Robert* grew up in a strong Christian family and attended a large, conservative evangelical church. In high school, he was active in his church’s youth group. and after graduating, attended a conservative Christian college and got involved in ministry.
By all appearances, Robert was a well-adjusted and healthy, young Christian man. Yet during college, Robert confessed to his family and Christian friends that he struggled with attraction to other men.
Robert’s family and Christian friends responded with love and compassion. His parents didn’t shun or shame him, but instead expressed support. Similarly, Robert’s friends continued to include him in their social group. And his church responded with open arms, allowing him to serve in leadership, so long as he resisted acting upon his same-sex desires.
Yet no one seemed to know how to help Robert.
His parents sent him to a secular therapist, who helped Robert recognize some unhealthy relational patterns in his family and process an incident of sexual abuse from middle school. Robert found this helpful, but it didn’t lessen his same-sex attraction.
The leaders at Robert’s church tried to be sympathetic to his struggle. And in an effort to show they were listening, they went with Robert and a family member to a conference sponsored by the Gay Christian Network (GCN) – now Q Christian Fellowship. But this conference only convinced Robert that his same-sex attraction was immutable and encouraged him to embrace gay identity. Soon after the conference, he did. And shortly after that, he began engaging in gay relationships.
Robert’s church leaders didn’t condone Robert’s behavior and urged him to resist his same-sex desires. A few times, Robert repented of his homosexual behavior and vowed to stop. But after three years of struggle, Robert gave in. He began living openly as a gay man and left his church. His parents left too, and began attending a gay-affirming, mainline church.
Robert’s story is heartbreaking, but it is also increasingly common. There was a time when the majority of conservative, evangelical churches believed that healing was possible for sexually broken people, even if very few knew how to administer that healing. But now all the church seems capable of offering is a sympathetic ear. Few offer any hope of deliverance. Few believe in supernatural power. All that’s left is handwringing and the ineffectual repeating of biblical prohibitions. It’s no wonder conservatives are rapidly losing ground when it comes to LGBTQ issues..
The Revoice Conference & the Church’s Failure
This sad state of affairs in the church is on full display this summer as conservative Christians debate the upcoming Revoice Conference. This conference at the end of July has been endorsed by several leading evangelicals and is being held at a church in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) – generally regarded as a more conservative, biblically-faithful denomination. Revoice organizers also state on their website that they “believe that the Bible restricts sexual activity to the context of a marriage covenant, which is defined in the Bible as the emotional, spiritual, and physical union of a man and a woman that is ordered toward procreation.”
Yet as several conservative Christian leaders have rightly noted, Revoice crosses a line that biblically-orthodox Christians should not cross – that is, it claims that LGBT identity is compatible with Christianity. The Revoice website openly states, “We envision a future Christianity where LGBT people can be open and transparent in their faith communities about their orientation and/or experience of gender dysphoria without feeling inferior to their straight, cisgender brothers and sisters.”
As Al Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, recently noted in a podcast, this language is significant – and problematic. “What is implied in that language?” he asks. “Well, at least a part of what’s implied . . . is that this kind of sexual orientation or sexual identity gets right to the very being of an individual.”
Embracing gay identity clearly contradicts Scripture. As the apostle Paul makes abundantly clear in 2 Corinthians 5:16-17, believers root their identity in Christ, not their sin tendencies. “From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh . . . ” Paul writes. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
Yet as Revoice shows, embracing gay identity is becoming increasingly popular among Christians. In fact, it is a hallmark of two of the four major views in the church regarding LGBTQ issues. And sadly, among the two other views, only one proclaims any hope to those struggling with same-sex and transgender issues.
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Source: Christian Post