The New Minority: Why as a gay Christian man I stand with Tim Farron
In a post-Christian, secular society in Britain which now supports gay marriage and gay sexuality, the LGBQ (not speaking for I or T) movement no longer sits as the true minority. The angry persecution of people of faith is fundamentalist secularism exposed for all to see.
I am all for secularity, but not secularism; the ideology that says you are accepted in our value of diversity as long as you agree with me. True secularity says I might not agree with you but I support you in my value for diversity, a value Tim Farron embodied so graciously.
Those who stand on the orthodox, Biblical view of marriage, which I might add, has the greatest scholarly support in Pauline academic circles, from EP Sanders, who confirms that Paul did believe homosexuality was sinful but theologically disagrees on the authority of Paul's belief, to NT Wright and Richard B Hays, who both affirm that marriage is between one man and one woman.
These scholars represent a level-headed, and intellectually rigorous scholarship not informed by desire to revise scripture. This view is not some fundamentalist or 'extremist' Christian view, but a deep orthodoxy that sex is not what makes someone whole but rather, life in the grace and under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
Instead, affirmative views on gay marriage within and outside the walls of the church have such political power that anyone who disagrees has been made the new minority. The Church is so petrified to represent its view, it hides in cowardice. Tim Farron is one of those who didn't hide and was honest. Tim, I stand with you.
I happen to represent the thousands of British Christians who are gay and celibate. We. like Farron. often experience vitriolic backlash, not just from secuarlists but now from our own churches. We don't belong in all of the 'happy' activist Christian societies that are ramming down the walls of the Church for marriage equality. We simply want Jesus Christ to be Lord of the Church, and his Word to be trusted and his Spirit welcomed.
Since I gave my sexuality to Jesus, I have had the most incredible joy and satisfaction in my life and I have been driven so much deeper into the gospel. I am grateful I no longer have to live in the idolatry of romantic love.
It deeply saddens me that Tim Farron had to resign in a society which has lost all sense of a liberalism grounded in freedom of conscience. That is because such a view of freedom of conscience is a deep value within Christian tradition, which our society now wants to dismantle almost entirely.
Farron embodied a spirit we so desperately need and wonderfully stood for the rights of those he disagreed with theologically. Never did Farron want to force his private opinion on gay marriage on anyone, nor form party policy around it. He even supports the full legalisation of gay marriage in the state. What this was about was the hateful, pitiful revenge of pseudo-liberal society forcing someone into their victimhood mentality – the next victim to punish for all the pain that has not been healed, and which thwarts love from ever being possible. I no longer allow that pain to control me, but in my Lord Jesus have been given the strength to love those different from me or in plain error.
I stand with the power of love to overcome such profound pain and a culture of victimhood, teaching us again the art of peace-making and reconciliation. Christians, we need to be brave. Stand on the word and actually love people in deep pain. So many of the activists I speak to are so deeply in pain, wounded by a silent Church who ignored them or had an unlovingly, superficial, we-can-fix it attitude.
As the director of the Liberal Democrat Christian Forum, Sarah Latham, said: 'Sadly [Farron's] resignation reflects the fact we live in a society that is still illiberal in many ways and is intolerant of political leaders having a faith. This urgently needs to change. It will only change if Christians step up and get involved in all areas of life and change the rhetoric, whether in politics, media, business, or the arts. We need to bring about a society that is truly liberal – where everyone of all faiths and none are valued and considered equal.'
We need to recognise our liberal brothers and sisters and hear their heart, and to continue to believe and trust Jesus that his grace is sufficient to hold us together and to restore our neighbour to knowledge and trust of him. Let's be the Kingdom minority we originally always were supposed to be. As Jesus said, 'Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.'
David Bennett has recently completed postgraduate studies in theology at the University of Oxford and is currently completing his first book, A War of Loves: A Gay Rights Activist Encounters Jesus Christ, with Zondervan to be released mid-next year. Follow him on Twitter @davidacbennett.