Tag Archives: GLBT

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

Fighting Fathers

‘Where there is no vision, the people cast off restraint.’ (PR 29:18)

Without vision from spiritual parents, God’s children wither. And wander. An entire generation is now subject to ‘Caitlyn’ Jenner and ‘gay marriage,’ and the scandalizing of persons who aspire to chastity.

Christian leaders who respond to the chaos by using the soft language of ‘love’ (words like mercy, grace, and inclusion) without telling the truth of the Father’s claim upon our sexual and gender selves contribute to the problem. These ‘fathers’ and ‘mothers’ are actually more like toothless grandparents who placate the empowered and leave the weak to fend for themselves. In altering the boundary lines to accommodate ‘culture,’ these shepherds allow wild animals to plunder God’s flock.

Two same-sex strugglers from England disclosed to me the demoralizing impact of Ireland’s ‘gay marriage’ victory upon them. The first is a man greatly helped by Courage and a devout Catholic; he struggled with Pope Francis saying nothing about Ireland redefining marriage and by London’s Cardinal saying Mass for the GLBT group in London while sidelining the Courage group altogether.

He confessed: “I don’t know what to do. I feel bereft and genuinely unprotected and not shepherded well. Perhaps this springs from some contributors to my SSA , namely, abandonment by and mistrust of male authority. But part of my concern is real and not just about my ‘issues.’ “

A woman whom Jesus called out of lesbianism said: ‘The Irish vote shocked and unnerved me. As the world celebrates same-sex relationships, it gets tougher and tougher… Just recently, starting in dreams, I have been experiencing some strong attractions to a woman I know. I feel as if the Lord is saying that I should be prepared to follow Him into the wilderness and face temptation as He did.’

Will we as mothers and fathers of the Church stand with these faithful ones in the desert of today’s moral landscape? Will our vision pierce through the world’s fractured solutions and grant us true sight for God’s children? Will we fight for their chastity? Will our love for persons originate in the Father’s heart and vision?

Our answer to these questions will help determine the fruitfulness of a generation.

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Cultivating Gay Christians

I came to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ amid the afflicting power of homosexual attraction and conduct. In those years, shame veiled such struggles. I was fortunate to find Christian guides who helped me to discover Jesus as the basis for a new and true humanity.

Today, we arise out of shame and into the evolving community known as LGBTQ. Such a community may appear to afford some a kind of corporate identity and defense against a heterosexist world. What it actually does is bar Christians from the grace (and clarity of identity) that could be theirs.

Sadly, many of our best Christian institutions, Fuller Seminary and Wheaton College among them, now sponsor LGBTQ groups. Bowing to the pressure of insistent ‘gay’ alums, these institutions have broken ties with Scripture and Church tradition in regards to human sexuality.

(Please note that such groups do not represent the majority of those schools’ faculty and students. The craftiness of an aggressive few finds access through naïve, weary administrators. Please pray for opportunities to engage constructively with those powers-that-be. Badly conceived precedents can end!)

I know from my solid Fuller education that there is no biblical theological base for ‘self-identified’ LGBTQ members. In his Doctrine of Creation (CD lll), Karl Barth upholds the “radical duality of male and female as the root of all other fellowship…The command of God shows humanity irrefutably that man can only be genuinely human with woman, and woman with man.”

Fuller Professor Emeritus Dr. Ray Anderson furthers this thought: “To deny the fundamental distinction of sexual orientation with regards to one’s own identity as male or female is to conceal the imago dei itself.” (On Being Human)

In other words, every human being is under the divine command to work out his or her salvation as male and female in relation to each other. Any community that seeks to define itself outside that duality defies a genuine theological anthropology. Such ‘humanity’ is self-prescribed rather than defined by the Creator. In Barth’s words, “a flight from one’s gender is a flight from God.”

