Wheaton staffer announces support for gay relationships

Julie Rodgers has resigned her position in the Wheaton Chaplain’s office on the same day that she reveals her support for gay sexual relationships. Eric Teetsel has a report here, and I encourage you to read it. In the meantime, some initial observations:

1. Biblical authority is missing. Rodgers’s explanation of her change of heart is long on personal experience and short on Bible. If she has a reasoned biblical rationale for her views, she didn’t share it. It shouldn’t be lost on readers that other considerations seem to be driving her embrace of gay relationships, not God’s word.

2. Theology matters. The theology of the so-called gay “Christian” movement cannot hold. It affirms that same-sex orientation can be a moral good, even though same-sex behavior is a moral evil. Rodgers held to this view and argued for it publicly. But this is an anthropological contradiction that cannot survive biblical scrutiny. Our sexual attractions—even the ones that come naturally to us and that we experience as unchosen—are fundamentally moral in nature. And it makes no sense at all to say that same-sex behavior is sinful but the attraction that leads to such behavior is not. Those who are trying to hold these irreconcilable propositions together are doing something risky. When someone like Rodgers accepts that “gay is good,” we shouldn’t be surprised when they conclude that same-sex behavior is “good” as well.

3. Celibacy is insufficient by itself. Embracing celibacy is absolutely necessary for all unmarried Christians—same-sex attracted or otherwise. I applaud everyone who has faithfully walked this path. But celibacy alone does not get at the heart of things. Biblical Christianity cannot be reduced to behavioral modification. Authentic Christianity results in people becoming obedient from the heart (Romans 6:17). Embracing same-sex orientation as a moral good prevents such obedience and works against efforts to be celibate.

4. Timing is key. Rodgers says she has embraced gay relationships “for a while now.” So when exactly did Rodgers have a change of heart? How many Wheaton students did she counsel while holding a view at odds with the Wheaton Community Covenant? What was her view when she was supposed to be the orthodox opposition to Vines and Gushee at the Boston Q Conference? She has been regarded as a reliable voice among evangelicals, but she has clearly been drifting from the faith for some time now. She is very winsome. So it’s not hard to imagine that her influence among students at Wheaton and beyond has been significant over the last year. How much of her theological drift did she pass on to those that she was entrusted to teach?

5. Sexuality is the test of our time. Sexuality/gender is where loyalty to Christ is being tested in our culture. More and more, it has become the line dividing the sheep from the goats. We cannot overemphasize the fact that the stakes really are that high. It is one thing when a young Christian has not been taught well on these issues and needs correction. But it is quite another thing when Christian teachers embrace a studied rejection of Christ’s word. We no longer have grounds to treat them as Christians. Those of us who are pastors are to warn our people to avoid their false teaching. They are not of us (1 John 2:19). They are the blemishes at our love feasts (Jude 12).

This is a sad departure. I expect we will see many more like it in the days ahead. And each one will be an occasion for grief.

101 Responses to Wheaton staffer announces support for gay relationships

  1. Tony Scialdone July 14, 2015 at 3:51 am #

    Help me out here, Denny. I’m not sure I understand your context for this line:

    “And it makes no sense at all to say that same-sex behavior is sinful but the attraction that leads to such behavior is not.”

    Are you suggesting that temptation itself is sin?

    • Denny Burk July 14, 2015 at 4:56 am #

      Yes, sometimes it is. That’s what the Bible teaches.

      • Charles Hall July 14, 2015 at 9:52 am #

        Denny,

        I’m genuinely curious – am I misunderstanding Hebrews 4:15 when it seems to show a contrast between sin and temptation? Thanks for your help.

      • Bryan McLaughlin July 14, 2015 at 9:59 am #

        Help me on this. Where does the Bible say that temptation alone is sometimes a sin.

        • Denny Burk July 14, 2015 at 10:05 am #

          James 1:14: “But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.”

          • Ian Shaw July 14, 2015 at 10:58 am #

            Thus the jump going from temptation to fantasy (enticement)

          • Roy Fuller July 14, 2015 at 12:44 pm #

            So how do we fit Hebrews 4:15 into this idea that temptation itself is sometimes sin? “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet he did not sin.”

            • Roy Fuller July 14, 2015 at 12:48 pm #

              I did read your article and you answer this by claiming that Jesus really is not like us. Fair enough, though I think that diminishes the humanity of Jesus.

            • Christiane Smith July 14, 2015 at 2:30 pm #

              I think it extremely important to understand that Our Lord was not only fully God, but also fully Man . . . He was presented with the temptations that we humans experience, but He did not sin . . . therefore, if we say that Our Lord was in some OTHER way not fully human, than we have a problem with the doctrine of the Incarnation. And at that point, we could no longer call Him the ‘second Adam’.

              If people seek out places and occasions where they know they will be tempted to sin, that is forbidden . . . and in itself it is a sin because that seeking is done by ‘choice’ . . .

              but if a person turns away from temptation (which all Christian people are asked to do daily with the help of God’s grace), then there is no sin where there is no willing choice to sin.

              A temptation can be presented to someone who doesn’t want it and refuses to give in to it.
              That person who does not turn away from Christ cannot be said to be ‘guilty’ of sin.

          • Luke Strain July 14, 2015 at 2:50 pm #

            It seems to me that you are saying that a christian who struggles with same-sex attraction sins every time he is attracted to someone of the same sex, even if they do not intentionally think or act upon that attraction.

            I think James 1:14’s meaning is made more clear when you read it along with 15.

            James 1:15: “Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it rings forth death.”

            Verse 15 specifies that sin comes about once lust has been conceived. When 14 and 15 are put together it creates an order of events. One is tempted, then enticed (or gives into temptation), then sins, and the penalty of that sin is death.

            Wouldn’t that mean if the process was stopped before the sin takes place it is not a sin?

          • Chris Ryan July 14, 2015 at 6:25 pm #

            There’s a mountain of difference between temptation and lust. If you’re arguing that simple attraction for homosexuals is lust then simple attraction for heterosexuals is lust. As Ian says lust involves fantasizing. This framework you have in mind doesn’t really make sense. It would mean everyone who ever finds anyone not their wife/husband attractive would be sinning. If you’re single and see a woman in church you might want date–oops, that’s a sin! This is not in any way a defense of homosexuality. Homosexuality is clearly sinful but we can’t ‘add’ sins to the Bible. That’s as wrong as saying homosexuality is ok.

      • Tony Scialdone July 14, 2015 at 1:32 pm #

        Thanks for the link. I found the article informative.

        Unfortunately, I cannot agree at this time. Not being Reformed, I feel no inclination to specifically align my point of view with Augustine’s or Hodge’s. As I understand the Scriptures, I can’t conclude that temptation is sin. I’ve tried to boil it down for your benefit, but I doubt that a short comment would make any inroads. I read most of what you post, and I appreciate what you do. Carry on, brother!

  2. Travis Henderson July 14, 2015 at 7:20 am #

    Good for her.

  3. Shane Dilton July 14, 2015 at 9:10 am #

    This is what I’ve grown exceedingly tired of hearing from the post that she wrote:

    ‘They simply underestimate the burden of feeling marginalized, scrutinized, unwanted and relationally toxic..’

    And it seems to be a pretty common lament. Pretty much everyone, in one way or another is marginalized, scrutinized, unwanted and relationally toxic in one form or another.

    You could easily put your average born again christian into these catagories and those types of posts seem to make it like gay people are the only ones to suffer this type of thing. It gets really, really old to read.

    • Carol Reed July 14, 2015 at 9:43 am #

      Shane, I have a lot of friends who feel like you do. As a Christian mom of a gay son, I’ve got a foot in both worlds. Please get to know some gay Christians, even if you don’t agree with them (unless you’re going to attack them, then don’t bother). Unless the marginalization of white, middle-class Christians has cost you your job, or your family, or you’ve been verbally or physically abused, or you’ve despaired to the point of considering suicide–your marginalization and the marginalization of LGBT people are two very different things.

