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Same-Sex Attraction and the Church: The Surprising Plausibility of the Celibate Life

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The Gospel Coalition Top Books of 2015 in Christian Living Tim Challies' Top Books of 2015 ProdigalThought.net's Top Reads of 2015 Leadership Journal's Best Ministry Books of the Year When Christians have same-sex attraction, how should the church respond? Pastor Ed Shaw experiences same-sex attraction, and yet he is committed to Scripture and the church's traditional posi The Gospel Coalition Top Books of 2015 in Christian Living Tim Challies' Top Books of 2015 ProdigalThought.net's Top Reads of 2015 Leadership Journal's Best Ministry Books of the Year When Christians have same-sex attraction, how should the church respond? Pastor Ed Shaw experiences same-sex attraction, and yet he is committed to Scripture and the church's traditional position of fidelity in heterosexual marriage and celibacy in singleness. In this honest book, he shares his pain in dealing with these issues, but at the same time shows us that obedience to Jesus is ultimately the only way to experience life to the full. He shows that the Bible's teaching seems unreasonable not because of its difficulties, but because of missteps that the church has often taken in its understanding of the Christian life. We have been shaped by the world around us and urgently need to re-examine the values that drive our discipleship. Only by doing this in the light of the Bible can we make sense of its call on the lives of those who are attracted to their own sex.


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The Gospel Coalition Top Books of 2015 in Christian Living Tim Challies' Top Books of 2015 ProdigalThought.net's Top Reads of 2015 Leadership Journal's Best Ministry Books of the Year When Christians have same-sex attraction, how should the church respond? Pastor Ed Shaw experiences same-sex attraction, and yet he is committed to Scripture and the church's traditional posi The Gospel Coalition Top Books of 2015 in Christian Living Tim Challies' Top Books of 2015 ProdigalThought.net's Top Reads of 2015 Leadership Journal's Best Ministry Books of the Year When Christians have same-sex attraction, how should the church respond? Pastor Ed Shaw experiences same-sex attraction, and yet he is committed to Scripture and the church's traditional position of fidelity in heterosexual marriage and celibacy in singleness. In this honest book, he shares his pain in dealing with these issues, but at the same time shows us that obedience to Jesus is ultimately the only way to experience life to the full. He shows that the Bible's teaching seems unreasonable not because of its difficulties, but because of missteps that the church has often taken in its understanding of the Christian life. We have been shaped by the world around us and urgently need to re-examine the values that drive our discipleship. Only by doing this in the light of the Bible can we make sense of its call on the lives of those who are attracted to their own sex.

30 review for Same-Sex Attraction and the Church: The Surprising Plausibility of the Celibate Life

  1. 5 out of 5

    Dan Glover

    This was a very good book written by a same-sex attracted, celibate pastor who takes the Bible's instructions against same-sex sexual relationships as standing for all time. Shaw calls those in the church who are same-sex attracted to a life of celibate obedience to Christ, and he calls the rest of the church to a sensitive and Christian love for and intimacy in spiritual friendship with those who struggle with same-sex attraction. This is a sensitive and uncompromising work of pastoral theology This was a very good book written by a same-sex attracted, celibate pastor who takes the Bible's instructions against same-sex sexual relationships as standing for all time. Shaw calls those in the church who are same-sex attracted to a life of celibate obedience to Christ, and he calls the rest of the church to a sensitive and Christian love for and intimacy in spiritual friendship with those who struggle with same-sex attraction. This is a sensitive and uncompromising work of pastoral theology and council which I hope is widely read by not only church leadership but by Christians of all walks. At the same as speaking specifically to same-sex attracted believers, Shaw also calls all Christians to find their identity in who they are in Christ rather than in their sexuality - something the church in the midst of our sex-focused culture needs to hear. One of the outstanding insights of this book is the way Shaw treats the genetic argument for same-sex attraction. He says that the church has wasted too much time arguing that homosexual orientation is not genetic but rather a choice of the will. Shaw admits that, acting on same-sex attraction is certainly an act of the will, whether or not there is a genetically driven and therefore natural basis for same-sex orientation. But Shaw draws on the insights of a robust doctrine of original sin to argue that, even if same-sex attraction is a result of genetics, it makes no difference to its sinfulness if acted upon, since creation is fallen, humanity is fallen, and it should not surprise us if the curse has affected our genetics. In this way, heterosexuals have a perfectly "natural" orientation toward committing adultery or having pre-marital sex, but that does not mean such acts are not sinful - they are, because God says they are in his Word. Highly recommended for all Christians but especially for pastors.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Panda Incognito

