Perhaps you’ve heard of Rosaria Champagne-Butterfield. She is, by her own admission, a former radical lesbian feminist professor who became a follower of Christ through the love of a Presbyterian pastor and his wife and the grace of God. Her testimony is detailed in her book The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert.
Perhaps too, you’ve heard about her recent visit to Wheaton University. She was invited to Wheaton to share her testimony of God’s amazing grace. Yet, at this Christian university, not all were happy about that. A group of about 100 students demonstrated outside the chapel before she spoke. Their concern? That someone might hear Butterfield’s story and assume the way she has responded to her sexual sin is the way everyone must respond.
One of the demonstrators said:
We feared that if no conversation was added to the single message of the speaker that students who are not very well informed were going to walk into chapel, hear the message, and have misconceptions confirmed or that students who are LGBT would be told that this story is the absolute way that things happen.
Another held up a sign that said:
I’m gay and a beloved child of God
Then there’s this post-modern gem:
Rosaria’s story is valid, mine is too
Cue “We Are the World” and grab your neighbor’s hand.
I hate to burst the bubble of these young people but Butterfield’s story is absolutely the way things happen when someone repents of their sin and comes to Christ. Now, I don’t mean everyone will get married to a pastor, have children and become a Christian author. But, every person who’s truly been converted will turn their back on their old way of life, hate their sin, cease to be identified by it and begin walking in the direction of Christ – whatever that looks like for them. But one thing is certain, what it doesn’t look like is standing outside university chapels with signs identifying yourself as someone who embraces both their sin and Christ. If that is your “story” then it can be valid only if Rosaria’s (and countless others) is not and vice versa.
When I started to write this, my thought was these students simply don’t understand the gospel. And for some of them that may be true. For those in that category, I pray their eyes will be opened to the truth that no matter their sin, Christ stands ready to forgive and transform them if they will repent and trust Him.
But, I think it goes deeper than that for others. Rosaria Champagne-Butterfield is a tribute to the depth of God’s grace and mercy. She has been dramatically transformed by the Spirit of God. She has by the power of the Holy Spirit turned her back on a life-dominating sin and moved from being a hell-bound sinner to a heaven-bound saint. Those who would demonstrate against such a thing don’t just misunderstand the gospel, they hate the gospel. These are the kind of people who, standing outside Lazarus’ tomb and seeing his rotting flesh restored and his dead body returned to life, worried about the impact it would have on their personal agenda rather than rejoicing at the mighty work of God in their midst.
These students should be ashamed. The solution is not, as they suggest, a “conversation” – the refuge of all postmodern haters of truth – but repentance. They should fall on their face before the Lord Whose workmanship they have denigrated and seek His forgiveness for treating a display of His grace as an occasion to further their personal agendas.
And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” – Luke 9:23