John and I are both reviewing Guy Hammond's book, Caring Beyond the Margins because of its timely subject matter — homosexuality.
This book was written by a faithful, mature Christian man who had lived an active homosexual lifestyle until he was brought to the cross of Jesus. He came to understand that Jesus died for all of his sins and in order to follow Jesus, he had to give up anything and everything in his life that was contrary to God's will. Being convicted of that, he was baptized into Christ and left the homosexual lifestyle.
What is interesting to me (and most heterosexuals, I imagine) is that God did not take his homosexual tendencies away from him, nor has he outgrown his same-sex attraction. He very eloquently teaches us the difference between one who identifies himself as homosexual, and lives out that identity, as opposed to one who has unwanted same-sex attraction, but does not identify himself by his sexual orientation nor act on it. A baptized believer's identity is in Christ, not a sexual orientation. Christians with same-sex attraction do not identify themselves as homosexual and do not live as homosexuals because of their convictions about following God's standards.
He also makes it very clear that same-sex attraction is not something that one chooses and is not, in itself, sinful. But, he also makes it clear that, for the one who is following God and his Word, he must not act on his homosexual attractions. Those who have been baptized into Christ have been given God's Spirit to help them live as God desires. We can choose how to live our lives even though we may have no choice over our sexual orientation.
Guy Hammond has been happily married to a Christian woman for about 27 years, and they have four children. He very patiently and compassionately describes what it is like for a faithful Christian to live with same-sex attraction. He can overcome it, in that it no longer controls his thoughts and actions, but he cannot change it. God has not taken away his desires, even though he has begged God to do so. God has said, “My power is made perfect in weakness.” Just like the apostle Paul, Guy has learned, “when I am weak, I am strong [in Christ]” (2 Corinthians 12:9 – 10). Thus, the name of his ministry is “Strength in Weakness.” John and I both appreciate and admire Guy Hammond's courage, honesty, and vulnerability in writing this book. His “Strength in Weakness” ministry not only is helping other same-sex attracted disciples live godly lives, but is also helping all people to understand this important issue better. Most importantly, it is teaching us to treat all people with respect, kindness, and compassion.
— Cynthia Clayton