April 2, 2023

In an attempt to provide clarity in the discussion on Christian responses to same-sex attracted individuals, Josh Proctor provides a nomenclature of Four Christian Views on Sexuality.  These views are stated simply providing resources in support of each view, while emphasizing the SIDE B position.

Proctor notes that this is not a grid for understanding transexual persons, and then says:

“When it comes to Christian understanding of sexuality, there is a wide spectrum of beliefs and perspectives. Today, one of the main systems which has emerged to categorize these perspectives is the “Sides” terminology which is predominantly encompassed by four Sides: Side A, Side B, Side Y, and Side X. No system of belief categorization is perfect, but it can help us better communicate nuances within the conversation.

Before delving into the detailed differences of the Sides, here are quick definitions for each one:

Side A – God intentionally created queer people to have sexual attractions to members of the same sex and blesses sex between members of the same sex within certain boundaries.

Side B – God intended sex to be reserved for the lifelong covenant of marriage between one man and one woman. Therefore, God calls all believers (queer and straight alike) to the vocation of celibacy within community or to a monogamous marriage with a member of the opposite sex. Still this does not erasure sexual orientation. Therefore queer identity is a healthy way of communicating one’s experience and desires.

Side Y – LGBT+ identity and relationships are incompatible with the Christian faith. Therefore, Christians attracted to their own sex should renounce LGBT+ identification and use non-identity ways for explaining their experience. All Christians are called to remain single or enter an opposite sex marriage. Efforts to change a person’s sexual attractions are generally not supported but not always denounced.

Side X – “X” stands for ex-gay. Being oriented toward or sexually attracted to members of your own gender is sinful, a spiritual sickness, and must be repented of and “cured.” Heterosexuality is seen as God’s best for all people. Therefore, Side X Christians usually promote efforts to change a person’s sexual attraction.

To go into more detail, the differences between these four sides can be marked by their answers to the following questions:

  1. Is sexual intercourse between two people of the same sex blessed by God?

  2. What should be the goal for a Christian with same-sex attractions?

  3. Is sexual attraction to the same sex in and of itself sinful?

  4. Can and should a person with same-sex attractions pursue changing their attractions through therapy or interventions?

  5. Can people with same sex attractions identify as LGBT+ while being Christian?

Here is a quick chart that explains the short answer of each side to each question:

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