Tag Archives: Wesley Hill

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

True Worship 1

We approach our fortieth anniversary bash this week; I am grateful, full of peace and praise for Jesus. In charting the breakthroughs and breakdowns throughout our four decades, I declare assuredly: ‘Lord, You establish peace for us; everything we have accomplished, You have done for us, O God’ (Is. 26:12).

At core He made Himself known to me, handing Himself over to this slave of sin. My eyes opened to behold Jesus-Savior. The knowledge of Him freed me to know myself as a man created for woman. He has empowered me to represent Him (unevenly, but always in earnest!) as a husband and father. For this I rejoice, body, soul and spirit—O God, You are Almighty Mercy, able to deliver Your creation from idolatry and self-delusion, and to free us for fruitfulness!

Pity those who split who God is from who He made them to be! This delusion is growing in the Church today—more than any other trend in our culture, I lament the deception of ‘LGBT+ Christians’ who claim devotion to Jesus while clinging to old identities and affections sourced in the father of lies, not Light. Whether it be the ‘gay’ Christian Revoice movement, Fr. James Martin’s burning ‘bridge’ in the Catholic Church, Wesley Hill’s version of ‘spiritual friendship’, or a host of recent books on the topic (the author of IVP’s SSA and the Church tips his hat toward transformation then stalls as a man mired in his ‘gay’ condition), the body of Christ seems hell-bent on making peace with LGBT+ ‘nature.’ Have we His members, lost sight of our Head who came to redeem our fallen natures? Such blindness is gnostic—splitting our spirits from our bodies and giving disordered desires the upper-hand to determine personhood.

We all need to reread Romans 1:18-32—the most substantial discourse in Scripture on homosexual conduct. St. Paul sources his understanding of sexual disorder on who God is and who humanity is based on ‘nature’, what Dr. Robert Gagnon defines as ‘the material order of things.’ Paul’s greatest theological letter opens by deeming humanity responsible for discerning the true God and for worshipping Him accordingly. Or we can do what Paul describes as the excesses evident in Rome: we deny the One and in darkness lose sight of our own created selves, sexually-speaking. This double-barreled descent into idolatry is at once spiritual —the worship of false gods—and sexual, the worship of the creature in the form of homosexual lust (1:24-27).

Heavy stuff. Could St. Paul be indicting us for how we have split our knowledge of the living God from His intention for our sexual selves? How else might we understand the unravelling of sexual order in our day? Has God handed 21st century citizens over to lustful rebellion, just as He did idolaters in Paul’s day?

Gratefully, St. Paul in Romans does not condemn sexually addictive persons but rather invites Jews first then the rest of us into the saving power of Jesus. The Apostle is clear: the domination of sin and rebellion can only be broken by faith in Jesus Christ. How can we be saved from our native idolatry, be it pious preening or exotic gender-bending? We cry out to Jesus-Savior and we worship Him!

We are back where we started. Jesus who with the Father made us: we worship Him. We return to Him who redeems us: Jesus breaks the hard heart and dissolves its filth. We worship Him and we are sustained. We go forward toward our future: eternal worship of the One. We bust idolatry by worshipping Jesus and allowing Him to restore our true personhood, including our sexual humanity.

For making Yourself known to us, we worship You Jesus. For freeing us to be who You made us to be, we worship You. For forty years of discipling others to worship You in spirit and truth, we give You praise, glory, and honor.

‘I urge you all, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of the world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing, and perfect will’ (Rom. 12:1, 2).

Naming Persons in Truth

‘So from now on we see no-one from a worldly point-of-view’ (2Cor 5:16).

It helps persons to name them as they really are. Everyone loses when we heed the false naming of persons according to feelings of same-sex attraction or other expressions of gender disintegration. We as Christians must lead the way by inviting others to align language with God’s vision for humanity. He made us and should be honored in how we see and what we say about others.

I refuse to call anyone ‘gay’ or ‘trans’ or ‘straight.’ I see a man or woman, made in God’s image. However estranged from Him, each person is deeply loved by the Father who through His Son seeks each out as His beloved son or daughter. He calls us to integrate our gender gift by learning how to befriend (not romanticize) our own gender and to honor the other as an essential good.

We set ourselves up for trouble when we adopt LGBT+ language; in doing so, we empower systems to grant a ‘people group’ status to an ever-morphing assortment of gender ‘selves.’ This proves dangerous to Christians. Last week, Canada’s Supreme Court ruled to remove graduate school accreditation from the law arm of Trinity Western University because this reputable Christian institution insists that its students abstain from sexual intimacy outside of marriage, a requirement deemed ‘discrimination’ by LGBT+ activists.

