Friday, June 23, 2017

Book Review: Hope for the Same-Sex Attracted

Ron Citlau is a fellow pastor in the Reformed Church in America. And when it comes to addressing the biblical hope offered same-sex attracted individuals, he knows what he is talking about. Ron spent many years lost in the wilderness of same-sex attraction until God in his mercy called him, not only out of that lifestyle, but into marriage, family and full-time ministry. In his prior book, Compassion Without Compromise, Ron tells his story and lays out a biblical case for recognizing that same-sex attraction is not God's good plan for his people.

In his newest book, Hope for the Same-Sex Attracted, Ron turns to the Bible once again to offer biblical direction to same-sex strugglers and those who would love and minster to them. Weaving Scripture, story and practical steps together, Ron shows those with same-sex attraction that there is a better way. The book is divided into two main parts. the first deals with the obstacles that stand in the way of same-sex strugglers from being open to the healing and transforming power of Christ. he address the issue of Gay Christian Identity, Gay Marriage and the Spiritual Friendship Movement. he explains the attraction of these "solutions" to many people, but then shows that ultimately they come up short in addressing the deepest needs of the individual. This section is also helpful to Christians who are struggling themselves with how to integrate the Same-Sex Attracted (SSA) into the community.

The second section focuses on the Gifts that are available to the SSA in their pursuit of transformation. Ron first, addresses the Gifts of the Church, Healing Communities and Christian therapy as keys to beginning and continuing the work of spiritual transformation. He reminds church leaders that they play a key role in creating an environment where change can take place .The next three gifts, Ron addresses touch on the important relational needs of the SSA. Looking in turns at Singleness, Marriage and Prayerful Lament, he honestly wrestles with the ways that the SSA can accept God's calling to living out their relational lives. The section on Prayerful Lament is especially powerful as it deals with facing some of the losses that come from following God's plan for the future.

Ron ends with two very practical chapters. One addressed to Church Leaders and another for the Same-Sex Attracted. He challenges the church to vulnerable and loving as it seeks to minister to those with SSA. The practical lessons in this chapter are invaluable. The closing chapter is a heartfelt plea from one whose had wandered in the wilderness and by God's grace and power found his way home to others wanderers to follow the path that Scripture has lain out.

Hope for the Same-Sex Attracted is just that - a word of hope. With so much focus in the Church today upon the nature of the sin, Ron's book is a powerful correction and remainder that the Gospel is about transformation, not condemnation. Ron has written a book that will be helpful going forward both for the same-sex struggler and the church called to welcome them in truth and love. I highly recommend it.

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