Speaking to Gay Christians

Various blogs have been hammering me for agreeing to speak to a group called the Gay Christian Network.  I get tired of writing about this issue because it stirs up such a storm of controversy and little of the dialogue seems constructive.  On the other hand, the church must keep engaging, and I know of no better way to engage than to hear the stories of Christians who are struggling personally with homosexuality.  Some conservatives think the very term “Gay Christian” is an oxymoron.  I wish they could attend a gathering such as the one I spoke to last week and hear the stories I heard.  Rather than try to defend my decision just to speak to Gay Christians, I will quote here a letter from the head of GCN:

An Open Letter about Philip Yancey
From GCN’s Executive Director, Justin Lee

Since we announced that bestselling Christian author Philip Yancey would be addressing the GCN conference in 2011, questions have been flying, online and offline. “Is Philip Yancey pro-gay?” some have asked. “What are his views on homosexuality?” “Why would he agree to speak to this conference?” “Why would GCN invite him in the first place?”

Some have criticized me for extending the invitation, thinking an evangelical author like Philip is surely far too conservative to speak to a group like ours. Others have strongly condemned him for accepting the invitation, saying he’s condoning sin. Some have even called for other Christians to disassociate with him.

So I’d like to set the record straight on exactly what this conference is about and why we invited him.

When I was a teenager, I discovered to my horror that I was attracted to guys instead of girls. I was a deeply committed Christian growing up Southern Baptist, and I was firmly opposed to homosexuality in any form. Nevertheless, when I turned to my pastor, church, and Christian friends for prayer and support, they all turned their backs on me, condemning me for my temptations even though I hadn’t acted on them.

GCN began when I met other Christians who were in the same boat. All of us were struggling to figure out how to live holy lives with our same-sex attractions, and all of us had felt the church’s rejection. Some of us ultimately decided to commit ourselves to lifelong celibacy, while others of us decided to pursue monogamous relationships. In spite of our theological disagreements with one another, we all wanted to serve Christ, and we all longed for a Christian community that would hear our stories.

The annual GCN conference is a place for Christians to hear those stories and worship and pray together—gay and straight, women and men, some believing in gay marriage and some believing that gay people are called to celibacy. Our organization does not advocate for any viewpoint on gay marriage, gay rights, or any similar issue; our goal is simply to let people know that Jesus loves them and to provide a safe and compassionate space for the church to work through some of these difficult issues.

I invited Philip Yancey because I respect him as a Christian. I’ve always been impressed at how well he balances our need to live moral, holy lives as Christians with our need to have grace toward those who do things we disapprove of. I did not invite him because of any views he might or might not hold on gays; I invited him because this is a group of people who desperately need to hear not only that God loves them, but that other Christians do, too.

I have no idea what Philip’s views are on gay relationships, same-sex marriage, or anything of the sort. He’s never told me. Honestly, it wouldn’t affect my decision either way. That’s not the point.

Last year, we had a keynote delivered by Baptist minister and author Tony Campolo. Dr. Campolo believes that gay relationships are sinful, and he said so during his keynote address. He also received a standing ovation at the end—from an audience including some people in the very relationships he had just condemned. Why? Did they think he was supporting their decisions? Not at all. They applauded him because he was one of the very few Christians who would dare to reach out to them in love and say, “Even though I don’t agree with you, I love you. I hear your stories of pain, and I want to count you as my friends.” That message was powerful. It changed lives.

I don’t know what Philip Yancey will say in a few weeks when he addresses our audience. We’ve asked him only to say whatever God puts on his heart. I do know that his audience will be diverse: gay couples in monogamous relationships; same-sex-attracted Christians wrestling with the loneliness of celibacy; Christian parents struggling with how to respond to their gay children. One woman I know will be attending with a heavy heart, carrying the memories of her gay daughter, who committed suicide years ago after feeling her mother’s rejection.

As those people, with all their theological disagreements, come together to seek God’s heart, I can think of no one better equipped to speak to them than a man who has gained a reputation both as solidly evangelical and filled with grace toward others. And even though I’m sure he knew people would misconstrue it, I am so grateful that he had the courage to reach out to us in love. It is, I believe, exactly what Jesus would do.

Justin Lee
Executive Director
The Gay Christian Network

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(Note: if you have comments to make on this blog entry, please keep them brief and polite. I do not intend to make the blog a platform from which to condemn people holding different points of view. Also, please refrain from posting any URLs to personal blogs or other websites.  Thank you. — Philip)

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73 Responses to Speaking to Gay Christians

  1. Barack Clinton says:

    It’s true, at least in a sense, that homosexual behavior is like other sins. So let’s see, do we have “Christian adulterers,” or “Christian liars”? Sure some Christians do those things, but do they talk about how God made them that way, or do some actually say it’s okay to do those things?

