[Editor’s note: Meet Jim Dant at the Nurturing Faith exhibit during the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship General Assembly June 13-15 in Dallas. The first 1,200 will receive free, signed copies of This I Know; A Simple Biblical Defense for LGBTQ Christians.]
In his book This I Know: A Simple Biblical Defense for LGBTQ Christians, just published by Nurturing Faith, pastor Jim Dant of First Baptist Church of Greenville, S.C., has given us a scholarly interpretation of biblical texts often quoted to condemn members of the LGBTQ community.
Dant’s small volume is not intended to be a thorough theological discussion of sexuality in the biblical text. Rather, it is a “survival manual” for those on the firing line.
In the first half of his book Dant exposes nine classic texts oft quoted to castigate LGBTQ persons and, one by one, he knocks down a lot of sacred cow opinions. In the second half he deals with five ridiculing statements aimed at churches that elect to become more inclusive.
Dant concludes there is no valid, Christian, biblical argument against same-sex relationships between consenting adults and that autonomous Baptist congregations have the right to decide how they will practice faith under the leadership of God’s Spirit.
As the mother of a gay son I heartily endorse This I Know as a much-needed resource, especially those who feel certain their stance on gender issues is the only viable one. When I came to the realization that it was me rather than my son who needed to change a boulder-size burden was lifted, allowing me to unapologetically share my story in Tarnished Haloes, Welcoming Hearts (2012, Nurturing Faith).
Kudos to Jim Dant and Nurturing Faith for taking a bold step forward in giving voice to an alternative scriptural view of a “hot button” issue in our country. As editor John Pierce wrote on the editorial page of the May-June issue of Nurturing Faith Journal and Bible Studies: “This debate is about more than an issue: it affects people. Putting people first may feel like a compromise of conviction to some. But it sure seemed to be the priority of Jesus.”
-Lynelle Sweat Mason lives in lives in Signal Mountain, Tenn., and is a member of First Baptist Church of Chattanooga. She is the author of Tarnished Haloes, Open Hearts, as well as several historical fiction books for young readers. Her books and Jim Dant’s book are at available in print or digital form at books.nurturingfaith.net.