Where are Southern Baptist leaders headed re: homosexuality?

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"Conflicting views on statements related to homosexuality and reparative therapy have emerged following a just-completed Southern Baptist meeting in NashvilleConflicting views on statements related to homosexuality and reparative therapy have emerged following a just-completed Southern Baptist meeting in Nashville"

Alarming and Sad

Read most of the original articles related to this.  Alarming that Mohler would repent of previously not acknowledging the legitimacy of sexual orientation.  The Bible does not attribute homosexual sin to a natural sate of birth.  Quite the opposite.  Several times Paul says they are forsaking the natural use of the man and woman---that this sin is against nature (Rom 1:18-32).  Paul echoes the same truth in 1 Cor 11 “does not even nature itself teach you” regarding the differences between men and women. He reminds us that males being effeminate is sinful (1 Cor 6). Once you give in on orientation as a natural state equal to race, then the race card will be thrown, and you will be considered legitimate bigots.  Mohler knows this. 

It is not right to dialogue with gay Christian groups.  Those who practice sexual sin and give approval of such will not inherit the KOG (Rom 1, Gal 5, 1 Cor 6).  Our tone has to be Scriptural and Christ-like, I agree, particularly when witnessing to someone practicing sexual sin.  Nevertheless, change of tone has led to change of position.  How far will it go.  Are we going to grant orientation to pedophiles, necrophiliacs, bestial behavior as well?  How about orientation to murder?  That was Cain’s problem.  You can think murderous thoughts and hate your brother in your heart as long as you don’t actually kill somebody.  I think Jesus talked about that.  The disposition to sin is sin and we must agree, admit, ask forgiveness,  and act to turn in our hearts and bodies from sin.  I don't think you will hear John MacArthur saying these kinds of things.  Russell Moore scares me, and I wonder if he is influencing his previous mentor.

 

 

 

Pastor Mike Harding

Difference?

Could it be that there is a difference between "same-sex attraction" and "homosexuality"? The first being a temptation; the second, yielding to the temptation.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Mike Harding wrote:

Mike Harding wrote:

Read most of the original articles related to this.  Alarming that Mohler would repent of previously not acknowledging the legitimacy of sexual orientation.  The Bible does not attribute homosexual sin to a natural sate of birth.  Quite the opposite.  Several times Paul says they are forsaking the natural use of the man and woman---that this sin is against nature (Rom 1:18-32).  Paul echoes the same truth in 1 Cor 11 “does not even nature itself teach you” regarding the differences between men and women. He reminds us that males being effeminate is sinful (1 Cor 6). Once you give in on orientation as a natural state equal to race, then the race card will be thrown, and you will be considered legitimate bigots.  Mohler knows this. 

It is not right to dialogue with gay Christian groups.  Those who practice sexual sin and give approval of such will not inherit the KOG (Rom 1, Gal 5, 1 Cor 6).  Our tone has to be Scriptural and Christ-like, I agree, particularly when witnessing to someone practicing sexual sin.  Nevertheless, change of tone has led to change of position.  How far will it go.  Are we going to grant orientation to pedophiles, necrophiliacs, bestial behavior as well?  How about orientation to murder?  That was Cain’s problem.  You can think murderous thoughts and hate your brother in your heart as long as you don’t actually kill somebody.  I think Jesus talked about that.  The disposition to sin is sin and we must agree, admit, ask forgiveness,  and act to turn in our hearts and bodies from sin.  I don't think you will hear John MacArthur saying these kinds of things.  Russell Moore scares me, and I wonder if he is influencing his previous mentor.

The key point that gets clouded when "orientation" is conceded is that man is not simply sinful, he is a sinner. We are not condemned by God because we do thing which have identified us as rebels, but because we are innately sinners who act on our immaterial dna by committing sins. Salvation is about dealing with our sinfulness, not our sins. Even if orientation were true (and I don't believe it is), it would not be a shield. Thus, "The disposition to sin is sin and we must agree, admit, ask forgiveness, and act to turn our hearts and bodies from sin."

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Ron Bean wrote:

Ron Bean wrote:

Could it be that there is a difference between "same-sex attraction" and "homosexuality"? The first being a temptation; the second, yielding to the temptation.

Ron, I think the problem that is left untouched by simply calling it a temptation is the failure to recognize the lust (inordinate desire) that makes it a temptation in the first place. I think this is where verses like Psalm 37:4 come to bear. Part of the sanctification process, the purging of sin and being set apart to godliness, is to change our desires so that they also become Christ-like (Romans 8:29).

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Sexual attraction is a gift

Sexual attraction is a gift of God (Genesis 1-2; Eph 5; 1 Cor 7:1-6).  Unnatural sexual attraction is perversion (Lev 18-22).   Nothing new here.  It's been going on for thousands of years. A number of months ago I discussed this issue at the lunch table with Dr. Mohler.  He made no excuses or allowances for same-sex attraction.  He then addressed a small group of believers in an extemporaneous speech about the issue and condemned the same-sex marriage proponents in the strongest of terms.  That was six months ago.  This is a definite change in disposition.  Re-read his two presentations at Salt-Lake City.  In his desire to avoid "red-neck theology" he has made a major concession. It appears that the only one doing any repenting at this conference is Al Mohler himself.  Haven't heard about any repentance from the pro-gay Christian groups who attended.

