40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on July 3, 2013
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
In Love Into Light Peter Hubbard delves into one of the most defining issues of our day. Homosexuality. While opposing sides hunker down in their trenches to wage a cultural war, I found it refreshing to drink deeply from a gospel-saturated perspective.
You should read this book if:
- You are a Christian who is uncomfortable with the false claim that homosexuals are "abnormal" or are unredeemable
- You struggle with same-sex attraction (SSA), you're lonely, and you feel hopeless
- You feel unsettled around homosexuals (or the thought of being around them makes you cringe)
Hubbard lays out three goals, which I've taken from the introduction:
- that ministry leaders would compassionately talk about and engage the SSA issue in a biblical way
- that lonely, silent SSA strugglers within our churches would feel loved
- and that the church, all believers, would shift from reacting to media and political stories, to proactively engage our homosexual neighbors with the same love and the same truth that Jesus is offering to us
Will ministry leaders engage? I certainly hope so. Because the church's silence on the issue is deafening. Will silent SSA strugglers feel loved? I believe they will, based on the grace-infused stories of hope given as examples in the book. Will believers shift from reaction to proactive engagement? After reading Love Into Light I feel so much better equipped to listen and engage someone with differing struggles than my own.
I hope my review encourages you to read Love Into Light. I found it thought-provoking, enlightening, and presumption-altering.
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on August 13, 2013
Most Christians agree that we should "hate the sin but love the sinner" when it comes to our belief about homosexuals. But when it comes to our actions, we end up hating the sin but leaving the loving part to someone else. We are not sure what the loving part should look like and are afraid to try.
Love into Light challenges churches to begin thinking differently about people who struggle with same sex attraction, both in and outside of their assemblies. Having listened carefully to many homosexuals and to God's Word, Peter Hubbard's guidance is truthful, loving and practical. He generously illustrates his guidance with testimonies, many from the church where he is teaching pastor.
In his first chapter Hubbard lays the foundation by examining why Christians are silent. We think that: 1) homosexuals are abnormal and not welcome around "churchy" people; 2) homosexuality is uniquely insidious and unnatural; 3) homosexuals have an identity that prevents them from fitting in anywhere in church; and 4) homosexuals cannot have hope of ever really changing.
These reasons reveal not only a misunderstanding of homosexuality, Hubbard contends, but more importantly, a poor understanding of the Gospel. So he rewords each reason in light of how the Gospel can transform all of us.
He explains that 1) we are all image bearers of God marred by sin, so all sin is abnormal; 2) all sin is twisted, and although the Bible describes homosexuality as "contrary to nature," that is because it is "a physical illustration of our spiritual condition" as idolaters; 3) by receiving the righteousness of Christ by grace, we can all receive a new identity with Him, no longer defined by our sin; and 4) our "new identity `in Christ' is not simply individual, but communal." It does not preclude temptation, whether homoerotic desire, or any other kind. So "homosexuals and heterosexuals hope in grace together."
In the remainder of the book Hubbard unfolds the practical implications of these truths. With careful application of Scripture and vivid word pictures, he brings clarity to confusing issues such as gender identity, the complex causes of same sex attraction, and what change means.
Hubbard advocates that churches play the primary role in loving homosexuals in ways that join God's work of transformation. But he does more. He shows what that can look like. His description of how his church's Network of Care fills that role is immensely helpful.
This book gives Christians what they need to begin confidently, truthfully and with love. A companion website offers a wealth of further guidance to pastors and those they lead.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on August 19, 2013
A Review of "Love Into Light"
Authored by Peter Hubbard
Love Into Light, The Gospel, The Homosexual, and The Church is a refreshing look at a highly volatile subject, a subject long avoided address by the Church militant in its scope regarding sane-sex attraction (SSA), sexuality, and Gospel focus.
The author states his object plainly: Hubbard hopes to draw homosexuals and those who live with SSA out of the shadows of shame and alienation into the light of the community of Christ, the Church.
From the start we are challenged to fire our personal marketing departments and peel off our masks, getting to the husk of Christianity--that Jesus is the healer who opens the eyes of the blind. Our eyes must be opened, too.
Hubbard rightly contends that it is traumatic and unfair to tell homosexuals and SSA's that their struggles are unlike any other sin(s). But, we must not allow ourselves to get caught up in arguments that do not actually lend themselves to reconciliation. While we recognize that there is a complexity regarding the relationship between our biology and responsibility, and although Hubbard admits that much of the "science" involved is uncertain, we may make progress only by moving the conversation away from uncertainty to the biblical categories that are certain.
Change is possible, not just for homosexuals and SSA's, but for us all (Colossians 2:23).
For change to occur, we must give attention to who God says we are, by nature and by grace. Therefore, Hubbard strongly urges "we do not know our names--who we really are--until God tells us. (87)
As Christians who are also sinners, we can love all, but we cannot be "fine" with people who are "fine" with their sins, regardless of what those sins may be.
To build the community of the Church, we recognize that we share a common bond. By nature we are all fallen. By grace, we may be saved. We must all be willing to have the Gospel and the Word of God permeate every aspect of our lives.
Gospel advancement is not to be pursued through hurling insults or lobbing clichés.
We can accept people without approving lifestyles.
"Any Christian who can mock a homosexual or speak unkindly to a drag queen is suffering from amnesia." (161)
Hubbard helps Christians remember who we were, what Christ did, and that we are here to help others. We can truly be salt and light if we are willing to love all--homosexuals and SSA's--hear their story, speak the Gospel into their lives, and live for Christ in his kingdom.
This is one of hopefully many books to be written by this author.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
It is becoming increasingly clear that homosexuality will be a defining issue for the twenty-first century church, at least here in North America. It seems inevitable that same-sex marriage will soon be legalized across America; it has been the law in Canada for several years now. Meanwhile the acceptance and celebration of homosexuality is becoming a cultural shibboleth, a means of determining who has a voice worth hearing and who does not.
In the middle of all this is the Christian church which, since time immemorial, has held that the Bible forbids homosexuality. Is it time, as so many insist, for Christians to take a second look at the Bible, to get with the times, and to embrace homosexuality as a valid lifestyle, a valid expression of love and sexuality?
Many Christians feel threatened, like their backs are against the wall, and that this issue represents a major threat to their faith. But is it possible that Christians have been thinking about the issue all wrong? In his new book Love Into Light, Peter Hubbard asks, "What if homosexuality is not a threat but an opportunity? Could God use one of the most controversial moral issues in our nation to awaken His church rather than damage it?" Is it possible that if we continue on our current trajectory, the church will soon be defined by what we are against, whom we oppose, and all the while the gospel will be lost in the fray?
Hubbard writes as a pastor, as a counselor and as a man deeply marked by the gospel of divine grace extended toward human sin. He insists that the gospel makes all the difference, for before the cross we are all the same, we are all sinners, we are all in desperate need of grace. He says, "We need Spirit-empowered love to move toward those struggling with [same sex attraction] without despising or excusing their sin, because their sin is our sin--our hearts are no different! ... My sin always seems reasonable to me, and your sin inexcusable. Left to myself, I can find a way to justify anything I really want, and the choices I make can hurt the people I most love."
The gospel makes all the difference and the gospel is exactly what Fred Phelps and so many others have thrown away in their misguided, hate-filled attempts to address homosexuality. "If our attitude toward a gay or lesbian person is disgust, we have forgotten the gospel. We need to remember the goodness and lovingkindness that God poured out on us. God should have looked at us and been disgusted. Instead, without condoning our sin, He loved us and saved us. And I want everyone to know that kind of love!"
"The gospel penetrates to the root of the heterosexual and homosexual dilemma: Who am I? Whose am I?" It assures us that we are all sinners who are utterly and wholly dependent upon God's grace if we are to be saved from the eternal consequences of our rebellion. Rather than focusing so much attention on a particular category of sin, we ought to concentrate on the joy of being undeserving, forgiven sinners, for "a church characterized by a small experience of forgiveness will be characterized by a small expression of love."
