It's been a long time since I wrote on this blog. I thought I would close it after having achieved my goal of leaving Japan, but I find myself with a need to respond.
I read an article
on the Christian Post website today. Of all the places that I thought I would find such heresy, this was near last on my list. I have decided to deconstruct the article as best I can, and provide a measured response.
Readers are invited to reply, but please understand that I make my arguments from the Bible. This post is not the place to prove Christianity from the ground up, nor do I intend to do so. I will happily argue the Word of God on this subject, at least for a while (I have a life, you know).
So, without further ado, here is the response (with the article parts in quotes for ease of application (I have the right to reproduce for reasons of criticism); my response is underlined and in parentheses for the same reason):
"In my research and work as a counselor and psychology professor" (let me start off by saying that the psychology field is a dangerous place for Christians. Many of its leaders and even pioneers have a strikingly atheist background, evident in their work and theories. One must examine each authors work in light of scripture and leave behind what does not match a Christ-like mindset)
, "I have come across many misconceptions regarding homosexuality. In this brief article, I want to highlight three that are often relevant in Christian ministry.
One - All gay people are attracted to the same sex because they did not bond with their parents or were sexually abused.
Untold pain and confusion to parents and their same-sex attracted children has been caused by well-meaning writers and counselors" (these are your peers; what evidence do you have to trump their research and work?)
"who promote this unsupported view of homosexual origins. The usual evangelical narrative is that persons attracted to the same sex did not get sufficient bonding or love from the same-sex parent and seek these experiences in the present via sexual relationships from members of the same sex. For males, the concept of an over involved, smothering mother is often thrown in as an additional family factor" (“thrown in” suggests negligence or even malevolence; a rather underhanded attack, in my opinion)
. "In addition, claims have been made that most if not all same-sex attracted people have been sexually abused.
The truth is that research on causal factors in sexual orientation is still in the early stages" (this research is, no doubt, primarily being done by non-Christians starting from a presupposition that homosexuality is not wrong, and, therefore, must be explained in a positive and behavior-affirming way (how many Christian psychologists have tenure, much less a research grant?). In this way, research is no less legitimate that anecdotal evidence)
. "However, we do know from experience that there are many same-sex attracted people who had loving homes and were not sexually abused or otherwise mistreated as children" (who is “we”, and where is the evidence of this experience?)
. "On the other hand, some say they believe their sexual desires were shaped in some way by unhappy growing up experiences. What we cannot identify with any certainty is why any given individual experiences same-sex sexual attractions" (what type of why are you looking for? There is a clear explanation in Romans 1 for the why in the general sense. The account in Romans 1 is Paul’s explanation to the Jews in Rome of the progression of evil in the Roman empire. He is summarizing the spiritual development of their environment, but the progression is universal as it is being played out again here and in Europe, as it was in ancient Greece as well. No doubt, with the proliferation of homosexual couples in the US, there will be many more next-gen homosexual adults with a multitude of nurtured proclivities toward perversion. They will, however, have all originated from the same source: the abandonment of God and His natural law. Also, I’d really appreciate some examples of the “experience” being alluded to but not shown. (The author cites example research by Wheaton College later, but just the one example))
. "Recent research" (by whom? What are their religious and world view presuppositions?)
"on twins suggests that pre-natal factors are associated with same-sex attraction" (This would be in contradiction to the Biblical account of its origins in Romans 1)
, "as are individual environmental experiences which vary among homosexuals. The best we can say at present is that different pre- and post-natal factors may operate differently in different people. For now, not only is it unnecessary to pigeon hole people, it can be harmful and intensely discouraging for parents and children alike to pursue therapy for non-existent problems of bonding or parenting. Where abuse or bonding problems exist, they should be addressed but successfully dealing with issues from the past will not of necessity lead to sexual reorientation." (if the problems from the past are what caused the perversion, then treating them is the first step to recovery)
Two - Gays can change if they try hard enough.
Closely related to the prior misconception" (this is a misnomer: the author has started with a grain of truth (homosexual sin may have more origins than a bad family life) and is trying to merge his success in the previous paragraphs with unsupported opinions in this one)
"is the one the places the success of change squarely on the motivation of the same-sex attracted person." (upon whom else should we place the burden of change for an individuals behavior and thinking but the individual?)
"Like cause of sexual orientation, the research on sexual re-orientation is marked by a paucity of research." (The research will only be effective if it’s done by a Christ-centered team interpreting their results through the Word of God)
"Anecdotes of change abound, but so do anecdotes of those who have tried to change and did not." (That is why experience will never define truth. Everyone has a story to tell to prove their point, but the believer’s source of truth begins with the Word of God. We must interpret our lives and experiences through the Word to come to good conclusions. The Word would seem to say to those who tried but failed, “press on” (Galatians 5:16-25, Phil 3:12-14), if they are indeed His children. To those who do not belong to Him, it would say “see, you can’t do it on your own. Place your life in God’s hands and let Him transform you. ” (Romans 3))
"The most recent study conducted by Stanton Jones of Wheaton College and Mark Yarhouse of Regent University found that over three years, only 15% of homosexually attracted participants in Christian ministry reported the development of heterosexual attractions. Even many of these individuals continued to experience same-sex attractions. Most of the study participants reported satisfaction with their effort to remain true to a chaste life, but only a minority reported change." (There are several problems with blanketly charging the homosexuals in this study with failure: 1. Change takes time, and to assume that 3 years is enough for everyone to wipe every trace of perversion from their minds and hearts is to stand in ignorance of the scriptural definition of the process of salvation (I Peter 1:3-9, Phil 2:12-13). 2. We cannot know the hearts of all participants in this study. Especially without knowing those involved personally, or at least more details about their spiritual walk, it is impossible to make even the most rudimentary guess as to the spiritual state of these people’s hearts. Those who do not truly know Christ will most likely not change. Lastly, and this is not in reference to the participants but to the author’s accusation itself, one study is not enough evidence of anything. Being the most recent does not mean it trumps other research either. Ultimately, research that stands in opposition to scripture is inherently invalid, either by a flaw in the study process, or the approach of its progenitors (II Timothy 3:16). Challenging the truth of scripture is a futile process, and reveals a lack of faith in His Word)
"Three - The Christian response to homosexuality is to promote change of orientation.
