Where are Southern Baptist leaders headed re: homosexuality?

"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"

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Greg Long's picture

Mike, good questions, which is why I would suggest listening to the entire message, which is an exposition of Romans 1.

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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

DavidO's picture

What new data would contradict or reinterpret what the Apostle Paul says in Roman 1:18-32 where Paul clearly traces homosexual desire and behavior to human corruption based on Total Depravity? The implication from Dr. Mohler's fuller statement is that homosexuality is not a choice.

I'd amend your statement to say the implication of Mohler's fuller statement is that homosexuality (itself a term for which definitions differ depending on who is using and how) cannot be reduced to a mere choice, like the one I faced when choosing between bagels and oatmeal this morning.  Nor is it directly analogous to the choice Adam faced, namely, of this you may eat, of that you may not, since Adam was created in a state of innocency.

You're reformed-ish, right?  So how does Mohler contradict the reformed notion of depravity?  If our sin nature is an indelible dye tainting our nature from before birth, is it that outlandish to suggest that some people demonstrate their natures as "strays" from the womb by behaving effeminately and lacking desire for the opposite sex while strongly desiring members of the same sex?  To me, that is entirely consistent with Calvin, Augustine, Paul, Jesus, even the psalmist(s) and Moses.

dcbii's picture

I'm not an expert in the Greek, but as those Romans verses are stated in English, Paul's statements are saying that those who don't want to retain God in their knowledge were turned over to do these unnatural things.  Logically, those statements are NOT saying that anybody in that state (with those desires) got there through only that path.  As Greg L. has pointed out, there are some who are saved, struggling, and *do* want to retain God in their knowledge, and still have the issue with such temptations.  That alone seems to show that sinful desires can come for other reasons.

Also, speaking of the created order has limitations -- the creation was perfect, but it was marred in the fall.  Humans are now marred even down to their genetics.  If nature itself is broken, then what is "natural" can also be broken when compared to the perfect state.

Obviously, no matter our state and how broken we are, we are responsible to God's commands.  However, when we refuse to acknowledge that nature itself is broken and can contribute to our problems, we are not always giving the right help to those who need it.  God is capable of keeping those who trust him from sin, no matter the source of their temptation.  However, it's all too easy for us to call certain temptations sin in and of themselves when those are temptations we are not personally subject to.  Paul said it right when he cried out "who shall deliver me from the body of this death?!"  Far be it from us to say to saved and struggling individuals of certain temptations, "you need to deliver yourself, because you are not trusting and submitting to God, otherwise this would not be an issue for you."

Dave Barnhart

Mike Harding's picture

David, your suggestions are plausible.  I have translated most of the NT over the years under the guidance of several Greek Scholars including Bill Combs, Stewart Custer, Bruce Compton.  A very careful translation of Romans 1:26 goes as follows: "Wherefore God has delivered them up to passions which bring dishonor: for both their females have exchanged natural intercourse for that which is contrary to nature, and likewise also the males, having abandoned natural intercourse with the female, have burned in their lust for one another, males with males perpetrating shamelessness and receiving in their person the due wages of their deludedness."

The physical body is not portrayed by Paul as the cause of the unnatural behavior, but rather is the means and recipient of the consequences of that behavior (1:24).  The fact that people worshiped the creation more than the creator was ample cause for "God to give them up" which Paul repeats three times in this pericope.  God permitted these conditions to take place by withholding his preventive help which alone would mitigate such behavior.  This issues in fulfilling the "desires of their hearts" which is the actual condition and character of their life. They acknowledge no higher criteria than their own wayward desires.  The result is that they "dishonor their 'somata' (bodies) among themselves".  Again, the body is receiving, not causing the corruption.  The verb here is passive and the subject is receiving the dishonor.

On account of this God gave them up unto passions that bring dishonor (Genitive of quality).  "For" (gar) explains the previous judgment.  "Females" (thaleiai) not "gune" the normal word for women, calling attention to the sexual differentiation, "exchanged" (echoes v. 25) natural intercourse for that which is against nature.  This parallel is seen with the "likewise" phrase referring to men that follows. ""Chresis" is a clearly established paraphrase for sexual intercourse.  The key terms, "phusikos" and "para phusin," (natural and against nature) mean in accordance with the intention of the Creator. This appeal to  nature is the sense of the order which God manfiested in the created world.  Paul uses the same phrase in 1 Cor 11:4 (phusis autei "nature itself") as a current condition controlling the behavior and sexual identity norms of the entire human creation.  One could translate the phrase, "the very way God made us".  The decisive factor in Paul's use of these terms is the biblical doctrine of creation.  It denotes God's inalterable order that is clearly manifested in creation currently and therefore no man or woman has an excuse for failing to recognize it and respect it.

 

Pastor Mike Harding

Shaynus's picture

After watching some of the videos Greg suggested we watch, my goodness. Rosaria Butterfield's teaching on this is absolutely fantastic. 

dcbii's picture

Pastor Harding, I completely agree with you that no one has an excuse for failing to recognize and respect God's order.  As I said, I won't even try to comment on your Greek, since I'm not a Greek scholar.  I was only pointing out that, unlike what most people (not necessarily you) believe, the fact that A implies B does not mean that B implies A (at least in English, and, I am assuming, in Greek as well, though it's possible I'm wrong).  I don't read Paul's arguments in vs. 26 as saying everyone who is given up to unnatural affection got there from the reasons before the wherefore.  In other words, those that exhibited the rebellion he mentioned were given up to those things, and as you say, in this case the body is not portrayed as the cause but the means.  However, I'm only saying that some people with unnatural affections don't necessarily have to have been in rebellion that was punished in that way (at least from the way I read Paul's argument here -- obviously all of scripture should inform our thinking), and therefore would not necessarily be be part of those he is describing.  Those who are trying to follow God are still subject to many temptations, apparently from what others are saying, even SSA.

I will concede that when Paul uses arguments about "natural" or "unnatural" he may be referring to nature in its perfect state.  However, nature as we see it is now quite flawed.  Under the fall, the way God has allowed many to be born with a lot of genetic defects, even down to the XX/XY distinction which has a number of variants as well.  Even those of us that look "normal" are certainly flawed compared to Adam and Eve pre-fall, as is often discovered with certain cancers, syndromes, etc.  Medicine and science do not understand all the problems that appear in our genetic code, and more are being discovered all the time.  As I made clear in my other post, this doesn't give us any cause to excuse or explain behavior contrary to what God commanded.  It should, however, cause us to have more compassion for those who suffer from conditions we can't imagine.  Although it can be abused, I don't believe that recognizing this fact means we are giving in to those who want to be in rebellion to God.

Dave Barnhart

JohnBrian's picture

In your post earlier, which I responded to, you wrote:

Mike Harding wrote:
Alarming that Mohler would repent of previously not acknowledging the legitimacy of sexual orientation.

and in a subsequent post referred to it as:

Mike Harding wrote:
That was six months ago. This is a definite change in disposition.

In your response to my post you wrote:

Mike Harding wrote:
​Even in the lengthy Statement provided by Greg (thank you by the way), It is hard to figure out what exactly he is repenting of.  What is his personal definition of "sexual orientation"?  Why did he not affirm it before and affirms it now?  What data changed his mind?

If you don't know Mohler's answer to these questions, why were you so hasty to throw him under the bus with your "Alarming and Sad" subject heading?

Mike Harding wrote:
​The implication from Dr. Mohler's fuller statement is that homosexuality is not a choice.
I'm fairly certain that he would deny that he implied this.

Mike Harding wrote:
His fuller statement raises more questions than it answers.
Maybe so, but is no justification for attributing to him some capitulation (over a period of 6 months by your own testimony) to the homosexual agenda.

My point was (and is) that you were hasty in castigating Mohler.

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Mike Harding's picture

Here's another one from ABC News:

 

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/southern-baptists-pastors-hold-li...

Mohler, the most prominent Southern Baptist intellectual, said from the stage that he was wrong years ago when he said same-sex attraction could be changed. The Rev. Russell Moore, director of the Southern Baptist's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, which organized the conference, drew applause when he condemned anti-gay bullying and called on Christians to address the problem of homelessness for gay and lesbian youth as "a human dignity issue." He said parents shouldn't shun their gay children.

Mohler wrote on his blog in 2007.

http://www.albertmohler.com/2007/03/02/is-your-baby-gay-what-if-you-coul...

There are several troubling things he says, not the least of which is:

1. There is, as of now, no incontrovertible or widely accepted proof that any biological basis for sexual orientation exists.

