The following 20 quotes caught my attention as I read Rosaria Butterfield’s excellent new book Openness Unhindered: Further Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert on Sexual Identity and Union with Christ (Crown and Covenant). Thanks to Tony Reinke for inspiring the 20 quotes idea. 

“Why is sexual sin so hard to deal with? Because often sexual sin becomes a sin of identity.” (4)

“I honed the hospitality gifts that I use today as a pastor’s wife in my queer community.” (15)

“If God is the creator of all things, and if the Bible has his seal of truth and power, then the Bible has the right to interrogate my life and culture, and not the other way around.” (17)

“The internal mission of the Bible is to transform the nature of humanity. That is why unbelievers know it is a dangerous text.” (18)                 

“Adam’s fall rendered my deep and primal feelings untrustworthy and untrue.” (21)

“We never know the treacherous path that others take to arrive in the pew that we share Lord’s Day after Lord’s Day.” (22)

“The image of me and everyone I love suffering in hell crashed over me like shark-infested waves of a raging sea. Suffering in hell not because we were gay, but because we were proud. We wanted to be autonomous. . . . I counted the costs and I did not like the math.” (23)

“This was the first of my many betrayals against the LGBT community: whose dictionary did I trust? The one used by the community that I helped create or the one that reflected the God who created me?” (25)

“I still felt like a lesbian in my body and heart. That was, I felt, my real identity. But what is my true identity? The Bible makes clear that the real and the true have a troubled relationship on this side of eternity.” (25)

“Repentance is not just a conversion exercise. It is the posture of the Christian. . . . Repentance is the threshold to God.” (27)

“Jesus met sinners at the table, but he did not join them in their choice sins. He sat with them, but he did not sin with them. And we ought not expect Jesus to sin with us today.” (31)

“I want you to know from what country I emigrated, and in which country my citizenship permanently and eternally resides. I’m not a native speaker of this country. No real convert is. I will always speak in broken godliness, as new paradigms reread old feelings.” (37)

“There is another term, though, that competes for my allegiance. It is sola experiencia—my personal experience shaping and selecting those parts of the Bible I judge relevant for me.” (44)

“My new affection was not heterosexuality, but Jesus. . . . I was converted not out of homosexuality, but out of unbelief.” (50)

“You can’t bypass repentance to get to grace. Christ is manifest in our humility, not in our disobedience.” (61)

“Jesus sweated blood. He withstood the test. He ran the whole race. We cannot make such claims. We have not been tested that hard, or humiliated that comprehensively. We are in the ABCs of the kindergarten of the school of temptation. By not falling into temptation, Jesus ran the whole race, while I collapsed in the first mile.” (82) 

“If you are in Christ, temptation is not about some essential truth or inherent wisdom about us—and therefore should not become a term of selfhood, self-representation, or identity. It is about warfare.” (82)

“How do we make an identity out of temptation? By collapsing what you desire with who you are. By collapsing what tempts you or what trips you up with who you will become. . . . God’s revealed purpose for my identity always nails me to his cross.” (83)

“God is calling us to so greatly love others that we do not desire for them anything that might separate them from God.” (87)

“Loyal fellowship of believers is not an ‘add on’ to good doctrine. Fellowship of believers is often the vein through which the Savior’s blood pumps us whole and well.” (90)

“Christians are called ‘saints’ in the Bible. We who bear Christ’s spilled blood are a royal priesthood. Any category of personhood that reduces a saint to the sum total of his or her fallen sexual behavior is not a friend of Christ. . . . Making an identity out of sin patterns is itself a sin.” (114, 123)