United Church of Christ Resources

From Sin to Amazing Grace: From Sin to Amazing Grace (72385A)
Discovering the Queer Christ

Author: Patrick S. Cheng
Publisher: Seabury Books
Pages: 160
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1596272384     ISBN-13: 9781596272385
Binding: Paperback
List Price: $20.00 USD

Throughout the history of Christianity, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender ( LGBT or queer ) people have been condemned as unrepentant sinners who are in dire need of God's saving grace. As a result of this condemnation, LGBT people have been subjected to great spiritual, emotional and physical abuse and violence. This issue has taken on a particular urgency in light of the horrific string of suicides over the last year of young LGBT people who were subjected to harassment and bullying by their classmates. Cheng argues that people need to be liberated from the traditional legal model of thinking about sin and grace as a violation of divine and natural laws in which grace is understood as the strength to refrain from violating such laws. Rather Cheng proposes a Christological model based upon the theologies of Irenaeus, Bonaventure and Barth, in which sin and grace are defined in terms of what God has done for us in Jesus Christ. This book will serve as a useful resource for all people who struggle to make sense of the traditional Christian doctrines of sin and grace in the context of the 21st century.

"Cheng takes us through a systematic re-working of the classical doctrines of sin and grace, and lands us in a place where, surprisingly, these ideas can once again sing with life for Christian LGBTQ persons.  It's a serious and splendid book." --Serene Jones, President and Roosevelt Professor of Systematic Theology, Union Theological Seminary in New York City

"This gifted theologian and teacher offers an accessible and compelling case for why LGBT persons (and others) need to take back the words 'sin' and 'grace.'  Be forewarned: reading Cheng is likely to stretch your theological and moral imagination, but all for the good." --Marvin M. Ellison, Willard S. Bass Professor of Christian Ethics, Bangor Theological Seminary; author of Making Love Just and co-editor of Sexuality and the Sacred, 2nd edition

"Patrick Cheng has given the Christian church and the theological academy a precious gift.  Cheng's work ranks among the best scholarship of a new generation of theologians.  I have experienced more amazing grace--and grown more mature theologically--because of this book." --Tat-siong Benny Liew, Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean, and Professor of New Testament, Pacific School of Religion

"Cheng provides our hurting community with a healing theology; an accessible christology which celebrates an open and affirming Christianity desperately needed by most of our churches.  This book is good news for all who are queer, as well as for those who are not!" --Miguel A. De La Torre, Professor of Social Ethics and Latino/a Studies, Iliff School of Theology; 2012 President of the Society of Christian Ethics

"'Christ is the treasure hidden in the scriptures,' wrote Irenaeus, the second century theologian.  Christ is the treasure, and Cheng's work is a treasure map of LGBT advances in theology that helps us find, once again, that God loves all of us and wants us to be free." --Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, Professor of Theology and former president, Chicago Theological Seminary; blogger for the Washington Post; author of Lift Every Voice

"Patrick Cheng has produced a much needed pastoral book for LGBTIQ and, in fact, all Christians.  This is a remarkable theological and pastoral exploration that can help individual Christians and their congregations to re-align their spiritual development." --Robert E. Shore-Goss, Senior Pastor/Theologian, MCC in the Valley, North Hollywood; author of Jesus Acted Up and Queering Christ

"The act of reading Patrick Cheng's Christ-centered theology of sin and grace offers both healing pastoral care and political empowerment.  Christians who have been wounded, alienated, or simply befuddled by the ongoing use of Christianity to further heterosexist hate and disenfranchisement have been waiting for this book." --Traci C. West, Professor of Ethics and African American Studies, Drew University Theological School; author of Disruptive Christian Ethics

From the Back Cover
"We must address the doctrine of sin -- and its companion doctrine of grace -- head on.  We can no longer avoid or ignore the subject.  It is time for LGBT people to take back the words 'sin' and 'grace' in the same way we have taken back the word 'queer'!" --Patrick S. Cheng

Many people, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons, struggle with the doctrines of sin and grace.  Cheng argues that people need to be liberated from the traditional crime-based model of sin and grace, in which sin is understood as the violation of God's laws, and grace is understood as one's acquittal for such violations.

As an alternative, Cheng proposes a Christ-centered model that is based upon the ancient doctrine of theosis, or deification, in which sin and grace are defined in terms of what God has done for us through Jesus Christ.  Cheng presents seven models of the Queer Christ, along with seven deadly sins and seven new amazing graces.

This provocative yet accessible work of queer theology and ethics will serve as a useful resource for all people who struggle to make sense of the traditional Christian doctrines of sin and grace in the twenty-first century.

About the Author Cheng:  From Sin to Amazing Grace author
The Rev. Patrick S. Cheng, Ph.D. is the Assistant Professor of Historical and Systematic Theology at Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  Cheng holds degrees from Union Theological Seminary in New York City, Harvard Law School, and Yale College.  He is the author of the popular Radical Love: An Introduction to Queer Theology (Seabury Books, 2011).  Cheng is a blogger for the religion and the gay voices sections of the Huffington Post, and his website is patrickcheng.net.

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