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by Mark A. Yarhouse, Bethany House Publishers, ©2010,
239 pages, $16.99 (paperback), ISBN-13: 978-0-7642-0731-0

Picture of book coverMark Yarhouse is Professor of Psychology and the Hughes Endowed Chair at Regent University and the director of the Institute for the Study of Sexual Identity. He has chaired the American Psychological Association's conventions symposium of gay and Christian psychologists and has a PsyD in clinical psychology. This strong background makes this book a reliable source of studies done on homosexuality and what the weaknesses of those studies might be.

The book is divided into three sections with each section divided into chapters. The first deals with God's view, why sexual identity matters, the causes of homosexuality, and whether someone can change. The second deals with family situations when a child or spouse announces that he is gay. The third deals with questions congregations face. All of the chapters cite research, have a conclusion (summary), and “Take Home Points” from the chapter.

This is the best book we have seen on homosexuality. It is research-based, careful not to bash anyone, honest, and practical. Yarhouse shows the lack of objectivity in the past, of studies on all sides. He points out that there is no one simple cause to homosexuality. The difficulty in changing is not minimized, and alternatives available to same-sex attraction are realistic. The author's biblical approach is to emphasize God's design and purpose in sexual relationships saying that “God places the act of sex within the bounds of heterosexual marriage, and Christians should understand sex to be a good thing, something intended by God at creation.”

The history of Christians and their dealing with the homosexual issue has not been a positive one, and many people have been driven away from Christianity because of the condemning attitude and negativism that has been radiated by preachers and church leaders. This book is a refreshing change from that approach, and that makes it useful reading for all Christians, and especially for people with same-sex attraction in themselves or in someone they love.