There are many new books, resources, and ministries that address how to love as Jesus loves those impacted by same-sex attraction and gender dysphoria, as well as how to wrestle well with these issues personally. How does one differentiate how they are unique and whether the resource is grounded in biblical truth?
Here are some questions you can ask:
Does it uphold a biblical view of sexuality and gender?
The Bible teaches that God created sexual intimacy to be shared only between a man and a woman who have committed to each other for a lifetime in marriage (Genesis 2:24). It also teaches that God created people male and female, in His image (Genesis 1:27). Some may view sexuality and gender as a side issue – something over which we in the church can agree to disagree. At Alive in Christ, we believe a biblical view of sexuality and gender is inherent to the gospel. Dr. Linda Seiler has given us permission to share her fantastic audio teaching on this topic if you would like to learn more. Contact us for the link.
What is the overall emphasis of the resource or ministry?
Is there a call to repentance and surrender? Is there an openness to exploring issues that might have contributed to the development of same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria? Does it mock or vilify efforts to find freedom in one’s struggle with sexuality?
Does it encourage placing one’s primary identity in Jesus Christ?
In some of the new resources, the authors identify as gay. This is a bit of a controversial topic and what might be considered a gray area. Some people describe themselves as “gay Christians” as a simple way to express that they experience same-sex attraction, not to indicate that those attractions are central to their identity or that they intend to act on those desires. I have written an article about why I choose not to identify as a gay Christian and why perhaps others should not either. I firmly believe that those who place their primary identity in Christ rather than in an ongoing sin struggle will find opportunities to heal and move on that those who continue to identify as gay may miss out on.
Does it talk about transformation?
One of the main problems with much of the new literature is that there is little to no focus on the whole-life transformation the Gospel has to offer. You may be thinking, I thought Alive in Christ doesn’t focus on attraction change? This is true. Transformation and attraction change are not interchangeable terms. At Alive in Christ, we believe in a supernatural God who is able to do immeasurably more than we could ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). We also believe that temptation is part of the Christian life. After all, James said “when” you are tempted, not “if” (James 1:13). Being a discipleship and mentoring ministry, we also\ believe that as we grow in our relationship with Jesus Christ, as we walk shoulder to shoulder with other strugglers, and as we are mentored by someone who is further down the road than we are, we will progressively walk into the freedom that Jesus died to give (Galatians 5:1, John 8:36). The questions of what freedom and transformation looks like for the same-sex attracted or gender dysphoric person is a longer discussion than we could cover in a single newsletter! The short answer is that purposeful singleness lived out in community is one possibility. Marriage is another. Some who come to the ministry are already married, and we work with them to strengthen and heal those relationships that have been impacted by sexual brokenness.
Portland Fellowship has a helpful chart to address these questions that can be found here.
Alive in Christ would fall firmly in 4th column, “Rebuild/ Transformation.” These are just a handful of questions you can ask as you explore a new resource. Alive in Christ recognizes that sexuality, gender, attraction, and identification can be complex and controversial topics. As we have attempted to explain, people have studied the issues and came up with their own philosophies about same-sex attraction and gender dysphoria. At Alive in Christ, we uphold a traditional, biblical sexual ethic, while at the same time recognizing human factors that may play an important role in these confusing identity crises. We believe that Jesus understands our struggles, sympathizes with us in weakness (Hebrews 4:15), and it is in Him where we find our strength and hope to reconcile challenging issues such as these.