Phil Johnson recently began stirring the pot on the non-neutrality of same-sex attraction (SSA). You can read it here and here. It’s the sort of cantankerous monologue you’d expect from a hard-line fundamentalist like Phil. But he’s finally provoked me enough to get me writing. So that’s something.

First, let’s clarify that this isn’t about the conference that got Phil so wound up. I have no comment to make about that conference since I know almost nothing about it and it’s not the point. The point is that Phil has taken it as an opportunity to address what he sees as the “underlying theory.” And I think he’s right. The legitimacy of SSA is the underlying issue.

It seems Phil has only recently come to realise that this is the mainstream evangelical position. I suspect this is evidence that if you look down on a group loud enough long enough forcefully enough, you can avoid having to face the reality of their struggles and issues for longer than others can.

But it is the mainstream evangelical position. And it should be. And at a time when we need to be defending this position from the other direction (the pressure to accept homosexual activity as normal and acceptable to God), we are, unfortunately, having to apologise to the SSA community for the oppression coming from the Christian community. And make no mistake, this is oppression. It is the thinking and approach that have led to emotional and physical damage for many in the SSA community, and is still doing so in many parts of the world. God hates this oppression. And Christ will not tolerate its propagation in his name. The day of reckoning will come.

Finally, before we get down to it, I want to address Christians, especially young people, who live with SSA. I know that this discussion itself could easily crush you and suck the very hope from you. Please know that not everyone is like Phil. There are tens of thousands of churches around the globe that will love you and help you. The message will be tough… you get to give up everything to get the greatest treasure in the world: Jesus Christ. But if you don’t, and you choose to engage in homosexual activity, we will still stand up for your rights and your dignity and we will still love you and protect you.

What is the core issue?

Here’s how Phil puts the core issue:

It’s the notion that homosexual orientation is morally neutral. The claim being made is that gay desires are not really sinful unless they are acted upon. So a person can fully self-identify as lesbian, bi-sexual, gay, transsexual, gender-fluid, or otherwise “queer” and be a church member in good standing—as long as he, she, xe, (or whatever) remains celibate.

So this is what Phil thinks the position is, and he disagrees with it.

Let me make two points about this statement:

First, this is not about identification as a “gay Christian” or not. That is another issue which does of course rest on this one, but does not necessarily follow from it. If the mainstream view is correct, that doesn’t mean a gay person should or will identify as a “gay Christian.” Nor do I encourage that under normal circumstances. Our primary identity as a Christian is not about our sexuality, but our standing in Jesus Christ. Being “gay” or not is a peripheral matter and should not form our primary identity. But again, that’s not the point here.

Second, this is not about gender issues. Phil demonstrates ignorance common among Christians when he lumps gender identity issues in with SSA issues. It’s embarrassing to watch and it destroys any vestige of credibility Christians might have with the SSA community.

So that’s out of the way. Now I want to point out that there are three elements in Phil’s first two statements:

  1. Orientation
  2. Desire
  3. Action

Let me give simple operational definitions to these three in order to give a degree of clarity.

Orientation is the direction of sexual attraction. So God made sex. And it was a good creation. And most human beings have sexual attractions. Orientation is about the direction of those attractions. The two most common directions are heterosexual and homosexual, although a realistic view of the issue recognises that sexual orientation is far more complex than this simplistic overview.

Desire is easily confused with orientation or attraction, but it differs from both. Orientation implies merely direction, not actual desire. And attraction implies that the orientation has met an object which is in line with the orientation. But desire is active. It is what you do with attraction. This is the most common way in which lust is used in modern English as well as in Scripture. It is not passive. It is active. To keep the distinction between orientation and desire clear, I will refer to them as desire-as-attraction (orientation) and desire-as-lust (desire).

Action is acting on the desire-as-lust. So Jesus’ statements about sinning in the heart occur at the desire-as-lust level. But action is the level at which we choose to act out those desires in fornication, adultery, etc.

A person with SSA is by definition involved in the first level. This is not sin. But engagement beyond that is both avoidable and sin.

Where Phil gets it wrong

First, Phil engages in lazy fundamentalist rhetoric when he says:

Lots of my Twitter followers [were] expressing shock and surprise that I would hold an opinion so egregiously out of step with postmodern political correctness.

The problem, Phil, is not that you are out of step with postmodern political correctness. The problem is that you’re out of step with God and his word. Seriously, can you name a place where it’s politically correct to say that same-sex activity is sin? Not in the Western world. So why would you act like it is political correctness that motivates this position? It’s the worst kind of obfuscation. Shame on you.

