Temptation and sin | WORLD
Sound journalism, grounded in facts and Biblical truth | Donate

Temptation and sin

BOOKS | Popular book may perpetuate “Side B” errors

Sam Allberry Handout

Temptation and sin
You have {{ remainingArticles }} free {{ counterWords }} remaining. You've read all of your free articles.

Full access isn’t far.

We can’t release more of our sound journalism without a subscription, but we can make it easy for you to come aboard.

Get started for as low as $3.99 per month.

Current WORLD subscribers can log in to access content. Just go to "SIGN IN" at the top right.


Already a member? Sign in.

The Good Book Company recently released an updated and expanded edition of Sam Allberry’s 2013 book, Is God Anti-Gay? Apparently that question felt relevant in the lead-up to the Obergefell decision legalizing gay marriage in 2015. Allberry sold more than 200,000 copies of his original 88-page book, and he’s likely to sell more of his new 121-page edition.

The main gist remains a good one: “God’s message is the same for everyone, irrespective of our sexuality: repent and believe … to find fullness of life in God.” While he doesn’t use the words “Side A Christianity,” he addresses those who promote those values, which include affirming gay identity, gay marriage, and same-sex monogamous relationships within the Church. Allberry writes, “The teaching of Genesis … expanded by Jesus in his own ministry, is that sex is a good gift that God has given exclusively for marriage, and … it must be between one man and one woman.” Allberry goes further, saying, “Scripture is clear in its prohibition of any same-sex sexual activity.”

When it comes to more recent “Side B Christian” errors, Allberry’s analysis is mixed. According to author Denny Burk, Side B Christians affirm “gay identity while eschewing gay sexual behavior.”

Allberry avoids the worst of this kind of thinking. Against claims that God can never heal those with same-sex attraction, Allberry says, “Complete change of attractions in this life is ­possible but not promised.” In addition, he does not characterize chaste singleness as beyond the pale.

He speaks less clearly on sexual identity and orientation. Allberry points to Christ’s teaching to explain that sexual sin can occur at the level of thought and emotion in the form of lust. However, he asserts that some same-sex attraction isn’t sin but only temptation. That leaves a crack in the door for the first “lie” Rosaria Butterfield describes in her new book, Five Lies of Our Anti-Christian Age: “that homosexual orientation is morally neutral, separate from one’s sin nature,” and “cannot be repented of....”

When it comes to identity, Allberry avoids the self-descriptor “gay,” which he says “has come to describe a core and defining identity.” Instead he describes himself as “someone who experiences same-sex attraction” and uses the descriptor “SSA Christian.” But as many young Christians struggle today with innumerable shades of ­gender confusion, I suspect teaching them to embrace such a label may affirm the very idea Allberry hopes to avoid: that their identity is based in sexual proclivities prohibited in Scripture.

Allberry is to be commended for his honesty on such a difficult topic. All Christians are sin-attracted, and we benefit from thoughtful resources that help us “repent and believe.” Allberry’s new edition of Is God Anti-Gay? might still be a resource for resisting Side A Christianity. But will it be as helpful for a new generation of Christians seeking to resist Side B errors? That’s a question worth asking.

Emily Whitten

Emily is a book critic and writer for WORLD. She is a World Journalism Institute and University of Mississippi graduate, previously worked at Peachtree Publishers, and developed a mother’s heart for good stories over a decade of homeschooling. Emily resides with her family in Nashville, Tenn.



Please wait while we load the latest comments...