Tag Archives: healing communities

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

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.

Download PDF

Fighting for the Faithful

“And the Lord said to Elijah: ‘I reserve 7000 in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him.’ ” (1K 19: 18)

Fighting For The Faithful Key Photo by BohmanIt is always good to remember why we do what we do: we clarify the way for the sexually broken to discover Jesus’ wholeness. The enemy makes every effort to obscure that path. We highlight the One altar on which we are saved and set free.

We must stay tender and sharp. Healers carry a sword these days, dividing light from darkness. Humble cooperation matters more than ever. We need the whole healing community: pastors, counselors, teachers, intercessors, lay healers whose prayers bring His presence ever near to the broken.

That great cloud of witnesses was on vivid display in the last 6 weeks. Freedom-fighters abounded at the RHN Conference, the weeklong Ministries of Pastoral Care, two Living Waters Trainings (in the USA and MX), and the Courage Conference. Though diverse, these offerings shared a prophetic, countercultural and thoroughly healing invitation to the sexually broken.

Grateful for all who participated, I was also exhausted. The witness of Elijah after his victory over the prophets of Baal helped me here (1K 19). I offer these keys for all my beloved colleagues who fight for the faithful.

Expect Down Times

Jezebel swore to destroy Elijah as a result of his victory. Exhausted, the oppressed prophet cried out to God: ‘I have had enough Lord, take my life.’ (I K 19: 4) Romano Guardini reminds us that ‘a prophet’s life is shaken by all storms and all weaknesses. At times the Spirit hoists him far above the heights of human accomplishments, drawing upon the power that unhinges history. At other times, the Spirit drops him, and back he plunges into darkness and impotency.’

Might we prepare to land in the everlasting arms?

Eat Well

God spared Elijah’s life with this command: ‘Get up and eat’ (v. 5). We too can arise in our depleted state and take our place at the table in God’s house. Freedom-fighters need the feast of freedom. Whether the Eucharist, the breaking open of the Word, or tender consolations from trusted church men, we can aim our appetites at eternal fare. We can go deep with only the slightest surrender. We need heaven’s help; ‘we need God to love God.’ (Mike Bickle) Jesus is the Source that helps us draw rightfully from earthly goods.

Listen

Quiet your heart. After the rush of anointed gatherings, we may try to stay connected with others through a variety of means. All good but one thing is essential: the quiet voice of God. Elijah shows us the way to listen. God concealed Himself from the prophet in a mighty wind, an earthquake and a fire; He revealed Himself in a gentle whisper (vs. 11, 12). Facebook, Twitter, and You Tube are poor substitutes for the silence that invites Speech. Unplug and listen.

Nearly overcome by weariness and many cares, I listened. God gave me a picture of many seeking to climb a steep mountain. Many were falling to their death. I saw a thick, sure rope that a steady string of climbers had taken hold of and were ascending with the help of one another. The line of climbers ran straight up the middle of chaos. Many were heading home, and becoming beautiful in the climb.

Remember

God reminded me that a multitude is in training throughout the world. They will not bow down to Baal out of reverence for Jesus Christ. Our task is to fortify the faithful and together, to ascend the hill of the Lord.

‘The Lord will fight for you. You need only to be still.’ (Ex. 14: 14)

Download PDF
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers: