Pride month brings an opportunity for Christians “as citizens of heaven, to live [our lives] worthy of the gospel of Christ…standing firm in one spirit, in one accord, contending together for the faith of the gospel” (Philippians 1:27). As citizens of heaven means we are sent here to our local community by God as ambassadors for the gospel. We are students of our context and look for ways to speak the gospel into the culture we live in. We should be compelled to see Pride month as a gospel advancing opportunity.
At Mercy, we affirm a historically orthodox biblical sexual ethic. The sexual ethic of holy scripture is as follows: Sex is God’s marriage gift to be enjoyed in the loving union of a husband and wife (Genesis 2:24-25). Following God’s design for sex brings enjoyment, intimacy, and new life. Those outside Christianity are not expected to affirm our convictions regarding this stance, nor should our love towards those outside Christianity be contingent on their view of our biblically-founded sexual ethic (Isaiah 30:21, Ezekiel 36:26-27, Romans 8:9). As Christ-followers we are called to show love towards someone even if and when we disagree with them. We are not to be conformed to this world (Romans 12:2), which includes not allowing the world to force upon us its all too familiar, yet false, dichotomy of “hate me or affirm me.” Instead, we are called to walk in the same manner as Christ, who even while disagreeing with others, spoke truth in love at all times (Ephesians 4:15). As members of this church body, we strive to love others as Jesus loved. He spoke truth in love. And so may we be known for speaking love among those we disagree with in the world around us.
For some of us this month, the path of love may mean less talking and more listening. That may mean listening to a friend who experiences same-sex attraction. Seeking to understand and learn about different perspectives could allow the Holy Spirit to forge new depths of empathy within your heart. Maybe it’s reading a book written from the perspective of someone who experiences sexual desires that are different than your own, like Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert by Rosaria Butterfield or Gay Girl, Good God by Jackie Hill Perry. Because we are confident in who we are in Christ, we do not approach this subject in fear. We approach it informed by God’s word and guided by his Spirit. Listening and learning about the experiences of others is loving, and does not compromise the truth of your faith.
To the faithful Christians in our body who experience same-sex attraction, you are loved here at Mercy. Like every believer is called to do, we encourage you to allow God alone to speak your identity over you. You are sons and daughters of God (Romans 8:14). Brothers and sisters in Christ. Sexual attraction is no one’s identity. We know your choice to follow Christ is a choice to abide by His commands and abstain from sexual intimacy. We know this means embracing singleness for now, and perhaps for your entire life. We know that God who has, “started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil 1:6). Your choice to submit to Christ instead of your own desires is a model of Christ-likeness for all brothers and sisters in Christ to follow.
If God is going to bring a Gospel awakening to our city of Charlotte, it will include an awakening to His redeeming love among those who identify with the Pride community. Let the church make Pride month a prayer-filled month, unleashing the powerful grace of God to go before us (Romans 8:26).
Scripture references are all in the Christian Standard Bible (CSB) translation:
Philippians 1:27 – Just one thing: As citizens of heaven, live your life worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or am absent, I will hear about you that you are standing firm in one spirit, in one accord, contending together for the faith of the gospel…
Genesis 2:24-25 – This is why a man leaves his father and mother and bonds with his wife, and they become one flesh. 25 Both the man and his wife were naked, yet felt no shame.
Isaiah 30:21 – And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.
Ezekiel 36: 26-27 – And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.
Romans 8:9 – You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.
Romans 12:2 – Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.
Ephesians 4:15 – But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into him who is the head — Christ.
Romans 8:14 – For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
Philippians 1:6 – I am sure of this, that he who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Romans 8:26 – Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.