Evangelicals dividing on the finer points of gender and sexuality

Although issues of sexuality and gender continue to roil most Christian churches, evangelical organizations are experiencing divisions less over LGBTQ behavior and more over identity and even terminology. Mary Jackson reports in World magazine (March 9) that even such a stalwart organization as Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ) is facing criticism from its staff and supporters for teaching in a new sexuality training program that same-sex attraction may not be sinful, even while retaining its prohibition against same-sex activity. In a similar vein, the program taught that biological sex and gender are different, and that God would accept a man living as a woman. In the face of such protests, Cru, which has faced conservative criticism recently for its perceived sympathy for critical race theory, has walked back some of its views and tweaked its training material. “Cru’s attempt to fix its messaging sheds light on the ways evangelical ministries are being challenged to clarify their positions on myriad hot-button issues surrounding sexuality and gender. On one side are those who believe Christians can embrace some, if not all, cultural sexual norms. On the other: those who believe the Bible leaves no wiggle room when it comes to creation’s male-female dichotomy, that same-sex attraction has its roots in sinful flesh and that through repentance, all sexual brokenness can be overcome in the savior,” Jackson writes.

Source: World Reformed Fellowship.

While the revisionist views have been prominent in the Revoice or “Side B” movement and the Center for Faith, Sexuality, and Gender, they now are making inroads into mainstream evangelical (often non-denominational) churches and organizations, according to Jackson. Revoice has tried to establish a middle ground in the LGBTQ controversies and debates, prohibiting same-sex relations while making room for those who still retain such gender and sexual identities. The rift within Cru was brought to light by staffers (two of whom have since been fired by the organization) and a former lesbian activist speaking at Liberty University. They were particularly critical of Cru’s support for staffers who describe themselves as “gay Christians” (while remaining celibate) and for the practice of “pronoun hospitality,” which agrees to use transgendered people’s personal pronouns. Cru’s revised document now calls for embracing the pronouns that align with one’s biological sex. But Jackson writes that critics are not satisfied and that deeper theological problems involving repentance and conversion remain unaddressed; these critics point out that Cru still stops short of calling same-sex attraction sinful. Theologian Denny Burk at Boyce College said that on these issues “Evangelicals and in particular institutions are sorting themselves out. Every Christian institution will eventually land on one side or the other…they won’t be able to stay neutral. It’s going to march through every institution,”

(World, https://wng.org/articles/taking-sides-1708229211)