You might recall that a passionate address by Sam Allberry, a pastor at St. Mary’s Maidenhead in the U.K. and an editor at the Gospel Coalition, before the Church of England’s recent General Synod instantaneously went viral last month, sparking quite a bit of conversation among Christians in the U.K. and beyond.
The reason? Allberry, who is same-sex attracted, passionately delivered an appeal defending traditional marriage before the synod. And in a follow-up interview with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, the preacher went much deeper on his views and offered up additional context to his remarks.
“I wanted to speak at the debate for a couple of reasons. The Christian understanding of marriage is hugely important,” he said. “Jesus himself taught that marriage is between a man and a woman (Matt. 19:3-6) and that any sexual activity outside of this context is sinful (Matt. 15:19).”
While Allberry said some Christians might struggle with this teaching, he believes it’s essential to follow Jesus’ words. He also discussed the fact that he, himself, is “same-sex attracted,” explaining in more detail than he was able to give in the initial address that “the only sexual desires and feelings I have ever experienced are toward other men, rather than women.”
Allberry was careful to note that he’s not seeking to justify or validate his desires, saying that he believes any “inappropriate desire” must be fought against; he also went on to distinguish between a temptation and a sin. The former, he said, is not a sin, adding that the Bible promises that God can and will allow humans to “stand faithfully” under any temptation.
The pastor also delivered a passionate proclamation surrounding what he believes Jesus — and the Bible — say about marriage.
“The wider biblical narrative shows us that the union of the man and woman in marriage is actually a picture of the union of heaven and earth in Christ. Our marriages are to point to the ultimate marriage of Christ and his church (Eph. 5:32),” Allberry continued. “Marriage is meant to visualize the gospel. To redefine it will distort the gospel it is meant to portray.”
Watch his viral speech below:
Allberry also said in the follow-up Q&A that he was initially surprised to see his speech taken from the livestream of the synod, posted independently — and going viral, saying that he’s since seen that the message resonated with many Christians.
“It seems that many haven’t heard a positive message on sexuality before, and so were struck and relieved to hear someone in my situation speaking of hope and life,” he said. “That has some implications for how we do apologetics in the area of sexuality. Sometimes we’re only heard to say the negatives.”
In the end, Allberry said he wants everyone to realize that every individual is “sexually fallen” and treated the same under the gospel, adding that everyone needs the restoration and forgiveness that Jesus offers.
Read his entire interview with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries here.
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