Whatever you feel, that's who you are. That's the notion that many people today have adopted, leading some to conclude that they're nonbinary, queer or "whatever" else, according to a former homosexual.
"That's where so much confusion is going on today. Who am I?" Christopher Yuan, a Christian speaker who left the homosexual lifestyle, posed at Calvary Chapel Pastors Conference last week. "The world is saying 'you are gay, you are straight.' Actually, they're not even using gay/straight anymore. That's last year. It's 'you are nonbinary, you are whatever, you are queer; whatever you feel, that's who you are.'"
Echoing the beliefs of many evangelicals, Yuan said, "We're in a battle for truth. We're in a battle for reality."
He noted that the issues of sexuality and gender identity is pervasive, affecting all pastors, whether it be through their children, deacons, or relatives of church members.
With that, he urged pastors not to "lead with our emotions."
Many in the church have approached the controversial issues of sexuality and gender identity with compassion, but if they have the wrong starting point, they can end up doing wrong, he warned.
"We need to start with theology," the Wheaton College graduate told pastors during a panel discussion. "When it comes to sexuality, we have to start with theological anthropology."
That means, Christians should start with the basic biblical truth that everyone is an image bearer of God, Yuan explained. Each person has dignity and is loved by God.
Additionally, Christians must understand the effect of the fall of man when sin entered the world.
"We have to realize that there is an ontological truth found in Scripture for who we are, not based upon what we think and do," Yuan emphasized.
Yuan previously lived a promiscuous life as a practicing homosexual and sold illicit drugs. It wasn't until he was jailed, tested positive for HIV and began reading the Bible that he turned his life around. Because he was convinced that the Bible presented no justification for homosexuality, he left that lifestyle and dedicated his life to God.
During the pastors conference last week, Yuan pointed out the flaws of the paradigms used in society that have confused people's identities.
"Even sexual orientation — that's a concept that's so ingrained into the topic of homosexuality … I don't think it's a helpful concept because it has the idea that that's who we are and that's something that can't change," he argued.
Scripture, however, offers a different paradigm — one that Yuan feels "fits in better into the light of who we are." That biblical paradigm is "a sin nature."
Reiterating his argument that Christians need to start with theology, Yuan said, "We all have a sin nature that expresses itself differently and instead of using these worldly concepts that honestly are not helpful and guide you to the wrong method and the wrong approach, I think it's best to start with this idea — we're image bearers and we have a sin nature."