14 quotes from John Stott on Same Sex Relationships

John Stott | June 14th 2017

As the debate around same-sex relationships prepares to once more come before the Church of England’s General Synod in July, one thing is certain—none of the arguments presented will be new.

That’s why John Stott’s classic exposition of the key Bible passages surrounding this issue is about to be given a new life. Same Sex Relationships is a revised, updated and extended edition of his chapter from Issues Facing Christians Today, first published in 1984.

So here are fourteen quotes of Dr Stott at his best—communicating timeless truth with vigor and warmth.

1. We have a mandate to speak the truth, but we are called to speak the truth in love.

2. As far as the Bible is concerned, there is no such phenomenon as “a homosexual” or “a heterosexual”: there are only people made in the image of God. We all share in the glory and tragedy of being human and we share it in our sexuality as well as other areas of our lives.

3. Since God is love, and has made us in his own likeness, he has given us a capacity to love and be loved. He intends us to live in community, not in solitude.

4. The person who cannot marry and who is living a celibate and chaste life, whatever his or her sexual orientation, is living a life which is pleasing to God.

5. We should not deny that homosexual relationships can be loving. But [true] love is concerned for the highest welfare of the beloved. And our highest human welfare is found in obedience to God’s law and purpose, not in revolt against them.

We have a mandate to speak the truth, but we are called to speak the truth in love. - John Stott

6. God does indeed accept us “just as we are”, and we do not have to make ourselves good first; indeed we cannot. But his “acceptance” means that he fully and freely forgives all who repent and believe, not that he condones our continuance in sin. Again, it is true that we are called to accept one another, but as fellow penitents and fellow pilgrims, not as fellow sinners who are resolved to persist in our sinning.

7. [Jesus’] offer of friendship to sinners like us is truly wonderful. But he welcomes us in order to redeem and transform us, not to leave us alone in our sins.

8. The yoke of Christ brings rest, not turmoil; conflict comes only to those who resist it.

9. Sexual experience is not essential to human fulfilment. To be sure, it is a good gift of God, but it is not given to all, and it is not indispensable to humanness. … Jesus Christ was single, yet perfect in his humanity. So it is possible to be single and human at the same time!

10. Abstinence is not only good, if God calls us to celibacy; it is also possible.

11. The Christian’s horizons are not bounded by this world. Jesus Christ is coming again; our bodies are going to be redeemed; sin, pain and death are going to be abolished; and both we and the universe are going to be transformed.

12. At present we are living “in between times”, between the grace which we grasp by faith and the glory which we anticipate in hope. Between them lies love. Yet love is just what the church has generally failed to show to homosexual people.

13. It is sad that our Western culture inhibits the development of rich same-sex friendships by engendering the fear of being ridiculed or rejected for being gay on the one hand, or by assuming that same-sex intimacy is necessarily sexual on the other.

14. Perplexing and painful as the homosexual Christian’s dilemma is, Jesus Christ offers him or her—indeed, all of us—faith, hope and love: the faith to accept both his standards and his grace to maintain them, the hope to look beyond present suffering to future glory, and the love to care for and support one another. “But the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13).

Same Sex Relationships by John Stott, with forewords by Dr John Sentamu (The Archbishop of York) and Dr Mark Labberton (President of Fuller Theological Seminary), is available to pre-order now.

John Stott

John Stott CBE (1921 – 2011) was a Christian leader and Anglican clergyman who is noted as a leader of the worldwide evangelical movement. He is famous as one of the principal authors of the Lausanne Covenant in 1974. John Stott was ordained into the ministry of the Church of England in 1945 and has served the same church ever since. He was assistant pastor of All Souls for 5 years, the senior pastor (Rector) for 25, and Rector Emeritus since 1975. During the last quarter century he had been set free (under the auspices of the Langham Partnership) to travel the world, especially for ministry to pastors and students. He has been a Chaplain to the Queen since 1959. He was President of the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity.

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