I have known for some time that “this day” would come, but even when I woke up this morning, I still didn’t know that this would be that day. Then I read a note by one of my Facebook friends, and I knew what I had to do. And so, today is the day that I officially come out.
In the same way that I recently publicized my change of heart regarding the role of women in church leadership, I am today making public a similar change of heart and mind with regard to those who identify as LGBTQ. I now believe that LGBTQs who follow Jesus Christ as Lord should be welcomed into the fellowship of the church with full acceptance and without restriction upon their ministry and leadership in the church if they are qualified for ministry in all other ways. Further, in the same way that I encourage celibacy before marriage and faithfulness in marriage for heterosexuals, I offer the same counsel and encouragement to those of same-sex orientation.
I could lay out a long and involved explanation of the change in my perspective on this matter, and a defense of the same, in an argument with biblical, theological, philosophical, sociological, and missiological support. Over time, I probably will do that, although many others have already done that, as I note below. Ultimately, however, I fall back on the counsel from a friend of mine: The person with an experience is never at the mercy of one with only an argument. I have simply met too many LGBTQs in whom I see the spirit of Jesus. I am now convinced that they should be regarded as full members of the household of faith and the community of God’s people.
I am appending to this post a list of the books which have most strongly influenced my thinking in this area. I list them in descending order of their significance to my decision-making, but they have all been profoundly influential. They are all written by devoted Christians, most of whom would closely identify with the evangelical community. These authors are believers who love Jesus, love the scriptures, love people, and believe that those with same-sex attraction are loved by God unconditionally and should not be excluded from the loving embrace of the people of God.
Please do not use the comment section of this blog post to express your disappointment in me or to try to show me why I am wrong in this decision. I know all the arguments. I once believed all of them myself. This post is not a judgment on those who remain committed to the position I once held. It is simply my straightforward confession that I believe I was wrong and that now is the right time to make that known.
Grace and peace to all of you.
Gushee, David P. Changing Our Mind
Vines, Matthew. God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships.
Baldock, Kathy. Walking the Bridgeless Canyon: Repairing the Breach Between the Church and the LGBT Community.
Wilson, Ken. A Letter to my Congregation: An evangelical pastor’s path to embracing people who are gay, lesbian and transgender into the company of Jesus.
Lee, Justin. Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate.