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The Bible's Yes to Same-Sex Marriage: An Evangelical's Change of Heart

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  267 ratings  ·  51 reviews
In the early 2000's, Mark Achtemeier embarked on a personal journey with the Bible that led him from being a conservative, evangelical opponent of gay rights to an outspoken activist for gay marriage and a fully inclusive church. In "The Bible's Yes to Same-Sex Marriage," Achtemeier shares what led to his change of heart: the problems with excluding groups of people and th ...more
Paperback, 144 pages
Published June 13th 2014 by Westminster John Knox Press
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Average rating 3.85  · 
Rating details
 ·  267 ratings  ·  51 reviews

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Start your review of The Bible's Yes to Same-Sex Marriage: An Evangelical's Change of Heart
Jul 03, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: review
This is a book that is going to ruffle quite a few feathers. “The Bible’s Yes to Same Sex Marriage” touches on some hot-button issues that I believe are much too often hot-button simply out of a cultural, rejection-of-different, impulse rather than any genuine concern over the Word of God. I am a rather sympathetic ear to most things “liberal” and have close relationships with homosexuals and homosexuals who profess faith in Christ. This was a book I was interested to read and somewhat hesitant ...more
Debbie "DJ"
Aug 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Thank you NetGalley!

This is a great book for christians seeking the truth of God's will. Mark Achtemeiet is an esteemed conservative scholar and theologian. In the early 1990's he was a church activist defending the "traditional" teaching condemning homosexual practices. In 1996 he had a change of heart due to a thorough research of the Bible.

Each chapter explores a certain topic and concludes with a summary. The "fragment method" of Bible interpretation is one such topic. This "method" is still
James Thalberg
Jun 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads, and it proceeded to astonish and free me. Being gay and Christian myself, I had been struggling with the choice I thought I had to make: my sexual orientation, or my faith. In this book, author Mark Achtemeier takes a step back from the immediate issue of homosexuality and instead tackles the topics of love, how the universe functions rationally, and the overall purpose for which God created us human beings. From there, he is able to d ...more
Howard Boswell
Jul 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I read The Bible's Yes to Same-Sex Marriage: An Evangelical's Change of Heart, because I supported my church's recent decision to permit teaching elders (i.e. ministers) to perform same-sex marriages in states where they are permitted and to allow sessions (local church councils) to permit the same in their buildings. I grew up as an evangelical and still consider myself one, so I still had questions about what the Scriptures and the Book of Confessions (our church's collection of creeds and con ...more
Jennifer Clausen-greene
When this title first came across my e-mail I was a little more than hesitant to yes to this review. I do not believe that the Bible condones same-sex marriage, but since I know many individuals that state they are homosexual or bi-sexual and still believe in God, I knew this was a book I needed to read to have the other view and to be able to think critically about this subject. I also wanted to approach this book without my bias on the subject already in place, which was very difficult to do. ...more
Victor Chininin
Apr 01, 2015 rated it did not like it
Why one star? Well, in books on this subject generally one star means you don't agree with the author and five stars means that the author was preaching to the choir. I read this book out of deep love for all people, for my neighbors, and for the Church. I leave this book though with a bitter taste in my mouth. I feel like a caricature or a straw man. I have deep convictions on the subject, but I left this book failing to see how my convictions look at texts as fragments (I have devoted many yea ...more
Seth Thomas
Mar 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

A faithful, educated reading of the Bible that affirms God's all-inclusive blessing. Very grateful for scholars and leaders who take the time to consider, pray, and be willing to be changed.
Robert D. Cornwall
While there is still considerable resistance to marriage equality, there is a growing sense within society and in the Christian community that the traditional arguments against it are inadequate and should be abandoned. Mark Achtemeier, a Presbyterian pastor and theologian, who is also an evangelical, provides us with one more expression of this change. Achtemeier found it necessary to re-read Scripture in light of his discovery that there are LBGT people who are seeking to follow Christ and fin ...more
Eric Black
Sep 02, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sexuality
I chose to read The Bible's Yes because I was intrigued by yet another traditionalist Christian changing sides on the Bible's view of homosexuality, and since I already read a Baptist and non-denom take, I wanted a PCUSA take.

