Mohler on Sexual Orientation

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paynen's picture

In general I agree with him. But I still don't think I would call it sexual orientation. As that makes it seem like it is something natural about us that we can do nothing about. Whereas it is a corruption of our natural desires.

Bert Perry's picture

I'm with Jim.  And the scary thing is that you can get almost exactly where Mohler ended up by taking a close look at Romans 1, Genesis 19, and elsewhere.  As a homeschooling dad, and having been a mathematics and engineering instructor, I've got to plead with him; show your work, Albert!

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Greg Long's picture

Even as I agree with Nick that I am personally hesitant about using the term "orientation," and would only do so with qualification, what Mohler writes here is basically where I fall on the issue.

Bert, really? Did you read the entire article to the end? It is full of biblical references and theological arguments for his position.

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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

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

It is disingenuous to claim any sinful desire is something we did not choose. This directly contradicts personal responsibility. I agree there are many influences in our lives, but the bottom line is we ultimately decide which way we will go. This does not mean that, post-decision, we do not become enslaved to the very desire we have chosen and may even struggle against it when we later change our minds, but we are the ones, personally and individually, who initially open our hearts to the sinful desires that seem later to control us. In this way, I see "sexual orientation" in much the same light as i see drug addiction. 

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

JohnBrian's picture

I had previously denied the existence of sexual orientation. I, along with many other evangelicals, did so because we did not want to accept the sexual identity structure that so often goes with sexual orientation. I still reject that notion of sexual identity.

When it comes to a same-sex attraction, the orientation is sinful because it is defined by an improper object — someone of the same sex.

The concept of sexual orientation is not only helpful, it is in some sense essential. Even those who argue against its existence have to describe and affirm something tantamount to it. There is a pattern of sexual interest and attraction that is discovered in early adolescence. It is not something that is, in itself, freely chosen. That does not mean that the individual is not completely responsible before God for how that orientation is then handled.

It may be that those who are bothered by Mohler's repenting of denying orientation are understanding his 2 words as synonyms.

Jim may be correct in noting:

Quote:
Ill-defined or poorly defined terms

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Bert Perry's picture

Greg Long wrote:

Bert, really? Did you read the entire article to the end? It is full of biblical references and theological arguments for his position.

Read it twice, and stand by what I said.  There is a difference between listing verses related to the topic and exegesis.  Mohler does the first, but he does not attempt a solid exegesis of what passages like Genesis 19 and Romans 1 mean to the question of whether homosexuality is an orientation, whether it's a consequence of sin, or whether it's a sin independent of any orientation.

He's doing basically this:  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Greg Long's picture

Bert, did you watch his exposition of Romans 1 at ERLC? Have you read his chapter "Homosexual Marriage as a Challenge to the Church: Biblical and Cultural Reflections" in Sex and the Supremacy of Christ (eds. John Piper & Justin Taylor)? To say that Mohler hasn't done his biblical and theological homework just boggles the mind.

We can go round and round on this all day. For me, the central and essential question is, Do you think that homosexual temptation (NOT lust, but temptation) is, in and of itself, culpable sin? My understanding of the Bible and theology tells me that no, it cannot be. And because of that, I must ask the question, where do these temptations come from? I agree with those who say they come from a VARIETY of complex factors. Perhaps one of the many complex factors might be a propensity or inclination towards certain kinds of temptation that are passed on through the sin nature. But this is only one factor, and in no way excuses any kind of sin for any reason, any more than someone who has a propensity towards anger is excused when getting angry.

If you believe homosexual temptation is, in and of itself, culpable sin, that has tremendous theological and pastoral implications.

Please, please, please...watch the ERLC videos. If you can come away from watching those videos and argue that Mohler, Moore, and the others in the conference are somehow "soft" on homosexuality, then I guess we just won't be able to come to an agreement here. Remember that the panel discussion involves four people who have struggled with SSA, but two of the four are married and the other two are celibate, and all of them urge anyone struggling with SSA to fight those temptations through the Gospel.

(Another disclaimer: Perhaps someone thinks I'm defending Mohler so strongly because I pursued a degree at SBTS. Actually, I came to this conclusion through my own study of Scripture, theology, and resources on this topic, and wasn't even aware Mohler had this view until it surfaced in the last few weeks.)