Pastor Mike Harding

need a direct quote

Mike Harding wrote:
Alarming that Mohler would repent of previously not acknowledging the legitimacy of sexual orientation. 
I would like to see a direct quote from Mohler before I accept the words of the author of this article about what Mohler said.

The article by Butts, quotes Vicari, who may have read more into what Mohler said than he actually said. 

It appears the discussion was about the value of reparative therapy, so both Mohler and Moore's comments may have had to do more with that issue than sexual orientation itself.

Mike Harding wrote:
A number of months ago I discussed this issue at the lunch table with Dr. Mohler.  He made no excuses or allowances for same-sex attraction.  He then addressed a small group of believers in an extemporaneous speech about the issue and condemned the same-sex marriage proponents in the strongest of terms.  That was six months ago.  This is a definite change in disposition.

I was writing the above while you were posting this. 

This sounds more like Mohler and seems to indicate that Vicari is not representing him correctly. The other option is that in the short span of 6 months he completely changed his view. I am not buying that!

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Apparently, the word from the

Apparently, the word from the big conference Russell Moore oversaw last week is that the SBC is moderating on the whole LGBT issue.  Here's an article from last Friday in RNS.

 

http://www.religionnews.com/2014/10/31/southern-baptists-lgbt-activists-...

 

Note the comments about Albert Mohler and how he is quoted: Even the Rev. R. Albert Mohler Jr., the veteran culture warrior and president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., seemed to have a change in tune, if not an outright change of heart.

“Early in this controversy, I felt it quite necessary, in order to make clear the gospel, to deny anything like a sexual orientation,” Mohler told the crowd. “I repent of that.”

 

Matthew Vine's tweet about Mohler is interesting, "Finally had the chance to meet w/ @albertmohler this morning. Appreciate his willingness to dialogue & continue the conversation."

 

Here's another commentary from RNS:

 

http://www.religionnews.com/2014/10/30/southern-baptists-change-tone-sub...

 

This quotation from the article pretty much summarizes this opinion piece: "And while Southern Baptists seem to be moving past same-sex marriage as a culture war issue, they’re not moving past their opposition to homosexuality. Among the various speakers, there were certainly mixed messages."

 

Yet the conference was remarkable for two notable shifts: a change in tone — call it a kinder, gentler opposition to homosexuality — and a pragmatic concession that the fight over gay marriage is largely lost.

 

Pastor Mike Harding

Dialogue

Mike Harding wrote:

It is not right to dialogue with gay Christian groups...Our tone has to be Scriptural and Christ-like, I agree, particularly when witnessing to someone practicing sexual sin. 

How do you reconcile these two sentences?  How are we to witness without dialogue?  Snubbing your nose at them and refusing to talk with them hardly seems to be what Christ did.

Ricky,  there is a huge

Ricky,  there is a huge difference between witnessing to a person and entering into theological dialog with gay-Christian organizations.

Pastor Mike Harding

Born this way

We are born in sin. We are sinners deep down, and I think that means even to our genes. It is not inconsistent to say that some are born with proclivities to sin (whether genetic proclivities or environmentally created ones or a mix) AND to say we are responsible for those proclivities to God and are damned because we're sinners justly and rightly. 

In Romans 1, Paul does talk about what is unnatural, but I think that he's making an argument from nature in that "the parts don't fit." He's not making an argument about what fallen humans naturally do. He's actually making the argument that fallen humanity falls into an ever deeper cycle of sin, and I don't think it follows that there is no role to play in our genetic dispositions. What do you think about that Mike? 

Question

Pastor Harding, I don't see a difference.  Your opportunity to witness to one of them individually will be severely hindered if they see you refusing to enter into a theological dialogue with an organization of which they are apart.  A theological discussion sounds like a great opportunity.  It can be done effectively if approached in the right manner.

Ricky, in my understanding a

Ricky, in my understanding a gay-Christian organization is in apostasy; therefore, I couldn't enter into theological dialog with it.  However, I could individually witness to any person regardless of their circumstance, lifestyle, or beliefs.  Theological dialog with apostate Christian organizations usually leads to compromise along the Hegelian paradigm:  Thesis, antithesis, synthesis.  I think this conference points that out to some degree and future meetings will only increase it.  Theoretically, you have a reasonable point.  Practically, the conservatives seem to be the ones who do the repenting.