The Court ruled that abstinence clause would ‘deter LGBT+ students from attending the law school and would cause them harm.’ Wow. The state insists that Christian morality bow before a fractured band of persons who pretends to be a ‘people group.’

Not much different from AB 2943 in California. Based on false assumptions that persons are intrinsically wired as ‘gay’ or ‘trans’ from early childhood and will be devastated by anything less than a ‘gay’ wedding or gender ‘reassignment’, the state now seeks to remove any other option. In other words, the state seeks to make fraudulent a person’s decision to be reconciled to who God says he or she is.

We fight deception with proper language. Everyone can make the choice to integrate his or her gender; we base our way, and the words that describe it, on our Creator and Redeemer. He authors clarity, not confusion.

Speaking of confusion, a proudly Bible-based denomination with many good expressions in Kansas City has been significantly influenced by the ‘gay Christian’ slant of Wesley Hill. Hill embraces his same-sex attraction as identity, impermeable to change, yet holds to abstinence. I find that split between being and doing confusing.

Hill has impacted a Kansas City man who ‘gay’-identifies and who was recently ordained a minister in that denomination. He misleads others in his language and witness. Seeking no further integration in his sexual self, he exhibits a ‘gay’ sensibility in his identity and relationships with other men. He may be free from same-sex behavior but is unchaste, disintegrated. What can be expected from one who declares himself ‘gay’ as a Christian minister and leads others accordingly?

Finally, we see the impact of this confusion upon the most vulnerable. The New York Times celebrated two ‘men’ having a baby–in truth, one a woman pretending to be a man. This full-page article sought to normalize diverse families during ‘Pride’ month and ended up displaying the chaos that results when persons are encouraged to assume false selves. Honestly, their story descended into such confusion that even the one who gave birth remarked: ‘This is not real life; it’s some crazy soap opera.’ That may be a scream for consenting adults but now a child is involved who is daily subject to her confused caregivers.

Without consent. That is nothing short of child abuse, and everyone who champions LGBT+ selves without any consideration to God’s will and way may well be an accomplice to these injustices.

Christians run the risk of becoming insipid and dim when we begin to adopt LGBT+ jargon. Name persons in truth. See and say according to God’s will for our gendered humanity.

Greatest Story Rarely Told

‘As long as it continues to be told, no story is ever wasted,’ opines a ‘gay’ Christian writer. Like many today, he feels compelled to testify of how Jesus confirms his intrinsically homosexual self as one expression of the good news.

Everyone has a story indeed. But not every story tells the truth of the Gospel. I contend that persons whose stories feature Jesus as the advocate of identities based on disordered desires distort the Gospel. However charming their speech and poignant their frustrations, these ones build on a fault-line that undermines the power of Christ and His Cross. When validated–published and platformed–by arms of Christianity that claim to be orthodox, these story-tellers become enemies of the Cross (Phil. 3:18).

To be sure, we all need the freedom to sort out our disintegrated lives with wise Christian friends and elders; we tell our stories in order to break down certain worldly assumptions and so become conformed to the Crucified. Jesus uses the little cross of our garbled confessions! He leads us through our crises in narrative, which are resolved only through death to the ‘selves’ we have cobbled together from feelings and worldly attachments.

In light of the Father’s marvelous love for us shining on the Cross and mediated through His community, we can exchange our rags for God who alone has power to establish our identities. We discover that we need not be slaves anymore to the world. He gives us the choice to lay down our ‘gay’ selves or any other LGBT+ aspiration and simply rest in Him who through Christ calls us His sons and daughters, men or a women made to reveal Him in our human dignity (Gal. 4:3-7).

We can choose not to lay them down. We can nurse ‘gay’ feelings and plateau on a kind of eloquent melancholy (self-pity?) that empowers the ‘gay’ self (Wesley Hill picks up where Henri Nouwen left off.) Or we can arise in the same power that raised Jesus from the dead. We died with Him, and need not worry about residual same-sex attraction. We are defined by the Father now, and therein resides His authority to restore us, His way. We are no longer tossed around by feelings. We are becoming conformed to Christ and His Cross. That is our commitment—a once and daily decision to pick up our little crosses in light of the one Cross that shelters us and makes a way for us. Always.

Only then can our stories reveal Jesus. I would dare to say that our stories are worth telling only if they reveal something about His Cross, and the joy of carrying our small ones into newness of life.

‘If no-one said “I die but I shall live” then there would be no hope for those who suffer. All suffering would be senseless, destructive pain; all grief would be the worldly sorrow that brings forth death. But we know people who have lived and suffered differently. There is a history of resurrections significant for others. A person’s resurrection is no personal privilege for one’s self alone. It contains within itself hope for all, hope for everything.’ Dorothy Soelle

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers: