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August 27, 2020 4:57 am
When Rachel Gilson became a Christian while reading "Mere Christianity" in college, she knew it would have drastic ramifications for her life as a same-sex attracted woman. Rachel talks with Dave and Ann Wilson, and co-host Bob Lepine, about the power of questions and listening in a culture that affirms homosexuality, and the importance of responding with God's loving design for a sexuality that is not arbitrary or cruel.
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Should Christians today embrace a new vision of marriage provision that includes same-sex couples. Rachel Gilson doesn't think so.
I think the arguments for an evangelical case for same-sex marriage have become extremely sophisticated and it means that we need to do a good job in our churches explaining God's positive vision for sexuality, not just the verses which say no to same-sex sex and their their and they say no, but also what God says yes to when we understand his design for sexuality. It helps us see that what he says no to is arbitrary or cruel. This is family life today hosts are David and Wilson on Bob Lapine. You can find us on why the family life today.com, Rachel Gilson has thought a lot about gender and sexuality about marriage because of her own experience of being same-sex attracted will talk with her today about how she's come to make biblical sense of all of this stay with us and welcome to family life today. Thanks for joining us. I have sometimes thought that it's a good thing, at least for me it was a good thing that I didn't understand exactly. All I was signing up for when I became a Christian funeral because if somebody upset him and said this is what it's going to mean if someone would've told me that you're going to marry a pastor live in Detroit Michigan I would have run as far away from God, as I cannot everybody have become a Christian is getting married faster lives you're okay with being a missionary in Africa, but I have the required Detroit I got 1/2 and well you think there is some truth to the fact that we often hear and think.
What am I gonna give up, this is what I have to give up this was going to go away. Why does no one talk, but here's what you get right and on the other side there's an amazing thing.
But anyway the disciples that followed Jesus there thinking all work and follow this well but one of them said where else do we go. You alone have the words of eternal life.
I want him was Peter there about that as you want is right. Well we have got a friend joining us as we can family life today Rachel Gilson who kinda came to a point in her life where she recognized whatever I have to do.
I gotta acknowledge that Jesus is who he claims to be Rachel welcome back to family life today is my pleasure. You know, and even as you're talking and thinking. My favorite parable is that short number. Jesus says a man found a treasure in a field and in his joy he went sold everything he could buy that field joy you understand a little about selling everything you've written a book called born again. This way, which is your story of growing up you already shared with us about same-sex attraction that you started to experience while you were in high school you started acting on that you went to college at Yale. This was still maybe not the defining part of your life, but a significant part of your life until you were reading. Mere Christianity and had to close the book and say okay what what what exactly did she say fine, okay, I'll be a certain area. Fine, I'll be a Christian that was your your prayer of salvation and in that moment were you thinking this is going to have implications for my sexuality. I already knew and I knew because I had encountered those other interpretations of Scripture which claimed that God supports monogamous, same-sex relationships, and I had considered them carefully, and I had found them wanting. So by the time I got confronted with the fact that I was a knee-deep in my sin over my head and my sin and there is no way out except the blood of Christ. I already knew that meant okay. Everything belongs to him.
I didn't know what that was gonna mean experientially right and I hear people today who are finding the arguments that you found unconvincing. They are finding them convincing and we've seen a wave of people who have kind of moved from an Orthodox view of sexuality to a modern view of sexuality in saying this is still inbounds. I remember reading an article where a woman said when when I was experiencing same-sex attraction.
I would've loved to have heard an argument that would have convinced me that this was okay because it would have validated my desires. What are you saying as you engage with the people who who are drifting in the other direction and saying no, there is a biblical case for this infected stronger today than it's ever been. We have to realize most people are attracted to what's been called the affirming view in it. I would say that God affirms same-sex relationships. Most people are attracted to the affirming view because they genuinely care about the gay and lesbian people in their lives and they have been taught by culture that the only way you can have a happy life is if you have a romantic partner. Right. If you have a romantic and sexual partner who fulfills you said, they say, well, that's what would fulfill my gay and lesbian friend got his promise that he wants us to be happy, which hello. Is that what he promised. But you know we become to take these different ingredients and blend them all in our ninja and then come out the other side and say it will. God wants me to happiness would make you happy so therefore that's probably what God wants. So when I'm approaching someone who holds the affirming view to be asking a lot of questions because usually they've seen some kind of pain in someone's life that they care about some type of either promise that was on biblical or mistreatment by a church or a dozen different things that can lead people to think well maybe this is what God really wants because it's what my friend or my family member really wants. I think that's why it's important to really gently bring each other back to the Scriptures right. It says in Hebrews 3 we need to exhort one another every day as long as it's called today, so that none of us might be hardened by the what's the word suit deceitfulness of sin.
Rightly we are suckers for sin, we are easily duped so where are we going to go we have to go to God's word and say you are saying you would go to your friend and ask questions. Those questions being into their past. Yeah, I'm asking that faith out so many of us with friends of just hearing their story.
I want to hear their story and I also want to hear what they think of God's word did they think of God's word is something that actually carries life and authority, or did they think of it as something where they can cherry pick right what we actually have an incredibly biblically illiterate society right now. So if we take something that is this tender in this disputed and we throw it to people who actually haven't been trained very well in how to read the Scriptures outside of little verses that have been pulled out and stuck on coffee cups will no wonder we've got people confused and easily taken advantage of by these very sophisticated arguments. I think the arguments for an evangelical case for same-sex marriage have become extremely sophisticated and it means that we need to do a good job in our churches explaining God's positive vision for sexuality, not just the verses which say no to same-sex sex and their their and they say no, but also what God says yes to when we understand his design for sexuality. It helps us see that what he says no to isn't arbitrary or cruel. I think definitely a lot of people feel they feel like what God says no to is arbitrary and it's cruel, but his character is not arbitrary and cruel as you give your life to Christ in college.
Obviously, we were talking now way down the road go back to you immediately understand God's hearts regarding your sexuality or it was an easy process. Okay, now I'm a believer in a step away from this was that a journey was it up and down, obviously for the very beginning.
You had a hermeneutic bent even before your Christian understand what here's what they're saying. The Scriptures mean, here's what they mean. You already have that hardwired into you.
So you had this been I would understand Scripture but you got a life that you're deciding my gonna leave it my gonna continue it. Walk us through that journey because it isn't. One day as it certainly not one day in the sperm I wrote my book with such oh openness and honesty because I think if we can't see it happening in a real person's life. We kinda don't know what it looks like we don't know what to expect. The danger, of course, is that when you see just one story you think it's the only story. My story can be westernized and people can try to laminated onto other people and that's not God's purpose.
Why did he write so much of the Scriptures in narrative.
Sometimes the universals are best illustrated in the highly specific so part of what was really formative for me is I immediately got involved with the Christians at Yale and with the local church had to be in a community of God's people. If you seek them out yourself. So the day that I prayed my file be a Christian prayer. I happen to see a little advertisement for Yale students for Christ.
It was good be having a Valentines party so I just showed up at that party pretending I was there by accident. You know how to heal and I just followed them around like a baby quail learning what it was to be a Christian, you know, I live they gave me a Bible.
I learned how to pray. I learned we don't make friends by using curse words. I learned that the music is very bad you know all the things you need to be an evangelical. I figured out my being with my Christian friends and learning how to read God's word but it became pretty clear to me early on, hey, I'm still attracted to women and it's been 16 years and am still attracted to women. Were you surprised that that wasn't going I was not surprised and I think part of that is because I didn't grow up in purity, culture, youth group, which had made on biblical promises to me so wasn't surprised, but at the same time I was a little bit concerned about what I was supposed to do, so I knew that God's word said no to acting on those attractions. I still didn't understand why and sigh member, bargaining with God saying hey if you'll tell me why you say no to this than I will obey with perfect joy and obedience, which is ridiculous right and the first thing that God did in my life. Was he really pressed me he said hey what is the most important question isn't why did I say something most important question is can you trust the one who's asking because if I'm only willing to obey. When I understand and agree how my not making myself. God, I was pressed again and again. Back to the Garden of Eden is a very interesting situation there. It turns out even before sin entered the world that God wanted us to live by faith and not by sight right.
He sets his whole beautiful arena puts Adam and Eve there and there get in one prohibition and what's interesting is that probation isn't even in intuitive like we could understand if God said hey guys, here's your rule don't murder each other like a murderer that's wrong it's achy it's bloodied and you be lonely taking the life and image bearer. We don't like Scott very good rule, and if people don't intuitively know that murder is wrong, likely have them go see someone for that right it's understood but God instead said here should prohibition don't eat this fruit that's related to growing in knowledge the day that you eat it you'll die. The only way you can obey that is if you trust the one who told you that six were the serpent pressed Steve right he's like, hey, really set he gets her to look at the fruit and to use her own data to evaluate. She sees that it looks good it would taste good. That is desirous to make her wise. On the one hand, she has all the status saying the fruits can be good for her and the only thing she has on the other side is God's word, saying if you eat, you're going to die and I feel like that's were so many of us are when it comes to sexuality.
When we use our own data were likable but I should treat sexuality.
This way, but God's word says something else. If you treat sexuality. That way you are going to die and even Adam both ate that fruit because they said God must be holding out on me. He's not telling me the truth he's keeping something from me. I need to get it myself.
And we all live downstream of that decision that impulses in all of us and over and over again.
Early in my Christian life through eight open dumpster fire of failure. By the way, if my 34-year-old self.
Now was discipling my 19-year-old self. I think she is not gonna make it, but over and over again through that time I had to get pressed again and again into is Jesus trustworthy because if I'm to trust him with this aspect of my life. If he is not perfectly for me.
Then what am I possibly resting on it. He is shown again and again and again that he is perfectly for me. So you discovered in your college early journey that he was trustworthy. Did you to also discover the community you are now bonding with the Christian community was trustworthy.
Were you able to tell them who you are when you lay you how they go so great now. Again, I had grown up in the church so I hadn't grown up with a history of experiencing. Me being honest with people, and then telling me things that were unhelpful or shutting me down. So I assumed well I should tell people my real story and they responded to me with such grace and truth. And that's what I needed to know if they had only extended me grace, but not truth, but there's no power.
There to say no to temptation. They would've helped me destroy myself but they been all truth and no grace to me. I would've been crushed because I did fail several times and they were so wonderful in demonstrating the grace and truth of Christ to me.
I'm convinced that every single one of us needs God's word and God's spirit and God's people, and if we miss one of those three working to go off track somewhere. If you look back on your 19-year-old self and you picture yourself telling the community, your desires and they responded negatively. Judging what you think what happened while I have a lot of friends who are disciples who experience same-sex attraction and some of them have stories of trying to disclose to God's people, their temptations and experiencing things like you know the person they're telling saying let's not really how you feel or see immediately saying will that's discussing. We don't want you here means all kinds of reactions that can be really unhelpful and a lot of those people left the church for a long time and kinda went through wilderness stages, but once God starts with us. We can't ultimately find her satisfaction anywhere else. Even if we wander a long way off.
He is extremely patient and extremely beautiful, and he will call us back.
Rachel, there are some people who on coming to Christ recognize the claims of Christ on their life, but the power of the temptation is so strong that they just can't turn off the spigot and they drift back. I'm just wondering if that was a battle for you or whether God enabled you to resist temptation that still continued for you.
While there were times of victory. There were times of me being able to say yes to God and no to Meissen. But then there were also times where I said yes to Meissen and noted God. It was extremely bumpy up and down as I learned really as I trained my muscles of obedience and part of what I had to commit to was to figure out hey is what my flesh is promising me actually better than what God is promising me to come face-to-face with that question many times in one side actually tasted the goodness of Christ even imperfectly, I just was never as happy with sin again, lost my taste for it is me.
I didn't choose it sometimes is and I didn't have to fight it but I think what really helped me was an actual relationship with the living God. That was better than even the good things I experienced when I was giving into my desires have you found that the same-sex attraction, temptation, is it any different.
Is it harder to resist than other desire, you know soon temptations.I'm thinking even of the parent who has a daughter son is like they tell me they can't stop that this this desire is just so who they are, they can't do.
Is it different in terms of the intensity of the. The desire people who experience same-sex attraction and we experience it all in different ways. Just like people who experience opposite sex attraction experience at different levels both in their own season of life and partly from other people. There are some men who are attracted to women and sexual temptation is a battle they have to fight their whole lives there other men who are attracted to women for whom they learn the obedience of faith in an actually sexual temptation isn't that big of a deal for them. They their battle might be elsewhere.
Like with anger with passivity. Things like this right. Some of us same-sex attraction is the place where we are fighting for obedience and certainly early in my Christian life. It was the main arena of battle. Now, for example, 16 years in the my faith. I still experience same-sex attraction, but honestly the grace of God is so worked in my life, even when it comes up. I know exactly what to do. That really helps me squash that down and say yes to the Lord not repressing my feeling but sing like hey even want this actually not really temptation and we gotta say 16 years in your journey, you have a kindergartner and you have a husband and so explained us because not everybody goes on that path who has experience same-sex attraction. That's right it several disciples who experience same-sex attraction will never be called into an opposite sex marriage.
They will actually testify to the goodness of God in their singleness by saying hey, marriage is good, but it points to the real marriage that's coming in the new heavens and the new earth. And there's nothing I'm going to miss out on. Actually, my choosing singleness for the sake of Christ.
A person is saying. I believe in the resurrection with my whole life.
But God does and will call several of us who experiencing sex attraction into opposite sex marriages and stuff like I don't need to be attracted to every man in order to be faithfully married to one man. I just need to receive from God when I need for this marriage that sometimes it's helpful to not be attracted to everything and write is helpful to just be attracted to the one man God has called me to and I think they're sexually something really helpful in the fact that everyone who wants to follow Jesus, has two options for their sexuality. They can be faithfully single or they can be faithfully married as God defines marriage and my attraction of patterns don't really have to bear on that it ought to be attracted to men or women or both, or neither, or potted plants like it doesn't matter what my attractions are God has called me to live faithfully in one of these two stations and he is going to equip me to live there.
