Discussion Questions — Contemporary Sexualities & Gender Identities

The following is a list of discussion questions composed for a CrossWay Community Church small group, Christ & Culture, for use throughout November and December 2018.


Same-Sex Sexuality:

  • What does the Bible have to say about same-sex sexuality?
    • Is same-sex sexuality sinful?
    • What Biblical or theological questions do we have about this issue?
    • If someone is — as one might say — “born gay,” than how can we condemn their same-sex sexuality as sinful?
  • Can someone be same-sex attracted and Christian?
  • Is same-sex attraction a choice?
  • Is same-sex attraction itself sinful? Why is this distinction (if valid) important?
  • If someone is same-sex attracted and becomes a Christian, what should we expect their discipleship and sanctification to look like? For example, should we expect their same-sex attraction to go away? Why or why not?
  • Should same-sex attracted Christians embrace the label or self-identification of being gay (e.g., “gay Christian”)? Why or why not?
  • How should we evaluate the cultural phenomenon of linking one’s sexuality with one’s identity?
  • Are same-sex attracted individuals, by nature of being same-sex attracted, called to a life of celibacy?
  • What can we do as a church, as believers, to better help those in our midst or those in our community who are same-sex attracted? What has the church previously done well in this matter? Done poorly?
  • Many same-sex attracted Christians who choose a life of singleness can be susceptible to a sense of loneliness. How can we as a church help, encourage, and be more mindful of them?
  • Self-professing Christians disagree on this question — is homosexuality sinful? Is this an area where we can just “agree to disagree” and still maintain unity?
  • How can we help children (our own, or those in our church) navigate this topic in a culture that is increasingly affirming (and with insistence) of same-sex sexualities?
  • What should Christians make of “gay marriage”?
    • Should Christians support or oppose the legalization of gay marriage?
    • Should Christians attend their homosexual friends’ wedding ceremony?
    • Should Christians in certain professions (e.g., bakers, photographers) refuse to provide services for same-sex marriages?
  • How should we counsel someone who is in a homosexual marriage (according to law) and becomes a Christian?
  • How can we winsomely communicate our convictions to non-believers?

Transgenderism & Gender Dysphoria:

  • What should we make of “gender dysphoria”? Is transgenderism a choice, sin, disorder, and/or valid expression of self-understanding?
  • What does the Bible have to say, if anything, about gender dysphoria or transgenderism?
  • How can we help those experiencing gender dysphoria or self-identifying themselves as transgender?
  • Should we accommodate and use individuals’ “preferred pronouns” even if they conflict with their known biological sex?
  • How should we counsel someone who becomes a Christian and previously underwent sex reassignment surgery?
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Legal Protections for the Church in Light of SOGI Rights and Laws

Gavel

The following is a paper submitted to Dr. Robert Priest and Dr. Stephen Roy in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the course ME 8000 Contemporary Sexualities: Theological and Missiological Perspectives at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, December 2015.

** Note: This is not an opinion piece. And, therefore, I do not express my opinions about same-sex sexuality, gender dysphoria, and contemporary laws related to them in this paper. Thus, you will note, I refer to differing views on the subjects without expressing my approval or disapproval. Please do not interpret my silence in this regards as either an endorsement or condemnation of any of the herein mentioned views.


Introduction

Recent U.S. legislation and court decisions regarding sexual-orientation and gender identity (from now on SOGI) rights create a new frontier of potential legal concerns for American churches that affirm a traditional, historic view of marriage, sexuality, and gender. Although only time can tell what implications such laws will have for religious liberties,[1] as Justice Roberts said in his dissenting opinion of the Obergefell ruling, “Today’s [i.e., the Obergefell] decision . . . creates serious questions about religious liberty.”[2] From potential loss of tax-exempt status[3] to non-discrimination suits,[4] churches have reason to demonstrate concern. For example, think of the following scenarios that are now imaginable:

  • A discrimination lawsuit is filed against a church that refuses to accept a practicing gay man into its membership.
  • A church is sued for discrimination when it denies a gay couple’s request to host their wedding.
  • A church disciplines a member for unrepentant lesbian activity. She sues the church for malpractice and discrimination.
  • A church discovers that an employee is undergoing sex-realignment surgery. Is the church legally able to discharge them on these grounds?
  • A church’s pastor is sued for malpractice by an ex-counselee due to claimed damages caused by counsel to “repent of your homosexuality.”
  • A church with a housing ministry is sued for discrimination when it restricts applicants to heterosexual couples.

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Graham Cole on Christianity and Contemporary Sexualities: A Table Talk Prelude

This post was originally published at Rolfing Unshelved.


On Tuesday Cole delivered a “Dean’s Hour” lecture entitled “Following Christ in a LGBTIQQAAP’s World.” In many ways, this talk served as an introduction to the conversation that will continue at the Table Talk on October 21st.

In this post I’d like to relay some of the key points of this recent talk as a way to stimulate your thinking and prepare you for further conversation at our Table Talk.



First, Dr. Cole addressed the context in which we engage these matters.

(A) For many of us, these matters are extremely personal. Either we experience same-sex attraction ourselves or we know others–friends, family members–who do. We cannot engage this issue as a purely theoretical one.

(B) Furthermore, we engage this issue in a drastically changing culture, a culture of which the fast-past political changes are symptomatic. We live in a world in which these matters are cast as civil rights issues and opposition to them is addressed with a shaming rhetoric and ostracizing actions.

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RECOMMENDED: Q&A with Sam Allberry on Homosexuality (ERLC)

The ERLC has shared several videos in which Pastor Sam Allberry tackles difficult and important questions regarding the church and homosexuality.

You can see the full collection videos at ERLC’s website.

Below are a few samples.

Why Is Saying “Same-Sex Attraction” Is A Choice So Problematic?

Can You Have A Heart Of Repentance For A Desire You Don’t Control?

Is Same-Sex Attraction A Sin?

How Do We Work To Establish Language, In The Church, That Does Not Alienate Same-Sex Members?

How Should A Church Develop A Culture That Deals Openly With Same-Sex Attraction?

How Can Christians Minister To A Same-Sex Attracted Member Who Is Experiencing Loneliness?

Is Living Out One’s Sexual Desires Necessary To LIving A Happy Life?

How Do Families Explain Same-Sex Attraction To Their Children?