On October 29th, Messiah welcomed two guest speakers to a Thursday-night chapel “Viewpoints: A Dialogue on Christianity & Sexual Identity.” The debate was part of the 6th Day Sexuality series hosted by the Engle Center.
According to messiah.edu, this series “equips Messiah College students to pursue healthy connections with God, self, and others. 6th Day is a reference to our sexuality being part of our creation in God’s image.”
Justin Lee, founder of the Gay Christian Network and author of Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate, told his story of growing up in an Evangelical Christian home and recognizing his same-sex attraction during adolescence.
He struggled to hide this secret for years, saying he believed being gay was a conscious decision. When Lee found others who were naturally attracted to the same sex, he compared it to “finally finding a doctor that can diagnose you after all the others failed.” His “cure” was becoming involved in gay Christian ministries.
After careful Bible study and theological consideration, Lee came to the conclusion that God loved him no matter who he chose to marry.
Representing the “opposing,” side was Christopher Yuan, professor of Bible at Moody Bible Institute and author of Out of a Far Country: A Gay Son’s Journey to God. A Broken Mother’s Search for Hope. Yuan shared his experience as a man who experienced same-sex attraction but chose to remain celibate due to his personal belief and interpretation of the Bible. When his conservative parents discovered his sexual orientation, they prayed not that he would become straight, but that he would meet Jesus.
Yuan recognizes his same-sex attraction but prioritizes his relationship with Christ. He made it clear that his goal is not to attain heterosexuality; it is to attain holiness.
While Lee and Yuan disagreed on the “relationship aspect” of homosexuality, both insisted that the church must respond with love toward the LGBTQ community. “Christians should better love their LGBT friends,” Yuan stated. “Shouldn’t the safest place be the church?”
“Opposing Sides” is only part of an ongoing dialogue at Messiah. Students interested in further discussion on this issue should consider attending the 6th Day Sexuality/Agape Center event, “LGBTQ: Responding To Their Stories” on November 4 at 7:30 p.m. in the Jordan lobby.
For more information on the 6th Day Sexuality series, contact Program Director, Mike Blount at the Engle Center. For more information on Messiah College Allies, contact Leah Bergstrom.
This story was updated on 11/12/15.