A Response to “From Celibate Gay Poster Child to Future Gay Husband”

Those struggling with same-sex sexual attractions ignore the fact that other Christians, celibate or in marital or non-marital relationships, likewise struggle with opposite sex sexual attractions and temptations to sin.

The title of his article, “From Celibate Gay Poster Child to Future Gay Husband,” affords a key and primary clue as to why this happened.  It happened because he never renounced identifying himself with a sinful propensity or proclivity.  He failed to see his sinful bent was condemned by God, the Father; atoned for by God, the Son; and he was washed and sanctified by God, the Holy Spirit.

 

The above titled article appeared in The Aquila Report and originated on the author’s blog entitled, “Queer Liturgy.” As a gay man, he claims he always upheld the traditional view of marriage and sexuality.  He relates that he and another man fell in love but their consciences did not allow them to pursue a sexual relationship but decided to begin a celibate partnership. He wrote many blog posts on what living in a celibate partnership was like.  He calls a turning point for him began in March of this year when he wrote a response to Sam Allberry defending non-sexual same-sex relationships (https://liturgicalqueer.com/2019/06/25/from-celibate-gay-poster-child-to-future-husband/).

He elaborates on his relationship to his partner, Kyle, saying they wrestled robustly with theological concepts and ethics. He writes what Kyle said to him one evening tightly wrapping his arms around him: “I am not with you because of your theology.  I am not with you because I expect us to be married or have sex in the future.  I am with you because I love you.  None of that changes. . . After several months of intense discernment, both of us arrived at an affirming position. We no longer believe that sex between two people of the same sex is always sin.  We believe God established the sacrament of marriage for the salvation of both same-sex and opposite-sex couples.  Both are in need of grace for their theosis.”

For those of us unfamiliar with the term “theosis,” here is a brief definition:  “Theosis is the belief, mostly found within the Eastern Orthodox Church, that Christians can experience a union with God and become like him so much that they participate in the divine nature. This concept is also known as deification.”  Evidently, Anthony, the gay man in question and writer of the article, belongs to the Eastern Church.

He asks many questions, two of which are these:  1) “Is the same sex sexual activity condemned by biblical authors morally analogous to monogamous, life-long covenants that two baptized men or woman are seeking to establish in Christ within contemporary times?” 2) “Is the male female pairing in Genesis a prescriptive model for all marital relationships or a descriptive model for humankind?”

As to the first question, whether in Leviticus, Romans, or elsewhere in the New Testament, it’s the sexual acts that are prohibited.  It’s not about relationships; it’s about sexual acts.  God made it clear, direct, and simple in every passage relating to the subject, same-sex sexual acts are sin.  As to the second question, the answer is: Yes; it is for all marital relationships, and Jesus Christ affirmed it in Matthew 19: 4-5.  He affirmed God made them “male and female” and only those two “become one flesh.”

How do we respond to a serious young man asking many questions, seeking transparency and integrity, and seemingly desiring to remain in relationship with our Triune God?  Hopefully, in truth and love and truth in love.

First, is the need to recognize some pitfalls related to the concept of “spiritual friendship” promoted by Revoice and others to those who struggle with same-sex attraction. Most friendships are composed of same-genders. (Perhaps, to currently describe them as same-sex alludes to something not inherent in friendships—sexual relationships.)

Friendships of opposite genders are called “platonic” friendships, that is, “a relationship that is only a friendship and does not involve sexual activity.”  Despite being called “spiritual friendship,” if both people struggle with same-sex physical or sexual attraction, they may be putting themselves on the path of serious temptation.

Obviously, by Anthony and Kyle being “spiritually” intimate and possibly living together, they put themselves in a hyper-tempting situation.  This is not to say some could not resist temptation, but why put oneself in its path?  Friendships aren’t based on such attractions.  They’re based on commonalities, e.g., interests, values, faith, politics, or ideologies, and sometimes are just inexplicable. There are many warnings as to with whom we associate and what those associations can lead to.  A recovering alcoholic would probably avoid being mainly with drinking buddies; someone given over to temper tantrums would best avoid association with others easily angered or volatile persons.

