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Transforming Homosexuality: What the Bible Says about Sexual Orientation and Change Paperback – September 28, 2015
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"Denny Burk and Heath Lambert have written a clear, compassionate, and thought-provoking book on how the gospel brings transformation to those struggling with homosexuality. Our hope is not the heterosexuality-or-bust shtick of reparative therapy, but the wondrous prospect of growing in holiness and Christlikeness that comes through repentance and faith. This is essential reading for every pastor and for any seeking to bless and minister to those with same-sex attraction in our churches." --Sam Allberry, Associate Minister of St Mary's Church, Maidenhead UK; author of Is God Anti-Gay? and James For You
"In Principles of Conduct, John Murray reminds us that 'the line of demarcation between virtue and vice is not a chasm but a razor's edge.' In Transforming Homosexuality, Denny Burk and Heath Lambert shine scholarly and pastoral light on that razor's edge, helping Christians to discern the difference between sexual temptation and sexual lust as it bears on same-sex attraction. This is a bold and provocative book. It will also likely be a controversial book. But it is predominantly a loving book that seeks to help people with unwanted homosexual desires be transformed by the full knowledge that God's grace for us in Christ is sufficient for all our various struggles and sins." --Rosaria Butterfield
"Under pressure from worldly trendsetters, many in the church (including several key evangelical leaders) have adopted the position that homosexual desire may in some sense be normal. Homosexual acts are sinful, they say, but a homosexual orientation is not inherently unrighteous. In Transforming Homosexuality, Denny Burk and Heath Lambert address that idea with biblical clarity and godly wisdom. This is an important book about an issue that has overwhelmed our culture." --John MacArthur
About the Author
Denny Burk (PhD, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is professor of biblical studies at Boyce College. He has served as the editor of The Journal for Biblical Manhood & Womanhood and blogs at dennyburk.com, where he frequently deals with gender and sexuality from a biblical perspective.
Heath Lambert (PhD, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is executive director of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors and Associate Pastor at First Baptist Church, Jacksonville, FL. He is also a visiting faculty member at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
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Today, we have Gay Christians flouting their sexuality openly in mass media and demanding acceptance. We even have conservative pastors and seminary professors who proudly and publicly wear the label of celibate, Gay Christian. In large measure, the lack of solid teaching on the sin of same sex desire was booted out of the Christian Publishing world, when mainstream voices deemed reparative therapy as a dangerous abomination to the church and society.
Into that fray now Denny Burk and Heath Lambert dive with this well-written and researched title. They tackle the issue of homosexual desire in a way that is sorely needed in this day and age. The sinfulness of sin generally has been incredibly minimized to the point where people no longer understand the relationship between sinful desire and sinful action. I've continued for years to write and counsel such and have watched as each year fewer and fewer people seem to comprehend or are even willing to see the connection that Jesus, Paul, and James taught about why we commit sinful actions -- because they come from our sinful desire.
Burk and Lambert excel in their teaching in this area. They bring to light the fact that sinful desire is not only about inordinate desire (when we want a good thing too much - which can happen with all God's gifts including marriage), but also that sinful desire also includes wanting something that is expressly prohibited - in this case inappropriate intimacy with someone of the same sex.
For me (as someone who has studied this issue for more than 20 years), I do have a sincere quibble with Burk and Lambert on the topic. In decades past, the homosexuality debate revolved around the issue of nature vs. nurture. But Burk and Lambert's approach to transforming homosexuality did not seem to account for the nurture aspect as well as it could have.
Their treatment of nurture factors seems to stem from their interaction with the Reparative Therapy (RT) model. Yes, absolutely, much of what certain ministries tried to pass off as Biblical teaching in the RT movement was wrongheaded and unbiblical. For instance, defining transformation as someone who goes from a homosexual lifestyle to a heterosexual marriage is clearly not a sound way of thinking and dealing with this issue. However, perhaps because Burk and Lambert are cemented in the nouthetic counseling method, they also rejected many parts of the counseling methods used which are worth incorporating. As Biblical counselors, they are right in laying out the foundation of the problem as one of sin, desire, and the sin nature. However, to eschew dealing with the many nurture factors that foster sinful inclination is probably counterproductive. We live in a society where fatherlessness and family disfunction has become the norm. To ignore the dynamics of one's developmental relationships with parents, siblings, and friends of the same sex and opposite sex is to seriously hamstring a person's ability to get to the root of their desire problems. Yes, RT was known for going way over board in this area, but let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater here. Nurture matters, too.
Overall this book is a tremendous resource. A must read for pastors and others on the front lines of the church.
For a gospel-centered follow-up, I would recommend: John Freeman's "Hide or Seek: When Men Get Real with God about Sex"