Useful resource for all people who struggle to make sense of the traditional Christian doctrines of sin and grace in the twenty first century
Throughout the history of Christianity, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (“LGBT” or “queer”) people have been condemned as unrepentant sinners who are in dire need of God’s saving grace. As a result of this condemnation, LGBT people have been subjected to great spiritual, emotional and physical abuse and violence. This issue has taken on a particular urgency in light of the horrific string of suicides of young LGBT people who were subjected to harassment and bullying by their classmates.
Cheng argues that people need to be liberated from the traditional legal model of thinking about sin and grace as a violation of divine and natural laws in which grace is understood as the strength to refrain from violating such laws. Rather Cheng proposes a Christological model based upon the theologies of Irenaeus, Bonaventure and Barth, in which sin and grace are defined in terms of what God has done for us in Jesus Christ.
This book serves as a useful resource for all people who struggle to make sense of the traditional Christian doctrines of sin and grace in the context of the twenty-first century.
"Cheng takes us through a systematic re-working of the classical doctrines of sin and grace, and lands us in a place where, surprisingly, these ideas can once again sing with life for Christian LGBTQ persons. It's a serious and splendid book."
—Serene Jones, President and Roosevelt Professor of Systematic Theology, Union Theological Seminary in New York City
"This gifted theologian and teacher offers an accessible and compelling case for why LGBT persons (and others) need to take back the words 'sin' and 'grace.' Be forewarned: reading Cheng is likely to stretch your theological and moral imagination, but all for the good."
—Marvin M. Ellison, Willard S. Bass Professor of Christian Ethics, Bangor Theological Seminary; author of Making Love Just and co-editor of Sexuality and the Sacred, 2nd edition
“Cheng provides our hurting community with a healing theology; an accessible christology which celebrates an open and affirming Christianity desperately needed by most of our churches. This book is good news for all who are queer, as well as for those who are not!"
—Miguel A. De La Torre, Professor of Social Ethics and Latino/a Studies, Iliff School of Theology; 2012 President of the Society of Christian Ethics
"'Christ is the treasure hidden in the scriptures,' wrote Irenaeus, the second century theologian. Christ is the treasure, and Cheng's work is a treasure map of LGBT advances in theology that helps us find, once again, that God loves all of us and wants us to be free."
—Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, Professor of Theology and former president, Chicago Theological Seminary; blogger for the Washington Post; author of Lift Every Voice
"Patrick Cheng has produced a much needed pastoral book for LGBTIQ and, in fact, all Christians. This is a remarkable theological and pastoral exploration that can help individual Christians and their congregations to re-align their spiritual development."
—Robert E. Shore-Goss, Senior Pastor/Theologian, MCC in the Valley, North Hollywood; author of Jesus Acted Up and Queering Christ
"The act of reading Patrick Cheng's Christ-centered theology of sin and grace offers both healing pastoral care and political empowerment. Christians who have been wounded, alienated, or simply befuddled by the ongoing use of Christianity to further heterosexist hate and disenfranchisement have been waiting for this book."
—Traci C. West, Professor of Ethics and African American Studies, Drew University Theological School; author of Disruptive Christian Ethics