I want to share and recommend to you three resources by the author Rosaria Butterfield. Before she became a Christian she was a radical feminist, she was in lesbian relationships, and she was somewhat anti-Christian. Today as a Christian she has been sharing her story and trying to help Christians embrace and love homosexuals but also helping Christians to stand firm with what the Bible says about homosexual relations being sinful. Although most of what she talks about is homosexuality, the same principles apply to us who struggle with crossdressing. When she talks about finding our identity in Christ rather than in our temptations to sin, this applies just as well to us as it does to homosexuals. When she talks about how to put sexual sin to death, this applies just as well to crossdressing temptations as it does to homosexual temptations. Therefore I cannot recommend these three resources enough. They are excellent.
1. The dead end of sexual sin – Starting with the shortest resource first, here is a brief article you can read online. This article gives a snippet of her testimony and then gives some great lessons about how to conquer sin in our lives. We are to starve it, call sin what it is, extinguish indwelling sin by killing it, and daily cultivate our new life in Christ.
2. Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert: An English Professor’s Journey into the Christian Faith -This is Butterfield’s testimony. It is a little long and gets into some less important topics for our case, but overall, it is extremely interesting and powerful. Her testimony is a wonderful example of how God can give salvation and a transformed life to anyone he wants to. It is amazing to see how much she changed. In the book we learn a lot about evangelism, how to reach out with love and grace and also truth to those in the LGBT community. Butterfield gives some needed and timely criticisms to the Church about how we can do better, but without sacrificing our true beliefs and firm stand against sin.
In the book, Butterfield exposes the false prosperity gospel and how it causes Christians to unrealistically expect that gay people, once they become Christians and pray or go to therapy, will be completely healed from their homosexuality, become heterosexual, and get married. She points out that this is unrealistic and false according to the Bible, and can be harmful. We can’t expect prayer or conversion therapies to radically change someone’s temptations to sin. Instead, we have to learn how to suffer in our walk with Christ, giving up our wants in order to be obedient to him. We have to fight against sin, rather than looking for an easy cure. For her, coming to Christ destroyed her life in a sense, rather than making her happy. She lost her friends and her job because of coming to Christ. And although she is married now to a Christian man, a pastor, she did not have a sudden healing or cure to take away all of her sinful urges. Her life hasn’t been easy, but it has been good. It’s wonderful to read about how God has walked with her through this journey, through her suffering, and how he has sanctified her to become the woman she has become today. Her story gives us both a realistic expectation of suffering in the Christian life, but also hope in the power of God’s sanctification in our lives.
Additionally, she also talks about learning what it means to be a woman according to God’s Word. She talks about how part of her move into homosexuality was because of pride, thinking that she didn’t need men (or God). For us, who are so confused about our gender, this aspect of the book is really interesting. We need to learn how to be the men and women that God created us to be, not who we might want to be according to the whims of our sinful nature.
3. Openness Unhindered: Further thoughts of an Unlikely Convert on Sexual Identity and Union with Christ – I didn’t find this book to be quite as powerful as Butterfield’s testimony above, but it was still a good read, and contains more theological / philosophical discussions about sin and identity. I found great insight in how she examined the nature of sin, confession, shame, and repentance. She explained well how to put sin, especially sexual sin, to death daily.
In this book she also goes to great lengths to explain her belief that sexual orientation does not really exist. It’s just a social category that people made up when in reality they are not set firm things. She believes it harms everyone to have people identify their sexual lusts with their identity. So she does not use the term, “gay Christian,” for herself. She would rather say she is a Christian who has experienced same sex attraction as a sinful temptation which she now resists. Not only are most people not purely either homosexual or heterosexual in desires anyway, but also they do not need define our identity. They are just urges that we choose to act on or not.