    Thoroughly grounded in a big-picture understanding of Scripture and God's redemptive purpose, this book addresses a sensitive topic with grace and truth. To make a plausibility argument for celibacy, the author articulated evangelical missteps that have diluted the church's stance on sexual ethics or made it difficult for same-sex attracted individuals to find community in the church. In our modern cultural and evangelical climate, it seems like cruelty to tell someone that they should deny an e Thoroughly grounded in a big-picture understanding of Scripture and God's redemptive purpose, this book addresses a sensitive topic with grace and truth. To make a plausibility argument for celibacy, the author articulated evangelical missteps that have diluted the church's stance on sexual ethics or made it difficult for same-sex attracted individuals to find community in the church. In our modern cultural and evangelical climate, it seems like cruelty to tell someone that they should deny an ever-present desire, but understanding the purpose of life according to the gospel transforms our approach to self-denial and makes it seem plausible and worthwhile to give up sin. Also, even though marriage and children are blessings from God and accomplish some of His purposes, they are not the be all and end all of life. Churches need to make room for single people as integral parts of the community, rather than promoting marriage as a mark of holiness or the sole means of leading a fulfilling life and accomplishing the work of God on earth. This book should be convicting and personally engaging to all Christians, regardless of their sexual orientation or life experiences, because it makes a convincing case against cultural mantras that the church has weakened to or accepted, addresses evangelical overreactions that idolize the nuclear family, and provides a push for each of us to reexamine our lives in the framework of taking up our cross and following Jesus.

  3. 4 out of 5

    David Dunlap

    Excellent book -- both for those who have same-sex attraction and for the church at large. The author is frank and open about his own struggles in this area, which lends great credibility to what he shares. The subtitle is the key: There is nothing wrong with living a celibate life in this day and age (in fact, as Shaw points out, at various times in church history, celibacy was looked upon more favorably than marriage, and he insists this is the ONLY option for the dedicated Christian strugglin Excellent book -- both for those who have same-sex attraction and for the church at large. The author is frank and open about his own struggles in this area, which lends great credibility to what he shares. The subtitle is the key: There is nothing wrong with living a celibate life in this day and age (in fact, as Shaw points out, at various times in church history, celibacy was looked upon more favorably than marriage, and he insists this is the ONLY option for the dedicated Christian struggling with same-sex attraction, if he/she wishes to live a life that pleases God). He goes on to point to what he refers to as a series of missteps the contemporary evangelical church has made in the realm of sexual mores/practices, viz., that one's identity is one's sexuality; that a true family consists of a mother, a father, and 2.4 children; that if one is born 'gay,' it cannot be wrong to BE 'gay'; if gay sex makes one happy, it must be right; that true intimacy can only be found in sex; that men and women are equal and interchangeable; that godliness = heterosexuality; that celibacy is bad for you; and (perhaps the biggest one, IMHO) that suffering is to be avoided. Shaw answers each of these objections, making good use of secondary material drawn from a wide variety of authors and generously supplying examples from his own life. Throughout, his words are hopeful and encouraging. -- There are two appendices. In the first, Shaw lays out -- most convincingly -- the plausibility of the traditional interpretation of Scriptures relating to same-sex issues. In the second, he briefly gives an overview of the implausibility of the newer interpretations of Scripture, pointing to a number of problems with these: they appeal to emotion, they tend toward polarization, and they raise doubt. In addition, these newer ideas fail to interpret the relevant Scriptural passages in their full context; they rely too heavily on extrabiblical source material; and they set Scripture against Scripture, rather than allowing seeming contradictions to co-exist. --On the whole, this is one of the best and most helpful books on this subject that I have read to date, and I would enthusiastically recommend it to anyone -- everyone! -- in the church to read, meditate upon, and act upon.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Nathan Wesson