  2. Bradley says:

    I posted an earlier comment about the struggle I have been going through. I was spending some time in prayer the other night and I felt like Jesus impressed something on me. I have spent 30 years of my 46 year life blaming/giving credit to, the devil because I am gay. I really think the Lord impressed on me that he was saddened because I neglected to give him/Jesus the credit and praise for who I am. It might sound like a simple revelation but I had never thought of it this way before. I was so sure that the devil made me gay that I never entertained the idea that my life might be orchestrated by Jesus. I never gave Jesus credit for my life. I asked forgiveness and thanked the Lord for everything he has done with me, through me, and for me. I hope this helps someone else in my shoes.

  3. My husband and I started attending the LGBT group on our campus so that he could work on some of his prejudices towards gay people. He got over them in about five minutes and I had always been appaled at the way Christians treat people (in this case gays). It has been great, but I have also experienced accusations from both sides as well. Despite the negativity and controversy, your book has helped us to begin to bridge the gap between the LGBT community and Christians in our small town of Laramie WY.

    Anyways here is a poster series also inspired by you book. I think they help me convey my perspective in ways that I cant in words. Feel free to share them with others or use them as a resource (keeping copyright in mind).

    Grace is A Bit Queer Poster Series

    Enjoy!

    ~Felicia Follum

    Felicia, these are wonderful! A truly brilliant blending of design and content. I’m honored that you say my writing had something to do with them. You have a very bright future ahead of you, and I’m so glad you’re using your gifts for the kingdom–in Laramie, WY, of all places. A designer did graphic editions of my books on Grace and Jesus, which your posters remind me of: check out http://www.facebook.com/pages/Grace-makes-beauty/147086145319202. Thank you for writing. You are very good.
    Philip

  4. MarcusDS says:

    I am convicted on how the Church has been mistreating gay people. Being gay is no different from any other sin! I do not support gay relationships nor the right for gays to be married as I hold to the teaching that there is a spiritual root for homosexualism, but whatever the case be, people just need to know that Christ came to die for their redemption and so that they may know the Lord. We must not shun the gay community just because we think they are doing a greater sin than others. That is self-righteousness. In all things, let us exhibit the love that God extended to us that while we were still sinners, He came and died for us!

    Love,
    MarcusDS

  5. Linda says:

    I was raised in a good Lutheran home. I never questioned God’s love of me or the existence of God. I just accepted it. My older siblings who left the Lutheran church, to join a fundamentalist church, haranged me until “I gave my life to the Lord”, left the Lutheran church and attended their “only right way” church. I met and married a dear friend, only to discover six months later that he was gay. I spent 15 years protecting him from the church and condemnation that would come his way if this secret was exposed. By the year 2000, we could no longer live a lie or raise our children in a fake environment, so we told family, friends and the church that we were divorcing. For some reason I expected love and support from the above individuals, how wrong I was. We were shunned. I’ve only been to church a handful of times since then, the wound has taken forever to heal. Recently I started to feel like taking a risk, venturing out to church again. I think I can trust the more orthodox faiths, like the one of my childhood. However, several days ago my son couldn’t keep his secret any longer and advised me he was Gay… so I have put a hold on attending church. Deciding instead to read “What good is God” and “Where is God when it hurts,” again. You and a few other authors have been my church for ten years. I will do whatever it takes to protect my son from the harshness of the church, as it has already destroyed his father. I have no doubt about God’s love and grace for me, my ex and my son. We need more people like you to keep advocating for all of us. Maybe in time, that will be my calling, to advocate for the broken and hurting ones, I just don’t know how to penetrate the church or even speak to another Christian about all this.

  6. Bradley says:

    I am 46. I was brought up in the pentecostal church. My father was a missionary. I was taught my entire life that homosexuals would burn in hell. I believed it. I have been gay my entire life as far as I can tell. I don’t ever remember having an attraction to women. I was never abused, molested, or fatherless. I had a great upbringing.

    Because of the way I was taught, I struggled for many years because I didn’t think you could be gay and be a christian. This caused me to pull away from prayer and reading my bible because I couldn’t handle the guilt.

    Bible bashing me with scriptures does not help because I already know them. There are so many different views on the scriptures that talk about being gay. Just because one person says that the scriptures are anti gay doesn’t make it true. And just because one person says the scriptures are not anti gay doesn’t make it true. Even scholars that know more about the bible than all of us, don’t agree.

    I already tried to pray the gay away as well as admitting my homosexuality to preachers so that they could cast the “demon” out of me. I’ve tried it all because I never wanted to go against God or go to hell. I love God.

    Some would say I didn’t try hard enough. Others might say God loves me the way I am and I shouldn’t try to be something else.

    I am in a happy monogamous relationship for many years. I want Gods best for my life. It is so easy for people to say “give your life over to Jesus and he will take care of it”, “Just put it all in his hands”. That usually just means get saved, stop being gay, and if you are still gay then you didn’t try hard enough.

    I am at a point in my life where I truly have no answers. I can choose to believe Jesus loves me and made me the way I am and hope I am right, or leave my partner and my home and live alone and hope I am right.

    I know three things for sure. I love Jesus, I didn’t choose to be gay(trust me), and I love my partner and the life we have together.

    For someone in my situation, the answers are not so easy. Nor is sharing my story. Kindness appreciated.

    Jesus, I pray for your grace, comfort, understanding, peace, and will.

    Thank you, Bradley. I have heard many stories like yours, and you express yourself eloquently. This took some courage, and speaks more loudly than many others who seem so sure, from both sides of the issue.
    Philip

  7. Jim says:

    I hear the term “Gay Christians” mentioned often in the comments posted here. Will someone please define what a “Gay Christian” is? I am being serious. First of all let’s define what the bible defines as a christian. It is a person who has realized that as a sinner their sins has seperated them from God and doomed them to hell. By nature we are all sinners. Secondly, this person realizes that they need a person who can intervene on their behalf and save them, whom is Jesus Christ. Finally you acknowledge this to God, accept Jesus Christ as the one who died for ours sins and simply ask God to forgive us for our sins and ask Him to be our saviour and save us.
    Now, as a born again christian Jesus commands us to repent of our sinful lifestyle and follow him. This is not my opinion but what the bible clearly states.
    Now the same bible is clear about homosexuality. No where does it even suggest that homosexuality is compatible with being a christian. In fact it says completely the opposite. It classifies homosexuality with several other sins and that these people who participates in these lifestyles will not be a part of God’s kingdom. It says that God will pour out his wrath on these people. This is not some “grey” area in the bible like a lot of people suggest it is. So as you can see “gay christians” is not a compatable term. If you think I am wrong on this please point out the scriptures that would suggest otherwise and please don’t suggest we can only believe part of the bible. You can’t pick and choose what you want it to say or what you want to believe.
    Finally, there is one other issue I want to address also. There seems to be this idea that churches don’t love or accept homosexuals. I am sure that there are some that don’t welcome homesexuals the way they think they should. On the whole most churches will love you just like any other sinner but don’t expect the church to change its mind and accomidate your lifestyle. The church is not to adapt to us when are are totally living contary to God’s word but its there to teach us how to comform to what God teaches us. Don’t bash the church because it don’t accept you and condone your lifestyle when it is contrary to what God says. One of the lifestyle the bible classifes with homesexuality is drunkards. Yes like drunkards, homosexuals should be reached out to and loved, but they must understand the church will not acknowledge their lifestyle as acceptable. In love, the church must tell the truth of what God says and anything less than that is a shame and doing that person a great injustice.

  8. Maria says:

    Several years ago I was going through a painful and turbulent time when my college aged son came to me in love and told me he was gay. I could not accept it then so I shelved it for a time that I could process it wholly. Now, 3 years later, I have gone to visit him ever so humbly and ashamed at how (I and ) the Church of Jesus Christ (His body and not denominations) have treated the homosexuals. It broke my heart to see that as Christians we shun them when they most need our love and acceptance (THEIR love and acceptance and not condoning of the sin.) I was so heartbroken to realize that I really did not know my birthed son if I did not know that he was lonely, rejected, and ostracized from the Christian community for difference views and mixed feelings of identity. I did not know that I, his very own mother was a part of the problem and he had no one to go to for help. Now I am concerned of the Church overall. Why do we not welcome wounded people into Jesus’ arms? Don’t we have to minister to their soul before we minister to the sexual preferences or other sinful weaknesses? Are we so much a hypocritical church that we believe their sin is greater than our own ones? I have never attended a church in which some one is told, “you must first quit smoking, drinking, (or whatever) before you can be accepted and be prayed for here.” Yet that is exactly what we are saying to the gays. It’s no wonder that they see us as hypocrites. We are. I do not say that I am condoning homosexuality, it is a sin; but so is over indulgence, drinking, stealing, cursing God’s name, and list goes on.
    Unless the Church (body of Christ) gets over this and can see people as people and not sexualize them, we will never be able to intermingle with them when they (and if they) come to visit us at church. They are more than their actions (homosexuals), they are human beings, interesting, intelligent, talented, curious and hurting for God’s love and acceptance.

    So what sets homosexuals apart from say drunkards, fornicators and all the other moral sins in the Bible? It may come as a surprise to you but only a simple comma between the words is what sets them apart. Object lesson: we are all sinners, we all have weakness. Where as we do not have to condone the lifestyle, we also don’t kick them when they are down and lonely. Lets just grow up (in the Word!).

    I wonder what Jesus would think of our behavior. Our behavior is certainly not like the one that Jesus exhibited with the woman at the well! Blessings to all of you. I do not want you to think that I am judging or condemning any of you because if you notice I have put this in a first person tense. I am the guiltiest of all.

