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Rebecca McLaughlin Defends Cru, Weighs in on Richard Hays’ New Book on Sexuality

“Same-sex attraction must be addressed in the life of the believer in the same way that we approach all other aspects of the flesh that are in opposition to God’s will for our lives,” the website adds. “We ask God for deliverance from and power over temptation (1 Cor 10:13).” 

Rebecca McLaughlin is married and has three children but has experienced same-sex attraction throughout her life. “I’ve been happily married to my husband for the last 17 years,” she said. “Anytime I’ve been attracted to somebody outside of my marriage has always been to a woman.”

McLaughlin explained to podcast host Ed Stetzer why she does not identify with the terms “gay” or “lesbian,” and she and Stetzer discussed differences that Christians have with how they approach discipling people in the area of sexuality. 

When it comes to Cru, McLaughlin pointed out that the ministry is “in a context where they are trying to uphold clear Christian orthodoxy” even as they are not “denominationally fixed.” Cru is holding “space for people who take a range of views on a number of issues” (such as baptism) yet is drawing a “clear, orthodox” line about “sexual ethics and same-sex sexual relationships,” she said.

Cru’s stance has also been “exceedingly costly” for the ministry, said McLaughlin. “I mean, any campus ministry that’s willing to put a stake in the ground and say, ‘We do not affirm same-sex sexual relationships under any circumstances,’ is asking to be thrown off campus, often,” she said. “There’s a real kind of cost.”

McLaughlin believes that Cru has done well at helping its staff to navigate a “particular kind of ministry context” while recognizing “that people are going to take different views on exactly how they want to approach students and how they might want to use language or not use language. There are going to be conscience issues there.”

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Dr. Richard Hays’ Upcoming Book

Stetzer also asked McLaughlin for her views on Dr. Richard B. Hays, George Washington Ivey Professor Emeritus of New Testament at Duke Divinity School. News circulated online in early April about an upcoming book from Hays and his son, Christopher Hays, who is D. Wilson Moore Professor of Old Testament and Ancient Near Eastern Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary.

The book, published by Yale University Press, is titled, “The Widening of God’s Mercy: Sexuality Within the Biblical Story.” A description of the book calls it “a fresh, deeply biblical account of God’s expanding grace and mercy, developing a theological framework for the full inclusion of LGBTQ people in Christian communities.”

Richard Hays is known for his text, “The Moral Vision of the New Testament: A Contemporary Introduction to New Testament Ethics,” which takes a non-affirming stance on gay relationships. Stetzer said that work is “something that a lot of us have quoted over the years,” but now Hays “has changed his mind.” 

In response to a request for comment, Dr. Hays said, “Thanks for your interest in my work. Our forthcoming book from Yale University Press is scheduled for release in September. I have no comment on the comments of critics who have not read the book.”