 

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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

paynen's picture

I don't think anyone would say that we choose our sin nature. Or that we choose which issues of total depravity has most effected us as individuals. We don't choose what sins we struggle with. All of our sinful desires are based on proper God given desires that have been corrupted. This corruption can manifest itself in various ways that are tied to both biology and personal circumstances. This is no excuse for our sin this is just how we as individuals differ in our struggles. We are all still responsible for our personal struggles and must seek to overcome them with the help of Christ in our personal sanctification. Where Mohler is wrong is simply in his use of the word orientation as that is a term that connotates something that is natural and designed within the person. Whereas in reality it is the corruption of the natural orientation of the individual.

Greg Long's picture

Recommended reading list on homosexuality (please feel free to add)

  • Butterfield, Rosaria Champagne. The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert. Crown & Covenant Publications, 2014. (I haven't actually read this one yet, but from what I've read about it and hear from Mrs. Butterfield, I can only assume it will be helpful.)
  • Dallas, Joe. When Homosexuality Hits Home: What to Do When a Loved One Says, “I’m Gay.” Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 2015.
  • Dallas, Joe. Desires in Conflict: Hope for Men Who Struggle with Sexual Identity. Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 2003.
  • Hubbard, Peter. Love into Light: The Gospel, the Homosexual and the Church. Greenville, SC: Ambassador International, 2013.
  • Mohler, R. Albert. “Homosexual Marriage as a Challenge to the Church: Biblical and Cultural Reflections.” In Sex and the Supremacy of Christ, edited by John Piper and Justin Taylor. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2005.
  • Yuan, Christopher, Angela Yuan, and Kay Warren. Out of a Far Country: A Gay Son’s Journey to God. A Broken Mother’s Search for Hope. Colorado Springs: WaterBrook Press, 2011.

 

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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

Bert Perry's picture

Greg, that's a bait and switch.  You asked whether I'd read the article, and when I noted I had and exactly what problems I had with it, you link me to....OK, how many hours is it going to take for me to figure out that he has indeed done his homework?

Which is my basic point, and Jim's.  The column does not "show his work."  And quite frankly, if Christians are going to engage on this, Biblically, we are going to have to go back to AP style and say what's important first.  If we are going to argue that Romans 1 argues for a sinful sexual orientation--and I would join in doing so--then we need to get good at saying, concisely, that Paul gives us a list of consequences of ignoring God, and that damaging sexual desires are among those consequences.

Is that so hard?

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Greg Long's picture

Maybe we can find a bit of common ground here. Ed Welch, in his book Blame it on the Brain? Distinguishing Chemical Imbalances, Brain Disorders, and Disobedience, argues strongly against the use of the term "sexual orientation," believing it opens the door to the acceptance of homosexuality and justifies a Christian for "being angry at God for giving them an orientation they may not live out." Neither I nor Mohler agree with those arguments, but even granting them...

He also says this:

But a very significant question remains: Why does it feel natural? The biblical answer is relatively straightforward. Like many other sins, homosexuality does not have to be learned. The child who never witnesses a temper tantrum can be proficient at throwing them; it is an instinctive ability of the human heart. Homosexuality is natural in the same way that anger of selfishness is natural. They are embedded in our fallen humanness. Indeed, homosexuality is "natural," but only in the sense that it is an expression of the sinful nature.

The fact that most homosexuals cannot remember consciously choosing homosexuality is also readily explained by Scripture. Most sin works on a level where we do not self-consciously choose it. To use Old Testament language, our sin can be "unintentional," but that does not make us less responsible for our violation of God's will (Lev. 5:14-19; Num. 15:22-30). Sin is more than mature, rational, conscious decisions. It is our moral inclination from birth. (pp. 160-161)

Welch then reviews the research that some use to justify a biological basis for homosexual orientation. He notes that the research proves homosexuality is "not caused solely by genetics." He also goes on to say:

In the case of homosexuality, it is even possible that a certain brain type is necessary to express homosexual intent. Nevertheless, this brain or genetic hardware is not sufficient to cause homosexuality.

Am I now suggesting that it is biblically possible for the body to cause homosexuality? Indeed, I am, provided--and read carefully--the word "cause" in this context means "biologically shape or influence," not "irresistibly compel." Used this way, there is nothing shocking about what I am saying. Our sinful hearts express themselves in behavior via hundreds of factors, biology being one. A person whose sinful hearts acts out in murder may have been influenced by unjust treatment, by parents who allowed him to vent his rage on siblings, and by Satan's incessant suggestions to kill [and I, Greg Long, would add perhaps by a biological disposition to anger inherent in the sin nature]. But none of these influences remove his personal responsibility for his intentions or actions. The ultimate cause of sin is always the sinful heart.

