In a positive review of a new book titled Transgender, Samuel James says this in “What the Gospel Means for the Transgender Debate”:
If Christians are to offer both clarity and compassion to those struggling with these issues, we must first recognize that what is really at stake is not a “culture war” or political clout, but real people. That means it won’t be enough to merely knock down a rival worldview; we must show, in word and deed, that the gospel really is good news—even better than the promises of the sexual revolution.
This really is the answer to how we reach anyone, no matter what they’re pursuing in their life instead of God. Is God better than the promises of anything and everything else? We dare not leave this question behind in apologetics and evangelism, because ultimately, Christianity is not a list of positions on worldview ideas and sins, but rather it’s a disposition of the heart towards God. If we believe God is good and trustworthy, and if we desire Him more than anything else we have in life, then giving up sin and doing what He asks will not seem like a loss to us, even if it’s difficult and painful. Rather, we will say with Paul:
[W]hatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him…. (Phil. 3:7–9)
If anyone sees everything as rubbish compared to God and His Gospel, won’t he willingly drop everything to follow Him? And if anyone sees God as rubbish, what difference will the best arguments for His existence make to him? There are some who regularly comment here who will agree and say this is precisely why they are not Christians—because God isn’t good or beautiful, and so He isn’t attractive, even if it could be demonstrated that He is real.
This is why your academic arguments about the reality of God are necessary but not sufficient. You will have to answer their questions about God’s goodness. Are you seeking to know the beauties of God and the Gospel by gaining a more thorough understanding of the Bible as a whole? Do you value Him enough to give up the rubbish in your own life? Are you living in a church community in a way that reflects the beauty of God to the world? As apologists seeking to bring others to Christ, we cannot neglect these things.
After I read that quote from Samuel James’s review, I came across a testimony by Jay Harrison on the website Living Out, a site created to help people with same-sex attraction who want to follow Christ.* His reaction of shame and hopelessness in response to God’s commands regarding sexuality changed for him when he saw the beauty of Jesus’ love for Him:
I knew my sexuality described so much of me, but I discovered it didn’t define me. As a Christian, Jesus defined me, and he looked at me with love.
I understood that it was with love that God could say “no” to same-sex relationships, and I came to understand that his intentions were best for me. I also came to realize that God said “yes” to a life full of joy and deep friendships. Obedience to God’s sexual ethic wasn’t just saying “no” to the pleasures that tempted me, but saying “yes” to a more intimate relationship with God that involves humble submission to and utter vulnerability with him.
Seeing the beauty of Jesus’ love enabled him to see God as good and trustworthy, and so his “yes” to God became more attractive to him than the “no” to same-sex relationships was painful.
This is what everyone needs to see. No one ever considers apologetics topics in an intellectual vacuum. They’re real people with complicated lives—lives that will be affected in countless difficult ways if they follow Christ. They need to know He’s worth it.
*I don’t agree with every perspective expressed on this site.