Satisfaction Guaranteed: A Future and a Hope for Same-Sex Attracted Christians was published by IVP on 19 May 2016. Below are a few brief excerpts to whet your appetite. Please click HERE to purchase a copy direct from the publisher, or HERE from Amazon. The book will be officially launched at the joint True Freedom Trust and Living Out Conference in London on Saturday 11 June.
“Satisfaction Guaranteed offers hope-filled, gospel-centred, down-to-earth help for Christians with same-sex attraction. While being realistic about the struggles people face, it charts a course towards a fulfilled and meaningful life through a blend of personal experience and biblical truth. I warmly recommend it both for people with same-sex attraction and those who want to support them.”
Tim Chester, a pastor with Grace Church, Boroughbridge, a tutor with the Acts 29 Oak Hill Academy and author of over 30 books.
Chapter 1. Craving counterfeit gods
God was coming good at last. Making up for the loss of Dad, I convinced myself, by providing what I’d always longed for. Making up for all the unrequited love of my school days too. Here was a best friend and lover, someone to share my whole life with, someone to take away that sense of aloneness in this world. Jean-Luc was God’s gift to me. And I even found plenty of Bible verses to back up my conviction.
Chapter 4. Did God really say…?
So the context of Leviticus 18:22 is clear. God’s redeemed people – rescued out of Egypt in the case of the Israelites, and out of the dominion of darkness in the case of Christians – are to have a distinctively different sexual ethic from that of the surrounding culture: ‘You shall not do as they do…Do not follow their practices. You must obey my laws and be careful to follow my decrees.’ God’s people are called to stand out from the culture in our sexual behaviour, rather than allow ourselves to be swept along by it.
Chapter 5. Everything you need?
As I grew up out of my childlike faith, sadly, my God seemed to shrink. Sex was everywhere: friends were talking about it, advertisers were shamelessly using it to sell products, and I was facing a constant barrage of images that were making it seemingly impossible to avoid. I had always believed that God created the good gift of sex to be enjoyed exclusively within heterosexual marriage, but I was being fed a lie that I needed to have sex to be happy. In a culture where sex had become a god, was the one true God powerful enough to provide for me if I pursued a life of celibacy? Was it possible to be satisfied in Christ without a sexual relationship?
On those occasions when I gave in to sexual temptation and entered a brief relationship, I evidently didn’t believe that God was powerful enough to provide for me, and wasn’t convinced that the love of Christ was sufficient to satisfy my deepest longings and that he was the source of genuine delight. I gave in to that ancient temptation and believed the lie that the Lord was withholding from me something good, pleasing and desirable.
Chapter 6. Gripped by grace
John travelled to Africa’s west coast. He paid for his cargo as normal, then sailed off to the Caribbean. His cargo was people, and their conditions were horrific, for the year was 1750. The number who would have died on John’s business trips is unknown. But what we do know is that this same man later went on to denounce the slave trade as a result of his faith in Jesus Christ. But after years as a people trafficker, could he ever be confident of his standing before God? John Newton wrote the now-famous words which suggest he had every confidence that he was now in the right with his Maker:
Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That sav’d a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
Chapter 10. Pursuing intimacy with God
Mike wakes up in the morning, prays and reads his Bible, but Jesus isn’t physically in front of him. At church he worships the ‘King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God’ (1 Timothy 1:17), but he can’t physically see this eternal King who’s invisible – because, well, he’s invisible. By contrast, on an average day Mike sees many attractive men. And although he does his best to look away and not lust, it doesn’t stop him from craving intimacy.
‘I’m at that age where most of my friends are married. They have someone to share their whole life with. They can be physically close. And yes, I know I can enjoy intimate friendship with God. But God can’t hug me.’ Mike’s temptation is to pursue physical and emotional intimacy with attractive men whom he can see. But he tries to resist this in obedience to the God he can’t see. I get it. I share the same struggle. At root, it’s a question of faith.
Chapter 13. The future of marriage
‘I face all the same challenges as other married people,’ explained Ethan. ‘My same-sex temptations are just one issue that Liz and I are working through together. And it’s not even close to being the main area of struggle for me. To be honest, having a joint bank account has been a far greater challenge.’
My hospitality enablers, Domino’s, had just delivered dinner, saving my culinary blushes. Ethan and I were having a first proper catch-up since his wedding day just over a year ago. I was interested to know how things were going, and how I could be praying for him and his wife. And in particular, I wondered how he was coping with his ongoing same-sex desires.
These excerpts are taken from ‘Satisfaction Guaranteed’ by Jonathan Berry with Rob Wood, published by Inter-Varsity Press, London 2016. Used by permission.