To use the more scientific terms of necessary and sufficient, biology may be necessary for some homosexuality, but biology is not a sufficient cause in and of itself. Consider the following illustration. If I am going to wash my car, I will need a pail of water. A bucket of soapy water will be necessary. If I don't have it, I won't be able to wash the car. Of course, there are a number of other necessary conditions that must be in place if I am to wash my car, such as good weather, available time, and a dirty car. That is, none of them can irresisitibly force me to wash it. The sufficient condition for me to wash the car is that--in addition to all the necessary conditions--I have the intention or motivation to wash it. I must want to wash the car. In the case of homosexuality, the sufficient condition is the function of the heart, and that is something for which I am always responsible....

A biblical view acknowledges that there may be psychological and biological influences in the development of homosexuality. In fact, the Bible would warn us not to take lightly the vast number of possible influences. However, Scripture states adamantly that such influences are not what make us "unclean." Instead, "from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality....All these evils come from inside and make a man 'unclean'" (Mark 7:21-23). This means that our sinful orientation has innumerable expressions in our lives. With some people it is greed or jealousy, with others it is sinful anger, and with others it can be expressed in homosexual desire. (pp. 169, 172-173)

So again, I am willing to concede that the term "sexual orientation" is fraught with difficulty, and I would personally avoid using it. But I also believe that Mohler is using the term to refer to what Welch describes in the above quote--a bent, inclination, or propensity that is inherent in the sin nature that is just one of many factors that lead to homosexual temptation.

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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's picture

Bert Perry wrote:

Greg, that's a bait and switch.  You asked whether I'd read the article, and when I noted I had and exactly what problems I had with it, you link me to....OK, how many hours is it going to take for me to figure out that he has indeed done his homework?

Which is my basic point, and Jim's.  The column does not "show his work."  And quite frankly, if Christians are going to engage on this, Biblically, we are going to have to go back to AP style and say what's important first.  If we are going to argue that Romans 1 argues for a sinful sexual orientation--and I would join in doing so--then we need to get good at saying, concisely, that Paul gives us a list of consequences of ignoring God, and that damaging sexual desires are among those consequences.

Is that so hard?

I disagree. I think the article is perfectly clear and that he shows his homework quite clearly.

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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

"When it comes to a same-sex attraction, the orientation is sinful because it is defined by an improper object — someone of the same sex. Of course, those of us whose sexual orientation is directed toward the opposite sex are also sinners, but the sexual orientation is not itself sinful."  Correctly said and theologically sound.

"Actually, the Bible speaks rather directly to the sinfulness of the homosexual orientation — defined as a pattern of sexual attraction to a person of the same sex. In Romans 1:24-27, Paul writes of “the lusts of their hearts to impurity,” of “dishonorable passions,” of women who “exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature,” and of men who “gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another.” A close look at this passage reveals that Paul identifies the sinful sexual passion as a major concern — not just the behavior." Again, well said.

Pastor Mike Harding

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

paynen wrote:

I don't think anyone would say that we choose our sin nature. 

Actually, we humans did. Adam and Eve were created innocent and chose to rebel corrupting themselves before God. 

paynen wrote:

Or that we choose which issues of total depravity has most effected us as individuals. We don't choose what sins we struggle with.

[/quote]Actually, we do. We decide which counsel of the wicked to walk in, which way of sinners to stand in, and which seat of scoffers to sit in to paraphrase Psalm 1:1. This is the whole premise behind personal responsibility. We are born sinners who willfully rebel against God. Go back and look again at the verbs listed in the Romans 1 description. They are active, not passive, as they describe the actions of men. These are all activities that sinners chose to do, not circumstances that happened to bring them to the point of condemnation. The passive verbs describe God's response.

18  suppress

20  have been clearly perceived
21  did not honor or give thanks
22  Claiming
23  exchanged
25  exchanged and worshiped and served
26  exchanged
27  gave up/ committing
28  did not see fit to acknowledge
32  know/ do/ give approval

 

 

paynen wrote:

All of our sinful desires are based on proper God given desires that have been corrupted. This corruption can manifest itself in various ways that are tied to both biology and personal circumstances.