2. Nevertheless, the direction of the research points in this direction. Research into the sexual orientation of sheep and other animals, as well as human studies, points to some level of biological causation for sexual orientation in at least some individuals.

3. We must stop confusing the issues of moral responsibility and moral choice. We are all responsible for our sexual orientation, but that does not mean that we freely and consciously choose that orientation. We sin against homosexuals by insisting that sexual temptation and attraction are predominately chosen.

Pastor Mike Harding

Greg Long's picture

Here are all ten of Mohler's points.

1. There is, as of now, no incontrovertible or widely accepted proof that any biological basis for sexual orientation exists.

2. Nevertheless, the direction of the research points in this direction. Research into the sexual orientation of sheep and other animals, as well as human studies, points to some level of biological causation for sexual orientation in at least some individuals.

3. Given the consequences of the Fall and the effects of human sin, we should not be surprised that such a causation or link is found. After all, the human genetic structure, along with every other aspect of creation, shows the pernicious effects of the Fall and of God’s judgment.

4. The biblical condemnation of all homosexual behaviors would not be compromised or mitigated in the least by such a discovery. The discovery of a biological factor would not change the Bible’s moral verdict on homosexual behavior.

5. The discovery of a biological basis for homosexuality would be of great pastoral significance, allowing for a greater understanding of why certain persons struggle with these particular sexual temptations.

6. The biblical basis for establishing the dignity of all persons — the fact that all humans are made in God’s image — reminds us that this means all persons, including those who may be marked by a predisposition toward homosexuality. For the sake of clarity, we must insist at all times that all persons — whether identified as heterosexual, homosexual, lesbian, transsexual, transgendered, bisexual, or whatever — are equally made in the image of God.

7. Thus, we will gladly contend for the right to life of all persons, born and unborn, whatever their sexual orientation. We must fight against the idea of aborting fetuses or human embryos identified as homosexual in orientation.

8. If a biological basis is found, and if a prenatal test is then developed, and if a successful treatment to reverse the sexual orientation to heterosexual is ever developed, we would support its use as we should unapologetically support the use of any appropriate means to avoid sexual temptation and the inevitable effects of sin.

9. We must stop confusing the issues of moral responsibility and moral choice. We are all responsible for our sexual orientation, but that does not mean that we freely and consciously choose that orientation. We sin against homosexuals by insisting that sexual temptation and attraction are predominately chosen. We do not always (or even generally) choose our temptations. Nevertheless, we are absolutely responsible for what we do with sinful temptations, whatever our so-called sexual orientation.

10. Christians must be very careful not to claim that science can never prove a biological basis for sexual orientation. We can and must insist that no scientific finding can change the basic sinfulness of all homosexual behavior. The general trend of the research points to at least some biological factors behind sexual attraction, gender identity, and sexual orientation. This does not alter God’s moral verdict on homosexual sin (or heterosexual sin, for that matter), but it does hold some promise that a deeper knowledge of homosexuality and its cause will allow for more effective ministries to those who struggle with this particular pattern of temptation. If such knowledge should ever be discovered, we should embrace it and use it for the greater good of humanity and for the greater glory of God.

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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 Harding's picture

Greg, is their a unique biological causation for pedophilia, incest, necrophilia, beastiality, pederasty?  Are we sinning when we assert that those desires are sinful and that human beings are personally responsible for them?  Where is the exegetical basis for Mohler's accusation against believers over this? Would the Apostle Paul be guilty of this "sin"?  An African American pastor said recently regarding the extension of special civil rights to LGBT communities, "Don't compare your sin to my skin".  He was highly offended that the LGBT community said that their civil rights issues were no different that the black civil rights issues--all were biologically driven. There is a danger in making so-called scientific studies the 67th book of the Bible and then integrating that science with Scripture.  We are bordering on gnosticism when we root sin in biology as opposed to the sinful nature.

I was wrong about Dr. Mohler, apparently he has been nurturing these ideas for sometime.  I was honestly unaware of it until this recent conference on sexuality.  When we root homosexuality in biology as opposed to the sinful nature we are giving away the farm, sheep included.  Now I understand why Russell Moore called us bigots, told parents who would not tolerate a homosexual lifestyle in their home that they lacked human dignity, and that while he disagreed with homosexual marriage he would gladly attend the celebration of that marriage.  Both secular and evangelical media have recognized that a shift is going on, that a "crack in the armor" is visible, that there has been a "change of heart". 