    Best book on sam-sex attraction I have read! This book shares in an honest way the challenge of same-sex attracted persons, through the lens of a celibate same-sex attracted minister. It speaks to both same-sex attracted people and the church. It honors the infallibility of Gods word concerning same-sex sexual expression, yet challenges the church to do a better job loving those who are same-sex attracted by being a family to them, making honoring Christ in their struggle more plausible, and not Best book on sam-sex attraction I have read! This book shares in an honest way the challenge of same-sex attracted persons, through the lens of a celibate same-sex attracted minister. It speaks to both same-sex attracted people and the church. It honors the infallibility of Gods word concerning same-sex sexual expression, yet challenges the church to do a better job loving those who are same-sex attracted by being a family to them, making honoring Christ in their struggle more plausible, and not focusing so heavily on marriage as the ultimate thing for everyone.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Samuel Kassing

    Not a huge fan of the cover or the title but the contents of this book are great! This book is challenging, pastoral, biblical and wise. The best book I've read on these pastoral realities yet. Not a huge fan of the cover or the title but the contents of this book are great! This book is challenging, pastoral, biblical and wise. The best book I've read on these pastoral realities yet.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Chris Woznicki

    Its actually a plausibility problem… What the bible teaches about same sex relationships sounds implausible to most people nowadays. It sounds totally implausible to ask people to turn their backs on same sex relationships and live a lonely life as a perpetually single person. Not only does it sound implausible, it sounds unhealthy. Listen to what Melinda Selmys, a Roman Catholic who experiences same sex attraction says: “Though shall not,” has consistently failed to persuade the postmodern world Its actually a plausibility problem… What the bible teaches about same sex relationships sounds implausible to most people nowadays. It sounds totally implausible to ask people to turn their backs on same sex relationships and live a lonely life as a perpetually single person. Not only does it sound implausible, it sounds unhealthy. Listen to what Melinda Selmys, a Roman Catholic who experiences same sex attraction says: “Though shall not,” has consistently failed to persuade the postmodern world because it is madness. She’s right, it in our world the idea that someone should say yes to the single life is absolute madness. And this is exactly where the problem lies, the church has unintentionally perpetuated the implausibility of a same-sex, single, celibate Christian life through a number of misteps. Ed Shaw, a pastor and the author of Same-Sex Attraction and the Church, seeks to address this plausibility problem by making what the Bible clearly commands seem plausible again. Shaw’s thesis is that, The reason that the Bible’s teaching on homosexuality sounds so unreasonable is because of a whole number of misteps that the church ahs taken over the years; a whole host of ways in which evangelicals have become too shaped by the world around us. (22) What Shaw does throughout the book is highlight 9 misteps that the church has made, unwittingly making the same sex celibate life implausible. He begins the book with a very personal chapter, describing what life has been like pursuing a life of sexual holiness as a pastor who has same sex attractions. This is an important chapter because the plausibility problem is a deeply personal and emotional issue for him, not only as a pastor but as a same-sex attracted Christian. This chapter really sets the context. So what are the missteps? Here are the 9 incorrect beliefs that the church has adopted, thus perpetuating the implausibility of a single-celibate same-sex life: 1. Your identity is your sexuality 2. A family is Mom, Dad and 2.4 children 3. If you’re born gay, it can’t be wrong to be gay 4. If it makes you happy, it must be right 5. Sex is where true intimacy is found 6. Men and women are equal and interchangeable 7. Godliness is heterosexuality 8. Celibacy is bad for you 9. Suffering is to be avoided Although these 9 topics have certainly influenced how the church processes issues of same sex attraction in the church, they have wide ranging implications. Personally, I have an ax to grind against belief 4 and 9. Even apart from issues of sexuality, the beliefs that “if it makes you happy, it must be right” and “suffering is to be avoided” have done so much to harm the mission of the church. Because the church has imbibed these values (especially the American church) people are slow to sacrifice for the sake of God’s mission. And perhaps even worse, students tend to abandon their faith in college precisely because they have bought into “happiness” as the goal of life, and hence their faith as well. I’ve seen it time and time again, people following Jesus because of the “happiness” and “blessings” he has to offer them instead of simply following him because he is the Messiah. It’s a consumeristic view of faith. All this to say, the issues Shaw addresses have major implications even beyond the topic of same-sex attraction. I highly recommend this book to those in ministry. I wish all my pastor friends would take the time to read it simply because I know that some of them unknowingly are perpetuating these harmful beliefs in their churches (2 and 5 seem to be especially common in the circles I find myself in.) This would also be a helpful book for all sorts of leaders in Christian ministry to read. We would really benefit from being more careful about how we address issues of family life and relationships, as elevating certain topics in sermons or bible studies can unwittingly alienate a large segment of our Christian brothers and sisters. Even though you may not agree with the details of Shaw’s proposal, this is an invaluable resource for those seeking to disciple their flock in the areas of sexuality and beyond. NOTE: I received this book from IVP in exchange for an impartial review.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Maria Cloud

