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Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate Paperback – May 14, 2013

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Frequently Bought Together

Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate + God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships + Bible, Gender, Sexuality: Reframing the Church's Debate on Same-Sex Relationships
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Jericho Books; Reprint edition (May 14, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1455514306
  • ISBN-13: 978-1455514304
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (309 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,984 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Radiates a genuine concern and belief in progress through slow, personal evolution...Both LGBT individuals and Christians will benefit from the modeling of a kinder, more accommodating navigation of this culture war."—Publishers Weekly,

"Lee's writing is approachable, and he shows compassion for those on all sides of this debate."—Kirkus Reviews

"Disarmingly vulnerable...poignant..."—Christianity Today

"The beauty of this book is that Lee wants to challenge all kinds of Christians...Perhaps it is because of so many fights hard won that Lee is now able to move into more nuanced territory in this gracious and grace-filled memoir."—The Christian Century

"Lee, one of our leading voices on the issues of being gay and Christian, gives us this powerful look at ways that members on both sides of the lines can learn from and grow with each other."—SHE Magazine

"...His book offers helpful suggestions for Christians...[and] helpful suggestions for pastoral counseling..."—World Magazine

"This book is full of three things that are not always much in evidence in our debates on sexuality--fresh air, common sense and manifest love of Christ. What makes it different is that it is not essentially about arguing a case but abut bridging the gaps of understanding and sympathy that (inside and outside the Church) have distorted or muffled the overwhelming miracle of Gods gift in Christ and in Scripture. I welcome it very warmly."—Honorable Reverend Dr. Rowan Williams

"Justin didn't leave the church when he realized he was gay...he has been too determined to show them how much he loves them...This is the story of how one Christian man's faith taught him to accept himself, serve others who are in need, and bridge the gap for those who do not always understand."
Jennifer Knapp, Singer/Songwriter, Founder of

"This is the most important book I've read in years, and it will be the first I recommend to anyone interested in bridging the divide between the LGBT community and the church. Justin has given us a precious gift with this story. May we receive it with the same courage and faith with which it was delivered."—Rachel Held Evans, blogger, author of Evolving in Monkey Town and A Year of Biblical Womanhood

"In TORN, Justin Lee blends simplicity, clarity, humility, honesty, and vulnerability in a gracious and eye-opening way. The book brings fresh perspectives to old and polarized debates, and it offers a wise and faithful way forward for pastors and other Christian leaders, parents and other family members, not to mention gay men and women themselves. This is the book that every Evangelical, Charismatic, and Roman Catholic Christian should read on the question of homosexuality."
Brian D. McLaren, author of Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road? Christian Identity in a Multi-Faith World (

About the Author

Justin Lee is the founder and executive director of The Gay Christian Network (GCN), a nonprofit, interdenominational organization working to increase dialogue between gays and Christians and support people on both sides wrestling with related issues.

A passionate Christian from a conservative evangelical background, Justin thought he knew everything there was to know about the Christian approach to homosexuality-until unexpected events turned his world upside down and forced him to reconsider everything he believed. Today, his organization works with individuals, families, and churches to stop the debate from tearing people apart.

Justin's work has garnered national attention and praise from gays and Christians from across the theological spectrum. He has been featured in numerous print, radio, and television venues including Dr. Phil, Anderson Cooper 360, the Associated Press, and a front page article in The New York Times. He is the director of the 2009 documentary Through My Eyes about the debate's impact on young Christians, and the co-host of popular long-running podcast GCN Radio. Justin lives in Raleigh, NC.

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Customer Reviews

Thank you Justin for telling your story.
Justin Lee's new book Torn chronicles his journey as an evangelical Christian who realized he was gay, and the conflict between his orientation and his beliefs.
Jenni French
God loves us all, god does not deny any of us love and we are free to love whomever our hearts desire.
Rayman Jilani

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

98 of 104 people found the following review helpful By Kolwynia on November 6, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am deeply grateful to find such a kind and tenderhearted approach to this subject. Justin Lee's book is part autobiography, part Bible study, and part call for grace and empathy to those on both sides of the issue. No matter what your personal views, you will find something valuable in Justin's account of his own journey and desire to reconcile his sexuality with his relationship with God. His writing is unassuming and down to earth in a way that anyone can relate to. One moment he is referencing Holy Scripture, the next South Park or The Princess Bride.

