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Homosexuality and the Christian: A Guide for Parents, Pastors, and Friends Paperback – September 1, 2010

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Editorial Reviews


Yarhouse challenges the church to provide an alternative script, one that makes identity in Christ central, and therefore carefully distinguishes between temptation, behavior, and the center of one's identity. By taking into consideration those with same-sex attraction who nevertheless reject the gay identity, Yarhouse shifts the conversation from the causes of homosexuality to the choices one makes regarding the will of God. --Christianity Today

About the Author

Mark A. Yarhouse is a professor of psychology and the director of the Institute for the Study of Sexual Identity at Regent University. He is also part of a group practice in the Virginia Beach area, providing individual, couples, family, and group counsel
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (September 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764207318
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764207310
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #55,541 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Mark Yarhouse is the Hughes Endowed Chair and Professor of Psychology at Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia, where he directs the Institute for the Study of Sexual Identity.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

68 of 78 people found the following review helpful By John Bird on October 2, 2010
Format: Paperback
The Christian conversation on homosexuality is often marked by a lack of humility, compassion, and understanding. In his new book, Homosexuality and the Christian: A Guide for Parents, Pastors, and Friends, Mark A. Yarhouse (Professor of Psychology at Regent University) reminds the church that "real, hurting people--Christians and non believers alike--are...struggling with the issue." And he introduces a new way to look at the topic. In fact, he says that his goal is "to do nothing less than change the entire conversation."

When talking about homosexuality, Yarhouse uses a three-tier distinction: attraction, orientation, and identity. One may experience an isolated or occasional attraction to the same sex without having a same-sex orientation. One may have a same-sex orientation, yet choose not to accept a gay identity. Yarhouse argues that neither of these first two tiers is the result of choice. The last tier is where choice comes in. How does one respond to sexual desire? And what, or who, should a Christian place at the center of their identity?

The "gay script" tells sexual minorities that "same-sex attractions are at the core of who [they] are as a person." Therefore, those with same-sex attractions should form their identity around their homosexuality. This includes engaging in same-sex behavior. But there's an alternative for the Christian. Instead of basing an identity upon sexual desire, a Christian's identity is "in Christ." Same-sex attraction doesn't define a person. Rather, it is one part of human experience. Part of the human experience that, because of the fall, is "not the way it's supposed to be."

In part one of his book, Yarhouse addresses the obvious questions: what does God think about homosexuality, and what causes homosexuality?
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By J. Bailey on January 26, 2011
Format: Paperback
Homosexuality is one of those topics that never dies. Everyone has an opinion whether they voice it actively or not, but they probably do voice it (and do so at length with suitable levels of anger at the people who disagree). Unfortunately, Homosexuality has become a sort of litmus test, an easy way to determine what sort of Christian someone is in a short period of time. It's like a bizarre creed one must recite to maintain inclusion in the orthodoxy club. Even now, I'm tempted to assert my own opinions about the matter so people won't run with the ambiguity. In such an environment, do we really need another book about the Christian response to homosexuality from the conservative position. If the book were written by a pastor or theologian, I would say no, but the book is, in fact, written by a well-respected Psychologist who is an active participant in his field. (That is to say, he is not a "Christian Psychologist" a la Dobson.)

That said, from what I can tell, Yarhouse definitely falls under the category of a theological conservative. I base this conclusion on the manner of his telling of the overarching story of humanity (fall, original sin, etc.). The way it is written, I have no doubt it would garner the Al Mohler seal of approval. However, this does not dictate his response to the origin and reversibility of same-sex attraction. Yarhouse's conclusions surrounding these issues is thoroughly scientific. Yes, he challenges the flaws in some studies that have led to dramatic overstatement, but there is no apologetic effort to take on the scientific establishment.
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22 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Yiya Cucuy on January 27, 2011
Format: Paperback
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.
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