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  • Writer's pictureBrian Fuller

A,B,X, or Y? Which Side are You?

Updated: May 11

Can you imagine talking to your kids about five Christian perspectives on obedience and respect? Or, could we conceive of a new book entitled, “Four Christian Views on Stealing”? Nonsensical isn’t it?

Similarly, it's confusing today to have four different Christian views of homosexuality (LGBTQ). But, we do. It’s not surprising each of the four positions has been given a letter of the alphabet. (A. B. X. & Y.) And, it’s probably a good thing they grabbed the letters when they did. LGBTQI+ has already claimed nearly a third of the available alphabet!

Below, I'll give a summary of each view. Over the next few weeks, I’ll post a critique of each perspective. Sound good?

Here. We. Go.

SIDE A Christianity says you can practice homosexuality as a Christian.

For memory’s sake, the “A” in this view can stand for “affirming.” Side A Christians affirm that same-sex, sexual, relationships are Biblically approved. The way they do this is by revising the traditional interpretation of the nearly one dozen Scripture passages that condemn homosexuality as a sin. In most cases, they reinterpret these “clobber passages” (their description) in a way that they are viewed as speaking about a different type of same-sex behavior instead of the monogamous, same-sex relationships they say the Bible approves and that we should affirm. They are against what they call “heteronormativity.” (The idea that heterosexuality is ideal or superior to homosexuality or bisexuality.) Side A Christianity believes homosexuality should be celebrated by all Christians and never condemned or censored.

Proponents of Side A Christianity include Rob Bell who says in his book, “Love Wins”:

“I am for marriage. I am for fidelity. I am for love, whether it's a man and woman, a woman and a woman, a man and a man. I think the ship has sailed and I think the church needs—I think this is the world we are living in and we need to affirm people wherever they are.”

SIDE B Christianity says you can desire same-sex relationships and identify as a Christian homosexual, but you can’t act on it.

This view upholds the Biblical, sexual ethic believing that God only permits sex between a man and a woman in the covenant of marriage. Side B doesn’t believe holding to a Biblical view of sex erases sexual orientation, however. They believe that queer identity is a healthy way of expressing one’s experiences and desires. Side B proponents refer to Christians who experience same-sex attraction (SSA) as “gay Christians.” (Side B also encourages the use of “hospitality pronouns” for transgenders.) Side B celebrates sexual orientation while warning “gay Christians” not to act on it. For those who continue to experience sexual attraction to the same gender, Side B encourages them to commit to life-long, joyful, gay, celibacy. Some Side B Christians also promote same-sex, “spiritual friendships.” Believing these “spiritual friendships” to be patterned in the Scripture by such characters as Ruth and Naomi and David and Jonathan, they present them as options to those attracted to the same sex. Here is how Wesley Hill describes spiritual friendship in his book by that title:

”I need to be needed by a companion who is there when I return from work, there when I walk in the park, there when I prepare a meal for dinner, there when I read from a book out loud, there when I go to bed, there when I wake up, there when I cry or laugh, there when I am sick. In short, I desire a covenantal relationship where my helper and I witness each other’s “moments of being”

SIDE X Christianity says you can and must convert your homosexuality to heterosexuality as a Christian.

When you say "Side X" it is a handy mnemonic device. It gets its name from "ex-gay" and the most famous "ex-gay" ministry, Exodus International. Side X, like Side B, upholds the Biblical, sexual ethic believing that God only permits sex between a man and a woman in the covenant of marriage. Side X believes that same-sex desire and homosexual behavior can be completely cured, like a disease. One of the ways that can happen is through a deliverance prayer. The statement "pray away the gay" implies the belief in a promised Divine deliverance. According to Side X, the Scriptures teach in passages like Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 that the sin of homosexuality is detestable and consequently one of the worst offenses a person can commit. Side X believes everyone who is attracted to the same sex should undergo conversion therapy that ultimately leads a person from gay to straight, or homosexual to heterosexual.

SIDE Y Christianity says you can kill (mortify) your homosexuality and your same-sex attraction (SSA) as a Christian.

SIDE Y is the newest kid on the block and is a reaction to the progressive nature of SIDE B Christianity. This view, like SIDES B and X, upholds the Biblical, sexual ethic believing that God only permits sex between a man and a woman in the covenant of marriage. SIDE Y is convinced that Christians should find their identity in Christ and therefore shouldn't identify themselves by their sexual orientation. They are against labels like "gay Christian" and the use of hospitality pronouns. SIDE Y believes that homosexual desires (and transgender) are found in the flesh, forbidden by the Scriptures, and overcome through the power of the gospel and the Spirit's work of sanctification in the life of a believer. Verses like Colossians 3:5-7 are foundational for SIDE Y:

"Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these, the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them."

Next Up: SIDE A-Affirming God's Good Creation?

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