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A Christian Response to Pride Month

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Thursday, June 15, 2023 @ 09:28 AM A Christian Response to Pride Month Dr. Matt Ayars Pastor and former president of Wesley Biblical Seminary MORE

The Christian conviction against Pride Month is rooted in and compelled by deep concern, care, and ultimately love for individuals who view themselves as members of the LGBTQA+-/ community, even though proponents of Pride Month would suggest exactly the opposite (i.e., that Christians are against Pride Month because they hate members the LGBTQA+-/ community).

Proponents of Pride Month understand their celebration as preventing self-harm among the LGBTQA+-/ community. The argument goes something like this: “If we celebrate, rather than condemn non-traditional sexuality, then individuals of the LGBTQA+-/ can come out and live a shame-free life, celebrating who they are rather than suppressing their sexual identity, which necessarily leads to depression and self-harm.” In sum, Pride Month prevents self-harm, including suicides. 

This means that proponents of Pride Month naturally see those who are against Pride Month as not caring for members of the LGBTQA+-/ community. This is dead wrong. In fact, the Christian stance against Pride Month is driven by love and concern for the LGBTQA+-/ community. As a Christian, I firmly believe that the message and ethos of Pride Month are deeply harmful to LGBTQA+-/ individuals (and society as a whole), and Christian opposition against it is an attempt to best love LGBTQA+-/ individuals from what the church sees as ultimately harmful and destructive.

From a Christian perspective, Pride Month is harmful because it affirms, encourages, and celebrates what Scripture plainly identifies as sin, which is against God, nature, individuals, and communities. As such, sin is destructive and thwarts the generation and sustaining of life as God intends it. Pride Month is an act of rebellion against God, who deeply loves us and expresses such by prohibiting that which is against our well-being.

Pride Month wrongly assumes that all sexual desire is natural and therefore right, normative, and good (and idea associated with philosophers during the age of the Enlightenment). The Scriptures say otherwise. 

God reveals in Scripture that all individuals are born with a sinful condition (Rom. 3:23; 5:12; 9:7–11); that all inherit a diseased nature that causes desires to arise in us that are destructive, perverse, and ultimately self-annihilating. What is “natural” to the sinful condition is, in fact, quite unnatural according to Scripture and the Christian worldview rooted therein. As the prophet Jeremiah writes, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” Or, as Jesus put it, “A man is not defiled by what enters his mouth, but by what comes out of their month, that’s what defiles them” (Matt. 15:11; here, Jesus is saying that it is deception rooted in the human heart that defiles). 

God created humanity to share in his goodness, justice, righteousness, kindness, mercy, and ultimately his steadfast love (Heb. hesed). His design is for humanity to embody his self-giving, other-oriented nature. Humanity’s fall from grace (Gen. 3) and subsequent estrangement from the Giver of Life means that what God intended has become deeply corrupted. Rebelling against God means being cut off from him, which has a devastating negative impact on our natural condition. 

It is out of this twisted condition that unnatural desires arise from within, and those unnatural desires are harmful and destructive. 

From this perspective, Pride Month does not celebrate that which is natural and good. Instead, it affirms, encourages, and celebrates what is unnatural and, therefore, harmful to individuals and society. To encourage someone in their unnatural desires is the worst thing for them. Pride Month, then, is a danger to individuals and society. Pride Month is not about freeing persons to be “authentic individuals,” a high virtue of modern Western culture. Far from it. Pride month is about further enslaving individuals to the sin that destroys. Pride Month contradicts what Paul says when he writes, “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions” (Rom. 6:12).

There’s yet another worldview assumption behind Pride Month that is dead wrong: the notion that what defines a person is their sexual identity (an idea made popular in the common era by Sigmund Freud). Sexual identity is undoubtedly part of what constitutes a person’s identity, but it is not what defines us. This, once again, is a lie of our culture. What defines us is our relationships with others and most importantly, our relationship with Jesus.

Finally, as the president of a seminary with a divine calling to train trusted leaders for faithful churches, I want to kindly, yet as strongly as possible, urge ecclesial leaders to please teach/preach against Pride Month. Based on what I’ve articulated here, refusing to preach against Pride Month is a failure to faithfully and lovingly serve members of the community around us. Demonstrate your love for those who see themselves as members of the LGBTQA+-/ by speaking out against that which is harmful. Yes, preaching on a hot topic is hard, but clergy are called to full-time ministry with a full awareness that it is an impossibly difficult job. We are following a man who was put to death for what he taught…can we, as his followers, expect less?

Additionally, faithful pastors and preachers should speak on the issues wrapped up in Pride Month because they are called to lead and teach Christians to think rightly and Christianly about key issues facing the church. People in the pew seek guidance from their pastors on how to think about and respond in a deeply biblical and Christ-like way to the pervasive phenomenon of Pride Month. Lead them! Guide them! Leading people to think through these issues is reason enough to address the topic openly and boldly.

Much more importantly, and to reiterate, our Christian convictions lead us to firmly believe that Pride Month is harmful to individuals and society, and, as the church must do the most good, we must preach against it. Once again, if we love the members of the LGBTQA+-/ community, then we must offer an alternative antidote to the issue that Pride Month claims to solve. 

So, what is that antidote? How do we respond? We respond by fighting against deceit with truth as revealed by God in Scripture from a heart-posture of steadfast love. Scripture commands us to be tender hearted (1 Pet. 3:8), to let no corrupting talk come out of our mouths (Eph. 4:29), to be peace-makers (Matt. 5:9; Rom. 12:18), to love our enemies (Lk. 6:26–36) and to be gracious (Eph. 4:2). When the conversation can quickly become vitriolic and toxic, we must anchor ourselves in the love of Jesus and—by giving the benefit of the doubt—remember that your “opponent” may very well believe that their position is doing the most good (i.e., preventing self-harm). Such a thought can foster the grace that is required for a meaningful interaction. In short, don’t fight vitriol with vitriol. Note that embodying these godly qualities is not synonymous with being affirming or tolerant of sin. Christians stand firm on what the Bible calls sin because Christians take sin and its consequences seriously! 

Additionally, we stand against the lie that sexuality defines the individual. One’s relationship with Jesus Christ (as revealed in the apostolic witness of the New Testament) defines the individual. It is through being united/reconciled to the Triune God by grace through faith that the human purpose is fulfilled, not through freedom of sexual expression.

Finally, we promote the truth that desires which arise from the sinful condition are not natural and therefore not good, and cannot be celebrated in good Christian conscience. Good Christian conscience compels us to renounce and forsake such desires because indulging in them further estranges us from our Maker in whom we find wholeness and real, lasting life.

Ultimately, the antidote is the gospel. To be a Christian is to be reconciled to God and born of the Spirit (John 3:5-8), which yields a radical transformation of our very nature which comes from being filled with the holy love of God. This means that those sinful desires that grow out of a diseased nature God can redeem and transform! This is the Good News of the gospel. When we are filled with the Holy Spirit on the basis of the atoning work of Jesus Christ, new, holy, righteous, and life-giving passions and desires arise from within. This is the promise of the gospel. 

Are Christians against Pride Month because Christians hate the LGBTQA+-/ community? By no means. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Christians are against Pride Month because we deeply care about the well-being of all of God’s image-bearers, and we carry the burden of being a royal priesthood, the watchman on the wall (Ezek. 33).

(Editor's Note: This blog was posted first on Dr. Ayars blogsite HERE.)

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