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.