“And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he (Jesus) said to them, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul?'” Mark 8:34-37
I suppose that Allberry’s answer is both no and yes.
No, in that God is not necessarily against a person afflicted with same-sex attraction (SSA). If God were against all people having any sort of evil tendency or imperfection, then He would be against every one of us and we’d all be without hope. Thankfully, that’s not the case as the God that is is clearly revealed in Scripture as fully free, capable, and of tremendous graciousness.
And yes, in that God hates all perversions and imperfections that afflict His creation, particularly in humans as those having solely been created with certain limited attributes reflective of Himself. Among the myriad imperfections of body, mind, and character is also that of SSA.
Allberry, a pastor in England who happens to have this particular proclivity, goes on to clarify a number of things, helpful both to those not similarly afflicted as well as those who are.
Some of his points, balanced and well-made, include:
– Same sex attraction is the proper term for homosexual proclivity, while gay has come to stand for those who indulge in that proclivity as a lifestyle and who take that as a main source of their identity.
– Having that particular proclivity does not necessarily (and should not) determine one’s identity, but rather is just one aspect of one’s being.
– Self denial applies to all who would be genuine followers of the God-man, Jesus of Nazareth, regardless of the particular proclivities or desires of each person, whatever those may be.
– Within its God-given context and boundaries, sexual activity is deeply and powerfully good and highly beneficial to individuals, couples, families, and societies.
– The intense pleasure of sexual activity is among the most powerful of God-designed experiences generously given for our enjoyment, to be experienced solely within the divinely authorized, clearly restricted context.
– The only proper context for sexual activity is in the permanent commitment and fidelity of two individuals of complementary gender in marriage.
– Procreation of the human species is generally meant to be a fundamental aspect of that divinely sanctioned union.
– The complementarity of genders in a marriage is meant to reflect the complementarity of the love of Christ (the God-man) for His church (his human bride).
– Sexual activity of whatever sort outside of that God-given context are serious perversions of His good gift and are highly destructive to individuals, couples, families, and societies.
– Human gender is of two fundamental, vastly different, but profoundly complementary sorts, deeply and inescapably ingrained in our DNA. We are what we are, gender wise, from conception to death and beyond.
– The Bible consistently and clearly rejects all sexual behaviors outside of its proper, sovereignly authorized context (marriage) as a sinful, idolatrous assertion of human autonomy, rebellious, self-indulgent, and ultimately destructive of the worth and value of a person (regardless of the attempts of some apologists to attack or perversely twist those teachings).
– Sexual sin of whatever sort, whether actual or imagined, has serious, potentially eternal, consequences for the individual, as does sin of any sort. Consequences of those activities inevitably spill over into wider society with a deleterious ripple effect on the ‘innocent’ and others.
– At some point, those who chose to continue in perverse, rebellious behavior (of whatever sort), are given free rein by God to continue unimpeded on their way to ultimate, unending destruction of body and soul.
– Commitment in unsanctioned relationships is intrinsically no more honorable than commitments among other sorts of unsanctioned relationships (i.e., ‘honor’ among thieves, etc.).
– We all live in a sub-optimal (fallen, painful, cursed) world that even now still glimmers with beauty, greatness, and majesty. Our struggle against and rejection of inborn evil proclivities is likely a strong positive indicator, though possibly not decisive, of our genuine spiritual condition.
– The proper response is to take our sins and problems to God in prayer, to learn to think clearly, accurately, biblically about our situation, and act consistently with that by the grace of God.
– Particular proclivities, unless fully yielded to, do not (and should not) truly define us as to our current or future nature nor disqualify us as pilgrims on the way to the heavenly city.
– Chaste mental and physical singleness, regardless of type of sexual attraction, is appropriate for some and has a number of strong positives.
– Christians need to respond to those afflicted with SSA with care, love, openness, compassion, understanding, and support, just as they want others to treat them with their needs and sinful proclivities.
– Like every other person, the primary need for all is to hear and understand God’s absolute, unchanging demand of absolute perfection, fulfilled only in the divine incarnation of Jesus of Nazareth and proclaimed to our saving benefit in the gospel of forgiveness of sin through the gift of repentant faith in the heaven-sent Son of God.
Well, that’s a long list for a short (but very condensed) book. There’s much more of value in it than I can list here.
Positively, this book is well worth reading and is strongly recommended. Negatively, the small physical format makes it hard to read, underline, and take notes.
I received this book gratis and without conditions in exchange for a review by TheGoodBook Company and Cross-Focused Reviews – thank you.