The book has several notable strengths that make it a valuable and important contribution to this discussion. One strength is in Hubbard's approach to homosexuality through a biblical lens. He attempts to diagnosis it accurately using biblical categories and as he does so, he helps show what it is and, perhaps especially helpfully, shows what it is not. He eschews easy labels and easy solutions. Another strength is Hubbard's pastoral tone and his love for the people he writes for and writes to. It is always clear when a writer knows and loves people who find themselves struggling with same sex attraction and people who are unapologetically homosexual; it is equally clear when a person is writing about a caricature, about people has never met and never loved. A third strength is that the book is anchored in the gospel; from beginning to end, the gospel pervades it all.
Love Into Light is a powerful, biblical, compassionate look at a moral issue that represents a great opportunity for the church. This is a book that will benefit anyone who chooses to read it. It is one leaders would do well to read; it is one pastors will want to read, especially if they are counseling someone who is struggling in this area, searching for identity, wondering what the Bible says. It will shape the Christian's thinking, it will apply the gospel, it will be a blessing. It is kind, it is biblical, it is pastoral, and it receives my highest recommendation.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 21, 2014
** This review originally appeared on longing4truth.com **
The 21st century church will be faced with many serious issues that will require much faith and an unwavering commitment to the sufficiency and authority of Scripture. One of these issues, without a doubt, will be the issue of homosexuality. As the culture and political environment increasingly give way to the acceptance and endorsement of the homosexual lifestyle, so the church will be forced to define itself more clearly on this issue. One important element in this task will be how the church faithfully preaches the Gospel to the homosexual community without endorsing the sin that it embraces.
Peter Hubbard has written Love Into Light, The Gospel, The Homosexual And The Church with this task in mind. In nine chapters, Hubbard details how the church should view the homosexual, not from the ever-present and newsworthy political climate but from the perspective of those who have the mandate of Matthew 28:16-20. Hubbard takes great care to point out that all of us, heterosexual and homosexual alike, find ourselves under the bondage of sin without Christ. He writes, “Our specific sins and battles may vary, but our hearts are the same” (11). Hubbard believes this understanding is vital to the church seeing the homosexual as a needy sinner rather than an enemy that needs defeating.
Hubbard believes that the church is failing to speak hope-filled words to those struggling with SSA (Same Sex Attractions) and he points to the lack of converted homosexuals within the church as one sign that this is true. Hubbard believes that if we can see our own sin more clearly then we might remove one of the reasons that many of those struggling with SSA use to say that they feel marginalized by the church (23).
The book consists of nine chapters. The chapters are identified by one word that relates to the hot button issues of the ongoing debate within the church. The chapter headings are (1) Gospel, (2) Heart, (3) Change, (4) Bible, (5) Labels, (6) Celibacy/Marriage, (7) Climate, (8) Community, and (9) Outreach. Hubbard does a great job of keeping the discussion biblically focused, and he stresses the importance of the responsibility of both sides of the equation. He doesn’t downplay the sin of homosexuality, and he encourages the believer to call him to repentance with the humility of one sinner to another. In encouraging this mindset, Hubbard says of those involved in homosexual sin,
“They are image-bearers. Sinners. Part of the ‘all we like sheep’ who ‘have gone astray.’ The ‘we’ (including me) who ‘have turned aside everyone to his own way,’ yet ‘the Lord has laid on Him [the lamb who was slain] the iniquity of us all’” (127).
This book is a good read for any individual who longs to have a clear, biblical perspective on evangelizing and then discipling the sinner who struggles with this sin. It serves the purpose of giving clarity to a difficult topic and can help chart the course for the church as we begin to navigate the waters of the 21st century and the topic of homosexuality. I highly recommend and even encourage pastors and teachers to read this book.
In accordance with FTC regulations, I would like to thank Ambassador International for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on November 16, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
This book had some good thoughts about how Christians have failed to love people with same-sex attractions, and a reasonably sound response to claims that views affirming certain gay relationships can be compatible with Scripture. I could tell that Hubbard was motivated to see people with SSA overcome shame and live full lives in Christ. He also had some fantastic thoughts on how we ought to relate to those outside the church who disagree with us, and how we must be motivated by love and a desire for the other person to accept the Gospel rather than disgust.
