Holy Sexuality: Identity, compassion and the gospel
Dr. Christopher Yuan—speaker, author, and former Moody Bible professor—aims to change our culture's conversation about sexual identity.
Jim Killam
March 28, 2023

“The world has beaten us to our youth,” declares Dr. Christopher Yuan on his website, Holy Sexuality. “Our youth are getting their cues about sex and sexuality from TikTok, social media, and almost everywhere except God’s Word. The question is no longer, ‘Is it too early?’ but ‘Is it too late?’ We’ve allowed the world to catechize our kids. Let’s change that.”

Yuan, who will speak this Sunday at First Free, taught at Moody Bible Institute for 12 years. His books include Out of a Far Country: A Gay Son’s Journey to God. A Broken Mother’s Search for Hope and Holy Sexuality and the Gospel: Sex, Desire and Relationships Shaped by God’s Grand Story. He and his family speak at conferences, on college campuses and in churches (christopheryuan.com).

In Holy Sexuality and the Gospel, Yuan writes:

While researching for my doctoral thesis, I investigated some of the reasons Christians with same-sex attractions didn’t disclose their struggles, which sometimes resulted in them seeking help from the secular world. We evangelicals feel free to open up about a multitude of difficulties—pornography addictions, eating disorders, alcoholism, sex abuse, and so on. But many feel that same-sex attraction is the one thing they cannot share with another Christian.

If the Christian church functioned as it should, this stigma would end. From my own experience, I know the best place to work through matters related to sexuality is in the body of Christ, where God’s truth is our firm foundation and biblical sexuality is the unambiguous standard.

Instead, our youth often seek answers from the world since they expect to be judged by the church simply for experiencing same-sex attractions. They fear no one will understand them. It’s no wonder many end up having an incorrect understanding of sexuality.

Yuan and his mother, Angela, will tell their family story during our two morning services this Sunday, April 2. Then, he will host two free seminars during the afternoon:

  • 2–2:50 p.m. — Sexual Identity: False Identity
  • 3–4:30 p.m. — Holy Sexuality & the Gospel (60 minutes) + Q&A (30 minutes)

Compassion for the stranger

We asked Dr. Yuan via email: “At a forum like the one you’ll be doing at First Free Rockford, it’s very easy for the conversation to become about ‘those people.’ How can we guard against this?” In response, he directed us to a section near the end of Holy Sexuality and the Gospel. It is excerpted here with permission:

The narrative is often told of Christian parents rejecting their gay children and being unloving and of unbelieving parents really loving and supporting their gay sons and daughters. However, I experienced the exact opposite. Before my parents came to Christ, they rejected me; only after their conversion did they love their gay son and show compassion to a stranger. …

First, how do we love strangers? It begins with good theology—namely, that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). As a matter of fact, we can’t even love as God intends until we fully grasp and accept for ourselves the reality of God’s grand story—creation, fall, redemption, and consummation.

It starts by knowing that we’re all created in God’s image and that all the redeemed saints are still sinners saved and made holy by God’s grace. Not until my parents were able to realize that their struggle with sin was not much different from my struggle with sin could they love and have compassion toward my gay friend Jordan.

A favorite parable of mine is the story of the Good Samaritan— a quintessential example of exhibiting compassion to a neighbor in need. I’ve read that parable many times, but in my previous readings, I always missed a key detail found in Jesus’s final question to the lawyer.

His question at the end of the parable completely alters the crux and tenor of this narrative that I thought I knew so well. Jesus’s parables aren’t meant to make us comfortable or feel good. They’re meant to provoke us out of our comfort zone and make us consider, What still needs to be changed in my life? …

The parable has a profound thrust, particularly in light of the fact that Jews regarded Samaritans among the least respected people— eating with them was equivalent to eating pork. Yet the parable’s significance is much more than simply transcending our human-made boundaries of race or social status to love our neighbor.

Jesus knows it is next to impossible for this Jewish lawyer to go against his human nature to love the unlovable Samaritan unless something radical happens in his life. The key is found within the story, particularly the point of view from which this tale is told—not from the perspective of the good Samaritan but from the perspective of the traveler who fell among the robbers.

The only way for the Jewish lawyer to love a Samaritan as his neighbor is to relive this parable from that traveler’s point of view. More than likely, the man who fell among the robbers was Jewish himself and therefore hated Samaritans. One day on his way to Jericho, he’s jumped by a gang of thugs and knocked unconscious. The last thing he remembers is his nose being crushed by punches to the face and the intense pain of his ribs cracking from kicks to the gut.

This is it . . . I’m going to die.

Now imagine him waking up confused, lying in a warm bed. A stranger who says he’s an innkeeper quickly brings him food and drink, then tends to his wounds. Still in excruciating pain, the man who fell among the robbers is shocked just to be alive. Assuming it was this innkeeper who saved his life, the traveler begins to thank him. But what comes out of the innkeeper’s mouth changes his life forever.

The innkeeper tells him that it was a Samaritan who stopped, had compassion, bound the man’s wounds, and brought him to this inn. This Samaritan promised to pay the full amount necessary for the traveler to be fully healed.

Let that sink in for a moment. You tell me: Would the man who fell among the robbers be changed when he heard this news? Would this traveler— a Jew who despised Samaritans— now have a totally different perspective toward Samaritans or any other stranger for that matter?

With this in mind, let’s answer the question again: Who is my neighbor? I bet if the lawyer really put himself in the shoes of the traveler, he would have a completely different perspective on life. Jesus isn’t exhorting us simply to love people in need; he commands us to love people we perceive to be despised, undeserving, and foreign.

Jesus subtly and creatively communicates that the only way we can love our neighbor— the only way a Jew can love a despised Samaritan or a Christian can love a stranger— is to put ourselves in the shoes of the man who fell among the robbers. …

Related: In a 2020 Moody Bible Institute alumni article, Yuan offered advice for sharing Christ with people in the gay community.

Empowering youth to understand, embrace, and celebrate biblical sexualityWhere are today’s teens learning about sex and sexuality? Have our fears and inadequacies resulted in us saying little or nothing? Silence is no longer an option.

COMING SOON: The Holy Sexuality Project
A new 12-lesson digital video series featuring Dr. Christopher Yuan, designed for parents and their teens. Join the waitlist at holysexuality.com.
Jim Killam
Jim Killam is a journalist, author, teacher and terminal Cubs fan. He and his wife, Lauren, live in Rockford and work internationally with Wycliffe Bible Translators.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get the latest stories from First Free Rockford in your inbox.

Sorry, No posts.
Send this to a friend