Sam Allberry is an author and pastor in the UK. He experiences same-sex attraction, but, because of his love for Jesus, he holds to a biblical definition of marriage and is committed to remaining celibate. Below, he answers some of the key questions being asked today about how Christians can respond to the issue of homosexuality and the church.

1. In light of the 2015 Supreme Court decision for all 50 states in the U.S. to allow same-sex marriages, how should the church in North America respond?

The church must respond with both truth and love. Truth, because we have been given an understanding of marriage in the Scriptures that is clear and non-negotiable. Jesus taught that marriage is predicated on sexual difference and that the only godly alternative is celibacy (Matthew 19:4-6, 10-12). We are not at liberty to depart from this blueprint as Christians. The state now has a different definition of marriage, but we must not abandon our own. In our own thinking and teaching we must preserve the teachings that Jesus and His apostles have given us. Marriage – as biblically defined – is an image of Christ’s relationship to the church (Ephesians 5:31-32). The coming together of the man and woman pictures and anticipates the uniting of heaven and earth (Revelation 21:2). The marriage with which the Bible begins is a trailer for the one with which it ends. Earthly marriage has built into it something of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and to abandon the Bible’s understanding of marriage is to abandon the gospel.

We must also respond with love. Even as we articulate the truth of marriage we must take great care to do so with the right demeanor. A counter-cultural message will not be compelling without a counter-cultural tone. We must not be condescending or resentful in the face of the cultural shift going on around us. We must extend the very same patient grace that God has extended to us. When Jesus saw the lostness of the crowds around Him, it moved Him to compassion, not hectoring.

So a good test for our churches as we respond to these times is not just, “Are we sticking to our guns on this issue?” but, “Are we remaining faithful to God’s revelation and making our church the sort of places LGBTQ+ friends and neighbors would feel safe coming to?” I suspect we have a lot of work to do on the latter.

2. Many people have said that Jesus never directly addressed homosexuality in the Bible. Is this true? What did Jesus teach about this topic?

Jesus never mentioned the word “homosexuality” but it would be a mistake to conclude from this that His teaching had no bearing on this issue. Jesus upheld and amplified the pattern for human sexuality outlined in Genesis 1-2. Marriage is between a man and a woman. Sexual activity outside this context, in whatever form, is sin (Mark 7:21, where “sexual immorality” translates the Greek word porneia, a catch-all term for all sexual behavior outside of marriage). So Jesus spoke against pre-marital, extra-marital, and all non-marital sex, which clearly includes homosexuality. He didn’t mention homosexuality by name, but in these teachings certainly included it. Jesus was not neutral on this.

3. I have some gay friends who have invited me to their wedding. Should I go? What should I tell them?

Christians follow one who was “the friend of sinners.” I always think it a good sign when Christians say they have received such an invitation; it is a sign they are being the sort of friends to gay people that all of us are meant to be.

As we think about whether or not to accept an invitation like this, we must take care to preserve two very important things. Firstly, the integrity of our Christian witness. Unqualified attendance can easily be seen as approval. Some of us may feel that we have been clear enough on our views of marriage to these particular friends that we can attend without risking any miscommunication or confusion by doing so. But many of us may not be at that point, and it may be best for us to politely decline the invitation. For myself, I do not in good conscience think I could attend a same-sex marriage.

But the other thing we need to preserve is the integrity of our friendship. We need to be aware that turning down an invitation like this could create feelings of deep rejection. So I think we need to find ways of expressing ourselves that make us the vulnerable ones. We need to talk about how much the friendship means to us. I think it good to make sure, even as we may be having to decline an invitation, that we are inviting them to continue to be part of our life. So perhaps make an invitation to the couple yourself to meet together soon after the wedding/honeymoon to catch up. That sort of thing will communicate that we really are committed to them.


4. How should I respond if a Christian friend comes to me saying he/she is struggling with same-sex attraction?

Respond with great thoughtfulness. It is likely that this was not an easy thing to share with you, so do thank them for doing so. They have entrusted to you something very personal, and possibly very painful too. Before trying to offer counsel, do make a point of listening carefully to how they are. If they are comfortable, ask them about their same-sex attraction and how it has been for them. That will help you gradually get a sense of where they’re at on the issue. Ask them how you can be a friend and support to them. Don’t presume to know this already. Even among Christians, experiences of same-sex attraction vary enormously. What one person may need might look very different to what another might need. Some may not be clear that the Bible prohibits homosexual behavior, and so it will be important to gently open the Scriptures with them and point them to God’s call that we be holy. Others might be crystal clear on what the Bible says and happy to follow its teaching, yet struggle with loneliness, and so it will be important to provide community and support. Others may struggle with sexual temptation, and need someone to encourage them and hold them to account.