I was concerned, however, with some of Hubbard's other ideas. I think he's bought into some of the extra-biblical thinking of the Restored Hope Network, whom he recommends.
For example, he was insistent on seeing same-sex attraction as a heart problem. I think some of his reasoning, taken consistently, can lead to problematic theology. For example, if attraction to people you can't have sex with is necessarily a sinful heart problem, then if Jesus was free of sin and marriage wasn't part of God's plan for him, he never experienced sexual attraction. That's hard to reconcile with Hebrews 4:15, so working backwards, I think there's a non-moral biological component to sexual attraction that shouldn't be confused with the biblical category of "desire." In a fallen world where your blood might not clot properly (hemophilia), your lungs may not work properly (cystic fibrosis), etc. for biological reasons outside of your control, is it really surprising that your biological sexual attraction doesn't necessarily work in line with God's original design? Why would this be the one component of your biology that is magically immune from the Fall? Of course, we all do have sinful, rebellious hearts, and that plays a significant role in how we respond to our sexual attractions, but the initial direction of the sexual impulse may be more the "heat" than the "heart" in the How People Change model. I've seen getting this wrong cause people to believe that they could never live in a way pleasing to God after years of pursuing sanctification without any change in basic sexual feelings, and the result is usually an abandonment of sound doctrine altogether. In some cases it may even contribute to suicide, which is really sobering.
In a related vein, while Hubbard correctly recognizes that the causes of same-sex attraction are unknown and might differ from person to person, he tends to put too much weight on explanations that fit his thesis. For example, he quotes my friend Melinda Selmys in her 2009 book giving speculations about the causes of her lesbian attractions, but in her 2013 follow-up book she shows a great deal of skepticism toward those speculations. (It's quite possible that Hubbard simply wasn't aware of the 2013 book, which may not have even hit the presses by the time Hubbard was done with his initial draft, so this may not be his fault. Nonetheless, it's still a weakness in his argument.) I guess I've had the advantage of being someone who has had a lot of interaction with same-sex attracted Christians who have moved out of the ex-gay mindset while maintaining traditional convictions about sexual ethics (a category I'm in myself), so I know how easy it is for us to buy into these ideas prematurely, and that's probably hard for Hubbard to see from the outside.
Hubbard is perhaps at his worst talking about labels. He responds to my friend Wesley Hill, who uses the label "celibate gay Christian." Hubbard claims this is identifying with sin when we should only identify with Christ. His argument fails spectacularly, though, in that Hubbard himself uses the label "SSA struggler" throughout the book. He fails to recognize that for people like Hill and I, "gay" is basically just another way to say "SSA." To many people my generation, making a distinction between the two is like distinguishing "big" from "large," or "couch" from "sofa," except that for our generation "SSA" is less recognized and often has more baggage. So replacing "gay Christian" with "SSA struggler" is really just replacing "Christian" with "struggler," hardly a way to replace an identity in sin with an identity in Christ! Now there may be other people for whom replacing "gay" with "SSA" is helpful, and if so, that's good for them, but a total attack on the "gay" label is just a way to alienate my generation needlessly.
All in all, I do wish Hubbard had spent more time listening to a broader set of same-sex attracted Christians than can be found in the Restored Hope Network, and had better used his intellect to distinguish the teaching of Scripture from ex-gay groupthink. I can tell he's a bright guy with a great heart that I'm sure has done a lot of good in his ministry, and there certainly exist worse books than this one. But there are better ones, too, like Wesley Hill's _Washed and Waiting_, Mark Yarhouse's _Understanding Sexual Identity_, Sam Allberry's _Is God Anti-Gay?_, and Eve Tushnet's _Gay and Catholic_ (which, despite the title, has a lot of good things for Protestants to glean from).
