Discernment Resources

The following resources have been curated by the Discernment Committee.  Listing these resources does not suggest that the Discernment Committee, ministerial staff, or congregational members agree with their content or position.  If you have other resources that you have found helpful in your discernment, please let us know.

Achtemeier, Mark. (2014). The Bible’s YES to same-sex marriage: An evangelical’s change of heart. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press.

In the early 2000s, 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. Here, he shares what led to his change of heart: the problems with excluding groups of people and the insights into the Bible’s message that led him to recognize the fullness of God’s love and support for LGBT persons. He argues that reading snippets of Scripture out of context has led to false and misleading interpretations of the Bible’s message for gay people.

Brownson, J.V. (2013). Bible, gender, sexuality: Reframing the church’s debate on same-sex relationships. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

James Brownson argues that Christians should reconsider whether or not the biblical strictures against same-sex relations as defined in the ancient world should apply to contemporary, committed same-sex relationships. Presenting two sides in the debate— “traditionalist” and “revisionist”—Brownson analyzes each of the seven main texts that appear to address intimate same-sex relations. In the process, he explores key concepts that inform our understanding of the biblical texts, including patriarchy, complementarity, purity and impurity, honor and shame. Central to his argument is the need to uncover the moral logic behind the biblical text. Brownson is a Reformed Church in America seminary professor.

Collins, T. (2018). What does it mean to be welcoming? Navigating LGBT questions in your church. Downers Grover, IL: IVP Books.


Dant, J. (2018). This I know: A simple biblical defense for LGBTQ Christians. Macon, GA: Nurturing Faith.


Davis, E. (Summer 2008). Reasoning with Scripture. Anglican Theological Review. 90(3), 513-519.

Grimsrud, T. (2010). The “Homosexuality” Debate: Two Streams of Biblical Interpretation. Peace theology: Engaging faith and pacifism. 

Gushee, D. (2017). Changing our mind: Definitive 3rd edition of the landmark call for inclusion of LGBTQ Christians with response to critics. Canton, MI: Read the Spirit Books.

David Gushee is CBF Baptist and an ethics professor at Mercer University. Over a one-year period he penned a series of columns about his study of same-sex issues that ended up chronicling his personal and theological journey of changing his mind about gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender inclusion in the church.

Hartke, A. (2018). Transforming: The Bible and the lives of transgender Christians. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press.


Hays, R. (1996). Homosexuality. In The moral vision of the New Testament: Community, cross, new creation, a contemporary introduction to New Testament ethics (pp. 379-406). New York, NY: Harper One.

In one chapter of this theological textbook, the former dean of Duke Divinity School addresses the biblical basis for a traditional interpretation of Scripture on homosexuality.

Held Evans, R. (2018). Inspired: Slaying giants, walking on water, and loving the Bible again. Nashville, TN: Nelson Books.


Kristian, B. (2018). Are gay relationships sinful? A flexible faith: Rethinking what it means to follow Jesus today. New York, NY: FaithWords.


Lee, J. (2012). Torn: Rescuing the gospel from the gays vs. Christians debate. New York, NY: Jericho Books.

As a teenager and young man, Justin Lee felt deeply torn. Nicknamed “God Boy” by his peers, he knew he was called to a life in the evangelical Christian ministry. But Lee harbored a secret: He also knew he was gay. Here he recalls the events—his coming out to his parents, his experiences with the “ex-gay” movement, and his in-depth study of the Bible—that led him, eventually, to self-acceptance. More than just a memoir, Torn provides insightful, practical guidance for all committed Christians who wonder how to relate to gay friends or family members or who struggle with their own sexuality. Convinced that “in a culture that sees gays and Christians as enemies, gay Christians are in a unique position to bring peace,” Lee demonstrates that people of faith on both sides of the debate can respect, learn from, and love one another.

Martin, C. (2016) Unclobber: Rethinking our misuse of the Bible on homoselxuality. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press. 

Paris, J.W. (2011). The End of Sexual Identity: Why Sex Is Too Important to Define Who We Are. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Books.

