Q&A with a same-sex attracted pastor—Sam Allberry.

I recently moderated a Q&A with Sam Allberry where he fielded questions from me and from students (see above). Sam is a same-sex attracted Christian, and a faithful brother. I cannot overstate how grateful I am for his life and testimony. The Lord has raised him up for our time. If you haven’t yet read Sam’s book, you need to. It’s titled Is God Anti-Gay? (Questions Christians Ask).

Sam delivered three messages to our students before the Q&A:

  • “Sam’s Story”
  • “What the Bible Teaches about Homosexuality”
  • “Gospel-Ministry to the Same-Sex Attracted”

You can listen to all three of these at the website of The Center for Gospel and Culture.  I think they are all fantastic, but I really appreciated the first one (“Sam’s Story”) which is a mixture of personal testimony and biblical exhortation. Don’t miss it.

I’ve listed below the questions that Sam answers in the Q&A and where they occur in the video above. Continue Reading →

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Is the church failing gay Christians?

Over the weekend, I listened to a radio broadcast out of the U.K. hosted by Justin Brierley titled “Is the church failing gay Christians?” The program includes voices from all sides of the issue: Steve Chalke, Ed Shaw, Rosaria Butterfield, and Jayne Ozanne (Butterfield’s portion is pre-recorded). If you are familiar with these names, you know that the viewpoints represented here are widely divergent. On the one hand, you have Shaw and Butterfield arguing for the Christian view. On the other hand, you have Chalke and Ozanne arguing for a non-Christian view. You can download it here or listen below.


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Two things struck me about this conversation: Continue Reading →

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Dear Gay Community: Your Kids Are Hurting

Heather Barwick was raised by her mother and her lesbian partner, and Barwick loves them both. Nevertheless, she says that her childhood left her “hurting.” In a poignant piece for The Federalist, she writes:

Growing up, and even into my 20s, I supported and advocated for gay marriage. It’s only with some time and distance from my childhood that I’m able to reflect on my experiences and recognize the long-term consequences that same-sex parenting had on me. And it’s only now, as I watch my children loving and being loved by their father each day, that I can see the beauty and wisdom in traditional marriage and parenting.

Same-sex marriage and parenting withholds either a mother or father from a child while telling him or her that it doesn’t matter. That it’s all the same. But it’s not. A lot of us, a lot of your kids, are hurting. My father’s absence created a huge hole in me, and I ached every day for a dad. I loved my mom’s partner, but another mom could never have replaced the father I lost.

I predict that we will be hearing more stories like these going forward. The sexual revolutionaries have been telling us that there is no need to worry about kids growing up apart from their mother or father. “Nothing to see here. Move along.” And I am sure that they really believe the line they have been selling.

But thinking doesn’t make it so. And no matter how much the revolutionaries protest to the contrary, children do still need a mom and a dad. As surely as water will wet us and as fire will surely burn, children need what same-sex parenting by definition deprives them of. And it is a fool’s errand to think that our culture can somehow sow to the wind without reaping the whirlwind. Articles like this one are but the initial breezes of a looming storm.

[World Magazine featured Barwick in a recent story about the impact of same-sex parenting. Read it here: “The Kids Are Not Alright.”]

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CT article says the “Pill” is potentially abortifacient

Christianity Today continues its controversial series on contraception. Yesterday, it was a post from Rachel Marie Stone repristinating the legacy of racist eugenicist Margaret Sanger. Today’s contribution comes from a physician giving an overview of the different types of contraceptive devices that Christians have to choose from. What caught my eye in this article is that the author admits that the destruction of a fertilized egg is a potential mechanism of action for at least three of the five methods she lists: (1) the “Pill,” (2) IUD’s, and (3) emergency contraception. Continue Reading →

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An exercise club allows men into women’s locker rooms, and vice versa

This is one that you will likely have to see to believe. So I encourage you to watch the video above.

In short, here’s what the report says. Yvette Cormier was in the dressing room at her exercise club “Planet Fitness” last month when she saw a man enter the women’s locker room. Cormier was unsettled about this, so she immediately informed management. After hearing her concerns, Planet Fitness explained that the man is transgender and identifies as a woman. They told her that Planet Fitness allows any man who sincerely self-identifies as a woman to make use of the women’s locker room. Continue Reading →

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Margaret Sanger’s legacy is not salvageable, so let’s not try.

Rachel Marie Stone has an eye-popping piece at Christianity Today arguing that Margaret Sanger was not as bad as pro-life people have made her out to be. Never mind that Sanger was a racist eugenicist and the founder of Planned Parenthood. Stone argues that Sanger points us to the humane uses of contraception, and we should be thankful for that part of her legacy.

I don’t think that I am the only pro-life evangelical who will find this utterly unconvincing. In fact, I don’t think I’ll be the only one to be scandalized by this. Sanger’s legacy has a body-count. The attempt to salvage Sanger’s “good” by downplaying Sanger’s “bad” doesn’t pass the sniff-test. It would be like saying, “Yes, that slavery thing was pretty bad, but look at all the wonderful cotton that came from it.”

On top of that, it’s more than a little strange to hear an evangelical echo long-standing feminist tropes defending contraception on the grounds that it “reduces the number of unintended pregnancies and the need for abortion.” And there are grounds for questioning Stone on this very point. Abby Johnson offers a powerful counterpoint, arguing “Sorry folks. Contraception access increases abortions. And here’s the proof.” Johnson offers a key statistic:

Here’s a statistic from the Guttmacher Institute, Planned Parenthood’s research arm. This stat makes Planned Parenthood look terrible, so I can’t imagine that this is not accurate. They have absolutely nothing to gain by putting this out there: “More than half of women obtaining abortions in 2000 (54%) had been using a contraceptive method during the month they became pregnant.”

How is it that abortion supporters understand that birth control does not reduce abortion, yet pro-lifers don’t? Birth control was created so that we could separate sex from procreation. How do we not get that, pro-lifers? When you separate the act of sex from babies, of course abortions occur.

If the Guttmacher Institute says that the majority of women seeking abortion in the United States are using birth control, then that raises serious questions about that aspect of Stone’s argument as well.

In any case, it’s a little surprising to see any defense of Margaret Sanger on the Christianity Today website. No matter how you dress it up, Sanger’s racism and eugenics were and are indefensible. Her legacy in Planned Parenthood—the nation’s largest abortion provider—has been notoriously bloody. I just can’t imagine why anyone would offer a defense. Perhaps it makes sense when Planned Parenthood does it, but it makes no sense coming from a pro-life person.

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Our deepest cultural problems are spiritual, not political

David Brooks’s column in The New York Times today is a must-read. Brooks grapples with the ubiquity of broken families in our culture. The stats on the number of children living without fathers or mothers is a cultural calamity that cannot be solved by any government program. Brooks writes:

The first response to these stats and to these profiles should be intense sympathy. We now have multiple generations of people caught in recurring feedback loops of economic stress and family breakdown, often leading to something approaching an anarchy of the intimate life.

But it’s increasingly clear that sympathy is not enough. It’s not only money and better policy that are missing in these circles; it’s norms. The health of society is primarily determined by the habits and virtues of its citizens. In many parts of America there are no minimally agreed upon standards for what it means to be a father. There are no basic codes and rules woven into daily life, which people can absorb unconsciously and follow automatically.

Reintroducing norms will require, first, a moral vocabulary. These norms weren’t destroyed because of people with bad values. They were destroyed by a plague of nonjudgmentalism, which refused to assert that one way of behaving was better than another. People got out of the habit of setting standards or understanding how they were set.

Brooks is right that we can’t get this genie back in the bottle through government programs. The problem is beyond the competency of Caesar. Nor can we simply hope for a moral renewal to appear out of thin air. The old taboos—much despised as they have been—did actually provide some protection for women and children. Their disintegration has left the weakest and the most vulnerable exposed to the sexual whims of lecherous men. The old norms won’t be reinstated easily—if at all.

The sexual revolution seemed freeing and sexy at the beginning, but it really doesn’t wear well over the long haul. Why? Because no matter how much we’ve tried to sever the ancient connection between sex and childrearing through birth control and abortion, the connection still persists. Where people pursue sexual expression outside the covenant of marriage, you will eventually find children born to parents who are not married. The sexual revolutionaries promised freedom by casting aside the old norms. But what they have delivered is two generations of children from broken homes. The human condition has always been desperate. It has only become more conspicuous in the aftermath of the failed promises of sexual liberation. As a culture we have sown to the wind, and now we are reaping the whirlwind.

As Christians, we really do have a more hopeful vision for humanity. Yes, it is counter-cultural now, but it does meet our deepest needs. It provides redemption. It gives the power that weak people need for bona fide moral renewal to take place. It is the only force with enough power to accomplish the renewal of families that Brooks is calling for. If I didn’t know any better, I might say that Brooks is beginning to see that.

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Dear Rob Bell: The Church Isn’t Giving an Inch on Gay Marriage

Former pastor Rob Bell recently stated that the church is on the cusp of embracing gay marriage. Owen Strachan has penned an open-letter responding to that claim. Strachan writes:

Rob, you’re a gifted communicator. You drew many folks to your church in Michigan, and now you have a show on Oprah’s network. It’s clear that you’re charismatic, funny, and adept at making complex realities simple to understand.
But—excuse my own attempt at brevity—you’re dead wrong on the church and gay marriage. The church isn’t giving an inch on this issue. Sure, there are scattered congregations who are moving in this direction. But in terms of tens and tens of thousands of local churches from a wide array of denominations filled with people of all races and backgrounds who simply love God’s inerrant Word, we aren’t moving an inch. We’re not scared; we’re not intimidated; we’re not even impressed. We’ve seen this all before.

Read the rest here.

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New York Times Op-Ed agreeing with Judge Roy Moore?

I was reading an Op-Ed in The New York Times this morning about Alabama’s legal battle over gay marriage and was stunned to read this paragraph (underline mine):

Since the United States Supreme Court will rule on gay marriage in June, it’s easy to dismiss the Alabama court’s ruling as quixotic. But it raises a real issue: not what state courts can do, but rather what they should do. Because state and federal courts operate on entirely separate tracks, the state court’s position that it need not follow lower federal court rulings is technically correct. Yet if our judicial system is to function smoothly, both court systems must, from time to time, refrain from exercising their legal discretion to ignore the other’s handiwork.

Don’t ask me to weigh-in on the legal analysis. I’m not prepared to do that in a way that could either gainsay or confirm the argument presented here. Still, I have been under the impression that a federal court’s ruling always trumps that of a state court. The law professor who wrote this piece says that is incorrect, even though he believes state courts should ordinarily defer to federal court rulings. Read the rest here.

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