Closely related to the above viewpoint, efforts to change sexual orientation have been advocated historically by many Christian ministries to homosexuals. However, the change is possible mantra has discouraged many Christian people who are sincere believers but simply find their brain responses remain directed toward the same sex" (Would the same, then, be true of people who find their brain responses directed toward sex outside of marriage, alcoholism, gambling, or drug abuse?)
. "However, in my view, the proper focus of Christian ministry is fidelity to the teachings of Christ which, in this case, may lead to a celibate life or an acceptance that same-sex attractions may persist unfulfilled alongside opposite-sex attractions and heterosexual marriage" (I find this remark especially revolting; even blasphemous. To say that one’s sin is evidence of the higher calling (I Cor 7:38) and gift (I Cor 7:7) of celibacy is a conclusion as perverted as the sin being discussed. By this same argument, homosexuals are more qualified for the Catholic priesthood than straights, yet the fathers’ notoriety has not been earned with little girls)
. "Some people may experience varying degrees of change, but any such change should not be considered a test of motivation or devotion to faith" (For every God given character trait, there is a sinful counterpart (contentment/greed, faith/doubt, hope/worry). Lust is a perversion of passion. It is a twisting by satan of a godly quality given to man to be fulfilled in marriage (and ultimately in our union with Christ (Eph 5:31,32)). Homosexual lust is a result of the same perversion, as is bestiality, pederasty, and every other conceivable corruption of God’s designation of coupling, and its solution is the same as well (I Cor 7:8-9))
"This point is less a misconception than it is a statement of belief. Trusting Christ removes the penalty of sin but the act of conversion does not render anyone, gay or straight, a perfectly sinless, temptation-free person. We do not expect newly straight people to lose their sexual temptations, why would we expect same-sex attracted people to suddenly change?" (Who said we do? We do expect to see homosexual behavior stop (Heb 10:26), but I don’t know anyone who thinks the sinful mind of man is transformed overnight. Nevertheless, it is transformed (Phil 1:3-11))
"Heterosexuals cannot adopt "straight pride" when it comes to the sexual arena and expect to be taken seriously by already skeptical gays." (homosexuality used to be a shameful behavior kept quiet by the public understanding of its graphic perversity. This godly shame has been turned on its head by the gay community; in their sinful and corrupt state, they will not take any Biblical doctrine on homosexuality seriously. I am not aware of the “straight pride” campaign to which the author makes reference, but homosexuality is shameful, and it is our duty as purveyors of light to call a spade a spade (Eph 5:11-14))
"People who identify themselves as gay, lesbian and/or bisexual are wary of the Church due in part to the culture wars regarding status and marriage" (why is this relevant? Every wicked person can be wary of the church because their immoral acts are condemned by Christ and His people, but that doesn’t mean we don’t speak the truth, or fight for it in the public venue. We are obligated to seek God’s honor, both in our lives, and in the laws of our nation, as much as it is in our power to do so. Christ Himself CONDEMNED SIN both in individuals (John 8:11 (pay special attention to the last sentence)) and in the Jewish hierarchy held captive under Roman rule (John 8:1-9, Matt 23))
. "Our gay neighbors are also offended by stereotypes regarding their family background, and the persistence and durability of sexual and emotional desire for same-sex relationships" (Not as much as God is offended by the durability of these sinful desires. I’m sure the author wants to glorify God, but he seems to put it a distant second to wanting homosexuals to feel comfortable in the church. Honor God before man (Deut 6:13))
. "Without compromising doctrine, those working with same-sex attracted people should bring the good news of forgiveness and grace, unburdened by misconceptions, to those who often see the church as an enemy" (it seems that the writer is already compromising doctrine. Forgiveness and grace have no value if there is nothing for which to be forgiven. Sin must be wholly unacceptable in the believer’s life (Matt 5:48). The author seems to view the chasm between the stigma of homosexuality and the stigmas of pornography addiction, adultery, alcoholism, and other such commonplace invaders in the church as evidence that we should be just as soft on homosexual behavior, rather than treat the other more common sins of thought and deed as equally reprehensible). My Conclusion:I believe the author’s intent in the article is to encourage Christians to bear with their homosexuality-stricken brethren in love; not exasperating them with impatience and undue criticism. The problem, however, is that I see an undercurrent of sympathy beyond the common struggle to remove sin from our lives, leading to an unbiblical acceptance of behavior and thought. I can’t say it’s explicit in the article, but the author seems to imply that at least some homosexuals cannot change. Certainly, without the indwelling work of the Spirit, no godly change is possible in anyone, but with Christ, all things are possible (Mark 10:27). Change is, in fact, a hallmark of true believers (Col 1:21-23, Heb 6:1-12). To enable believers who struggle with homosexuality to continue in their sin by claiming this orientation to be inherent denies the power of Christ (I Cor 6:9-11), denies the Word of God (Rom 1:26,27), and destroys the believer! (Matt 18:6)