Who gets to decide who gets heard? Sounds like a silly question, but this is where we are in our culture when it comes to the topic of homosexuality and same-sex marriage. The majority media is seeking to control the public discussion and debate through economic totalitarianism and defining the allowable terms. Hence “same-sex marriage” is being redefined as “marriage equality”. Homosexuality sounds softer, more inclusive, and group-identity based when it’s called LGBT (+any number of other letters). Opponents of the homosexual special interest agenda, or who consider homosexual activity immoral or abnormal are labeled “homophobic”. Tolerance (which assumes disagreement) is now redefined as celebration. Those who object to such coersion are villified and silenced.
Ah, the beauty of the culture war. Can’t we have a civil conversation, people?
Do you want to know who are the most persecuted of the bunch? I suggest it’s Christians who struggle with same-sex attraction. The key word here is “struggle”. People who identify themselves as “Christian” and yet reconcile following Jesus with an active homosexual lifestyle do not “struggle” against their homosexual desires. They embrace them. That is there choice, which they are free to make in a free society. But those who identify as “Christian” and recognize that to be a faithful follower of Christ they must fight the pull of their sexual desires, understand those desires as sinful, and live as a Christian (sexually celibate or faithful in marriage to a person of the opposite sex)–these people are hated most of all by the LGBT lobby. They are considered repressed traitors who are holding back history’s march of progress. Why can’t we listen to what these folks have to say? Are we afraid of their side of the story? Are we christo-homophobic?
Sam Allberry is someone we should be listening to. He is associate pastor of St. Mary’s Church in Maidenhead, UK. He’s an unmarried, celibate pastor. We’d say he’s “single” and abstaining from sex until marriage. But he also happens to struggle against his feelings of same-sex attraction. He prefers not to call himself “gay” or “homosexual” because as a Christian, he is not defined by his sexual struggle. He primary identity is a child of God, a forgiven sinner, now a saint, who continues to battle the temptations of sin in this life. In this way he is like all Christians who deny themselves in following Christ. Every Christian struggles with particular forms of sin that we are prone to in our fallen state. So there is not a world of difference between those like Allberry and people who struggle with illicit heterosexual desires like lust and forbidden activity such as serial monogamy or promiscuous sex. In other words, we’re all fallen and in this together. Myself included.
When it comes to the subject of God and the Bible, the message we hear today is that God is anti-gay. That God hates gay people. That those who have feelings of same-sex attraction (that they didn’t ask for) are somehow worst sinners than the rest of us. That they are beyond help. That they are to be shunned as untouchable until they somehow “convert” to a heterosexual orientation and lifestyle. Allberry seeks to counter these assertions with the gospel. In his booklet Is God Anti-Gay? and other questions about homosexuality, the Bible and same-sex attraction, we have a readable, honest, compassionate, humane, humble, faithful response that could serve to carry this cultural conversation forward. It’s above all a practical book with a loving message of hope. The table of contents demonstrates this.
1. Getting started: the Bible, marriage and sex
2. The Bible and homosexuality
Question: Surely a same-sex partnership is OK if it’s committed and faithful?
Question: But Jesus never mentions homosexuality, so how can it be wrong?
3. Homosexuality and the Christian
Question: Aren’t we just picking and choosing which Old Testament laws apply?
4. Homosexuality and the church
Question: Can’t Christians just agree to differ on this?
5. Homosexuality and the world
Conclusion: What should I do if a Christian comes out to me?
This booklet’s dimensions are small and it is only 85 pages. I read it in one evening. So can you. If you are a Christian and want to equip yourself to think biblically about these culturally important topics, then listen to Allberry. If you are not a Christian and recoil at how rapidly sexual norms are changing around you, then listen to Allberry to discover what the Bible says about homosexuality. If you are not a Christian and are excited at what you consider the progress of equality, but you know the only objectors you’ve heard are the shouters, then listen to Allberry. And if you are someone who feels same-sex attraction, whether you are a Christian or not, then you really need to listen. Chances are you feel lonely in the closet, or proud on the march. Loneliness and pride are not good places for the human heart to reside. Listen to Allberry. Read this book. And let’s all have a civil conversation. Please. Here’s the Introduction to get you started.
P.S. If you like the tone and format of this booklet, consider another of many booklets in the “Questions Christians Ask” series published by The Good Book Company. They are all not hateful and very helpful.