In the 1990s, he was the “golden child” of Evangelical pastors. An Air Force Academy graduate. A fighter pilot promoted ahead of 95% of all Air Force officers. The Vice President of Focus on the Family and Exodus International’s director of professional counselors.
Throughout his life, Rosebush also found himself attracted to the same sex. He spent his life seeking what God might want to do with this aspect of his experience.
Today, Mike Rosebush identifies as Evangelical — and he also identifies as gay. Through an open letter on Facebook, he exhorts Christian pastors to shift their posture toward LGBTQ+ people, young and old, in their churches.
‘Show Mercy Toward the Harassed and Discarded’
In his letter, Rosebush writes:
My friend, I know you are wrestling over what to do with me. . . . Today, I describe myself as: “I am in-Christ; Jesus died for me; I now live in Him. Also, I am gay.” I am gay (i.e., the near-universal term for “non-straight”). But that is my secondary identity, similar to also being a former football player, a current grandparent of seven, and an American. All of these secondary identities are irrefutably true! However, my CORE IDENTITY is “in-Christ:” a sinner saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.
I still call myself “evangelical;” I still revere the Word; I still believe I must refrain from same-sex sex (in which I am still a virgin); I still believe in the sanctity of marriage between only a husband and wife. And after my wife’s cancerous death in 2017, I am now committed to a life of celibacy; so far, my gay Christian friends are helping me be celibate — rather than tempting me to stray.
You once inherently trusted me; you and other evangelical leaders referred their “homosexual” males to me for counseling; for cure. However, I must now confess to you, I refused to follow the “evangelical script” with the men whom you sent to me. No, I will not apologize.
As someone who is in-Christ, I will defend any LGBTQ individual from harm.
. . . Perhaps one day you will invite — then welcome – LGBTQ individuals into your church. Probably, they have heard of your church’s love – let them experience it! Let your congregation know that because of the original sin of Adam & Eve, everyone’s sexuality became broken; gays and straights both commit egregious sexual sins. Let gay people thrive within your church — employing their talents and spiritual gifts for the benefit of the Body. Jesus felt compassion, and then provided mercy, toward “the harassed and discarded” (Matthew 9:36) – evangelicals can do the same for LGBTQ individuals.
Read Rosebush’s full letter here.
A Life That Demands a Thoughtful Response
Rosebush’s life calls for us to examine our hearts, legacy, and leadership. We might hear the word “gay” and default to a defensive posture. Meanwhile, a teen in our church family faces bullying, suicidality, and shame around their gender or sexuality. Perhaps that teen needs to be defended, not defended against.
In seeking baseline support and acceptance in your church, do teens simultaneously face removal from family and fellowship upon coming out?
In seeking to defend our beliefs, are we then neglecting to defend vulnerable human beings?
The Gospel leaves no room for condemnation, shame, or favoritism. May we take Rosebush’s letter to heart in prayer and actions.
“I Want to Care Better for LGBT+ People, But How?”
Our time-tested, practical, biblically sound training, Posture Shift, is designed to help the evangelical churches to tangibly flesh out exactly what Mike Rosebush is exhorting: for church leaders to courageously enhance care for LGBT+ people while honoring God in their beliefs.
For more information, visit postureshift.com.
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