  9. Linda says:

    Thank you for reaching out with love and grace.
    I just pray that the church at large may come to a place of humility where when we are tempted to judge others, we may stop and first take a look at the darkness that lurks so hidden (or so we think) in our self, remember the grace extended to us, and then ask God how HE would have us approach the person.
    Oh, if only we could get it through our collective thick layer of pride that God said He would heal our land not when we make others conform to our doctrine, but when we, the church, confess our sins, repent of our sins, and turn from our wicked ways.

  10. Craig says:

    An 18th Century Christian once said, “How do you know someone is a Christian? When they believe all of the Bible.” To pick and choose is to reject God and make our own will the ultimate authority in accepting what we like and rejecting what we do not like. This is the first human sin in the Garden. Of course, Christians should be kind to homosexuals, but the most kind thing to those who, according to Scripture, will not inherit the kingdom of heaven is to tell them the truth. What often passes for grace is no more than fear of reproach from the culture, to be viewed as a mean spirited fundamentalist. Grace and truth go together. One cannot have one without the other. To love homosexuals is to tell them the truth with grace, despite the fact that they may hate us for it. When we are afraid of being rejected or called names we are thinking of ourselves, not the person who is on the precipice of a Christless eternity in hell. Grace is amazing, that God would pay the judicial penalty for our sin as our substitute, but we should not confuse grace with being afraid to tell people the truth or affirming them in sin for which they will be judged by God. We may win their accolades, but at their expense, a costly expense at that.

  11. OP says:

    Hi,
    I was listening to one of my favorite christian radio show when Mr. Yancey was a guest of that show. I am a born again christian but never heard of him before. So i wanted to know more of that christian man when i found this website. I feel so bad that christians are using other christians as standards. Sins are sins, yes. But because some other christian is living in sin doesn’t make it okay for any christian to decide to “live in sin” and ignore the beginning of human creation by our Lord. Male and female he created. we can’t choose what to believe in the Bible. We can’t also not pretend to love sinners when we accept sins and agree with people deciding to live in sins. Jesus said to the woman “Go and sin no more” not ” Go and try to deal with your sins”. Jesus has the power to make us holy. Living as gay or lesbian is deciding to make your own decision when it comes to your sexual orientation instead of letting God and the truth of the Bible direct your path. I pray everyday for gay and lesbians so the truth can come to them. But christians proudly describing themselves as gay or lesbian christian is an abomination in itself.

  12. Kat McBeath says:

    Christians have the tendency to define sin as a behaviour, rather than a mindset, perhaps because humanity has an obsession with certainty and catergories.

    I went to a conference in New Zealand that Philip spoke at in 2003. At the end of this conference after Philip had left, some audience member rather spontaneously concluded the conference by coming out as gay and giving his testimony as a closet Christian homosexual. The question of how Christianity should respond to him was made that much more powerful coming on the heels of Philip’s teachings on grace and Jesus, and this was back before the morality of homosexuality became a hot topic for Christianity. When the boy commited suicide a few months later, it brought up the huge issues of categorizing sin and sinners and the effect of labelling them as such.

    Now one of my best friends is an ex-christian who has recently come out as lesbian, and I am happy for her that she is in love with her first girlfriend. I’ve honestly never found anything negative to say. My own liberalism scares me. While I do feel that homosexuality is by nature less fulfilling than heterosexuality, I think it’s more of a flawed belief than a deliberate choice.

    Which is what sin is really, anyway.

    And I can’t help feeling that the way we say what is sin and what isn’t, is a little like the Tree Of The Knowledge Of Good And Evil (in Genesis) that got Adam and Eve ruined.

    sorry it’s long….

  13. Shelley says:

    I am in the midst of reading: The Jesus I Never Knew by Yancey. I’m really enjoying the settlement between God’s Ideals as presented in the gospel and the Grace of God.
    Basically I gleaned this in the first few chapters:

    Anything that makes me feel comfortable with God’s moral standard is a cruel deception and anything that makes me feel discomfort with God’s forgiving love is also a cruel deception.

    I was married for 20 years; I have 4 children. I am no longer married.
    I am a lesbian Christian. Without hesitation I can say, it is because of my love relationship with a woman that I have a human to human sense of God’s love.

    I believe with my whole heart that each day I live is for the purpose of drawing near to God – to be consumed by the love of God.

    I have read the posts, and I hear the echo of the voices that call homosexuality a sin, but I have to tell you from my experience, the love I share with Diana is closer to reflecting God’s love than my own and many other heterosexual relationships.

    I apologize if my upfront claim of love for another woman offends you. Perhaps we all should be careful not to allow the “rules” to overshadow what our heart knows.

    Believe in the things only your heart can see.

    Where on the scale of cruel deception do you/we/I land?

  14. Jim Lockwood says:

    Mr. Yancey, thank you for acting as Christ would act.

  15. Barry Stover says:

    I stumbled across this as I was reading about Phillip Yancey, whom I have enjoyed reading over the years. It occurs to me that people like me, who are married, and do not have homosexual temptation, may not fully understand the struggle with the ‘sin’ of homosexuality (I believe it is a sin). But we do struggle with ‘sin’ and all of us born again Christians do struggle w the fless in ways (gluttony, sexual attaraction to our secretary if we are heterosexual, whatever). So in this struggle with the flesh we can all relate. For some reason (and I do not pretend to know why) some people have a hard time admittinug that something is ‘sin.’ I could be off here, but it seems to me that if a person struggles with same sex attraction that is called ‘temptation’ and giving in and having sex is the sin. Frankly, as a married man with children, who has been faithful to his wife, I have been extremely tempted at times with other women, in my thoughts. If I allowed myself to have sex or intimate emotional relationships with other women when I wanted to, well, I’d have had many such relationships…but when the temptation passes, and the Holy Spirit gives me victory, it is God’s grace. I do not judge or condemn men who struggle with homosexuality, heck, who am I to judge what made that happen anymore than I can judge an alcoholic. I do not know how much of our bondages are demonic or how much is our own human nature, but I have never questioned that a heterosexual outside of marraige can’t sleep around, neither can a homosexual sleep around, if both are Christians, then battle it brother. I know we all fall, and both heterosexuals and homosexuals can fall into sexual sin when they let their guard down, do not put up holy boundaries, but to discuss if it is ‘sin’ or not is just rationalizing things. I am ashamed that the church has shunned gay men and women, we should be reaching out in brotherly , holy love, but not to condone sin, but to meet a friend in Christ,and stand with them to help them learn how to love with purity. God Bless any man or woman with same sex attraction who pursues holiness and celibacy. I love being intimate with my wife and it sure would be a struggle to be single, God Bless any of you who choose this path of celibacy…..the Lord Jesus reigns over sin, He alone is our Victor, and there is no foe that can ultimately win over King Jesus…yes….we Christians may stumble, but praise God we can grow in our faith, we are all Pilgrims on the journey. Lord Jesus, help us to love one another with your holy love and help us to reach out to those hurting…..be they lonely heterosexuals or others.

  16. Jack says:

    Hi,

    I am a Pastor and Missionary, also study theology fulltime at college. I wanst always these things. Not that one’s career deifnes who one is. Nor does one’s sin define who somebody is. First and foremost we are human. But God tells us in Romans Chapter 3 what state humanity is in. ANd that is in all falling short of God’s glory all being the fallen state of humanity. It is through Grace as Mr Yancey correctly states that we receive God’s gift of CHrist’s Spirit. That Spirit we then have choice to follow or not.

    In my pre-conversion years I had been molested as a child. This as you may well imagine put pain and the demonic into my heart. In later years I would fall to drinking drugs and Bi Sexual lust. It tore me to pieces inside, because you see my Soul (My God given soul) new it wasnt right, it wasnt natural and two men anally penetrating each other (I am sorry that there is no other politically correct way of stating this), isnt love. Its lust. And its demonic. I nearly killed myself 5 times int he pain of that behaviour. I liked women yet would find myself reliving what happened to me as child and then wallowing in the self pity and depression and suicidal tendancies that followed. It was a living Hell that Only God knows How I felt. One day at near the bottom Christ came to me. Yes believe it or not He is alive and well and does come to the odd few. By Spirit of course. I wept like a baby. Whatever demonic forces had entrapped me, couldnt run from me fast enough in his HOLY presence. That was 5 years ago now. Since then I attended Bible College, became street chaplian and serve in a myriad of ways. I am new creation and I no longer take drugs or drink or indulgence in the lustfulness of my sinful nature – which includes male to male sex or out of marriage sex for that matter. You see it isnt love, its humans using each other in pain and thus causing more pain. When it goes to the level of male to male lust its then at the bottom of human depravity. You may judge my harsh sounding words all you wish, but you havent walked for twenty years where I walked. Most mornings I pray and weep to ym Lord Jesus for my biggest thanks is that the living hell of sodom is gone. I care for those still living in Sodom. I care knowing that only Jesus can set them free and I promise as a Pastor I wont condone the act, jsut as much as i dont condone any sinful act. I am to show love and to show the way. he is Jesus and sorry he wasnt having man to man sex either. But He can certainly drive demons out of people that lead us to doing the unthinkable to each other.

    God Bless

  17. hmcf says:

    It’s easier than all of this rhetoric and dialogue. Love God above all others. Love others as you love yourself. Act it, live it, be it!

  18. Jared Hoke says:

    I am 63 years old, a white male hetero brought up in the Episcopal church, and a church musician. I consider myself very much a Christian, though not a slavish one. I have long admired and appreciated Philip Yancey’s writing and thought, and was recently re-reading his excellent “What’s So Amazing About Grace” when I came upon the chapter about his friend Mel, and Yancey’s difficulty with homosexuals. I find this “difficulty” annoying and frustrating. I don’t think I’m being simple minded to say that the matter seems simple enough to me. For ultimate authority, I look to Yeshua Ben Joseph, not to Paul or to any number of ancient jewish “authorities”, prophets, rabbis, etc etc. Yeshua was absolutely clear in his guidance on this issue: “Let those among you without sin cast the first stone”. “Neither do I condemn you. Go your way and sin no more”. “Judge not, lest ye be judged” What parts of those famous dicta do some folks not understand? The spectacle of a Christian fulminating against another’s “sin” is painful to me. Such behavior leads inevitably to Pride, and to hypocrisy. It also is often a ruse: “the lady doth protest too much, methinks” (how many more high visibility Elmer Gantrys do we need to learn this lesson?) It’s none of my business, or yours, who anyone sleeps with at night. If a person has humanity and humility and seeks to love others with compassion and grace, they are all right with me. Let’s get over this “thing”, people. We’ve got much bigger fish to fry.

  19. Jim Foster says:

    I choose to make this brief as was requested. My Christian life is still a growing one. At nearly 70, I am constantly learning and understanding the teachings of God’ Word. In the same manner that there is no margin but to strive for a holy life, I am finding new ways to expand my thinking that there is no limit to God’s love or His grace. Thank you for this post and helping me (and I’m sure many others) to believe all of His Word and to apply It to all my life.

  20. Gustavo says:

    There was a dietary program aired between 2004 – 2007 called: “You are what you eat.” Although there may be some truth to that, it’s not altogether true because you can eat pumpkins all your life but you will never become a pumpkin. The fact is though that you can become something other then what you were created to be. Though there may be deformities at times, God created us male and female for the purpose of replenishing the earth.
    God did not create a fornicator: an idolater, an adulterer, an abuser, a homosexual, a thief, a coveter, a drunkard, a reviler or an extortioner. 2 Cor. 6:9b-10. But because of our sin nature we may be drawn to those sinful deeds. But we are not those things mentioned until we practice them. “But each one is tempted by his own lust, being drawn away and seduced by them. Then when lust has conceived, it brings forth sin, and sin when it is fully formed brings forth death.” James 1:14,15.
    My personal temptation could lead to being a drunkard. I can not find in Scripture that alcohol is forbidden, but drunkenness is forbidden. I can thoroughly enjoy a glass of wine or a rum and coke, and I have done that for a long time, but many times I’ve realized that I wanted that drink a bit sooner and a bit stronger. Sometimes I would make a vow to only do social drinking and not have any in the house, but that only worked for a while. Finally I have laid aside all alcohol drinking, not because I see it as being wrong but to protect myself from becoming a drunkard.
    I fully agree with Lyndon that we cannot change Scripture to suit our drawings because it is forever established in heaven, and that is where we want to invite souls to, being delivered from our sinful drawings, because God loves us.

  21. Mary Freeme says:

    There was a time when I would have been in agreement with Lyndon but Father took me on a journey of “Grace Revelation” – my life and perceptions of life lived by others including homosexuals changed radically…. who knows how Father works? – I am always reminded of ‘Job’s comforters’ – I choose not to be one. Remember Father looks on the heart – do you not think He is able to touch the heart of a homosexual who has a ‘heart after Him’ the same way He touched yours or my heart?

    Our journey is not over until we take our last breath – why debate – express your opinion but keep in mind ‘God looks on the heart’….

  22. KC says:

    Wow Yancey I would agree that Christ is no respecter of persons he was in the darkest of places and around the ones who others counted as nothing.

  23. Lyndon says:

    It seems that most of the members of GCN want to pick and choose what part of the bible they want to believe and live by. James wants to suggest that Paul was wrong on his writings. A fine example of picking and choosing what you want to believe. If we believe one author was wrong who is to say the others are wrong too including Jesus.
    As a born again Christian I can’t choose to believe what I want to about the bible according to my lifestyle. It is written for us all and it doesn’t make exceptions for any sin. Just because Jesus hung out with sinners and he didn’t directly address homosexuality doesn’t make OK. Jesus had one purpose in his life and that was to be a sacrifice for our sins and give us the opportunity to accept his sacrifice for our sins and be saved. That was a high price for him to pay and we are expected to live a life that requires us to make certain changes in our life when it comes to sin. Paul makes it very clear that homosexuality is not acceptable and compatible with Christianity. The bible is clear about that and just because you don’t like it and you rationalize it doesn’t make it acceptable to God. There are a lot of sins that the Jesus didn’t address but the whole context of the bible teaches us it is wrong.
    I was in the KKK when God saved me. He changed me heart and I immediately knew it was wrong to hate other people based on their skin color. There are those today who use the bible to justify their bigotry just because Jesus didn’t address and that don’t make it OK. I was raised in a home of bigotry, but does that give me a right to show partiality to minorities? Absolutely not! Do those feeling still exist? Yes to some degree but I know it’s wrong and I have to put my desires aside regardless of what they are and do what God has me to do.
    To say that you are a homosexual and you can serve God in that capacity is like me saying I am a drunk but I will still serve God. The bible says there will be no drunks in heaven. You can like it or not but your, nor my opinion will change the truth of God’s word.
    I will love you just as much as any other person like God teaches me to but to compromise on what he says is doing everyone a great injustice. I sin everyday myself but I have to repent of those sins and I don’t get to challenge God on what he says. It’s the “straight and narrow road” we all have to follow.

