Gospel Coalition joins the gay celibate movement (5); lending a hand to those working to criminalize reparative or conversion therapy...

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For twenty years or so, the battle lines were drawn up over whether or not our Supreme Court would strike down state laws prohibiting homosexual acts. With even conservative Reformed seminary professors such as Covenant Theological Seminary's David Jones calling for the repeal of these laws, it was inevitable the Supreme Court would take Jones's cue. The battle stretched over several decades, but in time SCOTUS repealed all state laws prohibiting homsexual relations.

The battle lines then were drawn up over whether or not our Supreme Court would strike down state laws prohibiting homosexual marriage. Again, conservative Reformed seminary professors and pastors refused to defend the Western world's historic commitment to heterosexual marriage. Building upon their prior ruling bringing the force of law to bear in support of homosexual relations, SCOTUS consolidated the ground they had taken and repealed all state laws prohibiting homosexual marriage. 

Now the battle lines are drawn up over what is called "reparative" or "conversion therapy." Such therapy is the outworking of the Christian doctrine of sexuality and those who practice this sort of counseling work to move souls caught up in effeminacy toward embracing their manhood or womanhood given them by God. Christian pastors, psychologists, and family therapists call those caught in the prison of homosexual lust and identity to repent of it, and to plead with God to restore to them the nature he gave them at their conception when He created them male or female.

Across the country, our states and cities are passing laws criminalizing this Christian ministry. Once again, conservative Reformed professors and pastors are on the bandwagon. They too believe conversion therapy is bad...

Take Southern Baptist prof Denny Burk, for instance: he doesn't stop talking about his opposition to conversion counseling and this is the context for his defense of Gospel Coalition's pronouncement, "Godliness Is Not Heterosexuality."

To be sure, Prof. Burk and his fellow Southern Baptist profs in Louisville can mount a credible defense of their position, bringing some who are naive to the point where they wonder whether conversion therapy might not, in fact, be wrong? Or at least wrongheaded. These are Al Mohler's men, so they must be right. They tell us they are opposed to conversion therapy because "the Gospel is at stake." They would never say that unless it were true, right? They tell us conversion therapists don't focus on sin and repentance (which sounds quite damning and would be the end of the matter were it true). They warn us against any deeper thought about the emotional and spiritual origins and nature of homosexual desires and effeminacy. Forget childhood abuse, shame, and complicated and time-consuming family-of-origin matters. Just focus on sin and repentance, they say. It all sounds so Godly and very spiritual.

But then they finally get to the heart of their opposition to conversion therapy (what they refer to as "RT"):

The goal of RT is heterosexuality...

This goal is not one that biblical counselors can embrace. The Bible never declares that heterosexuality is the goal of a full and contented life. I can say it more strongly. The Bible never says that heterosexuality, in general terms, is a good thing. 

No little lies, here. Just a real whopper: "The Bible never says that heterosexuality, in general terms, is a good thing. "

Yup, you read that right.

Don't drink the Kool-Aid. Stop for a second and think: all of Scripture is built upon heterosexuality being a good gift of God. Motherhood is a blessing. Fatherhood is a blessing. Sonship is a blessing. Daughterhood is a blessing. God's blessings are covenantal, flowing from father to son to a thousand generations. We are made up of souls counted under heads of fathers' households. All of Scripture builds upon fatherhood and motherhood in all their uniqueness. All of Scripture teaches and commands that we confess our heterosexuality, our manhood and womanhood, faithfully. We are never aerie spirits, but simply men and women. We are never androgynous beings, but only men and women. We are never effeminate or butch. We are never homosexual. "Of such were some of us," but now we have been bought with the price of our Savior's precious blood and are Christians who have repented of our effeminacy, butchness, and homosexuality.

They passed laws criminalizing discrimination against homosexual relations and we said it was OK because we could still preach heterosexuality in our churches.

They passed laws criminalizing discrimination against homosexual marriage and we said we'd be alright because we could still officiate only heterosexual marriages in our churches.

They are passing laws criminalizing Christian elders, pastors, and counselors calling souls to conversion from effeminacy and homosexuality to heterosexuality and we say we're against conversion therapy.

We say "Godliness Is Not Heterosexuality" and everyone thinks we're deep thinkers and must know something the Apostle Paul didn't know when he wrote:

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, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 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. 12 All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything. (1Corinthians 6:9-12)

Conversion therapy of homosexuals and the effeminate was central to Gospel ministry among the Corinthians. The Christian is no longer gay. He cannot be gay and inherit the kingdom of God. He is no longer effeminate. He cannot be effeminate and inherit the kingdom of God. He is no longer homosexual. He cannot be homosexual and inherit the kingdom of God.

The Christian used to be gay. He used to be effeminate. He used to be homosexual. Now though, he is straight. He is masculine. He is heterosexual.

And what pastor who knows his own heart will deny that this newfound heterosexuality of his brother in Christ is his sanctification? His holiness? His Godliness?

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(This is the fifth in a series of posts [firstsecond, third, and fourth] on the Gospel Coalition's declaration, "Godliness Is Not Heterosexuality.")

Tim Bayly

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

Want to get in touch? Send Tim an email!