The Grace of Shame: Al Mohler’s reversals—reparative therapy (2)…

The Grace of Shame: Al Mohler’s reversals—reparative therapy (2)…

Al Mohler has reversed his position on homosexual orientation. Now he believes in it.

Al Mohler has also reversed his position on reparative therapy. Now he condemns it.

This post is the second half of an earlier post.


As David’s time to die drew near, he charged Solomon his son, saying, “I am going the way of all the earth. Be strong, therefore, and show yourself a man.”  – 1 Kings 2:1–2

Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.  – 1 Corinthians 16:13

Again, the issue is simple. The world has determined that seeking change can only go one direction. If you want to convert from a man to a woman, straight to queer, holy to sinful, that’s just fine and they will offer you all the help you want. On the other hand, if you want to repent of your sin, stop being transgender, stop being queer; if you want to submit to God’s will for you by becoming more the man or woman He made you to be, they will do their best to prevent you from being helped by anybody.

But when the weak and helpless are oppressed, doesn’t the compassion of Jesus Christ drive us to stand with them and give them every bit of love and help we can? Doesn’t the authority of the Lord of all the earth compel us to obey God rather than man?

In drug recovery programs, the world makes a distinction between faith-based programs and other programs. Concerning the sins of effeminacy and sodomy, though, the world condemns any attempt to bring about change. It doesn’t matter whether the program is faith-based or not. The world is intent on seducing souls to give themselves to this lust, and then keeping those souls in this lust’s bondage.

We must never forget that Jesus declared that from the beginning God made us male and female. Thus each of us is to live in obedience to the specific sex God made us—man or woman. When at the moment of conception God made us male or female, He joined together our personhood and sexuality, and, as Jesus said, what God has joined together let no man separate.[1]

If calling men and women to turn away from homosexuality and embrace the heterosexuality God gave them is contrary to Scripture and is rebellion against the Holy Spirit, there are all kinds of souls who are thankful for our church and love her for being abused and misled and lied to by her. Matter of fact, we can’t imagine how any man or woman could begin to care for a homosexual without calling him or her to repudiate homosexuality and embrace heterosexuality.

This is Christian discipleship. This is pastoral care. This is protecting the sheep and leading them to green pastures and still waters. This is love.

Of course no one wants to get specific with an effeminate or sodomitic man about the vulnerabilities and besetting sins which have conspired to turn him away from God’s heterosexuality to homosexuality, but if Pilgrim’s Progress teaches us nothing else, it teaches us not to take shortcuts.

To join the world in opposition to conversion therapy is to join the world in its attack upon the goal of repentance and change for those caught in sexual sin. Contrary to what Southern’s president would have us believe, his public condemnation of reparative therapy is not his way of protecting Gospel preaching or biblical counseling against the enemy of secularization.

The same day of the protest and press conference, the seminary posted an article on their website announcing they had called the press conference earlier that day “to refute the claims of the Fairness Campaign, a Louisville LGBT advocacy group alleging the conference promoted reparative therapy.” The article asserted,

Reparative therapy is a “superficial” response to homosexual and transgender change and Christian ministers must instead call all people to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.[2]

The protesters were opposed to anybody doing the work of helping homosexuals to change, but Southern Baptist Theological Seminary announces to their constituents that it is Christian counselors and pastors they are concerned about.

We’re left scratching our heads. Was King David wrong to call his son Solomon to be a man? Was the Apostle Paul wrong to call the men of the church of Corinth to act like men? This is the heart of the reparative therapy being criminalized across our nation, yet this seminary president and professor say such concerns are “superficial” and pastors should instead focus on “repentance and faith.”

Note the false dichotomy. Southern’s leaders speak as if a pastor can’t call men to be men while at the same time calling them to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. How does a Christian minister calling a man to repent of his effeminacy prevent him from also calling that man to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ? What is the effeminate man to repent of if not his effeminacy? Doesn’t Scripture warn him that neither the effeminate, nor homosexuals will inherit the kingdom of God?

Jesus called the woman at the well to repent of her adultery. Was He wrong? Would it have been better if He’d steered clear of the elephant in the room and merely called this Samaritan woman to generic repentance that would not harm her self-esteem?

