An Open Letter to a Homosexual Individual

Dear homosexual friend,

effrrefrtI’m not writing this letter to you because I hate you, find you repulsive, or because I think you’re particularly more sinful than any other human being. I am writing you this letter as an opportunity for you to know and find depths of joy you might have only occasionally glimpsed in this life. I am writing so that you may know the quiet peace I posses in the midst of storms, that you may know the love that’s utterly unfathomable I experience almost daily, and that you might discover the fulfillment that comes with knowing one is doing exactly what the Lord desires for his precious people who are the very crown of his Creation. Jesus offers to you this day joy you cannot even comprehend.

There’s a story in the fourth Gospel that highlights this truth well. What is so odd within the account is the irony—Jesus, a first century rabbi, is talking to a woman. And she’s not just any woman. She’s a Samaritan woman with a past (John 4:16-18). Jesus asks the lady for a drink of water and she’s taken aback (vv. 7-9) because it was so uncommon for a man to talk to someone like her in the first century.  It was beyond taboo. It was downright dirty! Jesus uses the conversation to offer something more important though than physical water. Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” Jesus offers the lady something that will satisfy her deepest desire. He offers himself. He goes on within the gospel time and time again presenting the same voluptuous gift.

Many years ago I met this elusive figure that offers such a treasure and he gave to me what he promised to that lady by the well. I grew up as a fatherless child with a mother who tenaciously held her family together amidst a rocky life. Anger, bitterness, and disrespect defined my life in the realest sense. Yet, there was always this figure within the shadows haunting the South. He haunted even me. I had heard stories of this man who was once dead but lived who turned history toward its way and end. People told me about a man who spoke like no other person had ever spoken before. Then, I met him. I met him at a church filled with hateful people. I met him among a people that scared the hell out of me and the legalism right into me. It’s strange where you’ll find the Lord sometimes. Nevertheless, I met him. There I was into myself full of envy, full of broken and unfulfilled desires, full of everything wrong and he said one word. Just one. “Live!” And it was so. He said “live” and I was full. He spoke the word and I was new. Friend, Jesus offers that to you today.

You might be thinking “I know what your religion says about me.” And I don’t deny it friend. Christianity teaches that man, made in God’s image, is to reflect and magnify the righteousness of their Creator. It teaches that homosexuality is an aberration from what God truly desires for humanity. He created them for his glory and he wants them to flourish abundantly and homosexuality is included within a list of things that do not foster such a purpose. You need to understand that the One who gives those commands found in Scripture is the Resurrected One. Dying on a cross does not make you the king of the universe. Rising from the dead however totally strengthens your claim to the throne. Jesus of Nazareth went into the grave and came out victorious on the other side. No one else has ever accomplished such a feat and there’s authority vested in his words because of that.  There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which the Resurrected Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, ‘Mine! That includes human sexuality. If He made it and is sovereign over it, we must let him define the good and bad uses of our sexuality.

erwferf“How dare you call who I am wrong.” There’s the problem. The Christian message to you is that you’re infinitely more than your sexuality. You’re short-changing all that you are and all that you could be by defining yourself by that label. Furthermore, sin is neither a homosexual thing nor a heterosexual thing. It is a human thing. We all have fallen in many areas. Paul in Romans 1 builds this elaborate case that God has given all men knowledge of himself within them and within nature. But we have not cherished that knowledge as the highest of goods. We have spurned it by turning inwards and outwards instead of reflecting it upwards. Man is guilty of rejecting God’s revelation of Himself through the created realm and sinking into the miry depths of self-love and worship of creatures. We glory what we value most and it isn’t God. We glorify self instead of the Savior. The creature’s original impulse towards self-glorification ends in self-destruction. The refusal to acknowledge God as Creator ends in blind distortion of the creation. One Christian writer aptly writes, “The human problem isn’t just ignorance; it’s also stubborn pride. It’s not just oppression; it’s also corruption. That’s why newly liberated victims of oppression often end up oppressing others. The human problem isn’t just that we timidly conform to prevailing modes of life; it’s also that nothing human can jolt us out of our slump. Even a move to a pristine backwoods in British Columbia won’t save us because we carry our trouble with us. The real human predicament, as Scripture reveals, is that inexplicably, irrationally, we all keep living our lives against what’s good for us.” Sin is not just a homosexual problem. It’s very much a “me” problem. All have fallen short of God’s glory and all have turned toward themselves instead of to Him. Brother or sister, you’re wrong and so am I. Do not be offended that the Resurrected One desires to fix every broken part of you and me. That’s love.

