Undivided – An Open Letter to Vicky Beeching

Undivided – An Open Letter to Vicky Beeching

 (Vicky Beeching is a relatively well-known Christian singer songwriter who is now better known for being gay and an advocate of the LGBT agenda within the church.   When she came out as gay she knew that her career on the American Christian music scene was over, but she now has a new career as a darling of the regressive establishment, as they continue their ‘redefinition’ of the Christian faith. Her new career has resulted in numerous media appearances, an award from the Archbishop of Canterbury and a new book. ‘Undivided’ has just been published to a mixed reception. This is my review in the form of an open letter. )

Dear Vicky,

y450-300Thank you for your book. You will understand that I, as someone who holds to the view that LGBTI teachings go against the teachings of the Bible, approached reading this with a degree of trepidation. But as you urged people like me at the beginning “thank you for giving this book a chance. I hope you’ll keep the door of your heart open as you travel through its pages.”

 I’m not quite sure what you mean by the door of my heart, but I hope it is always open to reflect the glory of the God who is love. I also want to keep open the door of my mind and be open to reason, evidence and persuasion. Reading your book you come across as a lovely person who has had a horrible time. Something for which I can only feel empathy and sorrow. But that is not enough to make me overturn what the Bible says. I’m not sure why my heart – or indeed yours- should overrule the word of our loving God? After all my heart is, as that word says, ‘deceitful and desperately wicked’ (Jeremiah 17:9).  So I am sure you will forgive and not judge me, for looking at what you actually say – not what I am supposed to feel!

Firstly let me say that this is a well-written and moving book. I found it really easy to read and indeed to empathise with your plight in many ways. There was also a great deal of truth in some of your observations.   However overall I found Undivided overwhelmingly depressing – here’s why.

The Horror

This is a horrible story for so many reasons.  It tells of a life lived under enormous pressure which you describe as “My heart stood like an abandoned building. Empty and echoey.”

Some of the abuse and mistreatment you have received is dreadful. “Others said I was a danger to the church, leading people into sin, and that I’d be better off dead. Some even went as far as to hurl death threats at me. “ By definition someone who hurls death threats at you is not a follower of the One who told us to love even our enemies.   I hope that you are not using the classic ad hom tactic of taking a few stupid and evil threats and then implying that anyone who disagrees with you is somehow responsible for, or endorsing them.

I can empathise a little with you because each week I receive hate mail and abuse through social media.   Don’t you think this is the nature of the beast? I’m not so sure that it is wise to blame the whole evangelical movement or evangelical theology for abuse received ‘in the name of Christ’. Any Christians who have abused you should be thoroughly ashamed.  If I, or people like me, have in any sense contributed to that then please accept my apologies.

The Hypocrisy

The Church – Some of the things you describe are horrendous. I too have seen the hypocrisy you describe. Your description of being sexually abused by a priest in Wycliffe hall is something that made me really angry. What a horrendous experience that must have been. You also write: “Within the college, lots of unmarried seminary students were having sex, and a handful of married students were having affairs with other students. The shiny façade of evangelical morality seemed to be crumbling in front of my eyes. This was not what I’d expected to see at an evangelical college. “   Nor I. You have done us a great service by pointing out the hypocrisy.  Although I should point out that all this is dependent on your memories being correct (married students having affairs, lots of unmarried students having sex) and also subject to the caveat that you cannot condemn the whole institution for a handful of rotten apples – after all it would hardly be fair of me to condemn all gay people just because I have known some who have committed rape or abuse!)

The Music Scene – Your description of the American Christian music scene is also profoundly depressing. It comes across as just a pale imitation of the world’s music scene – with very little Christian about it at all. You kind of confirmed my fears about ‘Christian’ music. (By the way I’m not sure what Christian music is anymore than I am sure what a Christian building or a Christian meal is!).  The pursuit of money, fame and celebrity are the antithesis of the Gospel of Christ. I am sorry that your life was lost in that idolatrous and largely fake world.  But this is the world that you wanted so much that you were prepared to suppress your ‘identity’ in order to be part of it. In passing I note that you seem to want what I despise in the evangelical world and despise what I love!

 Society – I suspect you didn’t mean this but your book also shows up the hypocrisy of our society. They were not remotely interested in you when you were just a Christian singer – but the minute you come out as an LGBTQI+ spokesperson, they are all over you. They didn’t want to hear about your Christianity before, now they want to hear about your views – not because your views are Christian, but because they reflect theirs and they can now use your views to attack and demonise further Christians who hold to the Bible’s teaching. You are exhibit number 1 of how evangelical Christianity ‘oppresses and suppresses’. They love you for providing them with that ammunition.

But there is another hypocrisy that comes across in the book. Your own.   You knew you were attracted to people of the same sex. You knew you were gay. You also knew that you wanted a career in a world (the American Christian music scene) where coming out as gay would prevent that. You made the choice to stay ‘in the closet’. This was not a choice that was forced upon you. You were the person who decided that your career was more important than your ‘identity’. But in this book you turn the tables and claim that you were the one being victimised by hypocrites.

One moment I was seen as an insider in my evangelical Christian world; the next, I was treated as an outsider. People I’d known my entire life suddenly saw me as different, because my orientation did not match theirs.

 I think you are wrong in this comment – which incidentally is very judgemental – presuming to know others motives and making judgements based upon that. I, like many others, do not see you as different because of your sexual orientation (I know many fine Christians who are gay and who live fine Christian lives), but I disagree with your theology and to be honest your practice. You admit that you pretended to be one thing and then came out as another – but why blame the church for your hypocrisy! I’m sorry for using such a strong word, but I want to be as honest as you are in your (correct) accusations of the hypocrisy of some within the church.    It’s as though you are seeking to justify your hypocrisy by saying ‘they made me do it’!   It’s like a small child when confronted with a particular wrongdoing saying ‘the devil made me do it’ – only in this case the devil is the evangelical church – which in the eyes of your new friends, (gay activists and liberal Christians) is pretty well the same thing!

You speak about the church as being responsible for doctrines you imply you no longer agree with – apparently it was the ‘church’ (the evangelical one which you are now rejecting) not the bible which taught that sex before marriage was wrong, that pornography was wrong, that married pastors who had affairs should be fired. Do you  now accept these things as legitimate? How far down the socially progressive rabbit hole have you gone? You seem to have bought into the complete ‘regressive’ package (the church is always behind the times and needs to become more like society, the bible is not the infallible word of God etc. – you even add a footnote to the book apologising for using male pronouns for God!).

Vicky we don’t disagree with you because of your sexual orientation, but rather because of your theological orientation.

The Bible

None more so than in your new way of reading the bible –

As I read about Peter’s vision, I felt as though I were there myself, looking at the sheet falling from the sky. For me, the “unclean things” on that sheet represented my gay orientation. And, like Peter, I was arguing with God, saying, “Lord, I’ve never so much as touched a person of the same sex romantically. I’ve kept your law and commandments. I would never disobey your word.” And what God had said to Peter, I felt he said to me too: “Do not call unclean what I have made clean.”

From my newfound point of view, believing that a person could be gay and Christian, these chapters in Acts seemed to have multiple layers of meaning. I couldn’t help thinking it had overlap with the place of LGBTQ+ people in the church today.

Now you read the Bible entirely through the lens of what you want and what you feel. I realise that that is a common danger for us all – but you have gone full post modern on it. Do you really think that Luke (the author of Acts) or Peter thought that when this was recorded they were really writing about sexual orientation? Where did God declare that what he had previously described as sinful (sex outside marriage – including homosexual sex) was now fine?   You ‘felt’ God said to you. But he didn’t. It was your feelings projected on to God.   You will now read everything from your ‘newfound point of view’. But what if it’s wrong? Why should your feelings determine the Word of God? St Augustine is wise. “If you believe in the Gospel what you like, and leave out what you don’t like, its not the Gospel you believe, but yourself”

History

And of course this new found point of view becomes the lens through which you read everything – including history.

I understood their desire to honor God, and knew many of them had good intentions, but with the help of my new perspective, I could see that the mantras “we’ve always done it this way” and “the Bible clearly says” were both reminiscent of the arguments about slavery and women’s rights, and I recalled how painfully wrong the church had been before.

 As a historian I am very familiar with this narrow and simplistic way of looking at history. It is as depressing as it is dumbed down. What happens is that people who want to justify a particular point of view in the 21st Century read that point of view back into previous centuries. It’s a form of confirmation bias. You simplify and demonise anyone who doesn’t agree with you as being backward and as using arguments like ‘we’ve always done it this way’ and ‘the Bible clearly says’.   But your position on history, whilst it accurately describes some people and views in the past, is not accurate. To equate same sex marriage with slavery is a logical absurdity that only makes sense if we accept your pre-suppositions in the first place. You are engaging in the kind of circular simplistic arguments that we have come to expect from the Progressive fundamentalists.

Strange Fruit

 Your evidence for your views on sex and sexuality include the claim – How could I have produced this good fruit if being gay was so sinful? Surely that would make me a “bad tree” and I should’ve been producing bad fruit.

 Again here we are back to your theology and your misunderstanding of the Bible. I love your song ‘the wonder of the Cross’ – and will continue to sing it. But you can easily produce ‘fruit’ like that and yet be sinful. I love the Psalms of David, but he committed adultery and murder – do you think he could justify himself by saying ‘but look how many people have been helped by my songs!”   Ultimately Jesus is the only judge of our fruit – not us.      “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’  Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!(Matthew 7:21-23). They did many wonderful things in the name of Jesus, but he did not know them.

Knowing Christ

Which brings me on to my major concern. Knowing Christ and being known by Christ.

Some want to say that you have left the Christian faith. You deny that and just say that you have developed to a more mature understanding. But when I read your book there is another more obvious thought that crosses my mind – I don’t think you have left the Christian faith because I’m not sure you were ever in it – other than at a very superficial level. You may have been in the faith in a broadly cultural sense, but were you ever in Christ? (Paul’s favourite description of a Christian). I don’t mean to be insulting but it’s your own words that lead me to this conclusion. Only the Lord knows your heart but the evidence is clear – at least from this book.

My life seemed a monotonous drone of work with no one to come home to. I kept my friends and family at arm’s length, because my core identity was something they couldn’t know about, and most likely wouldn’t understand.  

“Why do I have to choose between such core aspects of my identity?” I often asked myself, sobbing into my pillow at night. “Why can’t I pursue my Christian music career and also be able to date and marry someone of the same sex?”

I’d made my career the sole focus of my life, having shelved all hopes of dating, marriage, and a family of my own. It was scary to sense my job was no longer filling the hole in my heart that it once had.

I don’t deny that at times as a Christian I can feel an emptiness or a loneliness.  But it is not because of career or sex shaped hole – it’s because I have wandered away from Christ.   A Christian is someone whose ‘core identity’ is in Christ, not in their sexuality, nor in their ‘ministry’ or career. Augustine’s famous quote is apposite here – “our hearts were made for Thee, and they are restless until they find their rest in Thee”.   You attempted to fill the hole in your heart through your status as a ‘Christian’ music celebrity, but you found that very lonely. Now you are attempting to fill the hole in your heart through your newfound status as an LGBTI celebrity. That won’t work either.

Your Christianity seems to have been an outer clothing, a cultural badge, but in your own words it was clearly not your heart. You loved the things and the fruit of Christianity but you didn’t love Christ. Or at least there is no evidence of that. The idols of celebrity, family, self and culture were pre-dominant. You may say that that is not fair and that that would preclude many professing Christians. I think it would. And I need to ask myself whether career, identity, culture, family or any thing else is at the centre of my heart rather than Christ.  It is a challenge for us all.  Do you think Christ is being harsh when he says to those who had done many wonderful things in his name ‘away from me. I never knew you!”?

The Hope

 In one sense your book is hopeless. Despite being subtitled’ Coming out, Living Whole and Living Free From Shame” this is a book that offers no Christian hope at all. Any hope offered is just from the kind of meaningless truisms that our contemporary society is based on.

What is crucial, though, is this: we need to love and accept who we are. It’s about making peace with ourselves. ….. It’s a heart-warming reminder that God longs for us to simply be ourselves.

But it’s a reminder of a lie. The primary thing is to make peace with God – not with ourselves. God does not ‘long for us simply to be ourselves’. He longs for us to be holy – and our ‘selves’ are sinful. In the name of the Gospel you have stated precisely the opposite of the Gospel.  Even in secular terms it doesn’t make sense. What if my ‘self’ is racist? Homophobic? Abusive? Does your principle that ‘God longs for us simply to be ourselves’ still apply?

 Another example of this false hope and false Gospel you offer is in your closing paragraph.

Wherever I find myself these days, whether at corporate conferences giving keynotes on diversity or in one-to-one conversations with pastors helping them embrace LGBTQ+ equality, my message is the same: We become our most beautiful, powerful, irreplaceable selves when we allow our diversity to shine. This can only happen when we refuse to feel shame about the things that make us unique and different, when we gather together the fragmented pieces of who we are and boldly unite them into a self that is congruent and in harmony. Vulnerability is difficult, but crucial. Radical, raw, heartfelt authenticity is tough, but worth it. Freed from shame and fear, we are finally able to live, and love, from a place of wholeness. We find peace. We become complete. We become people who are, at our deepest core, undivided.

 You offer a beauty which is ugly, a diversity which is uniformity, a freedom from shame which is an enslavement to sin, an ‘authenticity’ that is fake, a wholeness which is broken, a peace that is war. They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. ‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace. (Jeremiah 6:14)

 Another example of the twisted theology you espouse in this book is when you suggest that there is hope in not knowing.

When I read the final sentence of that story, an unexpected smile crept across my face. Truly Abbot Joseph alone has found the way, for he replied that he knows not.

Of course it couldn’t—but this was a big departure from the culture of certainty I’d been raised in. The obsession with fixed answers felt increasingly wrong to me: if God can fit into a box, it’s no longer God we are dealing with but someone made in our own image.

“It is not the task of Christianity to provide easy answers to every question, but to make us progressively aware of a mystery. God is not so much the object of our knowledge as the cause of our wonder.”

 There are people who will think this is profound and true…because in some senses it is. How can we possibly ‘know’ an Almighty, omniscient, omnipotent being whose ways and thoughts are far beyond ours?    But the trouble is that you claim uncertainty whilst being very certain. You are certain that God would approve of gay relationships, you are certain of your new found liberal theology, you are certain that you are no longer ‘divided’. There is not an ounce of doubt in your book about these things.   And you do provide ‘easy answers’ to the key questions you ask. Love is love. Freedom from shame. Freedom to be who you are. These are all easy answers that fit neatly into our world’s narrative. You have replaced the certainty of Christ and his word, with your own new certainties. But your new foundation is very shaky – ‘On Christ, the solid rock I stand. All other ground is sinking sand’. You are in the quagmire.

A Different Stage

You love the stage. You love to perform. Now you are just doing the same thing for a different audience.   You delight in working for corporations and big companies to help them with their ‘diversity’ programmes (what I would call indoctrination and intimidation programmes). It seems to me that you have replaced the stage of the Corporate Christian music scene for the stage of the Capitalist Corporations seeking to virtue signal and impose their ideologies about society, whilst they get on with exploiting as many people as they can.

Campaigning for LGBTQ+ equality was becoming a big part of my life. I was especially passionate about seeing a ban on conversion therapy—the attempt to turn gay or bisexual people straight. Why would you do that?  I don’t agree with conversion therapy but why would I want to ban it? Where is the tolerance in that? What about those people who want help to deal with their thoughts? Why would you deny them that choice? What right do you have to impose your views by law upon everyone else? What kind of tolerance and diversity is this?