When Jesus got specific with the Samaritan woman about her adultery, was He being superficial and should we issue one of those after-the-fact apologies for Him? We mention an apology because the president and his professor went on to say, “The Christian church has sinned against the LGBT community by responding to this challenge in a superficial way.”[3]

Take a moment to think about it. What they are confessing as sin is the call to repentance that has been the universal response of the Christian church to these sins from the time of the New Testament church to this very day!

And then, what are we to make of their condemnation of the church’s call to repentance for being “superficial”?

Sadly, we must admit that, yes, the church’s call to sexual sinners to repent has often been superficial, but not at all as these men imply. A superficial call to repentance is one that isn’t specific about what repentance looks like.

A man’s sexuality goes to the core of his being, so how can it be “superficial” to talk to him about ways he can embrace his manhood in Christ? What is “superficial” and why should we apologize for pleading with him and praying for him to be healed of his sins of softness, complacency, fearfulness, masturbation, and irresponsibility?

No, the truth is the very opposite of what these men said. The truly superficial response of ministers to the effeminacy and sodomitic sins of the souls around them would be for them to announce they now believe in homosexual orientation and thus are opposed to reparative counseling that tries to change this homosexual orientation—covering up their retreat by telling their constituents they made this change because of their deep commitment to repentance and the pure simplicity of the Gospel.

For those of us called to pastoral ministry, it is a well-known vocational danger to remain superficial in our preaching and pastoral care by speaking in generalities of “following Christ,” without any specificity about the sins that must be repented of. Thus maybe this is the most telling statement these two men made at their press conference:

We call . . . disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ to live in holiness and wholeness, which is defined by obedience to him, each in our own way.[4]

So now, instead of calling those tempted by sexual sin to love and live the sex God made them, we’ll call them to join us in obeying Jesus “each in our own way.”

You can drive a semi through that hole.

Gay or straight, effeminate or manly, butch or feminine, adulterous or chaste, fornicator or celibate, homosexual or heterosexual—all of us together, obeying Jesus “each in our own way.” Thieves, transsexuals, zoophiles, bisexuals, drunkards, lesbians, gays, and pedophiles—one big happy family together obeying Jesus “each in our own way.”

Finally, these two seminary leaders brought their betrayal of the Gospel in the face of our sodomitic culture to an end:

We don’t call people to embrace heterosexuality. We call people to embrace Christian faithfulness.[5]

There is no conflict between calling people to embrace heterosexuality and Christian faithfulness. The two are entirely sympathetic.

Repentance and faith can’t be pried loose from our personhood, which is to say our manhood and womanhood. Coming to faith and Christian discipleship are never asexual, because God made us in His own image, male and female.

Thus freedom in Christ always liberates us to better love and live our God-ordained manhood or womanhood. We come to faith through repentance from our effeminacy, sodomy, or lesbianism, and the sincerity of our repentance and faith is proven by embracing heterosexuality. It can’t be otherwise. Anything less is superficial healing.

If we oppose reparative therapy, we tell the watching world that the effeminate and men who lie with males can’t change, or don’t need to. Where, then, is our Christian love for these sinners?

Maybe more to the point, where is our fear of God?


[1] Matthew 19:6; Mark 10:9.

[2] “Southern Seminary leaders underscore rejection of ‘superficial’ reparative therapy in response to LGBT protesters at ACBC conference,” Southern News (blog), The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, October 5, 2015, http://news.sbts.edu/2015/10/05/southern-seminary-leaders-underscore-rejection-of-superficial-reparative-therapy-in-response-to-lgbt-protesters-at-acbc-conference/.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.


Excerpted from The Grace of Shame: 7 Ways the Church Has Failed To Love Homosexuals.

This is the second half of chapter 8 titled “Error 5: The “Reparative Therapy” Error.” The first half was posted two days ago.


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About The Author

7

Tim has been senior pastor of Trinity Reformed Church in Bloomington, Indiana since 1996. Married to Mary Lee, the Baylys have five children and twenty-something grandchildren. Tim's book on fatherhood is "Daddy Tried." Co-author of a book on homosexuality, "The Grace of Shame," his latest book on the Church is "Church Reformed."

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