Washed and Waiting – Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality by Wesley Hill is an important book to be read by anyone who finds themselves in a leadership role in the church, and frankly is a helpful one for anyone who finds themselves involved in ministry. Given the protestant doctrine of the “priesthood of believers,” that would be everyone who claims the identity of “Christian.”
Wesley Hill is a believer and follower of Jesus Christ. He grew up in a decidedly evangelical family setting, was educated at Wheaton College, holds an M.A. in Theology from Durham University in the U.K., and is working on a PhD. in New Testament. He also candidly admits to having same-sex attraction. And these, are not transient feelings. By his admission, he is a homosexual.
But unlike some “gay-Christians,” Hill is not advocating for a tolerance of homosexuality within the Christian church. He concedes that to do so would necessitate a rejection of the perspicuous teaching of scripture on the subject of homosexuality. Instead, he vigorously embraces and defends the teaching of scripture and in light of it, has chosen to live a celibate life.
And it is this decision and its implications that make up the essence of his book. He shares openly about his experience and his struggles and in so doing provides not only a very important insight into the ways in which the church is failing to be real ministers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a specific segment of unbelievers, but is also failing to be the kind of shepherds it ought to be of those who are believers and who struggle with same-sex attraction and homoerotic urges. Understanding this failure of the church is critical if we are to be the body of Christ that we are expected to be.
But the book also provides great encouragement to those who are completely unacquainted with the struggles of homosexuality. You see, every believer is both “washed” and “waiting”. While we have been redeemed and set free from the bondage of sin in the matter of the doctrine of our justification, we still struggle with sin in the course of our being progressively sanctified, and as we look expectantly to our goal of complete Christ-likeness in glorification. Our persistent struggles may not be same-sex attraction and homoerotic urges. But many of those struggles that we can name in our own lives, stand in opposition to the clear teaching of scripture. If we are to live faithful lives, we know that we must resist them, taking on a form of celibacy against those sinful inclinations. Hill’s book describing his journey as a Christian and homosexual stand as a great example for those who are Christian and whose sinful proclivities have nothing to do with sexuality at all.
Read this book. It offers some helpful and important insights into the subject of homosexuality in the church, and Hill’s testimony of his own life offers a great example for everyone who professes to be a Christian, washed and waiting.