Its strange that you talk about diversity and tolerance and yet at the same time see a day when only your view will prevail in the church – We were a generation seeing LGBTQ+ history being made in front of our eyes. I knew someday the church would unanimously support same-sex marriage; it was just a question of time. Note again your absolute certainty – not only about the past and the present but now the future! You just know that one day the church will unanimously support SSM. On what basis do you have that knowledge? Like most of your new knowledge it is based upon your feelings not facts. I feel and fear that the tide against the biblical position is overwhelming and yet I know that the biblical position will remain and the Church of Jesus Christ will continue – not because of my feelings but because Jesus says that the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18).

So in all of this mess – where is the hope?

I found hope, as you did, in the story of your Granddad.   He comes across as a lovely and Godly man who loves you and yet remains faithful to God’s word, despite your attempts to manipulate him towards your point of view. When he suggested to you that celibacy was an option you dismissed that because ‘celibacy is a choice not a command”. But celibacy is a command for those who cannot marry within the biblical constraints. And it is a gift of God to be celebrated, not mourned.  Your demeaning of those who are single may be unintentional but it is real.

Granddad is a hero to me and always will be. In our relationship I’ve caught a glimpse of something wider too: it’s given me hope for the parts of the church that don’t theologically agree. Yes, that’s a complex situation indeed, but perhaps there is a way for the church to remain united, and to see love triumph over judgment.

But note again what you have done. You have even take your Granddad’s love and turned it into a judgemental comment. Your book is full of judgements – the church will not be united if parts of it adopt your theology (not just about sexuality – but the whole ‘progressive’ package you have swallowed).

I also found some hope in this comment:

Evangelical theology didn’t have much room for anger or grief; it mainly promoted forgiveness and gratitude and being gentle and gracious to everyone. Anger was an unattractive emotion in those circles. I found solace in the Psalms where David shouted at God and railed against injustice.

 It may be that the superficial and shallow theology that you experienced on the Christian music circuit did not have much room for anger or grief – but biblical theology does. I love the Psalms – they are part of my spiritual DNA – and I read or sing one every day. My hope as always is to return to the word that brings me the Hope.

Another person who loves the Psalms is Dr Rosaria Butterfield. Like you she is opposed to conversion therapy but as a former Lesbian postmodern professor of Queer studies and gender theory, she has a very different and much more biblical take on this whole issue. Have a look at this short video.

Vicky – I love your song The Wonder of the Cross. And I will continue to sing it. But it seems to me that you have lost that wonder. Doubtless in your new progressive theology you can no longer speak of ‘history being split in two’ – BC and AD are now replaced by BCE and CE.   Your view of the atonement will now line up with Steve Chalke (another former evangelical leading parts of the Church down the Regressive route) as being just ‘cosmic child abuse’.   The Cross will no longer be the centre of all things – but just one religious way into the great Unknown, along with many others.   The only hope for me and for you is to return to the wonder of the Cross. A cross that is a stumbling block to the religious and foolishness to the non-religious.   A cross where God does not say ‘I want you to be yourself’ but ‘I want to forgive you and bring you to Myself’. A cross where truth and righteousness kiss. A cross that can reconcile, fill and unite the most bitter, empty and divided heart. Your newfound theology and worldview will not bring you peace – nor will it result in an undivided heart or world. Only Christ and his Cross can do that. Remember the wonder of the Cross,

I wish you all the best,

In and for the Love and Glory of Christ,
David

(An unknown Scottish minister who doesn’t get to do diversity training for the big Corporations or governments but who does care that you should come to know Christ)

Ps….here is a wee gift for you – this clip is of my church singing your song.

 

 An Open Letter to the Evangelical Church about Vicky Beeching and ‘Gay Christianity’

The Soft and Hard Intimidation of the Church – A revealing 24 Hours….

 

100 thoughts on “Undivided – An Open Letter to Vicky Beeching

  1. Excellent. I won’t have to read the book. And I’ll have answers to anyone who ‘throws it’ at me. Grateful.

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    1. Thank you David. Sadly, the flaw with Vicky’s identity with Acts 10 is that when Peter explains the meaning of the vision more fully in Acts 11, he emphasises the need for repentance (v18).

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  2. Hi David,

    I usually only half listen to the Radio4 Sunday program at 7.00am (usually not worth bothering), but a couple of Sundays ago they had an interview with an older lady – a member of the CofE synod – who came from an evangelical background, and who is now in a same sex relationship. She spoke very negatively about “evangelicals” and their attitude to SSM, and was planning to speak about this in synod.

    The following week they interviewed Vicky who was equally negative about “evangelicals” as you describe above.

    There was no attempt by the BBC to balance this in any way, just the clear unchallenged message that all “evangelicals” are unloving bigots, and that the “church” needs to move on from this.

    I wrote to the Sunday program asking for a balanced response – for example an interview with Rico Tice who has resigned from ABC Welby’s task group on evangelism – but so far no answer.

    The battle hots up!

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    1. Sadly so typical of the BBC. I can guess that the interviewee on the first programme was probably Jayne Ozanne who has been involved in a similar mission to that of VB.

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  3. I find the new version of Christianity as preached by Vicky Beeching as objectionable and as unbiblical as David does. Apart from anything else, as David so effectively exposes, it’s full of contradictions. Are we to accept everybody for what they are or only those types of people who have been given the seal of approval by the secular, liberal elite? However, I can just imagine Vicky saying, “Here I stand. I can do no other.” (Yes, yes, falsely attributed to a former monk in the sixteenth century.)

    Just a small possible point of correction to both Vicky and David.
    “When he suggested to you that celibacy was an option you dismissed that because ‘celibacy is a choice not a command”. But celibacy is a command for those who cannot marry within the biblical constraints.”
    Celibacy refers to a situation where a person is not married. This may be from choice or it may be a requirement such as exists with regard to Catholic priests. What both Vicky and David might be referring to is not ‘celibacy’ but ‘continence’. Continence is the requirement to abstain from sexual relations. So a person could be married but observe continence by not having sexual relations with their spouse. This is a requirement of permanent deacons in the Catholic Church and many married former Anglican priests who have been allowed to become Catholic priests (celibacy is a rule, not a doctrine) choose to observe continence once they have been ordained to the Catholic priesthood. (It’s also possible, of course, for a person to observe celibacy but not continence.)
    For more on the difference between celibacy and continence, see:
    https://canonlawblog.wordpress.com/2015/12/10/if-we-do-discuss-clerical-celibacy-lets-really-discuss-it/

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  4. Thank you so much David for this excellent reply to the Vicky Beeching’s book. And also for all the other articles you write supporting and defending our Lord and Saviour and His most gracious truthful Word. Gidspare you and bless you.
    Don

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  5. As an old Drumchapel codger, my flesh wants to scream ‘grow up, get over it move on’.

    Sorry but I am so tired of all this constant public washing of personal dirty laundry and this needy needy desire for sympathy, empathy, call it what you will. Where does it encourage that in the Bible?

    I can empathize. I was bullied mentally and physically all through school, 12 years in all, plus in just about every company I have ever worked for someone has either falsely reported me or threathened me or I’ve had a bulling superior. Even my in-laws have treated me a 2nd class citizen, always excluded from family do’s. And no, I’m not obnoxious etc. Do I wear it as a badge of honour letting it control and define me? No I don’t, Jesus is now in charge, He is my strength, He will avenge, He’s my focus. Do I remember the pain, humilation, injustice etc, hardly ever, only if my memory is jogged for some reason. There comes a day when we have to move on, does it shape us, no doubt.

    Aren’t Christians supposed to be different?

