In this episode, the group discusses LGBTQ+ individuals who have been told they are unworthy of God’s love and how poorly the Church has often treated and loved them.
Matthew Vines, author
Dr. Preston Sprinkle – “15 Reasons For Affirming Same-Sex Relations And 15 Responses”
Dr. Preston Sprinkle – “People To Be Loved”
Transcript – Am I Worthy of God’s Love if I’m LGBTQ+?
00:00:00:18 – 00:00:23:00
“Am I worthy of God’s love if I’m LGBTQ+?” Today on Where We Begin.
00:00:23:00 – 00:00:41:00
Hey, guys. Welcome back to Where We Begin, a podcast where we discuss some of the toughest objections to the Christian faith. I’m your host, Derek Caldwell, joined once again by the incomparable Alycia Wood, the irredeemable Louis Phillips.
00:00:41:00 – 00:00:43:08
Derek, that’s not what this podcast is about.
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That’s not what we – that’s not the message we send in this podcast.
00:00:46:21 – 00:00:59:00
What did I say? Sorry, I blacked out during the last one. And the magical Xandra Carroll. Magic? You like.
00:00:59:11 – 00:01:00:16
We’re going to get some comments about that.
00:01:00:22 – 00:01:02:18
So, do you believe in magic, Derek?
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Do you believe in magic?
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If you say that someone’s magical that means you believe in magic.
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There’s a deeper magic.
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The magic of Christmas.
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What are we talking about?
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I don’t believe in magic, by the way.
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We’re running out of time, Derek.
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In case anyone wants to know, I don’t believe in magic.
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Okay. I just. You like Renaissance fairs? Is that correct?
00:01:23:05 – 00:01:24:12
You’re just making stuff up now.
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You kind of looks like you would like a renaissance fair.
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What is that supposed to mean?
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I meant that with all due respect.
00:01:32:14 – 00:01:34:12
Yeah, the way I mean it, it’s a compliment.
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That’s all I’m using it as.
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I like turkey legs. They normally have those at renaissance fairs. Those huge turkey legs.
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Oh man, those are great.
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Yeah. Some might call them magical.
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Sorry. Back to the – reign us in. Renaissance fair.
00:01:51:09 – 00:03:06:20
All right, well, so today we’ve got a question that is – I think you guys, Lou, you especially address this a lot. You actually received this question at an event, and I stole it, and didn’t tell you that I stole it. But I thought it would be – because I just thought it was a really good question. You can really sense the pain and maybe some of the anger behind the question just in how it’s worded. And it was essentially this, “How am I supposed to feel worthy of love when I’m LGBTQ and everything holy is telling me it’s a sin?” I know all of you talk to a lot of LGBTQ teenagers and young adults here, and you probably have around the world so I thought, yeah, we could talk there. When this person says everything holy is telling me it’s a sin – describe that to me. When they talk to you, what are the messages they’re receiving maybe from well-meaning Christians or maybe not so well-meaning Christians? What is that like?
00:03:06:22 – 00:06:47:22
Yeah, and I remember this question. This is, it’s hard. We’re going to – whatever, we’ll try to do this in the 20 some minutes we do this podcast. This whole conversation, I think what we as Christians need to realize is, we’re not starting at a level playing field within the conversation. The way I would describe it is we’re in a really, really deep pit, in light of how we’ve gone about this. We don’t need to like feel so angry about – look, we’ve just, we’ve not done this well. We’ve said things that were not scripturally sound. We’ve elevated this sin above other things for a variety of reasons. I’m not coming at people that have done that. It’s a complicated thing. Sexual sin is different to a lot of ways. I mean, look at what Paul has to say about it. It does represent something else. So I just – and it’s one of those unique things where, like, most sin is always wrong, right? This is always – but sex, there’s, like, there’s a context for it to be right, and there’s a context for it to not do it right. So it’s just – I just want to say, it’s a complicated thing. But when I’ve talked about this topic, specifically, for the last few years of my life, there is so much pain, there is so much lived experience of the way specifically LGBTQ people have been treated by Christians, by the church. And look, this is not all Christians. It’s not all the church, but watch a documentary on LGBTQ people. You’re going to see a lot of people in the name of Christ saying things that are really, really painful in, what I would say, are not biblical. Now, that does not mean Christianity doesn’t have an answer on this that’s not – that is easy. It’s hard still. It is a very – the Christian sexual ethic is extremely specific and it’s a very high bar. That’s just a fact. And every single one of us have to submit to that bar. But I would just say, like I want, for those you watching, I just want to be – want you to know that, like, I’m very aware of that pain and it’s just – we’re sorry that you’ve gone through that because it’s I can’t imagine that because. And I do want to just say before, like we’re going to bounce around. Here’s a couple of things that the Bible does not say. That if you’re attracted to the same sex, if you pray hard enough, you won’t. If you actually have a relationship with Jesus, you won’t struggle that way. Nowhere in Scripture does it say that. That you yourself are an abomination if you are LGBTQ+. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that. Here’s another really fun one that people don’t like me saying, but it’s just true. Common grace applies to everyone. And so this idea that you would never see a loving relationship between a man and a man or a woman and a woman, like, that shouldn’t surprise Christians actually. Again, that does not mean what – we don’t change our ethic on that. And then finally, I would just say, like, that if you’ve already – if you feel like you’ve already failed miserably in this realm, grace still applies to you. And you can never go too far for the God of the universe not to say, “I forgive you” if you’re willing to humbly ask for that forgiveness. And so I’d say, yeah, just start there. I’d love to get into the worthy part, and we’ll get to that. But like, I love that the person asked that question because it’s real. But I just want to say, for those that are wrestling, like, make sure as Christians were saying what the Bible has to say about it, and not a word less and not a word more. I still do think we have a very clear answer, and we can get to that. But I know I can talk this whole time, so I’m trying to maybe dish it off to someone else.
00:06:48:20 – 00:09:31:10
You know, I’ve been watching The Good Place, which many people – I don’t know if you’ve seen it. And I started it several years ago and I didn’t make it through, and I need to make it through. So I’m almost all the way through and one of the things that I found just so interesting about The Good Place is, for those who aren’t familiar, it’s about these people who die and go to, quote unquote, the good place versus the bad place. Like a Heaven slash Hell kind of idea. And it’s very interesting because what you see well, you know, when they’re in this good place, is you see this sense in which some of them feel very justified and worthy that they belong there, but other people don’t. And one young lady in particular feels like, “I am not good enough to be here.” In other words, what you see in that show, which I find interesting, is that – and we see it even in our lives – is people have a correlation between who I am, how I’ve acted, how I’ve behaved, and what I deserve. And what’s really interesting about the Christian gospel is it actually tells us the opposite. When you look at Romans 5:8 it says, “God demonstrates his love for us and while we were sinners…” in other words, while we hated him, while we were his enemies, while we weren’t serving him, we didn’t want anything to do with him, Jesus dies for us. So in the Christian message, it’s the opposite. It’s not about you get this thing because what you – because you deserve it. It is actually you get it regardless of whether – you get this love, regardless of whether or not you deserve it. And so when somebody’s asking something like that, you know, how can I feel – what was the first part? How can I feel worthy of love? Exactly. If everything, you know, everything around me that’s holy is telling me that, you know, that I’m sinful. I think that’s actually the Christian message. You know, when Jesus is on the cross, he says, “Father, forgive them” to the very people that put him there. He tells us to love our enemies. So the idea in Christianity is you can feel worthy of love regardless of your actions and your particular beliefs or whatever. It actually comes separate from that. Now, there’s other things, obviously, that you know how we act and do, and there’s implications for all those kinds of things. But I think one of the things that I would want somebody who does feel like that, I’m sure they’re not the only person who feels like that. And I’m sure at some point we’ve had variations of this question even so from other people. And I think one of the things I always just like to remind people is unconditional love is exactly that. It is not based on a variety of things. Because if that’s the case, not only will somebody from the LGBTQ community be unworthy of love, I would not be worthy of it either, and neither would Lou or neither would Xandra. So in that sense, we are all receiving undeserved love.
