The Gospel of Inclusion

By Julie Roys

The Gospel of Inclusion
“What does sexual redemption look like? I have no idea.” So said someone who works with a Christian organization, which ministers to the gay community in Chicago. He was participating in a discussion with about 20 people at our church on how Christians should respond to those who self-identify as gay.

I found his response stunning. How can someone minister to a sexually broken community, yet have no idea what sexual redemption looks like? What help could he possibly offer?

Yet, as our discussion confirmed, some evangelicals no longer accept that those with same-sex attraction need sexual redemption. In fact, to even imply as much can spark angry reaction. For too long, they argue, Christians have told gays they need to change. And, this has wounded and alienated many gay Christians from the church. If the Church would simply love and accept these members of the body – and apologize for wounding them – great healing would result.

Now, I think the church historically has responded abysmally to Christians who struggle with same-sex attraction. At worst, we’ve branded and ostracized these strugglers. More often, though, we’ve just told them to say no to their desires, but offered very little help and hope for deliverance. While evangelicals’ new approach may solve the problem of ostracizing these strugglers, it completely undermines our ability to help them. Plus, it doesn’t simply represent a new methodology; these evangelicals actually are preaching another gospel.

You see, this group has rejected the biblical narrative of creation, Fall, and redemption. God didn’t make people in His image – male and female; He made them gay, straight, lesbian, transgender, and bi-sexual. And, instead of sin and the Fall causing pain for people in this group, the church’s rejection of their lifestyle is what causes their suffering. Consequently, they don’t find redemption through God healing their broken sexuality; they find it through the church apologizing and affirming the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender lifestyle.

This is a false gospel. It may make self-identified gays, lesbians, and transgender people feel better for a time. But ultimately, it sentences them to a life imprisoned in sin. And, it demonizes the only segment of society that offers freedom for these captives – the Bible-believing Church. If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old patterns of sin do not define him. Instead, he identifies with Christ, who conquered sin and gives every believer the power to do likewise. That is the gospel. Either we believe it, or we believe a counterfeit gospel.

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7 thoughts on “The Gospel of Inclusion”

  1. Julie
    Someone I know responded this way about your op-ed:
    LGBT’s are not “broken” and they aren’t in a “life imprisoned in sin” – these sorts of statements make me sick. The God that I love and talk to everyday doesn’t discriminate and label people in this way. He doesn’t condemn the hundreds of people I personally know who are LGBT. The term “self-identify” is a ridiculous way to act as if it’s some dirty choice that can be changed.

    How would you answer this? (this is a relative)

  2. Hey, thanks for engaging. I appreciate the feedback — even if it’s negative.

    I guess I’d start by stating that if LGBT’s aren’t broken, then somehow they’ve managed to escape the condition that plagues us all — gay, straight, lesbian, etc… Scripture makes it clear that due to the Fall, we’re all broken, right? (Rom. 3:10-20) And, apart from Christ’s redeeming work, we’re all imprisoned in sin. (Rom. 6-7)

    Now, quite frankly, I don’t know anyone — gay, straight or otherwise — who doesn’t have innate sexual desires that sometimes stray from the boundaries outlined in Scripture. We are all born into sin. The question is — do we allow our wayward sexual desires to define our behavior and our identity? Or, do we allow Christ to define us?

    So, I do not believe that people with same-sex attraction have chosen their attraction. But, I do believe they chose what they’ll do with it.

    The consistent message of Scripture is that Christ frees us from sin. Of course, walking in that freedom is a process that requires moral effort. But, it’s absurd to me that some Christians believe Jesus will some day raise them from the dead — but He lacks the power to change their sexuality. I personally know several people who have struggled with same-sex attraction, but because of Christ’s redeeming work, do so no longer.

    Hope that helps.

  3. Galatians 3:28
    “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

    And wouldn’t Jesus say the same is true for heterosexual or homosexual?

    Jesus came to bring a new covenant – that is, those who accept God and live a life devoted to God – that is loving their neighbors, even those with whom they do not agree. That is Christian. This is the new covenant. It is different from the old covenant of Abraham. Jesus’ message is clear – it is an inclusive loving message of all mankind. It is not this intolerant, exclusive, judgemental perverse Christianity that you are teaching. I implore you to repent, and accept Jesus.

    lovingly,

    Lifelong Christian and religious ed teacher.

  4. As a religious ed teacher, I would hope you’ve read the whole of the NT, not just certain proof texts. Romans 1 makes it quite clear how God views homosexuality under the New Covenant.

    Sin remains sin under the New Covenant, and still a great offense to God. That’s why Jesus had to die — to pay the penalty for sin. In fact, Jesus said he did not come to abolish the law, but rather to fulfill it.

    Romans 1:
    24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

    26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

    28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done.

  5. Respectfully,
    It sounds like you ate choosing your own passages. I think that Romans1 as well as the whole of the new testament makes it clear that all acts that distract us from our creator and our connection to Him are acts of sin. Whether it is heterosexual lust, masturbation, or homosexual lust. All of these can lead man to a worldly materialism focused on self gratification. If our actions do that, it is sun and takes away from God and our greater self. That is the message that Jesus teaches over and over again. He does NOT teach over and over how wrong homosexuality is.

    Lovingly,
    Lifelong Christian

  6. Julie,

    Just wanted to express my support for you here. I also thought of Jesus’ claim that he did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it as I was reading Lifelong Christian’s response to you. I further think it’s worth pointing out that when speaking of marriage, Jesus affirms the orignal creation narrative, observing that “from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female.” The biblical view of human sexuality begins with our being created male and female, not with our subjective feelings of sexual attraction and desire, which, like all desires, can be distorted by sin.The view that I am defined by what I desire is one of the hallmark’s of secular modernity, not of biblical Christianity.

    I find myself perplexed by and frightened for those who distort and misuse one part of the scriptures to negate or explain away another. I would point out that not only are Galatians 3 and Romans 1 both found in the New Testament (the defining document of the New Covenant), but they are both written by the same author. It would be s strange thing if Paul was intentionally contradicting in Galatians what he clearly stated in Romans.

  7. Lifelong Christian,
    Your comments show a lack of understanding about the meaning and purpose of human sexuality. God created us male and female so we could bear His image as a Triune God (Gen. 1:27). Heterosexual union displays unity in polarity. It is a symbol of the transcendent reality that God, the Father, Spirit, and Son are three persons, yet one. Homosexual union perverts this image. It shows unity in sameness. That’s why it’s called an abomination in the Old Testament and why in I Tim. 1:9-11 (and other NT passages) list homosexual practice along with other abominations like murder and perjury.
    Also, you seem to miss the centrality of marriage in Scripture. The Bible begins with the creation of man and woman in God’s image and ends with the “wedding feast of the Lamb.” Throughout the OT, God describes His love for His people as a husband for His bride. And, in the NT, the Church is called the Bride of Christ.
    I encourage you to read some of Christopher West’s interpretation of John Paul II’s Theology of Marriage.
    http://www.christopherwest.com/page.asp?ContentID=72

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