Sexual Identity and the Christian

This Thursday (11-12-15) the L. Russ Bush Center for Faith and Culture hosts Mark Yarhouse as he speaks on “Sexual Identity and the Christian: Reflections for Ministry in a Changing Culture.” Dr. Yarhouse, Professor of Psychology at Regent University, directs the Institute for the Study of Sexual Identity.Dr Mark Yarhouse He has authored Homosexuality and the Christian: A Guide for Parents, Pastors, and Friends; Ex-Gays? A Longitudinal Study of Religiously Mediated Change in Sexual Orientation; and Understanding Sexual Identity: A Resource for Youth Ministers.  His most recent book is titled Understanding Gender Dysphoria: Navigating Transgender Issues in a Changing Culture. 

Dr. Yarhouse is known for his balanced yet principled approach to counseling in matters of sexual orientation. Here is a brief clip in which he explains his “three-tier distinction” to understanding homosexuality.

Dr. Yarhouse will speak first during the chapel service at Binkley Chapel (at 10 am). Then he will present his lecture at the Bush Center (2nd floor of Patterson Hall) that evening (at 7 pm). Seating is limited, please be sure to register soon (Eventbrite registration can be found here).

Brad Hambrick: Why Did I Write Do Ask, Do Tell, Let’s Talk?

Brad Hambrick (M.Div, Th.M from SEBTS, Pastor of Counseling, The Summit Church) has written a new book titled “Do Ask, Do Tell, Let’s Talk: Why and How Christians Should Have Gay Friends” which will be released in January. He has written a series of blog posts discussing this new book. In his first post, Brad discusses the reasons for writing this book. Brad writes:

It might be more helpful, at least at first, to explain why I didn’t write Do Ask, Do Tell, Let’s TalkI didn’t write this book because I believe homosexuality is the most important or pressing issue of our day. Actually, to the contrary, I wrote this book because it is my perception (accurate or not) that part of what complicates the subject is that only people who are very passionate about it have the courage-boldness-audacity (whatever you prefer to call it) to speak or write on it.

Be sure to head over and read the rest of this post.


Why All Good Christians Should Celebrate Halloween

Editor’s Note: This post originally appeared in 2009. Since we are once again approaching Halloween, George Robinson’s (Hedrick Chair of World Missions and Professor of Missions and Evangelism) thoughts on Christian participation (or not) in the holiday remain pertinent and helpful. 

October 31st. For most Americans this date means one thing: **Halloween.** Costumes, candy and trick-or-treaters spending to the tune of $2.5 billion making this holiday second only to Christmas in marketing revenue. But good Christians don’t celebrate Halloween. Or do they? Some Protestants may prefer to call it Reformation Day, for after all, that is the date that Martin Luther nailed his Theses to the door at Castle Church in Wittenberg back in 1517. That does pre-date the first usage of the phrase “All Hallows Eve” (commonly known now as Halloween) which didn’t emerge until some 40 years later in 1556.[1]

Ironically, most good Christians that I know won’t be celebrating either Reformation Day or Halloween. Instead, they will be showing support for their local church by attending a “safe and sanitary” alternative called a Fall Festival. This alternative allows good Christians to invite their neighbors and friends to come to the church and get candy, play games and have some good, clean Christian fun. No pagan witches and goblins allowed. But they can dress up as David or Moses or some other biblical character. All the fun without the pagan revelry, right?

I would like to propose another alternative – that good Christians should indeed celebrate Halloween. I think that they should stay home from their church’s alternative Fall Festival and celebrate with their pagan neighbors. Most of them wouldn’t have come to your Fall Festival anyway. And those who did would’ve stopped by briefly on their way to “real” trick-or-treating. I’m sure that some of you reading this blog might be more than a little unhappy with my proposal at this point, but stick with me for a moment.: The reason I propose that good Christians celebrate Halloween and stay home from the “Christian alternatives” is that Halloween is the only night of the year in our culture where lost people actually go door-to-door to saved people’s homes . . . and you’re down at the church hanging out with all your other good Christian friends having clean fellowship with the non-pagans.

Living with missional intentionality means that you approach life as a missionary in your context. I lived with my family in South Asia and we had to be creative and intentional in engaging our Muslim neighbors. We now live in the USA and we still need to be creative and intentional. That’s why for the past 2 years we have chosen to stay at home and celebrate the fact that Halloween gives us a unique opportunity to engage our neighbors. In fact, last year we had over 300 children and 200 adults come to our doorstep on that one night. And we were ready for them!

We had a tent set up in the driveway and gave away free coffee and water to the adults who were walking with their children. Our small group members manned the tent and engaged them in conversation and gave each one of them a gospel booklet (“The Story” gospel booklets are available with a Halloween distribution rate here: The children ran up to our door while the parents were waiting and got their candy, along with gospel booklets (even if they were dressed as witches or goblins!). In all we gave away more than 500 pieces of literature that night, each with our name, e-mail address, and a website where they could get more info.

I sure wish more good Christians would celebrate Halloween this year by staying home and meeting their pagan neighbors – an option which I believe surely beats the “good Christian” alternative.


[1] John Simpson and Edmund Weiner, Oxford English Dictionary 2d. ed. (London: Oxford University Press, 1989).