Second, Phil misuses Scripture to back his point. He says:

Scripture is chock full of statements emphatically condemning evil desires—from the Tenth Commandment (Exodus 20:17) to Jesus’ words about mental and visual lust in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:27-29). What, after all, is lust but raw, sinful desire?

We’ve already addressed Jesus’ words in Matthew 5. But Exodus 20? Does Phil really want us to believe that merely finding our neighbour’s car attractive is the same as coveting it? It’s an absurd notion. Clearly there is a world of difference between desire-as-attraction and desire-as-lust/covetousness.

Then Phil says:

Scripture says inordinate affections are sinful and commands us to mortify them (Colossians 3:5). I didn’t make that up.

The snark is just there so he can keep his fundamentalist credentials looking sharp. But the passage is, of course, worth addressing. The passage addresses a list of sins to be put off. One of them is “evil desire.”

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

Phil uses the KJV translation “inordinate affection,” but seems to think that this is what was later translated as “evil desire.” In fact, he’s confused this statement with the one that preceded it. “Inordinate affections” in the KJV corresponds to “passions” in the ESV. So that’s just a mistake on his part it seems.

The KJV translation for “evil desires” was “evil concupiscence.” And while it’s a fascinating study as to why the word concupiscence was used in the early translations and what it meant to the Roman Catholic or ex-RCC mind, we need to move forward.

There are two primary ways to interpret the phrase “evil desires.” First, “evil desires” could be addressing the desires themselves and saying that some desires are inherently evil and must be put to death. Second, “evil desires” could be an idiomatic way of saying “desires for evil things.” If it is the first, then it is not parallel to all the other points in the list. And we are commanded to do something that is humanly impossible to do. No person can create or destroy a desire-as-attraction at will. This must be a supernatural work. The second approach is much more natural and fits the context better.

And you’ll find that the context in both Romans 1:26 and 1 Thessalonians 4:5 speak of desire-as-lust, not desire-as-attraction. So no, Scripture does not support Phil’s position. More on that in a moment.

Third, Phil’s position can’t stand theologically. We could say that his soteriology is over-realised. Because what Phil means when he repudiates the notion of desire-as-attraction as legitimate is not merely that we cease to indulge this aspect of our sinful nature, but rather that we cease to have this aspect of our sinful nature. It is glorification of this part of our being; a demand we make on no other part of man’s being at this stage of the soteriological process.

Fourth, Phil conflates lust and attraction. He says:

It’s the notion that homosexual orientation is morally neutral. The claim being made is that gay desires are not really sinful unless they are acted upon.

This equating of desire-as-orientation/attraction and desire-as-lust is the structure on which his whole argument stands or falls. And as I said on twitter and Phil cited in his second post, “If… attraction and lust aren’t the same thing… [then] your proposition collapses entirely.” There is a world of difference between desire-as-attraction and desire-as-lust.

He goes on to say:

To explain the idea of lust in the sense Scripture uses the word, it is any desire or affinity for something that God has forbidden. …you cannot define lust without the idea of attraction.

He’s right that you cannot define lust without the idea of attraction. James (1:14-15) points this out. But you can define attraction without the idea of lust. James points this out as well. Sin (desire-as-lust) comes when we are lured (temptation) by our desires (desire-as-attraction). The point is explicit. Sin follows the process of temptation based on attraction. Neither the temptation nor the attraction is the sin. The sin is!

Fifth, Phil crosses categories. He says:

To desire what God forbids is a sin, full stop.

So let’s demonstrate what these crossed categories lead to in real life. A pubescent teen boy sees a teen girl and is sexually attracted to her. Is he sinning? According to Phil he is. He is sexually attracted to this girl when God has forbidden sex with her because he’s not married to her. So he’s sinning. Full stop. Which is absurd. What he’s feeling is utterly normal and natural. He’s noticing that he finds women attractive.

What are the crossed categories that got Phil into this mess? He’s crossed the broader category with the specific application of it. So the broad category is sex. God made sex. Sex is a wonderful gift from God. And the teenage boy who begins to realise that is not sinning. Even when he is attracted to people with whom sex, either in the mind as lust or outside the mind, would be sin under these circumstances. The sin comes not when he is attracted to a girl. That is merely desire-as-attraction. The sin comes when he acts on that attraction either in the mind (desire-as-lust) or outwardly (action).

And I’ll grant, no debate, that SSA are disordered attractions. They are as much a result of the curse as earthquakes and dental cavities. But they are not sin unless and until they are indulged as lust or as sexual activity.

