Why Can't We Be Friends?
Avoidance Is Not Purity
The church stands firm against culture on many issues of sexuality . . . but misses this one!
Society says we are merely sexual beings and should embrace this, and in the church we use this same view as an excuse to distrust and avoid each other! We shy away from healthy friendship, and even our siblingship in Christ, in the name of purity and reputation . . . but is this what we are called to do?
Aimee Byrd reminds us that the way to stand against culture is not by allowing it to drive us apart—it is by seeking the brother-and-sister closeness we are privileged to have as Christians. Here is a plan for true, godly friendship between the sexes that embraces the family we truly are in Christ and serves as the exact witness the watching world needs.
“With this book, Aimee Byrd has done a great service to the church. At a time when society at large is questioning the meaning of friendship in general and the legitimacy of friendship between men and women, Aimee challenges her readers to test their responses and determine whether they are dictated by Scriptures or by culture and tradition. The answers might surprise you.
Read this book even if you think you are already the best of friends. You will find many unexpected questions and insightful recommendations. If you have children, it will help you to establish in them, from an early age, good habits of friendship and sibling relationships.”
—Simonetta Carr, Author, Broken Pieces and the God Who Mends Them and the Christian Biographies for Young Readers series
“Jesus was willing to break through ethnic, political, religious, and gender barriers like a wrecking ball. There was not a man-made obstacle to forgiveness and spiritual growth that he would allow to stand in his way. Aimee Byrd’s book on friendship will be a rich resource for believers to consider how they might follow in Jesus’ steps. Read it to help you think, reflect, and develop personal convictions for Jesus-centered relationships.”
—Dan DeWitt, Director, Center for Biblical Apologetics and Public Christianity, and Associate Professor, Applied Theology and Apologetics, Cedarville University
“Aimee Byrd’s thought-provoking treatment of cross-gender friendship in the family of God is at once rich biblical theology and piercing cultural critique. Eschewing the reductionistic, fear-based, and eroticized views of the other sex that too often typify even those within the church, she answers the question “Can men and women live as sacred siblings in the church?” with an emphatic “Yes, they can—and they must!” . . . if we are to truly follow in the footsteps of our Elder Brother, Jesus Christ.”
—Michael R. Emlet, Faculty Member, Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation; Author, CrossTalk and Descriptions and Prescriptions
“Aimee has not written a rule book full of dos and don’ts for friendships between women and men in the church. She has not drawn a neat little diagram of what is and isn’t allowed. What she has done is to give men and women of faith a book that answers the question of why there should be vibrant friendships between male and female siblings in Christ; and, in doing so, she gives us the tools to decide how this will be accomplished in a God-honoring way. Beginning at the heart of our identity as children of God, Aimee builds a strong case for why our current approach to male/female friendships misses the heart of what God has for his children.”
—Jasmine Holmes, Blogger, jasminelholmes.com
“To be honest, I hate that this book had to be written. But since it is undeniably necessary, I am so thankful that Aimee Byrd took up the task. She writes not merely from experience but with a deep theological orientation and informed pastoral concerns. She reminds Christians to be less influenced by When Harry Met Sally... than they are by Jesus and Paul.
Too often as Christians we actually sound no different from non-Christians in our assumptions. Why can’t we—as the household of God—be courageous in our concern, affectionate in our love, and wise in our practices? Rather than being driven by fear, let’s follow biblical expectations for what it means to be in the family of God.
Thankfully, Aimee calls us to be faithful siblings who are soaked in the love of the Father, strengthened by Christ our elder brother, and empowered in the Spirit of holiness. By God’s grace, let us learn to live more like a healthy family.”
—Kelly M. Kapic, Professor of Theological Studies, Covenant College, Lookout Mountain, Georgia; Author, Embodied Hope
“The apostle Paul never called his closest associates “friends”; they were brothers and sisters in Christ. Expanding on his insight, Aimee Byrd explains friendship between males and females in the church as a sacred-siblings calling to love, sanctification, and celebration. Too many people today guard their hearts with rules motivated by fear, concern for reputation, or gross misunderstandings of who we are instead of by theology. Why Can’t We Be Friends? ushers us into the deep spaces of Christian theology in a way that rearranges our relationships. If we will be siblings in the kingdom, it’s time we accepted our future for the sake of our present. This is the best book I have seen on this subject.”
—Scot McKnight, Julius R. Mantey Chair of New Testament, Northern Seminary, Lisle, Illinois
“Have you ever wondered whether there’s more that God intended for men and women to experience in their friendships with one another this side of heaven? With winsome candor, extensive research, and a vibrant love for the church, Aimee Byrd urges readers to confront the stereotypes that limit friendship between men and women by seeking above all else to promote holiness in one another. Her words awaken a desire to richly enjoy the brother/sister relationships to which our elder brother, Christ, calls us. Her life bears this out. Thank you, Aimee, for such a courageous and timely gift to the church!”
—Dave Myers, Elder, New Hope Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Frederick, Maryland
“In our hyper-sexualized culture, there is a very real danger that the church will unconsciously allow the world to set her priorities, if only by way of overreaction, and will thereby ironically lose sight of important aspects of biblical teaching. Nowhere is this more likely than in the sphere of relationships between the sexes. Thus, Aimee Byrd’s plea for a recovery of such friendships in the church, through the rediscovery of the significance of the biblical use of sibling language, is timely. The church is to be a place of love and hospitality where we are to take seriously the transformation of our identities in Christ. A provocative but irenic breath of fresh air on a contentious topic, this book shows how we can and should do that. Highly recommended.”
—Carl R. Trueman, William E. Simon Visiting Fellow in Religion and Public Life, Princeton University; Professor of Biblical and Religious Studies, Grove City College
“Too often, Christians swear allegiance to the cultural belief that platonic relationships between the sexes are unthinkable. In the interest of avoiding adultery at all costs, we segregate men and women from one another within the church. But one another is precisely what we lose when this is the case. Aimee Byrd calls us back to the Bible’s vision of believers as the family of God—a family of spiritual brothers and sisters who actually believe they are capable of and called to loving one another deeply, from the heart (see 1 Peter 1:22). I can’t think of a more countercultural message or a more compelling witness to the gospel than a church marked by men and women who trade the fear of adultery for the freedom of appropriate sibling friendships as they partner to advance the kingdom. Aimee shows us this better way.”
—Jen Wilkin, Bible Teacher; Author, Women of the Word and None Like Him