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Washed and Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality

Washed and Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality
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Hill, Wesley; Kathryn Greene-McCreight

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Publisher's Description

How do the gospel, holiness, and indwelling sin play out in the life of a Christian struggling with same-sex attraction? And how do brothers and sisters in Christ show love to them? Wesley Hill offers wise counsel that is biblically faithful, theologically serious, and oriented to the life and practice of the church.

As a celibate gay Christian, Hill gives us a glimpse of what it looks like to wrestle firsthand with God's “No” to same-sex relationships. What does it mean for gay Christians to be faithful to God while struggling with the challenge of their homosexuality? What is God's will for believers who experience same-sex desires? Those who choose celibacy are often left to deal with loneliness and the hunger for relationships. How can gay Christians experience God's favor and blessing in the midst of a struggle that for many brings a crippling sense of shame and guilt?

Weaving together reflections from his own life and the lives of other Christians, such as Henri Nouwen and Gerard Manley Hopkins, Hill offers a fresh perspective on these questions. He advocates neither unqualified “healing” for those who struggle, nor accommodation to temptation, but rather faithfulness in the midst of brokenness.

Includes an Afterword by Kathryn Greene-McCreight

About the Author

Wesley Hill graduated from Wheaton College and has an MA in Theology and Religion from Durham University in the UK. He is currently working toward a PhD in New Testament at Durham and has written for Books and Culture and Ransom Fellowship’s magazine, Critique.

Book Details

160 Pages
Publisher: Zondervan
Publication Date: September 2010
ISBN 10: 0310330033
ISBN 13: 9780310330035

“If you struggle with homosexual desire and are open to a biblical narrative, this is your book… If you do not experience same-sex desire, and you are a Christian, you live in an era when we are all required to grow in understanding this experience and reconsider entrenched positions that need refinement… This, again, could certainly be your book… Washed and Waiting is a fine and very helpful book—a book that is necessary in the present discussion. Some who do not experience homosexual attraction will probably get tripped up by the phrase 'homosexual Christian,' but if you listen to Wes’ description and rationale, you will get accustomed to it and perhaps even see its benefit.”
- Ed Welch, Faculty, Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation (CCEF)

“Few of us can imagine what it feels like to experience same sex desires while believing strongly that God does not want us to act on those feelings. As a result, we shoot off truth grenades from pulpit and pew, failing to realize that our brothers and sisters in Christ are among those caught in the line of fire. Instead of acting as though they are the enemy, these courageous souls need our love, understanding, and support as they seek to follow the difficult path of striving to live in obedience to Christ. Wesley Hill’s brave book invites us to enter into the struggle with him so that we can learn to love these brothers and sisters well and speak skillfully about this subject. I strongly encourage pastors, counselors, and leaders of the church to read this book.”
- Barbara Duguid, author, Extravagant Grace: God’s Glory Displayed in Our Weakness

“It may be that this book’s greatest strength is its ability to take us deep inside the struggle. Those of us who have never struggled with this sin have probably never considered all of the difficulties that come with it—all of the feelings of guilt and shame, remorse and hopelessness. 1 Corinthians tells us that when one member of Christ’s body suffers, all suffer together. This book invites us into the suffering experienced by some of our brothers and sisters. There are things I wish Hill had done better, times I think he could have addressed issues differently, but his book remains powerful, always looking to Scripture, always seeking God’s will… Washed and Waiting is by no means the final word on this topic and it is marked by a few weaknesses. But I do consider it quite a valuable read, predominantly for the diagnosis and to a lesser extent for the suggested cure. It speaks of an issue that Christians just can’t afford to ignore.”
- Tim Challies

“Wesley Hill's work is a combination of profound personal honesty and deep pastoral reflection. His academically gifted mind applied to the careful exegesis of God's Word has led him to countercultural yet biblical conclusions and applications. Wesley's passion to glorify Jesus by living faithfully as a Christian man who happens to have a homosexual orientation is an inspiration to every struggling believer who wishes things were different than they are. His insights and biblical reflections will be a substantial help to many fellow agonizers as they live out their faith in a fallen world. This book can provide life-changing encouragement to any believer who years to be faithful to the God who has accomplished salvation—a salvation that is already but not yet. For we who are in Christ are all “washed and waiting.”
- Tom Steller, Academic Dean, Bethlehem College and Seminary

“Wesley Hill has written a courageous book. His story will resonate with the unique experience of other Christians with same-sex feelings they did not choose. But his theological perspective broadens his message to include all believers who are struggling to live faithfully in a broken world. This book will also challenge churches to be communities of costly love where men and women can be real with each other.”
- Mardi Keyes, L'Abri Fellowship

Washed and Waiting is vividly written and deeply reflective. It is also an enormously risky project in that it openly presents Wesley Hill's struggles to come to terms with his sexuality and his hard-won decision to live a celibate life. Books on this subject may be intelligent or theologically responsible or honest, but I've never seen one that possessed all three virtues—until now. Any Christian who wants to grapple seriously, biblically, and charitably with human sexuality must read this book.”
- Alan Jacobs, Clyde S. Kilby Professor of English, Wheaton College

“Like a well-crafted tapestry, Washed and Waiting skillfully weaves biblical commentary with personal reflection as it leads the reader inside a Christian life lived amidst the reality of homosexuality. Gently iconoclastic and courageously human in its authenticity and transparence, Wesley Hill instructs and humbles both head and heart as he unpacks the pain, confusion, deep sense of loss, and loneliness of the faithful Christian homosexual person's walk. There is, however, no hand-wringing here. Few books have left me with as much hope as Washed and Waiting.
- Christopher W. Mitchell, Marion E. Wade Professor of Christian Thought, Wheaton College

“This is an incredibly important book that moves beyond the usual faceless arguments and Christian rhetoric and instead is someone's actual story—a story that tells of someone who has maintained the truths of Scripture and fleshes them out in real life. It is a raw, insightful, honest, beautiful, gut-wrenching, gripping story that I pray many people will read. I thank Wesley Hill for the courage to share this message in a culture that desperately needs to hear it.”
- Dan Kimball, author, They Like Jesus But Not the Church

“Wesley Hill graciously offers himself in Washed and Waiting. He holds on to faith and hope while describing his own dark night of the soul as a gay man committed to the church's long-standing position of abstinence outside of heterosexual marriage. Straight people gain an empathetic understanding of homosexuality, and gay and lesbian Christians committed to celibacy will find a companion who identifies with their pain and loneliness. We are all reminded of the challenges associated with our striving for intimacy, sexual purity, and wholeness. A worthy read.”
- Lisa Graham McMinn, PhD, Professor, George Fox University; author, Sexuality and Holy Longing

“How do the gospel, holiness, and indwelling sin play out in the life of a Christian struggling with same-sex attraction? And how do brothers and sisters in Christ show love to them? Wesley Hill offers wise counsel that is biblically faithful, theologically serious, and oriented to the life and practice of the church. He accomplishes a number of things in this small book: a capable defense of the Christian tradition's prohibition of homosexual practice, an illuminating analysis of the isolating effects of struggle with this particular sin, a careful consideration of the present and future aspects of salvation, and a heartfelt call to fight for each other's faith and repentance as a church body. This is now the book regarding a crucial theological issue of our time.”
- Michael Allen, Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology, Knox Theological Seminary