Unfortunately, I was disappointed at more than one point when Achtemeier exclaimed his delight in discovering that a new reading of the Bible allowed him to affirm homosexuality (101, for example). I find this troubling because I assumed he came to his investigation more ob
Jul 30, 2014 rated it did not like it
I am completely speechless! Was a new Bible written?
Apr 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Achtemeier records his journey as a Presbyterian theologian from being "anti-gay" to "pro-same-sex marriage" thought both his personal experience with gay Christians and depth Biblical research.

First, this would be an excellent resource for a lay Christian attempting to understand an inclusive Biblical perspective. The author writes in cogent and generally clear language. He does not belabor his points nor get lost in minutia. This would be a fine resource for group discussion or personal enligh
Bob Deangelo
Being up front, I read this book, knowing that I was coming from an opposing viewpoint, and it would probably be dishonest to say that this fact did not shade my impression of the book. That being said, in grappling with the author's viewpoint, I was not overly impressed. The book deals with a topic - a biblical case for the author's viewpoint - but dealt with it in a way where the sense was that the data was secondary to the author's experience and relationships. The title of the book is "The B ...more
Ivan Benedict
Jun 10, 2018 rated it liked it
In general this is a good argument, but I imagine not
convincing to those who are entrenched anti-gay people.
The first part of the book defends the study of the Bible
as necessarily done in historical and literary context. The
author does not like those who use fragments of scripture
to prove their point.
Eventually he considers the 7 "fragments" that are often
used to condemn sex between same-sex people. Some
involve questionable translation of the original language.
But primarily he cites all as cri
Levi Taylor
Aug 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I don’t even want to write a review. This book was SO good. I’ve read multiple books that tackle this issue. And Mark’s conversation and journey reconciling these two worlds was beautiful and deep. Every part of the book made sense. He addresses multiple facets of the discussion and does so with theological understanding and emotional intelligence. I recommend this to anyone who is trying to discover where they land or just want to be challenged. ❤️🌈
Jacob Stevens
Sep 21, 2018 rated it did not like it
As part of my yearly reading challenge, I was challenged to read a book from a theological viewpoint that I disagreed with. This book lived up to that category. I appreciated the author’s compassion that came through in his writing, but this same compassion led him to make his subjective experience the judge as he sought to reinterpret the Bible through that lens. I disagree with his method which led me to disagree with his conclusions about using the Bible to support same sex marriage.
Kinsey Underbrink
Oct 26, 2019 rated it it was ok
Achtemeier presents a very compelling argument for changing the way the Church views same-sex marriage. However, his writing (at least in the actual argument portion) is incredibly juvenile. He is always "greatly encouraged" or "very heartened," or "worried that." I think he was trying to make it sound more conversational, but I found the repetetive phrases annoying, which made this book hard for me to read. ...more
Nick Jordan
Mar 18, 2020 rated it it was ok
I was surprised to be disappointed by this one. The book is kind of “throw everything against the wall and see what sticks,” so strong and weak arguments are all mixed together, making everything pretty weak, and crying out for more/better editing. I was very surprised that someone who had written his earlier anti-inclusive essays got to the very subjective, individualistic hermeneutic that he arrives at by this book.
Rebecca Almeyda
Jun 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A must read for everyone

A must read for all Christians, LGBTQ or otw... am so glad I kept looking!!! I believe this is an inspired book and will do much to clarify the Biblical teachings without alienating anyone! Finally a book that makes sense! Thank you!!!
May 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ministry
Nice insight into the process of reexamining what he knew and believed.

Dec 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
I'll be honest, I wasn't obsessed with this, but you're damn right I am still giving it a higher rating just to spite the anti-gay folks leaving one and two stars. ...more
Jun 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
This is a book outlining the personal and theological journey the author took as he went from a stance of opposing same-sex marriage (he helped establish the Presbyterian Church USA's policy against same sex marriage in 1996-1997) to supporting same-sex marriage 14 years later. It seemed different from the usual theological books to me, in that it doesn't only look at analyzing the Bible verses but also how they may apply in a practical sense to the real world. There is a step-by-step progressio ...more
Aug 17, 2016 rated it did not like it
I give this one star because I can not give it zero. Take this quote for example, " You can’t ask someone to suppress what makes them whole as a human being and then to lead blameless lives. We are human beings, and we need love in our lives in order to love others, in order to be good Christians! What the church is asking gay people to do is not to be holy, but actually to be warped. 2" ... to profess to be a bible be living christian and say you must be in a sexual relationship or even be love ...more
Sep 03, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christianity
The author's personal journey charting his path from being an opponent to same sex relationships to being a supporter.

The author attempts to find a way to support same sex relationships while affirming Biblical truth. In order to do so he must put a high privilege on both the experiences of same sex relationships of which he knows and remains entirely dependent on modernist assumptions about sexuality and identity.

The author understands and sets forth well the Bible's overall teaching about se
Is it possible that the Bible doesn't condemn homosexuality and that the bible could be interpreted as supporting gay marriage? Mark Achtemeier thinks so and explains how his studies of the Bible changed his mind from being anti-gay to supportive of gay marriage.

Achtemeier describes the fact that the church's condemnations of gays causes pain and misery and destroys lives and says this could not be God's will, therefore something must be wrong with the classical interpretation of the bible. So
Barbara  Lynn
Jun 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I just finished reading Mark Achtemeier’s “The Bible’s YES to Same-Sex Marriage”. This is a subject I have thought about for many years. How could we just decide Group A will get to heaven when all they have to do is repent and give their lives to God, but Group B does not have that same option, they are just plain out of luck.

And what about when Jesus says the greatest commandments are to love God and love your neighbor, and from that I take it that when He said “everyone”, he actually meant e
Jul 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Readable, this book slows down once or twice but it a fairly thorough overview of the subject. The author's choice to frame this as autobiographical makes the book a little awkward- he makes no bones about what assumption he's hoping to reach, and his joy at finding evidence in favor of his hoped-for conclusion significantly limits the audience for this book to those who also dearly want to come to the same conclusion. This book is not for those who want to come to the opposite conclusion, or wh ...more
Nov 08, 2014 rated it liked it
* I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley for the purposes of this review. *

I have read quite a few recently published books about the relationship between homosexuality and Christianity. This one was the first I've read that claimed to be more Biblically-based than experience-based. Because of this I expected a more academic treatment than the book actually is. It was also very repetitive and read like a too-long sermon; I think this book could have benefited fro
Jan 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
I found this book to be a throurough and beautiful telling of the author's journey that led to a dramatic change of heart. It is at once personal story and a primer for thinking through our methods of reading scripture. I found some similarities with my thoughts on bibilcal interpretation and some things I had never considered. It lends some very helpful ways to reflect biblically and theologically on same-gender marriage. And I think it could be helpful when other bibilical ethics conversations ...more
Jun 04, 2016 rated it liked it
A good and insightful book that presents Biblical scholarship on the issue of homosexuality in an easy to digest, "lay" manner. Yes, there are better books out there on this topic from a scholarly standpoint but this book presents a evangelical preachers change of heart and the reason for that change in a clear cut way. He provides Biblical analysis and interpretation and his suggestions for how people should be reading the Bible (in context rather than in fragments). My one complaint, that keep ...more
Jun 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Mark Achtemeier goes on a personal journey to understand same sex marriage. I found this to be incredible because he is a minister and straight. I had to read this book as I thought it would perhaps be a turning point for Christians to understand and learn that the bible is not against marriage for the LGBT community.

I found Mark's writing to be good. I think this is a good book to read and then have open communication about this book.

Disclaimer: I received a digital galley of this book free fro
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46 likes · 21 comments
“the issue at stake isn’t some right to be sexually active, but whether they can have love in their lives. Lots of people go without sex for various reasons, some for extended periods of time, without any sign of spiritual devastation or despair. But to ask someone to give up on the hope and possibility of ever getting to experience love and marriage—that is a far more serious matter.” 0 likes
“When addressing particular life situations, it is crucial to keep in mind the healing and forgiving grace that God has offered to fallen human beings in Christ. This grace is the constant backdrop of all our reflections. Eternal salvation is not at stake in these situations. Salvation is a gift, already assured in Christ.” 0 likes
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