From Gay to Gospel: The Fascinating Story of Becket Cook

Despite being at TGC, this is a really good interview. It actually contradicts, in no uncertain terms, a lot of what they have been putting out on this topic.
Here’s some of it:

There are conversations today about whether one cn be a “gay Christian.” Is there a way to reconcile following Jesus with having a gay identity?
They are irreconcilable. It’s strange to me to see these attempts. I had such a clean break from it, and it was entirely God’s grace upon me to see that it was necessary. Would you call yourself a greedy Christian? Would you call yourself a tax-collector Christian? It seems strange to identify yourself with sin. It’s a square circle. Defining yourself as a “gay Christian,” even if you are celibate and not active in a homosexual relationship, is wildly misleading. And it’s almost like you’re stewing in your old sin, hanging onto your old self in a weird way. It’s not helpful to have that moniker over you and to continually identify as such. Why would you identify with your old self that has been crucified with Christ? So I flee from that term as far as I can. It’s not who I am at all.

When I was gay, I felt shame. Instinctively I knew it was wrong. But though I felt shame, over the years you harden your heart to it. I think the driving force behind these choices, like the rainbow flag and pride parades—the word pride , even—is to convince yourself that there’s nothing wrong with it, nothing to be ashamed of. You have to constantly tell yourself that and let the culture tell you that. Because there is shame attached to it, so hyper-emphasizing the “rightness” of it helps people embrace their “identity” more.

The whole interview is worth the read.

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New Warhorn Media post by Tim Bayly:

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Floating a theory here: Solid teaching on homosexuality from Christians who struggled/struggle with homosexuality is rare. Frequently, they’re all bent out of shape and trying to make excuses for sin. Two notable exceptions (that I’m aware of) are Rosaria Butterfield and this guy.

You know what they have in common? They were both actually living the full-on gay lifestyle before coming to Christ. When I think of some of the bad, Christian “teachers” on homosexuality, names like Sam Allberry, Greg Johnson, Wesley Hill, etc. come to mind. You know what they frequently have in common? They grew up in the church and so never experienced the full-on, soul-crushing gay lifestyle.

So the theory: Cook and Butterfield understand “gayness” and “homosexuality” and everything it implies better, having been saved out of it. These church-raised “gay” people, however have only experienced a church-modulated form of these evil desires. Being tired of fighting them, they try to dress them up to make them look better or redeem them somehow. There are several reasons they try to do this, but I’m betting that a big one is that they really don’t understand what they’re trying to “redeem.” By contrast Cook and Butterfield do, and so their response to the question of “what parts of gay identity should we salvage?” is “Why would you want to?”. To quote Cook again on the concept of “gay Christians”:

They are irreconcilable. It’s strange to me to see these attempts.

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And just in case the above isn’t entirely clear, I’m just saying I suspect that only Christians all tied up in proverbial knots would have come up with something like Revoice. Christians saved from the ranks of practicing homosexuals probably know enough via the school of hard knocks to want to have nothing to do with such a theology.

I suppose this is a version of the “it takes a special kind of stupid…” line of argumentation.

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The Reformed church today too often inoculates souls against repentance.

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Would you all indulge me for a moment with a little contrarian viewpoint? And forgive me in advance for being a little crusty on this… So a good looking alpha-gay comes to a church and quickly gets into direct discipleship with the hipster pastor, something that your committed churchgoer could only dream about, and his level of change is abstinence with a side of occasional desire (and I get the sense the Pastor Bayly says this is not enough), which seems to make him pretty average for a sodomite coming to the church for repentance. What about the bald and plain looking dude who wanted the same attention from his pastor, but was rejected for his looks, but the football player gets the best seat. Or maybe the socially awkward guy is left in his sin because the hipster pastor doesn’t want to get his hands dirty. I have seen this story play out many times over the years, and not just with sodomy. I have ordered the book and maybe my view on all this will be different later. I want to know why his story is any different than the rest of us. I will say, though, that Cook’s firmness about the irreconcilability between sodomy and faith is unique, something you don’t hear often. I wonder if this is what sets him apart. By the way, I am not sure where, but Butterfield has her detractors too.

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Good exhortation. Don’t see it as pushback. At all. Love,

So a good looking alpha-gay comes to a church and quickly gets into direct discipleship with the hipster pastor … What about the bald and plain looking dude who wanted the same attention from his pastor, but was rejected for his looks, but the football player gets the best seat. Or maybe the socially awkward guy is left in his sin because the hipster pastor doesn’t want to get his hands dirty.

Ouch. What I saw happen in one church was that the pastor gave a lot of attention to the twenty-somethings, on the basis that he wanted to see them ‘released in talents and ministry’. This was alongside someone, an older single man, who was a fairly needy individual. His pastoral situation was to all intents and purposes ignored, until one of the elders tried to help. Admittedly the man’s situation had no easy fixes, but the whole incident has sat with me as a sharp lesson in how not to do things.

Yes, James warns against favoritism toward the rich, but favoritism is always a temptation and can happen based on any criteria, including age, race, sex, sexual orientation, etc.

We always have to be on guard against it.

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Yes, I’ve seen this tracking on a couple of UK Christian media sites. Interesting that he identifies as “single and celibate”, given some recent comments here. The full quote, in context:

In terms of so-called conversion therapy, I don’t think it’s something we should force. I still struggle with same-sex attraction (even though it has greatly diminished and no longer dominates my thought life like it did before God saved me). But he can do anything. He created the universe, so he can reorient our attractions. Sometimes I pray that God would heal the sexual brokenness in me, especially given that I was molested when I was a child by a friend’s father (which I think had a larger effect on my sexual development than I used to admit). Who knows—God may change my desires one day. We’ll see. But for now, I’m happy to just be single and celibate for the rest of my life. I’m happy to deny myself and take up my cross and follow Jesus.

Well, I did order the book and read it over the the weekend, so this is a bit of a book review.

The book is roughly divided in two parts: a testimony, and then a gospel presentation. Mr. Cook has what might be called a miraculous conversion at the church of a group that he runs into at a cafe. Good for him. I think back at my own conversion, always hoping for the spirit to overwhelm my senses and confirm God’s power in an extraordinary way. Well, that has never happened, and I don’t think it happens that way for most people. My understanding of salvation is just the plain, ordinary kind.

We Christians want our heroes. I can think back to the 70s when some celebrity or sports figure became a Christian, and we would celebrate that someone famous joined our team. Mr. Cook’s testimony is sort of like that. After experiencing all the world has to offer, he has an epiphany at a party in Paris. For some of use, Paris is just Seattle or Minneapolis. We come to Christ with fewer tools in our toolbag, less time at the gym, fewer friends, and a pastor who ignores you. I will add, though, that Cook’s discipleship by his pastor is barely mentioned in the book, but appears in the interview referenced in Pastor Bayly’s OP.

The second part of the book is an outreach to his former community, a standard gospel presentation with questions on sexuality thrown in for good measure. In this, Mr. Cook would well be benefited by reading the organizing principals of a confession rather that reinventing one of his own. He includes no shortage of non sequitur scripture verses. He had a few nuggets which I appreciated, such as his treatment of Esau selling his birthright, which Mr. Cook connects to giving up heaven in exchange for temporal pleasures, but at one point Mr. Cook connects the story of Daniel 3 to how Jesus can go into the fire on your behalf, which I believe to be sloppy theology, or maybe a rush to publish.

Mr. Cook confesses that he still struggles with certain thoughts. He holds onto the framework of sexual orientation, and he never mentions moving in the direction of marriage. For him, this holding pattern is adequate for repentance, putting him barely beyond Side B. Maybe I’ll pen a new group to describe him, and me, and many of the rest of us: Side C. For all of us in Side C, may God have mercy on our souls and lead us into sanctification and true repentance.

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… Mr. Cook confesses that he still struggles with certain thoughts. He holds onto the framework of sexual orientation, and he never mentions moving in the direction of marriage. For him, this holding pattern is adequate for repentance, putting him barely beyond Side B. Maybe I’ll pen a new group to describe him, and me, and many of the rest of us: Side C

Yes, that is what I thought was the case. I suspect that whoever discipled him put him in the same boat as ‘straight’ Christian singles who for whatever reason can’t or don’t marry (bear with me, a separate issue I know). Or, he may have a particular charisma of celibacy. Still, he is work in progress … like the rest of us, as you acknowledge.

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