    This book was super good. I really loved it. It was super good. I really enjoyed it. I know it took me a long time to read it (basically a year). I learned so much. Ed shaw also had personal experience with the struggle of sexual sin and battling that. He repeatedly talks about you can get intimacy without having sex. You have intimate relationships with the church and your friends. Getting close relationships and keeping your focus on God.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sandi Luckins

    The book is written by a man who I would seriously question his devotion to Jesus over his devotion to his homosexuality. “So, if we fail to keep obeying God’s word, it will be your fault as well as ours. We will share the responsibility for that failure unless you help the church to change in various ways….” Homosexuality is not the only sin the church needs to deal with and help people with. This gentleman has made himself clear in referring to himself as a same-sex attracted Christian that his The book is written by a man who I would seriously question his devotion to Jesus over his devotion to his homosexuality. “So, if we fail to keep obeying God’s word, it will be your fault as well as ours. We will share the responsibility for that failure unless you help the church to change in various ways….” Homosexuality is not the only sin the church needs to deal with and help people with. This gentleman has made himself clear in referring to himself as a same-sex attracted Christian that his sin is more important than his Christianity. He has confessed that he fantasizes about the immorality – it’s self a sin and seems to have no remorse that it is one of his sins. He seems to think of it from Jesus when Jesus is not the source of our sin and came to cleanse us of the sin that this man seems so attached to. Give up your sin and move in instead of asking the church to cater to it. I regret reading the book and literally had to force my way though it.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Peter J Goeman

    Ed Shaw does a good job of reminding the Church that celibacy is not a secondary class citizenship in the Church, and that the Christian should expect to suffer and embrace that commitment. In this regard his work should be lifted up as a very necessary reminder. However, his work does not make explicit the need to submit to the authority of Scripture on the issue. I believe he implies it strongly, but I don't think it was his goal to address the biblical issues. I think his main purpose was to t Ed Shaw does a good job of reminding the Church that celibacy is not a secondary class citizenship in the Church, and that the Christian should expect to suffer and embrace that commitment. In this regard his work should be lifted up as a very necessary reminder. However, his work does not make explicit the need to submit to the authority of Scripture on the issue. I believe he implies it strongly, but I don't think it was his goal to address the biblical issues. I think his main purpose was to try to get the church to make it easier for those struggling with SSA to feel helped and apart of the local church. So I can understand if he doesn't emphasize these things. But, to me that is obviously the most important part (where does authority come from?).