efgfvertgThis is not the way it’s supposed to be. We were meant for communion, joy, happiness, love and a life of all things good but that’s not what we have. That’s not what we daily pursue in feeling, word, and deed. I do not deny that you may have had these fallen, homosexual desires for all long as you can remember. You may have had the inner proclivity to the same sex your whole life. That’s not offensive to me in the slightest because, for as long as I can remember, I have been fallen too. I do not struggle with that specific sin but sin has been with me since the very beginning. The Christian message does not require you deny your desires exist or your daily experience; it says what you desire is not always right. It says your desires are fallen and have turned inward on themselves. It says let someone do what you cannot do for yourself, implant new desires that honor God.

You’re likely thinking “if I have to not be myself to receive this joy, I don’t want it!” Friend, that’s not what I am asking you to become. I am not calling you away from yourself; I am calling you away to your true self, who you were meant to be all along. Sin has marred us in the most vindictive of ways. It tricks us with the most abrasive falsities. The battle against sin is one of belief. The battle is to recognize who God is and trust that what he says is actually right and true. Sin is always bound up with lies, empty promises, and dissatisfaction. It begins with a lie, a rationalization that the One who sits on the throne is unworthy and cannot ultimately offer true joy. It continues by teaching the one who is lied to that his unnatural desires are in fact natural and no one else has the right to say otherwise. It ends with the deceived one ultimately dying in the midst of lies without true, eternal joy. You die gorging yourself with mudpies in the slum when Someone else is holding out a four-course meal with steak by the sea. God is not calling people away from who they truly are. Your desires are fallen and not the sum total of who you were meant to be! He is calling people to be who they should be-truly image-bearing humans reflecting God’s virtues and existence. God’s ultimate goal for us is that we be truly conformed to the likeness of His Son in our person. He is on a mission to make us new by returning us to our former glory. He is creating a new humanity made after the image of Christ. This is what we should do and be.

fgnghBut you cannot do this by yourself. The Christian message has never been and will never be “God helps those who help themselves.” That’s bullshit in the highest of degrees. The Christian message is God helps those who cannot help themselves and those who turn away from themselves to Someone who is able.  In the fullness of time, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. God came himself in the face of Jesus Christ to do what we could not do, to keep a law we could not keep, to die a death we deserved to die, to be raised to life for justification and world in dire need of help, and much more. The Christian message is another has done what you could not do. Friend, I am not asking you to be a heterosexual so you may get to heaven. The opposite of homosexuality is not heterosexuality. It’s purity! John Piper writes, “Homosexual sinning, like all other sinning, is an echo of exchanging the glory of God for other things. So restore the sun of God’s glory to its place at the center of your soul and all the planets of your desires will begin to return to their God-given orbit.” I am asking you to reconsider not only your lifestyle but your other desires and actions bent towards self instead of Christ. I am asking you to consider that someone else is in a better position to define what we should be. Someone who is the sum total of all that is precious and good desires for you and I to be reflective of what is most excellent—Himself.

effvefThis is not and will not be easy. I cannot and will not lie to you and tell you this process of conformity to God’s image and will is painless or without its struggles. God is after a new humanity and there are others who are against such a reality. As one writer said, “This other war is the war not to conquer but the war to become whole and at peace inside our skins. It is a war not of conquest now but of liberation because the object of this other war is to liberate that dimension of selfhood which has somehow become lost, that dimension of selfhood that involves the capacity to forgive and to will the good not only of the self but of all other selves. This other war is the war to become a human being. This is the goal that we are really after and that God is really after. This is the goal that power, success, and security are often forlorn substitutes for. This is the victory that not all our human armory of self-confidence and wisdom and personality can win for us, not simply to be treated as human but to become at last truly human.” This journey, if you so decide to travel on, will be one full of groaning. You’ll groan and all creation will groan with you. Paul says that “For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. (Rom. 8:22-23)” We will groan because the process hurts but its necessary. But let me remind you that the one who begins this process is not a cosmic killjoy. He holds out eternal pleasures that are in his hands for those who would willingly go with him (Psa. 16:11; 73:25-26). Becoming human, truly human, is difficult but it is oh so joyful. I would not turn back the sands of time in my own life for a moment despite the difficulties of the process. Jesus has seemed to pour every part of me out time and time again only to mold it and fill it with a deeper capacity for new experiences of joy. That’s tough but it’s so good. Jesus said, “…everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or property [or even “honored” views of sexuality], for my sake, will receive a hundred times as much in return and will inherit eternal life.” What we give up is not even worth comparing to what will get in return now and will receive in the future.

