Differing Views on Christianity, Identity and Homosexuality
THERE IS AN ONSLAUGHT OF “GAY CHRISTIANITY” IN THE CHURCH TODAY
by Jason Thompson, Executive Director, Portland Fellowship, Portland, OR
When I first began serving at Portland Fellowship, for a believer, the message regarding homosexuality and identity seemed a bit simpler. For the most part, the Christian message was that we were created male and female, that our identity is found in Christ alone, and that sexual expression outside of marriage (between a man and his wife) is a sin because it violates God’s perfect plan and ultimately leads to pain and destruction. As the years passed by, and culture, unsurprisingly, continued down a path of confusion and distortion, I have watched many in the church also fall into that confusion. Last month, to bring clarity to this confusing issue, we here at Portland Fellowship created a one-page handout, which we summarize below.
On one side of this handout is the ideology we’ve categorized as “Gay Partnership”. These professing Christians are gay-affirming and support and bless homosexual unions. Their general belief is that one is born gay/ lesbian/bisexual/transgendered or one of the other fifty-four gender options available through Facebook. Their biblical view has been developed by a revision of Scripture in order to support a pro-gay theological understanding. To the right of this extreme is another camp which we’ve labeled “Gay Identity”. These are professing Christians who primarily believe that a person is born gay, yet believe that same-sex partnerships are prohibited in the eyes of God. Their identity is found in what they feel and desire, and since their desire is for the same gender, they choose to identify as LGBTQ+. In contrast to these two categories, there are two other groups that embrace traditional biblical truth regarding sexual expression and identity. Yet, in these last two categories, there are some subtle differences in how each group proposes responding to the same-sex attracted person. We’ve labeled the first group of proponents for biblical truth and sexuality as simply “Conversion”. This group does a great job at communicating that our identity is not found in our sexuality or desires, but in Jesus Christ our Lord. This group highlights our sin nature as the primary issue of sexual struggles, and calls everyone to walk in confession, repentance and trusting God as they seek to die to their fleshly desires. They primarily emphasize the importance of Christ’s Body (the Church), while they don’t necessarily emphasize additional support structures or healing resources (such as counseling or recovery programs). The final category agrees with most of what the “Conversion” position communicates. This final “Transformation” category also believes that our identity is found in Christ, and that we must repent of our sinful sexual behavior. However, the subtle difference between “Conversion” and “Transformation” is that proponents of “Transformation” recognize the need for an intentional discipleship process that leads us to deeper healing, relational wholeness and even newfound desires that are being restored to what God intended. This process includes support from others in the body of Christ, which can involve counseling, recovery groups, discipleship programs and personal mentoring. It includes a deeper awareness that in addition to being a spiritual and sexual issue, homosexuality is also a relational issue, and therefore has both past relational wounds, and, more importantly, future relational healing. As I mentioned, homosexual identity and homosexual expression have become confused through various teachings and different opinions. I believe it is wise to follow what is written in 1 Thessalonians 5:21: “But test everything; hold fast what is good.” Let us not settle for anything less than the redeeming work of Jesus Christ and the transforming work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. My hope is that each of us will be able to surrender our sexuality, our identity and our behavior before the Lord, and find our hope in Christ as He continues His transforming work in us!
To view and print our one-page handout, please go to: here for the latest update.