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What a fascinating and instructive and encouraging interview, as Marvin Olasky talks with Rosaria Butterfield about her memoir, The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert: An English Professor’s Journey into Christian Faith.

You can read a sample here.

Carl Trueman writes:

This autobiography is the launchpad for numerous sophisticated reflections on the nature of life, faith, sexuality, worship, education and other matters. As one would expect from a lover of nineteenth century literature, the book is also beautifully written with many a well-turned sentence; and as one would expect from someone schooled at the highest levels in critical theory, it eschews simplistic pieties for stimulating analyses of both Christian and non-Christian culture.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough. I do not agree with everything she says; but I did learn from everything she wrote. It deserves the widest possible readership.

In particular Carl highlights her discussion of sexuality:

Her treatment of sexual sin and gender politics is fascinating and so much more sophisticated than the kind of simplistic drivel which passes for discussion in evangelical circles. Chapter Two, ‘Repentance and the Sin of Sodom’ along with her accounts in Chapter Three of talking to students at Geneva College about sexuality, are worth the price of the book. Every pastor should read these chapters and take her analysis to heart.

You can read his whole review here.

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18 thoughts on “How an Unbelieving Lesbian English Professor Became a Reformed Pastor’s Wife”

  1. Dean P says:

    I know that Rosaria, Wesley Hill and Christopher Yuan are still fairly new on the scene at this point but it does seem too bad that more people like them are never featured in the public media as representatives of those who are no longer practicing the gay identity.

    1. Greg O says:

      I agree Dean; however, public media would create a ‘black hole’ in itself by doing something that perceivably hurt themselves… namely, promoting Christianity. Its a sad reality.

      1. Tyler says:

        Dean and Greg, wouldn’t it be amazing if there were more people who have left the gay lifestyle then we are led to believe. The gay rights movement has a very loud megaphone that is drowning out any perspective but theirs. One thing that would help combat that megaphone is if more people who exited Sodom would be more comfortable in coming out in the midst of the Evangelical community. Coming out the first time as being Gay is a nerve wracking and painful experience for many people. Having to do it again as an ex-homosexual who is a believer can be very difficult if your brothers and sisters freak out when you tell them your past. I left the LGBT 20 years ago and have never returned. I have only recently begun to open up with people about my past. The anxiety and fear have been tough, but the Lord is getting me through it.

        1. Daryl Little says:

          Perhaps I run in different circles, but I’ve only seen joy on the part of believers who discover the past life of a friend, no matter how immoral.
          I suspect that at least a little of the fear for ex-gays is driven by what they perceived to be the Christian reaction, prior to their salvation.

          But then, I’ve never lived through that. I’m just not ready to jump on the “Christians are mean to ex-gay brothers and sisters” bandwagon.

  2. Rachael Starke says:

    The most fascinating thing for me about this wonderful story is the many different aspects to it! For me it’s as much about her background as a secular intellectual professor. Her comment about needing to be willing to look stupid for Jesus’ sake was so right on, especially for where I live in Silicon Valley. And then there’s the whole evangelism element. I want my church to be one where I can invite a transvestite friend to come and sing Psalms next to my kids!!

  3. Sue says:

    I can’t figure out where to get a copy of her book. Can you help?

    1. Justin Taylor says:

      If you click on the book title above, it should take you to a retailer. Amazon should have it, too.

    2. Mark G says:

      I got it from Westminster Seminary Bookstore. I’ve read the first few chapters and it is interesting and thought provoking challenge to the church to think a little differently about dealing with gays.

  4. Dave Moore says:

    It is also my experience that reading larger chunks of Scripture in shorter periods is a wonderful means of grace.

  5. Sam Holdsambeck says:

    Thanks so much for posting this, Justin. Now I know why the Lord directed me to subscribe to your blog! This interview was a huge blessing to me. Can’t wait to get the book.

  6. Paul Bankson says:

    Thanks Justin. I watched this video, bought the e-book, then read the book in one sitting. Very compelling, convicting, and encouraging at the same time. Highly recommend.

  7. Nathan Petty says:

    The book is very good. It speaks to the power of the Gospel to give life and transform, not just reform. It bears a wonderful testimony and I have given the books to many friends.

    Some of the previous comments, and indeed even the title of the post, focus on the writer’s previous sexual orientation. This is, perhaps, to be expected, but it is not really the main theme of the book.

    If I can paraphrase from memory, Rosaria says that her sin was not lesbianism, per se. Rather, it was the fact that Christ was not the Lord of her life. She makes the significant point that her previous heterosexual life was just as sinful as her later homosexual life. Wonderful insight!

    Carl Truman was impressed by this point as well. Truman was pointing out that marriage is not the solution for male sexual sin as some have counseled. Christ in control of your life is the solution to all sin, and until that is a reality, Christian and non-Christian men should avoid marriage. (Hopefully my memory is correct on this).

    I recommend the book without reservation.

  8. Mike R says:

    should be an interesting read. in a somewhat similar vein i hit what she calls a moment of “comprehensive chaos” many years back in my own life, though not around sexual orientation. but i wound up taking the left fork, as it were, while she took the right. over the years i’ve ventured back, albeit cautiously. thanks for the info, justin – i’ll pick this up. now i’ll go over to amazon and see what the reviews there say… :)

  9. P Lyle says:

    The “Born this Way” comments were the MOST helpful, along with how you expounded on it. I will keep that close as I examine this issue and how to respond to those I love who are “born this way.”

  10. Craig says:

    Very valuable article and video to put out here. Am reading the book for the second time and giving copies away. It is heart-convicting and heart-opening to see how we Christians are perceived by today’s “tax collectors and sinners.” Those in the gay community can be turned to the good news. We need to read and publish much more of this.

  11. Kate says:

    This is a phenomenal interview; Dr. Butterfield’s insights were provocative and interesting and ever so valuable. I have a friend who gave up homosexuality, but when she was still a lesbian, that’s when we formed our friendship. We were both a little afraid of each other, and I probably did a lot of things wrong, but eventually she became part of campus ministry, gave her life to Christ, and then the giving up of homosexuality was a sanctifying work that came later. It was reading the Bible that showed her her sin. In a more general way, I know a lot of gay and lesbian people. They are my classmates and my best friend’s families, and teammates and coworkers. Rosaria gave so many valuable points that I could see being useful in my ministry; I am really looking forward to reading her book!

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Justin Taylor, PhD

Justin Taylor is executive vice president of book publishing and book publisher for Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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