The LGBTQ ‘self’ is a recently devised social construct. Speaking of the ‘gay self’ in particular, Dr. Mark A. Yarhouse makes the distinction between homosexual attractions and identity. He writes: “A gay identity reflects a modern sociocultural movement that has formed an identity around experiences of same-sex attraction. It is not merely a synonym for SSA… Rather, ‘I am gay’ is a self-defining attribution that reflects this socio-cultural movement.” (Round Peg, Square Hole)

‘Gay’ identification is only one way in which a person with SSA seeks to resolve his/her sexuality. It is a willful, moral decision that serves to deepen and strengthen one’s homosexual desires. Is that among the goals of these institutions—to cultivate gay Christians?

That is expressly what LGBTQ groups do. Curious, vulnerable Christians gather with self-identified ‘gays’ and other sexual ‘minorities.’ Unlike groups I led at Fuller, these groups do not encourage the seeker to repent unto healing but rather to embrace and integrate his/her skewed sexual identity.

I have only compassion for Christians with SSA. But I resist absolutely the push to gather on the basis of the ‘gay self’ in order to further orient one’s life around a disordered set of desires. Resolving these desires could be undertaken instead by committed Christians who rightfully invite any person with LGBTQ leanings into a community seeking redemption.

That is the ministry of Jesus Christ, “to open for us the hermeneutical horizon for authentic personhood”; in the words of Ray Anderson, “we go to Jesus to learn about Adam.” And we go to church to discover this Jesus who reconciles us to the Father’s best for our lives. Anderson again: “The church must know the difference between order and disorder and be wise enough to contextualize disorder with grace and truth.”

Christian LGBTQ groups cannot be considered ordered, grace-filled, or truthful. May the Church arise into the real community of transformation for the broken who turn to Jesus. May those institutions that profess to build the Church turn from any group that cultivates ‘gay’ Christians.

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New Pharisee 3

Only through the Cross and the mercy released from the One who gave all can we counter the new Pharisee.

Boy, do we need it now. I am witnessing a new Pharisaic tendency in Christian spokespeople for ‘GLBT’ (etc.) communities. Instead of surrendering the sexually broken ‘selves’ to Jesus, these ones make huge efforts to justify their homosexuality. Though some claim orthodoxy (no sex outside of marriage), they nevertheless seek to integrate the gay self and ‘celebrate the grace of God in homosexual terms.’

Precepts of the new Pharisee include:

  • Exempting themselves from a theological anthropology that defines humanity as made in God’s image as male and female. Instead, these GLBTers define their humanity as fundamentally homosexual. Same-sex attraction sets them apart from straight people. Being ‘gay’ figures in profoundly to how they define themselves.
  • A split between being and doing. Though some may not believe in acting upon one’s homosexuality, they encourage strugglers to integrate their homosexuality. Given the momentum toward gay affirmation throughout the Christian culture, I suspect that abstinence will fall way as these ones find ‘good’ gay partnerships.
  • According to Christian GLBTers, Jesus chooses to not effect much, if any, change of their sexual inclinations. Alan Chambers is now infamous for his assertion that 99.9% of all persons with SSA seeking change do not change. Implicit in this assertion is that nature figures in more profoundly to the roots of SSA than nurture. For the new Pharisee, gay people are probably hardwired at birth and the redeeming power of Jesus does not touch this ‘gay’ foundation. Though one might say in the abstract that the ‘fall’ is responsible for SSA, (s)he actually concludes there is nothing wrong with it.
  • A new narrative in which one has little if any psychological brokenness undergirding their SSA. The new Pharisee need not muck around with messy relational and family-of-origin factors, cultural influences, or specific incidents that altered one’s sexual development. ‘Gay’ just is and needs no healing. ‘Healing’ efforts are framed as an old paradigm that they rather smugly refuse on the ground of their rather normal lives.
  • Scandalizing reparative therapy. Christian GLBTers scorn clinical efforts to overcome SSA. They suspect any therapeutic effort to ‘change’ on the ground that it manipulates and may even abuse people who cannot change anyway. Despite the fact that most have not actually surrendered their sexuality to a constructive course of action, they denounce such action and claim that the only just action is to integrate their homosexuality.

