Archive | Christianity

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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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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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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Ana Marie Cox, having come out as a Christian, goes on “Morning Joe”

Ana Marie Cox wrote a compelling testimony several days ago titled “Why I’m coming out as a Christian.” She is a liberal/progressive writer, and she shares that she has been most reluctant to announce her new found faith for fear that Christians won’t accept her. Happily, she reports that the opposite has happened since her article came out. Watch above. Continue Reading →

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Should I attend the wedding of a gay friend or family member?

The March issue of Christianity Today has a forum titled: “Should I attend the wedding of a gay friend or family member? The invitation will come soon enough.” The article includes three respondents—two Roman Catholics (Eve Tushnet and Sherif Girgis) and one Anglican (Lisa Severine Nolland). Girgis and Nolland contend that Christians have a moral obligation not to attend same-sex weddings. Tushnet argues that “it’s best to show up.”

I’m with Nolland and Girgis on this one because attendance at a wedding is not like attending a concert, where attendance suggests nothing about your own views on the proceedings. A wedding is a public recognition of a union, and those in attendance are there to help celebrate and add their assent to the union. There is a reason that the traditional ceremony includes the bit about “let him speak now or forever hold his peace.” The witnesses are not merely spectating. Their mere presence implies their support of the union. Because our Lord has told us not to celebrate or approve sin (Isa. 5:20; Rom. 1:32), Christians should not attend gay weddings. Continue Reading →

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The SBC will look different this summer

This post is a bit of inside baseball for all my Southern Baptist readers. I just learned that our annual meeting will be quite different this June. Pastor Ronnie Floyd will preside over a revamped program that moves all convention business, resolutions, and seminary reports to Tuesday morning and afternoon. Tuesday evening through Wednesday will have a focus on ministry and mission. Wednesday afternoon will feature the convention sermon as well as a panel discussion on “The Supreme Court and Same -Sex Marriage: Preparing Our Churches for the Future.” Panelists include Albert Mohler, Russell Moore, and others. You can look at an overview of the schedule below.

This year’s meeting will be in Columbus, Ohio on June 16-17. I hope to see you there! Continue Reading →

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