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4 Stars Out Of 5
Straw Man or Valid Rebuttal, Dr. Michael L. Brown's, "Gay and Christian?: Responding With Love and Truth to Questions About Homosexuality"
April 14, 2015
I know this book has been out for a little while now. I wanted to review it because of what I've been reading on the internet about it. It is my opinion that people have been accusing Dr. Brown of using the weakest, most pathetic, arguments in support of the gay Christian stance, as targets to easily knock down. In other words, they accuse him of using straw man arguments to oppose gay Christian affirmation. After reading this book, I find those claims to be insulting, and untrue, or in stronger language, lies. I have been involved with apologetics as a Christian. I have also engaged in evangelism. It has been my experience that the arguments cited in Brown's book in support of the gay Christian perspective are the apex of the oppositions arguments. Dr. Brown has done well directly, and honestly, addressing their best arguments. The problem is that their best arguments are emotive and winsome, instead of reasonable or scriptural. They have to pervert scripture to get to where they go, and it is almost more disgusting than the culmination of their arguments.
Dr. Brown is doing what any orthodox Christian, with a sound systematic theology would do. He is using the totality of scripture to address the question, "Can you be gay and Christian?" The people in support of gay Christianity can't do that. They have to use the fallacy of cherry picking, which is the bad eisegetical practice of proof-texting. People who do this, lack a command of scripture. They only superficially understand. I believe most people who do this are false converts, cult members, or very immature in the faith.
Approaching scripture as a kit full of tools that you can manipulate into supporting or condoning your sin is a horrible hermeneutic. That is what is wrong with their arguments. Dr. Brown cites their work, presents their best arguments, and then shows them in the light of scripture to be in error. Most Christians know that homosexuality is a sin. Most of us know that adultery is a sin. We know that all sex outside of Biblical marriage, between one man and one woman is sin. All are sexual sins. We preach, repent and believe! The other side preaches, twist and deceive with a seductive hiss trailing from their mouths. How can anyone be saved without repentance? How can anyone repent if they are told they are not in sin? I know it isn't nice to tell people they are in sin, but it is necessary. I am so glad people took the time to expose my sin to me. It was the most loving thing the Holy Spirit did, besides regeneration, and sealing me for glory. To be convicted of sin should not be removed from our faith, but utilized for its God honoring end. To share the truth in love, that every man is a sinner in need of saving grace. You see, if no one tells you, how can you experience God's redeeming love? Dr. Brown, in a spirit of truth and love, has written a book that is for the person who is asking this question. Like I said, most of us already know these truths, but for the person who is questioning, "Can I be gay and Christian?" This book is a must read.
To briefly tie this up, you can not be an unrepentant sinner and experience the saving grace of God. You must repent and believe. God grants us the saving faith and repentance. He shows us our sin so that we will be humbled by it and repent. A person with same sex attraction can get saved. They might have to fight against their sin for a very long time, but I've got news for you, all... Christians... fight... against... sin... If they don't, then they don't value the sacrifice of Christ and demonstrate false repentance. Truly saved people are changed. They take up their cross and follow Jesus. Jesus went up on the cross, crucified to die, and victorious in resurrection. We need to die to self and the flesh. We recognize our sin and die to it. We go up on the cross with Christ. We die to ourselves. We are symbolically buried in baptism, and resurrected to new life. We live according to the Holy Spirit's instruction in the Word, according to the will of the Father, enabled by the justifying work of the Son. If we reject Jesus as our Lord and master, to live as we did before we heard the gospel, then we are producing fruit in keeping with death, not salvation.
Dr. Brown's book addresses the issue. He addresses the lies, and tells the truth in love. If we all studied to know the truth, and then faithfully shared the truth, we could make a difference in lives, neighborhoods, and countries, God willing.
Excerpt from Charismahouse.com " About the Author
Michael L. Brown holds a PhD from New York University in Near Eastern languages and literatures and is recognized as one of the leading Messianic Jewish scholars in the world today. He is the founder and president of FIRE School of Ministry, host of the nationally syndicated daily talk radio show The Line of Fire, and the author of more than twenty books. He is a contributor to The Oxford Dictionary of the Jewish Religion and other scholarly publications."
A Wealth of Passionate Thought Regarding Scripture
June 28, 2014
Michael Brown's newest book poses the question "Can You Be Gay and Christian?" and illuminates the Bible's clear prohibition of any kind of sex outside of heterosexual marriage, and specifically homosexual practice. Subtitled "Responding with Love & Truth to Question About Homosexuality," Brown's book is a bold, thorough, and uncompromising answer not only to the question of gay identity and practice converging with Christian belief, but also to arguments that homosexual practice is compatible with Christian faith.
This is a book primarily for Christians, for those who have bowed to Christ as their Lord and Master and seek to faithfully obey Him; however, it remains vital for all who seek to interact with the Christian Scriptures on this topic. While this is a popular treatment of the subject, it is filled with end-notes and a thorough bibliography of academic sources from across the field of study. Can You Be Gay and Christian? never becomes stuffy but draws heavily from the wide range of scholarship on homosexuality within Christianity. Dr. Brown's response to the question is exhaustive without being dense and clear without being dismissive. The book draws from gay authors and theologians and presents both the most compelling and the most horrifying arguments from those who identify as both Christian and homosexual. The question "Can You Be Gay and Christian?" must be answered within the context of Scripture and God's revealed will and Brown systematically examines the Scripture. He not only thoroughly examines the six passages that directly speak of homosexuality, but the whole scope and thrust and Scripture, and passages where gay theologians read homosexual relationships into the text. In spite of the controversy and the booming voices surrounding this question, "Can You Be Gay and Christian?" sounds a clarion call of truth and holiness, dismantling dissenting views of the Bible's clear witness against homosexual practice.
While the book is at no point unclear, there are moments when the undeniabley impressive scholarship overflows in the text. The sheer amount of quotes, and block quotes can be overwhelming, and undisciplined readers may find themselves skipping portions of text, willing to trust the author's citations. At other times, Dr. Brown seems to spend an inappropriate amount of space engaging his critics, especially in the first two chapters. Brown's first book on the topic of homosexuality was a thorough examination of homosexual activism and this book often strays into that realm, warning readers of the sheer number of voices seeking to obscure the truth on this topic. "Can You Be Gay and Christian?" is not as evangelistic as some might expect. The gospel is undeniably present, but the focus of the work is on acknowledging the truth within God's Word and obeying it without compromise. The stark reminder that regardless of our desires, no matter how strong or how integral, we must deny ourselves and follow Christ rather than affirm ourselves and reinterpret Christ should strike us all.
Dr. Brown writes more as a prophet than a pastor or even a missionary. While he expresses great compassion, he does not meet readers halfway; he does not bridge the discussion, but instead boldly launches into a call to truth and holiness. His clear teaching on the language of Scripture's prohibition of homosexual practice and the culture surrounding it, as well as his illumination of an accurate understanding of God's design and desire for human relationships leads to a strong exhortation to deny ourselves and follow Christ regardless of the cost. While some may desire a book that will simply confirm their beliefs and strengthen them against the culture onslaught of acceptance, Brown's presentation challenges readers to understand the grounds of God's demands for holiness, the purpose of God's design, and the challenges of those who are both struggling with the truth. This book is not fundamentalist blustering. It is a wealth of passionate thought regarding Scripture and homosexuality.
My thanks to Charisma House for providing a complimentary review copy. I have provided an honest review.