Sunday, January 16, 2011

Book Review-

Turning Controversy into Church Ministry by W.P. Campbell

To be honest, when I signed up to get the book my immediate thought was "How different will this book be compared to the dozen or so books I have already read on the issue of Homosexuality?"
Would there be any different approaches? Would Campbell enlighten me to thinking other thoughts on homosexuality and our call as Christian's to love our neighbor, regardless of who they are?

I was pleasantly surprised with the book, I couldn't put it down and ear marked a couple dozen pages. I will read the book again.

The introduction gives us a framework as to how to position ourselves as we read the book.

"This book is an expedition into the world of vital facts and human factors set against the landscape of God's revelation. I unapologetically fasten scripture as a frame around this portrait. The contrasting colors of the law and the gospel, grace and instruction, truth and love must be blended if we are to understand God's mind and God's heart." C.W. Campell page 17 TCCM

Part 1 Analysis: Your Church, Christ's Body

I particularly like the analogies that Campbell uses to draw us into the water of this particular issue. He describes the body of Christ in various aspects of thought and experience and uses the Feet, heart and head as ways to understand where we may be at in the journey of ministry to those who struggle with same gender issues. We are asked to look at our Church, as the body of Christ and evaluate to some degree where we are at? It is not merely an "us" verses "them" idea, but rather we are asked to first look at ourselves to see where we are at. To recognize our own broken places before we look at others.

"The leaders we need are not those who give in to their weaknesses, but those who humbly trust God for the strength to be obedient. Jesus told us we would need to deny ourselves and take up our crosses if we are to be his disciples (Matthew 16:24). In the realm of sexuality, leaders in the church must model faithfulness to God's creative norm, despite struggles they may face as singles who never find mates or as persons locked into marriages that for physiological or psychological reasons preclude sexual expression. Jesus Christ, who was never sexually active, enables us to find deep intimacy and fulfillment in relationships, even when sexual expression must be curtailed. The Bible showcases singleness, along with marriage, as a holy calling from God (Matthew 19:10-12, 27-30; 1 Corinthians7).
Quote TCCM page 49

Part 2 Approach: Overcoming Controversy

Here we look at Creation and Science, Standards and Psychology, Compassion and the Church.

This section of the book, I would consider the meat of the book. It is well worth it to read this section over and over again. Campbell packs quite a bit of information in this section and delves into science, APA, Theology, Interpretation, holiness, grace, truth. Each chapter we begin with a controversy...and throughout the chapter we are asked to visit that controversy...where are we on the continuum of thought regarding homosexuality? Campbell gives us understanding to various thoughts on the issue of homosexuality and then in a sense gives us a challenge in the benediction (closing paragraphs of each chapter), calling us to look at ourselves first.

"Every time I meet a person who suffers from addiction, I realize this could have been me. The person who carries the wounds of past abuse could have been me. By the grace of God I am still "on the wagon," and it is only grace that will keep me there. I want to extend the same grace to everyone I meet, remembering that where sin is abundant, God's grace is more abundant (Romans 5:20).
quote TCCM page 133.

Part 3 Action Building Ministry
Foundation: What every church needs
Structure: Your Unique Ministry

This section is talking about the blueprint of ministry, and talks about various church sizes and structures. Campbell shows us specifically a sphere showing us a good structure to follow regarding ministry, and then delves into bringing us to understand the vital role that each of the 6 areas are to ministry.

I liked how Campbell used the story of Nehemiah and the walls around a city, to focus me as I read this section of the book. It allowed me to think about the strategies that God has given us as examples to use for any ministry.

I think this section allows us to look at what structures we may have in place, and what we may be lacking in our ministries and church communities, and the reminder to place prayer as the foundation and motivation to do any type of ministry. As I read this section, I kept thinking..."this is so good, my pastor needs to read this."

"This book has offered rationale, testimonies, models, and guidelines for ministry. Now it's up to you. If you doubt the great purpose God has for your church, please reread the first half of Ephesians, pause at the end of chapter 3, take a deep breath, and look at the end of chapter 4 once again. The love of God is wide enough to reach all kinds of people, long enough to keep your church on track through time, high enough to change any life, and deep enough to heal every wounded heart."
quote TCCM page 218

The provides the reader with questions for each chapter making this book a great resource for those who may be leading a small group and want to delve deeper into the understanding of same gender attraction/homosexuality and the call to offer hope, grace, truth and much love to those who are our neighbor.

I highly recommend this book. It is concise, and offers a lot of initial insight for everyone in the body of Christ. It isn't an indepth theological, psychological, or scientific book, but offers a person whoever it is to gain a better perspective on the Christlike response to homosexuality. In our culture today, none of us is called to remain naive regarding the issue of homosexuality, we are called to be well informed and equipped to love like Jesus.

As someone who has struggled with same gender attraction, who was once gay identified, I found this book to be sensitive, loving, but unapologetic in terms of theological truth.

Bill...thank you for the work it took to compile this book and the years you have given to research and understand homosexuality. Thank you for your heart to love others well and recognize that we have all fallen short...and need Jesus.
This is a great resource that I highly recommend.

Kenny Warkentin
Resource Outreach/Programs Coordinator
Living Waters Canada-Central Region
Exodus Canadian Rep.


Marcy said...

Now I want to read the book. Thanks for the review Ken!

Cathy said...

Yup, good job, I want to read it now too!!

William said...

Ken: Thanks so much for your review, and God's richest blessings on your ministry! (If you haven't done so, please check out the resources we offer at

Thanks Again!

WP Campbell

Sarah said...

After getting my hands on the "Sampler" at the Exodus Conference I've been wanting to know how to get the full copy :)

My first year going through the LW's program as a participant I spent some time in the book of Nehemiah. So, I sorta really connected with the small bits I've read so far. Great review Kenny :)