I am sorry if I have failed to communicate well what God is after. I am also sorry if my brothers and sisters in the Church have treated you as if you do not have worth or dignity. We love you because God loves you. We want what He wants and it is to turn away from yourself to Him. Jesus said once that “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me.” But you must remember that the same person who said take up your cross also said “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” He loves you abundantly and truly desires to see you satisfied and whole. He desires to see us rest from the heavy burdens of your and my fallen desires. I hope this letter finds you well and causes you to think deeply on such things.

With love,

Austin

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5 responses to “An Open Letter to a Homosexual Individual

  1. I appreciate that you are emphasizing depravity as a universal human condition, which is a piece I think gets overlooked very frequently in evangelical discussions of this issue.

    Two thoughts:

    First, I think the paragraph about “becoming human” opens up a very dangerous door. The implication of this, whether you mean to imply it or not, is that people with same-sex/non-heterosexual orientation are not fully human. I don’t think you can effectively make a compassionate appeal to consider Christianity and apologize for the way LGBTQ people have been treated by many Christians while at the same time implying that they might not be fully human. You are undermining your own point by seemingly endorsing the foundation on which the very acts you are apologizing for have been based.

    Second, this entire letter assumes that you are speaking to a group of people who are not Christian. Its written to convince them that Christianity is not a threat to them, that’s its something they should embrace instead of clinging to a sinful identity. How would you address someone with same-sex orientation who professes to be a Christian? This isn’t as uncommon as you might think. I know literally dozens of people, both from “liberal” and “conservative” backgrounds, who fit this description. Many of them are tremendously more faithful than most other Christians I know, certainly more faithful than I am. They get the message of redemption, they strive to keep God at the center of their lives, they serve faithfully in their churches. What would you say to them about their sexual orientation? Or about their faith?

    • I’m not going to lie to you and say I was not expecting and looking forward to what you would have to say. I knew it was coming in some sense. That being said, here are some thoughts.

      Concerning the first point, within the context of the letter, I linked the quote from Fred Buechner about “becoming human” with conformity to the image of God (e.g. God’s ultimate goal for us is that we be truly conformed to the likeness of His Son in our person…process of conformity to God’s image…He is creating a new humanity made after the image of Christ…for you and I to be reflective of what is most excellent—Himself…etc.). Contextually, I think the Christian teaching of the Imageo Dei underlines biblical ethics. We are made in God’s image and are meant to be reflective icons of his nature both in who we are and what we do. I think from reading the letter above that I articulated that all people sin and thus become less like God (and in a way become less and less who we are meant to be). Sin is a process by which we turn inwards and outwards instead of upwards and reflect the wrong things (either ourselves or other parts of creation). Oddly, becoming less reflective of God is adversely becoming less human. This is a universal malady that Jesus Christ sought to remedy in his life, death, and resurrection. This is not merely a homosexual issue; this is a human issue. Therefore, the statements regarding “becoming human” cannot and should be interpreted to mean “you’re not a part of the human race…you’re an animal…you’re not equal with heterosexuals.” That’s just a bad reading. Pulled out of the letter, its plausible that I mean that. But, in light of the letter, the Christian tradition, and who I am, you know I don’t mean that.

      Concerning the second point, I actually have had close Christian friends who have struggled with same-sex desire for as long as they can remember. I actually wrote my letter with those precious friendships in mind. From the way I view Scripture and its veracity in what it teaches concerning homosexuality (again…everyone’s desires are wrong), I would and I have counseled others away from defining themselves merely by their sexual dispositions and desires. Christ must define who we are. I am more than my lust, more than my pride, and more than every other proclivity and predisposition to what Scripture says is wrong. Having those desires would not actually constitute that being right or wrong (I think this about other issues and morality). I recommend Wesley Hill’s book “Washed and Waiting: Reflections of Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality.” The second hyperlink above is to a paper written by Mark A. Yarhouse who is a Christian psychology professor. He gives various trajectories (or options) for those who find themselves with same-sex attraction. I prefer trajectory 3 (pg. 23). I hope my answers were clear. I appreciate the dialogue.

  2. Dear Austin,

    In my line of work (pushing carts in front of a grocery store), any meteorological rain or thunderstorm is enough to remind me of the peace I have obtained from being reconciled to my Creator, according to his will and at his own expense. Many customers become truly angry because their lives are so world-oriented that a rainstorm ruins their day.