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jed Sanford

    In Same-Sex Attraction and the Church, celibate gay pastor Ed Shaw examines the recent movement by some Christians to approve of homosexual behavior and shows why it is theologically problematic. Shaw argues that this movement is based in a series of erroneous, unbliblical "missteps": "Your identity is your sexuality," ""If you're born gay, it can't be wrong to be gay," "If it makes you happy, it must be right," "Sex is where true intimacy is found," "Men and women are interchangeable," "Celibac In Same-Sex Attraction and the Church, celibate gay pastor Ed Shaw examines the recent movement by some Christians to approve of homosexual behavior and shows why it is theologically problematic. Shaw argues that this movement is based in a series of erroneous, unbliblical "missteps": "Your identity is your sexuality," ""If you're born gay, it can't be wrong to be gay," "If it makes you happy, it must be right," "Sex is where true intimacy is found," "Men and women are interchangeable," "Celibacy is bad for you," and "Suffering is to be avoided." But Shaw does not limit himself to critiquing these revisionist Christians. He spends an equal amount of time examining how conservative Christians themselves are guilty of these "missteps," as well as other theologically erroneous missteps: "A family is Mom, Dad, and 2.4 children," and "Godliness is heterosexuality." It is only if the Church rejects such unbiblical "missteps," Shaw argues, that the biblical call for same-sex attracted Christians to live celibate lives can be made plausible again. In an appendix, Shaw examines what the Bible has to say about homosexuality, arguing that the traditional interpretation of Scripture on this issue is plausible, while the new, revisionist interpretations of Scripture on this issue are implausible. I would venture to say that this is not only the best Christian book written on the issue of homosexuality, but also one of the best Christian books written about sexual ethics ever. What is so valuable about it is how Shaw shows that the recent movement to approve of homosexual behavior in the Church is really the result of "conservative" Christians embracing deeply unbiblical attitudes about sex, celibacy, ethics, and suffering. Shaw's book is not only a call for same-sex attracted Christians to embrace the costly demands of Christian disciplieship (written by someone who knows firsthand how difficult that can be), it is a call for all Christians to recover a biblical understanding of what it truly means to be a disciple of Jesus, and to live this out.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Tim

    I have been greatly blessed by reading this book . Ed Shaw, as a evangelical Christian who struggles with same-sex attraction has opened my eyes to the reality of living the Christian life while having same-sex attraction. He more importantly makes the case for living life as a follower of Christ while NOT giving into this same-sex attraction. The fact that God can and WILL use it for a blessing is absolutely incredible and something unthinkable to the outside world today (and unfortunately many I have been greatly blessed by reading this book . Ed Shaw, as a evangelical Christian who struggles with same-sex attraction has opened my eyes to the reality of living the Christian life while having same-sex attraction. He more importantly makes the case for living life as a follower of Christ while NOT giving into this same-sex attraction. The fact that God can and WILL use it for a blessing is absolutely incredible and something unthinkable to the outside world today (and unfortunately many Christians too). His chapters on how the church has caved on so many issues is not only very instructive for dealing with homosexuality but also in every area of our struggle with the world today. I would say that each of these 9 misteps could be expanded as a book in themselves, they are that significant. Especially powerful for me was "My family is Mom, Dad, and 2.4 children". Our family is the church and yet how many congregations are really a family? His challenge for our day and age is changing the culture of the congregation. I could go on and on but this book has definitely given alot of food for thought in it's short length (134 pages).

  12. 4 out of 5

    Tyler Brown

    I read this book in preparation for a teaching on LGBTQ questions for youth group. It was SO much more helpful than Redeeming Sex, which I read a few weeks earlier. Shaw is a evangelical Anglican who remains celibate despite experiencing same-sex attraction. I think his thesis is right: beyond the questions of the exegesis of a few passages, the church struggles to retain members who experience same sex attraction because of the problem of plausibility. We have so painted marriage to be the only I read this book in preparation for a teaching on LGBTQ questions for youth group. It was SO much more helpful than Redeeming Sex, which I read a few weeks earlier. Shaw is a evangelical Anglican who remains celibate despite experiencing same-sex attraction. I think his thesis is right: beyond the questions of the exegesis of a few passages, the church struggles to retain members who experience same sex attraction because of the problem of plausibility. We have so painted marriage to be the only successful Christian option, so sought to eliminate all suffering from discipleship, so limited intimacy to marital relationships, so downplayed singleness and celibacy as virtuous, so conjoined the gospel to the American (western?) dream, that faithfully celibate Christianity seems implausible. His call for the church to repentance and repair is a needed counterpart to exegeting the relevant texts in line with the historic Christian sexual ethic.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Joshua Reichard

