Skip to main content
book cover

Review: "The Plausibility Problem" by Ed Shaw

This is a brilliant book, which is well worth reading by all modern Christians. Its applicability goes far beyond the issues of same-sex attraction - indeed I'm thinking about giving a copy to a straight Christian friend who, still single and really wanting to be married, is considering going out with somebody who isn't a Christian. It addresses all sorts of issues more generally covered by the question, "How can I possibly do what God is asking of me?" in contexts where you can always find somebody - even a Christian - who will tell you that "God isn't really asking that of you." (cf Genesis 3).

The book also challenges the whole church to change, pointing out many ways in which we have been led into false assumptions in our largely comfortable lives. These "missteps" include: "A family is Mum, Dad and 2.4 children", "If it makes you happy, it must be right", "Sex is where true intimacy is found", "Celibacy is bad for you" and "Suffering is to be avoided." The church throughout history has known well that these statements cause assumptions; the modern church is in real danger of forgetting. Shaw also includes "If you are born gay, it can't be wrong to be gay", and "Your identity is your sexuality", which are much more specific and modern problems, which the whole church needs to be empowered to resist.

Shaw fills the book with examples of the issues facing same-sex attracted people, and most of all those affecting the author: loneliness, recurrent temptation as attractive men pass by, abandonment by others - even some Christians - who tell you that gay sex isn't wrong, the feeling that you are increasingly unable to communicate with your married friends who are putting their nuclear family far higher in priority than their church family, and that you are being left out of the “most important” thing in life.

It is also all about trusting God, and believing that you really are one of His beloved children in Jesus.  There is a sure reminder that sex is just a foretaste of heaven; go for the real thing, rather than abandoning it for illicit limited experiences. Keys to success in these areas include educating ones emotions to know what is real and what is delusional and being supported by one’s church family. Ed Shaw's book is a great contribution to both.

‘The Plausibility Problem - The church and same-sex attraction'
by Ed Shaw
176 pages
Published by IVP in Feb 2015