What are Christians to make of relentless assertions that homosexuality is an innate characteristic? Some pastors and church members are suggesting that scientific research demands a change to the historic stance of Christian sexual ethics.
The author of Born This Way? wants Christians not to be intimidated and confused by these assertions. Branch succeeds by carefully walking the reader through the research (but not painstakingly so) to show that homosexuality is not an innate quality, and how some findings are twisted to arrive at pre-conceived notions. He concludes that, “while there are some genetic or biological factors that correlate with a higher incidence of same-sex attraction and homosexual behavior, as of yet there is no proof of genetic or biological causation for homosexuality.” This distinction is vital, and it comes as good news to those who want to be faithful to both science and the Bible.
Born This Way? is an important contribution to the discussion of homosexuality in society at large, and especially the in Christian community. While the book is explicitly Christian, the vast majority of the text is the presentation and review of secular, scientifically-obtained data! The biblical perspective is gentle and respectful of the high emotion surrounding this issue, but consistent with an orthodox evangelical theology and a high view of Scripture. The chapter on the church’s response to those caught in this sin should inform us and challenge us.
—Andrew J. Holder, Professor of Computational/Organic Chemistry, University of Missouri, Kansas City
I am delighted to recommend this timely and much needed new work by Alan Branch. I have gained much from it already and think it soon will be thought essential to anyone engaging today’s culture on the most pressing issue of our time—that of resisting pressures to normalize same-sex attractions and behavior based on what science is alleged to have proven. Professor Branch deals at length and in detail with the best science to-date and demonstrates how the unchanging word of God is worth trusting now more than ever.
—Daniel R. Heimbach, Senior Professor of Christian Ethics; Fellow, L. Rush Bush Center for Faith & Culture, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
In this book Dr. Branch speaks to the subject of genetic determinism in regard to sexual orientation. While this topic can be quite complex, the content of this volume unfolds in such a way that it is accessible to those unfamiliar with the topic, yet it will be respected by experts in the field. Perhaps more importantly, the tone of this book is balanced and winsome, making it clear that Dr. Branch’s aim is both the education of like-minded readers and ministry to those who would disagree.
—David W. Jones, Professor of Christian Ethics, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
“In the last forty years, an intense effort has been underway to establish in the public mind that science confirms a biological-genetic causation for homosexual behavior, thus removing moral stigma associated with homosexual acts.” (Page 2)
“She moves casually between the issues of sexual morality and ethnic heritage, asserting that the two are morally equivalent because each person is ‘born this way.’ To add greater strength to the argument, God Himself is credited with being the author of both racial distinctions and homosexuality. The obvious inference is that homosexuality, like race, is hard-wired into who we are from birth. Since these sexual preferences are innate, they must be from God. Therefore, no moral criticism should be leveled at people involved in the homosexual lifestyle.” (Page 1)
“But Freud’s system as a whole seems quite flawed on three levels: (1) as a worldview founded on atheistic assumptions, (2) data based on Freud’s subjective interpretations of his patient’s experiences, and (3) Freud’s distorted view of children’s sexuality.” (Page 14)
“He goes on to say that the path can become more like a neural-Grand Canyon through which images of all women are destined to flow and concludes this tragic description of the destructive effects of pornography by saying, ‘[Men viewing porn] have unknowingly created a neurological circuit that imprisons their ability to see women rightly as created in God’s image.’” (Page 46)
“Jesus himself had this very dynamic in mind when he said, ‘Everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin’ (John 8:34). Sin can become compulsive and addictive, so much so that indulging in a particular sin itself feels natural and good.” (Page 47)
J. Alan Branch (Ph.D., Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary) is professor of Christian ethics at Midwestern Seminary where he has served since 2001. He currently serves as a Research Fellow in Christian Ethics for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. In addition, he served as a chaplain in the United States Army Reserves from 2009 to 2013 and served a tour in the Middle East from 2011 to 2012. He preaches frequently and has served as interim pastor for churches in Kansas and Missouri.