    I didn’t find our Master at a church. I found him in the Gospels, and then expounded upon in the Letters.

    Austin, your ministry should not stop with people like me. Whenever I see and hear a pastor Christian group ranting about the sin of homosexuality, I like to remind them that divorce for any reason other than adultery is just as sinful, but is generally overlooked in institutional churches. I believe that Jehovah’s commandment “Do Not Commit Adultery” is applicable equally to all people, gay or straight, and that biblical marriage is the union of one man and one woman and therefore does not apply to gay people.

    While your letter is collegial (and I do sincerely appreciate that), I, as a person whom this letter concerns, exhort you to clarify to your readers a differentiation between homosexual temptation and then the resulting sinful practice. I believe that practicing homosexuality, just like masturbation, fails to fulfill Jehovah’s will for human multiplication, but this belief does not stop me from being attracted to other males. I continuously try to Pray the Gay Away, but as of yet, Jehovah has chosen, for whatever mysterious reasons he may have, not to remove this thorn from my side.

    The core of any prayer any of us can pray are the words the second thief spoke to Jesus between their respective crosses: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom!” (Luke 23:42).

    It is a traditional Hebrew idiom for prophets to write that Jehovah personally and directly caused and perpetrated events which were really planned and carried out by human hands, and which Jehovah really merely allowed to happen. This makes me think: Did Jehovah intentionally make me, a man, attracted to other men? No, I really don’t think so. But it happened anyway. I personally blame faulty genetics, but we could debate all night about that and such lengthy forensics won’t make me attracted to women. What, then, is a gay Christian to do in the mean time?

    Your fifth paragraph answers this question well. In certain rhetorical situations I would characterize myself as “A Christian and a child of God… who happens to be tempted by same-sex attractions.” Is this not an apt description of my current state?

    You wrote, “…The Resurrected One desires to fix every broken part of you and me.” I respectfully disagree. I have come to view my deeply-embedded thorn in the same way that I view Christian amputees: The perserverence of any Christian to continue trusting Jesus for salvation despite a physical or psychological disfigurement is an epic witness to non-believers. Perhaps this is why I have never heard of Jehovah miraculously restoring a lost arm nor leg. And perhaps this is why Jehovah has not, as of yet, made me attracted to females.

    Your second to last paragraph is a bit of a digression, and, while I agree with all of it, I might respond by citing Paul, where he tells us to “Work out [our] salvation with fear and trembling.” I take this to mean that while we can be sure of Jesus’ resurrection as the firstfruits and the eternal life it brings for us, we should never become cocky about our salvation, but, rather, should continuously thank Jehovah and Jesus for it, through our private words and through our Christian actions, and even throughout every minute of the day.

    As I read Alex’s comment, I recall how my having this particular thorn has necessitated that I challenge every aspect of institutional Christianity–I ask all of the inconvenient questions, and it has been my God-given mission to weed out the traditional lies and reconstruct Christianity, as the Bible explains it, from the ground up. If not for my particular thorn, I might have been a happy-go-lucky churchgoer. (Gasp!)

    As I read your response to Alex’s comment, I remember how concrete my perception of sin is: When I try to define the concept of sin, I choose not to think about some nebulous and abstract level of God-likeness. Rather, I think of sin as thinking or acting in a way that serves myself and necessarily hurts or detracts from someone else. God is love, and love means edifying other people, and not harming them.

    –A Homosexual Friend

    P.S.: There are several terms I could use to discuss homosexual persons: homosexual; gay; same-sex attraction (SSA); and so on. I like to use the blanket term “gay” because it’s easier to say and easier to type. I don’t believe such a label, as used only for forensic purposes, says anything about a person’s sexual activity, lust, associated sin, or lack of any of these thought patterns or behaviors.

    • Hey Chris,

      I really appreciate your comments. I do have some thoughts that I’ve mulled over today as I’ve reflected and prayed.