    • Ian Shaw July 14, 2015 at 11:00 am #

      Shane, the quote you pulled out could easily be applied to every adolescent who ever lived on the planet. Many adolescents feel that way and many have harmed themselves or took their own lives because they felt that way, not necessarily only those who were gay.

  4. Denny Burk July 14, 2015 at 9:42 am #

    Hey, guys. I expanded #4 and added #5 to the original post. Thanks for reading.

  5. Don Johnson July 14, 2015 at 11:39 am #

    I read the section of your ETS paper and your updates to the original post.

    You do realize that your entire argument collapses once it can be shown that there is a faithful interpretation that shows that not all homosexual acts are sin? That is, it then becomes a exegetical debate about which is the more faithful interpretation, similar to debates about water baptism, spirit baptism, communion, manhood and womanhood and a host of other doctrines found in the body of Christ. And I also include the historical debates about the divine right of kings, the geocentric model, slavery, etc.

    Close to SBC theology, do you think the US antebellum slaveholders were trying to be faithful interpreters of Scripture? I think they were trying to be, it is just they failed because they had a large blind spot. They made a wrong choice in CHOOSING how to interpret some Biblical texts about slaves. And I claim the same is true today. You are CHOOSING how to interpret some texts that involve homosexual acts and your defense is that the texts are clear that such acts are sin, when such is not the case at all. So you add your 5th item, since you think that no one can disagree with you in faith.

    I disagree with you in faith. I think you are trying to be faithful but have a blind spot just like the slaveholders did.

    • Adam Puma Borsay July 14, 2015 at 1:47 pm #

      You are misappropriating the comparison to US Chatel Slavery for your analogy. 1- What the US did in regards to slavery was uniquely different than how slavery had been interpreted to be understood and practiced in virtually all Christian contexts for over a millennia. US Slavery was a DEPARTURE from the faithful Christian witness of history. And, faithful Christians who held tightly to scripture were the ones who brought about the end of slavery.

      So….the appropriate comparison would be; For millennia the Church has always understood homosexual behavior to be a sin, and like the slave owners of the Early US, we now have a group of people, led by selfish desire, trying to reinterpret the Biblical text to justify their sinful behavior.

      Also, I have yet to hear anything close to resembling a “faithful” interpretation of acceptable same sex behavior. Gushee, Lee and Vines have all resorted to claims based upon emotionalism(ie, gay youth feel bad, so, we need to stop telling them it is a sin because we don’t want them to hurt themselves), and are unwilling and UNABLE to engage in substantive debate regarding the pertinent texts and historical contexts.

      Even Vines’ response to Kevin DeYoung’s “40 Questions” wasn’t even a response as much as it was more of the emotional rhetoric game.

      • Don Johnson July 14, 2015 at 2:59 pm #

        The SBC was founded over the idea that one could be a faithful Christian and a slaveholder, after all, the text does say, “Slaves, obey your masters.” and Paul told the slave Onesimus to go back to his master Philemon, how much clearer could it be? Do not accept a whitewashing of history, Christians have held slaves and they did not think this was anything to be ashamed over.

        I agree that Vine’s exegetical arguments were lacking.

        • Tony Scialdone July 14, 2015 at 3:40 pm #

          Regardless of what the SBC did or didn’t do, you err significantly when comparing chattel slavery with the kind of slavery Philemon engaged in. In ancient Israel, slaves had contracts with their masters, trading work for provision and security. They could own businesses, own property, and even take vacations. To put it more bluntly:

          Anyone who kidnaps another and either sells him or still has him when he is caught must be put to death. Exodus 21:16

          The penalty for chattel slavery was death. You do injury to Scripture by pretending there’s a parallel between the two.

          • James Bradshaw July 14, 2015 at 4:23 pm #

            Tony, how do you square this with these passages a little further down: Exodus 21:20-21 which states that there should be no punishment for someone who beats their slave (referred to as “property”) so long as it isn’t to death?

            • Tony Scialdone July 14, 2015 at 5:01 pm #

              A little homework goes a long way, James. Being beaten with a rod – as in the passage you cite – was a common punishment, including civil punishments administered by the community. A quick search will show the commonness of it. This isn’t a matter of cruelty on the part of the ‘master’, but a discipline. While there were undoubtedly some who were cruel, Scripture clearly forbids this…they were instructed to not rule over anyone ruthlessly.

              The master was responsible for the well-being of the servant. If they beat their servant and they could return to work, there was no punishment. The master lost out on the work that would have been done. The reference to ‘property’ may be unfortunate. The Hebrew word is KECEPH, which essentially means “money”. A servant was a financial benefit to the master, and lost work meant lost money. (see http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H3701&t=NASB).

              If they inflicted permanent damage (like knocking out a tooth, or blinding them), the servant was released from their contract. This is found in the passage you cite. If the servant was killed, the master would be held accountable…also in the passage you cite.

              The plain and simple fact is that slavery in the Bible is very unlike chattel slavery. It was more like an employment contract than the slavery of the American antebellum South.

              • Don Johnson July 14, 2015 at 6:59 pm #

                I agree that what was practiced as Southern slavery was not Biblical slavery. But the Southern slaveholders did not see it that way, read what they wrote in defence of their beliefs and actions.

                • Tony Scialdone July 14, 2015 at 7:22 pm #

                  I appreciate your reply, Don.

                  My emphasis is on the contrast between chattel slavery and the slavery in the Bible. When one examines the nature of servitude in the Scriptures, it’s abundantly clear that the slavery that the SBC sought to justify cannot be accepted on theological grounds. Regardless of their intentions, we should see that their conclusions were in error.

                  You wrote “Do not accept a whitewashing of history, Christians have held slaves and they did not think this was anything to be ashamed over.” My response, in light of Scripture, is simply this: THEY WERE WRONG.

                  Have a great day!

                  • Don Johnson July 14, 2015 at 8:23 pm #

                    My take on slavery is a little more nuanced. What we have is in Scripture a regulating of slavery so that the worst abuses are mitigated in a time when slavery could be a better option in some cases, better than starvation, for example. Was Sarah wrong in having a slave? Not necessarily. Was Philemon wrong in having a slave? Not necessarily. Were the antebellum slaveholders wrong in having slaves? Yes they were. This is because the social circumstances changed from the times of Sarah and Philemon and the antebellum slaveholders, so what God wanted changed.

                    • Tony Scialdone July 15, 2015 at 1:02 am #

                      I’m not sure “nuanced” is the word you’re looking for. “Reductionist” might be a better fit. It’s not the situation that changed, Don. Chattel slavery existed at that time…it was just outlawed in Israel. For example: Mesopotamian slave owners could put out the eyes of their slaves for any – or no – reason. The “social circumstances” that differed between ancient Israel and the antebellum South is that the South was willing to do what was outlawed in Israel. The two situations are NOT AT ALL equivalent.

                      When you say that Sarah had a “slave”, you’re drawing a parallel between her kind of slavery and the American slavery of 1850. That is an error of both history and scripture. They are not the same.

                    • Don Johnson July 15, 2015 at 3:46 pm #

                      The rules in Torah were different for Israelite slaves and gentile slaves and for men slaves and women slaves. Hagar was a slave before Moses. The black slaves were slaves of which there were 2 main types, field and house. All of these had differences and similarities. None of them were free.

                      The slave owners that formed the SBC and the PCA were so sure they were right in their interpretation that they divided denominations over it.

                    • Tony Scialdone July 15, 2015 at 7:28 pm #

                      >> None of them were free.

                      Again, you’re drawing a parallel where one can’t be sustained. Slaves in ancient Israel could own their own businesses and property, and could pay a ‘quitrent’…that is, fund part of their contract out of their own money and take time off. American slaves could do none of that. I sincerely don’t understand why you persist in posting when, at every turn, you show yourself to be wrong. I don’t say that to be argumentative, but to suggest that you may just be looking for excuses for the SBC.

                      >> The slave owners that formed the SBC and the PCA were so sure they were right in their interpretation that they divided denominations over it.

                      The Bible condemns chattel slavery, and the laws regarding slavery were to protect the slave from abuse. Confidence does not equate to truth. The founders of the SBC might have been sure, but there’s no doubt they were wrong.

                • steve hays July 15, 2015 at 11:34 am #

                  So what?

            • steve hays July 15, 2015 at 11:36 am #

              Regarding that passage from Exodus:

              http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2014/09/flogging.html

              • Tony Scialdone July 15, 2015 at 1:22 pm #

                Thanks, Steve. I spent a lot of time looking over articles like that on ‘slavery’ in the ANE…and everything I’ve read points directly to that last point: the laws were for the slave’s benefit, to protect them from mistreatment.

    • buddyglass July 14, 2015 at 10:44 pm #

      For what it’s worth, to me, the biblical case against sexual intimacy between two persons of the same sex is much stronger than the biblical case for of chattel slavery.

    • John Hanna July 15, 2015 at 11:22 pm #

      Don Johnson, your position is typical in its American and Western narrowness and parochialism, ignoring both history and the rest of the world.

      Christianity was Middle Eastern, African and Asian before it was northern and Western European. Race-based slavery and segregation, including opposition to interracial marriage, were not in any way “Christian teaching,” but was a position advanced by one group of Christians in one part of the world during a brief period of history. It was aberrant teaching which could easily and properly be rejected without any loss to Christian understanding or teaching. The glorious picture of the new heavens and new earth given to us in the Bible is that it will be filled with those from every nation, tribe, people and language. Christianity is a global, multicultural, multilingual, multiracial movement, and has been from its very inception, when in Acts 2 it says that those in Jerusalem were from “every nation under heaven.”

      Conversely, the expression and enjoyment of human sexuality in the union of the two sexes, male and female, within the permanent, exclusive, life commitment of marriage is universal Christian teaching and understanding throughout Christianity’s history. This union of man and woman is the pinnacle of God’s creation in Genesis 1 and 2, and is a picture of the relationship between Christ and his church, with a marital celebration being one of the ways the Bible depicts the joy and radiance of the new heavens and new earth (Revelation 19, 21). To say that this understanding of marriage and sexuality is wrong, not to mention bigoted, is to say that Christianity itself is wrong and bigoted, for they are linked. The Christian understanding of sexuality isn’t simply a “rule” among others, which can be cast aside while maintaining other beliefs we prefer, as if redemption could be “made to order” according to our contemporary, affluent, privileged, entitled tastes. It has to do with the nature of what it means to be human, orienting desires, affections and behaviors away from sin in opposition to God, towards God in faith, hope and love.

      • Don Johnson July 16, 2015 at 11:27 am #

        I respond to your second paragraph.

        1) Marriage in Scripture is ended by death or divorce. God wants it to be life long, so do not enter into it without that goal, no deliberate time-limed marriages, unlike Islam. God desires marriage to be monogamous, but when people in polygamous marriages come to faith in Christ, there is not necessarily a requirement for divorce, rather what is best for everyone should be paramount.

        2) Gen 1 and 2 describe things in functional terms and one possible function of marriage is procreation and caring for any children produced. But the primary function of marriage is to address our being alone.

        3) Both our relationship with God and our relationship with our spouse starts with a covenant. Scripture uses a METAPHOR of marriage to describe Israel’s relationship with God (including God divorcing Israel) and Christ marrying the members of his body. This metaphor includes a wedding celebration. But just like all metaphors, one should not take the marriage/wedding metaphor too far, it is not a marriage, for what I hope are obvious reasons.

        4) Faithful believers can believe that Scripture teaches that homosexual acts are not always sin and that the most faithful way to do such acts is in a covenant. This is what I believe. It is a matter of interpretation of some passages in Scripture and a debatable matter.

        • steve hays July 16, 2015 at 1:15 pm #

          Why did Don Johnson even bring up Antebellum slavery when he says “Faithful believers can believe that Scripture teaches that homosexual acts are not always sin and that the most faithful way to do such acts is in a covenant. This is what I believe. It is a matter of interpretation of some passages in Scripture and a debatable matter.”

          Why not apply that reasoning to Confederate theologians like Thornwell and Dabney?

          • Don Johnson July 16, 2015 at 2:58 pm #

            I was trying to apply that reasoning because I think I see a connection. I see the SBC/PCA slavery apologists as trying to be faithful believers, but wrong. And where did they go wrong? The abolitionists were mostly liberal believers of the time, so their arguments were dismissed as being anti-Bible.

            But the abolitionists were arguing for the weak, while the pro-slavery apologists were arguing for themselves to be on top, were blind to their selfish motives, and allowed their selfishness to corrupt their interpretation. I think this is the root of the problem and has yet to be repented of fully and will continue in SBC/PCA theology.

            • steve hays July 16, 2015 at 3:04 pm #

              What is there for us to repent of? The culprits are long dead and buried. Do you subscribe to vicarious repentance?

              • Don Johnson July 16, 2015 at 3:30 pm #

                I think that the theological heirs of the SBC/PCA founders continue to have the original root problem of selfishness (specifically wanting to be on top) and cloaking it in their interpretation of Scripture.

                Mat 20:25 But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them.
                Mat 20:26 It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant,
                Mat 20:27 and whoever would be first among you must be your slave,…

                Not servant leader, just servant.

                • steve hays July 16, 2015 at 10:32 pm #

                  What theological heirs are you alluding to? How does SBC/PCA polity or leadership differ from Anglicanism or Lutheranism or its Northern counterparts?

                  Also, one of the ironies of the abolitionist debate is that Confederates like Dabney weren’t slaveholders. They weren’t the landed gentry. They weren’t the ruling class.

                  • Don Johnson July 17, 2015 at 3:01 pm #

                    I am referring to the current leaders of the SBC and PCA. The PCA has not yet repented of slavery, but are considering it, the SBC did so in the late 20th century. As I see it, both groups of leaders continue to cloak selfish interest in their interpretation of Scripture such has a horrible track record of actually being what God wants. All of us are tempted by that, but they have institutionalized it.

                    • steve hays July 17, 2015 at 3:37 pm #

                      You still have the peculiar notion that the living should repent for what some dead people did to other dead people. Do you think Japanese youth today should repent for the Bataan Death March or the Rape of Nanking? What’s your justification for believing in vicarious repentance? It’s not as if this is an ongoing policy.

                    • steve hays July 17, 2015 at 3:41 pm #

                      What “selfish interests” are they “cloaking” in their interpretation of Scripture?

                    • Don Johnson July 18, 2015 at 9:03 pm #

                      Institutions like companies and countries can last beyond the lifetime of individuals. Institutions can and do declare that they repent of past actions committed in their name, the SBC did so with slavery. For some reason you keep mis-stating what I wrote to be about individuals when I keep mentioning SBC and PCA.

                      I think Japan should repent of atrocities/mass war crimes committed in war by its troops and other countries should also.

                      They promote criteria for leadership that the existing leaders meet but does not potentially include all members in the body of Christ using verses that are anything but clear. I have listened to people they have broken that have left their churches, never to return. Until they repent, I see no reason why this exodus will not continue.

                    • steve hays July 18, 2015 at 11:14 pm #

                      For some reason it doesn’t occur to you that denominations are just collections of individuals. What is there to repent of at this late date? The offending policies are long gone. The offenders are dead.

                      You’re inventing nonexistent duties. There’s no moral or theological obligation to perform vicarious repentance. That’s just political theater.

    • Brett Cody July 16, 2015 at 9:32 am #

      Don,
      Hogwash!

  6. Pat Miller July 14, 2015 at 12:06 pm #

    Can you clarify? If I have a same-sex desire that I cannot help, am I sinning? That seems to be awfully harsh. Or is there a difference — as in, the desire itself is sinful, but it’s only when I yield to it that I myself am then sinning?

    In other words, I as a straight male have bodily desires for sex outside of marriage. They exist, and I must fight against them. So the desires themselves are innate to me — I didn’t choose them — but they still are sinful. However, I myself have not sinned unless I dwell on those desires, feed them, and eventually — yield to them. Is that theologically sound?

