Kevin DeYoung. What Does the Bible Really Teach About Homosexuality?. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2015. 158 pp. $12.99.
What Does the Bible Really Teach About Homosexuality? is sort of a “Gagnon for Dummies” (Robert Gagnon is the author of a thorough and technical tome defending the traditional Christian view of homosexuality). Gagnon’s book is a monument of serious biblical scholarship, but it’s so academic that it’s not accessible to the ordinary reader. And yet, there’s never been a more urgent time for ordinary readers to understand what the Bible says about the matter. Though homosexuality is quickly becoming one of the defining issues of our time, many Christians don’t know how—or even if—Scripture speaks on the matter.
Enter Kevin DeYoung, a pastor-scholar who is a master at taking complicated arguments and putting them into a form that anyone can understand. He admits at the outset of his project he doesn’t intend to break any new ground. He aims to create a resource for “moms and dads and lay elders and college students and grandparents and high school administrators and small group leaders and dozens of other ‘ordinary’ people who aren’t sure how to make sense of this issue” (19). And that is exactly what DeYoung achieves in this book.
What Does the Bible Really Teach About Homosexuality? is relentlessly biblical. In fact, DeYoung, senior minister of University Reformed Church in East Lansing, Michigan, devotes the entire first part of the book simply to explaining what Scripture teaches. In five chapters, he deals with six primary texts from the Old and New Testaments that relate to homosexuality: Genesis 1–2 and 19; Leviticus 18 and 20; Romans 1; 1 Corinthians 6; and 1 Timothy 1. Anyone familiar with the mountain of biblical scholarship on these texts over the last 40 years knows this is a formidable task. Sadly, much of that work is dedicated to implausible revisionist interpretations that have found undeserved plausibility in the aftermath of the sexual revolution. DeYoung knows this scholarship, summarizes its arguments accurately, and then decimates them in terms that ordinary readers can understand. This is no small achievement.
For each of the seminal texts, DeYoung reviews the revisionist interpretations and dismantles them decisively. After clearing away revisionist debris, DeYoung shows that God really did create marriage as a male-female institution (Gen. 1–2); that Jesus really did affirm the Genesis definition of marriage (Matt. 19); that God really did destroy the cities of the plain in part because of the sin of homosexuality (Gen. 19); that Mosaic prohibitions on same-sex behavior really are still relevant today (Lev. 19–20); and that Paul really did condemn all same-sex behavior (Rom. 1; 1 Cor. 6; 1 Tim. 1). The biblical picture of homosexuality is really not as complicated as the revisionists suggest.
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SOURCE: The Gospel Coalition