"Gay Christianity" is Coming Into The Church
I was interviewed by Janet Mefferd concerning the topic of "gay Christianity" coming into the Church. We discussed how my new book (that is scheduled to release on October 10), Freedom Realized! Freedom from Homosexuality & Living A Life Free from Labels contrasts with a book that released this week, Single Gay Christian by Gregory Coles.
Listen to the radio interview.
Here is My Critique of the book “Single Gay Christian” by Gregory Coles I write from a perspective formed by over 30-years’ of experience helping people overcome same-sex attractions, lusts, sexual addiction and to lives given over the homosexuality. My heart’s desire is for the truth of God’s ways and His Holy Word to bring lasting freedom to people stuck in homosexuality and a gay identity.
Therefore, when I read books, blog posts and testimonies from smart, young men and women who celebrate and embrace ideas of emotional enmeshments and validations of “gay” next to Christian, I am very alarmed. These ideas are being promoted by Wesley Hill, Julie Rodgers, Gregory Coles and several others in compelling ways and with winsome appeals. The “gay Christian” message is established by mixing together distorted psychology and a poor representation of Biblical grace. While I certainly support those who continue to embrace Christ’s commandment of self-denial and their continued obedience by remaining sexually pure even though they are tempted with same-sex desire, there are many people who label themselves “celibate gay Christian” who are not really called to celibacy and may not even be born again. People in this group often seek primary associations with those who are living in varying levels of homosexuality. Their associates many times give license to friends who engage in sinful sexual behavior and some may even accept and promote emotional idolatry as friendship. Most of those who are calling themselves “celibate gay Christian” are communicating that they are a suffering abstainer of their uncontrollable same-sex desires and lust. These “gay Christians” are seeking to make legitimate a condition of fallen humanity that the Lord Jesus calls us to forsake. With three decades of experience in helping people overcome homosexuality and seeing what does and does not help, I must reject these trendy ideas of promoting “gay Christianity” and “spiritual friendships” as unwise and unbiblical as they promote and give acceptance to the homosexual condition as inalterable. These new ideas are inviting many to fall into the bondage of homosexual temptations and sexual behavior. So, with this foundation, I want to look at some of the most significant issues of what I find good and bad, mostly bad in Gregory Coles’ book, Single Gay Christian.
I cannot recommend Single Gay Christian as an encouragement for anyone wanting to be free from homosexuality or same-sex desires and lust. We begin with Wesley Hill’s forward as he lays a foundation for a conjoined identity of “gay Christian” and his solidarity with Coles—though their expression of faithful Christianity might be different. Hill promotes the idea of “Gay Christianity” as a good thing, so much so, that there should be dozens of more books promoting the idea of gay (homosexuality) merging with Christianity in the Church. The following points make it clear why I can never encourage someone who is seriously seeking freedom to read this book.
- I am glad that Coles embraces celibacy at this season and that he communicates that he is not going to practice homosexual behavior. Unfortunately, there is no strong condemnation from Scripture to be found in this book concerning homosexual behavior and no warnings about the potential for eternal destruction. However, I offer a few verses for all to consider concerning sexual immorality and homosexuality: Rom. 1:18-32, 1 Cor. 6:9-11, Eph. 5:5-6, Gal. 5:19-24, Col. 3:5-7, 1 Thess. 4:1-8, Jude 1:3-8, Rev. 21:6-8, Rev. 22:14-15. Coles correctly cites verse about homosexuality and says that he could not agree with revisionist theology regarding them.
- Coles communicates that he delights in Christ and loves Him. I can only say, “That is good. Let it go deeper!” He communicates how he enjoys worshipping Christ—Yes! Really good! Let it go deeper! Coles is communicating that his “gay” self is good and that being “gay” – same-sex desires—are good entered his awareness grew as disgust entered into his soul through an introduction to heterosexual pornography and, it was not enticing but shaming to watch a friend be overcome by shame.
- Coles repeats over himself that he is gay. “I'm gay,” “I’m gay” “I’m gay!” He, unfortunately, has ingrained this identity into his soul.
