For those of you who wonder if people, even entrenched leaders, come out of the LGBT community and identity, there is a person I’d like you to meet. Her name is Rosaria Champagne Butterfield. Before becoming the author, speaker, and Christian apologist as many know her today, she was a professor in the English Department and Women’s Studies program at Syracuse University. Butterfield was happy in her lesbian identity and relationship, was loved and revered in her community of friends, and was on the upswing in her career as an intelligent and able scholar. But all that changed when a kind local pastor wrote her a letter that she couldn’t label as either affirming or hate-filled. Pastor Ken Smith intrigued her, so she decided to meet him as a research source for her new writing project on exposing the religious right. Never did she imagine meeting Jesus. What followed was, by her apt description, a “train wreck” of a conversion. Hers is a riveting death-to-life journey of redemption. A dramatic account of what God does when he causes a sinner to be “born again.”
Butterfield shared her coming-to-faith in Jesus story at The Family Foundation’s 2018 Pastor’s Summit. I was there. I wish you had been too. It was so encouraging to hear how Jesus saved this dear woman for his greater purposes. That’s what salvation is about, you know. Forgiveness is an important piece, but not the whole of salvation. Jesus calls sinners to repentance, gives us heart-transplants, then slowly but surely refashions us in his image for his glory. Please carve out some time in your busy schedule to watch her tell how salvation came to her. You’ll be glad you did. Just don’t be surprised if she rearranges your mental furniture!
Yes, there is more where that comes from. After all the invited speakers finished their prepared talks, Rosaria, her husband Kent, and speaker Bruce Ashford sat for a panel discussion answering audience questions. Once again, Butterfield stole the show. See for yourself.