Journey in Grace: From Lesbianism to Salvation in Christ

rosaria butterfield

Marvin Olasky interviewed Rosaria Butterfield, a lesbian, who was befriended by a pastor, became a Christian, and repented of her lifestyle.  Here’s a sampling of her story as told in World:

 Rosaria Butterfield was a tenured professor at Syracuse University, until God used her desire to write a book on the religious right, and the friendship of a biblically orthodox pastor, to draw her to Christ. She became a voracious Bible reader, gradually saw that her new beliefs required her to upend her former life, and has now described what happened in The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert. I interviewed her on Jan. 11 in front of students at Patrick Henry College. By Feb. 20 about 30,000 people had viewed the interview on YouTube. Here are edited excerpts.

Let’s start with the very first sentence in this terrific book: “When I was 28 years old, I boldly declared myself lesbian.” Did you feel heroic in doing so? I felt I was simply telling the truth.

How did you get to that point? I was in graduate school and cared deeply about relationships. I even authored at least one article on the subject of morality and moral living. I was steeped in worldviews that buttressed a sense of equality and the high value of personal experience. I had wonderful relationships with many of my female colleagues—deeper, resonating relationships. For me, coming out as a lesbian, was the same way I might come out as someone who loves her dog or feeds her cat in the morning. It was bold in that it provided an edge for me in the world, but I like edges. It didn’t seem spectacular. It didn’t seem very extraordinary. It just was.

At age 36 and well-established at Syracuse, you wrote a critique of the Promise Keepers movement in the local newspaper and received lots of letters. You had a tray for fan mail and a tray for hate mail, but you didn’t know where to put a letter from a pastor, Ken Smith, because it wasn’t nasty, just questioning. I couldn’t dispose of this letter. I tried to, but at the end of the day I would fish it out of the recycling bin and put it back on my desk. It had some questions that no one had ever asked me in my life. At the end of the letter the pastor asked me, please, to give him a call. The title of the church was Syracuse Reformed Presbyterian Church, and I assumed reformed meant enlightened. An anthropologist colleague of mine said a meeting would be “GOOD FOR YOUR RESEARCH! Call him back!” So I did.

What were some of the questions no one had asked you? One had to do with the nature of the Bible as a library, not just a book, that it contained every genre I used to teach from. He asked questions about my well-being. He asked, do I believe in God, and if so, what do I think He thinks of all this? He wrote in such a gracious way, and I was intrigued by it.

You write that he invited you to dinner, and there was no air conditioning. Why was that a plus in your mind? I had presumed that evangelical Christians were people who felt entitled to a dominion over the earth that is hateful, violent, unhelpful, unkind. Air conditioning: not necessarily good for the ozone layer, and expensive. They had fans and served a vegetarian meal, which I appreciated because I felt at this point that the eating of meat was a violent activity and I didn’t want to be a part of it. Their home and their culture didn’t seem so different from mine. That put me at ease. . . .

You read serious passages such as Romans 1:24-28, which may be the scariest part of Scripture to anyone suffering from sexual sin. How did that hit you? My friend Jay at that point was a transgendered woman—biologically male, but had taken enough female hormones to be what’s called chemically castrated. Jay followed me to the kitchen, put her large hand on my hand, and said, “Rosaria, something is changing you. This Bible reading is changing you, and you need to tell me what is going on with you, because I am worried, I am losing you.” I sat down and had that panic feeling you have when you’re not really sure if you’re going to throw up. I said, “I’m reading the Bible, reading it a lot, and what if it’s true? We are in big trouble if it’s true.” Jay sat down and said, “I know it’s true. I was a Presbyterian minister for 15 years. I prayed and God did not heal me, but if you want I will pray for you, and I have some books for you to read.”

Which books? The next day I had two boxes of books overflowing. One book was a copy of Calvin’s Institutes. In the margins in Jay’s handwriting, right by the exegesis of Romans 1, is a note. I still have it today: It says, “Be careful, this is where you will fall.” Romans 1 of course, tells us that God will give some over to their lusts.