  7. Christiane Smith July 14, 2015 at 2:44 pm #

    DENNY, I believe it a mistake to call people with same-sex attraction ‘sinners’ IF they have not chosen that burden and IF they have not acted on that attraction. To call them ‘sinners’ over something of which they are in no way willing to partake seems an injustice to them and a scandal to all people who experience temptations and turn away from them, thinking they have done so by the grace of God. If nothing more, ‘grace’ makes us stronger than we could be on our own.

    Grace must be seen to make a difference in the face of temptation:

    “For, with the old order destroyed, a universe cast down is renewed, and integrity of life is restored to us in Christ.” ( a prayer of the Church)

    • Don Johnson July 14, 2015 at 6:56 pm #

      Based on my understanding of what Denny teaches on this, I think Denny and all that accept his teaching on this actually ARE sinning when they have an immediate involuntary desire for something that they should not desire, since they think it is a sin. For those of us that realize such is not a sin, however, it is not.

      Mat 23:4 (Jesus speaking about Pharisees) They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger.

      • Christiane Smith July 15, 2015 at 6:38 am #

        From my point of view, DON, this is my understanding:
        Where there is no will to sin, there is no sin. What the Church considers actual sin is committed by a free personal act of the individual will, and so the ‘sin’ is a voluntary action of thought, word, or deed . . . and sometimes it is a failure to act when faced with a situation that calls for a response in accordance with one’s conscience . . . many sins come from what we fail to do in this life, yes.

        That we suffer from ‘original sin’ is evidenced by our weakened state, which depends on God’s grace for help. Some see the effects of orginal sin as having devastated the human ability to choose the moral good and to live according to conscience, which is our God-informed moral guide. But the Church has consistently taught that we are rational beings, with God-given consciences, wounded but still functioning in our ability to choose the right over what is evil.

        The Church does teach that God calls people to Himself initially; but the Church has also taught that we may choose ‘life’ or reject it, and that choice is something that is a part of who we are as made in the ‘image of God’. It is a part of our dignity as human persons made in that image. Don, it’s complicated. I see this from a Catholic point of view, not through the eyes and heart of a person who follows five-point Calvinism, so I cannot speak for those people who would see ‘sin’ from a very different point of view. Thank you for responding.

  8. steve hays July 14, 2015 at 3:20 pm #

    Another good analysis:

    http://whatswrongwiththeworld.net/2015/07/so_much_for_that_particular_ch.html

  9. Curt Day July 15, 2015 at 10:34 am #

    Two points should be made here. First, we should consider whether how most Conservative Christians have opposed same-sex marriage in society has contributed to Rodgers’ changing of her mind on this issue.

    Second, it is wrong to make the single test, like sexuality, for Christianity. Such would invite a salvation by works and the wrong approach to those who are struggling with their sexuality and have experienced some lapses. Making sexuality the test Christianity for our time invites those who haven’t experienced lapses encourages them to become like the Pharisee from the parable of the two men praying.

    • steve hays July 15, 2015 at 3:00 pm #

      i) No, Curt, we should treat her as a moral agent who’s responsible for her beliefs and actions–instead of shifting blame to your favorite bogeyman.

      ii) You’re confusing justification by faith with the role of works in salvation. But sanctification is a condition of salvation. In Reformed theology, sanctification is the result of divine grace. Lack of sanctification indicates the absence of sanctifying grace. “Works,” in the sense of sanctification, are essential to salvation.

      iii) You deliberately obfuscate the distinction between “lapses” and defiant sin. What we’re dealing with in this situation isn’t “lapses” or “struggles,” but people who say homosexual behavior is morally praiseworthy.

      iv) BTW, you yourself have a single test. Your myopic obsession with what you perceive to be Christian hypocrisy. That’s the single lens through which you filter all your criticisms of the evangelical church.

      • Curt Day July 15, 2015 at 8:27 pm #

        Steve,
        First, the subject of your reference, that is the identity of who is to be regarded as a moral agent, is not clear. If it is society, should society hold to all of the moral standards that those in the Church should be held to? And if so, how do we fit that together with the 1st amendment and the freedom of religion?

        Second, our reliance on justification by faith is often revealed by how we treat and regard others. When we speak of others as being sinners and thanking God that we are not like them, we show that we ourselves, despite our confessions, are leaning toward a justification by works. Remember that Paul followed the horrendous list of sins described in Romans one with the warning not to judge in Romans 2:1ff because those who judge are guilty of the sins they are judging others for.

        Third, Romans 7 is not talking about lapses of sin. Neither should we look at ourselves as only undergoing lapses since the summation of the law is found in loving God with our whole being and loving our neighbor as ourselves. At the same time, certain sins are singled out as signs that, if defiantly continued, one’s confession of faith may not match their actual state of being. Remember that my disagreement is not about whether there should be same-sex marriage in the Church. The answer is obviously no. The issue is should many of us Christians have so sternly objected to same-sex marriage in society.

        Fourth, I don’t have a single test for who is a Christian. I do believe that many of my fellow Christians have been wrong in forcing Christian standards on society with regard to homosexuality. And I believe that Jesus’ warning to us against lording it over others and the passages that talk about Church discipline, such as the one in I Cor 5, the whole chapter, gives us a picture of what we should expect from society.

        • steve hays July 16, 2015 at 2:16 am #

          “First, the subject of your reference, that is the identity of who is to be regarded as a moral agent, is not clear.”

          The referent was crystal clear. I was responding to you on your own terms. You need to keep track of your own argument. You referred to Rodgers.

          So that’s the referent. She’s the moral agent in question.

          “Second, our reliance on justification by faith is often revealed by how we treat and regard others. When we speak of others as being sinners and thanking God that we are not like them, we show that we ourselves, despite our confessions, are leaning toward a justification by works.”

          It’s always funny how people like you use that parable. Here’s how you implicitly recast the parable:

          Curt, standing by himself, prayed thus: “God, I thank you that I’m not like Denny Burk, Ryan Anderson, or Robert Gagnon. I belong to the Socialist Party USA. I agitate for Occupy Wall Street. I read Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky religiously. I light a votive candle to St. Rachel Corrie.”

          When you take that parable, cast the faithful in the role of the Pharisee, and cast your social mascots in the role of the tax-collector, you’re unconsciously casting yourself as the Pharisee. You are looking down on Denny Burn, Ryan Anderson, Robert Gagnon et al. You are drawing an invidious comparison between you and them.

          “Remember that Paul followed the horrendous list of sins described in Romans one with the warning not to judge in Romans 2:1ff because those who judge are guilty of the sins they are judging others for.”

          i) If you really believe that, then you’re self-condemned. Few people are more judgmental than you.

          ii) So when Denny Burk, Ryan Anderson, Robert Gagnon et al. judge homosexual acts, they themselves are guilty of committing homosexual acts? Do you think they’re closet homosexuals?

          “Third, Romans 7 is not talking about lapses of sin.”

          Now you’re changing the subject. You’re the one who brought up lapses of sin, not me.

          “The issue is should many of us Christians have so sternly objected to same-sex marriage in society.”

          No, the issue is whether the state should violate freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of association, and freedom of the press by persecuting and prosecuting Jews, Christians, libertarians et al. who dissent from the homosexual totalitarianism.

          “Fourth, I don’t have a single test for who is a Christian.”

          Of course you do. You have a stump speech which you repeat ad nauseam.

          “I do believe that many of my fellow Christians have been wrong in forcing Christian standards on society with regard to homosexuality.”

          Because you’d rather have the homosexual lobby bully students K-12, codify the Bible as hate speech, &c.

          “And I believe that Jesus’ warning to us against lording it over others…”

          People who suffer from homosexual attraction benefit from Christian ethics. The homosexual lifestyle is very self-destructive, viz. suicide, domestic violence, medical conditions. Young people tempted to choose that lifestyle should be deterred for their own sake and safety.

          • Curt Day July 17, 2015 at 2:48 pm #

            Steve,
            since my first response to this last note was blocked, it will be posted on my website on Wednesday’s blogpost. But I will give you a brief summary. Your note indicates that you are venting more than doing anything else. The personal attacks and false assumptions made about me in those attacks provide evidence for my claim. And yet, you call me out for judging?

