I Don't Have Enough FAITH to Be an ATHEIST

I Don't Have Enough FAITH to Be an ATHEIST

How Should The Church Engage Those With Same-Sex Attraction Or Gender Dysphoria?

September 02, 2020

By Ryan Leasure
How should the church engage those who experience same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria? In response, I want to highlight seven basic principles that the church must embrace.

Affirm The Divine Image
Genesis 1 is clear that everyone, without qualification, is made in God's's image. That is to say; whether someone is attracted to the opposite sex or the same sex, they are equally image-bearers of God. The same goes for individuals who experience gender dysphoria. One's's feelings or attractions in no way mitigates against this universal status.
As Christians, we should enthusiastically embrace this truth. Nobody — not the government, the church, or anyone else — can bestow a higher status on each person than God already has. Moreover, not only did God create all people in his image, he thought so much of his people that he paid a steep price for their redemption by shedding his own blood for their sins.

Acknowledge Our Collective Sinfulness
While God created everything good, we all possess a sin nature because of the fall. David acknowledges that he inherited this sin nature from the time of his birth (Ps. 51:5). Romans 3:23, likewise, affirms that we have all sinned and fallen short of God's glory. And lest we think we're just a little sinful, Scripture paints a much gloomier picture than this. Sin pervades our entire being (Rom. 8:7-8).
One of the ramifications of our fallenness is that we have a tendency to minimize our own sins while maximizing the sins of others. Yet, Jesus clearly condemns this hypocrisy (Mt. 7:1-5). Instead, we must take a realistic assessment of our own hearts. And when we do, we realize that if it weren't for the grace of God, we would all die in our sins.
All that to say, just because we may not experience homosexual or transgender temptations doesn't mean that our sin isn't just as wicked. Lusting after other women, harboring bitterness, lashing out in anger, and spreading gossip are all acts of rebellion against God. It's's unbiblical to treat others as if they have a log in their eye and pretend we only have a speck. When we do this, we're being judgmental hypocrites.

Know Jesus's Universal Expectation
Jesus preached "Repent and believe the gospel" (Mk. 1:15). To claim Christ as Lord, one must abide by these words. Unfortunately, many have watered down this message by excluding repentance.
Yet, Jesus never suggested that we could follow him without turning from our sins. Elsewhere, he states, "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me" (Mk. 8:34). In other words, whether you self-identify as gay, transgender, or as straight, Jesus demands that you deny yourself daily. And the reason we are called to deny ourselves is because we don't actually own ourselves. We belong to Jesus. Not only did he make us, he bought us with his blood.
The very message of repentance and denying oneself daily implies that ongoing temptations and struggles will persist throughout the Christian life. But the true sign of a Christian is that they recognize their temptations as contrary to the will of God, repent if they succumb to those temptations, and seek to obey Jesus moving forward.

Recognize That Holiness Is The Goal
First, Peter 1:16 states, "You shall be holy, for I (God) am holy." Holiness is the calling for all believers. But this raises the question: "What does holiness look life for those with same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria?" Does holiness mean they will stop being attracted to members of the same sex or that their gender dysphoria will disappear?
I believe holiness can manifest itself in different ways for people with these struggles. One way is living a celibate lifestyle. British pastor Sam Allbery, and author of Is God Anti-Gay? Has chosen this path. Even though Allberry continues to experience same-sex attraction,