Books

Featured Books

A Letter to My Congregation

An evangelical pastor’s path to embracing people who are gay, lesbian and transgender into the company of Jesus.
A Letter to my Congregation book coverBy Ken Wilson

In A Letter to my Congregation, Ken makes his case for the Third Way, which is now a major part of the nationwide movement to heal wounds left by years of anti-gay messages and policies in evangelical churches. This book takes readers through Ken’s journey of study, pastoral engagement and spiritual discernment.

Changing Our Mind

By David Gushee

Changing Our Mind book coverIn a similar vein as Ken’s book, David Gushee invites readers along his journey as he changes his mind about gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender inclusion in the Church.

Gushee is considered by many to be America’s leading evangelical ethicist. In the past, Gushee preached and wrote in support of traditional evangelical views on LGBT people and thier relationships. This book is a historic turning point in which he describes his gradual change of mind and heart. This series of essays calls to Christians to end all contemptuous treatment of LGBT individuals, by being open to scholarship that challenges traditional readings of key biblical texts, and by being loving in accordance with the teachings of Jesus. In Changing Our Mind, Gushee invites readers to stand with him in solidarity with a group that has been and continues to be among the most mistreated in the world, and especially in the church.


Recommended Reading

Paul Among the People

By Sarah Ruden

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Sarah Ruden is a world class classicist, familiar with the Greco-Roman literature of the New Testament period. She argues convincingly that Paul’s writings regarding women, slaves, and homosexuality are easily misunderstood when taken out of their literary historical context. Ruden takes a different view than N.T. Wright on whether anything analogous to today’s same sex covenantal relationships were well known in the ancient world. The same sex relationship Paul inveighed against, she claims, were violent and exploitative. Quoting original sources extensively, this is not for the feint of heart. A must read for a sympathetic understanding of Paul.

Unnatural

By Rachel Murr

Unknown-1All texts of Scripture are to be read through the lens of Jesus: love your neighbor as yourself, this is the Law and the prophets. Rachel Murr, a clinical social worker and gay Christian from an evangelical background weaves together personal stories, her own story and the latest research on the harm that comes from exclusionary policies in the church.

 

 

Between XX and XY: Intersexuality and the Myth of Two Sexes

By Gerald N. Callahan, Ph.D

In the din of controversy over homosexuality, the plight of those who experience gender identity issues is often overlooked–and this group is among the most vulnerable in our society. This book provides lay readers with an accessible guide to the notion that biologically speaking, gender is less simple a matter than our binary minds make it out to be.

The Strong and the Weak: Romans 14.1-15.13 in Context

by Mark Reasoner

The most thorough reading of Romans 14-15 that we could find, which adopts a robust view of the kinds of issues faced by the Roman church. Works carefully through the complex questions regarding the issues that Paul was addressing and the significance of the terms “strong” and “weak” as the two parties he was addressing in his magisterial letter.

Christian Tolerance: Paul’s Message to the Modern Church

By Robert Jewett

A notable exception to the dearth of scholarly work on the significance of Paul’s “disputable matters” category, in the letter to the Romans and in the contemporary setting. Jewett is a top flight scholar and Romans expert (his Romans Commentary is in the highly regarded Hermeneia series). Though dated in terms of contemporary issues (1982) it is a stand out work in the field.

Romans Commentary: The New Interpreters Bible

By N.T. Wright

Written squarely within “the new perspective on Paul,” this commentary situates Romans 14-15 as a central rather than peripheral feature of the letter. Wright argues that the issues Paul addressed were, in their time, matters of grave moral concern that lay at the heart of the identity of the house churches in Rome. Tellingly, he asserts that which matters can be regarded as “disputable” is itself a matter of dispute.

Bible, Gender, Sexuality: Reframing the Church’s Debate on Same-Sex Relationships

By James V. Brownson

Brownson’s work is a recent breakthrough in evangelical scholarship. He argues persuasively that gender “complimentarily” is a modern construct and not grounded in Scripture as is often asserted.

Homosexuality and the Bible: Two Views

By Dan. O. Via and Robert A.J. Gagnon

A highly readable (and short) example of the state of the debate over homosexuality prior to the recent work of evangelical scholars questioning the exclusionary consensus of the church (like Gushee and Brownson). Gagnon is widely considered the authoritative interpreter of conservative evangelicalism on the topic, so any revision of this position must interact with his views.

Exclusion & Embrace: A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness, and Reconciliation

By Miroslav Volf

While Volf has not yet weighed in on the LGBT controversy, his work in Exclusion and Embrace is pivotal for an understanding of the spiritual dynamics and implications of exclusionary policies in the church. This book must be read slowly, page by page, prayerfully.

The Lost World of Genesis One: Ancient Cosmology and the Origins of Debate

By John H. Walton

Understanding biblical text in historical and cultural context at its most enlightening. Walton is professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College. His work illuminates Genesis 1 as never before and underscores the danger of regarding a single reading of Genesis 1 as determinative for Christian faithfulness. His work, while not interacting with Third Way directly, is critical for regarding various opinions on the relationship between Scripture and evolutionary biology as another example of a “disputable matter” within the church.

Divorce and Remarriage in the Bible: The Social and Literary Context

By David Instone-Brewer

An example of scholarship that illuminates the question of divorce and remarriage in light of a more careful consideration of its original context. This reading leads to a more humane pastoral approach to remarried persons in the church. It sheds light on an issue which was once regarded as settled, justifying exclusionary policies, but is now widely regarded (at least in practice) as disputable.

Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gay-Vs.-Christian Debate

By Justin Lee

Justin Lee is the founder of the Gay Christian Network, which, without using the language, models Third Way in its embrace of gay Christians who themselves have differing views on the morality of same-sex relationships. Not incidentally, Lee includes a section on Romans 14-15 in his book, which is part memoir, part biblical commentary, part call to action. This book is a game changer in the emerging literature coming from evangelical Christianity.

God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Gay Relationships.

By Matthew Vines

This book is emblematic of gay evangelical Christians gaining and using their voice. It is a broadside challenge to the traditional consensus that has held sway for so long.  It is no longer legitimate to simply assert that this issue is not debatable without at least engaging what Vines has done here.

A Generous Spaciousness: Responding to Gay Christians in the Church

By Wendy VanderWal-Gritter

A straight leader in the Canadian wing of the ex-gay movement, the author reflects unflinchingly on her experience and details her pivot toward regarding the LGBT issue as unsettled. The strength of the book lies in its gentleness and the author’s commitment to listening and promoting environments in which all voices can be heard.

Oriented to Faith: Transforming the Conflict Over Gay Relationships

By Tim Otto

Forged in the pressure cooker or intentional Christian community oriented around discipleship to Jesus, this book is a testament to the robust devotion of Christians who are gay and wrestle with how that fits into their faith. Tim Otto’s voice is irenic and deeply convictional.

What God Has Joined Together: The Christian Case for Gay Marriage

By David G. Meyers

An early and important evangelical dissenter from the traditional consensus, Meyers is a  renowned professor of psychology at Hope College, Meyers speaks from the perspective of one concerned for the care of souls.

 

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