I was disappointed this afternoon when I saw a tweet from The Gospel Coalition. It promoted an article entitled “Figuring Out Faithfulness with Same-Sex Attraction” by Ed Shaw and Rachel Gilson.
We long for dignity, holiness, and fullness of life for nonstraight Christians in the church. https://t.co/w1sFXyO7I7— The Gospel Coalition (@TGC) December 13, 2017
How would the following tweet below be received?
“We long for dignity, holiness, and fullness of life for white supremacist Christians in the church?”
How about this?
“We long for dignity, holiness, and fullness of life for adulterous or fornicating Christians in the church.”
Hopefully, the statements above would be corrected, and that is my intent here with the statement, “we long for dignity, holiness, and fullness of life for nonstraight Christians in the church.”
Look, I’ve written about Christ followers who have come out of homosexuality. I also acknowledge those brothers and sisters in Christ who are tempted with same-sex attraction, but have not embraced a homosexual lifestyle and instead have embraced God’s design for marriage and sexuality. The church needs to be a safe place so that they can be encouraged, discipled, and have accountability. I have said the gold standard should be holiness, not to jump into a heterosexual relationship as proof of repentance.
But to continue to embrace this identity is flawed, putting it mildly.
1. Our identity is in Christ, not in our sexual orientation. Stating there are “nonstraight Christians” is where this tweet primarily goes off the rails. There is no such thing as a “nonstraight Christian.”
2. Our dignity comes from being a child of God, being made in God’s image, and our identity in Christ. Embracing an identity rooted in sexual sin is antithetical to having dignity. Embracing it does bring change. Christ died on the cross so we can repent of our sins and deny them, not identify ourselves by them.
3. What I long for is faith for those caught in sexual sin is that they would repent and believe. I long that they would trust in the authority of God’s word on the subject of marriage and sexuality and that they would pursue holiness in thoughts and deeds.
Embracing a “non-straight” identity is anything, but holy. Dying to self and living in Christ means jettisoning this mindset.
Unfortunately, the tweet does not reflect what the authors wrote in this excerpt:
We believe with Sam Allberry that “desires for things that God has forbidden are a reflection of how sin has distorted me, not how God has made me” (Is God Anti-Gay?, 30); that is, our sexualities are fallen. But ever since we responded to Christ in repentance and faith, our union to him has removed the need for any lasting guilt or shame about our sexual feelings. This leaves us free to unashamedly acknowledge any ongoing same-sex attraction and use all the tools of the Spirit to say no to temptation. Our moral responsibility concerns what we do with our attractions, which leaves us in a remarkably similar place to Collins, which needs to be underlined. This conversation is between brothers and sisters—it is no war.
It’s one thing to acknowledge past homosexual sin and same-sex attraction, when we struggle we need to be open to discuss these things for the purpose of prayer, encouragement to persevere, and accountability. That is quite different than to identify oneself by it which they do at the end of their article.
We long for the same things: dignity, holiness, and fullness of life for all people in the church, but especially for nonstraight Christians who have experienced exclusion and shaming for too long.
Those who are in Christ are forgiven, they need not have any shame as they are a new creation in Christ. We in the Church need to embrace those coming out of that lifestyle, as well as, share the hope, healing, and forgiveness that Christ brings to those still enslaved by it.