- He blames God for his same-sex desires. He mocks causalities of classic reasons for people being homosexual and the contributions to the struggles with same-sex attractions (SSA), or being “gay.” Coles’ mocking of common causalities for himself cuts off his ability to find any freedom.
- Coles says he is not in rebellion to God. Yet, we are all sinners and are in rebellion to God. The deep understanding of consecration, confession and repentance are really lacking in this book.
- Instead of allowing Philippians to be a conformity for his soul, he works on making the word of God work for what he wants, his gay self.
- In the chapter, “Debating the Divine,” Coles makes a clear case for a sexual ethic rooted in monogamous marriage between one-man and one-woman. He further addresses that he cannot see as valid the current, revisionist views attempting to find acceptable homosexual expression in the Bible. However, in the last paragraphs, he declares his orientation, his identity, to be that of unbiblical lust. Immediately, he moves to a discussion of “What God Calls Good” in the next chapter and celebrates his “unorthodox” attractions as good. He has revealed his desires as the measure of God’s will for him.
- Coles also has written a poem in the book, where he ends with saying that the blood of Jesus makes all that he is good. Therefore, Coles believes the blood of Jesus leaves him in his homosexual desires and he believes it is good. This is an assault on the blood of Jesus that should be cleansing Coles from his homosexuality, not leaving him in it. This offering in Coles book should make any sincere Christian upset.
There are those who communicate with consistent sarcasm about the idea of transformational grace from the Holy Spirit to change one’s desires. There are Coles, Hill and other celibates (as they call themselves) and others who call themselves “not so celibate” who shun transformational grace. Then there are the proud, practicing homosexuals who completely agree with them those who embrace the label, “gay.” It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out the desire for companionship here, Paul wrote about it in Romans 1:32. The reality is that most of these “celibates” communicate that they continue to be in the grip of strong sexual desires that are almost out of control. These are not truly called to celibacy—they are unhealed men and women with fallen human desires abstaining in great suffering as victims. Coles in his book and other “gay Christians” communicate almost a disdain for the opposite sex because they have no sexual desires. They attempt to normalize this rather than viewing it as distortions in their own fallen humanity.
The biblical and theological presentation of the Genesis – “the beginnings” – the creation of man and woman as the only pattern for God’s divine intent for human sexual relating is glaringly missing from this book except to say that marriage is God’s design. He did not unpack that point. At one point, it seems marriage is clearly defined as one man and one woman in a covenant relationship holy to God. Then, at other times, there is ambivalent, flowery communication about his desires leaving the reader to wonder, what it is he is talking about? The last two chapters seem to open the door to other possibilities in the future, “Que Vadis” especially, “when the church is more accepting.” Open to what? More accepting of what? “Gay Marriage?” Of course, “gay marriage” is the natural progression of these very deceived people promoting this “gay” belief system.
These “gay Christians” do not align with God’s divine intent for human sexual orientation as innately heterosexual. There is the typical LGBTQ+ mindset communicated that orientation is fixed and innately part of who they are. This is simply a false teaching of the merger of poor psychology and antinomianism clashing together to present a low standard of grace, a mischaracterization of the law of God and, in some cases, presenting a perverse grace teaching. They talk in circles about their love for God, yet repentance of the inner world of thinking, desiring and even lusting for one’s own sex is normalized. There is no real contrition of such mergers, instead, there is the demand for acceptance of this relativism of “gay Christian.” Theologically, the clear biblical perspective is that homosexuality is not an orientation from God; it is a result of the fall. Coles book is presenting his mandated idea that he and others have been created and even blessed by God as good “gay Christians.” He carries bitter tones throughout the book towards the Church in the way he perceives the communication of others as they call for repentance from homosexuality. Sadly, the clear biblical teaching of repentance from homosexuality is viewed as unkind, and for some even hostile.
These “gay Christians” are presenting environments of lowered sexual ethic as acceptable for the Church. The truth is, homosexuality in lust or deed is detestable in the sight of God. (Lev. 18:22-23, Lev. 20:13). Coles repeatedly communicates his “gay” self and his “gay desires” as something good and even God ordained. For any theologian to endorse this kind of presentation of sexual ethical standards, is opening the doors to allow for all forms of sexual uncleanness and demonic activity to enter the Church of Jesus Christ. This is sinful.