I have no angst whatsoever against Dr. Mohler, nor do I cease to give him all the credit he deserves for saving the SBC seminaries.  I applaud that.  Personally, I like him and admire much of what he has done and has written.  That said, I think both Dr. Mohler and Moore are wrong on this aspect of the homosexual issue.  Frankly, I would rather defend Moses and the Apostle Paul in what they wrote than what modern government studies are saying and how Dr. Mohler and Dr. Moore are interepreting them.

1 Cor 6:9-12

Paul says such were some of you. Paul tells us that through regeneration we no longer are what we use to be. I would agree that Temptation itself is not a sin, but inherent desires that are clearly corrupt are sinful and we need to own it, repent, and ask for forgiveness and cleansing. The NASB and NIV translate this passage as "effeminate" (malakoi) "homosexual offenders" (arsenokoitai -- lit. performers of male intercourse). Are we going to argue for a biological causation or orientation for every sin on this list? No, we are not. As I said before, heterosexual desire is not sinful, but it can be used in sinful ways. Homosexual desire is sinful as is sexual desire for animals, children, and other perversions. Our sinful nature as well as our new nature are essentially immaterial. Though both use the body, we are to yield our members as instruments of righteousness and not obey the lusts of the flesh. The flesh here is not the body, but the sinful nature. Read Bill Comb's articles (DBTS.edu) on sanctification for a thorough going explanation of what a "nature" is. The "flesh" is often used in Scripture to define the sin nature, not the body itself. I think this is where the theological tension exists between myself and Dr. Mohler.

Pastor Mike Harding

Greg Long's picture

Mike, in your post above and the others on this thread, you consistently conflate desire (which is NOT inherently sinful in Scripture) and deed, as well as temptation and sin. Now, homosexual desire in general is an obviously twisted perversion of God's original intent with one man and one woman in marriage, but so is my heterosexual desire for women who are not my wife.

You are condemning anyone who has ever had been tempted with homosexual desire as being a homosexual and falling under the condemnation of 1 Cor. 6. You are condemning those in my church who are successfully fighting homosexual desires as sinning whenever they are faced with an unexpected and unplanned temptation to homosexual lust. This is wrong.

I completely agree with you that "such were some of you." I would challenge those I have just mentioned above if they called themselves "gay Christians" or "homosexual Christians." (I would even agree with you, over against Mohler, that I am hesitant about using the term SSO and would encourage a Christian fighting those temptations not to use that term.) As you yourself pointed out, the terms in 1 Cor. 6 are focused on the homosexual act (both active and passive), not the temptation.

Christians who struggle against SSA are nothing more and nothing less than the rest of us, including me--Christians who have been washed, sanctified, and justified, who used to be _____________ (fill in the blank--homosexuals offenders, thieves, murderers, liars, arrogant, look at all the sins in Rom. 1). I completely agree with you that we should yield our members as instruments of righteousness and not obey the lusts of the flesh. That is exactly what I would try to help someone do who is struggling with SSA.

 

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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 Linscott's picture

When we root homosexuality in biology as opposed to the sinful nature we are giving away the farm, sheep included.

Mike,

I'm not sure I agree. If we found certain people were more predisposed than others to unrighteous anger, or drunkenness, or sloth... that wouldn't change the need to put those things to death. If we would find that there was some biological component that predisposed some people to SSA, why does that change the inherent sinfulness, any more that the stereotype of temperamental redheads means that we give them a free pass when they give in to rage and anger?

Greg Linscott
Marshall, MN

Mike Harding's picture

Greg, let me be clear. Homosexuality consists of both same-sex erotic attraction and sexual activity. A homosexual is one who nurtures an on-going erotic, romantic desire for a person of the same gender culminating in sexual involvement. Homosexuality is the result of a gradual sinful cultivation and conditioning vis-à-vis a natural, biological orientation. Homosexuality is not a civil right protected in the US Constitution. This equates a desired act with a constitutional right and assumes that homosexuality is an inherent part of one’s biological nature. Such reasoning would eventually be used to justify other unlawful desires such as pedophilia, incest, bestiality, necrophilia or molestation.

Homosexuality is a clear violation of the created order of God. It violates the heterosexual nature of marriage between one man and one woman (Gen 2:24), the complementarian nature of marriage where the woman is the exclusively suitable answer to man’s aloneness in marital love and physical union (Gen 2:18-20; 3:16-19; Eph 5:22-33; 1 Pet 3:1-7), and homosexuality violates the fulfillment of the dominion mandate necessitating procreation (Gen 1:28).

