Gospel Coalition joins the gay celibate movement (3); "Godliness Is Not Heterosexuality"

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(This is the third in a series of posts [first, second] on the Gospel Coalition's declaration, "Godliness Is Not Heterosexuality.")

He created them male and female, and He blessed them and named them Man in the day when they were created. (Genesis 5:2)

Gospel Coalition has a tough problem on their hands. With their pronouncement, "Godliness is not heterosexuality," they've backed themselves into a corner they share with a skunk that doesn't stop spraying.

The problem begins to come clear when we think of other formulations of the Coalitions' pronouncement—say "Godliness is not honesty" or "Godliness is not modesty." Honesty and modesty are accepted moral virtues. Certainly honesty is not the entirety of Godliness, but no one would buck at the statement "to be honest is to be Godly." Thus Gospel Coalition wouldn't dare to run the headline "Godliness is not honesty."

On the other hand, they did run the headline, "Godliness Is Not Heterosexuality." With this headline, the Coalition is trying to make a point they believe the church needs to hear as we seek to get a few more years of peace in this post-Obergefell world...

Leading up to Obergefell, the Supreme Court has been waxing eloquent on the meaning of personhood and the necessity of sexual self-expression to any true freedom. Sexual individuality is everything. Thus this from Justice Anthony Kennedy in Planned Parenthood v. Casey:

At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life…. people have organized intimate relationships and made choices that define their views of themselves and their places in society....

This also from Justice Kennedy in Lawrence v. Texas:

The instant case involves liberty of the person both in its spatial and more transcendent dimensions....

The trajectory has been clear with no one surprised by such statements as these by Justice Kennedy in his Obergefell v. Hodges majority opinion:

...in 2003, the Court overruled Bowers, holding that laws making same-sex intimacy a crime “demea[n] the lives of homosexual persons."


[Homosexuals'] immutable nature dictates that same-sex marriage is their only real path to this profound commitment.


Under the Constitution, same-sex couples seek in marriage the same legal treatment as opposite-sex couples, and it would disparage their choices and diminish their personhood to deny them this right.

Gospel Coalition knows which way the wind is blowing. Now, at this historical moment, they are determined to keep the church from being left behind. Sure, if it wants, the church can choose to be a stick in the mud, denying the march of history as defined by SCOTUS's Kennedy as he vindicates "existence," "meaning," "the universe," "the mystery of human life," and "freedom" in its "transcendent dimensions." Five or ten years from now, though, who will be around to listen to such a church?

No, Reformed Christians must move on to a new way of thinking and speaking:

Godliness Is Not Heterosexuality

This way of putting things is much more conducive to assuring our place in the public square. It's a manner of speaking that will allow us to be recognized as the reasonable persons we so desperately want to be. It's a way of speaking that will enable us to be perceived as helpful participants in the conversation.

Gospel Coalition's headline isn't entirely explained by Obergefell, though. it must also be viewed in the context of the growing assault on Christian preaching, teaching, and counselling being carried on through anti-conversion laws which forbid licensed Christian professionals from calling gays and lesbians to repentance and holiness. These laws gagging Christians from reading and quoting Scripture to those seeking their help and counsel are being passed by a growing number of states (California, Oregon, Illinois, New Jersey) and municipalities (Cincinnati, just this past week). Thus these new laws are the fuller context we must see in order to understand how Gospel Coalition came to issue their stunning headline:

Godliness Is Not Heterosexuality

Gospel Coalition has now given the church freedom to welcome those who want to define their own concept of existence as "gay." We no longer need to call their own experience of individual freedom and transcendence into question, guilt tripping them into some sexist straitjacket known as "heterosexuality." Godliness is so much larger than this stupid binary way of thinking. Some of God's best friends are gay.

Down with binary!

Up with the "liberty" to "define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life." The liberty to have "organized intimate relationships." The freedom for gays within the church to make deeply personal "choices that define their views of themselves."

Of course, these "gays" will have to be celibate. We can't give in on that one—not yet, anyway. We'll let them be members of the church as they live together and raise children together, but they better not let us see them touching each other. Romantically, that is. At least in public.

They're free to call themselves "gay" and plight their "spiritual friendships" and life in the same household "raising children" and making Platonic love as long as they're "celibate."

There's no need for anyone to confess the sex God made them, although we must not give in on body functions. Homosexual identity is fine as long as homosexual copulation is avoided.

This is the new sweet spot halfway between God and the sexual debauchery of our world. Hearing of its growing popularity in Wheaton and Manhattan, the Gospel Coalition has decided to give gayness their imprimatur.

In time, by faith I believe Christians who are not ashamed of Jesus Christ and His words will come to see that the Gospel Coalition has here betrayed Jesus Christ and those souls He shed His blood for. Yet, until then, the skunk will be spraying and Gospel Coalition and everyone following them down the broad and hugely populated road will be stinking.

Their children will grow up gay because Gospel Coalition parents have no reason to exhort their sons and daughters to be manly or womanly. Godliness is not heterosexuality.

Their church restrooms will not be men's or women's rooms because Godliness is not heterosexuality.

The cabins on their youth retreats won't be segregated by boys and girls because Godliness is not heterosexuality.

Their wedding sermons will have unisex vows and unisex sermons commending mutual submission because Godliness is not heterosexuality.

Their deacons and deaconesses will all be called "deeks" because Godliness is not heterosexuality.

Their husbands will have hair longer than their wives because Godliness is not heterosexuality.

Their sons will get a womb transplant and bear children because Godliness is not heterosexuality.

Their daughters will be soldiers because Godliness is not heterosexuality.

Their sons will play video games and do FB because Godliness is not heterosexuality.

Their mothers will beat the snot out of women because Godliness is not heterosexuality.

Their fathers will be house husbands because Godliness is not heterosexuality.

In worship, their preaching will be gay, their music will be gay, their prayers will avoid calling God "Father," and their Lord's Supper will be drop-dead gorgeous led by a guy in a dress because Godliness is not heterosexuality.

The Bible the Gospel Coalition men promote, the English Standard Versionremoved the word 'malakoi' (effeminate) from the sin lists given by the Holy Spirit. Thus it's impossible to deny that they have long preferred the corner they now occupy.

Their constituents live in a world hell-bent on silencing every Christian witness to God's Creation Order of man and woman, so the men of Gospel Coalition scratch their customers' ears just where they itch.

Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and big lots of grandchildren.

Want to get in touch? Send Tim an email!