            When talking about same-sex marriage in the Church, the issue is what does the Bible say. But when talking about it in society, the issue becomes broader because we share society with nonChristians. So the question becomes how will we share society with nonChristians, especially those from the LGBT community? Will we share it assuming privilege and feeling entitled to dominate by what laws are passed? Or will we share society with nonChristians as equals by defending the equality of those with whom we disagree?

            • steve hays July 17, 2015 at 11:05 pm #

              i) Curt, you have no compunction about smearing faithful, Bible-believing Christians by equating them with Pharisees, but when I plug you into the same parable you alluded to, using info you volunteer about yourself on Facebook, suddenly you take offense. I call you out for your naked double standards.

              ii) You then demonstrate your twisted, disrespectful view of Biblical ethics by equating that with “privilege” and “feeling entitled to dominate others by what laws are passed.”

              To the contrary, Biblical ethics are beneficial to everyone, not just Christians. Members of the so-called LGBT “community” (oxymoron) would be far better off if they adopted Biblical ethics. That’s as much or more for their own wellbeing as the wellbeing of Christians.

              This is question of God’s design for men and women. When you flout God’s design for men and women, that’s self-destructive and socially destructive.

              “Equality” in the abstract is amoral. What true justice requires is not treating everyone equally, but treating like alike and unlike unalike.

              What is good is good for everyone. God’s design for human nature determines human flourishing.

              • Curt Day July 18, 2015 at 7:12 am #

                Steve,
                1. Please list the smears I’ve made about fellow Christians.

                2. How am I twisting Biblical ethics by saying that we must share society with others as equals while maintaining Biblical standards in the church.

                Yes, Biblical standards are beneficial to everyone. But if we enforced them on society, then we would have no freedom of religion because following any other religion would be counted as idolatry.

                Allowing adults in society to follow their own sexual desires in mutual consenting relationships does not flout God’s law. It merely assigns challenging unblblical sexual practices to evangelism. It isn’t the state’s job to do that. We get indications of that from what Jesus said about lording it over others, We get indications from that about when Jesus describes Church discipline and putting someone out of the Church into society. And we get strong indications of that when we see Paul’s approach to Church discipline especially in I Cor 5:12-13.

                Finally, equality is implied by the fact that we are made in God’s image, implied in Romans 1-3, especially in 3:9, and even more explicitly declared in Galatians 3:28. Of course, James’ warning about not showing preference to the rich man is another indicator that the Scriptures teach equality.

                The issue isn’t what is good for everyone, the issue is how do we communicate that. Do we force it on people in a nation that is partially based on religious freedom or do we rely on evangelism to get the message across?

                So why do you continue to vent by making false accusations against me?

                • steve hays July 18, 2015 at 2:07 pm #

                  Curt:

                  i) I’ve already given you examples, which you ignore.

                  ii) The Biblical standards in question aren’t standards for conduct in church, but society in general. For instance, Paul, in 1 Tim 1:9-10, applies the Decalogue to unbelievers (even during the new covenant era).

                  iii) We could certainly have freedom to practice Christianity and Judaism. Moreover, that’s the kind of thing the free establishment had in mind, at the time it was written and ratified.

                  “Allowing adults in society to follow their own sexual desires in mutual consenting relationships does not flout God’s law.”

                  i) You’re dissimulating. The current question at issue isn’t whether homosexual activity should be allowed, but whether citizens who dissent from homosexual mores should be prosecuted by the state for practicing their Constitutionally protected civil liberties. Why do you misrepresent the actual issue?

                  Allowing homosexuals to sodomize each other is quite different from fining an Orthodox Jewish deli owner who refuses to cater a homosexual wedding. Likewise, allowing homosexuals to sodomize each other is quite different than banning Christian ethics as a hate crime.

                  ii) BTW, why do you make consent the litmus test? What about academic sociologists who lobby for pederasty? What about the APA reclassifying pedophilia?

                  “It isn’t the state’s job to do that.”

                  It’s the state’s job to protect minors from homosexual predators. It’s the state’s job to defend the First Amendment.

                  “Finally, equality is implied by the fact that we are made in God’s image…”

                  That’s a blatantly fallacious inference. The imago Dei goes back to the Pentateuch. But the fact that humans are made in God’s image doesn’t mean all human behavior should be treated equally. For instance, Gen 9 grounds capital punishment in the imago Dei.

                  Likewise, the Mosaic law criminalizes many behaviors by divine image-bearers. Some conduct is misconduct.

                  In the nature of the case, a law code does not and should not great all behavior alike. The whole point of a low code is to discriminate between socially tolerable and socially intolerable behavior. A law code is a legal code of conduct.

                  “Do we force it on people in a nation…”

                  That’s utterly disingenuous when you think the state should prosecute dissent. When you think a public school curriculum should indoctrinate a captive audience in LGBT propaganda, and punish students who dissent.

                  • Curt Day July 18, 2015 at 3:52 pm #

                    Steve,
                    !. No you haven’t. You have made general accusations without showing the specifics. Thus, your accusations appear to be more emotional venting than legitimate claims.

                    2. Let’s be clear about the Biblical standards. They are standards for all mankind for we are all judged by those standards. But that is not the issue. The issue is what are society’s claims on and responsibilities to us. For example, does society have the right to hold us accountable for not believing in Jesus? Does society have the right to hold us accountable for following a religion other than Christianity or Judaism? BTW, Realize that all who refuse to believe in Jesus have rejected the Father. Does society have the right to hold us accountable for engaging in sex outside of marriage?

                    3. Now we must ask what are society’s responsibilities to us? Does society owe it to us to allow us to have a faith outside of Christianity and Judaism? Does society owe us the privacy to engage in mutually consenting sexual relations with the adults of our choice?

                    3. Since we belong to society, if society has no claim on an individual regarding a particular area of their life, then can we make such a claim? Likewise if society owes a person certain freedoms, aren’t we also obligated to honor those freedoms?

                    4. Finally, doesn’t how we honor the freedoms of others owed to them by society depend on the structure of our society and economic system? For if our denial of services to a person allows for society to not fulfill its responsibilities to that person, then haven’t we failed to treat that person in the way we have obligated ourselves to treat them by virtue of belonging to society?

                    Also consider that in a Capitalist economic system, since the private sector is, for the most part, the only provider of goods and services, to deny a person those goods and services because of the group they belong to, sets a precedent that allows all businesses to do the same both to the person and to the whole group.

                    • steve hays July 18, 2015 at 11:53 pm #

                      i) You vilified faithful Christians by casting them as the antagonist in the parable of the Pharisee and the tax-collector (Lk 18:9-14).

                      ii) Even under the Mosaic theocracy, it was not a crime to be an unbeliever. It was only a crime act out one’s disbelief.

                      iii) This is not about “the privacy to engage in mutually consenting sexual relations with the adults of our choice.”

                      The current issue, which you studiously ignore, is the state coercing citizens to accept sexual depravity.

                      This is the antithesis of “freedom.” This is not about live-and-let live, but the opposite.

                      Society doesn’t “owe” homosexuals civil marriage. That’s not something you can pull out of thin air.

                      iv) You brought up the imago Dei, but you rip it out of context. In context, the imago Dei embodied in God’s design for manhood and womanhood as a complementary unit. It is sacrilegious of you to reassign that heteronormative category to sodomy and lesbianism.

                      v) As for the private sector, yes, I’m happy to call your bluff. A business should be legally free to refuse any customer it pleases, even if that’s wrong.

                      As long as we have competition, that creates a business opportunity for another entrepreneur to take advantage of that neglected market niche.

                      vi) You’re appeal to James about not showing preference to the rich is misguided on two counts:

                      a) To begin with, your appeal is duplicitous. When the issue at hand is what the NT epistles say about homosexuality, you confine that to the church.

                      But when the epistles talk about rich and poor, you extend that to society at large. Your methodology is inconsistent and unprincipled.

                      b) In addition, it’s a red herring. The question at issue is not whether inequitable treatment is ever unjust, but whether inequitable treatment is always unjust.

