Vaughan Roberts is a well known and well loved evangelical Anglican minister in Oxford. He is the author of a number of excellent books, one of which is entitled ‘Battles Christians Face’. It’s well worth a read and is available from all good Christian bookshops.
The book was recently republished for a 5th Anniversary edition and in a new introduction Roberts writes of having personal experience of all the battles spoken of in the book. One chapter concerns same-sex attraction and the fact that Roberts has associated himself with this particular struggle caused, in his own words, ‘a small ripple of reaction and led some to ask why I wrote those words and what I meant by them.’
To clarify the issue, the latest edition of Evangelicals Now included an extended interview between Julian Hardyman, pastor of Eden Baptist Church here in Cambridge, and Roberts. The interview is well worth reading in full – I would encourage you to do so.
One particular exchange worthy of note concerned the extent to which society and the church want to define individuals by their sexual orientation. Roberts resists such pigeon-holing.
Julian: Does this disclosure that same sex attraction is one of your personal battles mean you are defining yourself as a homosexual?
Vaughan: No, it doesn’t. It’s important to reiterate that I have acknowledged a struggle in all eight of the areas the book covers and not in just one… No one battle, of the many we face, however strongly, defines us, but our identity as Christians flows rather from our relationship with Christ… I’m not making a revelation about my fundamental identity, other than that, life all Christians, I am a sinner saved by grace, called to live in the brokenness of a fallen world until Christ returns and brings all our battles to an end.
That insight is essential for all Christian believers, isn’t it? We are not defined by our struggles. Fundamentally, we are defined by our relationship with our Saviour.