In Praise of Living Out

(David Burchard) #1

I know Sam Allberry and Living Out get a hard time from this crowd, but, wow, they’re doing a great work. It’s a shame they don’t have more appreciation from us. I mean, check out this gold:

Pastoral wisdom dripping from each word.

(Caleb Starr) #2

Yikes. There are no words to describe how bad this is

(Allan Eisses) #3

You know what’s odd, though, is I heard Sam Allberry speak twice here in my city recently, and I found his teaching helpful and biblical. He never got into any of this same-sex celibate friendship/life partner stuff.
This stuff, I cannot begin to understand. Do you know if he is in this same lane on this issue? I suppose he must be, given that he’s one of the 3 main guys on the site…

(John M. ) #4

Brothers, we aren’t in the midst of a downgrade crisis. May God have mercy.

(David Burchard) #5

He’s a good face for the organization because he says much that is good and helpful. But, not only is his teaching fundamentally in error, as aptly demonstrated by the The Grace of Shame and The World We Made, but his organization is hardly different than Revoice.

(Tim Bayly) #6

Dear Allan, with heretics (which is the proper word for the whole LivingOUT prospectus), we have to keep our eye on their heresy rather than the many truths they use to gussie their heresy and themselves up for the consumer. So, for instance, the true things Sam says when here’s here Stateside among ignorant North Americans is carefully packaged for that audience. Being ignorant, broadband Reformed types bite down hard and go out telling everyone, not that they got caught, but that Sam is Biblical truth personified in everything he said (and by implication, what’s wrong with you?).

With Sam, the medium is a huge part of the message. He speaks in a wonderfully sophisticated accent with wording oozing erudition. The subtext of LivingOUT has always been and will always be North America’s craven Anglophilia.

But look at what Sam doesn’t ever say. Look at what he avoids saying to audiences here Stateside. Look at what he and his acolytes say on his LivingOUT website. Look at the name of their organization—I mean how could a worse name have been chosen for those tempted by sodomy claiming to be following Jesus Christ.

All through history, this is what heretics have done. They dress up their heresy in all sorts of good stuff that puts naive Christians at ease in Zion. It cheers me, though, that you see this. What you must do is convince everyone there with you that Sam is a fatal disease on Christian faith and repentance, and that he must be avoided at all costs.

With love,

(Christopher Thomas Miller) #7

@allaneisses, I had the same experience. Read one of his books awhile ago, and thought it was reasonably good (even though he did use the rather soft word SSA throughout). Then I was rather horrified at what developed since

And thanks for that reminder/admonition, @tbbayly . It inspired me to go back and change my old, positive goodreads review from several years back.

(Zak Carter) #8

A couple brothers call out Sam on Twitter, and surprisingly get a some good interaction:

I’d take some screenshots if I had more time, but at one point Sam says:

“As a male elder I will disciple men. I’ll need to be aware of any potential for temptation and have clear accountability. But I want to take my behavioral cue from my sex as a man rather than from sexual feelings.”


“In as much as the Bible has a category for me of sexual identity, it is in being male. So I want my conduct to be shaped by my biology rather than particular sexual feelings.”

Seems like I’ve heard that somewhere else. :slight_smile:

But this just goes to show how insidious false teaching is. Sam seems to be sending different messages to different audiences. But does he even realize he’s doing that? We see in scripture that self-deception is a powerful thing. Self-deception can allow a person to make mutually-exclusive statements, both with complete sincerity.

Earlier up the thread he says:

“Yes — we plan to review all our articles in the light of how some are being misunderstood. There are some genuine differences between how they’re read on different sides of the pond.”

The naive read would be to take him at his word–to write this off as Americans not understanding the diffidence of British Anglicanism.

The cynical read would be to translate this as: “Yes – We plan to review all our articles in light of how easy it is to spot the false teaching. We need to hide it better for you Americans who lack the manners to ignore things in plain sight.”

I’m not 100% sure what to think of all this, but I think a non-cynical, non-naive read of his comments are what I said above: He is giving different messages to different audiences (or at least different emphases) and he might not even realize it.

We’ll see what changes come in his teaching and LivingOut as more folks push them toward clarity. He might surprise us, but I’m not holding my breath.

