Denny Burk and Heath Lambert
P. & R. Publishing, 2015
Reviewed by Peter Barnes
It is a pleasure (in a way) and a relief to welcome this clearheaded, incisive and yet compassionate Christian treatment of the sin of homosexual acts and desires. Burk and Lambert delineate four broadly Christian approaches: the liberal (e.g. Luke Timothy Johnson, a New Testament scholar who explicitly rejects the biblical teaching on the subject); the revisionist (e.g. Matthew Vines who wants to argue that the Bible does not directly address the subject); the neo-traditional (e.g. Wesley Hill who rejects homosexual acts, but wants to rescue homosexual orientation so far as he can); and the traditional (e.g. Burk and Lambert themselves who seek to bring God’s transforming grace to those tempted to homosexual orientation and acts). Desire is not neutral; it all depends on what is desired. This is the decisive weakness in Wesley Hill’s stance.
Scripture is firmly on the side of Burk and Lambert (e.g. James 1:13-15; Romans 7); it is sinful desires which lead to sinful acts. Burk and Lambert are right to question reparative therapy which aims to turn the homosexual into a heterosexual, while bypassing repentance. They also give a number of practical suggestions for how Christians can minister to homosexuals desiring help. However, the suggestion that the homosexual seek out a same-sex friend who is not tempted by same-sex attraction in order to tell him or her everything is one that does not seem to have biblical warrant, at least to me. In fact, it may be dangerous. Apart from this doubtful suggestion, this book is deeply biblical and helpful.
Buy it here from Reformers Bookshop