2017 God & Sex Forum Recap

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Last Thursday night, our college student organization, Make Up Your Own Mind (soon to be Students for Greensboro Pregnancy Care Center), held its 5th annual God & Sex Forum at UNCG in partnership with Ratio Christi, an apologetics club on campus.

The general rundown for a God & Sex Forum includes a speaker who talks about some aspect of biblical sexuality; then a panel discussion, which answers questions texted in by the audience. As was the case in former years, the audience at the forum on Thursday was very engaged in asking hard questions of the Christian faith to our panel members.

Our speaker was Gene Burrus, a Ph.D. candidate at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. His lecture topic was on how Christians should think about sexual orientation and engage those struggling with same-sex attraction. His areas of study include pastoral theology and researching soul care issues related to sexuality and gender.

Gene’s lecture was very encouraging, especially for those struggling with same-sex attraction. It was also encouraging for those of us who don’t struggle with it but who need to understand how to effectively minister to and interact with our same-sex attracted neighbors.

Gene shared his personal story of struggling with same-sex attraction. While his orientation toward members of the same sex is still present—and may be for the rest of his life—it doesn’t define who he is. His identity is in knowing and being known by Jesus. Gene still struggles with same-sex attraction, but has chosen to put away those desires. Now he’s married to his wife, Marie, and they have a baby on the way (due this fall)!

Three of our panel members actually struggled with, or still do struggle with, same-sex attraction, though they are all followers of Jesus. It really gave our audience a good, varied perspective on the issue. No one panel member’s story was the same. All had homosexual tendencies due to various circumstances or proclivities, yet all had chosen to follow God’s design for their lives instead. They all communicated how Jesus changed their hearts so that they were willing to lay down their desires to follow Him.

Of course, one of the immediate questions from many in our secular culture is: Why would you willingly choose to do something so “oppressive” and not just “be who you are?” Every one of the panel members answered by saying that following God is actually freeing, not oppressive, especially compared to their patterns of behavior when they were indulging in their sinful desires. And of course, their orientation doesn’t (and can’t) define who they are, only God can do that as their Creator and now their intimate Father. They all expressed joy and satisfaction in listening to and obeying God.

What a testimony to how the gospel changes our lives! The only way we’ll see anyone come out of a same-sex oriented lifestyle is if we first show them love and grace. If they’re willing to give up their own life to follow Jesus, they can be free from slavery to sin, as Paul tells us in Galatians 5.

But that’s advice for us all. Same-sex attraction, or at least acting on or dwelling on those attractions and lusting after members of the same sex, is no different than acting on or dwelling on sinful desires toward members of the opposite sex. Let’s make sure we’re personally pursuing a relationship with Jesus, and that we’re willing to give up our own sinful desires to follow him before we call others to do the same. That’s the whole “take the log out of your own eye before trying to get the speck out of your neighbor’s” thing that Jesus talks about.

The Forum was a great experience and I hope it helped the students there think through sex and sexuality like Christians should, according to the Bible and according to the gospel. The gospel is the good news that Jesus forgives any sin, no matter what it is, if we’ll only turn from our old way of life and turn to him.

For those there who weren’t Christians, I hope it’s one more step for them toward knowing their Creator and learning that His ways are better than theirs.

 

Carter Mundy is the Assistant Executive Director for the Care Center. You can follow him on Twitter @carterpmundy.

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