It made you start thinking about … I was thinking, do I want to be changed? No. I like my life, I like my girlfriend, I like my house thank you very much, I even like my wonderful career. I am standing in the rushing water of the world. I have my toe in another world because of all that Bible reading. What will happen if I put my foot in, if I put my whole body in? I started reading commentaries, and those from my friend Jay, whose handwriting was in the margins, were like a flag on those icy ponds that you see in Syracuse: It looks like ice, but if you walk on it, you’ll fall through, now or later.

You can read the entire interview here:

http://www.worldmag.com/2013/03/journey_of_grace/page1

Here is an audio interview with Rosaria conducted by David Murray and Tim Challies.  Fascinating:

http://headhearthand.org/blog/2012/10/31/the-testimony-of-an-unlikely-convert/

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About savedbygrace1976

Mark Chanski (author of Manly Dominion and Womanly Dominion) has labored as a full-time Pastor since 1986 in churches in Ohio and Michigan. He has been Pastor of Harbor Church in Holland, Michigan, since 1994. He holds a Bachelor's degree from Cornerstone University, and a Master of Divinity degree from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. He teaches Hermeneutics for the Reformed Baptist Seminary in Taylors, SC. Mark is married to his wife Dianne, and has fathered their four sons and one daughter, whose ages stretch from 30 to 20 (born 1983 to 1994).
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One Response to Journey in Grace: From Lesbianism to Salvation in Christ

  1. Autumn says:

    Firstly, this story just says she was confused by her sexuality. she found that she got the attention she wanted from females and she liked it. Proves that she was still learning about herself. Secondly, this story is a joke. “Repent your lifestyle” you can’t repent your gay away… Ask a woman who has dated countless men, could not emotionally connect with them, sex didnt feel good, and they can’t seem to care for them, no butterflies… nothing. When being with a woman everything comes together, surreal. If rosaria was ACTUALLY truthful, she wouldn’t have gone back to being straight. She changed because a man showed her what she wanted. I don’t think she was ever gay, she isn’t attractive so I can see why she was quick to turn when suddenly a man showed interest In her. I’m sure she was a butchy lesbian aswell. This isn’t a rude comment. This is stating the truth. You can say ” oh I found Christ..” But end the end of the day. You just learned about yourself and said you know I don’t think I’m lesbian, I feel like I was missing what I needed. You know I’m happy for you, but the title lesbianism to salvation is bold. Homosexuality is real, my brother, gay. From being a little boy and my dad taking out to fish, play hockey, you know to keep him away from wanting to play dress up or have a tea party with my dolls. He’s 25 now. He plays hockey and golf. He’s a guys guy, but he knows he’s gay. He tried dating girls when he was in his teens, god he was a chick magnet, but there was nothing there. He even told me. I can’t. Girls do nothing for me… That is truthful. Everyone has the right to their option. This is a different world we live in. 20s 30s 40s 60s and 70s as well as the 80s it was completely wrong to even have a thought about being with the same sex. Or even a white person being with a black person. Think about how many people didnt come out because they risked being beaten or killed. Or how many white men and women were attracted to black men and women or the opposite sex…. God it was forbidden! They 2 risked being beaten or killed. Sooooo people need to realize the world is changing.. It will keep changing. Don’t let one woman story reflect that you can repent from being homosexual. Also reading the bible and believing word for word. Shame on you, preaching those words to people shame on those people. There is proof that the bible is fictional. Adam and Eve not true. Do think god sat with a man and said this is how I created the world in 7 days. How about Rachel and Adam. Did they have man follow them around. Doing an interview on their life. NO. Scripture by a man and his fantasy stories. An author simply writing, catching people’s attention. I’m catholic,I believe in god and the devil. God loves us all black white homosexual straight. Loves the people that don’t pass judgement on others but accepts them as they are.

    Disappointed in you Mr. Chanski. Posting such a thing. You seemed very opened to the world and opened minded.

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