Last week Vicky Beeching publicly announced she’s a lesbian, and has known it since age 13 (she’s 35). A British singer/songwriter, she lived in Nashville for 10 years crafting worship songs like Glory to God Forever and Above all Else. I find the crystal quality of her voice and melodies riveting. In fact, as I listened to the choir and worship team at Kingsgate Community Church sing Wonder of the Cross [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Yzx8QUQRS8], I couldn’t stop weeping…
May I never lose the wonder
The wonder of the cross
May I see it like the first time
Standing as a sinner lost
Undone by mercy and left speechless
Watching wide-eyed at the cost
May I never lose the wonder
The wonder of the cross
Having grown up as the “poster child for Christianity” yet struggling with same sex attraction, Vicky endured much dissonance. She hoped confession to a priest and his subsequent absolution would change her. It didn’t. She thought the deliverance professionals who cast out demons would bring her inner tension to an end. They didn’t. With a double life and all the trauma plaguing her she came down with an autoimmune condition so severe that it required chemotherapy. She now tells young people who are gay that they don’t need to choose between their faith and their sexuality, that God loves them exactly as they are.
But there is a lie clearly implied behind the surface truth: “God approves of you as you are.” Meaning, He’s happy when you are intimate with someone of the same sex.
Then what are we to do with Scripture that says the opposite? In describing same sex behavior, God portrays a humanity in full on rebellion against Him: That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved (Romans 1:26-27).
Yesterday when I mused how fast the culture is trending in favor of same sex behavior and marriage, someone asked me if I think the day will come when we who take the Scriptures at face value on this issue will be in the minority in the evangelical church.
Yes. In 5-7 years.
As I see it, what will hurry it along are churches increasingly diluted by people who neither read their Bibles nor believe Genesis to Revelation contains exclusively what God has self-revealed. That is, that God has pristine and objective truths which He refuses to put to a vote so we can sniff in amusement at its lack of popularity or contemporaneity.
In our study of Galatians we continue to beat the drum that the gospel is the good news that Jesus’ work on the cross plus NOTHING saves sinners like me. We are not saved by our deeds–nor any opinions about things like homosexuality. However, that is quite different from concluding that God is comfy with whatever behavior and attitudes professed Christians display and portray. If a church member who is a bigot attacks his Mexican neighbor and is unrepentant, should we say, “God loves you exactly the way you are”–by which we mean, “God’s ok with what you did and with your attitude”?
Nothing but Jesus saves people, but the Jesus who saves also changes people (1 Cor. 6:11). We should have compassion on people like Vicky who struggle with longings that God says are not to be fulfilled. (That’s not only true of same sex desires, but of those who might want someone else’s wife, or want to take things that don’t belong to them, or want to buy things they can’t afford–or, like Israel, who want a god who can be seen.) We should share in our brothers’ and sisters’ struggles with prayer, patience, accountability, kindness, understanding…, with love. But endorsing disobedience will not make a strong or godly church, it will not make worshipers. The fact that people live with tension over sexual desires should not deter us from advocating righteousness any more than the threat to a believer’s life because of her faith, should deter us from encouraging her to “stand fast!”
On a related note, what’s the church to do with her music? Boycotting good music with great lyrics because the author is stumbling, hardly seems worthy of the people of God. It’s the Spirit–not economic pressure, which we pray will bring our sister to repentance. As Russell Moore writes, “…the most important question, for this decision, is not, “Is this person right?” but “Is this song true and good and beautiful and edifying?” Wonder of the Cross most assuredly is.
2 thoughts on “If it’s the Gospel Alone, is Same Sex Behavior OK?”
So I can take my Vicky Beeching Cd’s out of the trash? Good! I, too, have loved her music for years now, especially Wonder of the Cross. I met Vicky several years back at a conference. The set that she led was one of the most worshipful moments of my life. I was terribly discouraged to hear the announcement on the heels of the Mark Driscoll crisis.
I guess what I don’t understand it how out of sin we can worship and pray. I thought our prayers were not heard if we did not confess then first. I agree with compassion we all sin and fall short. It was just a thought.
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