People to Be Loved by Preston Sprinkle has been one of the most enjoyable books on the intersection of Christianity and homosexuality that I have read in a long, long time.
As mentioned in the about section, I am a homosexual. Personally I prefer the term gay; though same-sex-attracted works just as well. When I use these terms, they essentially mean the same thing in that I experience attractions to other people of my same-sex. Nothing more, nothing less. My hope and who I place my identity in is Jesus. I am a Christian. So in short, I am a gay male who is a Christian who holds to a traditional sexual ethic. Yes, we do exist. Like unicorns we are smashingly fabulous.
Sprinkle won me over with his text on homosexuality not because it was researched and well argued, which by the way it was, but that he made extra effort to treat gay people as individuals whom Jesus loves. This book illustrates that we as evangelicals do not have to compromise the love of God with the truth of God. Based on the current cultural climate, you would almost think that was something mythical.
From the very first chapter, Sprinkle argues that homosexuality is more than just a topic because it involves real people. Sprinkle uses personal, at times heartbreaking stories of people to remind the reader that this subject involves real people, real flesh and blood people whom Jesus loves.
Throughout the book Sprinkle takes a firm stance, though gentle, that same-sex sexual relations are off limits to Christians. The first half of his book is spent wrestling with the major passages on homosexuality that are found both in the New and Old Testament of the Christian Bible. Sprinkle’s argument from the first half of the book is that the Scripture does not make room for loving monogamous samesex sexual relationships.
The second half of the book is where I find Sprinkle really shines through in his writing. He offers an extensive amount of practical pastoral insights on relating and ministering to gay people. Sprinkle pushes back against the notion in the evangelical world that simply having an attraction in and of itself is sinful. Sprinkle makes extra effort to stress that there is nothing separating gays from receiving the grace of Jesus. I appreciate his inclusion and discussion on such topics as mixed-orientation marriages and the importance of chastity for those of us who are electing to remain single.
How would I describe this book? The best word I can use in describing this book is grace. Grace that shines so brilliantly through the pages. Sprinkle excelled in wading through the water as he provides critical commentary towards the wider Christian culture. Even when wading through the water of the culture war, Sprinkle masterfully administers grace by constantly reiterating the Gospel and love of Jesus is for all.
This book is appropriate for anyone wanting to read more on the intersection of LGBT and Christianity. It is informative. It is respectful. At this time, it is the only non-affirming book on this subject from a heterosexual author that I feel comfortable recommending to absolutely anyone. Until something better comes along, this will be my go to book to recommend to people on homosexuality and the Church. It is simply that good.