Conclusion

The reason Phil’s thinking is so dangerous is that many use Christianity to mask good old-fashioned ignorance and prejudice. Which leads to open oppression. In the name of God.

We Christians are handling the homosexuality thing very poorly and comments like those Phil put forward have a disproportionate damaging effect on one of the smallest minorities there is: Christians with SSA. Think about it. Contempt and condemnation from Christians, quite often, for being SSA. And equal contempt and condemnation, quite often, from the LGBTQI community for standing against indulgence of SSA.

We’ve got to do better. Obedience to Christ demands it.

Grace to you.

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About Jason Harris

Jason loves to communicate God's word both in the local church and at conferences and retreats. Jason has been involved with Worship Music since 1996 and InFocus since 2005. Jason has degrees in theology, music, accounting, and research and is currently a PhD candidate and lecturer in the College of Business, Law, and Governance at James Cook University, Cairns. Jason is also a pastor at CrossPoint Church. You can contact Jason at jason@jasonharris.com.au.

19 Comments

  1. Kez 2 June, 2018 at 6:57 pm - Reply

    This is really really good. Thank you for writing it.

  2. Joy 2 June, 2018 at 8:11 pm - Reply

    SSA people who live a life-style that honours God should be applauded and encouraged. What a struggle they must face! What prejudice assaults them from fellow Christians in churches that are supposed to be a safe refuge and where they should find someone to walk alongside, cheering them on. Thank you, Jason, for educating us and laying out the truth.

  3. Bobby Grow 6 June, 2018 at 3:13 pm - Reply

    I agree, that Phil is a Fundamentalist is ever there was one; how that gets defined on a continuum is significant though (i.e. sociologically, doctrinally, et al), and what the entailments of that continuum are. But my concern is more systemtic, it has to do with something you identify but move on from; i.e. the affirmation of the SSA Community itself—as a “Community.” This is where the concern lies for me, and the place where I think that compassion has been conflated with affirmation when the former can be given without the latter; and in fact I think that order of things is the best way to be compassionate (by foreclosing on space wherein such a community is allowed to flourish which in my view can lead to greater confusion in re to sexuality etc among the youth in particular rather than clarity). I do agree that Phil’s thinking is as usual, sloppy, and that he attempts to gloss that behind a bravado of what he likes to call “word-smithing,” and so I can go with your critique on that front (and even with the main of your critique). I simply think that’s not the real issue, the real issue, as I noted, from my perspective is SSA itself as a viable community and the evangelical’s affirmation of that in the name of compassion; I don’t think that’s real compassion.

    • Jason Harris 6 June, 2018 at 4:15 pm

      Bobby Grow,

      Thanks for the comment. And I think there is definitely something to your point. It depends, perhaps, on how we define both the community and the SSA.

      For the latter, my comments were intended to be directed toward Christians with unwanted SSA (CUSSA?). And I agree that such people should identify more with the community of the body of Christ more than the CUSSA community. That said, there are some areas in which members of this sub-group can be uniquely helpful to each other just as a sub-community of the aged, the single, couples, youth, etc. can benefit at times from fellowship within their own Christian sub-communities. Which, I think, addresses the definition of community.

      Unfortunately, part of the reason a CUSSA community exists today is because there are (tens of?) thousands who have felt rejected or marginalised by the broader Christian community. Many in the CUSSA community have had to leave home, church, work, and/or ministry because of their SSA. Imagine going to Phil’s church and knowing that many there see you as sick, disgusting, and inherently perverted. It undermines gospel fellowship entirely to know that your “brothers” look down on you in disgust. In other words, in some ways, the church has forced this group into a community for their own survival.

