Truth or Lies, Part 3
October 26, 2023 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments
Posted in: Pastoral Encouragement
This is part three of a multipart series introducing and interacting with Rosaria Butterfield’s new book, Five Lies of Our Anti-Christian Age. As followers of Christ, we must be rooted in biblical truth as we are confronted by the lies of “this present darkness.”
Let’s now turn our attention to the Five Lies. Butterfield writes two to four chapters for each lie. So, I am unable to cover all that she addresses, but will hit some highlights for each one. You will have to read the book if you want to catch all that Butterfield says.
The first lie Butterfield addresses is “Homosexuality is normal.” She writes, “Two cultural movements have combined to create a world that believes that lesbianism is normal: the uncritical use of intersectionality as a tool to empower people who perceive themselves to be victims, and the uncritical use of homosexual orientation as a category of personhood” (p. 62-63). She addresses these two movements by sharing more of her personal story of coming out of a lesbian lifestyle and digging into biblical truth.
First, we can consider what Butterfield says about intersectionality. She writes, “Intersectionality creates a grand story, a metanarrative, out of oppression. It maintains that the world is made up of power struggles, and that white, male, heterosexual patriarchy must be destroyed to liberate those who are oppressed by it” (p. 59). She goes on to explain, “Intersectionality maintains that who you truly are is measured by how many victim statuses you can claim—with your human dignity accruing through intolerance of all forms of disagreement with your perceptions of self and world” (p. 60).
Butterfield touches on this cultural movement because it has colored almost all conversations about human suffering. If you suffer, intersectionality will teach, your suffering springs from the inequalities between oppressors and the oppressed. Instead of thinking of sexuality through the lens of what is morally right or wrong, sexuality is now considered through the lenses of oppression, suffering, and victimhood. Intersectionality has led the culture, and even the church, to think of sexuality in emotional terms, rather than in rational or moral terms. Butterfield concludes, “When intersectionality joins forces with the gospel, it leaves us with an immature faith, a false hope, and a deceptive vocabulary” (p. 61).
The second cultural movement Butterfield speaks to is the uncritical use of homosexual orientation as a category of personhood. She writes, “Homosexual orientation is a man-made theory about anthropology, or what it means to be human…Sigmund Freud and Charles Darwin both contributed to the general idea of sexual orientation, the idea that human beings are oriented—aimed, directed, pitched—by sexual desires, understood as an internal, organic drive over which we have no control” (p. 65-66). Seeking to appeal to the biblical understanding of anthropology, she goes on to say, “The Bible defines personhood in the creation ordinance and situates sexual desire and practice in the context of the sexual pattern of male and female. We understand that the sin that entered the world with Adam malformed the human heart and corrupted human desires, and this of course includes sexual desires. After the fall of Adam, all manner of perversion and depravity entered the human bloodstream, including homosexuality. And after Adam, the natural pattern of man and woman in the covenant of biblical marriage has been under direct assault by the unholy practice of sinful desires (including adultery and pornography). But under the creation ordinance, heterosexuality is the only natural pattern” (p. 66).
Notice the words “pattern” and “practice.” Butterfield argues that when God “created man in his own image…male and female he created them” (Gen. 1:27), God established heterosexuality as the normal pattern. When sin entered the world, human hearts, desires, and practices all became corrupt. But the pattern remains the same. To use the language of homosexual orientation, as if it is something outside of the corruption of sin, is to argue that the pattern of human sexuality has been changed. In order to allow homosexuality to be normal, one must reject the authority of Scripture.
Butterfield goes on to write, “People ask, How can homosexuality be a sin if it feels natural to some people? From a biblical point of view, homosexuality is a sin that belongs to our fallen nature—the one everyone is born with. That sin nature is why homosexuality can feel normal and natural to some people” (p. 94).
So, what is the answer? How does biblical Christianity respond to homosexuality? Butterfield points to repentance and sanctification. “The only way out of the ever-damning homosexual repetition, the constant hunger for the elusive depth of knowing and being known, is repentance for sin, even repentance for a sin that feels natural…It all comes down to this: Do you trust your feelings, or do you trust the word of God?” (p. 98). From her own personal story, she adds, “Instead of lesbianism being who I was, I now understood it as both a lack of righteousness and a willful transgressive action. I was no victim. I was no ‘sexual minority’ needing a voice in the church. I needed to grow in sanctification—just like everyone else in the church” (p. 49).
As with each of the Five Lies, Butterfield calls the church to address these issues with biblical truth. This method does not negate compassion or love. As Paul says in Ephesians 4:15, we speak the truth in love, and in 2 Timothy 2:25, we correct opponents with gentleness. The issue, however, remains: will we trust our feelings, or will we trust the truth of God’s word? May we be people of truth, people who let the Word of Christ dwell in us richly.