Pastor Mike Harding

Problem

The problem I see with this is that Christians often get pumped up about debating an evolutionist.  We praise the Lord that we are able to spread the Gospel in that type of environment.  We are happy to have theological discussions with denominations or religions that believe differently than we do.  However, when it comes to homosexuality our treatment of them (or lack of addressing them) tends to put us in the same category as the "preacher" in NC that wanted to throw them inside an electric fence and drop them some food every now and then.  I know this is not what you intend but it is certainly the perception that is given to them when we refuse to even talk with them. To say that "It is not right to dialogue with gay Christian groups" is just taking it too far and is not backed by Scripture.  Furthermore, the fact that someone else caved and compromised does not warrant a complete isolation or untouchable approach (think the caste system).  It should mean the exact opposite....there is even more of a need now for them to hear the truth. 

 

 

Shaynus,

Shaynus,

Paul attributes human corruption to not honoring God and their foolish hearts being darkened (Rom 1:21).  Therefore, God gave them over to their sinful desires to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another (v. 24).  They exchanged the truth of God for a lie.  Because of this God gave them over to shameful lusts, exchanging natural relations for unnatural ones, inflamed with lust for one another, committing indecent acts (men with men; women with women) and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. It is because they did not retain the knowledge of God that God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done, and eventually approve of those who do the same things. The bodies are not the cause of the sin, but rather are the means of the sin and receive the consequences of the sin.  The body itself is not inherently sinful and therefore can be presented to God (Rom 12:1-2).

Paul uses the term “exchange” to depict the tragic reversal in sexual practice as that which is “against nature”.  As Moo argues, Paul is using the words “nature” and “natural” to describe the created order and the way things are by their intrinsic state at birth.  Jewish authors often used “nature” or “natural law” as a divine mandate applicable to all people.  Violating natural law was a clear transgression of God’s will.  Heterosexual desires observed normally in nature are traced back to God’s created order.  Paul is appealing to the created order applicable to all people.  Paul associates homosexuality with the perversion of the true knowledge of God.  Sexual perversion may indeed be God’s punishment in and of itself.  Paul describes their desire as “they burned in their desire, men with men, doing that which is shameful and receiving in themselves the just penalty.”  God could not allow his created order to be so violated without there being a just punishment. Sexual immorality, particularly that which defies nature, natural law, and the created order, has its roots in the rejection of the true God in favor of gods of their own making.

Pastor Mike Harding

Differences

I think one of the major differences between debating with evolutionist and a theological dialog with gay Christian group is the premise that there is some common ground and we can come to some level of agreement.  The evolutionist isn't saying he is a pro-evolution Christian and that we can have common theological ground together.  He is saying science says you Christians are wrong and we don't agree.  Theological dialog would seem to be more akin to we can agree about certain aspects but we are going to differ on the specifics where Scripture may not be as clear.  I don't see how that can be done, when just the idea of "pro-gay" Christian is against Scripture.

wkessel1 wrote:

wkessel1 wrote:

I think one of the major differences between debating with evolutionist and a theological dialog with gay Christian group is the premise that there is some common ground and we can come to some level of agreement.  The evolutionist isn't saying he is a pro-evolution Christian and that we can have common theological ground together.  He is saying science says you Christians are wrong and we don't agree.  Theological dialog would seem to be more akin to we can agree about certain aspects but we are going to differ on the specifics where Scripture may not be as clear.  I don't see how that can be done, when just the idea of "pro-gay" Christian is against Scripture.

Are you saying that having common ground makes it more difficult to speak with them?  I'm not sure I understand. 

No

I won't say more difficult to speak with.  When I think of a theological dialog, there is a common ground of Scripture that each have.  As Pastor Harding pointed out a pro-gay group would be considered apostate, so I don't think what you could have a theological dialog with them.  Maybe more of a debate, since it would be debating a non-Scriptural position with a Scriptural one.  I guess the difference comes down to dialog vs. debate.  Just my thinking on the matter.

Help in on the way

Ricky, if you want to discuss these issues with Gay-Christian organizations, feel free.  I would rather do so with individuals.  I think I would be more successful in communicating God's word and my intent. Over the last 36 years of being a fulltime pastor, I have talked to dozens of practicing homosexuals about the Lord and have won several to the Lord and have also helped believers who had temporarily fallen into homosexual sin.  The media observers of this conference comment on the shift in the SBC, particularly Moore and Mohler.

Pastor Mike Harding

It all depends on what a

It all depends on what a person means by "sexual orientation." Obviously, if a person means "I am born that way, I am that way, and I can't help myself," then none of us would see that as Scriptural, and I don't think Mohler would either. If a person means, "I have certain temptations, certain tendencies, you might even say a certain orientation to same-sex attraction that I didn't ask for, don't understand, and constantly battle" [as I have had men say to me], then that is NOT sin unless they give in to temptation in thought or deed. I'm going to give Mohler the benefit of the doubt, based on everything he has said and done up to this point, that that is what he talking about when he talks about SSA/SSO.

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Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

what is natural

First, I personally had a hard time reading the onenewsnow.org article because it was not reporting so much as scolding and that irritates me about a news site, but oh well, they all do that. Second, I believe we ought to wait and allow Mohler and Moore to clarify and qualify. I too find myself in agreement that reparative therapies probably don't work most of the time and even if they do, I believe them to be unbiblical. The goal is sanctification in Christ-likeness regardless of the sinful struggle, not to simply turn the lust from men to women (or vice versa). 

