On Coming Out image

On Coming Out

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There are a number of ways of thinking about Vicky Beeching's recent announcement that she is gay and intends to live that way. Here are four articles, all written in the last week or so, that shed some interesting light on it (though not all of them were written specifically about her).

First, here’s Ed Shaw:

We do need to accept that, embarrassingly, the Church has not always got everything right in this area. But tragically it is Vicky who is wrong on the morality of gay sexual relationships. We are simply not at liberty to change what the Bible says about sex being for the marriage of a man and a woman (Genesis 1-2). We cannot alter this God-given picture of the eternal marriage of Christ and his Church (Revelation 21-22) with unity in difference at its heart. Jesus didn’t – despite all his counter-cultural actions and words to women, tax-collectors, lepers and Gentiles – and neither should we. Vicky, and others like her, are wrong to try and change the essence of what the Church has always taught in this area.

So we need to hear Vicky’s story, but then listen to other same-sex attracted Christians who have a different story to tell. Our stories rarely make the national newspapers or TV news, but large numbers of us want to remain faithful to the teaching of the Bible. We do this, not only because we believe that God’s word is good, but also because, in the end, we believe it signposts the route to human flourishing – and to life itself.

Luke Davydaitis responds to the common phrase that “Jesus loves you just the way you are”:

If you’re a Christian, God doesn’t love you just the way you are: He had to die because of the way you are. But because He loves you, He did that. And because He loves you, He’s working with you to make you more like Jesus and less like you currently are. This is a process of change which will be completed when we pass from this life to the next ... That is infinitely better than being loved – and left – just as you are.

More directly, Robert George compared her narrative to Plato’s third form of atheism:

The mortal threat to Christianity today—and, I would venture to say, to Judaism and (in the West at least) Islam as well—does not come from Plato’s first and second forms of atheism, but from the third. Few believers are likely to be led astray by the arguments or personal example of Richard Dawkins, for example. Dawkins, after all, presents arguments; he doesn’t simply appeal to emotion. And the defects of those arguments aren’t difficult to see. Many believers, however, are being led, as Victoria Beeching has been led, into Plato’s third form of atheism—belief in an imaginary God made in the image and likeness of man, as man is conceived in the pseudo-religion of expressive individualism and me-generation liberalism. It is a most convenient “God” who is always willing to say, “do whatever you feel like doing, darling; I love you just the way you are.”

Finally, Matt Jones brings a powerful and pointed challenge to those who hold to traditional sexual ethics:

One of the things that I find beautiful about the “traditional sexual ethic” as I see it expressed by people who have thought through it extensively is how it is about so much more than just what certain people do or don’t do with certain parts of their bodies. Rather, it is a sweeping yet grounded reimagining of what it means to be embodied beings in mutual communion with each other for the sake of human flourishing and the demonstration of the gospel in our particular contexts. In other words, it is just as much about churches and communities addressing their trenchant sins of inhospitality and marginalization as it is about an individual’s stewardship of her mind and body.

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