I'm not sure that you can directly relate all sinful desires to legitimate desires, but the point is irrelevant. What is relevant is that A) there is no evidence in scripture or science that our sinful desires are related to biology in any way, and Cool personal circumstances are influences, but they are not determinative. We all face influences, and we are solely responsible for our responses to those influences in our lives because we make choices about which ones to harbor and pursue and inculcate into our lives. 

 

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

paynen's picture

I'm not sure you understand what sin nature is. Sin nature is corrupted it is not something that is chosen it is in its originality a consequence of sin in the case of Adam, and since then is the driving force of sin. We sin because we choose to obey our sinful nature... but our sinful nature is not something we choose to have. You don't choose to have any specific temptation you can just choose to give into it or cling to the hope that is in Christ. One doesn't choose to struggle with homosexuality. They just choose to give into it. Basically what you said is that each of us have the ability to choose our sin nature. That is almost pelagian in its process. We inherit our sin nature biologically from Adam. There is no point in time for us to choose it. Our choice is to whom we obey... our sin nature or our new nature in Christ.

There is evidence that our sinful desires are related to both biology and circumstances. You are entirely missing the point, because your last sentence is true "We all face influences, and we are solely responsible for our responses to those influences in our lives because we make choices about which ones to harbor and pursue and inculcate into our lives." Were your wrong is that people tend to struggle differently with different things. What is a struggle with one person is not even an issue with another. This is obvious evidence in Science. We are not all the same starting out.. We are all different not cookie cutter splices of the same man. We have different personalities different ways in which we learn and understand things. Some of us are outgoing, some of us are not. This is due to a mixture of our biology and our upbringing. Its unavoidable. Any person who argues against this would have to basically say that we should all be exactly the same... but we are not... And logically if we are different people with different minds, temptations and struggles are the same way. Just the fact that you said "we make choices about which ones we harbor and pursue and inculcate into our lives" proves the point. Why would we choose to harbor and "choose" to struggle with different sins... if we were not in fact different people with tendencies towards different struggles.

You can also easily say that all sinful desires are based off of God given desires... You may not be able to connect each individual one yourself. But to deny that sinful desire have come about do to the corruption of the natural way God gave us to experience emotion and pleasure is a basic denial of total depravity and instead stating that sin created something new inside of us instead of corrupting what was already there.

 

Nick's picture

Maybe I am being overly simplistic in my approach, and certainly I am learning about the subject, but I am going to put my thoughts in writing.  Perhaps they could be of benefit to some.

I think there are 3 categories of homosexuals.

First, there are those that in a sense both chose their desires and also their behavior.  This is a real category and some statements some folks have said here imply it doesn't exist.  But I am 100% confident this one does, based on both Romans 1 and personal experience.  See there is something called sexual addiction.  It is a terrible sin.  I know because I was addicted to pornography over 10 yrs ago.  It destroys your soul, rearranges your sexual thoughts, and always craves for more and more.  The fantasy ends up twisting nature.  There is no telling where a sexually addicted person will end up.  Some men seem normal, but their mind, when they look at a woman, is always in the gutter.  Women are purely objects.  I was there.  Others will surely end up in prostitution (that is an obvious "upgrade").  The seek of the thrill will always be there, looking for more ways, even unnatural ways.  Hence there are porno movies with plenty of homosexualism/lesbianism, and there are, underground, those movies with bestiality.  Only the grace of God makes sure not everyone ends up in the worst state possible.  But some, like Ted Bundy, do.  God literally turns them over.

Anyone who has experience sexual addiction, and who is now a believer free by God's grace from that sin, should have no problems acknowledging that they experienced the "turning over" of Romans 1 in some sense -- even if in a small sense.  One sin led to another.

As far as I know the artist Madonna belongs to this category.  I don't think she started out either lesbian or bysexual (not sure which one she ended up).  But it seems to me hers was a choice, both the doing and the desire.  Not in the sense that she woke up one day and said "I am going to start desiring women", but in the sense that her previous actions, willfully chosen, led to her waking up one day and actually sexually desiring women.

I think it is wrong to use the term "sexual orientation" for that first category.  But the term could refer to the next two categories.

The second category is what I would call "society" being turned over to sin.  God doesn't just treat us as individuals, but as a community.  And sometimes he punishes the whole community.  There are those men that were raped as children by other men.  And, from what I heard, they end up with the unnatural desire towards other men.  Also apparently the lack of one of the parents in a household can influence some, so that apparently they seek a father figure in other men.  Their sinful desires are influenced by external circumstances.  In some respects they don't feel they individually chose those desires.  But of course, they can always choose to act those desires or not.

