This is a book review of The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert by Rosaria Champagne Butterfield. My copy is the expanded edition. Published by Crown and Covenant Publications (191 pages). Contents are as follows:
Forward and Acknowledgments
1) Conversion and the Gospel of Peace
2) Repentance and the Sin of Sodom
3) The Good Guys: Sanctification and Public Worship
4) The Home Front: Marriage, Ministry, and Adoption
5) Homeschooling and Middle Age
Our Shared Journeys
Letters from Rosaria
Frequently Asked Questions
Not long after I left my New Age past behind me, I came across an article about homosexuality and Christian evangelism. The author was a celibate Christian who left the homosexual lifestyle after he was saved. The theme of his essay advised Christians as to how best to evangelize those caught up in same-sex attraction and lifestyle. He wrote that it was best to first lovingly introduce Jesus Christ to the sinner rather than immediately confronting the person with his or her sin. At no point did he condone the practice – it was about first introducing the Sinner to the Savior.
This approach struck a chord with me. I’d been conditioned by my past to accept homosexuality as a natural (not sinful) alternative expression of sexuality. My collection of New Age books included one authored by Mystic Andrew Harvey who had dedicated it to his husband. I had learned to empathize with the struggles he’d encountered even within the New Age movement.
Around that time I also came across a Bible teacher I liked. During one of his lectures this man made some references about homosexuals and homosexuality which were technically correct. Unfortunately his delivery came across as uncaring and combative. I remember thinking that this man’s message would be lost on me if I were a homosexual or had a loved one with same-sex attraction issues.
This is one reason why Rosaria Champagne Butterfield’s The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert is important reading for Christians today, where even disagreeing with homosexuality is considered intolerant. It offers experiential insights as to how a Christian should witness to gays and lesbians.
Rosaria was once a lesbian activist in a lesbian relationship. She was a highly educated, intelligent woman who declared herself a lesbian at 28 years of age, at the finish of her PhD in English Literature and Cultural Studies. She was also a high-profile secular feminist professor at a University, who counseled students and championed gay and lesbian issues. She enjoyed lecturing and writing for these causes and had made herself a prominent name in that community. Her entire lifestyle was steeped in the gay and lesbian community where she both supplied, and derived, immense support.
It’s very important to consider these facts in light of her story.
One day Christian minister Ken Smith sent Champaign Butterfield a letter in response to one of her articles. Smith invited her to contact him to discuss “these ideas” more fully. She thought it was the kindest letter of opposition she had ever received. So she called him.
What followed from that initial contact is the subject of this book. The book gives an inside look at the challenges gays and lesbians face when, and after, coming to a decision to follow Christ and leave their former lifestyle behind. Rosaria’s former friends felt betrayed.
Gritty and honest, it is a testament to what the power of the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ can accomplish in one’s life. It presents a model of how Christians should approach the unsaved with the gospel. In Rosaria Champaign Butterfield’s own words from the back cover:
In April of 1999, I felt the call of Jesus Christ upon my life. It was both subtle and blatant, like the peace inside the eye of the hurricane. I could in no way resist and I in no way understood what could become of my life.
Of her life questions Rosaria writes:
Had a pastor named Ken Smith not shared the gospel with me for years and years, over and over again, not in some used-car-salesman way, but in an organic spontaneous and compassionate way, those questions might still be lodged in the crevices of my mind and I might never have met the most unlikely of friends, Jesus Christ himself.
Every Christian should read this book.
Purchase The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert !
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