Pastor teaches resisting vs. eliminating same-sex attraction: accused of heresy

Pastor Tom Buck of First Baptist Church Lindale, Texas "takes issue with how Shaw explains navigating same-sex attraction and has called on Sam Allberry and The Gospel Coalition (TGC) not to support Shaw any longer." - C.Leaders

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JD Miller's picture

Unless Shaw has said something more that was not shared it the article it looks like Buck needs to understand the difference between temptation and sin.   Heb 4:15 "For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin."

Aaron Blumer's picture


Somewhere in the article, Shaw claims that Buck's advice is something a pastor would never give to a heterosexual man. Something along those lines. My thought was, that's exactly the advice I've given and often heard over the years.

I'm sympathetic with Shaw to a point. The social upheaval on sexual ethics has been rapid and extreme. 'Upheaval' doesn't seem like an adequate word. So, some oversteering away from hazards is going to happen. He's hardly the first. Owen Strachen has been blurring the distinction between temptation and sin for years now--specifically in reference to SSA.

Part of the problem is linguistic. If we don't distinguish between "sin" and "longings that express our depravity" (aka sinful) we quickly arrive at self-contradictory teaching. But we also need to acknowledge that it's not always easy to tell a longing that is sinful in character from a desire that we are simply required to deny. Sometimes it's obvious, but sometimes not.

An obvious example: some sins are attractive just because they're sins. The wrongness is the appeal. This is obviously a desire with sinful character. Adjective not noun. It is not a sin. There are many sinful ways to deal with it. Other times, a desire is just there--neutral, as far as we can tell--but out of bounds. Jesus was hungry in the wilderness and Satan said, "Hey, make some bread and eat." The Lord did not have a sinful desire, though it would have been a sin to do as Satan said on that occasion.

Other times--and this is probably the most common scenario--there is innocent physical appetite or emotional appetite but also depraved appetite mixed together. The temptation in the garden is instructive. Eve has no depravity when the conversation with the serpent begins. I believe she does by the time it ends, even before she actually ate. Adam must have been going through the same process.

We don't know if Eve was particularly hungry but she does notice the forbidden fruit is good for food and nice to look at (Gen 3:6). The serpent has already wrapped that reality in suspicion of God's trustworthiness and desire for independence. By the end, she and Adam want power, independence from God, freedom from authority--their rights, we would say today.

So the attractions of sight and taste are there, hitched up to questions, doubts, then resentments. At some point, there is an act of the will to reject God's authority and wisdom and goodness. And now this longing to distrust and rebel is part of all of us.

Anyway, point is that desires and longings are complex things. We're responsible to feed the right affections and starve the wrong ones. We're not promised any particular wrong ones will go away in this life. And we have not sinned when we feel a desire. Sin is action of the heart/mind or body or both.

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.

JD Miller's picture

Although temptation itself is not sin, we can sin with our minds even without sinning with physical action.