As a straight Christian who never had to go through a struggle like Justin's, it was pretty easy for me to ignore the plight of gay Christians. In fact, there was a time when I didn't think there was such a thing! I wish someone had placed a book like this in my hands a long time ago.

Justin writes with compassion and love. This is not an angry book, but a gently passionate one. If you are expecting to be preached at, you will find yourself pleasantly surprised. Justin is honest about the things he faced that confused or hurt him, the questions he had, and why he came to the conclusions that he did. He also makes it clear that the church is a diverse place where not everyone is going to come to the same conclusions he did. And that's okay.

(If you are familiar with the Gay Christian Network, the organization that Justin is a part of, and their compassionate Side A & Side B approach to the controversy, you will find that same level of empathy on display here. If not, the idea is that some Christians believe that God is fine with homosexual behavior and willing to bless same-sex couples the same way as he would couples of the opposite sex.
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75 of 82 people found the following review helpful By Brian J. Henry on October 31, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Alright, so it's only been a day, but I devoured this book. I cannot recommend it enough. It's the book I've been waiting for, and thought I might have to write one day, but now it's here. I'm not the most eloquent with words but here's a mini review.

The main topic of this book is really the misunderstandings perpetuated by churches, and their consequences. Despite their good intentions, ignoring the facts on these things leads to more harm than good, and ultimately turning people away from the faith. This book sets the record straight on whether it's a choice, the difference between orientation and behavior, the purpose (and dangers) of ex-gay ministries, and other things that have been seriously and unfortunately ignored.

Justin Lee, the author, is very respectful to both sides (Side A affirming same-sex relations, and Side B affirming celibacy), though he himself is Side A, and lays out his beliefs on the "clobber passages" in a chapter towards the end.

Its mostly focused on what the church is doing wrong as far as reaching out towards gay people, why it's wrong, and how churches and Christians can do better. He makes a serious point in his conclusion that churches who expect LGBT folk to be celibate need to be better at supporting them, instead of only hearing "gay" and starting to preach at them before they understand the situation.

All the while, chronicling what it's like to grow up gay having been raised as a strong Southern Baptist, the pain and the guilt and the struggles, why am I like this, what can I do, etc. Giving a great understanding for what it's like to be gay AND Christian.

It's a vital book for anyone seeking to understand all the sides of this debate better.
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54 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Jujohns on November 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a gay Christian, I expected to resonate with this book. I certainly do, and I would expect anyone with a similar story will. This book's audience is FAR wider, though. I would recommend it without reservation for anyone- Christian or not, gay or straight or otherwise.

Justin Lee is one of only a few people whose writings I've read consistently show what a gracious approach to a difficult issue looks like. On a subject matter which generates admittedly, and often times understandably, highly passionate opinions, Justin is able to speak with incredible clarity and grace.

Let me say it again. GRACE. This book is about grace. And it's amazing.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Kathy Baldock/Canyonwalker on October 25, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I am going to recommend, again and again, that you read Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate.(Just updated-early release is October 30th ) I am also going to suggest you buy an extra copy for your parents and family that don't quite "get it" and add another one for the youth pastor of the church you attended while you were too afraid to come out. Oh, and drop one off to the leader of the campus Christian ministry you attended while in college, too. Yes, this book is that good, that meaningful, that well done and that important. Now, to the review . . .

In Torn, Justin recounts his own story from "God Boy" -- you know the type: the kid with the verses at-the-ready, the Bible Answer Kid- to Gay Boy. Not only did Justin not think you could possibly be both gay and Christian, he didn't think he even knew any gay people.

Justin tells us about his own journey as he considers that he might indeed be gay. As a teenager, he attends a "super-secret meeting of anonymous homosexuals" that was suggested to him. Justin hears discouraging stories from homosexual men struggling "to feel some level of sexual attraction to their wives, or any woman."

"God Boy" had never even kept a secret from his parents; coming out to his parents, as it is for most gay youth, was terrifying. "I knew they would love me no matter what happened. I was just afraid of disappointing them. I had always been their pride and joy, and now I was about to shatter their image of me." In this chapter, Justin offers some excellent tips for parents of gay youth to achieve honesty and mutual respect.

There is an informative chapter covering the various theories of "why some people are gay.
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