The first instance of homosexual behavior in the Bible is answered by severe judgment (Gen 19:4-11). The term "know" in this context clearly refers to sexual activity between members of the same sex (Gen 19:5, 8; cf. Gen 4:1, 17, 25; 24:16; 38:26). Jude 6-8 and 2 Peter 2:4-10 clarify that the cities were characterized by unnatural sexual desires. Judges 19:22-25 parallels the situation in Sodom where the men are aggressively seeking same-sex involvement. Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 label homosexual behavior as an abomination along with other sexual sins. These sins violate the created order, the holy attributes of God’s nature and character, and are repeatedly mentioned again in the NT as sinful, abominable, and contrary to the will of God. Homosexuality particularly was a constant threat to the holiness of Israel from the surrounding Canaanite nations (Gen 9:20-27; Deut 23:17-18; Judges 19:22-25; 1 Kings 14:24; 15:12; 2 Kings 22:46; 23:7; Ezek 16:50; 18:12; 33:26).

Homosexuality is repeatedly condemned by God in the NT. Romans 1:26-32 condemns the practice of homosexuality by men or women and furthers condemns the condoning of such sinful activity (vv. 31-32). 1 Corinthians 6:9 condemns both partners in the homosexual encounter. "Effeminate" and "homosexuals" refer to the passive and active sides of the homosexual relationship respectively. The "effeminate" are those who willingly allow themselves to be sodomized; whereas the "homosexuals" are those who actively engage in sodomizing the effeminate. 1 Timothy 1:10 mentions the violation of the seventh commandment to include both "immoral men and homosexuals," citing the same Greek term used in 1 Corinthians 6:9 and the Greek translation (LXX) of the Hebrew term in Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13. Finally, 2 Peter 2:6 and Judges 7 reference the judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah for indulging in gross immorality and going after strange flesh---that is men with men.

 

Pastor Mike Harding

Mike Harding's picture

Greg Linscott,

I believe as you do that It is absolutely necessary in a militantly pagan culture to submit our sexual practice as believers to the Lordship of Christ which will result in God’s glory and our good. Natural sexual desire is a gift of God and is to be placed in the service of God exclusively through marriage. God affirms the beauty of the one-flesh relationship exclusively within the confines of God-ordained marriage (Gen 2:24-26; Song of Solomon; Prov 5:15-19; Heb 13:4; 1 Cor 7:1-6). The initial purpose for the one-flesh relationship is procreational as the natural result of sexual union and fulfilling the dominion mandate (Gen 1:28; cf. Gen 9:1). The second purpose of the one-flesh relationship is relational (Gen 2:18, 21-23), thereby alleviating man’s aloneness. The third purpose of the one-flesh relationship is social. Unrestrained sexual license greatly contributes to an undisciplined and disorderly society producing family breakdown, divorce, illegitimacy, disease, the welfare state, abuse, criminal behavior, bitterness, and slavery to sin (Matt 5:8; 5:28; Job 31:1; Ps 119:9; Gen 2:25; cf. Ps 51:10; Rom 1:18-32). Without accepted norms based on biblical prescription there will not be sufficient public restraint to control acts of sexual impropriety and immodesty in society (Ezek 16:36; 23:18; Rom 13:1-6). The final purpose of the one-flesh relationship in monogamous, heterosexual marriage is recreational. Sexual pleasure is God’s gracious gift for his image bearers to be enjoyed exclusively in marriage without fear, shame, or guilt as the ultimate expression of marital love (Song of Solomon; Prov 5:15-19; Heb 13:4; 1 Cor 7).

All other forms of sexual activity outside of monogamous, heterosexual marriage are forbidden in Scripture, including fornication ("any sexual activity outside of marriage" 1 Cor 7:2; 1 Thess 4:3), adultery ("with someone other than one’s own spouse" Ex 20:14; Matt 5:28), palingamy ("remarriage to a formerly divorced spouse after an intervening marriage" Deut 24:1-4), homosexuality ("any same-sex sexual activity" Gen 19:5-7; Lev 18:22; Rom 1:27; 1 Cor 6:9; 1 Tim 1:10; Jude 7), incest ("sexual activity with family members or relatives" Lev 20:11-21; 1 Cor 5:1), obscenity (Eph 5:3-4), pornography (Matt 5:28; Mark 7:21-22; Gal 5:26; 1 Thess 4:5; Rev 18:9), prostitution (Prov 5:1-23; 7:4-27; 1 Cor 6:18), transvestitism (Deut 22:5; 1 Cor 11), criminal sexual behavior (rape, molestation, pedophilia, bestiality, necrophilia, pederasty, etc. Rom 13:1-6; Lev 18-22), and impurity ("moral filth in one’s heart and thoughts" (James 1:21; Rev 22:11; Rom 1:24; 2 Pet 2:10).

All people, including Christians in particular, are obligated by their creaturely existence to enjoy God’s gracious gifts while gratefully acknowledging the Creator’s purposes and parameters for those gifts, particularly the gift of sexuality (Rom 1:18-32). All sexual sin is ultimately a violation of the covenantal relationship God has established with the first man and woman as representatives of the human race to whom God directly gave the gift of human sexuality within the exclusive confines of monogamous, heterosexual marriage. Those who violate God’s design for sexual activity and marriage do so at their own peril and ultimately dehumanize and degrade a person into sinful bondage and sexual slavery (Job 36:14).

All Christians struggle with sinful desires.  After our salvation we are no longer totally depraved. Our sinful natures are being mitigated, but not eradicated.  The new nature is growing in maturity and influence.  Even Dr. Al Mohler said that we are all sexual sinners to one degree or another.  The sinful nature and the new nature are two different complexes of opposing attributes.  This explains the various dispositions to particular sins.  None of us get a pass by looking into the human genome to explain a particular sin or in this case a perversion.

Pastor Mike Harding

DavidO's picture

None of us get a pass by looking into the human genome to explain a particular sin or in this case a perversion.

Is this what Mohler is saying?  Is it even a necessary consequence of what he says?

 

Homosexuality is the result of a gradual sinful cultivation and conditioning vis-à-vis a natural, biological orientation.

Is this what Paul is saying (in Romans 1)?  Is it even a necessary consequence of what he says?

Greg Long's picture

Mike Harding wrote:
Greg, let me be clear. Homosexuality consists of both same-sex erotic attraction and sexual activity. A homosexual is one who nurtures an on-going erotic, romantic desire for a person of the same gender culminating in sexual involvement. Homosexuality is the result of a gradual sinful cultivation and conditioning vis-à-vis a natural, biological orientation. Homosexuality is not a civil right protected in the US Constitution. This equates a desired act with a constitutional right and assumes that homosexuality is an inherent part of one’s biological nature. Such reasoning would eventually be used to justify other unlawful desires such as pedophilia, incest, bestiality, necrophilia or molestation.

Homosexuality is a clear violation of the created order of God. It violates the heterosexual nature of marriage between one man and one woman (Gen 2:24), the complementarian nature of marriage where the woman is the exclusively suitable answer to man’s aloneness in marital love and physical union (Gen 2:18-20; 3:16-19; Eph 5:22-33; 1 Pet 3:1-7), and homosexuality violates the fulfillment of the dominion mandate necessitating procreation (Gen 1:28).

The first instance of homosexual behavior in the Bible is answered by severe judgment (Gen 19:4-11). The term "know" in this context clearly refers to sexual activity between members of the same sex (Gen 19:5, 8; cf. Gen 4:1, 17, 25; 24:16; 38:26). Jude 6-8 and 2 Peter 2:4-10 clarify that the cities were characterized by unnatural sexual desires. Judges 19:22-25 parallels the situation in Sodom where the men are aggressively seeking same-sex involvement. Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 label homosexual behavior as an abomination along with other sexual sins. These sins violate the created order, the holy attributes of God’s nature and character, and are repeatedly mentioned again in the NT as sinful, abominable, and contrary to the will of God. Homosexuality particularly was a constant threat to the holiness of Israel from the surrounding Canaanite nations (Gen 9:20-27; Deut 23:17-18; Judges 19:22-25; 1 Kings 14:24; 15:12; 2 Kings 22:46; 23:7; Ezek 16:50; 18:12; 33:26).

