Sam Allberry Answers Questions about Same-Sex Attraction1
In the most recent issue of Modern Reformation (Vol. 24, No. 5, September-October 2015), Michael Horton conducts an interview with Sam Allberry, associate pastor of St. Mary’s Church in Maidenhead, England. Continue reading . . .
In the most recent issue of Modern Reformation (Vol. 24, No. 5, September-October 2015), Michael Horton conducts an interview with Sam Allberry, associate pastor of St. Mary’s Church in Maidenhead, England. Allberry is the author of Is God Anti-Gay? And Other Questions about Homosexuality, the Bible and Same-Sex Attraction (The Good Book Company, 2015).
I encourage you to obtain a copy of Modern Reformation to read the entire interview. It is remarkably insightful and helpful. Here I only want to mention a couple of the questions and answers that appeared in it.
There has been considerable debate about how those who struggle with same-sex attraction wish to be described. Horton asks: “You make a distinction between ‘being gay’ versus someone who deals with same-sex attraction. Can you tell us about that distinction?” Here is Allberry’s answer:
“On one level, the most obvious way to describe myself would be to say I’m gay. But where I come from (and I’m sure it’s similar in the United States), saying you’re gay means much more than just, ‘I experience homosexual feelings.’ To say you’re gay is to say, ‘That is who I am.’ It often implies a lifestyle and an identity that goes with it. I don’t want to communicate all of that. I prefer the language of ‘same-sex attraction.’ It’s slightly clunkier, but it’s more accurate. It’s describing the particular sexual desires I experience, but it’s not claiming that those sexual desires define me as a person.”
In another question, Horton asks Allberry his opinion about whether or not homosexuality is something you’re born with. Allberry answers:
“I don’t think it makes a difference. My theology tells me that I was born as a sinner. That means there will be certain sinful proclivities that I have from birth; that I might have them from birth does not make them morally good. There are so many dispositions I have always had that I know are sinful. So even if one day scientists can prove that some people have a genetic predisposition toward homosexuality, that doesn’t make it right. It is a reflection of the fact that, as Jesus tells us, we need to be born again.”
One of the briefer but more insightful exchanges came when Horton asked about other sinful predispositions. Said Allberry:
“The fact that it feels natural to me is not a sign of how God has created me; it’s a sign of how sin has distorted me.”
Some today argue that if two people of the same gender are in a “committed” and monogamous relationship we should not look on them as guilty of sin. How is their relationship any different from that of a heterosexual couple? Allberry provides an analogy in response:
“You might have a gang member who is a loyal gang member. He treats his gang members fairly, he looks out for them, he protects them, keeps them safe, and makes sure they all get a fair share of the earnings. But this doesn’t mean that what he is doing is less sinful. It is always possible to demonstrate some kind of virtue while you sin. The presence of faithfulness and commitment in a same-sex relationship doesn’t mean the partnership is good.”
Allberry’s response to the question of what to do when invited to a so-called “same-sex” wedding was especially helpful. He first points out that “it’s hard to be at a wedding and not have your presence interpreted as support for the couple, so I think for that reason many of us would feel we can’t attend a same-sex marriage ceremony.” But Allberry is also determined to preserve a relationship with the couple and to maintain friendship with them. He suggests saying to them: “I want the two of you to be part of my life, and I want to be part of your lives. Even though I can’t come, when is the earliest date you can both come around for a meal?” His desire is that the couple not interpret his declining of the invitation as a rejection of friendship.
Again, this is a very helpful article. I encourage you to read the whole thing. You can subscribe to Modern Reformation by writing to: Modern Reformation, Subscription Department, P. O. Box 460565, Escondido, CA, 92046, or call 855-492-1674.