Same-Sex Attraction as Sin

“What is temptation? As John Owen notes, ‘It is raising up in the heart, and proposing unto the mind and affections, that which is evil; trying, as it were, whether the soul will close with its suggestions, or how far it will carry them on, though it do not wholly prevail….’” - Ref21


We really need better vocabulary for this topic, and the Owen quote shows we’ve needed it for a long time.

I appreciate the writer’s thoroughness—better than most I’ve seen on this topic.

But this definition of “temptation” is not how the word is used in James 1:14-15 or in the gospels in reference to Jesus (Matt 4:1, Mk 1:13, Lk4:2). So, even if we make a successful case that Jesus was “tempted,” but not like anyone else is, we have a Heb. 4:15 problem… but even if we solve that problem, we have a “our language on this is going to keep confusing everyone” problem.

Even these two ideas are distinct:

  1. The corruption of the human will means all temptation arises from our sinful condition.
  2. Being tempted is sin.

But the first assertion is itself a problem for reasons I’ve already noted.

I anticipate one objection: we just need to call the passive and innocent part something other than “temptation.” Tell that to the writers of the gospels, James, and Hebrews.

It’s easy to list lots of ways we become sinful partners in our experiences of temptation.

  • We set up conditions that make it likely to occur.
  • We choose not to flee from it.
  • We feed the aspects of our spirit that give temptation a lot to leverage.
  • We respond to temptation with inward actions of the mind.
  • We are born the sorts of beings that delight in asserting our independence from God.

The list could go on. These are all temptation context. None of them = temptation. The first four are even sins, but because they are distinct from temptation they are not evidence that temptation = sin.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.