    A surprising gem of a book on homosexuality! I was greatly encouraging and helped in my understanding of this particular topic. Ed Shaw is clear and almost too honest for comfort which in the end was the best part of the book. I love seeing a believer understand his sin and then be honest about it. Homosexuality isn’t one of those issues that is a hot topic right now and is easily misunderstood and take too far to the right or left. However, Ed helps bring it down to earth and helps his readers A surprising gem of a book on homosexuality! I was greatly encouraging and helped in my understanding of this particular topic. Ed Shaw is clear and almost too honest for comfort which in the end was the best part of the book. I love seeing a believer understand his sin and then be honest about it. Homosexuality isn’t one of those issues that is a hot topic right now and is easily misunderstood and take too far to the right or left. However, Ed helps bring it down to earth and helps his readers feel compassion and love. He helps the church focus on how to be loving and honest with those who have homosexual tendencies. “We’ve chosen to ignore the fact that Jesus is here calling his disciples to make a conscious and costly decision to sacrifice ourselves, to say no to things we might want, even deserve or need, because that’s what it means to follow his example.”

  14. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    This is one of the greatest, most effecting books I have ever read. It influenced me so deeply that I often talk about it in conversation and tell others to read it. For many years, I have had so many questions about these exact issues, and I thank God that Ed shared his story in such a vulnerable and gentle way. My love for people like him and for Jesus grew while I read his book. I even recommended it to one of my best friends and we read it together a second time. It has sparked many deep con This is one of the greatest, most effecting books I have ever read. It influenced me so deeply that I often talk about it in conversation and tell others to read it. For many years, I have had so many questions about these exact issues, and I thank God that Ed shared his story in such a vulnerable and gentle way. My love for people like him and for Jesus grew while I read his book. I even recommended it to one of my best friends and we read it together a second time. It has sparked many deep conversations and has further cemented my desire to know what the Bible says about these things. Bottom line, God is LOVE. He will do anything to show us how much he loves us and why. Ed Shaw is living proof that “Whoever loses their life for My sake will find it.” Matthew 10:39.

  15. 4 out of 5

    K.A. Thederahn

    This book is incredibly important. I regret that I let it sit on my shelf for close to a year before I read it. Brother Shaw is very open and humble sharing his struggles with same sex attraction, while providing biblical ways of not only loving fellow Christians who struggle with this issue, but also reaching out to others in the gay community to explain a truly biblical life. This is honestly one of the best and most useful books I've ever read. As a Christian who knows others who struggle in This book is incredibly important. I regret that I let it sit on my shelf for close to a year before I read it. Brother Shaw is very open and humble sharing his struggles with same sex attraction, while providing biblical ways of not only loving fellow Christians who struggle with this issue, but also reaching out to others in the gay community to explain a truly biblical life. This is honestly one of the best and most useful books I've ever read. As a Christian who knows others who struggle in this way I can't wait to put these practices in place

  16. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Mitchell

    Definitely one of the best books on this topic in print (and I've read a good number of them). The subtitle says so much, "The Surprising Plausibility of the Celibate Life." Shaw speaks from personal experience and biblical conviction. He examines nine common missteps and myths with clarity, compassion, and persuasiveness and then also lays out a positive case for the biblical position. Several times as I read I said out loud, "Aha." and "Right. That's the way to say that." I will be giving it away Definitely one of the best books on this topic in print (and I've read a good number of them). The subtitle says so much, "The Surprising Plausibility of the Celibate Life." Shaw speaks from personal experience and biblical conviction. He examines nine common missteps and myths with clarity, compassion, and persuasiveness and then also lays out a positive case for the biblical position. Several times as I read I said out loud, "Aha." and "Right. That's the way to say that." I will be giving it away to many others.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kyle

    Ed Shaw frames the discussions around same-sex attracted people in the church as a plausibility problem: is it actually plausible to flourish as a same-sex attracted person in the church if I hold to the historical biblical sexual ethic? This, to me, is one of the central questions churches should be considering: how do we make our communities places where SSA/LGBT people can flourish within the bound of the Christian sexual ethic. I really appreciated Ed Shaw's balanced, vulnerable, pastoral ap Ed Shaw frames the discussions around same-sex attracted people in the church as a plausibility problem: is it actually plausible to flourish as a same-sex attracted person in the church if I hold to the historical biblical sexual ethic? This, to me, is one of the central questions churches should be considering: how do we make our communities places where SSA/LGBT people can flourish within the bound of the Christian sexual ethic. I really appreciated Ed Shaw's balanced, vulnerable, pastoral approach to questions around identity, sexuality, temptation, and singleness.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Bruce Stopher

