Believers throughout the English-speaking world were shocked and saddened to hear that Vicky Beeching, a greatly loved songwriter and worship leader, has announced that she is gay. How should we respond?
1. This should not be about your own feelings. When you sing to God words of worship and praise that someone else has written, it's easy to feel betrayed when that person lets you down. So it's understandable that some believers are asking, "How could she do this to us?"
The fact is that she didn't do this to you any more than she wrote worship songs for you.
According to her story, her sexuality is something she wrestled with for years, and as much as her "coming out" as gay was a public event, it was also an intensely personal decision before God, and that's where our first focus should be: praying for her to align her life rightly with the Lord.
To lash out at her now in immature ways will only drive her further from the cross. While it is fine to speak the truth to her in love—assuming she reads some of the comments addressed to her on blogs and social media—praying for the Holy Spirit to convict her of her error is even more important.
2. She will not be the last Christian leader to declare that she/he is gay. We are living today in a perfect spiritual storm in which biblical ignorance, moral compromise, and societal changes have combined to produce deep spiritual deception.
That's what opened the door for contemporary Christian music artist Jennifer Knapp to "come out," and that's what opened the door for Jars of Clay front man Dan Haseltine to voice apparent support for same-sex "marriage" as well as for influential leaders such as Rob Bell and Jim Wallis to advocate for redefining marriage.
That's also what opened the door for an evangelical publishing conglomerate to publish and aggressively promote a book devoted to promoting "gay Christianity."
At any other time in church history, ideas like this would not been countenanced for a split second among committed followers of Jesus who were grounded in the Word. But today, professing Christians are questioning some of the most basic scriptural truths about morality.
You can expect a lot more surprises in the coming days—both from pastors and musical artists—but as painful as this is to witness, it is a necessary separation that will ultimately divide those who seek to change the Word from those who seek to submit to the Word.
3. God's Word has not changed. If 10,000 pastors declared they were gay tomorrow, it would not change the truth of the Bible one iota. If 10,000 worship leaders declared that God had made them gay, it would not change a single scriptural truth.
As I have emphasized repeatedly, despite the increasing number of professing "gay Christians"–-by which I mean those who claim that you can follow Jesus and practice homosexuality at the same time--there are "no new textual, archaeological, sociological, anthropological or philological discoveries [that] have been made in the last 50 years that would cause us to read any of these biblical texts differently."
And so, once more, we see the fundamental error of "gay Christianity," namely, people interpreting the Bible through the lens of their sexuality rather than interpreting their sexuality through the lens of the Bible.
4. Boycotting Vicky Beeching's music is a matter of personal conviction. Although it appears that as a BBC broadcaster Vicky should be able to make a good living, she will lose royalties from the States if we no longer use her songs.
Should we attempt to punish her for coming out as gay? I don't believe so, if "punish" is the goal.
Should we continue to use her music? That's really a matter of personal conviction.
For some believers, it could be a serious distraction, putting the focus on Vicky Beeching and her sexuality rather than on Jesus the Lord and the glory of God.
For other believers, it is the truths and melodies of their favorite worship songs that help them connect spiritually, and they don't know (or care) who wrote what they are singing.
Either way, whether we use her songs or drop her songs, since she did touch many lives in the past, there are many people who should be praying for her.
5. Embracing "gay identity" is the real problem.
In her coming-out interview, Vicky stated, "What Jesus taught was a radical message of welcome and inclusion and love. I feel certain God loves me just the way I am, and I have a huge sense of calling to communicate that to young people."
Actually, what Jesus did in such a radical way was to reach out to the worst sinners of His day and change them by His presence and His words rather than affirming them in their sins. I call this "transformational inclusion" as opposed to "affirmational inclusion," which is not the gospel.
In an interchange with American family activist Scott Lively, Vicky claimed that denying her gay identity is what caused her so much torment over the years, and we need to accept our sexual orientation as a gift from God rather than battling with our own selves.
But as Pastor Kris Vallotton noted in an extensive Facebook post (that I cited in Can You Be Gay and Christian?) in which he described his years of pastoral counseling, "These experiences have taught me that when you define yourself by your temptations or your passions (instead of managing your appetite and resisting temptations), there is no bottom to that cesspool! The truth is that we all have temptations and appetites that are not healthy and must be managed, or we will live with a deep sense of shame no matter what values our culture tries to validate because God has written His own values on our hearts."
And so Vicky, if you will allow me to address you personally, you have told the world that you are same-sex attracted, but those attractions do not define you, and there are plenty of other Christians with deep-seated sexual desires that they have experienced all of their lives that are far more shameful than anything you have expressed.
And while it is absolutely true that God loves you even when you wrestle with same-sex attraction, He did not create you to be with other women. If He does not give you the grace to change your romantic attractions and sexual desires, then He will so fill you with His love and goodness and presence that His embrace will mean more to you than any human embrace.
I appeal to you, Vicky, to go back to God once again, to recognize that His Word really is clear in terms of homosexual practice, and that you can advocate for freedom and wholeness in Jesus without advocating for homosexual practice. (In fact, if you advocate for homosexual practice, you will bring people into bondage, not freedom.)
Perhaps the Lord wants to use you to bring liberation to others in a way beyond anything you yet know.
I know you have experienced a sense of a large burden lifting, but ultimately, it will prove to be more a natural euphoria than a spiritual one. So again, I appeal to you: Go back to the cross; go back to the secret place of worship; go back to the unchangeable Word; humble yourself in His sight, and He will give you grace.
Michael Brown is author of Can You Be Gay and Christian? Responding With Love and Truth to Questions About Homosexuality and host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show The Line of Fire on the Salem Radio Network. He is also president of FIRE School of Ministry and director of the Coalition of Conscience. Follow him at AskDrBrown on Facebook or at @drmichaellbrown on Twitter.
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