This Sunday, March 18, we’re glad to welcome guest speaker Sam Allberry to Redemption Gateway. Sam was coming to town for an event that is co-sponsored by The Gospel Coalition and Center for Arizona Policy, and he offered to preach at Gateway as well.
Here are some things worth knowing about Sam:
- He’s an editor for The Gospel Coalition
- He’s a speaker for Ravi Zacharias International Ministries
- He’s a pastor based in Maidenhead, UK
- He is the author of a number of books, including James For You, Why Bother with Church?, and, most notably Is God Anti-Gay? (which was endorsed by Mark Dever, Russell Moore, Carl Trueman and others).
- He is a founding editor of Living Out, a ministry for those struggling with same-sex attraction.
Though Sam experiences same-sex attraction, he has chosen to embrace the historic Biblical teaching about sexuality and marriage rather than embracing a homosexual identity. To those unfamiliar with the term “same-sex attraction,” this may be confusing. I found these paragraphs in Is God Anti-Gay? to be quite helpful:
I used the term “same-sex attraction” … because an immediate challenge is how I describe myself. In western culture today the obvious term for someone with homosexual feelings is “gay”. But in my experience this often refers to far more than someone’s sexual orientation. It has come to describe an identity and a lifestyle.
When someone says they’re gay, or for that matter, lesbian or bisexual, they normally mean that, as well as being attracted to someone of the same gender, their sexual preference is one of the fundamental ways in which they see themselves. And it’s for this reason that I tend to avoid using the term. It sounds clunky to describe myself as “someone who experiences same-sex attraction”. But describing myself like this is a way for me to recognize that the kind of sexual attractions I experience are not fundamental to my identity. They are part of what I feel but are not who I am in a fundamental sense. I am far more than my sexuality.
Take another kind of appetite. I love meat. A plate without a slab of animal on it just doesn’t feel right to me. But my love for meat does not mean I would want someone to think that “carnivore” was the primary category through which to understand me. It is part of the picture, but does not get to the heart of who I am. So I prefer to talk in terms of being someone who experiences homosexual feelings, or same-sex attraction.
The entire book is excellent. Perhaps my favorite paragraph was this one:
Ever since I have been open about my own experiences of homosexuality, a number of Christians have said something like this: “the gospel must be harder for you than it is for me”, as though I have more to give up than they do. But that fact is that the gospel demands everything of all of us. If someone thinks the gospel has somehow slotted into their life quite easily, without causing any major adjustments to their lifestyle or aspirations, it is likely that they have not really started following Jesus at all.
To see what we’ve taught about homosexuality in the past, please see these sermons: