Tone and truth should go hand in hand. I know that as I desire to bring the balance of that to my blog, sometimes I succeed and other times I fall woefully short. In that spirit, upon review of my initial post here, I think that some statements were needlessly abrasive to Dr. Mohler and were a distraction from the wheelhouse of the integrity of the issue I was trying to address. To all of you who frequent this blog, and to Dr. Mohler personally, please forgive me for any offense that I may have caused. I trust this update will prove to be more beneficial on this important issue and to once again affirm my love and respect for our brother, though we may disagree on this issue.
From the crucible of grace,
would be of great pastoral significance,
allowing for a greater understanding of why certain
persons struggle with these particular sexual temptations."
-R. Albert Mohler, Jr.
What is sin:
1 John 3:4 Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.
Who is a sinner:
Ephesians 2:1-3 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.
What are the consequences of sinful choices:
Romans 1:24-28 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper.
By what means is pastoral understanding to the temptations of others attained:
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
"If I have missed something, point it out. If I have violated Scriptures in any way, bring this to my attention. If I am confused in any way, point to clarification." -Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr.
I fully agree and appreciate his words--it's in that spirit that I am writing this post.
Somewhere Over the Rainbow:
Dr. Al Mohler, Jr. (President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) has created a firestorm of press the last few weeks due to some very controversial statements he made on his blog concerning the issue of prenatal sexual orientation identification, resulting in part, to the study of what some scientists are labeling a "gay-gene". They think that IF the gay-gene can be identified, then they posit that it can possibly be reversed by prenatal therapy to a heterosexual state. Dr.Mohler asserts, that IF this can be proven and accomplished, this would be an invaluable and beneficial tool for pastors in further understanding and ministering to the homosexual community; and confronting the "inevitable effects of sin." Mind you, there is absolutely no scientific conclusive data that puts this in the scope of reality whatsoever; and apparently, the only consistent research to date has been conducted (are you ready for this) on "gay sheep." How does one tell a gay sheep from a straight sheep? Are there bi-sexual sheep too? What about transgender or transsexual sheep? Talk about "pulling the wool over someone's eyes." I didn't know there were even gay sheep alive, did you?
This is quite a surprise to read from a man of Dr. Mohler's biblical knowledge, theological acumen, and doctrinal discernment whom I support and appreciate greatly. But to suggest at all that we should entertain, endorse, or even give any ounce of credence to this kind of scientific twaddle, whatsoever, is perplexing. In the meantime, the secular media is having a hay-day with this asking the inevitable question concerning the potential of eugenics: "is Dr. Mohler playing God?" You have to admit beloved, this whole line of thinking sounds more like Warren than it does like Mohler. And again, one is inclined in the midst of this issue to ask: "why? - what prompted this kind of discussion to begin with? What is the driving motive or reasoning? And, is it all a needless destraction from the important calling of the preaching of God's Word and the proclamation of the gospel?" Certainly the way to speak, as Christians, to the gay community is not through the biological megaphone of "gay-genes," but by lovingly proclaiming the good news of the gospel of grace through Jesus Christ our Lord. They need regeneration; not gene-reversal. Amen?
Sin (even ones sexual orientation, temptation, and attraction) is not a matter of genetics; it is a matter of nature called Original Sin (Psalm 51:5; Eph. 2:3). All carnal thoughts and affections are enmity against God and cannot please Him (Roms. 8:7; James 4:1-5). BTW, that includes me, you and Dr. Mohler - not just the gay community. (The entire third chapter of the Epistle to the Romans is a tremendous description of original sin.)
direct our attention to lesser issues like "the fiction
of scientific prenatal genome identification and reversal"
rather than continuing to faithfully proclaim the
gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and His truth.
This issue is even making global warming seem legitimate by comparison - and I didn't think that was even possible.
It's all in the Genes--and I Don't Mean Levi's:
The article that started this brew-haha is called: Is Your Baby Gay? What If You Could Know? What If You Could Do Something About It? (Posted: Friday, March 02, 2007). In it, Dr. Mohler affirmed the possibility of reversing this "gay-gene" if it could be detected:
"If a biological basis is found, and if a prenatal test is then developed, and if a successful treatment to reverse the sexual orientation to heterosexual is ever developed, we would support its use as we should unapologetically support the use of any appropriate means to avoid sexual temptation and the inevitable effects of sin.”However, today, is article entitled, "Was It Something I Said? ..." he seemingly wrote to clarify his views to both conservative evangelicals and media liberals. BUT, instead of clarity there has resulted more confusion. For example he says:
“In one article, I was said to advocate genetic therapies. I never said that, and I resolutely oppose such proposals. I would not advocate the use of genetic therapies to create heterosexual babies — or any other therapy of this type.” The hypothetical question I addressed had nothing to do with genetic factors at all."As you can see, these statements are in direct conflict with one another and have produced more chaos to readers than clarity; and has left many scratching their heads asking the profound question: "...huh?"