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Yeah. Well, I’d like to – I do want to get to the identity question towards the end. But first I thought it would be helpful to – because there’s another thing in here when the person asks everything she says, everything he or she, “everything holy is telling me it’s a sin.” What they may be referring to is also not just what Christians have said in, you know, and like, maybe not so loving ways, but the Bible itself has passages that are difficult to wrestle with if you’re LGBTQ. So I wanted to just bring up a little bit, not to be a big debate with this scholar but, you all know the name Matthew Vines. And he interestingly – he does take an approach to the Bible that is actually a – historically been a conservative approach to the Bible to understanding how to understand contexts and things like that. And he’s essentially saying that, you know, I’m thinking especially of Romans 1:26-27, 1st Corinthians 6:9-10, and 1st Timothy 1:9-10. He’s essentially saying that in the context that that’s being – that Paul is talking about these about homosexuality in there – the reason it sounds so harsh is because there was a harsh form of homosexuality being practiced. And we know that’s true. There were very harsh, abusive, oppressive forms of homosexuality then, such as pederasty and things like that. Now, I know that you would all three agree with his overall conclusions, but is there anything there as far as some of the harshness of the terminology Paul uses because of the form?
00:11:46:04 – 00:17:02:17
Yeah. Sorry, so this is, yeah, I know of Matthew Vines, I’ve watched a lot things, I’ve read things by him. I understand his approach where I start – I think the six passages specifically in Scripture – three in the Old Testament, three in the New Testament, three you referenced in the New Testament that even remotely discuss specifically homosexuality, I’ll just say that – I think are actually very inefficient ways to actually explain what Scripture is saying about sexuality. I actually think that they are, if you can use them, sure but they’re – so I speak on sexuality more than anything else. I don’t touch any of these six passages quite frankly, because I don’t even think they’re necessary because, yes, if you try to go for past pre, you’re going to probably see – and I think now I would disagree with Matthew Vines. I actually think scholars – there’s a reason why biblical scholars haven’t really wrestled with this actually at all. It’s only recently that we’re trying to say this. Yes, does the Bible condemn pederasty? For sure. It does. But to try and say that there wasn’t a form of loving, consensual homosexual lifestyle or behavior or relationships in that time? One, we don’t have a lot of information, and the information that we do have is mixed. That’s the only way. So it’s just not a good and I don’t mean that against it, but it’s just not a good argument. Like not a lot of biblical scholars even taking that seriously because it’s like that’s not what’s going on. So but I would still say that would only be a tangential argument to what is Scripture saying. So when I look from Genesis to Revelation, I see that it’s very clear. The only way Matthew Vines’ argument stand to me is if the point of sexuality, if the point of marriage is for you to find love and in order to be fulfilled in this life, for that to exist. If that is true, if Scripture is saying that, he’s got a very valid argument. The only problem with that is there’s nowhere in scriptures that actually say that. That’s actually a very Western modern view of what is love, what is what does it mean to be human? Is it? Are you able to even live a fulfilling life without being sexually satisfied or in a romantic relationship? That is a completely foreign concept, but it was not a foreign concept to Paul. If you look at anything he says on singleness, it’s very fascinating. And it wasn’t. It wasn’t. It’s not. It’s not a foreign concept to Christ himself. I think if we don’t start with this understanding that the point is – so God has designed sexuality and therefore marriage ultimately for one man, one woman, first and foremost, to display and accurately reflect the relationship he wants with his bride, the people of God. That is the foundational view of sexuality when it comes to the Christian sexual thing. Does it then start talking about procreation? Yes. Does it talk about romance? Yes. Does it talk about like permanent self, all those things. But you start with those things, which I think is what the church has done, and this is why we’re losing this argument, because you’re starting with like find someone that you love, find someone that you think God’s put in your life – that you want to spend the rest your life with – and glorify Him. It’s like, you start that way, you’re going to fall. You’re going to lose that argument really quick. But if you start with the point of this, as the image bearer of God, is to accurately reflect his marriage in every single place, from Genesis to Revelation, that complementarity is key in the sense that it’s distinct others coming together we see this in Genesis. We see this in the way that God describes himself all throughout the Old Testament. As this husband, we see what Christ has to say about marriage. So Christ never says anything about homosexuality. But He talked about marriage. And when he talks about marriage, he goes to Genesis. He doesn’t need to. And then Paul does as well. And then finally, I’ll just say, how we know – why this is still good news, even if it’s a very hard thing to say that it’s why is the fact that God’s design is only for one man and one woman in the context of a marriage to have sex? That’s the only place for sexual activity. Why that’s still good news is, one, we know this is not going to fulfill you. So he’s not actually taking away something. He calls himself the bread of Life, not sexuality or marriage. Now, we’ve idolized that, as Christians. That’s frustrating. And then secondly, and this is the point that I think we do not touch, and we should – I think it’s Matthew 22, Matthew 22 or Matthew 19, I think it’s 22, there is no marriage in the end. Why? There’s no – we will not be married, and we don’t talk about that as Christians. We’re not married in the end, because ultimately the point of marriage was to point to the one true One. And this is the same reason why we’re not doing animal sacrifices. Animal sacrifices didn’t actually atone for sin. They pointed to the sacrifice that would. Once Christ, the Lamb of God, was slain for us, we’re done with animal sacrifices. Once Christ comes back and consummates his marriage with his bride, what we think marriage is, is over. And so God is not telling LGBT people you’re missing out. He is saying, Here’s my design and I’m asking you to live in that but guess what? This isn’t the only life you have. And I have something so much greater for you. And that’s why I think it’s still good news. It’s hard news, but it’s still good. And I would say that when you are willing to actually give Christ even your sexuality, you will find that he actually is the bread of life. He will satisfy you in a way that nothing else can. And I believe that to be true. I’ve seen it in my own life, and I think we all could say the same thing. I’m done talking. I’ve talked the whole time. So I want to give this to.
00:17:03:15 – 00:17:13:04
So I feel like we got a whole biblical – we just got a whole biblical theology of sexuality. So yeah, Xandra were you?
00:17:13:04 – 00:17:24:21
Yeah. So I did actually, while you and Lou were talking, look up those three passages that you mentioned and I noticed, and I know maybe you were saying it’s not good to use those, but I was already in there by the time you said that.
00:17:24:21 – 00:17:30:07
No, we should. I’m just saying, like, given in the Christian ethic, I won’t need to – it’s not necessary. But we have to address it. We do.
00:17:30:07 – 00:20:38:01
Yeah. But what I noted – I actually noticed a trend as I just quickly read through these. So and I think it’s worth mentioning, especially because of the question of how do I know I’m worthy of love? So the one in Romans, you know, it talks about God giving people over to their passions, etc., etc. And then right after that, it talks about the riches and the kindness and the forbearance and the patience of God, which is meant to lead us back to him. And then the second one, which I looked up, which is in 1st Corinthians, talks about living in these different ways that aren’t righteous and living that lifestyle. And then at the end it says, such where some of you but you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. So again, it’s talking about coming to him for healing. All that stuff. And then the last one, 1st Timothy talks about the Law. The Law isn’t for those – for the just, but for the lawless and for those who need it. And then it says further on in chapter 1, Paul is talking. He says, “But I received mercy for this reason. That in me, as the foremost (the foremost sinner, he’s saying) Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.” So in each of these three passages that you mentioned, I see the trend of a patient God who loves people and wants them to come back to him. So again, the questioner and if you’re listening right now, the person who asked this question, I just want to encourage you, God is patient. He has forbearance. He wants you to be in a relationship with him. And He does love you. In each of these passages which people read, and they think, oh, I feel so condemned. I wish they would read a little bit further. The reason that the language is maybe so strong is because of God’s love, not because he’s not loving, but because he’s loving that he doesn’t. Well, I mean, sex is powerful. Sex is a fire, you know, so it should have boundaries around how we use it. I mean, I remember one of the first times I ever went camping and my mom and dad showed me, okay, this is the fire, and these are the stones around the fire. And you can come here, but you can’t go past here. And it wasn’t because they were being judgmental or because they were being overbearing, it was because they loved me, and they didn’t want me to get burned. Now, if I had ignored them and I had maybe just sort of wandered into the fire, wasn’t paying attention or even, like, jumped into the fire, and let’s say I got burned. Would they then say, “Oh, you stupid girl. We hate you. You’re terrible. Get away from us?” No, they would take me in their arms, they would put salve on my burns, and they would say, “Don’t you ever, ever do that again because we love you. Because we don’t – because when you get hurt, I get hurt.” And that’s the heart of God. He does not want us to be hurt. He does not want us to live a lifestyle that’s damaging. And that’s why I think we see the strong language around these boundaries is because of his love.
00:20:38:01 – 00:23:24:02
But sorry. Can I want to just push back a little bit on that. Only because – I agree with you. I do believe that God wants what’s best for us. But sometimes we do not see the pain or the like, the fire analogy I get. But I also I struggle with it only because the way we’ve talked about sex for so long as Christians, it’s always like it’s a bad thing. When in that analogy is it okay? Because we actually – we believe that sex is okay in the right context. It’s not that it’ll always burn you. But I would say that like – this is that problem that I was saying. Like, I know so many people that were like, you know, I was a Christian, I believed in the Christian, and then I actually had a – I became really close friends with a friend of mine who was gay. And, you know, he’s married, and they are a loving couple. And that changed everything. And I was like, okay, so what that actually tells me, and this is a very harsh way to say this, but it tells me – if you thought that gay people were somehow just wicked, awful people, like, what that actually reveals to me is that you’re just bigoted. Not that you had a good sexual ethic when it comes to Christianity. If you’re sexual ethic changed because you met gay people and they were good people and you’re like, what was wrong me? You missed what he was saying, and you actually just thought that these people would be terrible. And I know that’s not what you were saying at all. No, no. I know that. But I was just saying like, because I don’t actually see – I do think – and this is why I think the majority of teenagers are struggling with this, it’s like, why is love wrong? They seem to be in such a loving relationship. And I would say we don’t always see the pain that results. And that’s why, I think, this specific one is difficult to say. I see I got hurt here and God is love me because we may not see the result or the pain from this, but I actually look back even to the garden, the same thing. We don’t always – we don’t often see the pain. We can sometimes – we do see the result of sin, but not all the time. And I just think we have to be careful with this one specifically because if we say sin will always result in problems in your life and yet you’re actively living in sin and you’re not seeing the problems then it’s like you just lost the argument with me. We need to always center it. It’s like, yes, his desire is for our goodness. But ultimately the reason why we’re obedient is because we believe he’s God and we’re obedient to his design because he’s designed us, not because the benefit that flows from it. Yes, there’s a benefit to his design, but if we go about following God because there’s goodness to follow, one, you’ll become a Pharisee, you’ll start mistreating people and, two, when things don’t go your way, you’ll actually become extremely self-righteous to God himself. And I think we’ve actually done that with sexuality. Look at the purity movement, right? Look at the way Joshua Harris has left. Why? Well, you put all your baskets in saying if you do this well, you’re gonna have an amazing marriage. You’re gonna have great sex life. Like, that’s not even in Scripture, but you’ve put all your baskets, and this is what – so you get so frustrated.
00:23:24:04 – 00:23:24:22
All your eggs in one basket. All your baskets in the egg.
00:23:25:05 – 00:23:29:17
Is that what I said? I’m sorry, but you get so frustrated because, like, oh, my gosh, I did it the right way.
00:23:30:02 – 00:23:30:19
It’s supposed to work.
00:23:31:01 – 00:24:39:23
But this problem is the heart of that is not God. The heart of it is not I want God; I want to follow him. It’s I want good things. And that is just as wicked as someone who says I want nothing to do with God. And I think Scripture is very clear on that. We can be just as far from God in just pursuing the good things because we want good things versus pursuing the bad things because we’re done with being – in both ways we’re our lord. And I think we have to be very careful when it comes to sexuality because that is what the LGBTQ community has witnessed. They’ve seen the hypocrisy. They’ve seen the judgment. They’ve seen the pretentiousness when it comes to this. And they’re frustrated. And I think we actually have a unique opportunity very soon, hopefully, for the church to be a witness again. To say, look, we’re not we’re not budging on this because this is what God has said. I think I do think there’s this frustrating narrative that is saying that we’ve actually missed it. And again, if I could recommend any resource to anybody. Preston Sprinkle, Dr. Preston Sprinkle of The Center for Faith, Sexuality and Gender. He put out a paper, it’s called 15 Affirming Response or 15 Affirming Reasons for Same Sex Marriage and 15 responses. You can get it online. It’s free. Brilliant. He’s a scholar. He knows what he’s talking about. There’s also a variety of books that actually – what’s that?
00:24:40:14 – 00:24:42:03
His book, People To Be Loved.
00:24:42:04 – 00:25:33:01
People To Be Loved. There’s so many things out there. I just I – there’s – it’s not as simple as people are trying to make it. We try to oversimplify the whole thing. It’s like, if your life, if you really think the meaning of your life is to find love. Which is, by the way, what every single movie since we started making movies has been telling you and everything around you is saying that. What Christianity has to say about it can be very frustrating. But you cannot start with a Christian worldview and yet use this secular one and wonder why they’re not – why it’s inconsistent. If you’re starting with a Christian worldview and you see what God designed love and sex and marriage to be is actually extremely consistent, and it’s not bigoted whatsoever. It’s how we’ve actually done it. And if we can do this in a way that loves people because you can absolutely disagree with somebody and still love them. And we need to show people that in our actions. Because that’s what we’ve actually, I think, been failing to do.
00:25:33:12 – 00:28:31:06
Can I go back to something that actually, um, that you kind of mentioned a while back in regards to Matthew Vines and I’ve met Matthew. It was several years ago, a couple of times, and you know, he was very kind to me, and he knows where I stood and whatever. We just had very brief conversations. I think Matthew, you know, generally does love the Lord. You know, I think some people may say otherwise, but I do think he generally loves the Lord. And I think, you know, he does have interpretations of the text that I do think are different than how I would see them. But going back to one of the things that you kind of mentioned was that there’s kind of alternative ways to view like Romans 1 being a way to view things as it’s men subjugating younger boys. And it’s more of a domineering kind of sexual relationship. And this is kind of what was kind of being understood in those times. And Lou, I think you referred to it earlier, the idea that there wouldn’t be loving committed same sex relationships is not – people saying that that wasn’t something that happened back then just isn’t accurate. And I think ultimately, you know, the Reformation Project is actually not for free sex. They’re not just for like everybody should have sex. Everybody. It’s monogamous sexual relationships within marriage. And so one of the – ultimately the question is, was it of the time where like, in that time, is there instances where that actually just happened where they were loving kind of relationships or they were relationships that weren’t domineering. And so actually I went back to those particular text. It’s not in the biblical Christian Bible. It’s from the Apocalypse of Peter, I believe, and I have to double check it again. But I think it’s Apocalypse of Peter and it’s written – yeah, it’s The Apocalypse of Peter – I believe it was written about 100 to 150 A.D. But here’s what it says. It’s talking about these people that are in this horrific kind of situation. And one of the verse – this is, I guess you’d say verse 32 or number 32, however you want to say it, I’m just going to read part of it. But it talks about how some of the people that were in this particular place, it says “These were the people that defiled their bodies behaving as women: and the women that were with them were those that lay with another man as with the woman.” I’m sorry. Sorry. “Those that lay with one another as a man lies with a woman.” So it’s implying that these people that are here were in same sex kind of relationships, because it’s saying that these are the people that were lying with one another, like a man lies with the woman. And so you see this as a very early on kind of source, which just gives further confirmation that actually these kind of relationships were actually existing at the time. And it kind of undergirds that whole movement that actually it was a sense of dominant, domineering kind of sexual relationships then. It wasn’t mutual loving ones. And that absolutely was happening at those times. And so those text can absolutely be referring to those loving relationships where things aren’t forced, but it actually is actual caring relationships.
00:28:31:14 – 00:30:03:00
Yeah. Well, yeah, thanks, Alycia. I think that’s important to point out. I know I remember Sam Allberry one time said even if those weren’t there, the traditional Christian teaching on this does not require Paul to have known every thing there is to know about every relationship. So, yeah, that’s interesting. Now, we’ve just got – we had a few minutes left a few minutes ago. So we’re running a little late. But I would just like to last – I’d like to open this up because I said I’d come back to the notion of identity. Because in this question, there is this correlation between “I don’t feel worthy of love because I’m LGBTQ and everything holy is telling me it’s a sin.” So there is this because of what I do, I am considered this, but because there is this kind of, yeah, this idea that this is my identity, you know, sexual orientation is my identity. And I just, I think as we close, it might be helpful if one of you would like to give kind of a good theological anthropology of what is actually our true identity. What have we been created as and for?
00:30:03:00 – 00:30:06:05
00:30:06:05 – 00:30:11:00
Can I close this? But I won’t talk here. I’ve talked a lot.
00:30:13:04 – 00:30:13:14
Oh, go ahead, Alycia.
00:30:13:18 – 00:33:10:11
Okay. So I think the original question it talked about worthy, like, how can I feel worthy? And so I think that ultimately it’s tying into, you know, my identity is being tied to this particular thing that people are saying is bad. And so therefore, I can’t feel valued, I can’t feel worthy. And one of the things that I think – and I may have mentioned that, I did mention, I think, in a previous podcast – one of the things that I also want to remind all of us, it isn’t just this person because I think a lot of us will struggle with identity being wrapped up in our in our work or identity being wrapped up in our intellect or in our athletic ability or whatever. Like, we take external things, and we make them who we are. And that actually is going to be counter to the Christian perspective. And the way I like to think about it is, you know, your worth and your value not being tied up with these external things, but you’re worth and value is tied up with the author, with who made you. And it’s kind of an idea – if you go to, you know, you go to an art museum and you know, I see a painting on the wall and I do my best to, you know, to mimic it or whatever. And then, you know, I go and I try and sell my copy of this painting, you know, for $3,000 and like Alycia, that’s cute. But your name is not worth $3,000. And but the one that was originally painted by this really well-known artist, you know, whoever you want to put in there, Rafael or whoever that one’s worth $3 million. And what the difference is, even though the paintings look similar, the difference is all about who the artist is, who the creator is determines the value of the art and when it comes to us as people, our value is tied up by who made us because it’s them who determines whether or not we’re valuable. And nobody else can change that and nobody else can change your worth. And so one of the things that I think that we – that’s helpful for me is to remember, the person who asked this question, I’m in the same boat as them. I’m a person who is not worthy because everything I understand about holiness and about being like God tells me that I am sinning. Tells me that I’ve messed up. Tells me that I’m not worthy. So I understand your question because it’s my story too. That’s where I am as well. But everything I see is God, in the biblical texts, is God actually saying to us that you have the wrong way of defining who you are, that your actions are not your identity, and that’s the wrong way of defining what your worth is. I made you. I determine your worth. That bucket is not in your court. You don’t get to do that. And so when – I think understanding it through that lens says to me, okay, now I don’t have to worry about, you know, like, what if I’m no longer a good athlete? Am I no longer worthy? What if I’m no longer the smartest person in the room? Am I a good person, worthy of love? What if I’m no longer beautiful? Am I right? None of those things matter anymore because it’s grounded in something that is outside of me that I can’t change.
00:33:10:18 – 00:33:13:20
Yeah. Go ahead and close out, Lou.
