Compassion Without Compromise

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Recently I had the privilege of writing the foreword to a new book authored by my friends Adam Barr and Ron Citlau. The book is entitled Compassion Without Compromise: How the Gospel Frees Us to Love Our Gay Friends Without Losing the Truth (Bethany House, 2014). It’s a very good book. You should think about getting a copy. My foreword is below.

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Hardly a day goes by when we don’t hear something about homosexuality. It’s all over the news and all over social media. It’s the subject of countless conversations, arguments, diatribes, rants, punditry, and commentary. You can’t help but wonder: Is there really anything left to say?

Actually, there is a lot that still needs to be said. This issue is not about to fade into the background, and many of the hardest personal and pastoral questions are just beginning to surface. That’s why I am delighted with this new book.

Adam and Ron are excellent pastors, good thinkers, and great friends. I’ve known Adam since we went to college together and I sat there jealously as he, with his long, flowing locks, played guitar and crooned in the worship team, much to the admiration of many young women. Since then we’ve become close friends, colleagues in ministry, and, in many  ways, brothers in arms.

My friendship with Ron is not as long, but just as rich. I will never forget Ron’s stirring, courageous testimony at our denomination’s General Synod back in 2012. I don’t think I’ve ever heard the gospel more poignantly and powerfully presented at such a gathering. I’m grateful for Ron’s winsome, yet bold, approach to this difficult topic of sexuality. I have learned much from him.

As much as I appreciate Adam and Ron personally, that’s not the reason to read this book. A much better reason is that they have teamed up to write an engaging, accessible, sensitive, uncompromising, wise, and biblical book about the most controversial issue of our day. There are other books on homosexuality–and many of them should be read alongside this one. But what makes this volume unique is the personal touch–especially Ron’s story of having had gay feelings for most of his life–and the pastoral approach to the difficult questions none of us can avoid:

  • Should I attend my friend’s gay “wedding”?
  • Should we invite our homosexual son’s partner to our home for the holidays?
  • How should I respond if my young child thinks he’s gay?

There are dozens of questions like this in the book, each one answered with biblical insights and with good sense. I can’t imagine any Christian not being helped by this book. Adam and Ron are clear about the Bible’s prohibition of homosexual activity. They are informed on the latest scholarship. They are discerning when it comes to real-life application. And they are, above all, hopeful. Hopeful in the power of the gospel to save, to forgive, to restore, and to transform. If you are looking for a resource that will help you think about the issue of homosexuality with unflinching truth and with sincere grace, this is a great place to start.

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