(Christopher Thomas Miller) #9

He does something pretty bad here though that strikes me as suspicious or at least very lame. Tom Buck summarizes quite clearly and cleanly what the article seems to manifestly state, and Allberry responds:

Again, not what the article was arguing for, but I understand that it wasn’t as clear as it should have been.

… And then doesn’t briefly explain they were “arguing for”? What kind of a teacher wouldn’t take a moment to explain themselves on such an important “misunderstanding” as this, rather than punting to a future “review”? This suggests he is being dishonest (doing careful damage control, i.e. not being forthright) and/or his thinking is muddled (he and the Living Out folk actually aren’t sure what they’re saying yet), both of which are terrible in people who are setting themselves up as teachers in this area.

I suppose there could be other factors feeding into his response I’m unaware of, but what a weird omission, especially when Tom Buck’s summary seems so manifestly obvious!

(Christopher Thomas Miller) #10

It kind of reminds me of Covenant Seminary’s response to the Revoice controversy. I feel like it’s a bad sign when someone is called out on something very serious, and they respond only by asserting their baseline orthodoxy and saying they’ve been “misunderstood” or “maligned.” Why not clear things up by saying what you really think about the issue at hand?

(Tim Bayly) #11

Actually, what Mark Dalbey accuses us of is slander and lies.

On Sam Allberry, from the first I heard of him watching the video of his testimony before the bishops some years back, I noted his reference to himself as “gay” there and that was the end for me. At that moment I knew he was duplicitous, identifying himself one way before liberals and another before conservatives. This is not merely “when in Rome, do as the Romans.” This was copping a posture as an oppressed gay; seeking sympathy for it, which no true shepherd of Christ should ever ever do.

Maybe Sam Allberry will repent, but if so, where he must begin is his chronic dishonest manipulation of others by switching messages according to the audience, which is precisely what he admits to above. Love,

(David Burchard) #12

Now Sam is running PR interference for Living Out, changing the subject from physical intimacy between gays, living together, as a couple, to covenantal exclusivity.

(Robert Turner ) #13

Pastor Tom Buck is joining the fight via the blog at This is just the first part.

Essentially, Living Out teaches that a same-sex attracted individual is fixed in his orientation and the orientation itself does not need to be mortified. While they admit that acting on the desires would be sin and even the attraction itself is a result of the fall, a church is not “biblically inclusive” if they tell a Christian who experiences same-sex attraction that they should even “seek” for God to remove that desire.[2] They go so far to say, “attempting to change someone’s sexual orientation sends a number of potentially damaging messages. . . . our sexual orientation is not a sign that we need counselling more than anyone else.”[3] While I agree Scripture nowhere promises that Christians will be free from all struggle with sin, it is crystal clear on how we should confront our sinful desires.

Paul writes in Colossians 3:5, “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire , and covetousness, which is idolatry.” The work of killing sin for the believer does not only attack the outward expressions of that sin, but goes all the way to the root of sin, which is located in the heart. We are to put to death the evil desires themselves. Seeking for God to bring “healing” to our evil desires is at the core of biblical teaching.

(David Burchard) #14

That is helpful timing.

(Jesse Tiersma) #15

Good article, and good thoughts. Toby Sumpter wrote a good article on the church audit mentioned by Pastor Buck last August that pointed out it’s many flaws.

(David Burchard) #16

Not sure how that works, but @jtbayly is my comment editor, and he makes them look real good.

(Joseph Bayly) #17

Just put links on a line by themselves and (for most sites) it will get the one-box treatment automatically.

(Jesse Tiersma) #18

The rest of Pastor Buck’s 4 part series on Living Out has been posted. Although writers here at Warhorn have delt with this topic thoroughly, this includes some personal interaction he has had with Alberry and Living Out that I thought was helpful in exposing their errors, as well as thoroughly critiquing the newest article that orginally kicked off this conversation, so I’ll post them here if anyone is interested.
He ends part 4 with solid proposals for action moving forward, which I hope will gain traction with with other pastors and Christian leaders.

(Tim Bayly) #19

Thanks so much, Jesse. Love,

(Caleb Starr) #20

I was encouraged to see another godly voice address the serious errors of LivingOut.