  24. Trevor says:

    For over a decade I served my country as an Infantry soldier in three conflict zones overseas before marrying and deciding to leave the service for my wife’s peace of mind.
    At my weding, my best man at my side was Tony, a man I have known since I was twenty and I have known all that time that he was gay (I am now fifty).
    He has known he was gay since puberty and has struggled with the conflict between his desires and his faith for all his life. I know I have watched the struggle.
    As a commited christian from one of the most homophobic institutuions in the world, (the Army) it seems strange to me that I never feel repulsed or even uncomfortable around Tony and I consider him my closest friend next to my wife.
    Over the years, I have pored over the Bible, prayed for Tony and read everything that has come my way on the subject of homosexual tendancies suffered by christians with not even the glimmer of an answer to offer him.
    Tony is now and has always been the best male friend I have in this world, I would trust him with my life and with my childrens lives without hesitation.
    With all I have learned I can now only refuse to condem or condone something I can not begin to fathom and I refuse to be his judge. That task I leave to our creator while praying for my own wisdom in the matter.
    To those of you who offer only judgmental retoric I urge you to pick up a stone, hold it in your hands, and consider what you would feel like on the recieving end, before you are so glib with your Biblical quotes.
    Watching Tony in his daily fight with his self imposed celibacy that sometimes fails him.

    I wish I had his strength.

  25. charyl :) says:

    I think there’s that usual dilemma in balancing truth and grace in terms of controversial aspects of Christianity like this. But when I look to Jesus and how He has exemplified that kind of balance, I see that something can be done. In striving to imitate the Lord Jesus Christ, I do exert effort to love my gay friends, and value them as individuals and human beings whom Christ has also shed His blood for. I say ‘exert’ because I have to admit it doesn’t come naturally, especially considering my fundamental church background. I genuinely listen to their concerns, and tell them I pray for them and their needs. I think that’s the least I can do, especially that they see no need of Christ in their lives (yet). But they know I don’t support their choices, especially about having a same-sex relationship. I still don’t have sufficient knowledge how to properly view this kind of relationship in terms of the Christian faith, but I’m assured that each of us will make an individual accounting to the Lord one day. I know I cannot change my friends according to my ways and convictions, but I can always point them to Jesus, and hoping that in Him, they will find the most essential thing in life: God’s love. So yeah, I agree that a true Christian needs to build bridges, not walls.

    I thank the Lord for Philip Yancey, for I was greatly helped in this area through his book, What’s So Amazing About Grace?.

  26. James Nealson says:

    Dialog is needed. opens is needed. Finger pointing and judging separate. Jesus was constantly seeking the out cast and the reviled to bring them in. That’s what changed lives. However, as you already know, he had harsh words for the religious leaders that sought to burden people and keep other out all together. Regardless of your feelings and beliefs about homosexuality, there needs to be understanding. I know what this is like, you see, before I came out, I was always saying negative things about gays. I said some mean things. I did not have understanding. I know Jesus loves me. He has shown me many things to change in my life, but my sexual orientation was not one of them.
    Bridges, not walls.

  27. Stacy says:

    Controversy stems from the fact that people can pull scripture from any part of the Bible to argue for or against any side. I’m pretty sure gays are well aware of the scripture that condemns their actions. As Christians, we need not beat a dead horse. Only one who is sinless may cast judgement; the rest of us are simply asked to love one another.

    I have only recently heard of the GCN. I love their mission to not pass judgement one another, but to bring praise to the one who made them in His likeness.

  28. Steve says:

    Loving them is fine, but if you don’t mention that they need to repent, then shame on you. If this group is a group trying to get victory over their sinful desires, then that is one thing, but if they are a group that has accepted homosexuality as being compatible with Christianity then the only real starting and ending place is giving them the gospel.

    To claim that you aren’t a theologian and will leave this topic to others tells me that you like to be looked at as a theologian when you write books on prayer and grace but that when it might hinder your popularity you take the easy way out.

    You can still speak the truth in love.

  29. James Nealson says:

    I’m glad I was able to find this blog. I found two other sits and desired to engage in a dialog with the people that were posting. I ended up being blocked by one site and the other site was taken down, probable because of my posts. There needs to be dialog.

