One of the largest issues embroiling our world and culture today has nothing to do with the environment, the economy or government scandals. Its importance strikes to the heart of the home, the family, the individual.
While it appears to be an administrative issue its core points to the legitimacy of existence. The hot-button issue of gay marriage is not just a referendum on the legality of a formal union between two people. The heart of the debate is not whether the union is acceptable, but whether the individual is.
The Church, of course, finds itself in a difficult position. At least, it should. How does the earthly representation of Jesus Christ love its neighbor while remaining committed to biblical principles? Is it even possible? With hopes of leading the Church along the best road, Dr. Lawrence writes to us about The Uncomfortable Church, asking in the subtitle, Can gays be reconciled to the Body of Christ?
It is an important question. But whenever such questions pop out of the noise of culture and Christendom there are defensive measures that are quickly put into action. Brice has sat on both sides of the debate. His journey and the leading of God compelled him to share his message for us.
At a time when there are many voices speaking to the culture and the Church, Brice hopes that we will heed the call to the true prophetic voice of our time. He continually points to and makes his case from the Scriptures, both from the Old and New Testament. He looks at the Biblical foundation for sexual relationships, the efforts of those who work to reconcile Scripture with acceptance of homosexuality, the acceptance of the issues based on civil rights and how pastors should minister to those who are attracted to the same sex.
The primary message is clear: We are meant to love everyone, and in so doing lead them to the love of Jesus Christ. Yet at times the book seems circular and confusing.
For example, it is Brice’s intent to confirm the uniqueness of the individual as an intentional creation of the God of the universe and that He loves them as they are. But in doing so he appears to advocate the inherency of homosexuality, where one confesses that they were “born this way”, like being born with red hair. It is part of who they are in the uniqueness of God’s design for their life. This, of course, tends to make the opposite case, defending the homosexual and straying from the very literal interpretation of the Scriptures that Brice employs.
Because of his education and background, Brice also tends to be wordy. This can add to the confusion and difficulty for some readers. At the same time it is helpful when he explains words from the original languages that may be promoted as delivering one message when their meaning is very direct and clear.
Yet The Uncomfortable Church is a necessary read for our time and should be read by church leaders and those who are trying to build a bridge at a time when so many are stockpiling ammunition. It opens Scripture in a way that is true to the Word of God yet provides an intense hope for those who seek a reconciliation between the Church and the GLBT community. While there is great value from the book in that domain, the principles here really relate to handling lives that are immersed in lifestyle and habits that are in conflict with the Word of God.
Book has been provided courtesy of the author and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
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