  4. Bobby Grow 7 June, 2018 at 12:55 pm - Reply

    Jason,

    I don’t disagree with you in re to attending Phil’s church; I’ve visited there a few times myself in years past. I have other qualms with the theology that funds Mac’s/Johnson’s et al theology, but not unrelated in re to the spirit which you are highlighting. My concern is more sociological rather than ecclesial in regard to community, and yet related. In other words, to affirm the homosexual as an actual or legitimate community—rather than simply being a ‘symbol’ for the disenfranchised and marginalized among us—allows for space coram Deo that I don’t think is allowed for. Yes, we are all (of us) confused about a variety of things in re to self-knowledge; but I’d argue that this confusion (and the level of it) is corollary and even commensurate with our knowledge (or lack thereof) of God (to appeal to Calvin’s famous thinking on self knowledge vis a vis knowledge of God and vice versa). In other words, the greater the knowledge of God the greater the knowledge of the self before God; and withing this matrix a lessening of confusions in regard to the self and our place before a Holy God. If this sort of conception—in re to knowledge—holds true, then I would argue further that the ‘mind of the church’ (or the trad) precludes the types of affirmation that many evangelicals (inclusive of what we see going on in Revoice) these days are giving homosexuals. This type of affirmation, I contend, does not come from a knowledge of God/self dialectic, but instead is a result of the church attempting to clumsily be “relevant” to the world in the name of God’s love in Christ. This should not be so. The church is here to bear witness to who God is, and more, to prophetically speak to and against (in most cases) the principalities and powers that would seek to destroy the lives of as many as possible. In my view, affirmation of the homosexual community, or the softening of our positioning relative to the ‘world’ (like the so called ‘Friendship’ culture) does not reflect a growing, transforming, clarifying knowledge of God and his holiness vis a vis the church, but instead reflects a retreat to the impulses of the principalities and powers that Christ came to free us from; a retreat to a culture that is in bondage to self-possessed and generated confusion that is the antipathy of what a genuine knowledge of God provides for.

    Should the church catholic love homosexuals? Yes! Does this mean we must recognize the ‘homosexual community’ as an actual community in the way that culture and societies have done and are doing in increasing and more pervasive ways? No! Why isn’t there a politically identified community of adulterers? This is parallel with having a community of homosexuals so on and so forth? The church is affirming this community not because God does; not because God recognizes the “homosexual community” as an actual people group. The church, I contend, is affirming this community because this reflects the mind of much of the modern church today; it is a mind that is not gaining its self knowledge in relation to God, but instead a mind that is gaining its self knowledge by comparing itself with other prevailing knowledges in the culture; which the Apostle Paul says is utterly foolish. Can we love homosexuals; should we? Yes, just as we love any other sinner (including ourselves!). We speak the truth in love without allowing space for sin to flourish. This is the loving thing to do. This is only a complex issue insofar as we allow “Christian homosexuals” and their proponents to assert that this is a complex issue that is not as simple as I’ve just sketched. But who are they? Are they God? Do they have access to my heart, your heart, or their own hearts? No. God alone does and his prescription for dealing with that heart was to put it to death, and now has called us to reckon it so over and over again through a posture of worship and repentance. I don’t see this posture being emphasized in and among proponents of so called Christian homosexuals; instead I see them putting themselves into the place of God and telling people just the opposite of what God has said over and again in Holy Scripture and its attested reality in Jesus Christ.

    There are other ways to affirm people without affirming the systemic structures they have attached them to; structures built in the city of man rather than the city of God. Jesus said in order for a tree to bear good fruit the bad root needs to be taken away, and a new root provided for. This imagery works well here in re to Christian homosexuality (or for any deviance). There is no place for alternative identities in the Kingdom of Christ, there is simply One identity and it is Christ’s for us before God. He is the ‘new root’, the ‘firstborn from the dead,’ the ‘firstfruit of God’ for us. This is where all Christians find their identity, and that then spreads through the members of our bodies. Homosexuality, as does any other sin operates from the old order that seeks to assert itself in the domain of the new in Christ. But that old order needs to be reckoned dead, not be given space at the table of the in-breaking marriage supper feast of the Lamb. If we are going to be truly loving and affirming of not only homosexuals but all sinners alike, we will simply tell them what we must be telling ourselves by the work of the Holy Spirit; ‘repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand.’ To me this is the way to affirm people of any walk, to affirm them towards and to Jesus Christ and the identity that he is as the true human for them. In this a person can begin to gain a genuine self-knowledge because they, in Christ, have been put up against a genuine knowledge of God where all righteousness and holiness dwells. What I see happening currently in re to the issue of homosexuality and Christians is a far cry from this type of growing knowledge of God and self.

  5. […] following is a comment I just published over at another blogger’s site (who I just came across) who is somewhat arguing for an affirmation of Christian homosexuals. His […]

  6. Joy 7 June, 2018 at 2:21 pm - Reply

    It seems you confuse “homosexuality, as any other sin” with the scenario of a genuine devoted child of God finding him/herself, through no choice of his/her own, with SSA, researching for help, then solemly choosing celibacy – having never sinned. There are more Christians like that out in this world than you seem to be aware of.

  7. Bobby Grow 8 June, 2018 at 4:05 pm - Reply

    Joy,

    If your response is to me, then here is my reply. I’m unsure where this idea comes from, that homosexuals are homosexuals by a choice not their own; where does that come from? In the scientific community—although not the popular community, obviously–the “homosexual gene” theory has long be abandoned based upon the lack of credible lines of evidence. Is this the theory your appealing to to make your claim in regard to “lack of choice?” My appeal, ultimately, is to Holy Scripture and its indicatives from God; his requirements. Scripture speaks of homosexuality as “any other sin”; i.e. it includes it in lists of sin without recognizing gradation. But your basic premise, and the premise of many in the community your apparently advocating for, is a non-starter. It is a theory that has been abandoned by the scientists themselves, maybe not the ideologues in the scientific community though.

    I don’t have to affirm, nor should I, a distinct “homosexual community” in order to treat homosexuals, as any other sinner, with the compassion, mercy, and grace that has been extended to me in and through God in Jesus Christ. Is that what you’re claiming; i.e. that we must recognize the LGBTQ community as a distinct (even ontological) people group in order to treat them with compassion? Again, such logic kicks against the theo-logic in Holy Scripture as that attests to its living reality in Jesus Christ.

    Further, and from the consequent, if this “affirmation” is made, a slippery slope is stepped upon which recovery from is nay impossible.

    • Jason Harris 8 June, 2018 at 11:53 pm

      Interesting that you went to the ontology here (I hadn’t read this comment when I went there).

      You’re correct that science has proven no genetic cause of SSA. However, I’ve yet to meet or hear of a SSA person who believes they in any way chose to be SSA. Even in our culture where having same-sex experiences as a young person is seen as a right of passage, the majority of people who engage in them do not go on to be SSA. In short, the notion that SSA are chosen lacks not just evidence (biblical or otherwise), but it actually lacks SSA proponents. Entirely. I’m not aware of one SSA proponent of the notion.

      Nor does it make sense. Who chooses to be heterosexually attracted? It’s an absurd notion. We just know. Typically before we even know what sex is. The notion that a twelve-year old boy who still hasn’t quite worked out what sex is has already decided to be SSA is absurd, yet most SSA people report knowing long before age twelve.

  8. Jason Harris 8 June, 2018 at 11:43 pm - Reply

    Bobby,

    I largely agree with you and think you put a pretty good case up for not identifying normally as a “gay Christian.” I don’t think it’s airtight, but it’s compelling and should be considered carefully by anyone who overtly identifies this way.

    My biggest concern with your comment overall would just be that you seem to see the confusion as a matter of epistemology rather than ontology. And I’m not sure that even begins to address this problem.

    SSA is not epistemic. It is ontological so to speak. In other words, the problem is not that people don’t know their identity in Christ, but that they still have this “body of sin” which, in their case, is same-sex attracted.

    Your reference to SSA in relation to “any other sin” suggests that you see the SSA itself as sin. My post argues that SSA is disordered, but not sin per se. And I think that distinction is crucial. This is also where the comparison with adultery falls down. Adultery is a sinful act. SSA is not an act, and, as I’ve argued, not even sinful until indulged in the heart or beyond.

    That said, I agree that there are grave pitfalls to avoid in forming a culture or community around a disordered attraction. And I do hope that those who would choose to engage in such an approach would take the concerns you’ve raised here carefully to heart.

  9. RickyB 24 July, 2018 at 3:07 pm - Reply

    The idea that no one chooses to have SSA is an interesting assumption built on the idea that SSA is ontological, i.e nature rather than nurture.

    But this ignores the connection between childhood sexual abuse or trauma and SSA. If it is not a sin but merely “disordered”, I would argue that the disorder is potentially triggered by trauma. So sin is involved, even if not the sin of the SSA person.

    How we deal with the individual SSA person is a matter of pastoral care rather than theology or ideology. But in the matter of the debate over attraction vs desire vs action, it is absolutely the truth that God created ALL of us with the ontological attraction to the opposite sex as it regards our fundamental sexual orientation. God created Opposite Sex Attraction (OSA) but he did not create SSA. Sin beget SSA even if it was not the sin of the person who suffers from it. And when we say SSA we are talking about two things:

    1) A sexual attraction to members of the same sex (SSA)
    2) A breakdown of the natural sexual attraction to members of the opposite sex (Opposite Sex Rejection or OSR)

    And it is this aspect of OSR that I find most curious. The focus is entirely on SSA. But the more I learn about the amazing beauty of opposite sex attraction and the complementarity of the two sexes, the more I realize how utterly dysfunctional and contrary to the beauty of God’s creation OSR is. A man with OSR finds women sexually uninteresting or even repugnant. Some of the worst misogyny exists among the gay male population. Some of the most virulent man haters are lesbians.

    Emphasizing SSA without it’s corollary feature of OSR is designed to make it seem more benign than it is. Scratch the surface of the person with SSA and you’ll find a person deeply alienated from the opposite sex. It will not be a pretty sight.