5. Secular groups have often stated that Christians are bigots who abuse and humiliate gay adolescents, sometimes leading to suicidal despair. What would you say to this accusation?

We must acknowledge that there certainly have been some who have acted or spoken abusively to gay people, and done so in the name of Christ. We must repudiate such behavior as being utterly un-Christian. We must also acknowledge that many gay adolescents have found themselves in situations of overwhelming despair and depression, and our hearts must go out to them. But is the Christian message on sexuality itself to blame for this? No. We need to be very clear on this. It is not the church that is telling people today that a life without sexual fulfillment is not worth living. That is the message of our culture, not of our savior. Jesus himself came with a message to liberate us from such thinking. We have good news to share on this – very good news. Human fullness is not dependent on sexual fulfillment. There is an appetite within all of us that goes far deeper than our sexual desires, and it can be fully met in Christ Himself. Fullness of life is found in Him and nowhere else.

Is God Anti-Gay?

is-god-anti-gayby Sam Allberry

The polarizing debate about homosexuality has consumed our modern culture, not only in the secular space but within the church itself. Denominations are splitting over the issue, and concerned Christians are struggling to articulate their position on the issue with clarity.
Sam Allberry, a pastor from England, simplifies the issue with profound clarity in Is God Anti-Gay? A must-read for any Christian desiring to be “in the world and not of the world,” this book ably defends the standard of God’s Word with insight, compassion, and grace.


In light of the United States Supreme Court decision to allow same-sex marriage in all 50 states, this question is becoming increasingly more relevant for a biblically-minded Christians. In this video, Sam Allberry offers a wise response that allows believers to maintain a friendship without compromising our Christian witness.


qcassa_mediumborder.4ialc32gszxgo2wml6osynzp4zmxeaplIs God Anti-Gay?

by Sam Allberry

The polarizing debate about homosexuality has consumed our modern culture, not only in the secular space but within the church itself. Denominations are splitting over the issue, and concerned Christians are struggling to articulate their position on the issue with clarity.
This is a must-read for any Christian desiring to be “in the world and not of the world,” as it ably defends the standard of God’s Word with insight, compassion, and grace.


Sam Allberry, a church pastor in the UK, is a Christian with same-sex attraction. Because of his love for Jesus, he is committed to remaining celibate. Sam also mentions that his journey can be painful and frustrating, but, most of all, it gives him great understanding and compassion for others, and a capacity for friendship that otherwise wouldn’t be possible.

This is his story:

https://www.haventoday.org/images/pictures/sam-allberry-book.jpgIs God Anti-Gay?

by Sam Allberry

The polarizing debate about homosexuality has consumed our modern culture, not only in the secular space but within the church itself. Denominations are splitting over the issue, and concerned Christians are struggling to articulate their position on the issue with clarity.

This is a must-read for any Christian desiring to be “in the world and not of the world,” as it ably defends the standard of God’s Word with insight, compassion, and grace.


When the Supreme Court struck down the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act in June 2013, it certainly seemed like the tide of our culture would continue to steadily move toward the acceptance of gay marriage. After the ruling by the Supreme court this week, the issue for Christians in North America is just as relevant as ever.

So, what now? How are followers of Jesus Christ, and the church, to think about and respond to the decision made by the Supreme Court? It is crucial that the church as an institution, and individual believers, respond well. John Freeman, president of Harvest USA, a ministry devoted to those struggling with sexual sins, wrote the following six things to keep in mind after the Supreme Court decision:

1. We should not lash out in anger or be afraid. 

A fight-or-flight response is normal when cataclysmic events occur. But both these instinctual responses are unhelpful and unproductive. My wife has often told me, “John, when you speak or react out of fear or anger, bad things come out of your mouth.” She is usually right. We may legitimately fear where this decision will next take our nation; and we may legitimately be angry over how God’s design for the institution and function of marriage as it has historically benefited society is being hijacked. But we need to keep this in mind: As believers, our true citizenship is in heaven. We must think and act like those whose world has been impacted but not devastated.

https://www.haventoday.org/images/pictures/sam-allberry-book.jpgI think a more productive response would be that of grief. We need to be grieved at what happened, grieved at the state of the culture, and grieved at how blind people are to the truth. Jesus wept over Jerusalem and her refusal to turn to him as its shepherd, and the Old Testament displayed a similar common response to tragic national events, where the people grieved in sackcloth and ashes. Just grieve? Doesn’t seem very productive or helpful. It feels so powerless! But we need to remind ourselves that the weakness of the church is how the power of God is best displayed. The reason we don’t have to be angry or afraid is because …

2. We need to remind ourselves that God is still on the throne, neither slumbering nor sleeping.

Although decided in the private chambers of the Supreme Court, this has not happened out of God’s sight. He is the God who knows all and sees all. This is beyond our rational understanding, but by faith we believe that God remains in control over all things, even over the decisions made by man and society that veer away from his wisdom. To respond with anger or abject fear is to forget this.

Why God has allowed the acceptance of homosexuality and the legalization of same-sex marriage to be so prominent today will remain a mystery at some level. Why he has allowed it to split churches, denominations, and families must also be trusted to his providence. We only know what Scripture does tell us: that this is a broken world, a world where his image-bearers are in rebellion against him and his intentional design for creation. Nothing really new here. We must, as his followers, trust in Him at all times, especially when it seems that ungodliness has the upper hand. This is the courage of faith, and that courage must also move us to . . .

3. Boldly and gently proclaim the ultimate destructiveness of ungodly actions.

While many will celebrate this decision as the advancement of an enlightened society and a triumph of inclusiveness and tolerance, the reality is that actions made in opposition to God’s design carry with them significant consequences. Several years ago, noted pastor, teacher and author James Boice, said, “It’s God’s world, not our world. Although we may want to rewrite the rules, we can’t, because it’s God’s world. And sin is destructive, whether or not we admit or agree, it’s still destructive.” By removing the definition of marriage from its historical and God-designed nature as being between one man and one woman, how long will it be before other forms of so-called “marriage” will be legal (such as polygamy and polyamory)? What will be the effect on children and families as we move into territory that is completely new to human society?

These kind of ungodly decisions serve to remind us that the world in which we live is hostile to things of God. It reminds us that we live here as “aliens and strangers,” that we’re temporary residents of a foreign land. But it still remains a world that God so loved that he sent his only Son, so . . .

4. We must not avoid our calling: to engage the culture and all people with the truth and mercy of the gospel.

Even as culture goes off the rails, and we may seem powerless to stop it, we’re not off the hook from engaging it and actively loving people. Although we may want to retreat and go into self-protective mode, we must not. The church did not do so as the Roman culture descended into greater ungodliness and injustice. The downward spiral of our society and the increasing celebration of what is explicitly forbidden in God’s word make our sharing the gospel more important than ever! The gospel is the only hope for a broken world and fallen hearts. For this reason, the church must not attack and demean gays and lesbians because of this issue. The gospel is a message of hope for everyone; not a platform for condemnation and ridicule. The gospel is heard through the words and deeds of His people. Another way to put this is our need to …

5. “Keep calm and carry on” as God’s people and his church.

During World War II during the bombing, people in Britain felt that the world was falling apart. “Keep calm and carry on” became a common phrase on billboards and posters as a way to encourage the British people. We need to follow this advice as well. How do we do this when we see everything around us in a downward spiral and decay? We lean on and trust in the Rock of our salvation, who is still with his people while we continue to carry out his Kingdom work.

We must not let these things have more power over us than they really do. And, thankfully, we still live in a country that allows our views to be heard and we should make our concerns known about the reality of unintended consequences making further trouble and about the future of religious liberty—two major issues embedded in this controversy. But, again, we should not place our faith in any human political or legal structure as our ultimate protector or savior. Jesus said that his kingdom was “not of this world”—neither is ours. The mission of the church continues. The church cannot be either dismissed or destroyed. It remains God’s vehicle of redemption, worked out through his people. That mission will endure until he returns. And in the meantime, the church—and especially the next generation inside her doors— needs to be strengthened by …

6. Relevant and effective preaching and teaching about sex.

The silence of the church on many issues has contributed to the emergence of movements that have been detrimental to mankind (see: Germany and the rise of Nazism). It can be argued that the church’s failure to preach and teach about why God’s design for sexuality is good, relevant, and functional (even in a broken world) has created a vacuum for the acceptance of same-sex relationships. The church has said “No!” for too long as its main message on sexuality and now needs to say “Here’s how,” or here’s how God’s design for sexuality remains the best venue for people and society to flourish.

John Freeman is president of Harvest USA, a ministry devoted to helping those with sexual struggles and sins. He has a deep burden to see those who struggle with pornography, homosexuality, and other sins experience changed lives through Jesus Christ. A native of Chattanooga, Tenn., John is a graduate of the University of Tennessee and Westminster Theological Seminary in Pennsylvnia and lives with his wife, Penny, of 30 years in Philadelphia. 

https://www.haventoday.org/images/pictures/sam-allberry-book.jpgIs God Anti-Gay?

by Sam Allberry

The polarizing debate about homosexuality has consumed our modern culture, not only in the secular space but within the church itself. Denominations are splitting over the issue, and concerned Christians are struggling to articulate their position on the issue with clarity.