So to the person who would say these desires are too strong. I cannot say no to them. I want to say see you do your desires own you or does Jesus Christ own you that he is promised in first Corinthians 1013 there is no temptation that is overtaking you is not common to man, but God will give you the way of escape. Does he say it's easy, certainly not, but he does say it's possible. I think that's a great question of who owns you. Because all of us have to come to that point of answering that question, and I know for me as a young woman is a 16-year-old I gave my life to Jesus, not really knowing what that would mean an that means your sexuality as well that I did know that at the time).
I had I had a boyfriend and I remember being an 18-year-old, feeling like God was asking me, will you give me everything. Can I own all of you, which to me meant probably breaking up with this boyfriend really was blocking the Jesus. Yes, the hug and says ASF committing to not having sex anymore because Jesus is asking me to live a life of purity as a single woman in the heart like I remember even now I can feel my heart beating as remembering, I knew the cost of that and I knew that Jesus was enough and I was gonna walk into that surrendering everything no matter what it meant kind of where we started.
Did we ever think we would be in place as we are now that I'm so glad that Jesus takes us on a path that he knows what will bring us more joy and purpose in our lives, and even we know it's easy in the church in the Christian community to use these words. Jesus is enough and I think many of us don't know him well enough for him to be enough as so we go back to her sooner we go back to the pleasure that we think will fill and what we end up always the same place empty.
Why did I do this and I think Rachel you help us understand Musetta so beautifully. Jesus is enough when you really surrender all, and experience the very presence and power of God in your life.
He is enough is nothing quite compares something that did something that you have to taste. Think about the title of the book born again.
This way I'm in the cultural mantra is if you're born this way that you can overcome that Rachel what you're saying is that when you are born again, there is now something that is bigger than how you were born. In fact I am saying I cannot overcome this. What I am saying there is someone who can drive and you tell it so beautifully in the book.
I hope your listeners will get a copy of your book is called born again this way coming out, coming to faith and what comes next.
Rachel Gilson is the author our guest today.
You can order her book from firstname.lastname@example.org or call one 800 FL today to get a copy.
Again the website to order a copy of Rachel's book is family life today.com or call to order one 800 F. L. Today, one 803 586-329-1800 F as in family L as in life and in the word today I had a conversation yesterday with a young mother of four who said I didn't grow up in a Christian home, neither did my husband and she said I just want to say thank you to you guys.
You have discipled both of us over the last 20 years as we have started our marriage and our family. We been to week and remember getaways.
We listen regularly to family life today.
You helped us understand what it means to live for Christ in our marriage and our family. I wanted to share that with you, especially those of you who are monthly legacy partners your family life today. That's what you're investing, you're investing in the marriages and families of hundreds of thousands of people in this country and all around the world who we are reaching with the ministry of family life today. We are so grateful to those of you who are part of this ministry on who make this ministry possible this week we've had some friends will come to us, knowing that we need new legacy partners to join with us and they've agreed they will match every donation that comes from a legacy partner who signs up this week is a new legacy partner will match your donations for the next 12 months, dollar for dollar up to a total of $25,000 and were excited about that hope to take full advantage of that matching gift so were asking you if you're a regular family life today. Lester join the team become a family life legacy partner. When you do we want to say thank you by sending you three gifts. The first is a copy of my new book, love like you mean it about what real love looks like a marriage relationship will send you three episodes on DVD of the new slugs and bugs TV show features rebel good game who was guest with us earlier this week and will send you a gift certificate where you and your spouse or friends of yours can attend as your guests a weekend to remember marriage getaway will cover the cost of the registration course getaways have to get up and going again but were ready to launch them as soon as we get the all clear to do that. So the gift card is yours to hang onto for when the getaways are starting to be scheduled again. All of this is our way of saying thank you for making family life today possible by being a legacy partner.
You can find out more become a legacy partner email@example.com or call and talk to somebody your family life. We can get all signed up the number to call is one 803 586-329-1800 F as in family L as in life, and then the word today, not tomorrow morning to talk with Rachel Gilson about meeting a guy who ultimately proposed to her and wanted her to marry him. Knowing about her history of same-sex attraction how she processed all of the conclusions she came to have that conversation tomorrow. Hope you can join us for that or think our engineer today. Keith Lynch along with our entire broadcast production team on behalf of our hosts Dave and Ann Wilson. I'm Bob Lapine. See you back next time for another edition of family life today. Family life today is a production of family life of Little Rock, Arkansas. Accrue ministry help for today hope for tomorrow