    Nevertheless, I find it very odd that so much effort is being expended in the attempt to split hairs over attraction vs desire when the culture at large is waging a full frontal assault on the church’s ability to preach the Christian sexual ethic and the Human Rights Commission is spending massive amounts of money to infiltrate the conservative churches with pro-gay propaganda.

    If you want to get mad at somebody, stop directing your fire at a fellow biblical Christian like Phil Johnson and start pointing some of that fire on the radical SJW gay rights organizations attempting to brain wash young Christians into an unbiblical mindset.

    • Jason Harris 25 July, 2018 at 12:19 am

      Thanks for your thoughts RickyB.

      I don’t think it’s actually an assumption. The testimony of SSA people is, as far as I know, unanimous that SSA is not chosen.

      But I do agree with you that SSA is probably largely—though not necessarily exclusively—related to nurture. I would subscribe to a developmental model.

      And I agree also that trauma may sometimes be part of that picture. It is not, however universal by any stretch. We can never assume that an SSA person was sexually abused or had an overbearing mother or a weak father figure, etc. None of these factors even comes close to correlating explanatorily with SSA.

      Your statement that “it is absolutely the truth that God created ALL of us with the ontological attraction to the opposite sex as it regards our fundamental sexual orientation” is a theological statement and it is simply not true. Yes, the archetypal man (Adam) was created with an ontological attraction to the opposite sex. But people are born with curse-originating disorders all the time. People are born blind. That is disorder. It is not a result of development. Or sin. Jesus explicitly affirmed this. Nor is it the ideal state of man as created by God. But it happens all the time. The same is true of hundreds of other disorders including mental illness which is often hereditary. The theology of Scripture simply cannot support the weight of the notion that no one is born with disordered sexual orientation.

      As far as the two things, I think you’re mistaken there as many who have SSA also have OSA. It’s called bisexuality and is a very common orientation even in many who identify as OSA. It is better to think of orientation as a sliding scale between the two ends of SSA and OSA. Kinsey’s research is very helpful in defining sexuality in this regard.

      Your comment that “Some of the worst misogyny exists among the gay male population. Some of the most virulent man haters are lesbians” is interesting. The first half seems quite odd to me as I can’t say I’ve ever observed anything close to this. Ever. I would have said the opposite. The second half has some truth in it I think. But quite often there are very good reasons for this. I tend to think, from my observations, that female SSA is more often and to a greater extent a result of developmental factors than male SSA and statistically, female conversion therapy is more often successful. But that is a very general statement.

      “Scratch the surface of the person with SSA and you’ll find a person deeply alienated from the opposite sex.” This is simply not true. Many bisexual people still choose to marry a person of the opposite sex. Most, in fact. And this alienation is simply not a significant sociological reality for the SSA community. I’m not sure where you’re getting your information… perhaps you’re just theorising… but SSA males are known for having close female friends.

      “I find it very odd that so much effort is being expended in the attempt to split hairs over attraction vs desire…” It’s not splitting hairs. Not by a long shot. Christians routinely and systematically discriminate against and overtly persecute SSA people. That’s a fact. Much of the animosity between the factions is rooted in the fact that most SSA people feel personally rejected by some Christian/s in their past. The hurts are very deep and very real and almost entirely unjustified. The Christians have been evil in this, even to the point of laughing at and tacitly affirming violence against members of this community. The Christians are not the primary victims in this thing. They are the primary aggressors and have been for centuries. The push back has been quite mild to date. Christians in America whining about persecution is pathetic. It’s time the church stopped whining and started repenting.

      As far as my fire being misdirected, I’ve thought long and hard about where to direct my fire. Phil has chosen to launch his fire at “SJWs”. Instead of standing for right and trying to help us do it well (with God and his gospel at the centre), he’s chosen to ridicule and mock “SJWs.” And I’m calling him on it. That’s just not how Christians roll. Simple as that. Christians love justice. In society. And they fight for it. So call it “social justice warriors” with a sneer if you must. But I’m just going to smile and shoot right back: “damn straight.”

  10. RickyB 25 July, 2018 at 12:40 am - Reply

    1. You did not refute the statement that God created us to be opposite sex attracted. You said I was wrong but all you did was confirm what I said by saying that people are born with all kinds of sin-induced dysfunctions. I agree. The point is that they are induced by the fall not by God’s created order.

    2. I did not say people with SSA also have OSA (opposite sex attraction) which is bisexuality. I said they often have OSR (opposite sex REJECTION).