00:33:14:00 – 00:35:37:11
Yeah. To the identity of that, like, specifically with this one. Because this isn’t just simply, oh, I can lose this identity. Like, the identity itself is being considered sinful. Right? And that’s the problem on this one. Like, when you’re an athlete, people praise that. That’s okay. You may lose that, and you struggle to identity. This one, the argument is if – am I sinful to the core by being this? And that’s a tricky situation. What I would say is this, as a Christian, what we believe is that when you become a Christian, you don’t no longer be these things. Right. So when I became a Christian, I was no longer a white heterosexual American male. I’m still all of those four things. However, every single four of those things has to be submitted to my identity and what Christ has to say about that. That’s the beauty of the Christian identity. And so if you are somebody that says, no, I am in this realm – because, look, there’s differing degrees as to is it wise to identify as this or is it same-sex attracted or are you gay? Well, you figure that one out. It’s your life. What I would say is that regardless if you’re going to call yourself a Christian, whatever your identity is, it has to be submitted under his authority. What does Christ say about your sexuality? What does God say about your sexuality? It is a beautiful thing to know that what we are craving, like, we are sexual beings because God has designed us to pursue intimacy specifically with him actually. And sex within marriage, between one man and one woman, is one way to display that. It’s not the only way. It’s one way. And what you’re craving, what every single one of us is craving is intimacy. And you can get a lot of intimacy through friendships. And this is where the body of Christ, the actual Family of God, needs to really shapen up and do this well. Because what we’re saying to the LGBTQ community is, no, no, you are loved by God. There is a way to – all of us have to come to the cross and deny ourselves, but they’re going to have to deny ourselves in a way that seems different. It’s not necessarily harder, but in the culture we live in, it feels harder for sure. And what we need to show them is that there’s actually still beauty and community found within Christianity. Because one thing that the community, the LGBTQ community does well is community. Like, they do that very well, and we’re not doing that well. And so if we’re going to say, deny this to yourself and ultimately find that there’s beauty in singleness or beauty in celibacy, we can show them that there is something to be found here. And I think I can speak for, you know, all three of us. It’s funny, all three of us spent a lot of our lives single, and we’re all in relationships now. I just got engaged, what I can act. And I think every I think.
00:35:37:13 – 00:35:38:13
We’re all waiting til marriage.
00:35:38:14 – 00:36:48:00
Yeah, and we’re all waiting till marriage. But like, one thing I think I can say about this, and I think you guys – you two would agree with me, is I am no more fulfilled now in a relationship than I was single. There is a satisfaction that only Christ can provide. I’m not saying in this temporal – yeah. If there’s a desire of yours. Yes. But there’s no – there’s no inner angst of the soul that is changed in light of me being in a relationship. And there’s actually nothing my fiancé can add to me that Christ has not, in the deepest level, has he not already satisfied. And that’s what Christ is actually providing to every single one of us. He’s not saying you can’t live a life that’s unfulfilled. In fact, the only life that is fulfilling is one that’s submitted to me because I was your creator. And so I’ll finish there, Derek. I think. So my challenge to anybody listening is like, just keep asking those questions, keep getting into it, because I promise you that this is still good news for you. And it might be difficult, but I want you to start with wondering, well, why is that? What am I – what’s the preconceived notion I’m holding against Christianity? And is there actually a better answer? Is there something in there or am I holding it against because I want this to be true versus what the Scripture is saying?
00:36:49:07 – 00:37:40:15
Great. Well, thanks, Lou. Thanks, everyone. We did go a little long this week. But this is such an important and a really difficult thing and a painful thing. And so we hope that anyone watching this feels loved. I did notice we mentioned buckets a lot for some reason in this episode I don’t know why? Baskets. Buckets and baskets. Yeah. So I don’t know what that had to do with – there’s something weird going on here. But no, thank you, guys. We will see you next week. If you want to have your question discussed on the podcast, as always, email us at email@example.com. And we would love to pray for you too. So email us just for that. We’d love to lift you up in prayer if you’re struggling with anything. We love you. More importantly, God loves you and we’ll see you next week.