[The pic above is from a worship service of Tim Keller’s Redeemer Presbyterian Church.]

A couple years ago, I got an email from a brother I’d neither met nor heard of who for years had been a member of Francis Schaeffer’s St. Louis church, Old Orchard Presbyterian Church of Missouri Presbytery (PCA). He wrote to lament Revoice and the complicity of pastors and elders he had trusted for years. His over-the-transom email was encouraging. We exchanged emails and talked, then a year ago I received an email from him with this short preface:

Recently, I was in a discussion with an elder at our church and I mentioned The Grace of Shame to him and passed it along.  He read it and here are his thoughts on it.  As far as my church goes, he is one of the more conservative influences.

Reading on, I was pleased finally to see the method PCA men at Covenant Theological Seminary and Missouri Presbytery were using to dismiss the arguments of The Grace of Shame while signing protests against Pastor Stephen Warhurst, smearing his name permanently across the assembly’s minutes with their joint declaration that his witness against Revoice was “intemperate.”

It was discouraging then to continue reading and soon realize this Old Orchard elder was not bothering to criticize the book in any substantive way. Chapter after chapter on subject after subject were not mentioned, not dealt with, not argued against, but instead he limited his criticism almost exclusively to the proper translation of malakos/oi in 1Corinthians 6:9. But then, maybe this brother didn’t want to bother with all the chapters of the book he agreed with—hope springs eternal, you know?

But no, he wasn’t in agreement with the book anywhere, really. Even the bones he threw us struck me as insincere, particularly given the quality of arguments and rhetoric that followed.

That said, here’s the critique of this brother described as “one of the more conservative” elders of Old Orchard Presbyterian Church. Comments from me are interspersed. Note that this email received secondhand is the only critique or argument against The Grace of Shame ever received by its authors Juergen Von Hagen, Joseph Bayly, or myself.


Now that I have completed a thorough reading of The Grace of Shame, by Tim Bayly, Joseph Bayly, and Juergen von Hagen (clearly mainly by Tim Bayly, so I shall be referring to him as the author), I shall make a few comments on it.

First, there is a lot in this book with which I agree.  He certainly understands our current culture in America and offers a strong critique.  I knew that the Kinsey Institute is connected to the University of Indiana,

Actually, it’s Indiana University. Common mistake.

but I had not realized that Bloomington has become such a haven for the homosexual community.  I appreciate the ministry that Tim Bayly’s church there has apparently had among that community, including the exercise of discipline and promoting of repentance.

Although he might say he means “apparently” in the sense of “self-evidently,” I don’t think so. Merriam-Webster provides the following synonyms: “evidently, ostensibly, ostensively, presumably, putatively, seemingly, supposedly.” He plays nice toward us while inferring things in our ministries may not be all they seem.

I agree with his views of some of the consequences of the feminist movement.  my wife and I were recently discussing some of the sad results of women seeking not only to be equal with men (which they are in the sight of God), but to be like men.  We men need the complementary, sometimes civilizing, effect of women.  God certainly intended for men and women to be different and to have distinct roles.

If only “some of the consequences” are bad, which are good? It’s telling he doesn’t mention the obliteration of honor to fatherhood, authority, and submission as one of the bad consequences, although certainly this is the greatest evil at the heart of feminism, and has been from the beginning.

I have two main concerns with the book.  One is the weight Tim Bayly gives to the word “effeminate,” not only in Chapters 3 and 4 dealing with “Error 1,” but throughout much of the book.

Keep reading and it becomes clear he doesn’t object to the “weight” we give the sin of effeminacy. He denies this sin entirely. He denies this sin is in Scripture. He denies effeminacy is a sin.

Arndt and Gingrich’s A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (1957) gives two possible meanings for the Greek word malakoi or malakos: “soft” when referring to cloth, as in Jesus’ description of John the Baptist in Matthew 11 and Luke 7; and 2) “catamites” or “male prostitutes” in the crucial passage of 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.

He misrepresents Arndt/Gingrich. Here is the entry under malakos (my emphases):

μαλακός, ή, όν (s. two prec. entries; ‘soft’: Hom. et al.; ins, pap, LXX, Philo; Jos., Ant. 8, 72 βύσσος μ.; Mel., P. 80, 594 στρωμνῆς μ.)

1. pert. to being yielding to touch, soft, of things: clothes (Hom. et al.; Artem. 1, 78 p. 73, 10 ἱματίων πολυτελῶν κ. μαλακῶν; PSI 364, 5 ἱμάτιον μαλ.) μ. ἱμάτια soft garments, such as fastidious people wear Lk 7:25. (τὰ) μ. soft clothes (Sb 6779, 57; s. λευκός 2, end) Mt 11:8ab.

2. pert. to being passive in a same-sex relationship, effeminate esp. of catamites, of men and boys who are sodomized by other males in such a relationship, opp. ἀρσενοκοίτης (Dionys. Hal. 7, 2, 4; Dio Chrys. 49 [66], 25; Ptolem., Apotel. 3, 15, 10; Vett. Val. 113, 22; Diog. L. 7, 173; PHib 54, 11 [c. 245 b.c.] may have this mng.: a musician called Zenobius ὁ μαλακός [prob. with a sideline, according to Dssm., LO 131, 4—LAE 164, 4]. S. also a Macedon. ins in LDuchesne and CBayet, Mémoire sur une Mission au Mont Athos 1876 no. 66 p. 46; Plautus, Miles 668 cinaedus [Gk. κίναιδος] malacus; cp. the atttack on the morality of submissive homoeroticism Aeschin. 1, 188; DCohen, Greece and Rome 23, ’76, 181f) 1 Cor 6:9 (‘male prostitutes’ NRSV is too narrow a rendering; ‘sexual pervert’ REB is too broad)=Pol 5:3.—S. lit. s.v. ἀρσενοκοίτης. B. 1065. DELG. M-M. [1] 1

At this point I lose heart. When brothers in Christ misrepresent their sources, what’s there to say? This elder knows full well this member of his congregation is unlikely to check the source. He depends upon this, so he summarizes Bauer in a twisted way, even contradicting a source Bauer cites in his evidence: “male prostitutes is too narrow a meaning.”

This is how he gets away with reporting to his church member that Bauer’s two meanings are “’soft’ when referring to cloth [and] ‘catamites’ or ‘male prostitutes’ in the crucial passage of 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.”

There’s so much other evidence in our exegesis of this text; so many primary sources cited and so many Bible versions that have, in fact, translated the word “effeminate” (or something similar), but this elder dismisses almost all of it. He doesn’t quote our documentation or arguments. He doesn’t argue with them. Instead, he simply misrepresents Bauer and then cites Bible translations he likes.

Note that this does to the Apostle Paul’s warning of 1Corinthians 6:9 precisely what the Apostle Paul warns us against: “Do not be deceived.”

For this elder to dismiss an effeminate carriage and lifestyle from the meaning of malakos is to do harm to his reader. Nevertheless, his dismissal fits exactly with this elder’s longtime pastor (now emeritus) Ron Lutgens, his own church, and Missouri Presbytery’s support of Revoice whose main thrust was to revel in precisely these sins. Revoice was more about men and women of twisted sexual perversions getting their flame on than their declarations of celibacy.

Notice the prominence of Ron Lutgens and his fellow Missouri Presbytery men on this page  Take the time to read my linked post where I also have a link to Pastor Steve Warhurst’s video. Don’t miss that excellent video given in the face of the most appalling scorn from his fellow pastors.

Then, imagine Ron Lutgens joining Kevin Twit in leading 200 compatriots, walking to the front of the assembly to sign a document saying Pastor Warhurst’s witness against Revoice was “intemperate.” It was such a telling moment in the history of the PCA, which is the reason I’ve put so much work into compiling those names, pics, and bios. What sinful betrayal of their calling it reveals to us about the these 200 shepherds of the Presbyterian Church in America. (It might also be helpful to read this post written about Revoice revealing the catastrophic consequences this denial of the existence of the sin of effeminacy has in these elders and pastors’ ministry to any of those caught in the LGBTQ bondages.)

This is the context and community out of which this elder is speaking.