Yet I think it very important that Christians talk clearly about what "natural" means both in general and in the context of Romans 1. Yes, homosexuality is unnatural, but so is pedophilia, beastiality, S&M, etc. But wasn't Jesus also teaching in the Gospels that adultery is unnatural, polygamy unnatural when he said, "it was not so from the beginning"? and that in the beginning (natural state) God made them one male and one female. The only "natural" sexual expression is one man +one woman for one lifetime in the covenant of marriage. Frankly, the only thing that is natural before God is sex in the marriage bond for a lifetime. This of course does not mean that there are not various levels of sexual deviancy and depravity and that somehow there is not greater expressions of rebellion and sinful sexual gratification any more than though anger and murder are both sin, one is obviously a greater expression of the depraved nature of a man. That is what I believe Romans 1 to be addressing. That man's rebellion grows deeper and deeper evidenced by the increasing slide of angst against God, finally manifesting itself in throwing off the natural use of the woman and the man. That is using the sexual components God has given in a most rebellious and overtly depraved way. To burn in lust toward the same gender (not just to find oneself attracted toward the same gender). IOW, I think Romans 1 is more than desires and temptions, but is describing rebellion against God as Creator. I get the feeling by some Christians (not anyone writing on this board, please don't misread me) that heterosexual lust is to preferred over homosexual lust. I wonder at this...is not all lust depraved and to be hated? 

The bottom line is that homosexual lust, while not categorically the same as heterosexual lust must be dealt with Biblically as lust either way and therefore; I believe we do a disservice to our struggling brothers or sisters when we seek to change the nature of the temptation (reparative therapies) rather than give them spiritual tools to fight the temptation however it manifests itself. This was what I thought when reading what Dr. Moore and Mohler were expressing. This is how I have sought to counsel those with both struggles, to give them the gospel and then teach them the gospel identity according to Ephesians. I tell them that their homosexual desires are not God's ordered design as none of our sexual desires outside of the covenant of marriage are God's ordered design. I tell them that in a sense, their homesexual desire is a mark of a growing cultural and rebellion against God. If they are believers I tell them that they may never stop being attracted to the same gender, but that God provides grace and means in the Word, prayer, and church to struggle against those desires and to embrace singleness as a gift unless they believe they can live in a marriage covenant with a wife openly about their struggles (most cannot, I am aware).

Just my two cents 

Equivocation

Greg, our theological opponents mean by "orientation" that God made them homosexual at birth, that their natural desires are homosexual and therefore are not inherently sinful or contrary to the created order.  The question is how will Matthew Vine et. al. interpret Mohler's public repentance on the concept of sexual orientation?  Contrariwise, heterosexual desire is not inherently sinful or unnatural or contrary to the created order.  Certainly, heterosexual desire can be used sinfully in multiple ways and should be condemned, but the desire itself is a God-given gift, inherent in the created order, to be righteously fulfilled in marriage for the purpose of recreation and procreation.  The same cannot be said of homosexual desire. To equivocate between heterosexual desire and homosexual desire is to violate the created order.

Pastor Mike Harding

Is homosexual temptation in

Is homosexual temptation in and of itself sin?

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Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

I believe homosexual

I believe homosexual temptations, inclinations, attractions (even "orientation") are due to a number of complex factors. The best explanation of this that I have read is in Peter Hubbard's Love Into Light: The Gospel, the Homosexual, and the Church. He presents this diagram, not to say that everyone who struggles in this way has all of these influences, but that a combination of these influences may result in homosexual temptations/attractions/sin.

He writes, "The evidence points toward an enigmatic merging of a variety of influences. Certain influences may be real, but not determinative. Our hearts are both vulnerable and culpable. We are swept along, but our hearts are also actively making choices. And we are responsible for those decisions."

I should note that he uses the term Same-Sex Attraction (SSA) throughout the book. It really is a great book and ties both the problem and the solution into the Gospel; I would highly recommend it.

P.S. By "Gay Gene" he does not mean he believes there is such a thing, but that the culture communicates that message and influences a person so that they come to believe they were born that way.

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Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

My understanding from Scripture

I believe that sin is any lack of conformity to the moral law and character of God, either in act, disposition or state [Rom 5:13-14; 7:22; James 4:11-12]. Sin is called an act (Romans 7:19), a disposition/state (Jer 17:9; Ps 51:5; Rom 7:8-10, 17), conscious or subconscious thought (Matt 5:27-28; 15:19), an affection (Exo 20:17; 1 John 2:15-17), an omission (James 4:17), an involuntary act (Luke 12:48; 2 Pet 3:5) or any combination of these. Sin is any being, action, or disposition that is unlike God.