      You’re right. My ministry should not be to only or merely homosexuals (and it isn’t). My ministry is to all because all have sinned. Sin fundamentally is not an assault on the goodness and value of humanity. When King David committed adultery with Bathsheba which resulted in the shame of his kingship and the deaths of both his son and Uriah, he remarks “…Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight (Psa. 51:4).” David was not denying the social and individual repercussions of sin. He understood however that sin was disobedience and defiance to God. The disobeying of a command is not an arbitrary, trivial matter. It is a personal disdaining of the dignity and worth of God. John Piper rightly articulates this point well saying: What makes sin sin is not first that it hurts people, but that it blasphemes God. This is the ultimate evil and the ultimate outrage in the universe: the glory of God is not honored, the holiness of God is not reverenced, the greatness of God is not admired, the power of God is not praised, the truth of God is not sought, the wisdom of God is not esteemed, the beauty of God is not treasured, the goodness of God is not savored, the faithfulness of God is not trusted, the promises of God are not relied upon, the commandments of God are not obeyed, the justice of God is not respected, the wrath of God is not feared, the grace of God is not cherished, the presence of God is not prized, and the person of God is not loved. The infinite, all-glorious Creator of the universe, by whom and for whom all things exist, who holds every person’s life in being at every moment; is disregarded, disbelieved, disobeyed, and dishonored among the peoples of the world. That is the ultimate outrage of the universe. God, as the fountainhead and standard of all beauty and excellence in the universe, pursues with infinite passion and power that which is most glorious in the universe. He also punishes a failure to delight and reflect such a pursuit in his creatures. His holiness and righteousness requires he punish that which dishonors what is supremely lovely and worthy of total fidelity. Sin primarily is not merely an anthropocentric malady that causes social and ethical evils; it’s a theocentic crisis that causes the just punishment of God. Because of those truths, we must preach indiscriminately to all people regardless of the specific sin.I’m in agreement that adultery, divorce, and a host of other sins are terrible grievances against the dignity and preciousness of God.

      The letter is actually aimed at non-believing homosexual individuals. Its intent was evangelistic in some sense. It was not necessarily intended for people who consider themselves believers but struggle with same sex desire. That being said, as I have mentioned above, I’ve had Christian friends who struggle with the sin of homosexuality. They are faithful men who love Jesus Christ and have been saved through his sacrifice on our behalf. But, they will be the first to tell you that they are fallen. Those homosexual “desires” are a part of their sinful nature. It is not the way it’s supposed to be and they didn’t ask for them.
      The distinction that homosexual acts/behaviors are wrong but homosexual desires and affections are not does not reflect the full gamete of Scripture’s statements concerning that specific malady. One example again comes from Romans 1. Because of man’s rejection of God’s glory, God gives them over to dishonorable passions (vs. 26 εἰς πάθη ἀτιμίας). Dishonorable passions denote desires or affections that are twisted or opposed to the glory of God. The word is found in only three places in the New Testament and is associated with negative connotations (Rom. 1:26; Col. 3:5; 1 Thess. 4:5). The author goes on to give two examples of evil within the human sphere which elaborate on the moral disintegration that results from exchanging the glory of God for idolatry: lesbian and homosexual acts. Paul thought the desires that lead to the acts were just a wrong as the acts. This goes for every wrong desire. That being said, having those desires does not constitute the person as sinning. It is sinful because they themselves are sinners but it’s not “a” sin to have them. Temptation and fallen desires are common to all. Giving in to those temptations however is a sin. Everyone struggles with fallen desires if they’re truly believers. As my Greek professor said once, “if you’re not struggling with sin, you’re either God or lost.”

      I do think Christ desires to fix every broken part of you and me. However, that does not necessitate or mean he will fix it all completely within this life. Sanctification, or conformity to Christ’s image, is a lifelong process. Sanctification has a definite beginning at regeneration (Titus 3:5; 1 Cor. 6:11; Rom. 6:11-14,17-18), continues throughout your whole life (2 Cor. 3:18; Phil. 3:13-14; Heb. 12:1,14: Jas. 1:22; 1 Pet. 1:15), is completed at death for our souls and when the Lord returns for our bodies (Heb. 12:23; Rev. 21:27), and is never finished in this life (Jas. 3:2; 1 John 1:8; 1 Kings 8:46; Ecc. 7:20; Matt. 6:11-12). You may war until the day you die against something but Scripture makes it clear God will finish what he started. Paul said “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (Phil. 1:6)” It may be the case that same sex desires for many people may be with them until God bestows upon them their resurrection body at his return. We should always fight though and presuppose holiness and not sin.

      The Christian man who struggles with same sex desire is to do what every other Christian man is commanded to do: love Christ and be killing sin. Sanctification includes two things: mortification and vivification. Mortification is dying to self and sin. It is the killing of sin. Paul said in Romans 6:11-13 that “So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.” Vivification is coming alive to righteousness in Christ. It is the gazing upon beauty and being transformed into its likeness. Again Paul said in 2 Cor. 3:17-18 that “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” The same commandments apply to all sinners. Your statements about resisting sin and unbelievers seeing that are dead on! When people see us resisting temptation because something (or actually someone) is more precious and pleasurable to us, they will begin to wonder why.

