Jesus ate with homosexuals, so we should be accepting of them. That is the argument of the progressive gay militant propaganda machine that historically the Church found so absurd that it received little attention inside the ranks of orthodoxy. What the Church has failed at, however, is preparing for an inside assault on biblical theology and defending against intrusive militant gays that have infiltrated not only the pews, but the pulpits. When we look at the landscape of the Evangelical Church today, one cannot deny that it is radically different than it used to be.
Today, the attack on biblical orthodoxy is not from the typical atheists, feminists, and homosexuals you would typically see at women’s marches and pride parades — it’s from various ministries within the ranks of the Church that are shifting the paradigm with gay propaganda masquerading as Christian thought. The subtle changes slowly introduced into mainstream Evangelicalism are hardly recognized and any objection to them are generally met with fierce opposition.
One of these groups — in fact, probably the most notorious — is Living Out. Led by a gay Anglican priest, Sam Allberry, the ministry has made deep inroads into the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) as well as the Prebyterian Church in America (PCA). Through its various partnerships with outlets such as The Gospel Coalition and the SBC Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), Living Out has effectively introduced an entirely new dogma on homosexuality that would have the Apostles turning over in their graves.
Living Out has imported a serious error into the Evangelical Church, one that denies the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ on a multi-faceted level. That is, they teach that sexual-orientation is something that most people are stuck with, even after salvation. This teaching denies two important aspects of biblical orthodoxy — that 1.) aberrant sexual-orientation, which they refer to as same-sex attraction, is sinful, and 2.) that it is something that is something within the scope of the power of the gospel to change.
The famous Puritan, John Owen wrote in his book, The Mortification of Sin,
He can make the dry parched ground of my soul to become a pool and my thirsty barren heart as springs of water. Yes he can make this habitation of dragons this heart which is so full of abominable lusts and fiery temptations to be a place of bounty and fruitfulness unto Himself
This quote accurately sums up the exact doctrine of regeneration that Living Out denies. Consider what Sean Doherty writes in this article,
We believe that attempting to change someone’s sexual orientation sends a number of potentially damaging messages. It sets people up for guilt and failure, and can be a distraction from more worthwhile goals. Of course, people of all sexual orientations may benefit from counselling and psychotherapy for all sorts of other reasons. Lots of us carry emotional baggage. Gay or same-sex attracted people are no different in this respect. But our sexual orientation is not a sign that we need counselling morethan anyone else. We therefore believe that counselling or psychotherapy will be helpful when it aims at helping people towards self-acceptance and good psychological and emotional health in general, and not on changing someone’s sexual orientation.
Doherty insists that homosexuals are no worse off than heterosexuals and that the goal of psychotherapy should be aimed “self-acceptance.” But doesn’t the gospel of Jesus Christ call us to deny ourselves, pick up our cross, and Follow Jesus? (Luke 9:23) Of course, what we see missing from the entire website is a call to repentance from what the Bible describes as “dishonorable passions (Romans 1:26).”
Further, Doherty writes,
Attempting to change someone’s sexual orientation assumes that being gay is somehow more problematic than being straight. We believe that heterosexuality as we encounter it in this world is just as fallen as homosexuality. If a person changes from lustful desire towards people of the same sex to lustful desire towards people of the opposite sex, that is in no sense an improvement.
Here, he is equivocating and equating heterosexuality with heterosexual lust. He then tries to compare this with homosexual lust and asserts they are the same thing. This is simply absurd and unbiblical. The Bible is clear that heterosexual attraction is natural and normal — it is not sinful. However, homosexual attraction is unnatural, abnormal, and sinful. This is the crux of Romans 1:18-32 — that homosexuality is being “given over.”
Living Out, Sam Allberry, and all of those associated with this ministry relentlessly promote the idea of “gay celibacy.” This movement is completely foreign to the true biblical gift of celibacy. Celibacy is reserved for a very small fraction of people, chosen by God, for the purpose of devoting their lives to a certain ministry. Paul, himself, is a prime example of this calling. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 7:8-9,
To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single, as I am. But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
Celibacy is not a cure for a sinful desire that is to be used to mask the temptations and dishonorable affections of those experiencing deviant sexual attractions, nor has the Church ever taught this notion. Paul is clear that the God-given solution for the human need for intimacy is a monogamous marriage between a man and a woman. Allberry, who describes himself as one who has “sexual, romantic and deep-emotional attractions to people of the same sex” wants us to believe that celibacy is the answer. Though Allberry’s passions are perverted, God calls us to repentance — to deny ourselves and to follow Christ.
Sean Doherty again insists that the Church should be a “welcoming” and “affirming” place for homosexuals. In a video he posted on Living Out, he says,
I found the church to be a deeply supportive and affirming place. I was nurtured, given responsibility in ministry, and encouraged towards ordination. It is undeniable and indefensible that in the church there has been prejudice and even mistreatment of people because of their sexuality. But my experience has convinced me that this prejudice and mistreatment does not come from believing what the Bible says about marriage and sex.
In conjunction with Tim Keller of The Gospel Coalition, Living Out has doubled down on the idea that churches should embrace this paradigm with homosexuals and has put out The Living Out Church Audit — a ten-question true/false pamphlet designed to audit your church for its level of homosexual inclusiveness. While all of the questions on this audit are troubling and designed to minimize the sin of homosexuality, some of the most troubling questions on this audit endorsed by Keller are,
- Your church family meetings include people who could be
labelledLGBTQI+/ are same-sex attracted.
- A godly Christian’s sexual orientation would never prevent them from exercising their spiritual gifts or serving in leadership in your church
- God’s gifts of either singleness or marriage are equally promoted, valued and practically supported in your church family’s life together.
- No-one would be
pressurisedinto expecting or seeking any “healing” or change that God has not promised any of us until the renewal of all things.
Ed Shaw, another writer at Living Out explains that though he has sexual attractions towards other men, he believes that his attraction is “very natural” and normal and can be channeled into something non-sinful. He writes,
I need to stop seeing male beauty as a loaded pistol aimed destructively at me and instead as something that points me positively elsewhere. I need to respond to it better and to do that I think I need to understand how beauty works a little better.
Part of this is, I think, a growing realisation that my response to male beauty is, at one level, very natural. In desiring a beautiful man, in wanting to become one with him, I am responding to real beauty as all human beings tend to whenever, wherever, they discover it in any overwhelming form.
These words are not Christian. These words completely deny the power of the gospel to turn from sin and turn to Christ. Men desiring other men is not natural and is actually described as completely unnatural in Romans 1:18-32.
Clearly, we can see the effect and slow drift from biblical orthodoxy in the realm of sexual immorality through this ministry. Allberry, Doherty, Shaw, and all of the others at Living Out have one clear goal in mind — to normalize same-sex attraction. Perusing through Living Out’s website, one can see that the vast numbers of stories, blogs, and video presentations of supposed Christians who experience same-sex attraction are still clearly enslaved to their sin. You can see it in the way they carry themselves, you can hear it in the way they talk — and in many, if not most cases are indicative of unrepentance.
Yet, this ministry is now part and parcel for mainstream evangelicalism. The Southern Baptist Convention and The Gospel Coalition — a tightly-bonded coalition of New Calvinists from both the Baptist and Presbyterian spectrum — have fully embraced Living Out and its teachings. Sam Allberry is now a featured writer at The Gospel Coalition and has spoken at Southern Baptist events. Living Out has become the face of the new Evangelical movement of homosexual inclusivity and has radically departed from the historic, biblical position on sexual immorality.