I wanted to express in writing my thanks to Vaughan Roberts for being brave enough to talk about his struggle with same sex attraction.
In a recent interview in Evangelicals Now , Vaughan Roberts who is the rector of St Ebbes Church in Oxford and the president of the Proclamation Trust talks about the fifth anniversay edition of his book “Battles Christians Face‘ which outlines 8 areas of struggle that Christians face, but he is open about the fact that as a pastor wrestles with these too. The issues include: “image, lust, guilt, doubt, pride and keeping spiritually fresh” and chapter 7 which is on Homosexuality. But in this new edition, apparently Vaughan has included in the preface admission that all of the areas in the book are areas of personal struggle for him and this according to Vaughan this “has caused a small ripple of reaction and led some to ask why I wrote those words and what I meant by them.”
Julian Hardyman who conducts the interview for Evangelicals Now asks Vaughan directly: “Does the disclosure that same sex attraction is one of your personal battles mean you are defining yourself as a homosexual?” to which Vaughan replies : “No, it doesn’t. It’s important to reiterate that I have acknowledged a struggle in all eight of the areas the book covers and not just in one.” There have been a few comments about this differentiation and you can see my response in the comments below.
Vaughan is clear that he holds to a historic and biblically orthodox view of homosexual sex. He says:
The Bible is very clear that God loves everyone, and welcomes all into his family, the church, through faith in Christ, whatever our gender, class or race and, we might add, sexuality. We do need to keep stressing that. But we also need to recognise the fact that the Bible is consistently negative about homosexual sex, and, indeed, about any sex outside heterosexual marriage
Yet being open about the temptation he faces of same sex attraction is a very courageous step in the circles that Vaughan operates in. I cannot think of any senior conservative evangelical leaders who have ever expressed this in public whilst maintaining a commitment to being celibate. I believe this could be a major step forward in how the church relates to those with a homosexual orientation. Vaughan’s example as one of the most respected conservative evangelical leaders and gifted Bible teachers and someone who is open about experiencing same sex attraction could be a turning point that helps the church become less homophobic and more sexually pure.
That Vaughan has been brave enough to talk about these things is to be commended and I pray that it means that the church can demonstrate the gracious compassion of Christ to all and especially respect and support not judge and mock those that decide to walk the hard path of singleness because of same sex attraction.
Thank you to Evangelicals Now for publishing this.
Thank you Vaughan for your openness and courage.