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Jason Harris

Jason loves to communicate God's word both in the local church and at conferences and retreats. Jason has been involved with Worship Music since 1996 and InFocus since 2005. Jason has degrees in theology, music, accounting, and research and is currently a PhD candidate and lecturer in the College of Business, Law, and Governance at James Cook University, Cairns. Jason is also a pastor at CrossPoint Church. You can contact Jason at jason@teaminfocus.com.au.

10 Comments

  1. avatar

    Kez

    This is really really good. Thank you for writing it.

    Reply
  2. avatar

    Joy

    SSA people who live a life-style that honours God should be applauded and encouraged. What a struggle they must face! What prejudice assaults them from fellow Christians in churches that are supposed to be a safe refuge and where they should find someone to walk alongside, cheering them on. Thank you, Jason, for educating us and laying out the truth.

    Reply
  3. avatar

    Bobby Grow

    I agree, that Phil is a Fundamentalist is ever there was one; how that gets defined on a continuum is significant though (i.e. sociologically, doctrinally, et al), and what the entailments of that continuum are. But my concern is more systemtic, it has to do with something you identify but move on from; i.e. the affirmation of the SSA Community itself—as a “Community.” This is where the concern lies for me, and the place where I think that compassion has been conflated with affirmation when the former can be given without the latter; and in fact I think that order of things is the best way to be compassionate (by foreclosing on space wherein such a community is allowed to flourish which in my view can lead to greater confusion in re to sexuality etc among the youth in particular rather than clarity). I do agree that Phil’s thinking is as usual, sloppy, and that he attempts to gloss that behind a bravado of what he likes to call “word-smithing,” and so I can go with your critique on that front (and even with the main of your critique). I simply think that’s not the real issue, the real issue, as I noted, from my perspective is SSA itself as a viable community and the evangelical’s affirmation of that in the name of compassion; I don’t think that’s real compassion.

    Reply
    1. avatar

      Jason Harris

      Bobby Grow,

      Thanks for the comment. And I think there is definitely something to your point. It depends, perhaps, on how we define both the community and the SSA.

      For the latter, my comments were intended to be directed toward Christians with unwanted SSA (CUSSA?). And I agree that such people should identify more with the community of the body of Christ more than the CUSSA community. That said, there are some areas in which members of this sub-group can be uniquely helpful to each other just as a sub-community of the aged, the single, couples, youth, etc. can benefit at times from fellowship within their own Christian sub-communities. Which, I think, addresses the definition of community.

      Unfortunately, part of the reason a CUSSA community exists today is because there are (tens of?) thousands who have felt rejected or marginalised by the broader Christian community. Many in the CUSSA community have had to leave home, church, work, and/or ministry because of their SSA. Imagine going to Phil’s church and knowing that many there see you as sick, disgusting, and inherently perverted. It undermines gospel fellowship entirely to know that your “brothers” look down on you in disgust. In other words, in some ways, the church has forced this group into a community for their own survival.

  4. avatar

    Bobby Grow

    Jason,

    I don’t disagree with you in re to attending Phil’s church; I’ve visited there a few times myself in years past. I have other qualms with the theology that funds Mac’s/Johnson’s et al theology, but not unrelated in re to the spirit which you are highlighting. My concern is more sociological rather than ecclesial in regard to community, and yet related. In other words, to affirm the homosexual as an actual or legitimate community—rather than simply being a ‘symbol’ for the disenfranchised and marginalized among us—allows for space coram Deo that I don’t think is allowed for. Yes, we are all (of us) confused about a variety of things in re to self-knowledge; but I’d argue that this confusion (and the level of it) is corollary and even commensurate with our knowledge (or lack thereof) of God (to appeal to Calvin’s famous thinking on self knowledge vis a vis knowledge of God and vice versa). In other words, the greater the knowledge of God the greater the knowledge of the self before God; and withing this matrix a lessening of confusions in regard to the self and our place before a Holy God. If this sort of conception—in re to knowledge—holds true, then I would argue further that the ‘mind of the church’ (or the trad) precludes the types of affirmation that many evangelicals (inclusive of what we see going on in Revoice) these days are giving homosexuals. This type of affirmation, I contend, does not come from a knowledge of God/self dialectic, but instead is a result of the church attempting to clumsily be “relevant” to the world in the name of God’s love in Christ. This should not be so. The church is here to bear witness to who God is, and more, to prophetically speak to and against (in most cases) the principalities and powers that would seek to destroy the lives of as many as possible. In my view, affirmation of the homosexual community, or the softening of our positioning relative to the ‘world’ (like the so called ‘Friendship’ culture) does not reflect a growing, transforming, clarifying knowledge of God and his holiness vis a vis the church, but instead reflects a retreat to the impulses of the principalities and powers that Christ came to free us from; a retreat to a culture that is in bondage to self-possessed and generated confusion that is the antipathy of what a genuine knowledge of God provides for.

    Should the church catholic love homosexuals? Yes! Does this mean we must recognize the ‘homosexual community’ as an actual community in the way that culture and societies have done and are doing in increasing and more pervasive ways? No! Why isn’t there a politically identified community of adulterers? This is parallel with having a community of homosexuals so on and so forth? The church is affirming this community not because God does; not because God recognizes the “homosexual community” as an actual people group. The church, I contend, is affirming this community because this reflects the mind of much of the modern church today; it is a mind that is not gaining its self knowledge in relation to God, but instead a mind that is gaining its self knowledge by comparing itself with other prevailing knowledges in the culture; which the Apostle Paul says is utterly foolish. Can we love homosexuals; should we? Yes, just as we love any other sinner (including ourselves!). We speak the truth in love without allowing space for sin to flourish. This is the loving thing to do. This is only a complex issue insofar as we allow “Christian homosexuals” and their proponents to assert that this is a complex issue that is not as simple as I’ve just sketched. But who are they? Are they God? Do they have access to my heart, your heart, or their own hearts? No. God alone does and his prescription for dealing with that heart was to put it to death, and now has called us to reckon it so over and over again through a posture of worship and repentance. I don’t see this posture being emphasized in and among proponents of so called Christian homosexuals; instead I see them putting themselves into the place of God and telling people just the opposite of what God has said over and again in Holy Scripture and its attested reality in Jesus Christ.

    There are other ways to affirm people without affirming the systemic structures they have attached them to; structures built in the city of man rather than the city of God. Jesus said in order for a tree to bear good fruit the bad root needs to be taken away, and a new root provided for. This imagery works well here in re to Christian homosexuality (or for any deviance). There is no place for alternative identities in the Kingdom of Christ, there is simply One identity and it is Christ’s for us before God. He is the ‘new root’, the ‘firstborn from the dead,’ the ‘firstfruit of God’ for us. This is where all Christians find their identity, and that then spreads through the members of our bodies. Homosexuality, as does any other sin operates from the old order that seeks to assert itself in the domain of the new in Christ. But that old order needs to be reckoned dead, not be given space at the table of the in-breaking marriage supper feast of the Lamb. If we are going to be truly loving and affirming of not only homosexuals but all sinners alike, we will simply tell them what we must be telling ourselves by the work of the Holy Spirit; ‘repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand.’ To me this is the way to affirm people of any walk, to affirm them towards and to Jesus Christ and the identity that he is as the true human for them. In this a person can begin to gain a genuine self-knowledge because they, in Christ, have been put up against a genuine knowledge of God where all righteousness and holiness dwells. What I see happening currently in re to the issue of homosexuality and Christians is a far cry from this type of growing knowledge of God and self.

    Reply
  5. Pingback: Knowledge of God, Knowledge of Self and the Same Sex Attracted Christian Community | The Evangelical Calvinist

  6. avatar

    Joy

    It seems you confuse “homosexuality, as any other sin” with the scenario of a genuine devoted child of God finding him/herself, through no choice of his/her own, with SSA, researching for help, then solemly choosing celibacy – having never sinned. There are more Christians like that out in this world than you seem to be aware of.

    Reply
  7. avatar

    Bobby Grow

    Joy,

    If your response is to me, then here is my reply. I’m unsure where this idea comes from, that homosexuals are homosexuals by a choice not their own; where does that come from? In the scientific community—although not the popular community, obviously–the “homosexual gene” theory has long be abandoned based upon the lack of credible lines of evidence. Is this the theory your appealing to to make your claim in regard to “lack of choice?” My appeal, ultimately, is to Holy Scripture and its indicatives from God; his requirements. Scripture speaks of homosexuality as “any other sin”; i.e. it includes it in lists of sin without recognizing gradation. But your basic premise, and the premise of many in the community your apparently advocating for, is a non-starter. It is a theory that has been abandoned by the scientists themselves, maybe not the ideologues in the scientific community though.

    I don’t have to affirm, nor should I, a distinct “homosexual community” in order to treat homosexuals, as any other sinner, with the compassion, mercy, and grace that has been extended to me in and through God in Jesus Christ. Is that what you’re claiming; i.e. that we must recognize the LGBTQ community as a distinct (even ontological) people group in order to treat them with compassion? Again, such logic kicks against the theo-logic in Holy Scripture as that attests to its living reality in Jesus Christ.

    Further, and from the consequent, if this “affirmation” is made, a slippery slope is stepped upon which recovery from is nay impossible.

    Reply
    1. avatar

      Jason Harris

      Interesting that you went to the ontology here (I hadn’t read this comment when I went there).

      You’re correct that science has proven no genetic cause of SSA. However, I’ve yet to meet or hear of a SSA person who believes they in any way chose to be SSA. Even in our culture where having same-sex experiences as a young person is seen as a right of passage, the majority of people who engage in them do not go on to be SSA. In short, the notion that SSA are chosen lacks not just evidence (biblical or otherwise), but it actually lacks SSA proponents. Entirely. I’m not aware of one SSA proponent of the notion.

      Nor does it make sense. Who chooses to be heterosexually attracted? It’s an absurd notion. We just know. Typically before we even know what sex is. The notion that a twelve-year old boy who still hasn’t quite worked out what sex is has already decided to be SSA is absurd, yet most SSA people report knowing long before age twelve.

  8. avatar

    Jason Harris

    Bobby,

    I largely agree with you and think you put a pretty good case up for not identifying normally as a “gay Christian.” I don’t think it’s airtight, but it’s compelling and should be considered carefully by anyone who overtly identifies this way.

    My biggest concern with your comment overall would just be that you seem to see the confusion as a matter of epistemology rather than ontology. And I’m not sure that even begins to address this problem.

    SSA is not epistemic. It is ontological so to speak. In other words, the problem is not that people don’t know their identity in Christ, but that they still have this “body of sin” which, in their case, is same-sex attracted.

    Your reference to SSA in relation to “any other sin” suggests that you see the SSA itself as sin. My post argues that SSA is disordered, but not sin per se. And I think that distinction is crucial. This is also where the comparison with adultery falls down. Adultery is a sinful act. SSA is not an act, and, as I’ve argued, not even sinful until indulged in the heart or beyond.

    That said, I agree that there are grave pitfalls to avoid in forming a culture or community around a disordered attraction. And I do hope that those who would choose to engage in such an approach would take the concerns you’ve raised here carefully to heart.

    Reply

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