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Turning Controversy into Church Ministry: A Christlike Response to Homosexuality Paperback – September 26, 2010

4.6 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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About the Author

W. P. Campbell (DMin from Fuller Theological Seminary) is senior pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Hendersonville, North Carolina. He has been researching, debating, and writing about the issue of homosexuality and the church for more than twenty years and is deeply concerned about the damage inflicted on individuals, congregations, and whole denominations over this debate. In addition, he has written extensively for Connections (www.scripture-connections.org) and serves as a resource specialist on the advisory board of OneByOne, a ministry that equips churches to bring truth and grace to those who struggle with same-sex attraction. Bill and his wife, Lin, live in western North Carolina and have three children.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (September 26, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310321328
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310321323
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,314,710 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I have several dear family members who I love very much and cherish having in my life who are in committed, same-sex relationships. There are few things that make me more sad and angry and frustrated with the church than seeing the way that this whole issue has been handled. I cringe when I hear about ministries that "cure" people of "being gay." I tear up when I see the hate groups like Westboro Baptist Church spew. I have to admit that I was highly skeptical when I started reading this book and I was fully planning to hate it. I was very pleasantly surprised.

Campbell approaches the issues surrounding homosexuality in the church with compassion, scripture, science and a gentle, humble spirit. He spends a great deal of time talking about the balance between grace and truth and it is clear that he has spent much time trying to find the balance between the two. He shares testimonies from folks who have struggled with homosexuality and have been mistreated by the church, as well as scripture, explanation of those scriptures and even science (I believe that science and religion don't contradict each other and am refreshed when I read an author who believes the same.)

Campbell firmly argues his conviction that God's design for marriage is one man and one woman, yet handles the issue intelligently and with love. Campbell says in the introduction:

One would hope that a whole generation of focus on the topic would cause church leaders to become experts in healing people's wounds. Just the opposite is true. It has resulted in a polarization between parties, and people on both sides of the fence have become experts at contention but have overlooked opportunities for ministry.
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Format: Paperback
(Part of the Zondervan Blog Tour) Perhaps one of the most divisive and misunderstood issues facing the church today is that of ministry to homosexuals. The lines of theology and opinion have been clearly drawn, but what is less clear is the complexity of the root causes of homosexuality and the correct response of the church to the homosexual approaching the church for healing. It is a bold individual who would seek to tackle this topic! In his book Turning Controversy into Church Ministry, W. P. Campbell does a masterful job as a theologian and cultural commentator expounding not only on the biblical analysis of homosexuality, but also the social and scientific studies of the secular arena. He shows the implications of each and draws relevant applications to the culture. He further challenges the reader to respond and act in ministry to this largely marginalized group.

The most important concept of this book is the balance of truth and grace. Out of balance, truth can be used in a harmful and negative way to reject the homosexual and squelch any chance of healing and reconciliation within a church. Likewise, grace out of balance can lead to an acceptance of the sin, and an affirmation of bad theology. Yet it is so much more complex than this simple comparison.

Mr. Campbell speaks as a pastor within the embattled Presbyterian Church (USA), but his voice reaches across all the entrenched denominations. With this book he arrives on the front lines not with ammunition, but information. As a pastor he appeals to the authority and truth of Scripture, yet he also examines the history of the homosexual culture and engages the latest scientific and psychological studies. Each chapter it seems is the perfect combination of the three and the summary ties it together.
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In 2012 during my first unit of Clinical Pastoral Education, I spent a lot of time in the emergency room (ER) of a local metro hospital. One afternoon the ER was packed and overflow patients were stationed on gurneys throughout the room. As I worked my way around the room, it became obvious that a patient on one of the gurneys with a friend in attendance wanted to see me. So I wandered over to talk with him.

I asked—What brings you to the hospital today? His answer caught me off guard—rectal bleeding. The shock on my face must have been obvious. Also obvious was the fear of death on the patient’s face. I should have probed into his demeanor—Was he perhaps concerned about HIV infection? Instead, I mumbled through a few pleasantries, offered prayer, and left. My lack of preparation for that hospital visit was clearly a lost ministry opportunity.

How do we properly minister to people caught up in gender confusion?

Bill Campbell’s book, Turning Controversy into Church Ministry, focuses on confronting our fears and offering Christ’s presence to broken people. Campbell writes:

“This book is written to equip Christians and their churches to prove a Christlike response to homosexuality and to people who struggle with unwanted, same-sex attractions.” (7)

How does a pastor respond to someone seeking care for unwanted same-sex attractions? Campbell (11-12) starts with the story of the woman caught in adultery. Jesus asked:

"Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you? She said, No one, Lord. And Jesus said, Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more." (John 8:10-11 ESV)

Campbell notes two principles in Jesus response: grace and truth [1].
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