Pastorally supporting Christians experiencing attraction to the same sex 

As Sydney Anglicans our prayer is that each of our churches will be communities where all are welcomed to meet Jesus, and where we can together speak the truth in love and grow to become mature in Christ, who is our head. We deeply desire that each of our churches will be places where all people (including of course those who experience attraction to the same sex) will be able to meet together to spur each other on to love and good deeds. 

These pastoral guidelines, first presented to the Sydney Anglican synod in 2019, fleshed out below with videos and other links, stand on the shoulders of and are designed to complement the Sydney Diocesan Doctrine Commission 2014 report.”

We hope this document will be a small step in suggesting ways to love those Christians who experience attraction to the same sex in our churches.

What follows is a series of suggested approaches framed as ‘pastoral guidelines’ to assist Christian leaders ministering to, and alongside, those experiencing attraction to the same sex and their family and friends,  as we lovingly teach, rebuke, correct and train each other in Christ.

Theology

  • Know the key biblical texts that speak of homosexual sexual activity and develop a robust biblical theology of sex, gender and marriage, based on the wide sweep of biblical teaching and not just ‘proof texts’.

  • Know the arguments around the interpretations about the specific passages that refer to homosexual sexual activity.

  • Differentiate theologically between same-sex orientation/attraction and same-sex sexual activity.

  • How do you think theologically about same-sex ‘orientation’? Are you consistent in the way you consider what is and isn’t sin in this area compared to others?

Audio/Video

Books

  • Preston Sprinkle, People to be Loved

  • Ed Shaw, Purposeful Sexuality

  • Juli Slattery, Rethinking Sexuality

Maturity

  • Be patient with each person as you listen to their struggles and gently guide towards maturity in Christ.

  • Remember sexual attraction is only one facet of a person’s life. Don’t treat same-sex attracted (SSA) people as ‘single issue Christians’, encourage holistic maturity and sanctification.

  • Each SSA person will approach their struggle differently. We need to help people think through God’s guidance, singleness and marriage, celibacy, loneliness and more.

  • Remind the SSA person that the gospel holds out both the hope of future glory, and the joys of life in Christ now.

  • Many SSA Christians will have previously encountered “affirming theology” and may have found it emotionally engaging. How can you equip yourself well to respond to theologies like this?

Audio/Video

Books

  • David Bennett, A War of Loves

  • Rachel Gilson, Borg Again This Way

  • Sam Allberry, 7 Myths About Singleness

  • Vaughan Roberts, True Friendship