                      Clearly, Scripture doesn’t treat all behavior the same.

                      vii) Finally, let’s get specific about what your position amounts to. If your side wins:

                      a) Homosexuals will have adoption rights. That means deliberately placing innocent children in at-risk conditions. Exposing them to a home environment that is, by definition, dysfunctional. That’s socially unstable. Where domestic violence, drug abuse, and suicide are common. Where the children are subject to sexual abuse.

                      b) Likewise, giving homosexual adults access to and authority over minors, with predictable results. Documented examples include the Boy Scouts and the Church of Rome.

                      c) Giving CPS authority to persecute Christian parents. Taking custody of their children.

                      d) Giving public school teachers and administrators authority to bully normal boys.

                      e) In addition, imposed secularization results in abortion on demand, euthanizing the elderly, developmentally disabled, and clinically depressed, &c. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

                    • steve hays July 19, 2015 at 1:38 am #

                      Let’s take another counterexample to Curt’s surreal claim that supporting queer rights supports freedom. We already have legal movements to ban counseling for homosexuals. That is to say, if a homosexual, or someone with same-sex attraction, wants psychological counseling to redirect his sexual impulses in a heterosexual direction, the state denies him the right to do so.

                    • Curt Day July 19, 2015 at 8:15 am #

                      Steve,
                      1. Pointing out a behavior is not vilifying, it is simply pointing out observable behavior. That many of us, despite Paul’s warning in Romans 2:1ff, are too eager to point out the sins of homosexuality

                      2. But what did Mosaic law say about worshipping idols and other gods? And what did Mosaic law say about false prophets?

                      3. What you miss is that the state has an obligation to protect the equality of all groups including the equality of those from the LGBT community and our own Christian community. Recognizing someone’s equal status in society does not imply that one agrees with their beliefs or practices.

                      You also miss that when you write about your application of image of God, you equate the status of those who are single with those who are in same-sex relationships. For in either case, people are not in complementary relationships.

                      In terms of business and equality, you forget the history of Jim Crow and its effects on its victims. Business competition did not overcome Jim Crow. IN addition, deprivation doesn’t have to be national for it to not exist. Listening to Blacks talk about the effects of even single instances of the racially based denial of services tells us what such denial means to a person.

                      BTW, I don’t confine what the NT says about homosexuality to the Church alone. What I do confine is the state enforcing religious laws such as those that oppose homosexuality.

                      I will address one more point lest this note becomes too long. You seem to want society to persecute and marginalize those from the LGBT community. Is that correct? Thus, it seems that you don’t want society to regard and treat those from the LGBT community as being equal to the rest of us. Do you want society to treat those from the LGBT community according to what the Law of Moses dictates?

                    • steve hays July 19, 2015 at 12:19 pm #

                      i) Your first statement reflects special pleading. You didn’t merely “point out a behavior.” In the parable of the Pharisee and the tax-collector, the Pharisee is the villain. When you compare Christians who honor Biblical norms of sexuality to the antagonist in the parable, you defame them.

                      ii) As for what the Mosaic law says about idolatry, you’ve forgotten how this part of the discussion got started. I’m simply responding to you on your own terms. You talked about “maintaining Biblical standards in the church.” I countered that by noting that in 1 Tim 1:9-10, Paul applies Biblical standards outside the church.

                      We can debate how much general carryover there is between the OT ethics and NT ethics, but don’t act as if that’s opposed to what I said, when–in fact–it’s the other way around. You tried to confine Biblical norms to the church. I responded to you own your own grounds by demonstrating that Paul, for one, goes well beyond that. If there’s a lack of consistency, it’s on your side, not mine.

                      iii) To assert that the state has an obligation to protect the equality of all groups begs the very question at issue. That’s not something you’re entitled to simulate.

                      Embezzlers are a group. Does the state have an obligation to protect the equality of embezzlers? Should the state treat embezzlers the same way as the people they embezzled? No, the law is supposed to discriminate against embezzlers. Distinguish between wrongdoers and victims.

                      iv) Regarding Jim Crow, you misrepresent what I said. My statement was predicated on “competition.” Jim Crow outlawed competition. White-owned companies wanted to do business with blacks. I’ve listened to what black economist Tom Sowell says about Jim Crow. You should take your own advice.

                      v) In no way did I equate the status of those who are single with those who are in homosexual relationships. To be in a homosexual relationship is a violation of the imago Dei.

                      The imago Dei is perfectly consistent with a single status, for complementary between the sexes is a built-in feature of human nature. That’s what makes it possible for them to enter into complementary relationships in the first place. Just as a single man has the potential or capacity to become a father, whether or not he becomes one.

                      You want society to persecute and marginalize normal men, women, boys, and girls. You want society to persecute Christians, libertarians, orthodox Jews, &c.

                    • Curt Day July 19, 2015 at 8:17 am #

                      Steve,
                      regarding the banning of counseling, that ban was mostly based on the techniques used and many of those techniques were highly questionable regardless of the reason.

                    • steve hays July 19, 2015 at 12:22 pm #

                      Psychology is full of questionable techniques which the state doesn’t see fit to ban. Moreover, this is contrary to your previous plea for “freedom.” You don’t really believe in freedom in general. You only believe in freedom for what you approve of.

                    • Curt Day July 19, 2015 at 1:14 pm #

                      Steve,
                      It was banned because of the techniques were very questionable according to fellow Psychologists and that brings in licensing issues. And that is properly in the sphere of the APA.

                      And some Psychologists do use questionable techniques, no doubt. In fact, some of the Psychologists involved with Gitmo are now being examined.

                      And if you want to list the approved techniques that you find questionable, that is fine. That doesn’t cancel the problems with the techniques used to force sexual orientation conversion on homosexuals.

                    • steve hays July 19, 2015 at 2:58 pm #

                      i) It was banned because it’s politically incorrect. The APA has become highly politicized. You’re so partisan that you can’t admit the obvious.

                      Consider what the APA used to classify as mental disorders. Here is the text from page 44 of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 2d ed. (Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association, 1968), commonly known as DSM-II:

                      302 Sexual deviations This category is for individuals whose sexual interests are directed primarily toward objects other than people of the opposite sex, toward sexual acts not usually associated with coitus, or toward coitus performed under bizarre circumstances as in necrophilia, pedophilia, sexual sadism, and fetishism. Even though many find their practices distasteful, they remain unable to substitute normal sexual behavior for them. This diagnosis is not appropriate for individuals who perform deviant sexual acts because normal sexual objects are not available to them.

                      302.0 Homosexuality
                      302.1 Fetishism
                      302.2 Pedophilia
                      302.3 Transvestitism
                      302.4 Exhibitionism
                      302.5* Voyeurism*
                      302.6* Sadism*
                      302.7* Masochism*
                      302.8 Other sexual deviation
                      [302.9 Unspecified sexual deviation]
                      How many of these sexual deviations are already normalized? Which will be next to be normalized?

                      HT: Keith Burgess-Jackson.

                      ii) Psychiatrists involved with Gitmo should not be persecuted. Coercive interrogation of high-value terrorists is a legitimate function of national defense. Having expert input reduces the risk of abuse.

                    • Johnny Mason July 19, 2015 at 4:22 pm #

                      “that ban was mostly based on the techniques used and many of those techniques were highly questionable regardless of the reason”

                      This made me laugh. Curt, was arguing vociferously for two adults to engage in any practice they wish as long as it was consensual, but then if two adults consent to this kind of treatment then that must be banned.

                      Curt thinks that this practice should be banned because it is highly questionable and harmful to the patient, but Curt doesnt seem to care about the harm gay sex and lifestyle do to a gay man. A harm that is not highly questionable but is confirmed by the CDC and every major medical group as detrimental to their health.