Homosexuality is repeatedly condemned by God in the NT. Romans 1:26-32 condemns the practice of homosexuality by men or women and furthers condemns the condoning of such sinful activity (vv. 31-32). 1 Corinthians 6:9 condemns both partners in the homosexual encounter. "Effeminate" and "homosexuals" refer to the passive and active sides of the homosexual relationship respectively. The "effeminate" are those who willingly allow themselves to be sodomized; whereas the "homosexuals" are those who actively engage in sodomizing the effeminate. 1 Timothy 1:10 mentions the violation of the seventh commandment to include both "immoral men and homosexuals," citing the same Greek term used in 1 Corinthians 6:9 and the Greek translation (LXX) of the Hebrew term in Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13. Finally, 2 Peter 2:6 and Judges 7 reference the judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah for indulging in gross immorality and going after strange flesh---that is men with men.

Mike, the problem in this conversation is I don't disagree with the vast majority of what you are writing, because the vast majority of what you are writing has to do with sinful homosexual thoughts and actions. For example, I agree with and wholeheartedly affirm everything you wrote in paragraphs 2-4 in this post. You are including (copying and pasting?) a lot of clear biblical truth that doesn't necessarily contradict anything I or (I assume from his public statements) Dr. Mohler believes.

The key difference is your first paragraph. Let me address it point by point.

Mike Harding wrote:
Homosexuality consists of both same-sex erotic attraction and sexual activity. A homosexual is one who nurtures an on-going erotic, romantic desire for a person of the same gender culminating in sexual involvement.
Once again you are conflating temptation and sin. I completely agree that someone who "nurtures an on-going erotic, romantic desire for a person of the same gender culminating in sexual involvement" is sinning. I will go you one further--I believe it is sin even if it doesn't cultiminate in sexual involvement, but only stays at the level of nurturing an on-going erotic, romantic desire, because that is engaging in sinful lusts. The question is whether same-sex attraction at the level of initial temptation is in and of itself sin, and I deny that it is until it conceives and gives birth to sinful thoughts or actions.

Mike Harding wrote:
Homosexuality is the result of a gradual sinful cultivation and conditioning vis-à-vis a natural, biological orientation.
So you believe that SSA is ONLY the result of someone cultivating natural heterosexual desires into sinful homosexual desires. I disagree, because I think it is much more complicated than that. As I have stated many times above, I believe there are a number of complex factors, including biological, historical, internal, external, cultural, environmental, and so on, that can contribute to SSA. Some of these factors are beyond the person's control, such as (perhaps) biological factors (tendencies, personality) and past events (sexual abuse). I doubt you would argue that there are certain factors that contribute to SSA that are beyond a person's control, such as neglect by a father or sexual abuse or someone showing the person pornography as a child.

HOWEVER, there may also be factors that ARE within a person's control, and I have no doubt that many people do cultivate certain tendencies and desires in a sinful way. For example, a young man may think it's "cool" to act somewhat effeminate and to make jokes about homosexual desires and may find himself more and more attracted along those lines.

Mike Harding wrote:
Homosexuality is not a civil right protected in the US Constitution.
I'm not arguing that it is, and I haven't seen anything to indicate Mohler is either.

Mike Harding wrote:
This equates a desired act with a constitutional right and assumes that homosexuality is an inherent part of one’s biological nature. Such reasoning would eventually be used to justify other unlawful desires such as pedophilia, incest, bestiality, necrophilia or molestation.
It could only justify the other sins you mentioned here IF Mohler used his argument to justify homosexual lusts and actions, which he clearly does not. Somehow he is able to believe that biology can possibly be one of many complex factors that lead to SSA and at the same time clearly condemn homosexual thoughts and actions.

 

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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 Harding's picture

David,  I am not suggesting that Mohler in anyway endorses homosexual behavior. I am saying that all sin is rooted in the sinful human nature as I carefully explained in the delineation of Total Depravity.  I have already explained Rom 1:18-32 twice.  If homosexuality was genetically dictated as opposed to post-birth factors and yielding to one's sinful nature, we would expect identical twins (I have a pair) with the same DNA and in equal prenatal conditions to both be gay 100 percent of the time.  The facts are that among adolescents in this category, only about 1 in 18 fit that criteria.  Also, about half of the homosexual population in a non-therapeutic environment moves toward heterosexuality over a lifetime.  Ex-gays actually outnumber current gays.

Pastor Mike Harding

Mike Harding's picture

Greg, these are matters that I previously wrote about. No argument on post-birth factors.  I completely conceded on that with Greg Long.  I am in agreement that most of the factors listed by Hubbard are legitimate.

