Differing Views on Christian Doctrine, Identity and Homosexuality
by Jason Thompson
When I first began serving at Portland Fellowship, the message regarding homosexuality and identity was 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. To bring clarity to this confusing issue, this one-page handout was created to bring clarity, which I summarize below.
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On the left side of this handout is the ideology categorized as "Revel: Gay Partnership." These professing "Christians" are gay-affirming and support and bless homosexual unions. The general belief here is that one is born gay/lesbian/bisexual and they defend that Scripture supports this pro-gay theological understanding.
To the right of this is another camp labeled "Resist: Gay Identity." This group includes professing Christians who primarily believe that a person is born gay yet believe that same-sex partnerships and sexual expression are prohibited in the eyes of God. Part of their identity is found in what they feel and desire, and since their desire is for the same sex, they choose to identify as celibate gay Christians. A growing movement that includes www.revoice.us has led and continues to lead people in this direction.
In contrast to those two categories, two other groups embrace traditional biblical truth regarding sexual expression and identity. Yet, even 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 "Renounce: or Repentance." 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 trust in God as they seek to die to their fleshly desires. This group primarily emphasizes the importance of the Church to live out a holy life, and de-emphasizes additional support structures or healing resources (such as counseling or recovery programs). Some in this group speak against such resources.
The last category agrees with most of what the "Renounce" position communicates. This final "Rebuild: or 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 "Renounce" and "Rebuild/Transformation" is that proponents of "Rebuild/Transformation" recognize the need for an intentional discipleship process that leads us to more profound 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 consists of 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, but also, 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! Please share this resource with others and we would love to hear about it. Click here for a PDF Copy