As I noted in the first post in this series, complementarians used their trusted position as defenders of conservative christian culture to dismantle the defenses against the feminist attack. This is the same strategy Christian gay activists are using as well. On their face they seem to be protecting conservative Christianity from the charges of hate and bigotry, but their real focus is on dismantling the defenses. This is true for both the defenses protecting theology and the church as well as defenses of the family, with a special emphasis on children.
Rev Thomas Littleton at the blog Thirty Pieces of Silver describes this in ERLC Family Conference Redefines Family As The Inclusive Church:
ERLC and Russell Moore advocate redefining family and promote gay priest who wants to babysit your children.
Littleton is referring to Pastor Sam Allberry and his Living Out ministry (see my post from yesterday). Littleton notes that Allberry wants Christian families to lower the drawbridge that protects the family (emphasis mine):
Here is where the ERLC Cross Shaped Family Conference comes into full step, not only with Allberry’s Living Out “Church Audit,” but also with one of the most disturbing messages of the Revoice Conference last July. According to Allberry, the Christian mentality of family is akin to creating a nuclear family with marriage, kids and the family dog and then going into a fortress or castle and “pulling up the drawbridge.” So, whether Nate Collins, the founder of Revoice, uses the term “idolatry of family” or Sam Allberry refers to the nuclear family as a “closed fortress” of only biological members, BOTH draw the same conclusion as Russell Moore — that Christians must redefine family as the broader (LGBT+ Inclusive) church. Moore even asserts in his book that the local church is not a collection of families but is the family. The biological family as God made it appears to be a problem for them, as are conservative faith and family values which resonate with generations of conservative Christians…
Not surprisingly, Allberry isn’t alone in pushing this message. His fellow gay Christian activist Rosaria Butterfield preaches a stunningly similar message. I’ve been told by multiple commenters that Butterfield is one of the good Christian gay activists. For example, commenter David J wrote:
If you think Butterfield hasn’t sufficiently shown concern to protect the church and Christian families from gay activism, you either haven’t read much of her material or you’re determined to see her words (and mine) through a particular spin that you want to force her into.
Yet like Allberry, Butterfield is on a crusade to break down what she sees as unbiblical defenses for families with children. Like Allberry Butterfield is a contributor for Russell Moore’s ERLC, and their messages are so well aligned that is obvious that they are collaborating. Where Allberry commands that families lower the drawbridge so gay men like him can put our children to bed at night, Butterfield commands us to give gays the keys to our front doors. From Butterfield’s ERLC article Why the gospel comes with a house key:
Take, for example, our Christian brothers and sisters who struggle with unchosen homosexual desires and longings, sensibilities and affections, temptations and capacities. Our brothers and sisters need the church to function as the Lord has called it to—as a family. Because Christian conversion always comes in exchange for the life you once loved, not in addition to it, people have much to lose in coming to Christ—and some people have more to lose than others. Some people have one cross, and others have ten to carry. People who live daily with unchosen homosexual desires also live with a host of unanswered questions and unfulfilled life dreams. What is your responsibility to those brothers and sisters who are in this position in life?
Our Christian responsibility includes a house key
One answer is this: the gospel comes with a house key. Mark 10:28–31 reads:
Peter began to say to [Jesus], “See, we have left everything and followed you.”
Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.”
Please note what Jesus says about how to love anyone who responds to the gospel in faith and obedience and who must lose everything in order to gain the kingdom’s promises. Jesus says that he expects we will lose partners and children and houses in the process of conversion, that conversion calls everyone to lose everything. God’s people need to wake up to something. If you want to share the gospel with the LGBTQ community or anyone who will lose family and homes, the gospel must come with a house key. This hundredfold blessing promised here in these verses is not going to fall from the sky. It is going to come from the church. It is going to come from the people of God acting like the family of God. God intends this blessing to come from you.
If you watch the Allberry video embedded in my previous post, you will see that this is the same exact argument Allberry gives for Christian families to provide gay Christians with access to their children. I encourage you to read the Butterfield quote above and then watch the beginning of the Allberry video to see what I mean.
Lest you think this isn’t a major theme of Butterfield, at the bottom of her ERLC post it says that the content is taken from her new book The Gospel Comes with a House Key: Practicing Radically Ordinary Hospitality in Our Post-Christian World
Butterfield writes on the same subject at Piper’s Desiring God in an article titled The Best Weapon Is an Open Door. Notice how she echoes Allberry in chastising Christian parents for seeing our homes as a fortress to protect our children, using the very same language:
If you believe that these are dangerous times, then you are right...
How tempting it is to withdraw. How easy it is to let fear rule our hearts as we shelter ourselves and our children from evil…
…Christians must be intentional about seeking the stranger. We must think of our homes as hospitals, embassies, and incubators, not castles, fortresses, or museums…
Here is what this looks like. Singles from the church and neighborhood come over after work and help get dinner going. We have fun doing this. Sometimes there is laundry on my table that needs to be folded and put away (or stuffed back in the dryer). Sometimes there is a child still struggling with a math lesson. And we all behave better when it is not just us dealing with the messiness of unfolded laundry and unfinished math sheets.
Other neighbors start to show up. People with secret lives — people with secret drug addictions or dangerous relationships — cannot make plans easily. Christians need to be sensitive to this. They don’t know if they will be sober or safe three Tuesdays from yesterday. But if the invitation is open and regular, they can make it to your table on the fly. All people — believers and unbelievers — need to see transparent, Christian lives lived out in the real-time of tears and mess.
3. Give Away Your House Key
Not surprisingly, Russell Moore (president of ERLC) and Sam Allberry both endorse Butterfield’s book on the inside cover:
“One cannot spend any time at all with Rosaria Butterfield without a renewed sense of how good the good news really is. This book is a needed call to the church to model the hospitality of our Lord. As our culture faces a crisis of loneliness, this is the book we need. The book will inspire you and leave you with a notebook filled with ideas for how to practically engage your neighbors with the welcome of the gospel.”
Russell D. Moore, President, The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention
“The biblical call to show hospitality is one of the most overlooked or misunderstood commands in Scripture. We either ignore it or mistake it for what our culture calls ‘entertaining.’ Rosaria Butterfield gives us a vision of hospitality that pulses with the beating heart of the gospel itself. We know a God who sought us out, took us in, made us family, and seated us at his table. It’s a vision that is bracing and attractive. It daunts us, but it shouldn’t. I wonder how different our homes, churches, and culture would look if we took it to heart.”
Sam Allberry, Speaker, Ravi Zacharias International Ministries; author, Is God Anti-Gay? and 7 Myths about Singleness
Note that while Butterfield and Allberry agree that as Christian parents we must open our homes and expose our children to gays, their reasoning is at times contradictory. Allberry says we must do this as a reward for gays after they convert, as a substitute for the intimacy they gave up when they left the gay lifestyle. Butterfield says the same thing, but she also says we must do this to witness to gays who are still in the lifestyle with the hope of converting them. So giving gays access to our kids is both how we must witness to them, and the reward we must offer them while witnessing to entice them into converting. But the reason you need to provide gays access to your children doesn’t matter. What matters is that you lower the drawbridge and unbolt the door.