Secondly, though the writer claimed to believe in traditional marriage and sexuality and pursued celibacy, his Christian position was compromised by his self-identified sexuality as a “gay” Christian and choosing to name his blog “Queer Liturgy.”  In other words, coming to Christ did not involve turning his back on a biblically-defined sinful proclivity or propensity. We are all called to die to sin, and dying includes renouncing personal sinful tendencies.  Identifying with perhaps one’s strongest pull into sin does not represent that important step of renouncing sin or their most besetting sin.

Lastly, the writer appeared to avoid the clearest instructions in God’s Word relating to any decision he might make that would enable him to pursue purity and chastity in obedience to God.  Like others, he affectively and emotionally contorted the institution or sacrament of marriage—according to one’s theological understanding—by twisting it into something positive regardless of neither affirmation nor substantiation biblically. There is not one positive reference to same-sex sexual relations in the Bible.  At one point he stated: “That’s the weird thing about beliefs: We don’t choose them.” Really!  Choosing to believe in Jesus Christ, choosing to affirm beliefs communicated in Scripture, choosing to believe in the authority and veracity of Scripture, and choosing to obey God’s commands —those are all volitional choices.  Some are made by faith while others are made rationally based on historical evidence and/or moral standards.

These are just a few observations that explain or indicate to me how easily and sadly it became to change his mind and turn against God’s clear instructions and condemnation against same-sex sexual relations.  Such rationalizations haven’t escaped some who enter into or practice heterosexual sexual sins either.  The evil one is clever in influencing us all to believe a lie related to our propensities and drives—if they’re so natural, they must also be good.

Those struggling with same-sex sexual attractions or temptations tend to ignore the fact that other Christians, celibate or in marital or non-marital relationships, likewise struggle with opposite sex sexual attractions and temptations to sin.  Numberless heterosexual celibate Christians struggle, too, and seek the Holy Spirit’s enabling in overcoming sinful lusts, inclinations, and desires along with the acceptance of scriptural texts on such issues.  They err in believing they carry a heavier cross than others.

The title of his article, “From Celibate Gay Poster Child to Future Gay Husband,” affords a key and primary clue as to why this happened.  It happened because he never renounced identifying himself with a sinful propensity or proclivity.  He failed to see his sinful bent was condemned by God, the Father; atoned for by God, the Son; and he was washed and sanctified by God, the Holy Spirit.

May all of us—not just those who struggle with same-sex attraction—be mindful of and rejoice in our Triune God’s mighty transforming power in our lives.  He provided us all with a perfect instrument—His divine revelation, and a perfect helper—God, the Holy Spirit, working both together for our sanctification and pursuit of holiness. “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY” (1 Peter 1: 16).

Helen Louise Herndon is a member of Central Presbyterian Church (EPC) in St. Louis, Missouri. She is freelance writer and served as a missionary to the Arab/Muslim world in France and North Africa.


[Editor’s note: Watch Gay to Christian Testimony – Homosexuality Was My Identity

Becket Cook spent over 25 years pursuing the desires we all desperately want as human beings: relationships, love, intimacy, support, and affirmation. Undeniably, these desires had a unique grip on his heart that was incomparable to any other desire. They carried with them emotions that vastly impacted his will, intentions, and actions and became a unique part of his identity. The problem with this is that he was not created to have an identity rooted in sexual orientation or human relationships. No one is. We were created to have an identity rooted in God. If that’s off, all of our desires are off and we find ourselves chasing things that we were never supposed to pursue. Homosexual relationships are one of those things. It stands contrary to God’s moral will for mankind. But we don’t have to stand as enemies of God. Through Jesus Christ, there is hope for new life. There is hope for salvation.]