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 22, 2014
When we think of how Jesus came in both grace and truth (John 1), it makes sense (at least to me) that swinging wildly to either side in terms of the issue of homosexuality is problematic. I also think it's problematic when homosexuality gets singled out as the worst of sexual sins without speaking about any other broken expressions. I think what Hubbard does masterfully is position both in the context of the gospel. I found the book to be thoughtful and yet compassionate, truthful yet understanding, intelligent but heart-directed. I also appreciated very much the references not so much to current research but to some of the older Christians (Augustine, Newton, etc.). The one thing I wish he had delved into a bit more is the "pattern" found in creation (Genesis 1-2) as it relates to all sexual brokenness. Other than that, this is a wonderful book written with the intent of helping us dialogue with the SSA community.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 4, 2014
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I would recommend this book to any Christian, to any homosexual, to anyone who has a family member involved in homosexuality. The book speaks the truth but speaks the truth in love.The book calls sin sin but holds out hope and the grace to God to the non-believer as well as Christians who struggle with same sex attraction. My biggest criticism of the book would be the idea of whom to confess our sins. There is a place for accountability but I think it neither wise or necessary to confess to all or to tell all. A person needs wisdom in confessing their sins both to whom and to how specific. There might be special cases in counseling or edification of the church to openly confess sin but even with that with the greatest discretion must be used. This book was discreet in its handling of homosexuality.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 7, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
The one word to describe this book is “winsome.” A pastoral reflection and exhortation to bring what is uncomfortable to talk about into a seemingly calm, enjoyable, edifying conversation about homosexuality and the church. His audience is primarily Christians, those within the church that are either struggling with SSA (same-sex attraction) or those who don’t quite know how to bridge the truth of the gospel with opposing cultural ideologies. Few books can be both unwavering with conviction and relentlessly saturated in grace. It’s not a “counseling manual or comprehensive theology of homosexuality”(15) nor is it a “political action plan.” Hubbard has a bigger vision: to get churches to “rethink the way we talk about SSA.” The pages that unfold are his plea to risk our comforts and move those shadows we don’t want to look into “the light and love of Jesus” and to actually believe the gospel.
If we think about the title of this book, Love Into Light, we get a sense of what will ensue. Hubbard begins with the Gospel in chapter 1 and continues to bring this conversation (of SSA in our churches) into the presence of Jesus where we always see so much clearer. He has noticed the church has been silent for too long on this issue.
He gives us four possibilities for our silence. And what he lists are general and/or typical responses from people within the church. Yet, he writes, “In light of God’s redemptive story, let’s reword the four possible reasons for SSA silence in the church.” Thus he begins to rearrange the way we typically think. He calls to the understanding of being image-bears, being fearfully and wonderfully made. “True Christianity creates a casteless society, because we see people through the lens of God’s particular creation” (24). In addition, Hubbard reminds us that all sin is twisted, we all have a spiritual inversion that manifest itself in the form of idolatry. Hubbard wishes to remind the church that “Once again, we are ‘together’,” because we all suffer from our condition.
“The gospel penetrates to the root of the heterosexual and the homosexual dilemma: Who am I? Whose am I? (27).” It assures us that we are all in need of a new identity, that we are utterly dependent upon God’s grace – which is our only true hope.
Because our hearts our vulnerable and culpable, Hubbard writes, we need to see ourselves in the presence of our Creator. God knows our hearts. Having a heart-centered perspective in this conversation is pivotal for Hubbard. Most noteworthy is because we (as the Church) need to move the SSA conversation into biblical categories. By doing so, Hubbard asserts it “relocates the conversation to a place where God’s Word can actually help. This is probably the book’s greatest strength – it identifies the caricatures we’ve made – and blasts them with the gospel.
This book is heavy-weighted with the gospel; from beginning to end, the gospel is smeared over all 174 pages.
Why is this important? So this book is smeared with the gospel. So that’s cool. But really, what Hubbard is after, again, is to change the climate in the church regarding those who struggle with SSA within the church. He wants to see the church community change and then in turn question our outreach methods. All this happens and depends on our perception of Jesus (128). And if you think he might not want to address the question of sin, think again. He devotes the last three chapters of the book to exhorting the church to be both “love and truth.” “Churches often stumble over the ‘and,’ especially when talking about homosexuality,” he writes. His description of Jesus as the Lion and the Lamb is exceptionally helpful. “We must speak clearly and compassionately as a lion and a lamb” (130). And he makes clear: “Compassion is often confused with affirmation.” We, like Jesus, must be unyielding in our passion for His holiness, yet remember it was His mercy and His truth that were joined together at the cross.