Sin entered the universe as a result of the fall of Satan (1 John 3:8), and sin entered the human race as a result of the fall of Adam (Rom 5:12). Personal, individual sin originates from the human heart (Mark 7:21-23; James 1:14) and is rooted in selfishness and self-autonomy (Isa 14:12-14; 2 Th 2:3-4; Deu 6:4-5). God permitted sin to enter the universe through the free, willful, and uncoerced act of Satan and subsequently of Adam (non-constraining determinism), and it was right for God to do so though the reason will forever remain a mystery to finite creatures (Judges 18:25; Deut 29:29; Prov 25:2).

I believe that Adam's first sin, the one sin of the one man, comprehended the whole human race. Adam acted as the representative of the race, and his sin is immediately imputed to the entire race (original sin - Rom 5:12-19). Depravity, condemnation, and death came to the race as a result of Adam's sin. Hereditary depravity (complex of sinful attributes) issues from the judicial solidarity between Adam and all men (Rom 5:19). Since Adam's sin is imputed immediately to the race, all men are born totally depraved (Rom 3:23; Eph 2:1). Depravity is total in that it has penetrated and affected the entire race (Gal 3:22; Rom 3:10; Psa 14:1-3; 1 Ki 8:46) and the whole of man's being (Isa 1:6; Eph 4:17-19). Depravity has effected man's body (Rom 8:10; Eph 4:19) resulting in entropy and death, man's mind (Titus 1:15; Rom 8:5-7; 1 Cor 2:14), man's will (John 8:34; Jer 13:23) and heart (Jer 17:9). Man, therefore, has the native capability of committing the most vile sins (Rom 1:18ff; 3:10-18). When unregenerate man does "good" via common grace (Gen 6:3; Rom 2:14-15; Matt 7:11), it is for selfish purposes and not for God's glory (Isa 64:6; Matt 6:5; Prov 21:4). Thus, man has no possible means of salvation or recovery within himself and is utterly incapable of meriting God's favor or contributing to his salvation (Matt 19:25-26; Rom 1:18; Rom 7:18; Eph 2:1, 8; Tit 3:5; Heb 12:2).

Pastor Mike Harding

I agree with all that, Mike.

I agree with all that, Mike. But if you are counseling a man who says with tears in his eyes, "I am tempted to lust after other men. I don't know why. I have been this way for as long as I remember. I don't want this temptation. I have pleaded with God over and over and over to take these temptations away. I fight them as best I can." What do you say? Should his temptations be counted as culpable sins?

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Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Agree

Greg, I agree that most of those influences listed by Peter Hubbard contribute to the problem of homosexual desire and behavior.

Thirty years ago I visited a former youth pastor in the hospital who had served at our church. He was dying from AIDS. It was one of the most excruciating visits and deaths I had ever personally observed. His name was Rich. I shared with him the gospel. He could barely speak. One thing he said to me that I clearly remember: "Why did God make me this way?" He died later that night. The only hope for any sinner, ourselves included, is that we genuinely agree with God about our sin and take responsibility, asking forgiveness, and then by faith turn from sin to Christ. At the very least, we need to admit that our sinful desires and actions are wrong. God will abundantly forgive.

Pastor Mike Harding

a few thoughts

One part of Romans 1 that is often overlooked (Mike Harding alluded to this) is that homosexuality along with homosexual desires are not only deserving of God’s judgment but are God’s judgment. Douglas Moo, in his commentary on Romans 2 also captures this thought. Early Christians, such as John Chrysostom, connect homosexuality to opulence, a refusal to acknowledge a Creator God, and unthankfulness for God’s common blessings on all mankind. Americans live at a level of opulence that is unprecedented in the history of mankind.

I have found that the starting point to meaningful change in desires is to reverse Romans 1:21 “because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful…  V24 Therefore God gave them up to…”

So a reverse of Romans 1 would look like this:

       Because they knew God and glorified Him as God and were thankful… God guarded their desires and their bodies to do what is honorable… God guarded their passions… God guarded their minds to think and desire in a ways that are proper. 

What do you say?

Greg Long wrote:

I agree with all that, Mike. But if you are counseling a man who says with tears in his eyes, "I am tempted to lust after other men. I don't know why. I have been this way for as long as I remember. I don't want this temptation. I have pleaded with God over and over and over to take these temptations away. I fight them as best I can." What do you say? Should his temptations be counted as culpable sins?

Let's substitute a few words in that statement Greg:

"I am tempted to lust after other women who are not my wife. I don't know why. I have been this way for as long as I remember. I don't want this temptation. I have pleaded with God over and over and over to take these temptations away. I fight them as best I can."

Is that lust sin?

Even if never acted on overtly?

 

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Of course lust is sin, Don-

Of course lust is sin, Don--heterosexual or homosexual. That's not what I was asking. I was asking if the temptation to lust is sin. Do you believe the temptation to heterosexual lust is sin?

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Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

I don't think temptation is internal

Temptation is external, what you do with the temptation is internal.

I only changed the object in one sentence. The two scenarios are exactly the same as you described them. What you are describing the homosexual saying is sin. Until he sees it as such I doubt he can make much progress to victory.