                    • Bruce Symons July 19, 2015 at 7:39 pm #

                      Steve,
                      You said:”In the parable of the Pharisee and the tax-collector, the Pharisee is the villain. When you compare Christians who honor Biblical norms of sexuality to the antagonist in the parable, you defame them.”
                      But didn’t the Pharisees consider themselves the ones who were zealous for God’s honour and who followed the Bible seriously? Maybe you are defaming them? If Jesus cast them as villains in the parable shouldn’t we think carefully about what we might be doing?
                      Peace

                    • Adam Borsay July 19, 2015 at 8:53 pm #

                      Of course we should be careful, because the measure by which we judge others WILL be how we ourselves our judged. The key, is by what measure we judge others. It is poor exegesis to simplistically take the concept of the Pharisee “judging” the tax collector and therefore being a blanket warning to us. Pharisee’s might say they were zealous for God, but as Jesus pointed out, they were zealous for themselves and their own man made religious rules that allowed them to feel superior. We, on the other hand, SHOULD be zealous for God. This would naturally mean that the only things we should be zealous about would be God’s absolute Truth. In the specifics of this topic, it is the appropriate behavior for Christians to say, “this” is a sin. To do otherwise is actually the other side of the Pharisitic coin. Namely, trusting in mans judgements as the standard for what is true and appropriate vs Gods.

                      To restate this essential point. Phariseeism is the act of placing mans reasoning ahead of Gods. While the Pharisees of Jesus’ time were in positions of “power” and lorded this authority over others, the concept of “power” over others is not the problem with Pharistical thinking and behavior. Often Pharisees are without authority and power, but their sin is the same regardless of their inability to wield influence over others.

                    • steve hays July 19, 2015 at 11:14 pm #

                      I’m only defaming them if Jesus is defaming them. Are you accusing Jesus of defaming the Pharisees?

                      “If Jesus cast them as villains in the parable shouldn’t we think carefully about what we might be doing?”

                      Actually, Jesus accused the Pharisees of not following the Bible seriously by creating loopholes. That’s what homosexual apologists do. So your objection boomerangs.

                    • Curt Day July 19, 2015 at 10:30 pm #

                      Steve,
                      It was banned because some, if not many, of the techniques used were very questionable.

                      BTW, DSM has changed since 1968. Yes, homosexuality is no longer considered to be part of DSM. That was not necessarily a political move. In fact, if you want to claim otherwise, one could just as well argue that inclusion of homosexuality in DSM was also a political move. For it to be removed from DSM means that it is no longer considered to be a mental illness. Considering also that some of the sexual practices used by homosexuals are also used by heterosexual couples, that seems to be a legitimate move.

                      But changing the status of a practice or orientation from mental illness to acceptable or normal does not imply that it is morally right–especially by Scriptural standards. To try too hard to link the two can reflect more on the people making the association than on anyone else. We all have the tendency to “pile on” when it comes to denigrating a sin we find particularly offensive.

                      BTW, you have split decision by mental health workers regarding the practices of Gitmo mental health workers. First, not all residents of Gitmo have been proven to be terrorists. Second, even for those who are terrorists, we should have limits in terms of how we treat them. To do otherwise is a contributing factor in inspiring future terrorists as well as to start the process of becoming like one’s enemies.

                    • steve hays July 19, 2015 at 11:27 pm #

                      Curt, you keep reasoning in a circle. It was questionable because it was banned. It was banned because it was questionable. The APA banned it because it was questionable. It was questionable because the APA banned it.

                      You’re oblivious to your viciously circular reasoning.

                      If you think the APA isn’t politicized, you’re terribly naive.

                      You have no evidence that coercive interrogation of high-value terrorists inspires future terrorists.

                      You also lack elementary moral discernment. The US gov’t has a duty to protect innocent Americans from terrorist attacks. Exploiting the phobias of a high-value terrorist to extract actionable intel to thwart terrorist plots and disrupt terrorist networks is perfectly ethical. Our job is not to protect terrorists, but to protect the innocent. If it’s a choice between harming a terrorist to protect the innocent, or harming the innocent to protect a terrorist, the correct choice is evident to any morally discriminating individual.

                    • Curt Day July 19, 2015 at 10:34 pm #

                      To Johnny Mason,
                      Actually you are incorrect in your assessment of me. Homosexuality is sin and we should preach against it. It is harmful in that sense. But in society, it can be normal because society is filled with sinful Christians and sinful nonChristians. Plus, you will find many homosexuals to not only be highly functional in society, but also be great contributors to society and each of us personally.

                      To question the techniques used to change a person’s sexual orientation does not imply that one agrees with unBiblical orientations.

                    • Curt Day July 20, 2015 at 1:23 am #

                      Steve,
                      I am not using circular reasoning. It is simple, those in the APA did not find homosexuality to cause mental harm. And, as I mentioned before, there are many highly-functioning people from the LGBT community who constantly make significant contributions to society and to each of us personally.

                      Does all of that mean that homosexuality is morally acceptable? Not according to the Bible. And that is where we have to keep the discussion.

                      As for the techniques, not only were they found to be ineffective, some were harmful such as associating nausea, vomiting, electric shock or paralysis with homoerotic images. That is simply wrong. In addition, reparative therapy has been linked with depression, anxiety, and self-destructive behaviors. Part of the problem here is that it has contributed to the marginalization and the alienation of homosexuals.

                      See, citing the above is not a circular argument. It is part of an inductive approach of the subject.

                      Also, I have never contradicted I Tim 1:9-10. What I have said is that it isn’t for society to enforce many of God’s laws. Rather, we show people God’s laws through evangelism and teaching the Bible.

                      Finally, yes, the gov’t is responsible for protecting us from terrorism. But such a responsibility does not imply an anything goes approach to treating terrorists. That does not protect us from terrorists because it doesn’t work in extracting information and it creates more terrorists.

                      And again, if we do the same or show more brutality to the “terrorists” as they show to us, how are we different? And that is especially true for those held in Gitmo who have never had their day in court. To call such detainees terrorists is to assume their guilt because of their detention.

                    • steve hays July 20, 2015 at 12:50 pm #

                      i) Yes, Curt, you’re guilty of circular reasoning. You are mounting an argument from authority. You cite the APA as your authority when the reliability and impartiality of the APA is in dispute. Appealing the APA to validate the APA begs the question.

                      ii) I’m not making a case for reparative therapy. But psychology is a soft science. There’s lots of dubious stuff that many psychologists indulge in. Why is reparative therapy banned? Because it’s politically incorrect.

                      More to the point, you deny the freedom to seek the counseling of his choice.

                      “Also, I have never contradicted I Tim 1:9-10. What I have said is that it isn’t for society to enforce many of God’s laws. Rather, we show people God’s laws through evangelism and teaching the Bible.”

                      You keep ducking the fact that this is a summary of the Decalogue which Paul applies to unbelievers rather than believers. And that isn’t just my opinion. That’s the standard view of commentators like Liefield, Mounce, Towner, Marshall, Knight, and L. T. Johnson.

                      This has reference to social ethics beyond the church. Indeed, as Paul says, it’s more applicable outside the church, to outright unbelievers–unlike true believers who’ve internalized the law.

                      In addition, you caricature coercive interrogation by resorting to hyperbole (“any anything goes approach”).

                      You also have a bad habit of making sheer assertions, then when your assertions are challenged, repeating your sheer assertions. You’ve provided no evidence that it creates more terrorists.

                      You also assert that it doesn’t work in extracting information. But a number of DCI’s have contradicted your claim.

                      “And again, if we do the same or show more brutality to the ‘terrorists’ as they show to us, how are we different?”

                      If a terrorist has a phobia about insects, and you threaten to put him in a box with bugs, that’s “doing the same or showing more brutality” than sawing their head off, burning them alive, or burying them alive (a la ISIS)? You’ve lost all sense of moral perspective.

                      Illegal combatants and foreign terrorists are not entitled to the full due process rights of American citizens.

                      You dissemble when you suggest that high-value terrorists like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Abu Zubaydah are presumed guilty because of their detention. They have a paper trail. Their reputation preceded them. That’s why they were extradited in the first place.

                    • steve hays July 21, 2015 at 10:53 pm #

                      “Also, I have never contradicted I Tim 1:9-10. What I have said is that it isn’t for society to enforce many of God’s laws. Rather, we show people God’s laws through evangelism and teaching the Bible.”

                      So even though v10 condemns the slave trade, we mustn’t impose that on society at large.