Then this:

These are the only places in the New Testament where this word is used.  I appreciate the references that Tim Bayly cites from Herodotus, Thucydides, Aristotle, Josephus, and Clement of Alexandria, but there seems to me to be good reason in this context to take the word as meaning male prostitutes

But this, his preferred meaning of “male prostitutes,” is the very meaning he fails to tell his congregant Bauer himself cites a source saying is not how the word should be translated.

and not primarily men with an effeminate manner.

“Not primarily?” So now he tries to back up so it looks as if he’s not really saying “effeminate” is not the meaning, but merely not “primarily” the meaning. This is lying by equivocation.

Either “effeminate” is part of the denotation/connotation of malakoi or it is not. If it is part of the denotation/connotation, our elder here gives up his entire argument. The minute he allows that the sin of effeminacy is warned against and condemned by the Apostle Paul, the argument must turn to the question what precisely effeminacy is and how it becomes visible and how we serve the souls caught in it—including those souls who give themselves to it without allowing another man to actually bugger them.

I tend to agree with the interpretations provided by Robert Gagnon (The word malakoi [referred] to adult males who…actively feminized their appearance and manner as a means to attracting [male] partners” [p. 34, fn. 3], and “the meaning of malakoi in 1 Cor 6:9 probably lies somewhere in between ‘only prostituting passive homosexuals’ and ‘effeminate heterosexual and homosexual males’ “ [p. 44, fn. 18]) and by John Calvin (“By effeminate I understand those who, while they may not openly become prostitutes, nevertheless show how unchaste they are by use of pandering words, by effeminate bearing and dress, and other means of attracting attention” [p. 49, fn. 2]).

He’s read our book and here he simply reproduces the quotes we used, there—of my friend, Bob Gagnon, and John Calvin.

Once more, this elder goes back on his prior claim. He starts by saying the word doesn’t mean what Tim Bayly says it means because Bauer limits the word to two meanings—“soft” as in fabric and “catamites or male prostitutes in 1Cor. 6:9”. These are the “two possible meanings for the Greek word.”

But now, a little later, he retreats to the position of saying malakos/oi does “not primarily” have the meaning of effeminate. If this elder then further retreats to the position of saying “I tend to agree with” Robert Gagnon and John Calvin where both of these authorities deny his prior claim that he “takes the word as meaning male prostitutes,” what are we to make of his ability to maintain any consistency in his arguments?

He’s doing an elaborate dance, and now, sure enough, he goes back and tries to harden his position once more:

The Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd ed., 20 volumes (1989) indicates that the word “effeminate” as used in the 17th century, when the King James Version was translated (1611), could have the meaning of male prostitutes, as in the Douay Bible (1609) translation of 1 Kings 14:24, where the meaning is clearly male prostitutes.

“Could have the meaning of male prostitutes?” This elder knows very well we, the authors, agree. The question is not whether the sin of allowing a man to bugger you for pay is part of the sin of effeminacy, but whether that sin also includes the feminine appearance and carriage and affect this man employs to attract his client? We say in the book that the natural/unnatural end of effeminacy in bearing is effeminacy in bed, yet here he writes as if he is making a case against us. This is sneaky.

Based upon what he’s written before, what he’s implying here is beyond “could have the meaning” to “does have the meaning.” He’s continuing his first hardened argument that this meaning of “male prostitutes” is the right meaning, leaving to the side what he’s just been modulating himself to say which is that the word does “not primarily” have the meaning of effeminacy.

So which is it? Who could blame someone trying to crawl through his rhetoric if he quit at this point, giving up on pinning this elder down? To understand his rhetorical ploy, this Wikipedia explanation of the motte and bailey fallacy is helpful.

The elder continues:

The 1611 edition of the Douay Bible changed the word to “sodomites.”  The ESV may have erred in conflating the two words in 1 Corinthians 6:9 into one

The ESV “may have erred,” but of course its error is not removing the sin of effeminacy from God’s Word.

(“nor men who practice homosexuality” with a footnote indicating “passive and active partners in consensual homosexual acts”), but the NIV (the Bibles in our pews at _____ Church) has “nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders,” the New Geneva Bible has “or homosexuals or sodomites,” and the New King James has “nor homosexuals nor sodomites.”  My point is that several modern translations see in the context of 1 Corinthians 6 as meaning “male prostitutes,” so that the practicers of both passive and active homosexuality are not to enter the Kingdom of God (female homosexual acts and male and female homosexual passions are condemned in Romans 1:26-27).

Again, he’s reverted to his hardened first position here, denying that the sin of effeminacy is included in 1Corinthians 6:9’s condemnation of the malakoi.

It is interesting to me that our Westminster Larger Catechism, in listing at least twenty-five specific items (depending on how one might count them) in answer to Q.139, “What are the sins forbidden in the seventh commandment?”, includes “sodomy, and all unnatural lusts,” but does not specify “effeminacy” in the sense that Tim Bayly uses in much of the book.

He’s still back at his hardened position. He’s done with his modulated position so that here he implies the sin of effeminacy does not exist. After all, the Westminster Standards don’t mention it.

But here, once again, our elder misrepresents a primary source. He reports to his congregant that the Larger Catechism teaches the sins prohibited by the Seventh Commandment don’t mention “effeminacy.” The Larger Catechism only “includes ’sodomy, and all unnatural lusts.”

What’s at issue, though, is whether effeminacy is sin condemned by the Larger Catechism? Reading this elder’s report would leave you with the impression the answer is “no.” The Larger Catechism doesn’t mention effeminacy, but rather the sins of sodomy and lust.

Yet, here is the Larger Catechism itself:

Q. 138. What are the duties required in the seventh commandment?
A. The duties required in the seventh commandment are, chastity in body, mind, affections, words, and behavior; and the preservation of it in ourselves and others; watchfulness over the eyes and all the senses; temperance, keeping of chaste company, modesty in apparel; marriage by those that have not the gift of continency, conjugal love, and cohabitation; diligent labor in all our callings; shunning all occasions of uncleanness, and resisting temptations thereunto.

Q. 139. What are the sins forbidden in the seventh commandment?
A. The sins forbidden in the seventh commandment, besides the neglect of the duties required, are, adultery, fornication, rape, incest, sodomy, and all unnatural lusts; all unclean imaginations, thoughts, purposes, and affections; all corrupt or filthy communications, or listening thereunto; wanton looks; impudent or light behavior; immodest apparel; prohibiting of lawful, and dispensing with unlawful marriages; allowing, tolerating, keeping of stews, and resorting to them; entangling vows of single life; undue delay of marriage; having more wives or husbands than one at the same time; unjust divorce or desertion; idleness, gluttony, drunkenness, unchaste company; lascivious songs, books, pictures, dancing, stage plays; all other provocations to, or acts of uncleanness, either in ourselves or others.

Both answers are full of condemnations of sins of the essence of effeminacy. Both answers are at least as much condemnations of Revoice as condemnations of Castro and bathhouses. Both answers are behavior and carriage and wandering eyes and getting your flame on and hanging with other people who have their flame on and refusing to marry even though you burn with lust—everything we mean when we warn souls against the sin of effeminacy which leads to the sin of buggering and being buggered.

In his final paragraph on the nature of sin and proper pastoral care for those with sexual dysphoria, he misrepresents what we say in the book, and his misrepresentations are serious. But I’ve tired of this man and his sashaying back and forth, up and down, right then left—then back again to right.

* * *

As indicated at the beginning of this post, I received this email one year ago, now. It was only a trip through my “Drafts” mailbox that I was reminded I hadn’t responded, and did so now. I ended my response exhorting this brother to find another church where he and his wife and family would no longer be under shepherds leading them into temptation, and was happy to hear back that this past year, he had left the church and was now in a flock where he and his family are protected from the homosexualists of Old Orchard, Covenant Seminary, and Missouri Presbytery.

Finally, it is worth mentioning I don’t know the name of this man’s former elder, and thus the anonymity of this post.

[As with all our prior Revoice posts, this was written to serve the church by rebuking false shepherds in their sin while at the same time providing a strong warning to those sheep they seek to mislead. If this work is something you believe in, please pray for us.]

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1William Arndt, Frederick W. Danker, and Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 613.

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