But if any of this is even remotely possible,
why would they stop at a gay-gene? Aren’t there other
moral ills to identify, understand, and reverse as well?
For example: why not try and look for:
- An adultery-gene?
- A thief-gene?
- An anger-gene?
- A gambling-gene?
- A smoking-gene?
- An alcoholic-gene?
- A drug-gene?
- A terrorist-gene?
- An overeating-gene?
- A divorce-gene?
- A gossip-gene?
- A legalistic-gene?
- A materialistic-gene?
- If you're addicted to caffine, could there be a vinti, 2/3rds decaf triple, 3 pump sugar-free hazelnut, nonfat, 1 and 1/2 splenda, with whip, extra hot, upside down, carmel macchiato-gene?
What's All This Really About:
I would encourage you to read both of the articles by Dr. Mohler and then you decide. May I also suggest you read some key passages of Scripture to help you in this study as well: Romans 1:18-32; Romans 3; Eph. 2:1-3; Romans 5:12-17; Genesis 3; Psalm 51; and Galatians 5.
And to be clear, the issue for this blog is not whether scientists and identify and reverse the gay-genes in gay-sheep so that humans can detect a similar gay-gene in unborn babies one day so that it can be reversed to heterosexual status. This is not about science; it's not about research; it's not even about gene reversal. At the core, it is about protecting the integrity, sufficiency and authority of God's Word as it speaks completely about all matters of life and godliness. Science, either indirectly or directly, will always be looking for yet another reason to justify, normalize and condone our sinful behavior.
to a biblical worldviewand elevating
the imprudent possibilityof unproven
scientific genetic study to the level
of the means of grace"to avoid sexual
temptation and the inevitable effects of sin."
For me, that is what this is about and why it needs to be worthy of our attention. I would encourage you to specifically read Romans 1:18-27 to see clearly that ones sexual orientation is not something that comes from a genetic predisposition, but from one's sinful nature and depraved heart which chooses to suppress the truth of God in unrighteousness. IOW, I believe that The Fall has effected every area of our lives both physical and spiritual, that not only are we responsible for such choices, as Dr. Mohler rightly and clearly points out in his articles, but also, that even our orientation, temptation and attraction to those choices is a matter of ones sinful nature, not genetic proclivity.
With that in mind, the following is a ten point outline that Dr. Mohler thinks is vital for every Christian to think about on this issue. (Points 8-10 are especially interesting). I deal with each one of these ten points in detail on the BlogCast (though I have listed some brief comments in maroon below).
Before you begin, a personal word about our brother:
Dr. Al Mohler is an orthodox preacher of God's Word; a defender and proclaimer of the gospel of Jesus Christ; AND a faithful man of God. His leadership in greater evangelicalism I appreciate greatly and have personally benefited from in my own life and ministry. His presidency at SBTS is legendary; and he is a needed and crucial voice for the gospel of grace in the secular marketplace as an apologist for the Christian worldview. It is because, beloved, of my overall respect and sincere love for him, and by the command of Scripture (Acts 17:9-11; 1 Thess. 5:21) that I measure his controversial words against the plumb line of God's Word.
As Bereans, it is incumbent upon all of us to adhere the command of the Apostle Paul when he says, "test all things; cling to that which is good..."I know that you bless me here at COT when you examine what I write and say with God's Word. I learn from you; am corrected by you; exhorted by to further sound doctrine; and encouraged in the faith by you. "Faithful are the wounds of a friend..."
And so in that same spirit I offer to these ten points, what I hope is constructive criticism of the recent views expressed by our dear brother in Christ, Dr. Al Mohler.
To that end may we press on...
Grace and peace,
2 Cor. 4:5
Christian terms should think carefully about these points
by Dr. R. Al Mohler, Jr.
1. There is, as of now, no incontrovertible or widely accepted proof that any biological basis for sexual orientation exists.
Agreed (but I am not a trained scientist in the field of genetic research and do not pretend to speak for that profession.)
2. Nevertheless, the direction of the research points in this direction. Research into the sexual orientation of sheep and other animals, as well as human studies, points to some level of biological causation for sexual orientation in at least some individuals.
Even my limited knowledge recognizes that this is not an accurate statement - there is no current evidence that the scientific community has produced to suggest biological causation predisposes ones sexual orientation. Furthermore, I believe the Scriptures contradict such assertions (Psalm 51:5; Romans 1:24-28; 3:10-18; Eph. 3:1-3).
3. Given the consequences of the Fall and the effects of human sin, we should not be surprised that such a causation or link is found. After all, the human genetic structure, along with every other aspect of creation, shows the pernicious effects of the Fall and of God's judgment.
