By Samantha Adams
A large audience from the Union community turned out Oct. 26 to hear Christopher Yuan speak in chapel and at a special event about a redemptive Christian response to homosexuality.
In his chapel address, Yuan told of his transition from being active in the gay community to where he is today, a Christian speaker, adjunct Bible instructor at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and co-author with his mother, Angela Yuan, of “Out of a Far Country: A Gay Son’s Journey to God. A Broken Mother’s Search for Hope.”
The Office of Spiritual Life staff had never brought someone with such a personal perspective to speak about homosexuality at Union before, said Taylor Worley, associate dean for Spiritual Life and assistant professor of Christian thought and tradition.
“Yuan embodies a redemptive message through his powerful and inspiring testimony,” Worley said. “Not many Christian leaders can speak to this issue with the same Gospel-centered compassion and clarity that he can.”
Yuan told of how he became active in the gay community and also began dealing drugs, which eventually led to his arrest. During his three years in prison, Yuan experienced two of the most significant moments of his life: he learned he was HIV positive and he became a Christian who chooses abstinence.
He suggested many changes in the Church to improve ministry to those who experience same-sex attractions.
“Let’s be honest. The Church, we don’t have a good reputation when it comes to this issue,” Yuan said at the event in the Bowld Gymnasium, titled “Homosexuality and the Christian Campus: a Redemptive Response.”
Christians are perceived to be against gay people, Yuan said, often because they treat homosexuality as if it were a worse sin than others, rather than acknowledging that all sin is equal and all Christians need accountability to fight sin.
Christians need to create a community in which each person is “broken” over his own sin and compassionate and encouraging to others as they fight the desire to sin, Yuan said.
The most effective way to minister to gays and lesbians is to display the affect of the Gospel in your life, he said.
“I never would have considered the Gospel if I hadn’t seen the Gospel lived out in my parents’ lives,” he said.
Yuan reminded his audience that acceptance of the Gospel does not make people perfect.
“Change is not the absence of struggle, but it’s the freedom to choose holiness in the midst of our struggles,” he said.
Yuan coined the term, “holy sexuality,” to explain how the Bible instructs Christians to respond to sexual desires. Holy sexuality is possible in only two scenarios, he said: a person’s complete faithfulness to his heterosexual spouse, if married, and if not, complete faithfulness to abstinence.
Yuan encouraged students to remind their Christian friends struggling with homosexuality that their identity should be in Christ instead of their sexuality.
“Christ should define us,” Yuan said. “Our feelings don’t define us.”
The perception of singleness needs to change to help Christians who are fighting against giving in to homosexual desires, he said.
“We lift marriage up to be this ‘pie in the sky,’” Yuan said. “So now singleness is this consolation prize.”
Intimate friendships are what all singles, but especially those struggling with homosexuality, need, Yuan said.
“What a guy needs most in coming out of a gay lifestyle are God-honoring same-sex relationships,” Yuan said, speaking from experience.
Yuan spoke from experience. As a new Christian, he met regularly with a group of three men for accountability in living according to the Bible.
“When I was weak, they were strong,” he said. “When they were weak, I was strong. Sometimes why we fall into sin is we don’t have that Jonathan or David.”
Yuan also said Christians should pray, as his mother, Angela, prayed and fasted for seven years that her son would become a Christian.
“Can you imagine if we actually prayed and fasted for those in the gay community?” he asked.