Peter Hubbard's book Love into Light: The Gospel, the Homosexual, and the Church is a remarkable gift to the church at a crucial time. As a pastor, I get paid to read and study a fair number of books, and I'd say there are only a couple of books I've read in the last five years that are paradigm-altering. This is one of those books.
Love into Light is easy to read, yet deep. “This book is not a counseling manual or a comprehensive theology of homosexuality. Neither is it a political action plan. I think of it more as a plea, an appeal to the church to rethink the way we talk about SSA (same sex attraction) (p. 15).” Hubbard succeeds in his goal of reshaping the thinking of Christians about homosexuality.
I've written briefly about how to respond to a friend who is openly homosexual, and I've done a fair bit of thinking through the best way of relating to people with SSA. But Hubbard's book challenged my thinking, convicted me of ungodly prejudice, and demonstrated to me how little I understand the struggle with SSA. Love into Light strikes the right balance of truth and love, of comfort and confrontation.
Perhaps the greatest mark of authority in Hubbard's writing is that you can tell he personally knows and has relationships with homosexuals and people that struggle with SSA. We Christians often approach issues like this with clinical words that fail to grasp the emotion and complexity of a person's struggle. We seem to “get” pornography, drug addiction, drunkenness, etc. However, we “weird out” when it comes to SSA. One thing that has slowly reshaped my thinking about SSA for years is that the same New Testament passage condemning homosexuality also condemns disobedience to parents. I'm not equating disobedience and homosexuality on every level, but I believe that we need to rethink how we approach the issues.
Hubbard talks about an encounter that dramatically changed the way he related to homosexuals: “As I began to listen to and speak with homosexual men who explained their convictions and confronted my perspective, my heart was moved. No longer were 'gays' faceless voting blocks who were determined to destroy the country I loved. They are image bearers. Sinners. Part of the 'all we like sheep' who 'have gone astray' (p. 127).”
Hubbard understands compassion. He also understands truth. There are moments when some believers will feel uncomfortable with the level of empathy Hubbard calls us to. There are times when some more “tolerant” believers will feel confronted by the truth that homosexuality is indeed sin. In all of this, though, there is an underlying understanding that SSA is real and must be approached with both truth and compassion. Truth, without compassion, leads to self-righteous condemnation. Compassion, without truth, leads to blind acceptance of sin. We must lovingly confront sin with true compassion.
I highly recommend this book. It has reshaped and is continuing to reshape my thinking about SSA. I believe it will do the same for you.
A couple of final notes:
- The book is worth buying merely for chapter 6, “Celibacy/Marriage.” It's one of the most helpful resources I've seen on singleness and marriage.
- The book's website offers a number of additional helpful resources at www.loveintolight.com.