Love Into Light is unapologetic, yet kind; it’s pastoral and biblical, compassionate, and helpful. It will certainly benefit anyone who chooses to read it. It will do very well for the Church to read it. It teaches us. Reminds us who we are in Christ. It reminds us we are still on a mission for His glory. And when “the gospel is proclaimed, the homosexual is loved, and the church is transformed.”
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 7, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
I appreciate books that deal with important and complex topics sanely, clearly and above all with Scriptural fidelity. “Love Into Light”: The Gospel, The Homosexual and The Church by Peter Hubbard is just such a book.
Love Into Light - as its subtitle suggests, is focused upon a Biblical view of dealing with SSA (same sex attraction) in terms of an individual's struggle with this sinful tendency, and the Church's responses and responsibilities to face this issue and the people it affects most Biblically, intelligently, compassionately and lovingly.
It is stellar.
I recommend it for a number of reasons. First, the reality of SSA affecting not only our society but Believers, is not going away. In fact it is getting much larger as the influence and acceptability of the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) community also increases in the culture at large.
Secondly, as we see people coming to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ from these lifestyles and communities, we need to recognize the remaining struggles these believers face. Just as no one gets saved and suddenly loses all propensity toward greed, avarice, pride, envy, rebellion, gossip, backbiting, selfishness, anger, foolishness, impurity or any other sinful tendency, these must still fight the remaining vestiges of the sexual sins that once defined them.
To turn a blind eye toward this reality, to condemn it as somehow more wicked or unmentionable than other sins, or to offer trite and simplistic platitudes to those brave enough to admit the ongoing struggle is neither Biblical nor loving. The church needs to know how to lovingly embrace these dear ones who have truly come to Christ, and help them face the remnants of their indwelling sin the same way we would any other sin - with grace, acceptance, compassion and the Gospel. We need to wake up to the fact that the longer Christ’s return remains future - wickedness within humankind continues to spiral downward (2 Tim. 3:13). We do not live in a “Leave it to Beaver” society or Church. We live in a fallen world. And all of us, without exception, are fallen people EQUALLY in need of the atoning work of Christ regardless of what seem to be “cleaner” sins to some of us.
Thirdly, this book wonderfully addresses so much more than only SSA. Because it rightly treats SSA in proper Biblical categories, it’s applicability to thinking through and dealing with ALL species of indwelling sin makes it valuable to any Christian, regardless of their personal struggle. To bill it only as a book on Homosexuality and SSA is to shortchange it and makes its usefulness too narrow.
Whether you simply want to think through the issues surrounding Homosexuality and the Church better; or because this is your personal area of struggle (or perhaps someone you love fights on this front); or because you want insight into dealing with any and all indwelling sin - this is an excellent resource.
Let me leave you with this poignant quote:
“The “God hates homosexuals” message misses the cure as well. If our primary concern before God is homosexuality, then our greatest need is to repent and stop pursuing homoerotic lust. But the antidote for homosexuality is not heterosexuality. A crack addict can “repent” and switch to meth and remain a drug addict. Likewise a homosexual can pursue heterosexuality and remain bound by lust, greed and fear.
Christians ought to be persistently God centered. The cure precedes the disease. We know that whatever sickness or wellness is, God is the One who defines it. When God created people, He made them perfect. Adam and Eve were made to image God as His representatives on earth. Their identity, significance and purpose flowed from the One who made them. But sin has marred the image. From our genes to our words, sin has tainted and twisted us. Jesus came to model and mediate the cure. He is “the image of the invisible God”, and in Him we are given a “new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.” Jesus is not our “get out of homosexuality plan”, but “the way and the truth and the life.” Real change is not simply a reaction to our latest problem, but a miraculous step toward our new eternal identity.”