Why do these theologians allow this to happen? In my experience, it is because there are relational components —like having gay-identified family members or knowing these amazingly smart and articulate gays. It begins with the emotional and relational attachments and segues into acceptance. It also comes from defining “conversion” as a prayer we pray rather than repenting and turning. This is true of Hill, Coles, and others. Raised in Christian homes and the emergance of gay desire rising in the midst of a Christian environment, it seems natural for them in this culture that “gay” and Christian should merge together. Yet, this is lowering of holiness. The Church is being persistently hammered with a call to false mercy—a mercy that has no delivering power—bringing with it death and demonic activity. An entire generation has been indoctrinated with “born that way” and “live and let live” messages. “You can’t help who you love” and “love wins” messages are presented to the embrace “gay marriage”—which is not marriage at all.
These “gay Christians” with Coles among them, mock “ex-gay” ministries with familiar phraseology, communicating more like gay activists from the LGBTQ+ community rather than a person from Christ’s community, when they sarcastically say that we want them to “pray the gay away.” I’ve known of no ministry in 32+ years that have a mission of really helping homosexuals overcome their sin, and communicate it is merely praying away gay. I like what Joe Dallas says, “We do not merely pray away the gay, (of course we pray) but we reckon GAY as part of the decay.” Truly these same-sex desires that Coles declares over himself, is part of the fallen nature which is the decay of man. It must be put to death at the cross with a new lifestyle of a true identity in Jesus Christ as Lord. It is not merely being a victim of the Church and as a poor suffering soul of “same-sex desires.” But there is a demand by Coles and these other “gay Christians” for the Church to receive them in their midst and celebrate with them their gayness and pity their plight.
I was very disturbed by the endorsement from New Testament theologian D.A. Carson, who happens to be the President of the Gospel Coalition. Carson writes:
"To say this book is important is a painful understatement. It is the candid, moving, intensely personal story of a gay young man who wants to live his life under the authority of King Jesus and who refuses to accept the comforting answers proffered by different parts of the culture. Superbly written, this book stands athwart the shibboleths of our day and reminds us what submission to King Jesus looks like, what it feels like. This book needs to be thoughtfully read by straight people and by gay people, by unbelievers and by Christians. It is not to be read with a condescending smirk, but with humility."
I was shocked that Carson would write this kind of endorsement, and describe Coles as “’a gay young man’ who wants to live his life under the authority of King Jesus.” Ironic, as I did not read about a man under the authority of King Jesus, but a man that is promoting his homosexual desires and merging them with Christianity.
Carson goes on to communicate with condescended language that Coles book, “stands athwart the shibboleths of our day and reminds us what submission to King Jesus looks like” Is Carson now saying that it is a shibboleth for true, Bible-believing Christians to say that homosexuality cannot be merged with Christianity? Again, ironically, I did not read about a man submitted to King Jesus. I read about a religious man who embraces his fallen sexual desires for men (a gay identity) and is merging it with Christianity. He (and others) not only are embracing this destructive view, they are propagating it as something good for the Church. And D.A. Carson believes this is a good book?
Sadly, it seems to me that Coles might be suffering similarly to many men I’ve served over the years in pastoral care. It is typical for gay men to suffer from undeveloped masculinity with overdeveloped sensitivities to the feminine with beautiful artistic qualities. Most of these men have a strong emotional understanding of their world and over react most of the time. This is an expression of classic homosexual brokenness we see with arrested emotional development and broken identities. These people must find recovery in their fallen human nature. If the Church is to be truly loving there cannot be an acceptance of “gay Christianity” leaving these souls stuck in this terrible brokenness. It is very unloving and even ungodly. It is also very offensive to the thousands of godly men and women who left homosexuality and their rebellion to God and who now walk in freedom. How terribly offensive to these people who did the hard work to now have these young smart PhDs and their theologian advocates to slap “homosexuality” before “Christianity” in an unholy word merger!