 

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Greg,

Greg,

That is the point I was driving at earlier. If we define lust as an inordinate desire, either a legitimate desire that has been allowed to wander out of bounds (such as anger that seeks vengeance) or an illegitimate desire (such as homosexuality), then the lust indicates an area of my heart that is not conformed to the image of Christ. This is an area that is still in need of sanctification. I don't see how we can call that anything other than a violation of God's holiness, and missing the mark like that is always sin. If on the other hand, I am confronted with an opportunity to sin, a temptation, and there is no corresponding desire in my heart drawing me to miss the mark of holiness in the area at that moment, then we can say the temptation to lust there did not reveal any sin in my heart or produce any sin in my thoughts or actions. 

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Don Johnson wrote:

Don Johnson wrote:

Temptation is external, what you do with the temptation is internal.

I only changed the object in one sentence. The two scenarios are exactly the same as you described them. What you are describing the homosexual saying is sin. Until he sees it as such I doubt he can make much progress to victory.

Jesus was tempted. He did something with it. I think Don should have the answer to his own question. 

I think you prove my point

Are you saying the Lord's temptation was something inside him? A proclivity to something?

I think that would be a low view of Christ. The temptation is an external test. The problem is the perverted affections that all humans but Christ have.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

So heterosexual temptation is

So heterosexual temptation is external only? There is nothing inside of me that has a proclivity to that temptation?

Chip, again you are confusing the sinful nature with acts of sin. Of course we are totally depraved, whether heterosexual or homosexual. Of course our desires are sinful through and through. The question is whether or not I am morally culpable for committing an act of sin when I am tempted to lust, whether homosexually or heterosexually. I can't imagine how you could possibly say yes.

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Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

thinking out loud

Ok, let me say that I am not sure about the "only external" aspect of my argument.

I don't have time to do the research in the Scriptures to see if this theory can hold water. James 1.13-15 surely has a bearing, but perhaps it shoots me down, too.

In any case, my main point is that the scenario you described is not describing some kind of innate predilection. My restating your statement and simply changing the object shows that the "always felt that way, can't change" is sin. In fact, it is implicit in the conscience of the speaker, he is praying to God to remove this desire from him, so he knows it is sin. His conscience tells him so, and rightly so, I think.

So, if there is a predilection of some sort, it has to be expressed differently to somehow be 1) a natural thing he is born with 2) non-sinful in itself. Quite frankly, I don't believe such a thing exists. It isn't genetics, it isn't natural, it is a cultivated desire (from various factors), that in itself is wrong. I would say the same is true of anyone whose favored sin is immoral relations with people of the opposite sex. The only difference is that the cultivated desire is being expressed more naturally, but still is sin.

You will have to wait awhile for any further engagement from me on the topic, I will be sans internet most of the day tomorrow. Likely the conversation will have moved on from this point by then, so this may well be all I have to say at this time.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Thanks, Don. Yes, I think

Thanks, Don. Yes, I think James 1 is instructive here, and very clearly separates temptation from sin.

To paint another scenario, let's say I am at my computer and through no fault of my own, a sexually explicit pop up ad appears. Instantly I am tempted to look longer at it (lustfully), but in that same instant, I overcome that temptation and immediately click to close the ad (and then investigate further what I can do to stop any such ad from appearing again!). I hope no one would say that I sinned in that instant (or else you'd have to say that Jesus sinned when he was tempted, too). Now, simply change the scenario to someone who is, for various reasons, tempted homosexually, and a pop ad appears with a sexually explicit male posing, and I hope you wouldn't say that person sinned if he was tempted to look but overcame that temptation and closed the ad.

Back to my counseling scenario: Note that I didn't say what I, the counselor, would say in response. On the one hand, I would not dismiss his statements out of hand and say, "That's impossible; every time you are tempted it's because you choose to be tempted homosexually" which in effect condemns him for being tempted. On the other hand, neither would I shrug my shoulders and say, "Well, I guess that's just how things are for you. Just be sure you don't give in to that temptation." No, we would work on strategies to fight that temptation, which in many cases, over the course of time, would serve to lessen the frequency and possibly even change the nature of the temptations. From what I understand, many men with SSA report that their desires can shift to a greater or lesser extent from homosexual to heterosexual. Then again, others (including a man in my church) report that the desires/temptations lessen but never fully disappear, and that they must constantly be on guard to fight those temptations with the power of the Word through the Spirit, putting on the full armor of God--just like any of us must do with heterosexual temptations.

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Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

I believe there is a

I believe there is a proclivity in relation to our temptation.  Some are situational, and some are innate within each of us.  If you look at the temptation of Christ in Matthew 4, the first temptation was to turn stones into bread.  This was a situational proclivity.  If Christ was at the marriage feast, being tempted to turn stones into bread, it would have been meaningless, because bread was all around him.  But he had a situational apparent weakness in Matthew 4 because he was fasting, and the desire for food at that moment was unique to him and his situation.

