Finding Your Best Identity
A short Christian introduction to identity, sexuality and gender
IVP, 2022 (ISBN: 9781789744200, 90pp, £8.99)
The most casual glance at biblical passages such as Matthew 6 or 1 John 2 indicates that ‘the world’ is entirely at odds with the way of Christ. As such, Christians have cause to be immensely cautious about not only arguments, but also language and assumptions taken from the world and not from scripture.
In discussions on gender, identity and sexuality, there is much about which to be cautious at the best of times – along, of course, with being faithful, courageous, winsome, fearless, caring, compassionate, steadfast, and so on. Caution is warranted over misrepresentation, emotional impact, and the distinction of person and desire from action and impulse. Woefully little caution is often exercised by Christians in the use of terminology in this field, leading to unnecessary charges of anachronism and to unwitting concession of conceptual space to ‘the world’ before even beginning a debate. Nowhere is this more apparent than in identifiers. Early Genesis defines us as creations, male or female, married or unmarried, divided into national groups; a pattern continued in the Biblical witness and church tradition. The key modification, or clarification, to this natural order came with Christ’s inauguration of the church age and the additional distinction of those ‘in Him’ or not. Identifiers from outside this framework must be recognised as such and handled with care.
Andrew Bunt is a young church minister from Sussex and an organiser in the Living Out ministry. His book is a very worthwhile exploration of this issue of identifying terms and concepts. This has been touched on in passing by others, but a short and accessible text devoted to the topic is very welcome. Bunt is quick to isolate the clash of expectations, inherent pitfalls, and potential intellectual banality encapsulated by the terminology at stake. Neither identities from society without nor from feelings within can truly stand up to scrutiny; either they create rigid stereotypes or serve to vindicate any sort of vice imaginable. Only definitions from the creator Himself make sense of life.
This book is an excellent resource for church youth groups and home groups, each chapter coming with several suggested discussion points. It will be equally valuable to anyone wishing to consider identity and the surrounding issues as a discrete topic, particularly if personally struggling to find fulness of identity in Christ.
Edward Keene, Little Shelford