    I heard a quote today that said ‘spirituality is having an open heart.’ Then I thought, religion (religiosity) is having a closed heart to all but one’s own dogma. I no longer refer to myself as religious. I am a spiritual being. I also happen to be gay, which directly affected how I began to relate to others in the faith realm. Because I was rejected by long time friends, kicked out of their homes, and (for all practical purposes) kicked out of the church that I enjoyed attending. This was all very hurtful. So, to be part of an origination like GCN was a blessing. Then to go to the conference and hear evangelical/fundamentalist speakers seeking to build bridges instead of walls, was an amazing thing. Thank You! Philip Yancey.

  30. Charlotte says:

    Thank you so much Philip, for showing us that that spreading the Good News is more important than controversy!

    I recognize Peter’s story. After years of searching, reading, thinking and praying, I recently decided to take the leap and convert to Christianity. I agree with Fran: the Jesus I learned about, the Jesus that convinced me to become a Christian, talked about love, compassion, forgiveness, loving the Lord and loving our neighbors. I can’t know for sure what God thinks about this ‘issue’, so I look to Jesus for guidance.

    I’m in a loving, monogamous, committed relationship. I vowed to love and honor another human being in good days and bad – I hope with all my heart that matters more than whether one of us has a Y chromosome.

  31. Diana Hryhorka says:

    Thank you so very much for your willingness to be a true disciple of our Lord Jesus Christ. Once again I`m so thankful for your book “What`s so Amazing about Grace“. You are living it out. God bless you and I will continue to pray that the Lord will give you much grace as you take the Good News to those who need Him.

  32. Ramon Ducos says:

    homosexuality is a sin,God condemns,yes,Jesus hates it but not the homosexuals or the gays/lesbians,He loved them so much that He wants friendship with them.I was an immoral before,and I had also homosexual relationships before,when I became a christian,I decided to reached out to those immoral slaved men and to those prisoners of homosexuality,I befriended them,shared the bible to them,I helped some of them become christians,but eventhough they are already christians,I realized that homosexuality isnt easy to get rid of,because it’s already a part of their lives,it’s just like a program that should be reprogrammed,not in one day,or in one week,or in one month,but everyday,everyday hours,every minutes.I learned that they need someone to helped them,someone whom they can opened up everytime they’re tempted to fall to same sex.I researched on it,I’ve learned that they needed someone to walked with them,because they cant do it by themselves,that they need someone not to condemned them,but to loved them,to accept them as brothers and sisters in Christ.all of us we’re sinners,even you’re not gay or immoral,but if you’re prideful,lazy,self-righteous,worldly,money-lover,and so on,so who are we to condemn them or to ignore them,afterall,Jesus loved us while we were sinners.maybe the problem isnt the sin,but the way christians respond to a gay/lesbian christian,it’s about the character,a godly character.me,I’ll keep on helping them change,I cant make them a real man,but I can let them feel that they’re my brothers and that I believed they can change.

  33. Meabh says:

    I’m tuning into this discussion from Ireland.

    I’ve read your books over the years Philip and I can’t begin to describe what a blessing they have been to me as I’ve wrestled with my faith. I think what makes your books so effective is their raw honesty.

    So having just come accross this I’m very moved that you had the integrity to speak God’s grace and love to a painfully rejected community, even though you must have known it would have a backlash on you.

    As we’d say here in Ireland “Fair play to ya!” It took a lot of courage.

  34. Rebecca says:

    Hi, Philip

    I, too, very much enjoyed hearing you speak at the conference. And if anyone who thinks that a person cannot be gay and a true, spirit-filled Christian, they should have been there for those 3 days. God was truly at work.

    I am the one who shared my own “neck-breaking” story with you after the talk. I am still working on your wonderful audio-reading of “How Good is God” and I so much appreciate your thoughts on grace and your very personal and honest accounts of your own pain, both physical and spiritual (I’m currently on the part about your experiences at Wheaton, I think). The church needs more people like you to speak out about how we are all wounded and broken in so many ways and how God’s love and grace transcends all.

    You may find it interesting that there was a very long and heated thread on the GCN forum about your talk. Someone posted notes from the talk (without comment, just pretty accurately portrayed what you said) and many (most of whom were not there) latched on to the first bit…one area of common ground is that we are all sinners/fallen…and took that to be more of the same “love the sinner, hate the sin” sort of doublespeak we hear so often. Those of us who were there were positive that what you said was nothing of that sort. But, like you said, it’s a good thing to get hate mail from both sides. It means you’re on the right track.

    I am so grateful that GCN invited you and that you agreed to come. You have blessed so many lives and that day you blessed about 400 more. Thank you and keep up the good work!

    Rebecca

  35. dorothy obligar says:

    i am truly blessed with Mr. Yancey’s inspirational books and videos… i just finished our session on ‘The Jesus I Never Knew’ which led me into deeper understanding who really Jesus was and how He works His love unconditionally for all mankind regardless of who they are.

  36. sue says:

    A good blog post, so glad you are speaking to GCN.

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