Again, where is the genetic evidence that "shows the pernicious effects of the Fall and of God's judgment" exist and have imprinted ones genetic code to render on predisposed to a specific sexual orientation? More importantly, where is the biblical evidence to support this claim?
4. The biblical condemnation of all homosexual behaviors would not be compromised or mitigated in the least by such a discovery. The discovery of a biological factor would not change the Bible's moral verdict on homosexual behavior.
I think in part it would. It would mean that God created all homosexuals in the homosexual orientation. It would take their predisposition out of choice to divine design and would further legitimize their claim to God given same sex desires. This has been the justification of the gay community for years: "God made me this way." Speaking biblically, Romans 1 would have to be rewritten, for there would be nothing "unnatural" about men fulfilling their sexual desires with other men; women with other women if they are "born" with that genetic desire. Sin issues cannot be reduced simply to a matter of science.
5. The discovery of a biological basis for homosexuality would be of great pastoral significance, allowing for a greater understanding of why certain persons struggle with these particular sexual temptations.
We have the Scriptures; and they are sufficient to give all the counsel we need to minister to those who are struggling in any sin including homosexuality (2 Tim. 3:16-17; Psalm 19:7-11; 2 Peter 1:3-4). They are completely sufficient, lacking nothing, for "all matters of life and godliness."
6. The biblical basis for establishing the dignity of all persons -- the fact that all humans are made in God's image -- reminds us that this means all persons, including those who may be marked by a predisposition toward homosexuality. For the sake of clarity, we must insist at all times that all persons -- whether identified as heterosexual, homosexual, lesbian, transsexual, transgendered, bisexual, or whatever -- are equally made in the image of God.
I agree that all people are made in the image of God; I disagree that gay people are marked by a predisposition toward homosexuality. Taking this principle to its logical conclusion, any sin then could be ultimately attributed at its foundation to a genetic predisposition. The Fall has predisposed us already to a sinful nature, to be sinners, and to commit all kinds of sin.
7. Thus, we will gladly contend for the right to life of all persons, born and unborn, whatever their sexual orientation. We must fight against the idea of aborting fetuses or human embryos identified as homosexual in orientation.
I agree. I am also pro-life and stand fully against the murder of unborn children.
8. If a biological basis is found, and if a prenatal test is then developed, and if a successful treatment to reverse the sexual orientation to heterosexual is ever developed, we would support its use as we should unapologetically support the use of any appropriate means to avoid sexual temptation and the inevitable effects of sin.
IMHO, this is inexcusable for a Christian leader of Dr. Mohler's influence and biblical astuteness to see "genetic reversal" as being considered "appropriate means to avoid sexual temptation and the inevitable effects of sin." The "means of grace" in salvation or sanctification are completely sufficient to accomplish this purpose.
9. We must stop confusing the issues of moral responsibility and moral choice.
I don't think this is confusing at all. Moral responsibility flows from moral choice and I believe they are rooted in the corrupt an depraved sinful nature we all possess at birth due to original sin. We are spiritually held accountable for both.
We are all responsible for our sexual orientation, but that does not mean that we freely and consciously choose that orientation.
Ah but we do; and THAT'S the point here.
We sin against homosexuals by insisting that sexual temptation and attraction are predominately chosen.
This bold statement is shocking to me. To assert that we [Christians] are the ones sinning because we say that homosexual temptation and attraction is predominately a choice and not genetically predisposed is unbiblical.
We do not always (or even generally) choose our temptations. Nevertheless, we are absolutely responsible for what we do with sinful temptations, whatever our so-called sexual orientation.
10. Christians must be very careful not to claim that science can never prove a biological basis for sexual orientation.
I will make that claim now. Science will never prove a biological basis for sexual orientation. Scripture has already defined the reason and choice for "that orientation (Romans 1:18-32).
We can and must insist that no scientific finding can change the basic sinfulness of all homosexual behavior. The general trend of the research points to at least some biological factors behind sexual attraction, gender identity, and sexual orientation.
I agree with this first sentence.
As to the second one: Who has proven this and where is the solid data from the scientific community across the board that states this?
This does not alter God's moral verdict on homosexual sin (or heterosexual sin, for that matter), but it does hold some promise that a deeper knowledge of homosexuality and its cause will allow for more effective ministries to those who struggle with this particular pattern of temptation. If such knowledge should ever be discovered, we should embrace it and use it for the greater good of humanity and for the greater glory of God.
Again, science adds not one thing to effective biblical ministry--especially for those in the gay community. To do so, is to write the next chapter in a "therapeutic theology" - a genome doctrine.
As I know Dr. Mohler agrees, it is the power of the gospel, not genetic discovery or reversal, that is needed today to understand, impact, and minister effectively to any sin issue facing mankind in any culture. I don't understand this unnecessary diversion from the centrality of the Word of God and the gospel to explain this.