    Celibate Christianity is a Viable Option I known of no other book that tackles how a Christian living with same-sex attraction can live through the conflict between biblical teaching and the emotional rollercoaster of inner desires. Very well written with very personal examples (not just theological statements) and a clear viable (plausible) option for today. Bravo!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Amy Morgan

    Really great resource for both the same-sex attracted and pastors who want to minister well to this group. Ed’s grasp of Scripture is excellent, and his arguments engage the cultural narrative of same-sex attraction on its own terms. I would even share this book with someone who wondered why the SBC rejects homosexuality as a sin.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

    This is a truly excellent book. The title is descriptive, but I'm afraid that it means only people who are same-sex attracted, care for others who experience this, or leaders in churches. But this book is for everyone who loves the Lord and wants to help others walk well with him. I really cannot recommend this book more highly. Please read it. This is a truly excellent book. The title is descriptive, but I'm afraid that it means only people who are same-sex attracted, care for others who experience this, or leaders in churches. But this book is for everyone who loves the Lord and wants to help others walk well with him. I really cannot recommend this book more highly. Please read it.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Rev

    I really appreciated Shaw’s approach to the celibate life for same- sex attracted people (and others who are single) from a plausibility framework. He does a great job highlighting both the attractiveness of such a life as well as the real challenges and struggles that accompany it.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jason Pittman

    One of the best resources I’ve come across to help us understand SSA and the Biblical response to it. Also, much to think about as a church leader and how we have missed the mark in pastoring our people.

  23. 5 out of 5

    James

    This was a helpful and insightful book. This is a hot topic today within the Protestant church. I believe all Christians should give it a chance and learn what it like for someone who struggles with SSA. It is real and it is a sensitive subject for individuals.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Bradley

    Fascinating perspective from an untraditional Christian.

  25. 5 out of 5

    benebean

    This is hands down the best book I’ve read about homosexuality and singleness. I feel like every Christian needs to read this.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    Good, would've been better if the whole thing was more like the style and tone he uses in appendix 2. Good, would've been better if the whole thing was more like the style and tone he uses in appendix 2.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Abram Martin

    A great book for anyone wanting to learn more about this discussion.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jeanie

    So the current controversies over sexuality should excite rather than dismay us-it is from times of profound disagreement that our Sovereign God has often brought a return to radical biblical clarity in the church's theology and practices. It forces us to examine the plausibility of scripture and the design of God. I appreciate the teaching and the life of Ed Shaw. A pastor that knows and lives the plausibility of a celibate life. It is not a drudgery but a expression of joy. It has brought him So the current controversies over sexuality should excite rather than dismay us-it is from times of profound disagreement that our Sovereign God has often brought a return to radical biblical clarity in the church's theology and practices. It forces us to examine the plausibility of scripture and the design of God. I appreciate the teaching and the life of Ed Shaw. A pastor that knows and lives the plausibility of a celibate life. It is not a drudgery but a expression of joy. It has brought him closer to the heart of God than most because of the sacrifice he has made to live a life of celibacy. The question you might ask yourself is why would deny yourself love. Shaw opens up with two very real people. Maybe you know them. A young man that is going to college that his gay and he is a Christian. He questions why can't he enjoy the love of another man and be still be a Christian. Or a young woman that has been divorced and is developing a friendship with another woman that has turned into more. She questions the church about the relationship, and the church is clear on where it stands with that relationship. How can the word of God be plausible to what these two people are dealing with and how can we be plausible with how we love and express the gospel to them. Shaw walks thru 9 Missteps that applies to the Gospel. I want to be clear on this as a reader-THIS IS NOT JUST A SAME SEX ISSUE, this applies to the GOSPEL and our relationship with a living God. 1) Misstep#1-Your identity is your sexuality -How we can we ensure our identities are defined by God's word and not by the world around us. 2) Misstep #2 - A family is mom, dad and 2.4 children-How can we all make sure that talk of church family isn't just talk? 3)Misstep #3 If you are born gay, it can't be wrong to be gay-How can we better communicate that a natural instinct to do something doesn't mean it must be right? 4)Misstep #4 If it makes you happy, it must be right! - How can we all keep checking that our decisions aren't more governed by what we feel than what God's says is good for us? 5)Misstep #5- Sex is where true intimacy is found-How can we all develop more intimate friendships? 6)Misstep #6- Women and Men are equal and interchangeable- How can we better explain the need for sexual differences in the union of marriage? 7)Misstep #7 -Godliness is heterosexuality-How can we all make sure that we aren't appearing to be sexually self-righteousness? 8)Celibacy is bad for you. - How can we all be as affirming of singleness as the Bible is? 9)Suffering is to be avoided-How can we help each other appreciate the good results of suffering in our lives? Each of these missteps are answered and can be applied on how we live out the Gospel. It is a thoughtful and insightful read that is gospel centered. I highly recommend. A Special Thank You to InterVarsity Press and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sally

