Dialogue About God-Honoring Identity Language

Two Christians engage their differences in the discussion about identity language within a biblical sexual ethic.  

Rachel Gilson at Sexual Identity and Labels in 2020

There is a debate among Christians about what language used to describe LGBT+ experience and identity is most God-honoring and biblically faithful. Many people, especially those who hold to a biblical sexual ethic while also experiencing same-sex attraction, struggle to find a label that simultaneously honors God and describes their experience. The work done to find this language leads people to different terms. This can lead to questions about which terms are “best” and whether some language is harmful to Christian life and witness.  

One example of engaging these questions is this series of blog posts between Rachel Gilson and Dr. Greg Coles. Rachel is a member of Cru’s National Theological Team who we hosted in 2020 for a leadership conference on Sexual Identity and Labels. Dr. Greg Coles works with Dr. Preston Sprinkle at The Center for Faith, Sexuality & Gender, and will be with us this May teaching on Identity and Belonging in the church.

Rachel and Greg both hold to a biblical sexual ethic, and both experience attraction to members of the same sex. However, each uses a different term to describe their experience; Rachel uses “same-sex attracted” and Greg uses “gay.” Through the blog series, Rachel and Greg dialogue with each other, explaining how they came to use this language and debating the pros and cons of each term.

Importantly, these two friends each seek to honor God and each other with how they describe and present their sexuality. As Greg says in one of the posts: “…her concerns are so clearly motivated by her heart for Jesus…She brings the iron of her insight and I bring the iron of mine—and together, we seek to sharpen one another.” 

Transform Minnesota maintains that identity language begins with finding our full identity in Jesus Christ. We recognize that people who rest in that identity continue to debate God-honoring language to describe their experience of same-sex attraction. Transform will continue to help leaders engage in dialogue about identity language within a biblical sexual ethic, particularly from mature Christians who experience same-sex attraction. We encourage you to read this dialogue between Rachel and Greg.

April 6, 2023
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