BRITISH COLUMBIA — Canadian author and false teacher Sarah Bessey, known for her books “Jesus Feminist” and “Out of Sorts: Making Peace with an Evolving Faith,” has announced that she has left her church and Vineyard Canada altogether as she has realized that those who identify as both homosexual and Christian, as well as those who affirm them — such as herself, may not have full participation in church life.
“[Y]es, this is mostly related to my inclusive position for LGBTQ+ believers,” she wrote on Tuesday. “In our personal life as well as in my public ministry, we have never made a secret of those convictions as I have been openly affirming for many years now.”
Bessey has been one of the organizers of the Evolving Faith Conference, alongside the late Rachel Held Evans and Jeff Chu, the author of “Does Jesus Really Love Me? A Gay Christian’s Pilgrimage in Search of God in America.” This year’s speakers include Jen Hatmaker, who likewise affirms homosexuals, and former CCM artist Jennifer Knapp, who identifies as a lesbian, as well as Austen Hartke, the author of “Transforming: The Bible and the Lives of Transgender Christians.”
“[O]ver the past year it has become clear that LGBTQ+ believers (and those of us who affirm them) are not fully welcome to the life of Christ within our community,” Bessey wrote in last week’s social media post explaining her departure. “Now that the line is being drawn within the Vineyard Canada and our particular church, we willingly place ourselves with those on the other side of it.”
She said that some aspects of the situation have “deeply hurt [her] and [her] family, and described the matter as “a season of great loss.”
“[Y]et the grief we are experiencing as a family pales in comparison to the damage, oppression, and hurt inflicted on the personhood of LGBTQ+ believers: there are life and death consequences for these policies, especially for vulnerable young people. God, forgive us all,” Bessey remarked.
She told followers who identify as homosexual that she affirms them and wants them to be permitted to have full participation in the local church.
“When a church rejects you, it does not mean that God has rejected you,” she opined. “You are made in the image of God. I’m sorry Church as a whole can be such a mess and that any progress feels slow and painful and imperfect. People should never be collateral damage of theology. I’m sorry for the ways that we failed you, both personally and ecclesially. Our family is one of a growing number who love you, affirm you, and we would lay down a hundred beloved churches if it meant you were fully welcome at just one of them.”
As previously reported, the Bible teaches that all men are in the exact same predicament: All are born with the Adamic sin nature and are therefore “by nature the children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:3), having various inherent inclinations that are contrary to the law and will of God and being utterly incapable of changing by themselves. It is why Jesus came to “save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21) and that they might be “saved from wrath through Him” (Romans 5:8).
Jesus outlined in John 3:5-7 that men must be regenerated by the second birth, and be transformed from being in Adam to being in Christ, or they cannot see the kingdom of Heaven.
“Jesus answered and said unto him, ‘Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ Nicodemus saith unto him, ‘How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?’
Jesus answered, ‘Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, ‘Ye must be born again.’”
The late Anglican preacher and author J.C. Ryle further explained Christian teaching on the matter:
“Without conversion there is no salvation. We all need an entire change of nature. Left to ourselves we have neither faith, nor fear, nor love towards God. We must be born again,” he stated.
“Left to ourselves we are utterly unfit for dwelling in God’s presence. Heaven would be no heaven to us if we were not converted. It is true of all ranks, classes, and orders of mankind. All are born in sin and children of wrath, and all, without exception, need to be born again and made new creatures. A new heart must be given to us and a new spirit put within us. Old things must pass away, and all things must become new.”
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