Allow me to take a few liberties here, with explanation to follow. But an upcoming conference should be on every Christian’s calendar. It looks to be a terrific event, with some noted Christian speakers as well. This is how the ad for the conference runs:
“Meet awesome people. Worship God together. Learn from Christian leaders. Recommit your heart to Christ. And have an amazing time doing it! The annual Christian Adultery Network conference brings hundreds of brothers and sisters in Christ together for fellowship, worship, support, Bible study, and more! Whether you’re an adulterer, know someone who is, or just want to learn more, this is an awesome opportunity to seek God together.
“This year’s Christian Adultery Network conference will be held January 6-9, 2011, in Denver, CO, with special guest Philip Yancey! As we gather in the ‘mile-high city,’ we look to examine our own ‘mountaintop experiences’ with Christ in our everyday moments, identifying how He works through us, and exploring the ways we can listen to Him as we journey through our lives.
“Our 2010 conference brought together over 350 Christians from around the world for an unforgettable, life-changing experience. We can’t wait to see you as we kick off the new year with an awesome celebration of God’s love!”
The above quote is fully legit, except I have made a few minor changes. It is actually the annual conference for the Gay Christian Network. My point should be clear: just as no one can get away with calling themselves a Christian adulterer, so no one should be allowed to call themselves a gay Christian.
Both are an oxymoron. Both are a complete contradiction in terms. If you are living in adultery and celebrating that fact, then you have made it clear you are not a biblical Christian. In the same way, if you are living the homosexual lifestyle, and celebrating that fact, you have declared your rejection of God and his authority.
Paul for example brings both sins together in various places, including 1 Timothy 1:8-11: “We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.”
Consider also an even stronger passage, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11: “Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
Both passages put adultery and homosexuality together, and both passages make it clear that those who are involved in such activities will not inherit the kingdom of God. Yet here we have a conference telling people the exact opposite. And here we have a famous speaker who presumably will come along and bless this whole unbiblical situation.
While Yancey has written a lot of good books, and has had a lot of helpful things to say over the years, he has often been a bit weak on the biblical understanding of homosexuality. By appearing at this conference, it seems we will simply have more of the same.
But even if he did not speak at this event, the sad truth is, hundreds of people may be deceived at this conference, thinking their lifestyle is perfectly fine, and that God fully approves of it. The truth is, Jesus Christ came so that we could be set free from our sins, not cemented in them.
Any group which tells believers that it is fine to live in known sin is not proclaiming the gospel of Christ, but a false and deceptive gospel. These people desperately need to hear the good news that God is in the business of changing lives and setting the captives free.
Sure, the work of overcoming deeply entrenched sexual addiction is often difficult and lengthy. But genuine help is available to those who are willing to confess their sin, repent, and turn to Christ for real help. Just as a heterosexual who has been involved in addictive sexual sin may struggle in the healing process, so too the homosexual.
But the Gospel is about releasing people from their bondages, and freeing them to live lives of holiness, purity and righteousness. This is true of every one of us, whether our sins are heterosexual in nature or homosexual in nature. Any “Christian” message which tells people it is OK to coddle and endorse a sinful lifestyle is not of God.
Jesus told the adulterous woman to go and sin no more. He also told us that to lust at another person makes one guilty of adultery. So both outward actions and internal lusts are clearly condemned by Jesus. Thus the adulterer must stop committing acts of adultery, and must clean up things internally as well. Indeed, all heterosexuals need to deal radically with lust of every kind.
In the same way, the homosexual must stop all homosexual activities, and also seek healing and restoration for the sinful lusts and desires. Again, such renewal may not come easily, and will often be a lengthy process, but God is in the business of radically and decisively changing lives.
There are many former homosexuals who have been set free from the homosexual lifestyle, and have even experienced radical change in their desires and inclinations. This should come as no surprise, since God seeks to bring us back to where we are meant to be.
All such restoration will be painful and difficult. That is why so many prefer being told that what they are doing is quite alright, and God fully accepts them as they are, expecting no change whatsoever. That is not the gospel I read about. It is a tough love which tells us what we need to hear, not what we want to hear.
We all struggle with lust and sinful sexual desires. The aim should be to let God help us to overcome these, not to seek to make excuses for them, to rationalise them, and to justify them. That is the last thing believers should be doing and saying.
By the way, anyone want to help me organise next year’s annual Christian Polyamory Network conference?