Book Review | The Uncomfortable Church by Dr Lawrence Brice
Deep River Books | 2013
The Uncomfortable Church is a great name for a book that deals with the issue of homosexuality and the church. Obviously, this is one of the ‘hot topics’ right now with increasing media coverage of stories of school board involvement in Gay Pride events, same-sex marriage, discrimination cases and Christian ministries that announce they will employ practising homosexuals. We’re confronted daily with the subject of homosexuality, but how many of us really know what our response should be? More so, whilst trying to find where God wants us to be on the ‘scale’ that ranges from a liberalist “anything goes” to the notorious Westboro Baptist Church, are any of us truly ‘the comfortable church’, either in terms of our own comfort, or that of the homosexuals looking to find their place in the bride?
The subtitle of this book asks the question “Can gays be reconciled to the body of Christ?” To answer this question, Brice first establishes the scriptural position of homosexuality and addresses some of the most common arguments that we find that oppose this. He explores passages that are often misused and abused on both sides of the debate, and leaves us with a clear answer on the question of whether homosexuality is a sin or not. For those familiar with Brice from his stance in the 80s and 90s on this topic, who might be put off reading the book on that basis, spoiler alert: he has revoked his previous stance and is now a clear advocate for the Biblical picture of marriage.
He then begins to examine the much tougher question of what that then looks like for the church.
I’ll be honest and say that I didn’t find the answers I was looking for. And I think that’s because there IS no easy answer to this issue. What Brice does though, is take a scholarly (but easy to understand) look at the issues for believers and for homosexuals and those who fit into both categories. He is clear and compassionate and doesn’t marginalise any ‘group’ of people or denomination. He brings clarity to some topics but, more importantly, opens the door for compassion and a demonstration of the love of God, whilst maintaining a stance for righteousness.
You may not find the answers you want on exactly what this reconciliation ‘should’ look like, and how churches both embrace homosexuals whilst simultaneously rejecting the practice of homosexuality. Regardless, this book is an important one to read for anyone committed to walking like Jesus walked and living the heart of God. This book is timely, accessible and key to even just opening dialogue about this issue we’re confronted with on a daily basis.
The Uncomfortable Church is available from Amazon.