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TORN by Justin Lee

TORN

Rescuing the Gospel From the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate

By Justin Lee

Pub Date: Nov. 13th, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-4555-1431-1
Publisher: Jericho Books/Hachette

Gay Christian Network founder Lee argues that sexual preference doesn’t need to be a source of division for the Christian church.

Raised in a conservative Christian household, the author was certain during his teenage years that homosexuality was a sin. Nevertheless, he was attracted to other boys and could not change his attractions. In this book, part memoir and part manifesto, Lee explains his lengthy search for answers and assistance from a church unwilling to accept his sexual preference. Lee’s story begins as a young man, when he came out to his parents, who showed him unconditional love even while not accepting homosexuality as a permanent condition. He went on to search out “ex-gay” ministries, which promised that he could change into a heterosexual. These experiences left him unchanged and unhappy, as he discerned that ex-gay ministries might change sexual behaviors but never alter sexual preferences. As a college student, Lee became an almost unwitting leader of his campus gay and lesbian organization, and he attempted to build bridges between campus gays and Christians. The author argues that a serious examination of Scripture shows that God does not condemn homosexuality per se, but only harmful practices such as molestation or rape. In the New Testament, if selfless love was involved, it made everything right: “I thought about every example of sin I could come up with. In every single case, Paul was right: Truly living out God’s agape love for others always led to doing the right thing.” Lee calls for a radical change in the church’s approach to gays and lesbians, focusing on acceptance, love, understanding and open dialogue.

Lee’s writing is approachable, and he shows compassion for those on all sides of this debate.