In our current Living Waters group, we are asking Jesus through His blood and Spirit to reveal the deep wounds that set us adrift in the first place. And He is answering, with insights that can only be understood as reparative, and with a Love that can only be experienced as healing.

In my small group, men from a variety of backgrounds are opening to the grace pouring from Calvary into the foundations of their humanity. We open our lives to God and each other. He comes as we prayerfully welcome Him; He offers Himself as the answer to our deepest needs for love and identity.

While preparing for one such meeting, God reminded me of a series of toxic early experiences in relation to other males. I felt the pain of these memories deeply. A few nights later I had a dream. While driving quickly through a strange town my car stalled and I sought help. I saw a small boy lying wounded and unattended in the street. I began to pray for his healing. I then felt a warm masculine presence reaching his arm over me and praying for the child too. It was a strong, tender man: Jesus? Perhaps. His very presence healed me as I sought to give life to the wounded one in my arms.

The Cross opens the horizon of our real brokenness and real healing. Mercy exposes faulty foundations and secures them in Love. Only Mercy compels us to drop our self-justifications. Manifest in a merciful people, Jesus makes a place for the new Pharisee at the foot of the Cross.

‘The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. Blessed is the one who is not scandalized by Me.’ (Luke 7: 22, 23)

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Courage and Contending – Part 3

‘I urge you to contend for the faith’…in light of those ‘who change the grace of God into a license for sexual immorality.’ (Jude 3, 4)

gprideWe must activate and aim the Gospel of Jesus Christ toward those whose same-sex attraction has morphed into the ‘gay self’ and beyond. Lives are at stake. Having opted out of a male/female requirement for sexual–relating, a generation now champions ‘post-gay’ sexual minorities. According to the NY Times, the now standard ‘GLBT’ banner has evolved to ‘LGBTQQIAA’, which shall expand its borders continuously to include new gender ‘identities’ clamoring for recognition.

It’s no longer about changing sexual partners; it’s about changing your own gender identity. The letter in the ‘LGBT…’ alphabet soup that defined you today may change tomorrow. Or you may be the first to add a new entry to the mix.

That’s precisely the point: gender identity is now defined by an utter lack of definition. Anyone who challenges such ‘freedom’, including ‘old school’ gays and lesbians, need to lighten up. What emerges is a chilling fragmentation of being. A self-defined ‘bi-gender’ mused: ‘Some days I wake up and think: “Why am I in this body?’ Most days I wake up and think: “What was I thinking yesterday?”’

Not only does the emperor have not clothes, (s)he has no gender.

Still, Jesus thinks of her; He thinks of him. The Creator and Redeemer of all has vision and purpose for the gender identity of every child. He made him and her and is intent on redeeming them according to His image. In spite of our fragmentation, He holds all things together, including the pieces of our ‘gender selves’. (Col. 1:17)

Our goal as Christians is to provide places of encounter for Creator and confused child. He alone can become the catalyst for the new and true self, which has profound implications for our identities as male and female.

I recall a young boy, 4-years-old, whose Mexican parents brought him to me at church one day. He showed signs of refusing to identify as a male. So after church every Sunday, the boy and I, with parents nearby, would talk about how Jesus made us boys (or girls) and how He loves the many different ways boys express themselves. I blessed and affirmed the strong and loving little boy he was. I started to bring little cars and trucks for us to play with as we talked. One Sunday I asked the dad to come over and he began to play with us too.

The kid needed Jesus. And he needed to know that his identity as a boy was good in God’s eyes and in his dad’s eyes.

Christians must become good news for adult children who are harassed and helpless because they have no shepherd. Jesus’ love is our guide. He alone is the key to reorienting lives around our Maker and our own true selves, made in His image, male and female.

‘And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth  of insight, so that you may discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Jesus Christ…’ (Phil. 1: 9, 10)

 

 

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