I believe the innate issue is something that is seen in Scripture as well as in practical areas of everyone's lives.  There are those I know who struggle with addiction.  Their personalities and who they are make them more susceptible to this condition, than say myself.  Many men struggle with impure thoughts of woman.  Many individuals would say that this is because of an innate desire in men and their attraction to woman.  Yet there are many men who do not suffer from this at all.  In fact there are some men who have no attraction to woman (and no attraction to other men either).  That doesn't provide an excuse in my opinion or legitimizes any sin whatsoever, it is just that we all struggle with various temptations that are unique to us as an individual.  Because we are born into sin, our current nature, including physically is corrupted.  There are females born with male body parts, there are individual born with severe mental issues or even severe physical issues which torment them and make them more susceptible to sin and temptation than others.  A child that is raised in an abusive home suffers from trauma and different temptations than those who are raised in a loving home.

External / Internal Temptations

If Jesus could be tempted in all areas like us, and yet remain without sin (Hebrews 4:15), then I think that there has to be a dichotomy between internal and external sources of temptation.  Jesus could have no internal sources because of the virgin birth - he did not inherit Adam's sin nature.  And we all know that there were external sources of temptation from Matthew 4 (Satan would qualify as an external source, right?).

Now, if we affirm total depravity (which I think we all do), then I don't see how Shaynus could be wrong in that the fallenness / sinfulness of mankind extending to even our genetic makeup.  We are all under a curse, as well, correct?  Are we not subject to futility?

I haven't done any counseling yet along these lines, but I think I would approach SSA / SSO the same way I would approach my own sinful temptations to heterosexual lust.  I've just never seen a huge difference there except in terms of the object.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Besetting sin

Greg, there is such a thing as a besetting sin, a sin that one person is more likely to commit than another person.  Many factors influence our lives making us susceptible to different sins.  When our theological adversaries speak of sexual orientation, however, they are speaking of an inherent biological tendency or necessity to have homosexual desires which then issue in homosexual acts. I don't see that argument in Scripture.  Quite the opposite.  Whatever Dr. Mohler meant in his public repentance on the concept of sexual orientation, its does not bode well for his position.  I respect Dr. Mohler for taking such a clear stand on the homosexual issue over the years. This was a great disappointment to me and appears to be a serious compromise.  Maybe he will clarify his confession or walk it back.  I will be interested to see if he does. 

Don Johnson is correct on the temptation issue.  The external aspect is not sin; however, when we are drawn away of our own lusts, that is sin.  This is why the Gospel is our only hope.  God never promised to redeem us from a so-called "orientation"; he promised to save us from our sin.

Pastor Mike Harding

dgszweda wrote:

dgszweda wrote:

I believe there is a proclivity in relation to our temptation.  Some are situational, and some are innate within each of us.  If you look at the temptation of Christ in Matthew 4, the first temptation was to turn stones into bread.  This was a situational proclivity.  If Christ was at the marriage feast, being tempted to turn stones into bread, it would have been meaningless, because bread was all around him.  But he had a situational apparent weakness in Matthew 4 because he was fasting, and the desire for food at that moment was unique to him and his situation.

I believe the innate issue is something that is seen in Scripture as well as in practical areas of everyone's lives.  There are those I know who struggle with addiction.  Their personalities and who they are make them more susceptible to this condition, than say myself.  Many men struggle with impure thoughts of woman.  Many individuals would say that this is because of an innate desire in men and their attraction to woman.  Yet there are many men who do not suffer from this at all.  In fact there are some men who have no attraction to woman (and no attraction to other men either).  That doesn't provide an excuse in my opinion or legitimizes any sin whatsoever, it is just that we all struggle with various temptations that are unique to us as an individual.  Because we are born into sin, our current nature, including physically is corrupted.  There are females born with male body parts, there are individual born with severe mental issues or even severe physical issues which torment them and make them more susceptible to sin and temptation than others.  A child that is raised in an abusive home suffers from trauma and different temptations than those who are raised in a loving home.

Great post. Well said.

It's interesting to me that on the one hand we would categorically reject any kind of inborn tendencies or proclivities towards certain specific kinds of temptations when it comes to homosexuality, but then on the other hand most Christians would have no problem understanding what someone means when they say, "Yeah, I struggle with anger--I am Irish, after all" (or "...a hot temper has always run in our family.")

Now, to be clear, that does NOT mean that innate tendencies are the ONLY reason for homosexual temptations--just see the chart I posted above that there are probably a number of complex factors involved--internal, external, hereditary, historical, environmental, etc. Also, this does NOT excuse any sinful thought or action, regardless of any innate tendencies, proclivities, attractions, orientations, etc. (whatever you want to call it).

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Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Mike, I understand that our

Mike, I understand that our "adversaries" use the term "orientation" in certain ways to excuse or justify sin. That does not necessarily mean that Mohler is using that term in that way, however. And it doesn't mean that the term "orientation" itself necessarily means those things.

