A Gospel Response
Recently, I attended the Gospel Coalition Conference in Florida. I had the opportunity to sign up for three individual workshops that spanned numerous topics from social justice to worship to preaching. It was fairly simple for me to choose when I saw names like John Piper speaking on his book What Jesus Demands From the World and Matt Carter from The Austin Stone Community Church and his talk on the Gospel & Social Justice. Piper is a great pastor, author and theologian and many of his books are on my bookshelf. The Austin Stone Community Church in Austin, Texas, where Matt Carter is the lead pastor, has done wonderful work in impoverished communities and I have a heart for those in the margins, I knew I could benefit from that. Simple choices.
My third choice wasn’t so easy. There were quite a few that were either full, didn’t apply, wanted to avoid, or just didn’t seem that interesting. One that fell into one of those categories was Dr. Christopher Yuan’s workshop entitled “A Christian Response to Homosexuality”. It was available; but my first reaction was to find something else. And it was because of that feeling, that reaction, that I then felt convicted and compelled to attend the workshop. Its not that I was afraid of the content or worried about someone attempting to change my mind, it was purely in avoidance of the subject altogether.
Though I felt God tugging on me to go, in all honesty, I wasn’t looking forward to it. It’s not that I have an aversion to people that have same-sex attraction. In the recent past, I worked with a wonderful, diverse group of people and knew several individuals at various times that told me they were gay. In fact, they were very open about it. They knew I was a Christian. We had great dialogue, which often ended in agreeing to disagree on certain things, and would proceed to go about working together and continue to dialogue. I never treated anyone differently and desired to show Jesus to everyone I worked with through our interactions. And whenever I had the opportunity to tell them about my relationship with Christ, I would.
That wasn’t my response as a Christian to homosexuality. That was my response to people that didn’t know Jesus. A Gospel response.
I attended Dr. Yuan’s talk and sat in the front row. From a practical application perspective, it was the best workshop I attended, walking away with a handful of honest questions as opposed to avoiding the subject. I felt equipped with the language necessary to have those good, in-depth conversations as well. After all, what you say and how you say it are important, especially when talking to someone who has not placed their identity in Jesus. Christopher’s approach was biblical. I don’t know if I expected a response shaped more by a dominant cultural view from him; but I was pleased that he went to the biblical text and affirmed what God says about human sexuality, despite how he feels as a man with a same-sex attraction. I was quickly reminded of Matthew 16:24-25,
24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
Christopher is a committed follower of Jesus and desires His will for his life, not his own.”
So who should attend The Gospel and Sexuality Workshop on June 6th?
We are all touched by this topic in some way, in our families, workplaces, schools, and in the media. Anyone who is apprehensive about attending or entering into a conversation about gender identity, same-sex attraction, and homosexuality should attend. Jesus has commanded each and every one of us to love the Lord, love our neighbor, and preach the Gospel to all nations. How can we love others unless we know them and how can we preach the Gospel unless we understand what filter the other person is applying to what they hear from us?
Visit www.thegospelandsexuality.eventbrite.com to reserve your free tickets. Come be equipped to have these conversations with your neighbors, teenagers, coworkers, friends, relatives. Whether you’re coming or are unable to make it, please be in prayer for this event.