    3. “Christians routinely and systematically discriminate against and overtly persecute SSA people.” Try that again only substitute “Muslims” for Christians. You would be far more accurate but unfortunately you would run afoul of the SJWs. You paint Christians with a brush so broad it could cover half of Australia with one stroke. I take no responsibility for discrimination against gays. The idea of group guilt and group repentance for all of the sins committed by all of the Christians makes as much sense as holding everyone of German descent responsible for the holocaust. The entire population of 2 billions Christians is not to blame for the problems you are talking about. This is another instance where you are slandering your fellow Christian believers to score political points with the secular progressive left.

    4. SJWs deserve the mocking they get. “Social Justice” is a nonsense term that is designed to set up a counterfeit religion to Christianity with all of the hallmarks of a distinct religion. There are original sins (patriarchy, white privilege, cis-gendered privilege, male privilege yada yada yada). There is a path to righteousness (“wokeness”) and there is a clear-cut division between the righteous and the unrighteous. The alternative to mocking, I suppose, is intellectual deconstruction. But often times it takes humor to successfully deconstruct lies. The only reason a guy like Phil Johnson offends you is because you have swallowed many of the SJW lies.

    • Jason Harris 3 August, 2018 at 1:31 am

      Thanks for your patience on my response RickyB. I wanted to do it when I had time to reread the thread so I don’t misunderstand anything.

      1) I refuted what you said. You said “God created ALL of us…” If you meant that God created Adam opposite sex attracted (OSA), then of course I agree.

      2) Right. I said that. You equated same sex attraction (SSA) with opposite sex rejection (OSR). You said “when we say SSA we are talking about… [OSR].” Which is an simply not true. SSA in no way implies OSR. Rather, in a huge percentage of cases, SSA people are also OSA, not OSR. The premise is simply inaccurate at it’s root.

      3) It is invalid to excuse our evil by pointing out that someone else is evil in the same way. Even if the other person is more evil.

      I agree that I paint with a somewhat broad brush (as does Jesus when he prays over Jerusalem), but if anyone gets off the hook on this, it is not the conservatives/fundamentalists like Phil Johnson. They have been the worst offenders.

      Group guilt is absolutely biblical. Read Daniel’s prayer of repentance. Or Moses’ intercession for Israel. Or Paul’s arguments in Romans about how we are born in sin in Adam. Group guilt means that if my group sins and I don’t fight it, I’m responsible in a way people outside the group aren’t. And maturity doesn’t try to dodge responsibility.

      “This is another instance where you are slandering your fellow Christian believers to score political points with the secular progressive left.”

      If you think I’m scoring points with anyone on the left by standing against the practice of homosexuality, you’re confused. That’s not how this works. My message is hard and utterly counter-cultural.

      4) This is, of course, complete nonsense. Social justice is justice in society. You can disagree with what I think justice means in a given instance. That’s fine. But disagreeing with the cause of justice in society is evil. Don’t be evil.

  11. RickyB 7 August, 2018 at 9:21 am - Reply

    I’ll take number 4 first:

    “Social justice” is not the same as “justice”. “Social justice” is a made-up term with the premiss that there exists a kind of justice that is not based on natural law, like the founders of America asserted when they talked about the law of nature and nature’s God. Nor is “Social Justice” based on equality under the law and no favoritism. Nor is “Social Justice” based on the idea that we should be judged by the content of our character and not the color of our skin. Nor is it based on biblical morality where “For God does not show favoritism (Romans 2:11).”

    “Social Justice” is based on cultural Marxism which places individuals into various social groupings and then makes arbitrary judgments about which groups are “haves” or “oppressors” and which groups are “have nots” or “victims.” Social Justice assigns the designation of privilege and, therefore, group evil upon all members of the “oppressor” groups. It confers victim status upon all members of the other groups.

    “Intersectionality” is the idea that there is a hierarchy of oppression where a white male Christian conservative is the arch-privileged personification of evil and those who have membership in other groups gain different levels of moral standing based on how many “oppressed” groups they belong to.

    This neo-Marxist construction is utterly unbiblical, anti-human, morally repugnant and vile. “Social justice” should never be confused with actual justice under the “law of nature and nature’s God.”

    You said “Group guilt means that if my group sins and I don’t fight it, I’m responsible in a way people outside the group aren’t. And maturity doesn’t try to dodge responsibility.” But what is “my group” and how does “my group sin”?

    Your examples of David and Moses are about leaders who have real decision making authority over the people they belong to. They are praying for the group they are leading. Certainly I am responsible for my family and if I am a boss at work I am responsible for the people who work under me at least as it relates to their work productivity. If I have a leadership responsibility at church I am accountable to God for the jurisdiction he has placed under me.

    But Social Justice is an entirely different kind of group guilt and group responsibility. It is an utter confusion about a key aspect of justice and that is JURISDICTION.

    If I have no jurisdiction then I have no moral culpability. If I am of Swedish descent, am I guilty of everything Sweden has done in history? If I have mixed racial descent, am I guilty of everything each of my racial groups have done? How does a group sin, anyway? If I am a non-denominational person who holds to a generally baptistic view and dispensationalist eschatology, am I morally responsible for the misdeeds of every baptist or dispensationalist? Am I responsible for the sins of those that take a covenant theological view, too?

    If I am a Dallas Cowboys fan, am I guilty of every sin committed by a member of the Dallas Cowboys? If I am a vegetarian do I need to seek forgiveness when a fellow vegetarian sins?

    If you say you are a Christian then I suppose one way I can fight injustice is by arguing with you when you put forth absurd statements. If I just let what you say pass, then does that make me an accomplice to your unbiblical assertions and require me to repent of what you do just because you are also a Christian?

    You see where this is going. What you are doing is committing the basic logical fallacy of division. There is so much confusion in what you are saying I hardly know where to begin. But Social Justice itself is absolutely confused about the moral source of justice (God and the Bible) and the scope of justice which is based on stewardship over the various jurisdictions that God have given us charge over.

  12. RickyB 7 August, 2018 at 1:11 pm - Reply

    “It is invalid to excuse our evil by pointing out that someone else is evil in the same way. Even if the other person is more evil.”

    There is no “our evil” because Christians do not control government policy on instituting capital punishment on homosexuals the way Islam does. But rather than get into the nitty gritty I will just refer you to the ideas of Abraham Kuyper and the idea of “sphere sovereignty.”

    The church has ecclesiastical authority only and its jurisdiction extends to the power to decide whom to admit and whom to deny membership. Their sphere sovereignty and, therefore, their moral accountability is limited to the local congregation, presbytery, or other institution depending on the denomination. Associating group guilt to every Christian denomination for the actions of individual Christians based on the anecdotes of Nate Collins is ridiculous. I have no problem with Catholic leaders being blamed for the sexual abuse of children and adolescents because they either participated in it or looked the other way. They had moral accountability because they had the authority to stop it and didn’t.

    Islam has even bigger problems than the Catholic church because they have no notion of sphere sovereignty. Islam gives unto itself all power over individual, community, government and even the world caliphate. It recognizes no limits and is essentially a totalitarian form of religious government. Evil committed by Islamic states can be blamed on Islam and those in power, but I would certainly not blame individual Muslims for every action taken by Isis or Al Qaeda. Most people of good will tend to fall all over themselves to separate individual Muslims or mosques from the actions of the terrorists.

    But I guess the same good will doesn’t extend to Christians in the area of homosexuality. We are all collectively blamed for all sins against homosexuals everywhere and for all time.

    Sorry, man. I’m not playing the game by the rules you want to set up. I just sit in the pews and pray for real justice like an end to the wanton murder of millions of unborn babies and an end to the religious persecution of Christians in Muslim countries and in China. I don’t pray for the phony baloney social justice neo-Marxist crap like an end to cis-gender privilege and an end to “toxic masculinity.”

    • Jason Harris 7 August, 2018 at 10:17 pm

      RickyB,

      So you completely ignore everything in my comments that is actually on topic. And in which I make the utter ignorance and foolishness of your surmisings transparent. And choose instead to focus on your anti-social justice obsession.

      I wrote a rebuttal to those points, but it’s fairly clear you aren’t listening anyway. If you actually want to discuss the topic of the post again, or defend the ruins of your arguments, I’m here and ready.

  13. RickyB 24 August, 2018 at 4:04 am - Reply

    I read and I responded. I have no “obsession” with social justice but I do consider it yet another secular poison that is trying to infiltrate the church and you have demonstrated a complete lack of discernment about it.

    My arguments are not “ignorant”, foolish” or “in ruin” as you laughably state. They are thoughtful, well-informed, and extensively researched. You are simply too intellectually incompetent to deal with them.

    And Phil Johnson is really awesome, BTW.

  14. […] A number of months ago, David Strain wrote an open letter to “Thomas,” a fictional seminary student struggling with same-sex attraction. I appreciated the tone of his letter. It was a welcome contrast to Phil Johnson’s handling of the topic to which I offered a somewhat salty—but no less intellectually and biblically rigorous—response. […]

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