Our culture finds itself amid a sexual revolution. We see the acceptance of same-sex marriage and the openness to transgenderism. For those who hold to the truth of the Bible, we know what God’s Word says and we know we must call sin what it is. Within the church, however, this is where we are tempted to stop. We are clear in our biblical teaching on sin concerning homosexuality and transgenderism. But we need to also share the hope people who struggle with these sins can find in Jesus Christ. A man who has struggled with same-sex-attraction himself, Pastor Ron Citlau sees the need to share this hope. That is why he has written Hope for the Same-Sex Attracted: Biblical Direction for Friends, Family Members, and Those Struggling with Homosexuality.
In this work by Citlau, his aim “is to show the rich provisions available for the same-sex struggler who wants to follow Jesus” (Citlau 23). To make his point, he divides the book up into two sections. In part one he lists out the obstacles that stand in the way of God’s gift for the same-sex-attracted. These obstacles include gay Christian identity (chapter 1), gay marriage (chapter 2), and the spiritual friendship movement (chapter 3). With the obstacles exposed, the next step is to recognize the gifts the same-sex struggler can embrace. Ron Citlau mentions five gifts: the church (chapter 4), healing communities and Christian therapy (chapter 5), singleness (chapter 6), marriage (chapter 7), and prayerful lament (chapter 8). The book closes with final thoughts for both church leaders (chapter 9) and a word of hope for the same-sex-attracted (chapter 10).
Hope for the Same-Sex Attracted is a clear resource for Christians as they think through how to care for those who struggle with same-sex attraction. What Ron Citlau puts forth in his book calls Christian leaders and the Christian same-sex struggler to hold to biblical conviction while also calling Christian leaders to show Christlike compassion. In his note to church leaders, Citlau says, “Don’t just learn the issue; be part of the gospel solution” (Citlau 155). While there are portions of the book where I may not have seen eye-to-eye with the author in theology or practice, chapter 5 in particular, one must commend this book on putting forth a solution and not merely stating the issue. Moreover, maybe the most foundational chapter of the book is the opening chapter on the obstacle of gay Christian identity. At the heart of the sexual revolution is this matter of identity. Pastor Citlau calls for a biblical corrective on identity by showing gay Christian identity to be an obstacle, not a gift, to the same-sex struggler. In his section on gifts, the most profound chapter may be the gift of prayerful lament (chapter 8). For the same-sex attracted who struggle and it appears there is no end in sight, this chapter is helpful. Throughout the book, the purpose of transformation in the context of the church community is where the same-sex attracted will be directed toward hope.
Hope for the Same-Sex Attracted lays out a biblical vision where true gospel transformation can happen. This book is for the same-sex attracted who seeks to live according to the Word of God even as they struggle and this book is a call for the church to be Christians of conviction and compassion.
I received this book for free from Bethany House for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and are my honest review of the book.