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Review: UnClobber by Colby Martin

book review Jun 01, 2023

UnClobber by Colby Martin is more than a book about how people, especially Conservative Christians, misuse the Bible to discriminate against the LGBTQ+ community. It's the story of Martin's journey to becoming open-minded and accepting of LGBTQ+ people and their place in the church.


Photo Credit: WJK Books


In UnClobber, Martin uses every other chapter to dive deep into each of the problematic "clobber verses" commonly used to prove that the Bible is clear on its stand against homosexuality and transgender people.


"If the only interpretation they have ever heard convinces them that the Bible, and therefore God, stands in opposition to homosexuality, then that will inform how they live. It will affect how they treat their LGBTQ brothers and sisters. Poor interpretations lead to missusing the Bible. And real people get hurt as a result." p. 28


In the alternating chapters, Martin lays out how he went from believing that homosexuality was a sin to not agreeing that LGBTQ+ should be kept from being members of a congregation, especially if they were allowed to attend church, to being fully accepting and supportive of the LGBTQ+ community and them being welcome at the table of God and in church.


"It's possible," I said, "to think that homosexuality is sin, but also believe that discrimination against the gay community and treating our LGBTQ brothers and sisters like second-class citizens is not okay. I know this because that was me for a number of years" (70).


Martin changed this belief and, in doing so, changed his life.


If you are a person of faith who has been conflicted over how to reconcile what your faith community tells you with what your heart believes, you should read this book.


Martin goes into detail about how he knew in his heart that discrimination against LGBTQ+ people was wrong and that using the Bible as a weapon against them didn't align with his position as a person of faith or a pastor. What he came to understand, and what got him fired from his church, was fear and the threat the LGBTQ+ presented to "the purity of the gospel" (p.67).


"There are many Christians for whom this is important because they have bought into a narrative of fear: fear that there is a war against Christians; and homosexuality is the weapon du jour" (p. 67).


In sharing his personal experiences, Martin helps readers who may have similar questions about what the Bible says about homosexuality and those struggling to reconcile what their faith community tells them about their LGBTQ+ children.


Martin presents the clobber passages in a scholarly and theological way, then lets the reader decide what conclusion they want to draw from the information provided. He provides another way to look at them that shows how the Bible is used against the LGBTQ community and how those verses could be used to include them.


At 175 pages and ten chapters, UnClobber is an easy read. It contains chapter notes and a list of resources at the end. The new expanded edition includes a new chapter, a small group guide, and a preaching series guide. 



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