Last week I wrote a review of Love Into Light: The Gospel, the Homosexual, and the Church. Author Peter Hubbard graciously took time to correspond with me about the book and the topic of homosexuality this week. Thanks Peter!
What motivated you to write Love Into Light?
I believe God led me to write Love Into Light because of what I saw in faces, what I didn’t hear in the church and what is denied by our culture. I was looking at the faces of friends who struggled with unwanted same-sex attraction. I saw the hopelessness in their eyes and did not hear words of hope coming from our pulpits. Very few people in the church were talking to them in a helpful way and almost everyone outside the church denied their existence (specifically that people exist who experience SSA, yet follow Jesus rather than living a homosexual lifestyle). The hope-filled message of the gospel makes all the difference!
In your introduction, you challenge the church to consider the topic of homosexuality as an opportunity, not a threat. Could you elaborate on that? In what ways does this topic present an opportunity for God’s church?
Homosexuality is currently the Super Bowl of morality in our country. Politicians have their fingers in the air trying to figure out where to land on this issue. Military chaplains, college professors and professional counselors can lose their jobs if they don’t affirm the gay lifestyle. Ministers who align their preaching with the mood of the day, fluctuate from condemnation to commendation. Can you imagine a better opportunity to proclaim the real gospel of Jesus? Fake gospels don’t stand up in these conditions. Religion is powerless in the face of gale-force winds of change and raging hormones. This is why the apostle Paul, who viewed homosexuality as a vivid moral example of the inversion of idolatry, was not ashamed to preach the gospel in a culture like ours (Romans 1:16). He believed that the gospel shines brightest in the times that seem darkest.
The Christian stance on homosexuality is often interpreted as homophobic by our culture. How can Christians respond to people who oppose us in a way that is loving but not compromising?
We must stop viewing homosexuality through the lens of the conservative activist or the gay activist. I just met with a couple who are seeking to reach out to their brother who recently came out as gay. Their response to his announcement has been sacrificially gracious. They have helped him in so many tangible ways. When the husband was asked by a nonbeliever, “How can you respond so lovingly? I thought you would reject him,” he explained, “But he’s my brother!” This is the key. We must move toward people as Jesus moved toward us. When we know people and love people we find creative ways to communicate that love without compromising the truth.
What one thing would you like to say to Christians on this topic? And what one thing would you say specifically to pastors?
End the silence. Too many of us allow the “yuck factor” to make us mute. When I see my own heart accurately, it is impossible for me to despise anyone else for their sin. My conversations with my friends who struggle with SSA have been hugely helpful for me in my own battles with sin. Pastors who evade difficult subjects like SSA are missing out on truckloads of grace and misrepresenting the gospel as weak or irrelevant.
Are you working on any upcoming writing projects?
I have several projects on the back burner, but I really need to finish my DMin project before I get back to those. I am enjoying helping pastors talk about SSA in their churches in a more faithful, helpful way.