this book is a tool in that direction.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Chuck Bonadies

    There is no need to restate all that Brad writes in his very helpful review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/.... I simply add, Yarhouse seeks to move beyond the causes of homosexuality to more helpful discussions. One strength of the book is how he author deconstructs the 'gay script' (I am attracted to people of the same sex, therefore I must identify myself as a homosexual). Furthermore, Yarhouse is realistic in what it means to 'change.' Great read! CB There is no need to restate all that Brad writes in his very helpful review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/.... I simply add, Yarhouse seeks to move beyond the causes of homosexuality to more helpful discussions. One strength of the book is how he author deconstructs the 'gay script' (I am attracted to people of the same sex, therefore I must identify myself as a homosexual). Furthermore, Yarhouse is realistic in what it means to 'change.' Great read! CB

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jonny

    I don't agree with everything Yarhouse says here, but he offers a great alternative script to the condemning one the church typically offers. It's helpful for me in the context of our ministry. I will note that he seems to writing to a conservative audience, so it can challenging to read. But I understand his context, so I can empathize. Recommended for parents and pastors. I don't agree with everything Yarhouse says here, but he offers a great alternative script to the condemning one the church typically offers. It's helpful for me in the context of our ministry. I will note that he seems to writing to a conservative audience, so it can challenging to read. But I understand his context, so I can empathize. Recommended for parents and pastors.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Travis Heystek

    This was a great book. I'd consider it a must read for pastors, especially those serving in an urban setting. Yardhouse presents a biblical perspective and approaches the topic with grace. There are a lot of questions we ought to be asking as Christians and Yardhouse does a great job getting the ball rolling. This was a great book. I'd consider it a must read for pastors, especially those serving in an urban setting. Yardhouse presents a biblical perspective and approaches the topic with grace. There are a lot of questions we ought to be asking as Christians and Yardhouse does a great job getting the ball rolling.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Goletagoodland

    Well thought out and explained, Yarhouse shows the empathy from years of practice in this writing. He challenges the church and those outside the church to see the other's view. His scholarly approach seems to match the real world by always allowing for shades along the continuum rather than all or nothing. He allows for nuance and earned my ear. Well thought out and explained, Yarhouse shows the empathy from years of practice in this writing. He challenges the church and those outside the church to see the other's view. His scholarly approach seems to match the real world by always allowing for shades along the continuum rather than all or nothing. He allows for nuance and earned my ear.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Rod White

    This gave me some science for our statement "Why we do not have a 'gay policy.'" I think he makes a sympathetic response to the identity politics that is influencing everyone so much. I don't agree with everything he says - but who could write a book like that, anyway? This gave me some science for our statement "Why we do not have a 'gay policy.'" I think he makes a sympathetic response to the identity politics that is influencing everyone so much. I don't agree with everything he says - but who could write a book like that, anyway?

  30. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

    i think it provided the intellectual space to clear up a lot of stuff, and i agreed that identity should be in Christ. Also related to a lot of possible causes.

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