Sam Allberry, a pastor from England, simplifies the issue with profound clarity in Is God Anti-Gay? A must-read for any Christian desiring to be “in the world and not of the world,” this book ably defends the standard of God’s Word with insight, compassion, and grace.

If you haven’t heard of Rosaria Butterfield yet, I imagine you will soon. Her book, “The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert,” (Crown & Covenant Publications, 2012) is swiftly sweeping by word of mouth through Christian circles.

To condense a long journey into a brief story, Butterfield was a tenured and successful professor at Syracuse University in New York, and a lesbian in a committed relationship with her partner, when she met a local pastor who wanted to get to know her. Over time, God took hold of her life and turned her world upside down. She’s now a pastor’s wife in North Carolina and a mom to four adopted children. She wrote down her story for her children to have, but never thought that it would ever resonate with others the way it is. I got the chance to talk to my friend Rosaria about what it’s like when Jesus calls you to give up everything and follow him.

Tell us a bit about your background: where you grew up, what your family was like.

I grew up in Chicago, Illinois, in an Italian community. I remember being very moved as a child early on by the gospel message and I enjoyed my time in Catholic school and my time in church. Then I left Chicago to go to college [at Ohio State]. My priest had been almost galvanizing to me in my faith; someone who I felt I could talk to about anything. He was arrested and then convicted of 34 counts of child molestation. I hadn’t been going to church in college. When my mom sent me this article, [where I learned these things,] I closed the book on any notion of a holy or overseeing God.

When and why did you declare yourself a lesbian?

I officially came out when I was 28. I was in a lesbian relationship at the time, but I had been teetering of the edge of the lesbian community for a while. In college, I had a boyfriend for the first time. I liked having a boyfriend because it gave me a lot of cover and social acceptance. But I had always had these very powerful and intense relationships with women. … Some people ask, “What happened to your Catholic training?” And I think what really happened was that the name of Jesus which had gently and sincerely rolled off my tongue in my little girl prayers … he just rolled off my back in college. In 1992, when I left Ohio State for Syracuse, truly the name of Jesus made me recoil with nothing short of pity and anger.

In the book, you say that pride was your main sin. How do you think you started and then continued down that path of pride?

I believe that sexuality is an expression of a set of values and worldview. … Pride was a cornerstone of how I functioned. Talking myself into the zone was how I got my work done. It was how I ran my marathons. How I ran my research program. The reason that in God’s providence I encountered any Christian was because I was writing a book on the religious right from a lesbian feminist perspective, because I abhorred how the Bible had gotten all these people off track. At the time that I had understood pride as my main sin, I had a watershed conversation with one of my very best friends at the time, a transgendered woman. My friend … said, “Rosaria you are changing. I need to know what is happening to you.” I said, “This bible is changing me, and I have to ask you a question, what if it’s true? What if Jesus is a real and risen Lord, who came first to spread the good news of the gospel, but who will come again to judge?” I had taken note of Romans 1:4, how we exchange the truth for a lie, worship the creation rather than the creator, and I realized that that was a complete and transparent view of my heart. This section of the bible just struck me as the table of contents of my life. I was at a crossroads.

What was your life like after knowing the Lord?

People always are impressed by how once I was a lesbian and now I’m not. I want to tell people that if that’s the only story in this, then that’s a really small story. Jesus did not die a painful and shameful death on the cross so that I could be a lovely wife and mother. That’s not the point. The big point is a hidden landscape in a life of faith. For many of us, anxiety was [before we became Christians] such a slow burning friend that you couldn’t even imagine life without it. But Jesus gives you in a daily way, invisible supplies, practical application of faith, that allow you to bear afflictions that you think you never could bear. You see in your life in Christ a daily way that the puzzles that divine providence unfold. That is an amazingly rich, calm, and steady life. And I want that for everyone I know.

What can we do to make our churches more hospitable to people who are struggling with homosexuality?

One thing we can do is take seriously God’s command to love our neighbors. I mean the people we know only by the disappearing and appearing garage doors and trash cans. You have gay and lesbian neighbors; you will meet them, you will meet their children. It’s hard for people to pray in the spirit of love when you are afraid of them. And don’t think that accepting them means you approve of them.

What advice do you have for parents who don’t know how to answer their childrens’ questions about homosexuality, or questions about those who may practice it who visit our churches?

My children have always known that I used to be a lesbian. In the same way that each of them has always known that they were adopted. … You make it age appropriate. When I talk to my young children about my past, I talk about affinity. When I talk to my older children, I talk about sexual sins.

Why did you write your book?

I wrote the book because I wanted to write about the inner landscape of Christian living. I wanted to write a book that was my story, the story that God gave me, but that resonated with what I believe to be true about conversion from a biblical perspective. I wanted to tell the story with all the warts and the problems and the pain and the joy.
This interview has been edited and condensed.

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