Coles revealed that heterosexuality became the goal initially, rather than allowing God to transform him over time. However, being transformed over time is a life of sanctification that every true believer must embrace. This would be especially true for those laboring under same-sex attractions. Coles continues to communicate as a victim, rather than a sin-sick soul needing the Holy Spirit’s work of grace. He talks about how he spent years trying to overcome. Yet he is still a young man and his story continues to be written. He is holding gay identity close to his to his heart not knowing what a lifetime of yielded submission to God can really do. Tragically, Coles and other “gay Christians” come away dismissing the potential for change in the future. He is almost derogatory of heterosexuality. He is NOT looking at human sexual relating through God’s Divine Intent, which is only Imago Dei – male and female. He continues to communicate that his homosexual desires are part of his make up as designed by God.
Coles allows for some his feelings to be cultivated towards the opposite sex, but then he shuts them down because his “gay” self takes over, which is more comfortable for him. And he attempted to heal himself by stirring heterosexual lust. He also has a vision of Jesus directing him in the opposite direction of heterosexuality. He communicates a few times that Jesus says “no” to him, which Coles interprets in his mind as he is to be gay and Jesus blesses his gay self.
Coles allows his feelings to trump the reality of what the Holy Scriptures as the Holy Inspired Word of God says concerning homosexuality. He argues that the Scriptures are there to teach us and then explains them away from personally instructing him to forsake a gay identity. 2 Cor. 5:17. Yet he leans on the Gnostic gospels for extra-biblical encouragement. Apparently, D.A. Carson is good with this too, as he had wholeheartedly endorsed this book with a condemnation for those who do not agree with its contents.
Coles tells us early in the book that he looked at classic gay revisionist thinking about what the Bible says about homosexuality, he says he rejects it. Yet these "gay Christians" clearly communicate that some parts really must be outdated somehow, and/or somehow does not apply to the day we live. Coles, Hill, Rodgers, and others are obviously able to embrace some type of this thinking because they all embrace their SSA and lust with Christianity. There is a belief that the devoted faith couldn’t possibly mean that Christians with same-sex attractions need to die to their desires and a false identity. There is a subtle sowing of doubt about scripturally orthodox views concerning homosexuality. Well, of course, there would have to be to come up with “gay Christian.” Coles brings up suffering, like most gays, and that suffering is always brought into question because God is all loving, no consequences. This is typical LGBTQ+ ways of thinking to arrive at “gay Christianity.”
“Celibate gay Christian” is not a calling from God! It is truly a distortion. What is evident in Coles book that there is no clarity concerning a real uncompromising faith in God and faith in His promises that produce change over time, especially concerning unnatural desires. He makes light of the communication that homosexual lust/desires are unnatural, which is communicated by most sincere Christians.
Cole states several times that same-sex attracted Christians, those with same-sex desires, are victims of loneliness, victims of being a sexual minority, victims being accused of unnatural desires. Gay Christians are victims in the Church because true holiness calls for repentance from such distorted thinking, which Coles and others communicate that the Church is unkind and unloving. Throughout this entire book there is a “ME”-centered offering. It is ALL about Coles’ focus of being gay. He is initially driven with a self-centered desire for change but, in reality for Coles, changing his gay desires to is too big and isn’t enough. Therefore, Coles comes to the conclusion that his gay desires must be a legitimate identity from God.
So… Domine Quo Vadis?
Ambiguous about the direction this is taking for Coles. He mentions he does not know how the Church will take him “coming out” yet he wrote a book on being gay. What does he mean about the future? Taking on an identity of “gay” is certainly a segue to a homosexual life and eventually leading to sinful practices. When a person allows their identity to be described as an enmeshment with a community of sexual perversity, it is only a matter of time. Would any sane Christian put other sin constructs before their own identity in Jesus Christ? How about “fornicating Christian”, or “Porn Christians?” The churches that allow for this lower standard, are merely opening up the doors to sexual uncleanness and demonic activity. Please refer to “What Would St. Paul Say to the American Church Today in Regard to ‘Gay Christianity’ and ‘Spiritual Friendships?’ for a much clearer Biblical answer - posting tomorrow, August 25, 2017.
Really Think About "Gay Christianity"