Please note that this second category would, in other circumstances unrelated to political correctness, be classified as something of a trauma.  And psychologists would be willing to do therapy on those people.  Which is partly why I am bothered by Moore and Mohler statements against therapy (perhaps they are against a particular type of therapy and not all therapy?).  It is not so much that I am so in favor of psychology (I am not), but rather that I would not be surprised if either Moore or Mohler would be in favor of psychological therapy for other psychological traumas.  Why not this one?

Then there is a third category, those that are biologically influenced (but not determined).  It is my understanding that there are people who are born hermaphrodites.  If so, it is not hard to conceive of people born with, say, hormonal deficiencies.  And of course, that can have an impact on one's desires, so that one didn't quite "choose" to feel a certain way (although one does choose what to do with those desires).

It seems to me the minority of homosexuals fall into this category.  The perversion going on in homosexual marches tells me those folks in the marches are sexually addicted -- regardless of any other potential influences.  Perhaps the "quiet" homosexuals belong to this category.

I would classify this third category as an abnormality or a disease.  It seems to me that in every other context not corrupted by political correctness, that's exactly how it would be classified. 

I don't have a problem with the concept of a disease that can influence one to more sin (but again, it is not determinative or coercive).  All diseases are ultimately a result of sin (our parent Adam's sin) -- they are all a result of the Fall.  They are all the punishment of God in an ultimate sense (part of the curse).  And if a disease (a punishment) aids us into more sin -- well that's what Romans 1 says God would do as part of his punishment, turn us over to more sin, doesn't it?  True, it doesn't fit the Romans 1 pattern as neatly as those sexually addicted, but I still see this category as a compatible with a biblical understanding.

I'm still somewhat baffled by the backlash against therapy from Christians.  What's wrong with treatment for an abnormality or a disease?  What if there is hormonal treatment?  Are we against that?  Are Moore and Mohler against medicines for depression?  Perhaps I am misunderstanding Moore and Mohler in their disapproval of therapy.  Perhaps they are disapproving of some wicked, pornography-laden therapy.  If so, good for them.  But if they want to say that homosexuals can end up having sexual desires they don't choose, then, IMHO, I think it would be wise to call those categories diseases, traumas, and the like, and to be willing to allow for the possibility that some sort of medical or psychological therapy could help (not for the first category, but for the last two that Moore and Mohler call by "sexual orientation"). 

If we say that people can have unnatural sexual desires that they did not choose, but we are not willing to call the immediate causes leading to those unnatural desires a disease, abnormality, trauma, or the like, then it seems to me we are contradicting ourselves.  We are in essence saying that their desires are not so unnatural after all.

Greg Long's picture

Mike Harding wrote:

"When it comes to a same-sex attraction, the orientation is sinful because it is defined by an improper object — someone of the same sex. Of course, those of us whose sexual orientation is directed toward the opposite sex are also sinners, but the sexual orientation is not itself sinful."  Correctly said and theologically sound.

"Actually, the Bible speaks rather directly to the sinfulness of the homosexual orientation — defined as a pattern of sexual attraction to a person of the same sex. In Romans 1:24-27, Paul writes of “the lusts of their hearts to impurity,” of “dishonorable passions,” of women who “exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature,” and of men who “gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another.” A close look at this passage reveals that Paul identifies the sinful sexual passion as a major concern — not just the behavior." Again, well said.

So heterosexual desire is not itself sinful? Elsewhere on this thread it has been argued (and I agree) that all our desires have been corrupted by the Fall and by original sin...is heterosexual desire excluded?

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Greg Long's picture

Chip Van Emmerik wrote:

 

paynen wrote:

 

I don't think anyone would say that we choose our sin nature. 

 

Actually, we humans did. Adam and Eve were created innocent and chose to rebel corrupting themselves before God. 

 

 

paynen wrote:

 

Or that we choose which issues of total depravity has most effected us as individuals. We don't choose what sins we struggle with.

 

Actually, we do. We decide which counsel of the wicked to walk in, which way of sinners to stand in, and which seat of scoffers to sit in to paraphrase Psalm 1:1. This is the whole premise behind personal responsibility. We are born sinners who willfully rebel against God. Go back and look again at the verbs listed in the Romans 1 description. They are active, not passive, as they describe the actions of men. These are all activities that sinners chose to do, not circumstances that happened to bring them to the point of condemnation. The passive verbs describe God's response.

