Israel’s Messianic Leaders Release Book on Same-Sex Attraction, Gender Dysphoria, and Other LGBTQ Struggles

Israel’s Messianic leaders have released a book that aims to help congregations and other believers better understand and deal with the challenges teens face regarding same-sex attraction, gender dysphoria, and other gender-related issues. LGBTQ.

“We wanted to bring this subject from darkness to light,” said Oded Shoshani, pastor of the King of Kings congregation, says Kehila News. “This has a big emotional impact on teens, who feel the subject is taboo within the Body of Messiah. Not out of a desire to allow sin, but to talk about it so we can help teens who experience these temptations in the society and in their schools.

The 23-page booklet titled “He Brought Me Out into the Sea (Psalm 18:19): Information Booklet for the Body of Messiah in Israel” was published in Hebrew, Arabic, English, Russian and Amharic and distributed to congregations across Israel. .

The authors say that rather than ignoring the issue of same-sex attraction and gender dysphoria, raising awareness may be “the single most important thing that we, as the Corps of believers in Yeshua in Israel, can do nowadays”.

“We need to understand that today’s teens face sexual temptations and same-sex attraction at levels and intensities that we leaders never have. I hope this booklet will help you,” Shoshani wrote in the introduction.

While not an LGBTQ manifesto, the booklet is not “homophobic” either. It is intended to serve as a guide for messianic congregations on how to support, rather than condemn, those who struggle with their feelings, and also raises issues of legality for businesses, non-profit organizations and religious institutions in Israel.

The booklet is based on an inherent belief in freedom of choice and agency – including “the right and choice not to act on those attractions or feelings if that is what our conscience guides us to do”.

While some “progressive” Christian movements interpret Scripture differently as allowing LGBTQ lifestyles and same-sex marriages, this book is written for those who believe in the traditional interpretation of the biblical text, that it is sinful, but struggle because their feelings are out of sync with their beliefs.

The authors’ intention is to help and support those who experience feelings of sexual attraction that go against their beliefs and conscience but “find themselves in a state of crisis, challenge, or conflict in because of their sexual attraction or their identity”. The booklet says that a person’s conscience, beliefs and decisions define who they are rather than their instincts.

In the booklet, the authors present the theological view of homosexuality – described in the Bible as an “abomination” – but argue that “same-sex attraction is not in itself a sin”.

“There is a distinction between someone who experiences same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria and someone who lives that lifestyle. …This distinction is essential. …To condemn a person for simply having such tendencies or feelings is essentially to condemn that person for a characteristic that they can do nothing to change on their own,” they write. “The Bible defines the actual performance of sexual attractions in thought or action as a sin, not sexual attraction or affinity per se, and this is true for anyone, regardless of their sexual tendencies. be homosexual or heterosexual in nature.”

The authors also note that “the sin of acting out same-sex attraction is no more serious than many other sins, such as fornication, starting an argument, or acting proudly.”

The booklet also highlights real questions some believers have asked about feelings of same-sex attraction:

  • “Will my congregation shun me if I tell someone about my feelings? Will they tell me to back off or not to pray with others?

  • “Why are we taught to come to Yeshua as we are, but then told to change so many things so that God loves us, or to be truly identified as believers and followers of Him?”

  • “If this is unacceptable to God, why is he allowing this to happen? Why doesn’t he change that in me?

  • “Why is it not okay with God for two people who love each other to enter into a marriage covenant?”

  • “Am I doomed to live a life of loneliness for the rest of my life?”

The booklet offers practical recommendations such as providing a safe place to discuss these issues, especially in youth groups, as young people are exposed to these topics outside of the Church anyway.

“It’s important to remember that adolescents are already overwhelmed with hormones, physical sensations, emotions, questions, sexual curiosity, fears, and social and personal dilemmas. They need to know that there is a place in their Messianic family or congregation where they can come and discuss openly issues of sex, sexuality, physiological and hormonal changes, body image, masturbation, pornography, fantasy, of relations between the two sexes. , sexual assault or harassment, gender identification, same-sex attraction and much more,” the booklet reads.

The booklet ends with a general summary and recommendations, as well as links to other resources on the subject.

“Just as it is important to maintain our freedom, as a congregation of believers in Yeshua, to clarify and conduct ourselves according to the principles and values ​​of our faith, it is equally important that we give space to those of of us dealing with same-sex attraction and/or gender dysphoria, allow them to navigate their way within the tenets of faith we adhere to and discover and express their personal and free will.

The closing words of the booklet are: “Perhaps the most important thing that we, as the Body of believers in Yeshua in Israel, can do today is to advance and implement the comprehensive understanding of the issue of same-sex attraction. and gender dysphoria among our congregations, and making time and space to study and educate others in this very sensitive area among different congregations across the Land of Israel.

Having followed some of the infected political debate in the United States where both sides seem to be going ever further to the extreme, this booklet has been like a breath of fresh air to me. I believe that we as the Body of Messiah need to be a safe place for people to find love and support while not affirming the sinful behaviors that the Bible condemns. In today’s infected speech, that seems to be getting harder and harder to do. God is a God of grace and truth. Let us therefore love and give thanks without compromising on the truth of his Word.

Keith P. Plain