TRANSFORMING HOMOSEXUALITY: WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS ABOUT SEXUAL ORIENTATION AND CHANGE, by Denny Burk and Heath Lambert

Published on October 12, 2015 by Todd Scacewater

P&R, 2015 | 136 pages

Not very many (but still, too many) will doubt that the biblical writers condemn homosexual behavior as sinful. But what does the Bible say about “same-sex orientation”? Does it address this at all? Is homosexual desire sinful? Can a person be held accountable as sinful for sexual inclination toward others of the same sex? We are often told today that we must distinguish, ethically, between homosexual behavior and homosexual orientation, the one being sinful and the other not. Did you perhaps think the Bible is unclear on this question?

And what about the homosexual himself? Can he change? A Christian who has practiced homosexuality and who perhaps is still inclined to homosexual desire – can he expect change? Is it right, even, to suggest it … let alone expect it?

Because of our cultural moment we have a growing number of books given to address the subject of homosexuality. Most are devoted to the ethical question itself – whether homosexual behavior is sinful. This book is different. The authors agree that Scripture forbids homosexuality, but their concern is the next steps: What does the Bible say about homosexual desire? And what does it say about change? Can we expect – as their title indicates – that homosexuals should and can be transformed?

Moreover, might the church need to change regarding this issue also? Burke and Lambert suggest that we do. They do not suggest that the church’s assessment of homosexuality as sinful should change, but they do suggest that we could learn to minister the gospel – and the hope of the gospel – to homosexuals more effectively.
 

From the Foreword

The following is from Al Mohler’s Foreword to Denny Burke’s and Heath Lambert’s Transforming Homosexuality:

The modern secular consensus is that an individual’s pattern of sexual attraction, whether heterosexual or homosexual, should be accepted as a given and considered normal. More than that, the secular view demands that this pattern of sexual orientation be accepted as integral to an individual’s identity. According to the secular consensus, any effort to change an individual’s sexual orientation is essentially wrong and harmful. The contemporary therapeutic worldview is virtually unanimous in this verdict, but nothing could be more directly at odds with the gospel of Jesus Christ….

The believer in the Lord Jesus Christ receives the forgiveness of sins, the gift of eternal life, and the righteousness of Christ imputed by faith. But the redeemed Christian is also united with Christ, indwelt by the Holy Spirit….

This means that Christians cannot accept any argument suggesting the impossibility of fundamentally reorienting a believer’s desires….

Christians know that believers among us struggle to submit their sexual desires to Christ. This is not something true only of those whose desires are homosexual. It is true of all Christians. Yet we know that those believers who are struggling to overcome homosexual desires have a special struggle—one that requires the full conviction and support of the body of Christ. We will see the glory of God in the growing obedience of Christ’s redeemed people. And, along with the apostle Paul and all the redeemed, we will await the glory that is yet to be revealed to us.
 

From the Preface

Part One of this work focuses on the ethics of desire. Chapter one defines sexual orientation and offers a critique of the idea that it is a morally neutral concept. Chapter two explores how the Bible’s teaching about temptation, desire, and sin maps onto the concepts of sexual orientation and same-sex attraction. Part Two of our book explains how people experiencing same-sex attraction might experience transformation. Chapter three clears away five common “myths” about what that transformation looks like. Chapter four charts a path of transformation based on repentance. Chapter five concludes with some ways that the church needs to “transform” its own ways of thinking about and of ministering to those with same-sex attraction.
 

Table of Contents

Foreword by R. Albert Mohler Jr.
Preface: Why Do We Need This Book?
Part One: The Ethics of Desire
1.  What Is Same-Sex Attraction?
2.  Is Same-Sex Attraction Sinful?
Part Two: The Path of Transformation
3. Myths about Change
4. A Biblical Path to Change
5. How Evangelicals Can Change
 

Endorsements

In Principles of Conduct, John Murray reminds us that ‘the line of demarcation between virtue and vice is not a chasm but a razor’s edge.’ In Transforming Homosexuality, Denny Burk and Heath Lambert shine scholarly and pastoral light on that razor’s edge, helping Christians to discern the difference between sexual temptation and sexual lust as it bears on same-sex attraction. This is a bold and provocative book. It will also likely be a controversial book. But it is predominantly a loving book that seeks to help people with unwanted homosexual desires be transformed by the full knowledge that God’s grace for us in Christ is sufficient for all our various struggles and sins.  
~ Rosaria Butterfield

Under pressure from worldly trendsetters, many in the church (including several key evangelical leaders) have adopted the position that homosexual desire may in some sense be normal. Homosexual acts are sinful, they say, but a homosexual orientation is not inherently unrighteous. In Transforming Homosexuality, Denny Burk and Heath Lambert address that idea with biblical clarity and godly wisdom. This is an important book about an issue that has overwhelmed our culture.  
~ John MacArthur
 

Recommendation

In their new Transforming Homosexuality Burke and Lambert have helped to fill a niche that needed filling. Their analysis of the sinfulness of human desires and of accountability even for sinful desires that may seem involuntary is superbly insightful – it is applied theology at its finest. (Indeed, this alone is worth the price of the book.) The path of transformation they outline for those who struggle is sound and full of hope. And the counsel they give the church in regard to this increasingly prevalent issue is insightful. Highly recommended.
 

Fred Zaspel

Buy the books

TRANSFORMING HOMOSEXUALITY: WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS ABOUT SEXUAL ORIENTATION AND CHANGE

P&R, 2015 | 136 pages