    This is a wonderful, powerful book on a very current topic, and I highly recommend it. Ed Shaw writes honestly and from his heart about his own situation in a way that really convicted me in a variety of ways. He talked about the need for fellowship and how families tend to expend most of their time and energy on themselves (he wasn't criticizing them; just observing that tending to one's family takes effort), and I realized that I've been guilty of that. He talked about how believers need to re This is a wonderful, powerful book on a very current topic, and I highly recommend it. Ed Shaw writes honestly and from his heart about his own situation in a way that really convicted me in a variety of ways. He talked about the need for fellowship and how families tend to expend most of their time and energy on themselves (he wasn't criticizing them; just observing that tending to one's family takes effort), and I realized that I've been guilty of that. He talked about how believers need to reach out and meet emotional needs in each other's lives intentionally, to help those striving to be celibate to have deep and meaningful relationships in their lives. The book covers a range of issues that we need to think carefully about because we tend to believe them and unconsciously let them define our theology and worldview. "If it makes you happy, it must be right!" "Sex is where true intimacy is found." "Godliness is heterosexuality." "Celibacy is bad for you." "Suffering is to be avoided." I'm lamentably inarticulate at the moment, but I do want to encourage everyone to read this book. Although the topic of homosexuality is everywhere at the moment, causing us to grow weary of it, this book will help you to examine your beliefs and pray fervently for those desiring to live godly lives in this era.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Hopson

    Ed Shaw is an evangelical Christian. In short, he believes the Bible, and not just parts of it. Unlike many Christians his age, Ed still firmly believes the church's historic teaching on sexual ethics. In opposition to the cultural mainstream, he rigorously defends the Bible's clear and consistent teaching that homosexuality is sin. And yet, Ed isn't your average Bible-believing evangelical. Ed struggles with same-sex attraction. And that's the rub: on the one hand Ed believes the Bible, and on Ed Shaw is an evangelical Christian. In short, he believes the Bible, and not just parts of it. Unlike many Christians his age, Ed still firmly believes the church's historic teaching on sexual ethics. In opposition to the cultural mainstream, he rigorously defends the Bible's clear and consistent teaching that homosexuality is sin. And yet, Ed isn't your average Bible-believing evangelical. Ed struggles with same-sex attraction. And that's the rub: on the one hand Ed believes the Bible, and on the other hand he experiences unrelenting feelings that simply will not go away. How is a Christian to respond to this dilemma? "Same-Sex Attraction and the Church" is designed to highlight the plausibility of celibacy for 21st century Christians. This is simply a little-discussed topic that Shaw helpfully addresses in a provocative and rigorously biblical way. I believe that every Christian living in the midst of the sexual revolution should read this book! You'll be encouraged, surprised, challenged, and strengthened in ways you'll never expect. For Tim Challies' 2016 Reading Challenge this is the book I read about homosexuality.

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