Julie Roys with The Christian Post recently wrote an outstanding article about the struggles churches are having in regards to the LGBT issue and the doctrinal confusion occurring within the minds of their own members. It is a must read.
There were a few things that may be of interest to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I invite our LDS readers to consider how the principles in her article (link here) might be applied to the members of our wards and stakes who struggle with how to tackle the issue of same-gender attraction or confusion over gender identity. Here are a few of her points:
- “Embracing gay identity clearly contradicts Scripture. As the apostle Paul makes abundantly clear in 2 Corinthians 5:16-17, believers root their identity in Christ, not their sin tendencies. “From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh . . . ” Paul writes. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” Yet as Revoice shows, embracing gay identity is becoming increasingly popular among Christians. In fact, it is a hallmark of two of the four major views in the church regarding LGBT issues. And sadly, among the two other views, only one proclaims any hope to those struggling with same-sex and transgender issues.”
- “If the church is going to effectively address LGBT issues, it must offer hope of sexual redemption. …The conference didn’t promise instant liberation, nor that God would make everyone straight. But it did proclaim the gospel – that the same power that raised Jesus from the grave is at work in us, and that no brokenness, including sexual brokenness, is beyond God’s redemption. This is the message every church should be proclaiming, but few do.”
- “Their experience will either encourage them (and others) to see the power of the gospel or convince them that the gospel is not enough to deal with life’s problems. If the latter happens, the local church becomes a place of confusion. The impact and influence of the gospel is weakened significantly, or totally replaced by another message and method of change. This is precisely what has happened in the evangelical church. We have failed to apply the full gospel to the LGBT issue, and as a result, people are confused and are embracing non-gospel centered solutions. This is why Revoice is happening. This is why the gay Christian movement is gaining momentum. And this is why people like Robert, who struggle with same-sex attraction, are finding no help in our churches, and are defecting.”
Here is an important, final point in her article:
“If we truly love people like Robert, and truly believe the gospel, we must move from simply renouncing error to proclaiming the hope of transformation. Yes, this is counter-cultural and will meet with resistance. Yes, this is risky and puts our faith on the line. But this is the way of Christ and the only way to successfully address the LGBT issue at this critical moment in the life of the church.”
Julie Roys provides much for us as members of the LDS church to consider. Here are a few of my thoughts as to why this is relevant and important to our church:
Proclaiming the hope of transformation and redemption. This is the message that Roys’ article discusses, and it’s the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ and to all of His followers.
The three “Therefore, what’s?” in this article for me were 1) the need to reference and consider LDS doctrine in every statement we make or action we take when dealing with LGBT issues; 2) increased doctrinal clarity in everything we teach to the rising generation; and 3) the need to proclaim the good news and joy of living the gospel. In other words, confusion can largely be alleviated if every conversation involving these issues always has crystal clear doctrinal points coupled with the joy, transformation and redemption of the gospel of Jesus Christ. In the absence of these things, we risk confusion—especially when it comes to the rising generation. In short, because we live in an era of mass confusion, to alleviate doctrinal confusion, we need to provide more consistent and persistent message of doctrinal clarity whenever we discuss with this issue.
Because … the gospel of Jesus Christ is the greatest way to live. We need to get better at proclaiming the joy of living the gospel! There is nothing that the world can offer that compares to it. Nothing! Knowing this, we can proclaim the good news of the gospel and testify of the joy and blessings that come from living (and loving) Christ’s doctrine and His standards. We can also use the Book of Mormon to testify of the truthfulness of these things more often. The answers to every single one of our heartfelt questions are found in the scriptures, which teach that the gospel of Jesus Christ is the only way to “exceedingly great joy” (1 Nephi 8:12) and the only way endure to the end through all of the challenges of mortal life.
One more important point to consider: True Christlike love means that we love our same-sex attracted or gender-confused brothers and sisters so much that we would never want them to go down any path that leads to sin. This is Christlike love. This is the pure love of Christ. This is how we can show true compassion and charity. It’s tremendously unkind and unloving to affirm, support or advocate for sinful behavior that breaks covenants, harms the mind, body, and soul, and drives the spirit away. Some say we should “only love” and yet it is only a portion of what Christ actually taught. He also boldly taught of redemption. Of repentance. Of hope. Of transformation. On the other hand, bringing someone unto Jesus Christ and His doctrine is what true Christlike love looks like. Lasting happiness is found only in Jesus Christ, and never on other divergent paths or in embracing false and counterfeit ideologies. This is the good news of the gospel, and this is what we need to shout from the rooftops to provide doctrinal clarity in an era of cultural confusion.
Let’s start a conversation about this. What does this look like in a real-life situation with a friend or family member? What does true Christlike love and the good news of the gospel look like to you?
And, if you have time, please take a look at Beckett’s story. It’s a testimony of a man from a different Christian faith who struggled with same-gender attraction. He tried the world’s way for 25 years but later discovered that real joy comes only through Jesus Christ: