Thank God for Pastor Thabiti Anyabwile...

A week or two ago, Thabiti Anyabwile, a faithful Reformed pastor from the Cayman Islands, ran a post calling for Reformed Christians to recover their ability to feel shame and revulsion at sodomitic practices (The Importance of Your Gag Reflex When Discussing Homosexuality and "Gay Marriage"). Pastor Anyabwile pointed out how those practices perverted God's sexual design and this made his readers mad, so they inundated Pastor Anyabwile's blog with catcalls and rotten tomatoes and Pastor Anyabwile apologized.

Through many years working with men and women fighting against temptations to same-sex intimacy, I've learned the precious truth that the straight and narrow road of Christian faith runs right next to the straight and narrow road of body parts and shame... {C}For orthodox Christians fighting against the homosexual temptation, the restoration of shame and revulsion requires discussion of body parts. This is good pastoral ministry.

The Apostle Paul loved sodomites as Pastor Anyabwile does, and thus he pointed to body parts when he used two words to describe those in the bondage of sodomy:

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate (malakoi), nor homosexuals (arsenakoitai), nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.

Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. (1Corinthians 6:9-11)

Together, malakoi and arsenakoitai poin to the sexual partner who receives and the one who takes the initiative (shall we say). "Malakoi" is translated "effeminate" because men who receive are using male body parts in feminine ways, and this is the very heart of effeminacy.

But today we're so precious we can't bear the truth. Our decadent sensibilities refuse to allow any discussion of the physiology of sexuality, so we demand the ESV remove the Apostle Paul's words pointing to those very physical acts that comprise sodomitic perversion—the malakoi and the arsenakoitai.

Then, emboldened by our great success gagging God at the pressure points of Christian witness, we move on to gagging ministers of the Word who dare to teach what God, the Holy Spirit, and the Apostle Paul wrote. Pastor Anyabwile is so very insensitive. He's obviously unloving. He must be a hater. He can't help himself from giving vent to a "gay rant." Pastor Anyabwile must apologize or he'll lose his place at the head table in the Reformed banquet hall.

"He's throwing his dinner rolls. Tell him if he doesn't say he's sorry, we'll kick him out," they whisper to their footmen. "He's ruining our party."

Back in 1988, we Evangelicals in the Presbyterian Church (USA) were working to oppose our denominational leaders' attempts to approve the ordination of malakoi and arsenakoitai as elders and pastors. As part of that work, the board of Presbyterians Pro-Life asked me to write up a position statement on sexuality. After consultation with others, the proposed statement came to the board for approval. Prior to the vote, a board member asked for the word 'perversion' to be added. The room went silent. We were embarrassed by the man's request.

We had intended to publish our statement and we knew any use of the word 'perversion' in the context of the endless debate over gayness would cause everyone—but especially our fellow Evangelicals—to turn away from us in disgust. They would consider our use of "perversion" a sign we were incapable of thinking strategically; that we were rubes and country bumpkins who couldn't help making a public display of our bondage to nativist, dichotomous patterns of thought.

None of us wanted to add the word 'perversion' but we did.

Why?

Because of the weight of moral authority carried by the man proposing the addition; it was more than enough to cause the amendment to be adopted unanimously. So who was the man?

I'll withhold his name, but this dear brother was a black African pastor who served a small church in a rural community down in our nation's deep, deep South. The second he proposed the addition of "perversion," I distinctly remember thinking to myself what I assume every woman and man at the table also thought: coming of age in Africa and ministering in the rural deep south, our brother has escaped our northern white cultural decadence and is still able to think and speak and write Biblically. Thus he's prophetic while we're desperately trying to earn the approval of fellow Evangelicals as decadent as we are.

Dear reader, you see the moral of the story. We must not be ashamed of the Gospel for it is the power of God for salvation, to everyone who believes, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek." Also the fornicator, the idolater, the adulterer, the thief, the man who covets, the drunkard, the reviler, the swindler, the arsenakoitai, and the malakoi.

No follower of Jesus Christ should make it his aim to improve upon the preaching methods and words used by the Apostle Paul inspired by the Holy Spirit.

Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and fifteen grandchildren.

Comments

I am not sure if you guys will let me link to this. If you don't want the link to stand, just delete it, but here is my response to Pastor Thabiti's post, as well as some brief replies to the critics. I thought his article was spot on.

http://www.kuyperian.com/gagging-on-the-truth/

With Grace, Peter Jones, Pastor

Happy for you to do so, brother. What you wrote is helpful.