Sorry, got the "Gregs" mixed up.

Mohler stands firm against the legalization of same-sex marriage, civil rights issue, etc. We differ on the sexual orientation question and its implications.

Pastor Mike Harding

Mike Harding's picture

Clarification on the identical twins study.  In cases where one adolescent twin is already gay, there is only about a 6 percent (1 in 18) likelihood that the identical twin will be gay.  This mitigates against the genetic causality theory. 

Pastor Mike Harding

Greg Linscott's picture

Mike,

I've heard arguments similar to yours before. You concede that "...all sin is rooted in the sinful human nature..." To be clear, I am not saying that there is a biological connection. I don't know. All I am saying is if one could be found, I don't think that changes anything you've said. If some people have some kind of biological factor that gives more of a propensity to certain kind of sins than others, all that proves is that human beings are in every way depraved. If someone is born a eunuch (Matthew 19:12), that doesn't mean they won't sin... but it does mean that they won't likely struggle with the same kinds of sexual temptations that others would. I just don't see how what Mohler concedes makes a difference doctrinally.

Does that make any sense?

Greg Linscott
Marshall, MN

Greg Long's picture

Mike Harding wrote:

Clarification on the identical twins study.  In cases where one adolescent twin is already gay, there is only about a 6 percent (1 in 18) likelihood that the identical twin will be gay.  This mitigates against the genetic causality theory. 

Mohler doesn't advocate strict genetic causality. He and others such as Joe Dallas in Desires in Conflict reject genetic causality while at the same time leaving open the possibility of some kind of biological basis for SSA. Most of them (and I would agree) say it might be related to the transmission of the sinful nature, not genetics.

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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

Shaynus's picture

After reading the latest comments, I go back to my earlier point. We are born in sin, and that could be even to our genes. If my genes are fallen, that doesn't make me any less culpable for sin (or God any more culpable for how I turn out). All such genetic falleness would indicate is that I'm more fallen than just my soul. My body is also fallen. We get old, wrinkled and die. This is because the curse extends even to my genes.

Why is this important? Jesus Christ saves to the uttermost. In what other religion is it possible that God saves you and overcomes who you are so completely? A robust doctrine of total depravity is necessary to have complete joy in our salvation. 

Mike Harding's picture

Greg and Greg, thanks for your interaction.  I am going to close shop on this.  I have said most of what I could say.  I think our adversaries (not you or Dr. Mohler) on the homosexual issue will use genetic dictation or causality (which I don't think can be proved theologically) to argue their case for special civil rights, same sex marriage, and anti-discrimination laws that will persecute Christians, churches, Christian ministries, Christian businesses. It may not make sense to us, but it makes sense to the LGBT activists that a genetic determination ("gay baby in the womb" as Mohler described it) exonerates them from moral culpability much like the genetic determination of a man's skin color.

Shay, if you have time and the books, read McCune's systematic theology on the doctrine of man, sin, and sanctification.  That's a robust theology. Also, read Bill Combs' treatment of sanctification in the DBTS Journals.  I think you will understand where I am coming from regarding gnosticism, the flesh, and the two natures of man.

Pastor Mike Harding

Greg Linscott's picture

http://thinktheology.co.uk/blog/article/the_case_for_idolatry_why_evange...

The Case for Idolatry: Why Evangelical Christians Can Worship Idols

By Andrew Wilson | Wednesday 12 November 2014

(I really hope it's obvious that this is a parody, but if not: it is.)

For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to worship idols. It’s not that my parents raised me that way, because they didn’t; I was brought up in a loving, secure, Christian home. But from childhood until today, my heart has been drawn to idolatry. In fact, if I’m honest, one of the defining features of my identity has been my desire to put something else – popularity, money, influence, sex, success – in place of God.

That’s just who I am.

For many years, I was taught that idolatry was sinful. As a good Christian, I fought the desire to commit idolatry, and repented when I got it wrong. But the desire to worship idols never went away.

I wanted it to, but it didn’t.

So it has been such a blessing to discover that worshipping one God, and him alone, isn’t for everyone. There are thousands of Christians out there who have found faithful, loving ways of expressing worship both to God and to idols, without compromising either their faith or their view of Scripture. In recent years, I have finally summoned the courage to admit that I am one of them. Let me give you a few reasons why I believe that idolatry and Christianity are compatible.

Greg Linscott
Marshall, MN

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