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    1. USian evangelicals ARE victims. It’s their identity! They LIVE for victimization. They claim victimization even when there is none!

      Now, as to your tired tolerance jingle – let me explain reality: Some things are intolerable. Nazi thought. Authoritarian government. Racisim. Pedophilia. Unrestrained crony capitalism. Fraud, theft, lies. Refusing to tolerate the intolerable does not make anyone intolerant. It makes them human.

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      1. Interestingly, to give a slight political spin, the left seems to be leaning further and further towards socialism, which is an authoritarian government! There will tolerate that, in order to see their pursuit of “diversity” filled

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  6. I understand you know and have a great respect for Tim Keller. I had him and Dr. Ferguson as professors at Westminster in the 80s. Both tremendous teachers.

    But you know that Dr. Keller would not write such a letter as you did. As much as he says ministers need to be men of courage and conviction he has a blind spot in this area. In the context in which he ministers one might say it is intentional. To write or speak as you do would mean an end to his work in New York. It would be his John 6:66 moment.

    I would hope that you might be able to leverage your friendship and call him to courage concerning this issue.

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    1. @Jeff,
      Maybe Tim Keller does engage precisely at the cutting edge in this matter, but in a different way? New York culture surely is incredibly different to UK and in particular Scotland, which is where this open letter is coming from.
      You might want to check this out, but I did read/hear of a story where Tim Keller did a bible study (Jonah I think) with a group of non-Christian lesbians. That was brave!?

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      1. Martha, do you think they were like the king of Nineveh, wearing sackcloth and repenting for their wickedness sometime during the course of the study? I’ve not heard, read or watched anything where Dr. Keller plainly says that homosexuality is sin and needs repentance even when he is directly asked. Jonah’s message was pretty pointed. And, you know, Jesus was rather to the point, too. One did not have to scratch his head and wonder what he was getting at.

        I don’t consider it particularly brave and more than me being brave for leading bible study in a prison with thieves and murders. The good news was, and is, good news for a miserable sinner like me. It isn’t brave for any of us to give an answer for the hope that lies within us.

        He is a good man and quite smart. I cannot come close to his intellect. But on this issue he continues to be silent which is tragic as it is the leading edge in Western society’s decent into further depravity.

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  7. Wow.

    David thank you so much for your compassionate and insightful response to the author and to the book.

    The Bible, the final authoritive and unchanging Word, states that homosexuality, sodomy, is abhorrent.

    All followers of Christ should know that, and if they don’t, then perhaps they are not Christians at all.

    God bless you in your ministry.

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  8. Here’s a thought experiment for the heterosexual male (females can make the relevant substitutions). I know this may be an absurd scenario, but bear with me. Imagine you were growing up in a community where the only acceptable sexual expression was with someone of the same sex. Your choice as a heterosexual male is: 1) Seek a sexual relationship with a man. 2) Leave the community you’ve grown up in to pursue a relationship with a women, knowing that the people closest to you think you are lost. 3) Resign yourself to a lifetime of forced celibacy (don’t like the word “forced”, well pick option 1 or 2).

    If you’ve taken that thought experiment seriously, I imagine that’s quite a horrifying prospect. Now imagine all the happily married homosexuals in this community tell you that your problem is you’re too focused on sex, and not finding your identity in God. How would that make you feel? Can you just switch off your desire for intimacy? Can you suppress your longing to have a life companion? Would you feel like you were being denied the ability to fully express your identity? Yes, this is an absurd scenario expressed this way round – but it’s precisely what the church puts young same sex attracted kids through.

    Being exclusively SSA is often treated similarly to someone desiring to masturbate in public. It’s an abomination, it’s revolting, it’s a bad choice. Well there’s no evidence SSA is the result of a choice any more than it’s a choice to be heterosexual – and it’s not an activity, it’s an identity – the same way being heterosexual is a significant part of one’s identity, it’s just being normative, it’s not seen – like the proverbial fish asking what water is. The revolution a heterosexual man feels towards gay sex is the same feeling a homosexual man feels towards sex with a woman. Did anyone chose these feelings?

    I know this is an emotional rather than theological argument, and it’s unlikely to change anybody’s theological convictions, but at the very least I hope it will help some people to consider the magnitude of what young people like Vicky Beeching are put through. The church has a long, long way to go in terms of being accepting of SSA individuals, whether or not it becomes affirming.

    Liked by 5 people

      1. Nope. Neither pedophilia or polygamy are orientations, so they can’t be substituted, you’ve just skipped straight to my final point – that homosexuality is simply a chosen perversion (cf. masturbating in public). That’s where things cross the line from conservative yet compassionate Christian theology, to actual homophobia.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Pedophilia is not widely recognised as an orientation, but even if we grant that you still can’t substitute it because it’s not consensual. It would never be accurate to call polygamy an orientation, it’s a preference.

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      3. Who says pedophilia is not consensual? Child rape would be non-consensual. Given that the State currently argues that a five year old can ‘consent’ to change their gender how would you argue against a pedophile saying that a 10 or 12 year old consented? And pedophilia is now widely recognised as a sexual orientation – which is of course because it is…

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      1. Correct! That’s one reason why I twice called it absurd. The purpose of a thought experiment is not to perfectly line up with reality.

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    1. The answer is the same as for unmarried heterosexual people, you know.

      Don’t commit sexual sin.

      I’m 30 and unmarried. Is it cruel to say I shouldn’t have sex with anyone I find attractive?

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      1. No, but it would be cruel to tell you that (for some reason that nobody is able to explain to you properly) you are not permitted to form a lifelong loving relationship with someone to whom you are sexually attracted (and who is sexually attracted to you) and then, after making solemn vows of fidelity before God, to express your love physically through sexual intercourse.

        Nobody is suggesting that “anything goes”, only that same-sex attraction is not in itself sinful any more than other sex attraction is sinful. It all depends on mutual love, consent and commitment.

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      2. That is ‘cruel’ only on your definition. What if you were sexually attracted to a sibling? Would it be cruel to deny that? I am afraid that you are making value judgements which are based upon culture and your preferences – not what God says in his word.

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    2. I found it really instructive recently when I heard someone say – Imagine if someone made the statement “Heterosexual sex is wrong”.

      Well, no, we already understand that there are lots of ways in which heterosexual sex can harmful, and other ways in which it can be healthy. Even heterosexual sex in a marriage can be harmful.

      Why would homosexuality be different? Where do we get the idea that universally, all forms of same sex relationship are wrong? Why should it not also have forms in which it is healthy and fruitful?

      And yes, that leaves open the question of what is healthy. But that question is about the relationship and the circumstances, which is what God cares about, rather than about a physical act.

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      1. Why would homosexuality be different? Can’t you work that out? Don’t you know about the increased risks? Can I suggest you read Thomas Schmidts ‘Straight and Narrow’ if you really wish an answer to your question.

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      2. “Where do we get the idea that universally, all forms of same sex relationship are wrong?”
        From the Word of God of course. Google “clobber passages”. This is such an obvious answer to your question, maybe I’m missing something…

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  9. Brilliant post David. Very gracious and articulate. I hope the author reads it, and doesn’t just see it as another Christian having a go at her because they are not moving with the times.

    My fear is she will do exactly that as it doesn’t won’t line up with what she feels, and actually all the attention as you mentioned will take her into another realm of fame and celebrity Christianity.

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  10. Pingback: Pickering Post
  11. I may be a sole dissenting voice in the comments to this article, but I have to say that I find your charge of hypocrisy against Vicky Beeching to be unfair and untrue. You say:

    “You admit that you pretended to be one thing and then came out as another – but why blame the church for your hypocrisy!”

    I don’t believe this is an accurate representation. She did’t “pretend” to be either gay or straight when she was in the American music scene – and it is clear that this career arose because she discovered early on that she had a God-given gift of music that helped people to connect with God. Here is, I think, a relevant paragraph from page 5 of the book that presents what I think is the true picture:

    “All of it [ the feelings for girls ] was locked away inside as I tried to impeccably do the right thing by my Christian values. As I saw it, I’d chosen God instead of these attractions, pursuing holiness instead of sin. I’d boxed my feelings up and put them on a high shelf in my psyche, leaving them there – I believed – permanently. But I had no idea how deeply it would damage me.”

    I do not see anything hypocritical in that; there is no pretence there – just the intent to flee away from what she genuinely believed was sin.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. She ‘pretended’ to be something that she was not – a straight Christian who opposed SSM. She kept quiet in order to keep her career. As she states herself in the book several times.

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      1. I think you and I have very different understandings of what we read in the book.

        Firstly, the way I read it, her career was something she saw as a direct call from God to serve him through her gift of music. She states (whether in the book or in an interview I can’t remember, probably both) that when she first sang one of her songs in church, frightened with both eyes shut, when she opened them at the end she found people had tears rolling down their faces and many said it had helped them to connect with God.

        Given that it appears to have been a direct spiritual gift, which you admit your own church has benefited from in that you use her songs, do you not think if she had chosen not to pursue this career because of having to hide her sexuality, that this would have been “hiding her light under a bushel”?

        Alternatively if you think her music career was born of hypocrisy, do you not think you are being hypocritical in using her songs?

        What is also clear from the book is that the career isn’t exactly lucrative; she found herself perpetually short of money, partly due to the digital download revolution that hit CD sales. But she wasn’t doing it for the money – she was doing it to serve God.

        Furthermore, I do not believe she “pretended” to be a straight Christian who opposed SSM. People might have made that assumption about her, because the music industry forced her into singing at conventions in support of Proposition 8. But all she was trying to be was a worship leader, and believed she could shelve her homosexual feelings for good. ( So at the time she must de facto have been against SSM because she believed homosexual feelings were sinful and a source of shame to her).

        She was wrong in believing this, and the strain nearly killed her, as is clear from the book.

        So – no I don’t see the slightest hypocrisy in what she did, and I think you are being very unfair in accusing her of it, given all the pain she has suffered in order to serve God, and benefit your own church with worship songs to use.

        Also I find your “open letter” to be a very aggressive means of challenging someone. You wrap it up in nice things about what a hard time she’s been through etc, and then you stick the knife in about her supposed “hypocrisy”.

        I note that even today she has tweeted that being on social media today has felt like being repeatedly punched in the face. I sincerely hope she doesn’t read your blog.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Vicky regularly goes on social media to complain about being on social media. There is a sense in which she has a love/hate relationship with it – because it validates her victim status and allows her to tweet about how badly she has been treated. I have a presence on social media which is one tenth of hers and yet every couple of days I get hate mail and abuse. Does that validate my position? She did read my blog because she immediately unfollowed me. I am beginning to wonder if she really does know what she is doing (I had worked on the charitable assumption that she didn’t – but she does seem to be playing the system very well!). As for ‘punching’ on social media – she does a great deal of that in passive/aggressive terms.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. “She ‘pretended’ to be something that she was not – a straight Christian who opposed SSM. She kept quiet in order to keep her career. As she states herself in the book several times.”

        I think you have to weigh any charge of hypocrisy against the reasons for it. It’s too cheap otherwise. We should put ourselves in her shoes and be honest about how we would feel in the same circumstances.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Jeff,
    There is a whole book of essays about Tim Keller’s supposed deficiencies called Engaging with Keller. You have the makings of another chapter here and I’m pretty positive that there are enough other areas of ‘concern’ held by various people to produce a whole new volume. However, I can tell you what would happen should you proceed to write your chapter; the lessons were plainly there to be learned in the first volume; and indeed, the contributors to the first volume ought to have known what would happen before they ever wrote.
    (Engaging with Keller was not meant to be an attack on him so — with a couple of exceptions — the essays came across as I-wouldn’t-do-it-that-way gripes. I expected to find flawed arguments where it would require re-reading several times for me to do justice both to Keller and to the complainant; so I read the footnotes first to get my bearings and found the expected flaws right there in most cases. Sooner or later the contributors would have to conceed that what they read into what Keller says is not what Keller says he is saying.)
    When it comes down to it though, I think you are profoundly wrong about what would happen if Tim Keller — or David Robertson for that matter — were to betray wide-open opportunities to preach the gospel to sinners in order to ‘parade credentials’ to ‘the righteous’. It has always been the case that faithful preachers of the gospel have had to leave themselves open to accusations from misunderstanding saints so that they might reach some.
    Yours,
    John/.

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  13. Can I suggest, to all those who feel no need to read the book in question, of which I am sure David has read thoroughly, it may be worth your reading before coming to a final conclusion. As someone once involved in a cult, I know the dangers of not reading the source documents. It would be like believing everything the BBC says without searching for the other side of the story. Or believing a Christian tract on the Koran without ever reading some, if not all of it, yourself.

    I am in no way suggesting this review is biased in any way, but it will of course be through the lens of David’s own convictions, it is his blog after all, with that said though, the review seems balanced and he is to be thanked for taking that time to study it. Keep on having a Berean spirit, it is vital.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. David, I know you read it, I meant others who had said they didn’t need to….! I think the Bereans would have developed a discerning spirit, that was my point, that people should search themselves, not just believe what you say.

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  14. @ Jeff. I don’t really know that much about Tim Keller. He is not someone who I regularly listen to or whose articles/books I read much. I did, however, read/hear about him doing the bible study with, I think, 4 lesbians. I personally would prefer to do a bible study in a prison with murderers and thieves than 4 militant feminist lesbians !!! Much more scary!!!
    I don’t think we can always compare the outworking of our faith with the USA. It is such a different culture. But maybe Tim Keller doesn’t speak out as he should on this matter, I don’t actually know! New York must be such a different challenge.
    Among others, I listen to Alistair Begg; Todd Friel; John MacArthur; and my home favourite Kenneth Stewart. In the past I listened to Eric Alexander. I read a lot of (old school) Jay Adams and refer to Bruce Milne a lot on theological matters. I think Sinclair Ferguson is a brilliant writer, better than he is a speaker (my personal opinion). Kevin DeYoung is a brilliant writer and apologist. I have just discovered the ‘wee flea’ and like his other supporters, I back him up for his courageous stance and confrontation of the most pressing issues of our times, at great personal cost I’m sure. He is well able and well qualified to write and speak. I just realized that all those names, apart from DeYoung, are either Gaelic or Scottish. What’s that about?
    The USA and Canada are always pinching our Scottish preachers and theologians!
    I think if the SNP want to glory in how great Scotland is they ought to recognise the rich heritage Scotland has in terms of theologians and preachers. I have heard that the most complete Reformation took place in Scotland. Maybe there is coming a day when Scotland will once again abound with theologians, preachers, and bible teachers. It was, after all, the Land of the Book. Maybe it will be, once again!
    But Jeff, we digress! The topic at hand is the most pressing one of our times, and is a real ‘hot potato’

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  15. You have clearly taken the time to engage carefully with Vicky Beeching’s book. There are a number of matters on which I could take issue with you, but I will content myself with just two.

    I suppose technically speaking it is hypocritical to be in the closet. But I think you could just as easily argue in that sense that it is hypocritical for certain Christians living in Islamic countries to remain ‘secret believers.’ Why don’t they just tell everybody? Answer, because they and their families might well be killed, and they make the judgment before God that it is better to be quiet. Is that hypocrisy? I don’t think many of us would say so. You call out Vicky Beeching for hypocrisy, but I think it’s very hard for people like us to really imagine what it is like for a young closeted gay woman in the evangelical Christian world, with a very real apprehension as to what the consequences of coming out would be.

    But the most extraordinary suggestion you make is that perhaps Vicky Beeching was never “in Christ.” In other words, you appear to be suggesting that she was never a Christian in the first place? Seriously? Is this because she hasn’t included a standard ‘born-again’ testimony in the book, or maybe used the word repentance? I am truly baffled. Especially as she wrote the very song (about the Cross) which you are highlighting at the end of this post as one that you are happy to sing to this day in your church.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would not compare being killed for your faith with losing your career in the American Christian worship scene! Nor would I compare faith in Christ with being in favour of SSM!

      Re the never ‘in Christ’ – if you have read the article you will see clearly why I think that – which is nothing to do with your speculative reasons. And gifts don’t indicate knowing Christ….again as I point out in the article. You will forgive me if I don’t waste time typing out what I have already written and which you are supposed to be commenting on…

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    2. I think David’s concerns about whether or not Vicky is truly a Christian believer is
      something that should be carefully considered, as far as is possible. Clearly, there is the
      danger of being judgmental, of coming to conclusions without having sufficient information, of appearing to be harsh, arrogant, etc. (despite having 1 Corinthians 5:9-13 on our side if Vicky is genuinely born again). There are two reasons for this being important – one, our love for her and her eternal destiny and two, the effect that her views may be having on others who identify as gay and are trying to lead celibate lives as Christians.

      Vicky’s contribution to Christian music and worship is substantial and praiseworthy (in both senses) but even without applying Matthew 7:21-23, it cannot be claimed that her songs tells us a great deal about her personal relationship with Christ. What we see and hear since her ‘coming out’ undoubtedly tells us a lot more. I don’t think either that it is true to say that her Christian views suddenly changed after she decided that she had hidden her sexuality for long enough – it seems that from a teenager, she gradually began to have reservations about whether her Church’s teaching about homosexuality was correct. If this is so, it would be important to know what she believed about Christian faith when she was first old enough to understand it. If two events occurred at about the same time – the apprehension that Christ died and rose again for her personally and the awareness of her homosexuality – there is surely the danger of confusion at the very least and possible doubt that He did die for her or especially that He died for the outworking in practice of the particular leanings that she was beginning to experience. In other words, if she did not believe that Christ died for homosexual sexual activity, can it be said that she was genuinely converted to Christian faith?

      I think there is a clue to the answer to this question in her books and interviews where she states that she has “always been a Christian” which raises a red flag with me every time I hear someone say it. I realize that this is controversial and obviously I am not saying that we should all have a ‘Damascus Road’ encounter in order to qualify for Christian faith but I do believe that there should be a ‘before and after’ point in time of some sort, a point at which we can say, “My chains fell off, my heart was free, I rose, went forth, and followed Thee” even if not so dramatically as Charles Wesley. Isn’t this what regeneration, conversion, redemption, the new birth and ultimately Christian faith is about? Can we really claim that simply because we were born in a ‘Christian’ country, baptized as an infant, were brought up in a Godly home, heard Bible stories from as early an age as we can remember, went to Church every Sunday, we must have “always been a Christian”?

      Vicky studied Hebrew and Greek at Oxford and has sought to correct Bible terminology which has traditionally been accepted as referring to homosexuality. Much of her reinterpretation is disputed but I believe that one could theoretically revise all the Bible’s references to this subject or even remove them completely but we would still be left with over 40 Bible verses that mention fornication. It seems therefore that in order to allow homosexual sexual acts, we would need to change the meaning of fornication which has always been defined as sexual intercourse between those who are unmarried. Perhaps Vicky would say that it is not fornication if same-sex couples are ‘married’ for which it might be necessary to introduce a Christian definition, such as ‘fornication is sexual activity between those who are not married in accordance with Christ’s definition of marriage in Matthew 19:4-6’. If it is accepted that same-sex ‘marriage’ is not Biblical, we must surely wonder again what Vicky’s promotion of it tells us about the authenticity of her Christian faith.

      Finally, something needs to be said that might appear to be entirely subjective and not empirically provable but I strongly maintain that unless their consciences are seared (1 Timothy 4:1-3), truly born again believers KNOW in their spirit without any doubt or question and without reference to anything that the Bible might or might not say about it, that homosexual sexual acts are unacceptable to God. Above all else, the new birth and Christ’s life within us reveal truth so that we can say with John, “We KNOW the spirit of truth and the spirit of error” (1 John 4:6). Those who believe that a homosexual lifestyle has God’s approval are deceived in that they ignore the truth that the new birth is about becoming “new creatures”. Included in the Fall of Man was our sexuality and no one’s sexuality is lived out exactly as God intended but thank God that He has redeemed us from the “transgression that resulted in condemnation” (Romans 5:18, 19) and has given new life to those who acknowledge their need to be changed and come humbly to Him in repentance and Biblical faith. This is my prayer for Vicky and for all those who have been
      ensnared by the situations and circumstances of their lives to such an extent that their
      only solution is to form a theology of their own making and imagination.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t write under a pseudonym – it states quite clearly on my blog who I am – the name of the blog is The Wee Flea – the author is yours truly. I don’t hide. You got that one way wrong!

      Liked by 3 people

  16. The cross is not to be wondered at. The cross has one purpose. Execution.
    To put to death.
    And it is the purpose of the cross that is missing. Death to self. Death to the flesh. Death to every though that exalts itself against the knowledge of God.

    The life of Christ, the spirit of life only comes on the other side of Calvery.

    Jesus said we are to take up the Cross. Not wonder at it. His brought an end to his own life. If we are crucified with him, we can expect the end of our own life. Not loving our life. Losing it. And this is absent entirely from Beechings message. It’s instead a ‘retain your life’ by rejecting all that calls you to lose it.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. David, if I came to you as a Christian single woman or even a married woman, seeking counsel from you as a Christian minister because I had long-standing, persistent, strong attraction to married men; would you tell me I had an adultery orientation? Would you suggest I had some sort of ‘conversion therapy’?
    Why do same-sex attracted people get special treatment, extra empathy, more leeway for temptation than the rest of us rotten sinners?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, I hope that you wouldn’t be told that you had an adultery orientation, since there is no such thing. It would be accepted that you had a heterosexual orientation – and of course there is nothing wrong with that – and you might well be advised to ask yourself what it was that was causing you to be attracted repeatedly and solely to men who were already spoken for, and who were therefore ineligible for your attentions.

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      1. @ William. You are kind of proving my point for my hypothetical question and scenario. “a heterosexual orientation – and of course there is nothing wrong with that.” Nothing wrong with being attracted to married men only!!!??? Being attracted to married men as a Christian requires repentance, surely and a ‘putting to death’ of sinful desires?? Jesus said we commit adultery in our hearts.
        Secondly – you say”and you might well be advised to ask yourself what it was that was causing you to be attracted repeatedly and solely to men who were already spoken for, and who were therefore ineligible for your attentions.” By your logic, then same-sex attracted Christians are “attracted repeatedly and solely to ‘people’ …ineligible for their attentions.”You would suggest some sort of self-examination or counsel to determine the cause of my illicit desires. Yet we condemn conversion therapy for homosexuals!! (numerous formerly practising homosexuals came out of homosexuality and married the opposite sex, yet conversion therapy is all but banned.) What is the difference between the illicit desires I described in my scenario and the illicit desires of a same-sex attracted person? Both are simply sinful desires for somebody who in God’s eyes is not eligible? Why do same-sex attracted individuals get an ‘orientation’ label to justify their attractions while the rest of us are just common sinners? This point has been raised in different ways a few times in this thread and the “Open letter to evangelicals on gay Christians”.