I missed the apology. And, by the way, the "h" is silent when you pronounce his first name.

Excellent piece. As I wrote in a soon to be out piece- We want to be faithful to the Word and to be respected by the World. But the both deny such is possible. God bless Thabiti and God bless Baylyblog.

David,

His apologies are in the comment section.

Pastor Thabiti's blog is great!  Looking for this homosexuality post, I found that he has good things to say on other topics too--- and a nice eye for beauty.

If you really want to have fun, point-out that the feminists that produced the international (neutered) edition of the NIV (at the same time as the NIV protested and removed the fake-translation proposed as a viable alternative in the margin to Paul's instructions on headcoverings (that marginal reading, suggesting that the covering being her long hair, now standing in the main text of the ESV--with nobody protesting publicly in shame as the feminists of the original NIV did).

Point-out that malakoi is also the precise term for little boys used by grown men, usually with approval of their fathers, to give those men sexual pleasure without risk of pregnancy: with the sons of freemen being rubbing-only (no penetration) but sons of other men being fair game for full-blown homosexual "intercourse" (as though child to adult, being unequal, could be said to have "inter"). You'll hit the homosexuals; the GLBT-academic-medical complex or coalition (as well as incidental co-belligerents) now working to normalize pedophilia as yet-another "medical condition and mere orientation, so you can't condemn it"; little homosexual boys and girls--boy are the ordinary people going to revolt for daring to say their cute little gay kids are going to hell; the parents facilitating and approving (if not egging-on) of their "choices", and therefore not turning their children from perversion and mental illness so terrible that it says nature counts for nothing--only feelings--by warning them they'll find the same fires in the end.

The paganism now arising has always (though history) loved to pervert and defile little children. This is why our powers-that-be now hate empiricism and love their "reason" or rationalism--it's even the way that the courts use "rational basis". Perhaps we should also use the opportunity to suggest, quite reasonably, that should they say that is a mere orientation and sexuality is a need that needs be met, then that once again awakened youth of physical maturity (though they might be only 13-16 as has often been the case throughout history) should not artificially be barred from marriage, that education is not the utmost importance but their purity is, and that should they be permitted to be sexually active we might as well let them bear fruits in the course of affairs and have the blessing of marriage...and that doesn't mean articial and unnatural unions between the same sexes. The hypocrites in loco parentis will teach the little children how to fornicate but will deny that marriage and the protections it affords them is good for them, while condemning those who warn them against fornication.

I'm serious: despite the intellectual superficiality and artificial infantilization of our youth, making their childhood and incompetence perpetual, we would still do better by them, when they've become inflamed, to teach them to marry--and each to love the wife (and husband) "of their youth", and...even to be somewhat "socialist" by requiring parents to actually...assist them to cultivate that family, buy it a house (doesn't have to be one that's not falling apart--just have them or a neighbor transmit the skills to fix it--and I learned this from experience by watching the parents of two friends who married do just that) and offer it training and instruction, rather than handing them over to the lender and to keep buying themslves 300+ of t.v. and internet and new furniture and gizmos to fill-up their spawns' former rooms as they prepare to become decadent and spend what should have been saved and invested to leave an inheritance for grandchildren.

And yes, I'm also one of those spawn called a good boy all his life but pretty much abandoned since public schooling began.

John Bulsterbaum, did you go off your meds?

I read all of the comments. He doesn't apologize the way you mean. Can you link it here what you think he's apologizing for.

Honestly, men; following the links we provided or simply googling "Anyabwile" and "apology" turns it up immediately. It's the first link! Anyhow, since you asked: 

It is true that not everyone goes “yuck” at the description of the sexual acts in question. I regret using “gag reflex” as shorthand for the conscience’s reaction. I regret it for two reasons. First, though I contend abhorrence is one legitimate reaction of the conscience, it is not the only reaction. Second, using that colloquial expression was too liable to be misunderstood, misused and hurtful. Some people intentionally misused my words, falsely saying I called people “disgusting.” I did no such thing. But I do see how such a loosely defined and provocative term can be hurtful—not only to my cause, but more importantly to people. For writing in this way, I offer my sincerest apology to every reader, not just those hurt.

Love,

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