                    • Johnny Mason July 20, 2015 at 9:25 am #

                      “To question the techniques used to change a person’s sexual orientation does not imply that one agrees with unBiblical orientations”

                      I never said it did, I was just highlighting your hypocrisy in claiming that Christians should not enforce morals when they are directed at two consenting adults, but then you are for enforcing morals in the case of reparative therapy when it is between two consenting adults.

                    • Curt Day July 23, 2015 at 1:49 pm #

                      Steve,
                      I am going to try one more time to answer your charge of circular reasoning, which, according to the standards you are applying to me, is what you used when you referred to the commentaries on I Tim.

                      If I appealed to the APA alone, that isn’t necessarily circular reasoning, but I didn’t even do that. Let me ask you this, if members of the medical profession diagnose me with a disease, am I using circular reasoning if I follow their advice? That really depends on the reasoning they used, doesn’t it? And the APA didn’t use circular reasoning in making their decision.

                      But not only that, I pointed out additional information to the mere citation of the APA. And it is the additional information that also disproves your charge of circular reasoning.

                      What is a tragedy here is that some Conservative Christians want to go beyond the Biblically defined difference between homosexuality and heterosexuality to exaggerate the differences between heterosexuality and homosexuality. They want to because of hatred. And that hatred is spread to Christians who do not join them in their zeal to castigate those from the LGBT community.

                      We need to realize that Romans 3:9 sums up what Paul had been previously writing in Romans. And what Paul says there is that we are all equal because of sin.

                    • steve hays July 23, 2015 at 2:10 pm #

                      So you defame conservative Christians by imputing hateful motives to them. That says more about you than it does about them. It reflects your animosity.

                    • Curt Day July 23, 2015 at 1:52 pm #

                      No Johnny, there was no hypocrisy. What there is is the unwillingness or inability by some to distinguish the differing moral standards that apply to different areas of life. In the Church or when preaching the Gospel to the world, we go by Biblical standards. But not all of society’s standards should be Biblical because society allows for the practice of different religious faith and even of no religious faith.

                  • Don Johnson July 18, 2015 at 8:41 pm #

                    I think you are misreading 1 Tim 1, Paul is writing to Timothy at the church at Ephesus. He is explaining Torah principles that apply to both Jews and gentiles (that is, every believer) but there is no way of even trying to make them apply to the Greco-Roman culture of Ephesus.

                    • steve hays July 18, 2015 at 11:08 pm #

                      1 Tim 1:9-10 is explicitly introduced in reference to unbelievers, not Jewish or Gentile Christian believers. It was enacted, not for believers, but unbelievers. He uses several designations with those connotations.

                      And that’s not just my interpretation. For starters, read Towner’s commentary.

                      You’re also confusing an argument from principle with whether it’s enforceable in that situation. But that’s irrelevant to the issue at hand.

  10. Gregory Williams (@Totheword) July 15, 2015 at 2:39 pm #

    It seems that criticism should be directed at Wheaton and President Ryken for hiring and not firing Julie Rodgers for her views. Ita Fischer was one that voiced opposition to such a hiring. I do not see how anyone can trust the leadership of Wheaton after this.

    • steve hays July 15, 2015 at 2:48 pm #

      The watchers failed to do their job.

  11. Kathy Baldock July 15, 2015 at 3:55 pm #

    “Sexuality/gender is where loyalty to Christ is being tested in our culture.”

    How did a person’s faith and relationship with Christ get reduced to their sexual attraction and gender identity?

    I tend to go with witness, fruit, proclamation, service to others, ability to extend mercy and forgiveness, and ability to love.

  12. Denny Burk July 15, 2015 at 5:07 pm #

    Dear All,

    I haven’t been able to follow the entire thread here. But I’ve seen a lot of discussion here and elsewhere about number 5. So a couple points of clarification:

    (1) Matthew Vines and others took offense at the “rhetoric” in the phrase “blemishes at our love feasts.” That rhetoric is a quotation from Jude 12 (NIV). It’s not a reference to gay people but to false teachers mentioned in Jude 4 and 18-19. It applies to anyone–gay or straight–who engages in high-handed suppression of God’s truth and in leading God’s people astray. I employ the phrase not to single out the sin of homosexuality but the sin of false teaching. The calculated and willful suppression of God’s truth is the reason for Jude’s use of this grave expression, and it’s my reason as well.

    (2) Others have also questioned whether Jude 12 can be aptly applied to Julie Rodgers. I intentionally left that question open. I hope and pray that she would turn back from the error that she advances in her post (and perhaps in her interaction with students at Wheaton over the last year). It’s a serious error that has the potential to lead people away from Jesus and not to him. So I really do hope that she turns back. But if she proves resistant to correction, that will be the fork in the road. I’ve written previously on How to identify and deal with false teachers. In those articles, I explain how we are to regard those who resist correction over time.

    (3) In all of this, it’s important to remember that teachers incur a stricter judgment (James 3:1). It’s why elders of the church have to be rebuked publicly when they resist correction and continue in sin (1 Timothy 5:20). God commands pastors to “refute those who contradict” sound doctrine (Titus 1:9). That is why this confrontation is necessary.

    (4) It’s important not to confuse how we confront false teachers with how we reach out and minister to sinners who are struggling. Anyone struggling with same-sex attraction should know that the gospel invitation is open to them. Our arms are open to anyone who wishes to repent of sin and trust in Christ to save them–that includes those who continue to experience same-sex attraction. Our aim is to give such people a church family, to strengthen their hands for the struggle, and to love them. We are very concerned that such strugglers will be hindered from coming to Christ if the false teachers have their way with them. Again, that is why the confrontation is so urgent.

    Thanks,
    Denny

    • brian darby July 16, 2015 at 1:08 am #

      I guess thats great on paper Dr. Burk but in reality so many of those “struggling” are gutted like a dead fish on Friday by those “loving” church families. So I dont hold much stock in the confrontation of false teachers type interaction to be honest. Where does one draw the line, I E what if a Christian holds to an OE / Evolutionary view of creation or is an open theist etc.? I would try to be more clear but it is so hard to really dialog with folks who have all the answers.

  13. Deb W July 15, 2015 at 8:51 pm #

    Amen, Denny! As usual, you’re on point with this.
    Just days before Rodgers announcement I warned about this and mentioned you as one of the voices standing firm.
    http://solofide.blogspot.com/2015/07/ssa-lost-theology-of-sin-and-its.html

    Thanks for your work!

  14. Bill Pence July 16, 2015 at 7:27 am #

    Denny, I so appreciate your thoughtful articles and often link them in my blog. Blessings.

    • Denny Burk July 16, 2015 at 8:59 am #

      Thank you, Bill. I appreciate that!

  15. Colin Kerr July 17, 2015 at 7:26 am #

    Julie Rogers is the really the worst case scenario. A poster child for the gay celibate movement who graciously, thoughtfully, and prayerfully asked all gays and lesbian Christians to do the same. Her character and demeanor hasn’t changed a bit, just her theology. Denny certainly has his fans, but it’s preaching to the hardcore choir. With his assertive demeanor and tenor, he’s not persuading anyone, especially younger people. Without apologists like Rogers, the majority of Christians will be supporting same-sex relationships in thirty years or less. The Millennial Christians are already past the 50% mark.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Wheaton's Julie Rodgers Resigns, “Evolving” on Same-Sex Relationships - Juicy Ecumenism - July 14, 2015

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  2. Wheaton chaplain supports same-sex relationships, quits evangelical college - Faithfully LGBT - July 14, 2015

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  5. Wheaton’s Julie Rodgers Resigns, ‘Evolving’ on Same-Sex Relationships | Pacific Piano Performance Posts - July 17, 2015

    […] Southern Baptist Theological Seminary’s Denny Burke noted on his blog that a sound Biblical basis is missing from Rodger’s statement. […]

  6. THIS & THAT and Favorite Quotes of the Week | Coram Deo ~ - July 21, 2015

    […] Wheaton Staffer Announces Support for Gay Relationships. Denny Burk writes about Julie Rogers of Wheaton College. He states “This is a sad departure. I expect we will see many more like it in the days ahead. And each one will be an occasion for grief.” […]

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