18  suppress

20  have been clearly perceived
21  did not honor or give thanks
22  Claiming
23  exchanged
25  exchanged and worshiped and served
26  exchanged
27  gave up/ committing
28  did not see fit to acknowledge
32  know/ do/ give approval

 

 

 

paynen wrote:

 

All of our sinful desires are based on proper God given desires that have been corrupted. This corruption can manifest itself in various ways that are tied to both biology and personal circumstances.

I'm not sure that you can directly relate all sinful desires to legitimate desires, but the point is irrelevant. What is relevant is that A) there is no evidence in scripture or science that our sinful desires are related to biology in any way, and Cool personal circumstances are influences, but they are not determinative. We all face influences, and we are solely responsible for our responses to those influences in our lives because we make choices about which ones to harbor and pursue and inculcate into our lives.

Chip, let me try to put this in a real-life scenario. Let's say someone comes in for counseling and says, "I'm struggling with homosexual temptations and need help in overcoming them."

You ask [I'm of course abbreviating this dialogue]: "When did these temptations begin?"

The response: "I know exactly why I have them. When I was six-years-old, I was sexually abused by a stepbrother. I remember it vividly. When I reached puberty I realized to my own horror that I was attracted to boys, not girls. Of course I hid this from everyone up until very recently. Yes, I have given in to these temptations many times and have even done things to feed them. But I know that God condemns homosexuality in his Word and I want to fight these temptations."

Based on what you have written here, I would think part of your response might be: "First of all, it is a choice to be tempted by homosexuality. You chose those desires when you reached puberty. It is sin even to be tempted in that way. So you need to make the choice to stop being tempted in that way to begin with..."

Please correct me if I misunderstand the practical outworkings of your position.

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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

Steve Newman's picture

Would it be helpful to clarify what is being referred to here? James 1:13-15 indicates that temptation is internal and comes from our desires. We are tempted by something that we desire. The fact that a desire entices us does not have to be sin. We must "abort" the desire before the sin is conceived in our minds, and then by our bodies. We do have control of what are our greatest desires. We have the ability to make a choice to delay and deny our desires, whatever they may be, so our desires may live within the boundaries that God has declared for them.

Greg Long's picture

Yes, Steve, that is exactly what I have been saying on related threads. You run into some very serious theological errors (Jesus must have sinned) and pastoral problems if you do not clearly separate temptation and 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

Mike Harding's picture

Greg,

Why don't you don't take that up with Dr. Mohler?  I already made my case.

Pastor Mike Harding

Greg Long's picture

I'm sorry, Mike, I don't know what you're responding to.

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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 the desire for food inherently sinful?  No.  Can the desire for food lead to sin? Yes.  Is heterosexual desire inherently sinful? No, it is the gift of God for the procreation of the human race and marital oneness.  Can heterosexual desire be set upon the wrong object? Yes, someone other than one's wife or husband.  Is homosexual desire inherently sinful? Is the desire for sex with animals, children, dead bodies inherently sinful? I would argue yes.  It is the corruption of the created order.  That is what I cited from Mohler.  

Pastor Mike Harding

Greg Long's picture

And yet, somehow Mohler is able to reconcile the statements you quoted with his belief in the possibility of innate proclivities towards SSA due to the corruption of the sin nature.

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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, you are correct on that.  On innate proclivities I had the opportunity last week to discuss that very issue with several profs from DBTS.  One said that it was basically irrelevant; another acknowledged that there was some homosexual behavior in the animal world, but didn't necessarily think it was a carry over into the human world based on the imagio dei.  Study the amorous behavior of dogs and you will understand what I mean.  Perhaps there are human hormonal imbalances in some cases and certainly there are genuine birth defects in regard to gender (about 1 in 2000 births), but the genetic dictation (gay gene)/biological causation theory I do not hold to for reasons I have previously explained.  I thought these two recent posts by Dr. Mohler were very good.  Post-birth factors and the sin nature appear to be the most influential forces in regard to homosexual behavior.

Pastor Mike Harding

Greg Long's picture

Thanks Mike. I have appreciated the interaction and your perspective has sharpened my thinking.

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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

Likewise, I learned from you and have incorporated some of your wording into our statement on Marriage and Sexual ethics.

Pastor Mike Harding