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      2. @Martha You are kind of proving your very confused thinking on this matter. Of course there is nothing wrong with having a heterosexual orientation. Probably at least 95% of people have one, and it is one of the things that frequently leads to people getting married. The problem in your hypothetical scenario would not be your heterosexual orientation, i.e. your sexual attraction to people of the other sex, but your sexual attraction only to married men. Unless you were deliberately encouraging and nurturing that inappropriate attraction, it wouldn’t require repentance or putting anything to death; what it would require would be for you to recognize that, since those men were already committed elsewhere, they were ineligible, and therefore, however difficult you might find it, you must cross them off your list.

        It is by no means uncommon for a person to be sexually attracted to someone else who is already “spoken for” and is therefore “off limits”. What WOULD be uncommon would be to be sexually attracted ONLY to people who are ineligible for that reason, and I don’t think that it would be at all unreasonable to consider at least the possibility of some underlying psychological problem.

        Whether sexual attraction to someone of the same sex is per se an illicit desire is a different question. Your clearly hold the view that it is, as you have a right to do. I hold the view that it is not. That question apart, same-sex attracted individuals don’t “get an ‘orientation’ label to justify their attractions” any more than other sex-attracted individuals do. Having either a heterosexual (other-sex) or a homosexual (same-sex) orientation isn’t a label justifying anything: it’s just a fact.

        As for “conversion therapy” for homosexuals, not only is it unnecessary, it’s also a con. That’s why I condemn it. I wouldn’t ban it as a fringe practice for consenting adults who wish to dabble in it, any more than I would ban, for example, going to a chiromantist to have your hand read, getting a tasseographer to read your tea-leaves, or going to a Christian Science healer. Adults must have the right to make their own decisions, even if they’re the wrong ones. But I would certainly advise them against it.

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  18. Dear David:

    You mention David’s sins and then mention Jesus saying depart from me. As far as I know God described David as a man after his own heart. I think it is a safe assumption that David is with God in heaven not cast out with the people who did not know God. I think it is wrong to compare Ms. Beeching with those Jesus command to depart from his presence. I hope I misunderstood you here.

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  19. I am absolutely positively heartbroken to see this going on. The position for Christians always has been and always should be “Love the sinner, but hate the sin.” To see that a seed was planted long ago and grown into such a wicked compromise as to now “accept homosexualALITY” is heart -breaking. God will never in His sovereign wisdom accept the act of homosexuality for how can He now go back and apologize to all of Sodom & Gomorrah which were destroyed for this very sin(?) I do not judge others who sin differently than I do but let’s not start accepting all sin. “They have set fire to Your sanctuary. They said in their hearts, ‘Let us destroy them altogether. ‘ The enemy has damaged everything in the sanctuary. Remember this, that the enemy has reproached, O Lord, and that a foolish people have blasphemed Your name. Oh, do not deliver the life of Your turtledove to the wild beast!“ (Ps 74)

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  20. “Vicky we don’t disagree with you because of your sexual orientation, but rather because of your theological orientation” – David Robertson.

    This is the essential Evangelical hermeneutical – pneumatological lens in dealing with a form of liberal-progressive revisionist anthropology. An compassionate treatment of a fissile issue at the heart of human identity and pathology. You can feel the presence of the Cross in this – David Robertson has found his Gethsemane and his vital Epektasis in reaching forward into the Healing and the knitting together of everything that has been broken and wounded.

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  21. @ William Fisher
    I don’t think I have confused thinking at all. I just think too much is being made of ‘orientation’. I am speaking from a Christian perspective where I deem sinful desires to be in the realm of ‘temptation’, whatever form they take. Paul in the bible said he had a ‘thorn in his flesh’ (we don’t know what it was) and even though he asked the Lord to take it away 3 times, the Lord didn’t. He had to live with it whatever it was. I just don’t like labels much. I find them frequently unhelpful and too permanent. We are all growing as Christians and sometimes we find that we overcome temptations that used to beset us. Some people do overcome the desire to have a relationship with someone of the same sex. Some Christians overcome a pornography addiction completely. I personally wouldn’t use the label ‘conversion therapy’ as it probably could mean anything. But if a Christian came to me and said that they were same-sex attracted and it bothered them, I would pray for them and with them. If the Lord saw fit not to take away the same-sex attraction, then I would still love that person. But I would also be open to the possibility that the Lord might take it away and also that it could be rooted in a childhood problem. I only said ‘could’ not definitely. Off the top of my head I can think of 2 gay men I know and BOTH of them were sexually abused by men before the age of 10. I am not saying that is everybody’s story. I also know of 2 women who had relationships with married men and BOTH of them had been abused as teenagers by the father of the children they babysat. Again, I am not saying it is always the case but everyone has their story; we all have our story and sometimes things we experience as adults do have their roots in childhood experiences and how we processed those events in our inexperienced minds.
    Lastly, life is hard for all Christians and who is to say it is harder for a same sex attracted Christian? We need to be united as standing on equal ground as Christians because we are all tempted to sin in various and particular ways. 2 Cor 12:
    13 “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”
    I am very suspicious as to why people want to ‘ban’ counselling for those with unwanted same-sex attraction.
    An excellent speaker and writer on the subject of sexuality from a Christian perspective is Dr Harry Schaumburg. I am not a counsellor or an expert but I can point people to the help they want if they ask!

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    1. @ Martha You clearly regard the desire for a sexual relationship with someone of the same sex as a sinful temptation. I don’t; I regard it, like the desire of most people for a sexual relationship with someone of the other sex, as a perfectly legitimate one. I won’t claim that no-one has ever overcome the desire for a relationship with someone of the same sex, or that no-one has ever overcome the desire for a relationship with someone of the other sex. I see no reason to consider either eventuality of itself a particularly desirable one to be sought after, still less comparable to overcoming a pornography addiction. That said, when the attraction is specifically to someone who is ineligible, e.g. because they are already committed to someone else, then it SHOULD be overcome. There are other fish in the sea, as the saying goes.

      I don’t for one moment doubt that the Lord can take away either same-sex attraction or other-sex attraction if he sees fit to do so, but the evidence indicates that he very seldom does. I certainly would not encourage anyone to pin their hopes on such an unlikely contingency, or to fritter away their life pining and fretting about their natural sexuality instead of coming to terms with it. Yes, there are both gay men and straight men who were sexually abused by men when they were children – in fact probably far more straight men, numerically speaking. Most men, both gay and straight, were not. Of course, the effects of such abuse, both short term and long term, can be devastating, and even one case is one too many.

      The evidence that people’s sexual attractions can be changed from homosexual to heterosexual by “counselling” is poor, and I would advise anyone against embarking on such a wild-goose chase. However, adults must have the right to make their own decisions, and that must include the right to make ill-advised ones. Since the evidence for the efficacy of such “therapy” is poor, and since it is for a non-illness, it should be available – like astrotherapy, reincarnation therapy, angel therapy etc. – only from fringe practitioners, and only for consenting adults.

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      1. Thanks for your reasonable response William, I actually agree with you. I think that a person first has to accept themselves exactly as they are as God accepts us exactly as we are. We also have to accept everyone exactly as they. But as a Christian, I fully believe that although God accepts me as I am, God also loves me enough to change me and that He has an agenda for me. We cannot impose an agenda onto people and insist that they change same-sex desires into opposite-sex desires. But our thought life is important too and all of us as Christians know that there are some things in our thought life that we have to bring under the sanctifying work of God. Persistent temptation of any kind is one of those things. We speak of keeping ‘short accounts’ with God, so as to continually bring our weaknesses, thoughts, temptations and sins before Him (or should!…I know I don’t as much as I should and am woefully weak and sinful). But change from homosexual behaviour was always possible in the Christian life. But as you say not always guaranteed. Some Christians identify as celibate same-sex attracted and I have the height of love and respect for such people, especially as I do believe that previously society and the church made it very difficult for people to admit that they struggled with this issue. But I also have the height of love and respect for those who previously struggled or were in a gay lifestyle and subsequently married happily and raised children. It is up to God whether He does that work in someones life. If someone wants that help from a Christian counsellor or pastor then they should be allowed. Instead, it is on the verge of being banned. That is not right either. But I do understand that it could be a dangerous work if done by immature Christians who think they can do ‘conversion therapy’. Wasn’t this kind of ‘therapy’ offered by psychiatrists many moons ago, with awful results? I My challenge is that I must always love the same-sex attracted person whether they are a Christian or not and haven’t we made far to much of an issue about this? I hear kids say,” oh Christians, don’t they hate gays?” As if that is all Christians are about! As John Kilpatrick reminded us in one of these blogs, the gospel is the message of the church, not all these red herrings. But some militant gays also try to shut the mouths of ‘former homosexual people’ and call them all sorts of names and say that they may not have been really homosexual in the first place or that they are hypocrites because they are suppressing who they really are. But I now ask myself, do I love any non-Christian enough, to tell them they are sinners at all? Or am I too afraid of the mob and the mindset?
        I will post Corinthians 6:9-11 again in this respect. I am included in the sinners, in more than one way on the list. Homosexuals are not singled out, but Paul says and such were some of you. But thanks be to God because of Jesus’ work on the cross I am cleansed. The foot of the cross is an equal playing field….none are innocent or righteous!
        “9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were 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.”
        God bless you William!

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  22. That is a very challenging reply to Vicky. However I do feel it lacks depth of understanding about two very difficult issues which the church is rubbish at dealing with: guilt and shame.

    Shame is particularly damaging and extremely destructive. I counsel women who have suffered baby loss through abortion, and guilt and shame are the two most hardest areas we have to cover with them. Shame will always emotionally damage people one way or another, even if they are in denial about it. Guilt and shame often result is depression and illness.

    My question is this: If someone is gay, then how can they possibly belong to the evangelical church and be free from guilt and shame? I can’t see that it is possible? – because in order to belong, then gay people would have to bear their “shame” when they’re in evangelical circles. Therefore they will get damaged psychologically – is that what God wants? ?? (apart from condemning them to a life without love and intimacy – unless that is what they want).

    ……..and as has already been mentioned, sex within heterosexual marriage can be sinful.

    I attended Spring Harvest when Vicky was leading worship in the big tent – I always did wonder why such a beautiful lady was still single, so I wasn’t surprised when she came “out” – I’m glad she has for her sake because its her first step in dealing with the shame which is piled onto gay people by the church. I don’t consider her a hypocrite because back then she was only trying to put into practice what the church was telling her to do.

    As for accusing Vicky of liking the limelight – well, don’t start me haha! ……I lost my faith a few years ago (its started to come back slowly during the past 18 months) but I began to see how self-serving a lot of Christianity is – particularly evangelical/fundamental Christianity which had been my spiritual life. Only God knows the true motives of the heart, but the ego is capable of deceiving itself that is doing God a favour when all its doing is damaging other people.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. I think the issue of shame is important…and guilt. But in Christian thinking its not just reserved for sexual sins…we are all sinners and we are all covered with shame – some of which is legitimate, some of which is not. Our guilt and shame is taken away by Christ. He sets our hearts free.

      I agree with you that a lot of Christianity is self serving…and it is something I am prone to as well….

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  23. One day you and Vicky will stand before Jesus
    I know that he will fling his arms around Vicky and welcome her as the true child of God that she is
    Before any of you continue to write words you wouldn’t dare say to Vicky’s face think of the damage your bile is doing to thousands of Christian teenagers
    Teenagers who would rather commit suicide rather than come out to their church family

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are very certain in your knowledge and in your accusations and judgements. Its disappointing that you regard my comments as bile and that somehow you think they encourage teenagers to suicide. You have of course no evidence for this and its just another attempt at bullying because you are not prepared to think through the issues.

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      1. Many teenagers have committed suicide because they could not reconcile their sexuality with the teaching they had from their church. Countless others have suffered terribly, with most not being in the church any more. I’m sure you know this. It needs to be ‘owned’ by conservatives that this is the result of their teaching, even if they wish it were not so.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Are awful cases such as that of Lizzie Lowe not evidence enough?

        How many gay people are there in your church? And how many have left because they could not reconcile their homosexuality with your teaching?

        I know personally (as in they are my friends and have told me so) 5 or 6 people who came out and left the church because they couldn’t face it. I don’t personally know any who are happily celibate.

        I don’t mind if you argue that your biblical understanding means that the damage caused to gay people is less worse than what you see as the alternative. But arguing that there is no damage is preposterous.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. There are gay people in my church and they are as welcome as anyone else and on the same terms. I wonder if you have ever asked how many people have been damaged and harmed by gay theology/philosophy? The damage is not caused by the biblical teaching – but by the teaching which goes against it.

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      4. Evidence enough for what, Rob?
        The case of poor Lizzie Lowe is certainly evidence that a group of teenage girls, however mature and well informed, cannot be expected on their own to deal with the sort of conflicts that Lizzie was enduring. This case is evidence that the transition from childhood to adulthood is fraught with difficulties. It is evidence that self-harming may lead on to suicide.

        It is not in itself evidence that blame should be laid at the door of those who consistently constue all expressions of non-approval as hate-speech because we don’t know that Lizzie was directly exposed to that insidious lie. On the other hand, it is certainly not evidence that the reception that Lizzie feared is what she would have got.

        Given that this is presumably the best evidence you could find, your claim: ‘Many teenagers have committed suicide because they could not reconcile their sexuality with the teaching they had from their church. Countless others have suffered terribly’ is preposterous. That rumour itself — and I know it is in wide circulation — is liable to do much more damage than the church-manufactured, irreconcilable anguish it claims to report.

        Yours,
        John/.

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  24. Please, I ask you to stop personally attacking Vicky Beeching. She is an amazing woman and one of my top role models. I am not religious but I am LGBT. Please show us some respect even if you disagree with us. I disagree with your religion but I respect it

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am not personally attacking Vicky Beeching. I am defending the bible and the church from her attacks. The fact that she has chosen to do so by using her own story means that anyone who dares to disagree with her is accused of personal attacks. I am not doing that. I would appreciate some respect.

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      1. The Father does not need us to defend His church. He said He would build it and therefore one should also have faith that He is more than able to build it strong enough. After all, He said, “I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it”. Sounds like Dad has this covered already.

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      2. The Father does not need us to pray. Nor to read the Bible. Nor to worship. Nor to help the poor. But he wants us to. And he wants us to avoid dangerous pietistic waffle…

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      3. ……but why do you need to defend the bible and the church? Is it really your responsibility? Is God is able to defend his own Word and his own church? Are personal stories about experiences of how fundamental evangelical churches treat people really an “attack”?

        BTW concerning shame, Brene Brown has some good TED talk on it and how destructive it is.

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  25. Thank you for this well-intended, well-toned response. I hope that you are surviving the obligatory social justice warrior swarm attack. You are giving courage to many others to speak the truth in love, which I believe you accomplished on both counts in your response to Vicky Beeching’s book. -Rev. David Odegard, pastor in Ohio.

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    1. Sorry no information there about the many teenagers who have committed suicide in the past couple of days because of parents who forced them out of their homes because of my God. Which was the claim. Any evidence?

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  26. Having studied theology at Oxford University and Surrey, I think further than my little box
    Perhaps you need to think wider than the last few days and research how many teenager have considered suicide and had other mental health issues due to conservative Christian teaching on homosexuality
    My daughter and her friend had such teaching at a Christian festival. I spent many months watching her 24 / 7 until she accepted she was loved by God and not judged for her sexuality
    You will one day have to stand before God and answer as to why you caused distress to Gods children just as I will face my maker and account for my decisions

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    1. I have looked at the accusations…actual hard facts are hard to come by – most evidence is anecdotal or self -selective. The reality is that there are no figures for the original and false claim. We are not judged for our sexuality – we are judged for our sin.

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