      The second to last paragraph is not much of a digression from my standpoint. It’s summarized as follows: Conformity to Christ is difficult, God is seeking people to be fully alive and fully in his image, sanctification results in difficult experiences that will cause us to groan along with all of creation, God however promises joy in this life and the next, and basically God will reward the one who truly walks out the Christian life to the end with eternal pleasures. There’s no arrogance in those truths. In fact, I’d argue they are necessary promises that sustain the pursuit of God on a day to day basis. You quoted a portion from Philippians in response. I’m not sure what you meant by it. Paul’s statements in Phil. 1:12 are not meant to enjoin the believer to pull up his bootstraps and work for God to be finally saved by himself. It is not true that “Salvation is by grace through faith but holiness is by my own willpower, self-effort, or my white-knuckled attempt to please the God of grace.” Justification is by grace through faith and sanctification is by struggle with grace through faith. In fact, Paul’s statements in verse 12 are juxtaposed with verse 13 which says God works in and through us. The apostle is merely again pointing out a truth concerning conformity to Christ. Within the holiness process, God AND man cooperate synergistically: God initiates and brings about the desire for holiness for His glory (1 Thess. 5:23; Phil.2:13; 1 Cor. 6:11) and we give our habits of godliness to that same end (Phil. 2:12; Rom. 6:4; Heb.12:1). The sanctification process effects our whole being: in our knowledge ( Col. 1:10, 3:10; Phil. 1:9; Rom. 12:2; 2 Cor. 10:5), in our emotions (Gal. 5:22; 1 Pet.2:11; Rom. 6:17), in our will (Phil. 2:13), in our spirits (2 Cor. 7:1, 34), and in our bodies (1 Thess. 5:23; 1 Cor. 6:19-20).

      We in fact agree more than we disagree from what I have read from your comments on homosexuality. I recommend Yarhouse’s paper that I referenced above and also Wesley Hill’s book (Washed and Waiting). In fact, if you’ll email me your address, I’ll personally send you Wesley’s book without strings attached. I’d like to also email concerning something I think is actually 100% vital in the Christian’s pursuit of holiness—believing and affirming true things about Christ. As an evangelical Christian, I am going to counsel the believer who struggles with same-sex desires to be satisfied in Christ in such a way that they do not want to fulfill those other desires. In fact, I think sanctification for the individual is wrapped up in this. Sam Storms said “What is the key to holiness?-Eating and drinking and enjoying and delighting in all that God is for you in His Son. The key to holiness is falling in love with Jesus.” Someone cannot be satisfied in Christ in such a way to want to avoid the deep reservoirs of sinful desires if they do not appreciate and affirm who that all satisfying Christ is. Biblical faith affirms all that the Bible teaches about Jesus Christ. John Piper said, “When you have faith in Jesus, you’re satisfied in the glorious deity of Christ. You’re satisfied in the humble, sinless, virgin-birth humanity of Jesus. You’re satisfied by the universe-creating, miracle working power of Jesus. You’re satisfied in the covenant-keeping, law-fulfilling righteousness performing perfection providing obedience of Jesus. You’re satisfied by the wrath-bearing, justice satisfying, sin-atoning, death of Jesus. You’re satisfied by the death-defeating, devil-destroying, heaven opening, resurrection of Jesus. And you’re satisfied by the Sovereign, interceding, ever-present, never leaving us alone triumphant reign of Jesus at His Father’s right hand.” I think Piper is right because he’s writing about what the Scriptures articulate concerning the person of Jesus of Nazareth. If you’re a Jehovah’s Witness who affirms standard Jehovah’s Witness Christology, we have a major doctrinal issue. You could call it the main elephant in the room. If you don’t mind, we could discuss this further via email or some other appropriate medium (facebook/phone call/ etc). I will even send you some books specifically on the deity of Christ if you’d like them.

      Again, thank you Chris for your kind and thoughtful comments on this blog. They really did cause me to think and reflect deeper on these issues.

      • I would indeed appreciate any texts you can give me, either online or print-based. Please e-mail me at chris.shelley@yahoo.com for further discussion on this and other topics. I appreciate all the time you’re putting into my education and growth in Christ and godliness.

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