“I am same-sex attracted and have been my entire life. By that, I mean that I have sexual, romantic and deep emotional attractions to people of the same sex. I choose to describe myself this way because sexuality is not a matter of identity for me, and that has become good news.”
“Rev.” Sam Alberry
Editor — The Gospel Coalition
“11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. 12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.” Ephesians 5
Rev. Shawn Mathis dissects precisely the problem with Rev. Allberry’s statements and legitimately asks why the organization “The Gospel Coalition” is supporting this kind of material.
Per the quote above and per the refusal of anybody at “The Gospel Coalition” to put the brakes on this mindset clearly, this kind of mindset has become acceptable in the conservative Reformed church. Some might even say that such a position is admirable if only because it comes across so sensitive. But change this just a wee bit and ask yourself if it should be applauded and ask yourself why it is being applauded.
“I am heifer-sex attracted and have been my entire life. By that, I mean that I have sexual, romantic and deep emotional attractions to cows. I choose to describe myself this way because sexuality is not a matter of identity for me, and that has become good news.”
Rev. Allberry is trying to tell us that while same-sex attraction can be equal to romantic and deep emotional attraction to the same sex, same-sex attraction can not be equal to sin. This is like saying that having attraction to someone else’s wife is ok because, after all, the sexual attraction is characterized as a deep emotional attraction.
Why is Rev. Allberry talking about to whom he is attracted if sexual identity isn’t important to him? It is obviously important for him to identify who he is, in relation to his attractions. Why does he, as a Christian, find it acceptable to publish this?
You see, it is simply because sodomy has become mainstreamed and even dare we say “glamorous” so as to become acceptable in our thinking that such a quote as Rev. Allberry’s above fails to raise a firestorm of protest. Can anybody imagine John Calvin or Martin Luther or John Knox or Charles Spurgeon or Thomas Chalmers or C. F. W. Walther sitting on “The Gospel Coalition” board and not raising a hue and cry over this?
Rev. Allberry’s quote reveals the Gnosticism that much of the contemporary visible Church is riddled with. That there is a creeping Gnosticism here is seen also in this quote from Rev. Allberry,
“Our sexual affections can no more define who we are than our class, race, or nationality.”
The thing is, is that our class, race, and nationality, as well as our sexual affections, do define who we are as embodied beings.
In Platonic language Rev. Allberry is trying to tell us that even though he has the accidents of sodomy (sexual, romantic and deep emotional attractions to people of the same sex) those accidents don’t affect the essence of his identity. And yet here he is, in the context of denying this identity, admitting that he has all the markers that make up an identity. It’s like saying … “Milk is white but whiteness isn’t an accident of Milk.” One might observe that dealing with your sin tendencies by saying they aren’t a part of who you are is not a good, or successful, coping mechanism.
Now, of course, all error comes with those willing to make a ready-made defense and we find one Mr. Isaac Arthur defending Rev. Allberry by attacking Rev. Mathis and his article linked above. Mr. Arthur writes,
“Articles like this sacrifice understanding in the name of “discernment” and risk literally shutting the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces.
As long as the mere suggestion that a person can be same-sex attracted and yet live a faithful Christian life causes people to doubt one’s commitment to Scripture, as long as the same-sex attracted are “them” vs. “us,” as long as the Church remains ambivalent towards the same-sex attracted (other than to castigate and label), as long as partnering with the same-sex attracted is a liability, I guarantee you the church will continue to lose ground and do untold damage to countless souls — souls bought with the very blood of Jesus. I don’t know Allberry well, and can’t vouch for everything he may have said or written, but I wonder: In trying so hard to not become desensitized to sin, are we becoming desensitized to the Gospel?”
This kind of “defense is pretty standard fare on this matter and as such, I take a few minutes to unwind this pottage of confusion.
1.) Since the Gospel is the cure to sin how is it possible that a sensitivity to sin will work in us a de-sensitivity to the Gospel?
2.) Since understanding is part and parcel of discernment how can understanding be sacrificed in the name of discernment since they each imply the other? Of course, Mr. Arthur’s point is that Rev. Mathis has neither a true understanding nor a genuine discernment. This is just a fancy way for Mr. Arthur to say, “Nuh Uh.”
3.) No one denied that a person attracted to the same sex or to cows or to children can’t yet live a faithful Christian life. What has been denied is that the impulse for the same sex or for children or for cows is normative. What is being denied is that said impulse should be suggested as being normative.
4.) The Church (Rev. Shawn Mathis in this case) is being anything but ambivalent towards same-sex attraction. It is precisely because Rev. Mathis loves the sinner that he is not letting Rev. Allberry’s irrationality pass un-noticed.
5.) For 20 centuries the Church has not lost any ground in its full-throated opposition to sodomy in all of its expressions from the sodomite desire to the sodomite following through on the desire. It is just an inaccurate statement that the Church is going to lose ground by opposing all expressions that would make sodomy normative.
6.) Responses like this from Mr. Arthur only serves to literally shut the gates of the Kingdom of heaven in people’s face.
The crux of Rev. Allberry’s article is the question, “Has our theology morphed to blend in with our pagan environment?” Tragically, for the majority of self-described Christians, if they possess a scrap of personal insight, the only honest answer is, “Yes, absolutely.”