The heart of our identity as human beings is that we have been created, male and female, in the image of God, to be in fellowship with God and to glorify and enjoy Him forever as fruitful and faithful vice-regents exercising dominion over His creation. The heart of our identity as believers is our union with Christ. Nothing defines our ultimate reality more than that He has taken all our sin and shame upon Himself, while giving us His righteousness; and that we have been buried with Him in baptism, raised with Him, have our life hidden with Him as He sits in the heavenly places, and will appear with Him in glory. It is these realities, not our fallen experience of sexuality, that serve as the defining and foundational truths of who we are.
That being said, many other facts about our circumstances and experiences as human beings impact our understanding of ourselves and our lives. And as human beings living in the aftermath of the Fall, there are facts about our experience of temptation and sin that impact our understanding of ourselves and our lives. These facts can be important for us to bear in mind and to share with others.
Most of those in Revoice’s leadership and most of its speakers openly describe themselves as being predominantly attracted to their own sex, whether they use words like “gay” or “same-sex attracted” to do so. We believe there are many good and God-glorifying reasons for doing so, especially in our present cultural context.
First and foremost is the importance of being able to share our burdens with others, and receive support, encouragement, and accountability from them. Being open about our experience of same-sex attraction can also help with evangelism, not only to those attracted to their own sex, who may be surprised to know that someone like them can be faithfully Christian, but also to others as well, as the surprising discovery of a gay person living by a Christian sexual ethic is often intriguing and opens a door to further conversation. It helps other gay/same-sex attracted Christians to know that they are not alone in their fight, providing a vision for them of what faithful and obedient life looks like. It can also help other Christians find them as a helpful resource for learning about this experience. Finally, being open about our experience of same-sex attraction can help encourage the church as a whole to resist attitudes in the world outside the Church that claim that the Christian vision for sexuality is toxic and cruel to gay people. We believe it is good for Christians to see same-sex attracted people in their midst striving for holiness and testifying to God’s goodness to them.
At the same time, we recognize that there are ways we can think about our same-sex sexual attractions as they relate to our personhood that can be destructive and un-Christian, and that in our present cultural moment we are often tempted to look at our attractions in these ways. We think the concern about “identity” should focus on these problems, rather than on the language one uses, or the mere fact that one speaks openly about their attractions. These include: believing that our sexual attractions must somehow be followed or embraced in order to live a good life; believing our sexual attractions to be essential to who we are, such that we could not lose them without ceasing to be ourselves; believing that our sexual attractions are part of God’s design for us.
Some have wondered whether homosexual attraction might be a sinful twisting of something that is itself innocent and good. We recognize this as a possibility but believe it is unhelpful to dwell too much on such speculations. It is imperative for our spiritual well-being that we separate what is good and ought to be cultivated in our relationships with others from what is sinful and ought to be mortified. Grouping both of those under the label “gay” seems more likely to hinder than help that task.