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Ed Shaw: Same-Sex Attraction and the Church

Chapter eight covers the misstep that “Godliness is [necessarily] heterosexuality,” and in it Shaw cautions heterosexuals against sexual self-righteousness. The misstep that “celibacy is bad for you” is covered in chapter nine, in which Shaw contends that Church must communicate that celibacy is a palatable way of life, or it will make it almost inevitable that same-sex attracted people will embrace gay marriage – so then, we must corporately rehabilitate celibacy. Chapter ten explicates the contention that “suffering is to be avoided,” noting that if God’s Son endured suffering while on earth, it is reasonable to assume and expect that we celibate same-sex attracted Christians in the twenty-first century shall as well.

And finally, after the bulk of the text, there are two appendices: one covers the plausibility of the traditional interpretation of Scripture, whereas the second appendix considers the implausibility of the new interpretations of Scripture. In sum, each chapter in this book articulates a number of key doctrines that the Church has neglected in its recent past, if in fact it ever addressed them: the preeminence of our union with Christ when it comes to our identity, not our sexuality; the reality that the Church is our true everlasting family; the doctrine of original sin; the full authority of the Bible; the notion that friendships, not sex, can fulfill our intimacy needs; the contention that marriage is all about the union of Christ with the Church; the assertion that godliness is Christlikeness, not who you are attracted to; the notion that singleness is truly a gift to be treasured; and the reality that following Jesus means suffering like he did. All in all, this is a timely text for those of us who – despite ourselves, and even sometimes because of ourselves – battle with same-sex attraction in daily life, but nevertheless desire to be Christ-like.

Reviewed by Bradford McCall


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Category: Ministry, Spring 2016

About the Author: Bradford L. McCall, B.S. in Biology (Georgia Southwestern St. University, 2000), M.Div. (Asbury Theological Seminary, 2005), grew up on a cotton farm in south Georgia. A graduate student at Holy Apostles College and Seminary, Bradford has particular interest in teleology, causation and early modern philosophy.

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