by Tom Cook
Like many Christians we take the Bible very seriously. It is the source and inspiration of our faith along with the teachings of Christians who have gone before us.
I don’t know how much engagement you’ve had with the Bible in your life. You might be a seasoned scholar or perhaps somebody has shouted a Bible verse at you whilst you’re walking past them in the street. Where ever you’re coming from I hope to let you know that the sacred texts found in the Bible can be affirming to all those who may identify as LGBTQIA+.
Throughout history many people have taken Scripture and have twisted it to suit their own world view which has often led to a great deal of pain. A large amount of misunderstanding of the Christian texts comes from not understanding how to read and engage with Scripture. There are three major areas which impact how we all interpret what we read.
- The text itself: this includes the structure, the original language, the type of writing it is (poem, historical, apocalyptic…) all of this impacts on what we are reading.
- Behind the text: this is about understanding the life of the author and the culture within which it was written. How was the author raised, what sort of thoughts were prevalent in their time, what sort of books would they have been reading at the time, who was the author trying to communicate with, was the text a once and for all time communication or an inspired moment by the Holy Spirit to teach the church from which we might still learn but not wholly be applicable.
- We bring ourselves: one of the most underestimated parts of reading the Bible is the life of the person reading it. We bring our background, our prejudice, our hope and desire and then we apply these elements of our own lives onto what we read.
I am fully aware that somebody reading this might perhaps say that I am wilfully trying to make biblical text fit my own point of view. I do not believe this to be the case as my journey of theology has taken me to this very unexpected position. I started off being opposed to anything that seem to be a deviation away from the heterosexual norm. It was Scripture itself that led me to a more inclusive position. As the author of this short text I want to tell you that I myself do not identify as LGBTQIA+ but believe wholeheartedly that GOD AFFIRMS YOU if you are.
I hope that through the pages of this website you will come to learn about God’s love and grace to all of humanity.
Book Recommendation from Tom
I have come from a conservative Pentecostal/ Charismatic background and as I sought a different perspective on LGBTQIA+ I found this book to be the most helpful.
It is called ‘Journeys in Grace and Truth: Revisiting Scripture and Sexuality’ edited by Jayne Ozanne. You can buy it from Amazon.
This book is a collection of essays from evangelicals and their thoughts and ongoing journey in understanding LGBTQIA+.