CHANGING OUR MIND: A Call from America’s Leading Evangelical Ethics Scholar for Full Acceptance of LGBT Christians in the Church. By David P. Gushee. Canton, MI: Read the Spirit Books, 2014. Xxiii + 131 pages.
Until recently it was generally believed that one could not be both Christian and Gay. After all, didn’t the Bible declare homosexuality to be a sin, and besides that doesn’t nature itself suggest that humans are designed for heterosexual coupling? At least that had been the prevailing opinion. Things have changed dramatically in recent years. The status of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) community continues to be a vexing question for the church. Many Christians continue to hold the line on the traditional views, while many others are challenging the traditional understanding. In part this due to the fact that many good solid Bible-believing Jesus professing Christians have begun to come out of the closet. As LGBT folks begin to come out of the closet we’ve discovered that they often are our siblings, our children, our neighbors, and even possibly our parents. To say that the apple cart has been upset is to put it mildly. The question is – now that the closet doors are opening, where will the church go? Who will lead the way?
Of course members of the LGBT community who are Christians are telling their story. Books by Justin Lee and Jeff Chu are only two possibilities. But some of the best advocates are evangelical Christians who seek to affirm the authority of Scripture while recognizing that the demands of the hour require that we take a different perspective on questions like this. Among those who have taken up the challenge is David Gushee, one of the leading evangelical social ethicists in America, and author of my book of the year from a year ago -- The Sacredness of Human Life. Gushee has a very strong evangelical pedigree, having taught at Southern Baptist Seminary and Union University before moving to McAfee School of Theology (Mercer University). He has even written a book on marriage that defended traditional view that marriage is the union of a man and a woman (Getting Marriage Right, Baker, 2004). In recent years, however, Gushee has had a change of mind and heart. This is due in large part to his encounters with LGBT Christians and the coming out of his own sister. The latter is an important factor, because many of us have come to the same change of heart due to the realization that one we love (in my case my younger brother) is gay. In Changing Our Mind, Gushee shares how this change occurred and offers his rationale for why the church as a whole should follow his lead.