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Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Greg Long wrote:

Greg Long wrote:

It's interesting to me that on the one hand we would categorically reject any kind of inborn tendencies or proclivities towards certain specific kinds of temptations when it comes to homosexuality,

I agree.  I am not sure we can just reject the fact that individuals are born with a proclivity towards certain situations.  I agree it was never so from the beginning, but that doesn't mean that sin doesn't corrupt even our natural selves.  It wasn't from the beginning that individuals were born with two sets of sexual organs.  But they are.  And they are faced with tremendous challenges.  I think that we would be naive to think that sin cannot corrupt us even to this core.  Now whether there is a gene or not, I don't know, nor would I even care to speculate.  I just know that for myself I have struggled with certain sins all of my life.  That doesn't provide one ounce of excuse or indicate that I should be absolved of giving into my temptation, but when looking at my siblings, I have even noticed that each one of them, even though they are saved and we were raised in the same type of house, we each have our own struggles.  The sin that my brother struggles with it, I have absolutely no issues with.  Why do we treat homosexuality any differently.

Greg Long - started new thread

Hi Greg, I thought we are getting off topic with our discussion here, so I replied to your post in a new thread here.

As to the topic, the seeming change by Mohler and other Southern Baptists is astonishing. Hopefully some of them at least are not communicating clearly or have been somehow misquoted.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

I have only had time to watch

I have only had time to watch this one video from the conference, but I would HIGHLY recommend it. It is a panel discussion of four Christians who have struggled with SSA and/or have come out of the gay lifestyle (three remaining single and celibate; 1 who is married). They directly address some of the issues we are raising on this thread. Again, very helpful.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJdEZv_24Uk

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Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

 Here's a Huffington Post

 Here's a Huffington Post opinion piece noting the shift.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sharon-groves/is-the-southern-baptist-c_b_6078108.html

Here's the Wall Street Journal's take:

http://online.wsj.com/articles/southern-baptists-gay-community-break-bread-at-conference-1414691923

 

The article opens with:

 

A gathering of Southern Baptists here opened this week with Albert Mohler, stalwart head of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, apologizing for “denying the reality of sexual orientation,” but saying orientation “can change.”

It closed with a pastor saying “no one goes to hell for being homosexual.”

“This was an amazing event,” said Mr. Vines. “Not for the public sessions but for the private meetings. It’s not like anyone is suddenly pro-gay,” said Mr. Vines. But, he added, “it feels like a new era.”

In a sign of the practical struggles Baptists face, some of the conference focused on advice. “What if you get invited to a same-sex wedding ceremony?” Russell Moore, president of the SBC’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, was asked. “In that case, I would not attend the wedding. I would attend the reception.”  

What is interesting is that some media outlets began reporting earlier this year that SBC leaders were looking for ways to open dialog with the LGBT community and find common ground.  Here is an MSNBC article on this.

http://www.msnbc.com/craig-melvin/new-openness-gay-worshippers

Here is another article from the liberal Cooperative Baptist Fellowship:

http://baptistnews.com/culture/social-issues/item/29393-lgbt-leaders-open-to-dialogue-with-sbc

The Baptist News is the mouthpiece for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, the moderate Baptist group that formed in the 1990s in response to the conservative resurgence in the SBC.  This is an SBC splinter group.  It is interesting that these folks would see an opening to engage the SBC leadership on LGBT dialog.  They have been noticing some cracks in the armor.

 

 

 

Pastor Mike Harding

I agree that it is somewhat

I agree that it is somewhat unclear what is happening here. But my take on it is summarized by the Ex. VP of the ERLC:

"This is the idea that we are holding on to clear Biblical principals in an unwavering way while presenting them in a winsome capacity seeking to persuade and engage and not vaporize."

Despite newfound gay worshippers in pews, Baptist doctrine still draws hard lines against gay members. “Membership is reserved for those walking with Jesus, and anyone acting in a relationship contrary to that is not granted membership,” Bethancourt said. “We’re looking at how we can still love and serve and minister to people despite different viewpoints.”

“I think in 10 years, the SBC will be right where they are right now in holding on to the view that marriage is between one man and one woman," Bethancourt said.

http://www.msnbc.com/craig-melvin/new-openness-gay-worshippers

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Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Orientation or attraction

Greg, "sexual orientation" has become a legal term in our society that means precisely what I have described it.  When sexual orientation is legally added to legislative acts of city councils, state legislatures, etc., this is what it means.  Mohler knows this.  You would have to be a first class ignoramus not to, and he certainly is not that.  He should have chosen a different term to explain himself.  What he probably meant was same-sex sexual attraction. Major news media outlets are seeing this as a major shift in the SBC.  Mohler and Moore need to be much more careful here.  Now there is talk about organized collaboration with LGBT Christian organizations on social issues.  Moore won't go to a same sex wedding, but he will show up for the food. 

Pastor Mike Harding

Good thoughts

Thanks Greg for posting the link to the panel discussion. There are some great points made. I very must appreciate Rosaria Butterfield’s answer to the question of whether or not Christians should adopt the concept of “sexual orientation.”  She is making a very important point!

 

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