Anthropologist Jenell Williams Paris offers a Christian framework for sexual holiness that accounts for complex postmodern realities. She assesses problems with popular cultural and Christian understandings of heterosexuality and homosexuality alike. The End of Sexual Identity moves beyond culture-war impasses to open up new space for conversations in diverse communities both inside and outside the church.

Phelps, J. (1998). More Light, Less Heat: How Dialogue Can Transform Christian Conflict into Growth. Jossey-Bass.

Joe Phelps is pastor of a CBF congregation in Louisville, Ky. Here, he pinpoints what separates the Christian left and right and offers tools to engage in constructive dialogue.

Sanders, C.J., ed. (2013). Rightly dividing the word of truth: A resource for congregations on sexual orientation and gender identity. Charlotte. NC: The Baptist Peace Fellowship.


Sanders, C. J. (2013). Queer lessons for the churches on the straight and narrow. Macon, GA: Faithlab.


Scanzoni, L.D. & Mollenkott, V.R. (1978, 1994). Is the homosexual my neighbor? New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers.


Shore, J. (2012). Taking God at his word: The Bible and homosexuality. Patheos.

Retrieved from https://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/2012/04/the-best-case-for-the-bible-not-condemning-homosexuality/?utm_medium=social&utm_source=share_bar#bp6b4K7G7DbACIb1.03

Siler, M. (2005). Exile or embrace?: Congregations discerning their response to lesbian and gay Christians. New York, NY: Pilgrim Press.


Special Issue: Proceedings from a Baptist conference on sexuality and covenant. (Fall 2012). Christian Ethics Today, 20(4).

This journal collects papers presented at “A Baptist Conference on Sexuality and Covenant” convened at First Baptist Church of Decatur, Ga., in April 2012. The conference was designed and sponsored by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and Mercer University’s McAfee School of Theology. The conference explored several topics of sexuality: divorce, homosexuality, dating, geriatric sexual activity—all with an eye on the implications for the church, especially the Baptist church, and another eye closely focused on the teachings of Scripture. A good sermon by Guy Sayles is included in this issue.

Vines, M. (2014). God and the gay Christian: The biblical case in support of same-sex relationships. New York: Convergent Books.

As a young Christian man, Matthew Vines harbored the same basic hopes of most young people: to someday share his life with someone, to build a family of his own, to give and receive love. But when he realized he was gay, those hopes were called into question. The Bible, he’d been taught, condemned gay relationships. Feeling the tension between his understanding of the Bible and the reality of his same-sex orientation, Vines devoted years of intensive research into what the Bible says about homosexuality. Writing from a conservative theological viewpoint that yet embraces acceptance of homosexuality, he tells his own story and in the process discusses biblical teachings, celibacy and love.

Wilson, K. (2014). A letter to my congregation: An evangelical pastor’s path to embracing people who are gay, lesbian and transgender into the company of Jesus. Canton, MI: Read the Spirit Books.

This book was written by Ken Wilson, pastor of the Vineyard Church of Ann Arbor, Mich., as a means of explaining to his congregation how his views on same-sex relationships changed over time. He details his own painful search through the Scriptures and pastoral experience in seeking to find a way forward for today

Yarhouse, M. (2015). Understanding gender dysphoria: Navigating transgender issues in a changing culture. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Books.

Mark Yarhouse, an expert in sexual identity and therapy, challenges the church to rise above the political hostilities of gender debates and listen to people’s stories. Here he offers a Christian perspective on transgender issues that eschews simplistic answers and appreciates the psychological and theological complexity. The result is a book that engages the latest research while remaining pastorally sensitive to the experiences of each person.

Yaun, C. (2018). Holy Sexuality and the Gospel: Sex, Desire, and Relationships Shaped by God’s Grand Story. Colorado Springs, CO: Multnomah.

Dr. Christopher Yuan explores the concept of holy sexuality – chastity in singleness or faithfulness in marriage – in a practical and relevant manner, equipping readers with an accessible yet robust theology of sexuality. Whether you want to share Christ with a loved one who identifies as gay or you’re wrestling with questions of identity yourself, this book will help you better understand sexuality in light of God’s grand story and realize that holy sexuality is actually good news for all.