How I Came to Write It, by Stephen Cox
About twenty years ago I prayed what for me then was an almost unthinkable prayer. I paused for a long time before I prayed it. I couldn’t imagine the sequence of events that would be necessary for God to lead me to see the issues differently, and I wanted to pray with full openness to allow God to work in me. I asked God to show me if I was wrong in how I understood what the Bible says about homosexuality. I was not prepared for how painful and disturbing God’s answer was to prove. I took a conservative position, and it seemed obvious to me then that this was the only biblical view and therefore the only legitimate Christian view.
A year or so later, my prayer began to be answered in a way I had not anticipated, when I discovered suddenly and unexpectedly that my devout and deeply Christian older son was gay. Three things were very clear, firstly that he had not chosen to be gay, secondly that his efforts, which had been long lasting and persistent, to find ‘healing’ from homosexual orientation, had been to no avail, and thirdly that he loved God and was submitted to God in a way that won, (and still wins) my admiration and respect. Over the next several years he moved to a position of believing that the expression of homosexual love was not necessarily un-Christian. Though we still do not totally agree over how to interpret the Bible on this issue, I was deeply changed by engaging with him and with the questions raised. I found myself reading the Bible with a fresh urgency. In doing I found myself reflecting more biblically on how we live together with profound and emotive disagreement, and on what God might be saying to us when we see Jesus and the fruits of his Spirit clearly manifested in those with whom we disagree. I have found that the scriptures have a great deal to say on the matter in ways that have enriched my faith and my love for Jesus Christ, and have opened up the Bible to speak afresh to me in all kinds of circumstances.
This book is the result of my journey of exploration.
It is not primarily about homosexuality. It is about being Christlike, and what that might mean in a church and society that is often divisive and judgmental. It is about where we find our identity. It is a book about how we treat our ‘enemies’ and what it actually means to love them, about how we argue well, about grace and honesty and disagreement.
Above all it is a book about Jesus, and how we are called to imitate Him, not just ‘believe the right things’.
The above is slightly adapted from the introduction to the book,’Navigating by The Son: Finding Our Way in An Unfamiliar Landscape’. Matador 2021 £11.99 paperback or £9.99 e.book. Widely available including from the Matador shop at