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We live in an age when terms and expressions are changed in order to avoid the stigma attached to them. Conservative Christians do not wish to be viewed as accepting homosexuals as genuine believers into the faith community. So, in order to avoid the stigma that attaches to such a practice, Conservative Christians replace gay or homosexual with the term “same-sex attraction (SSA)” and like waving a magic wand, all is right with the world once again. The stigma is no more. I make no apologies for painting that narrative in this way. It is exactly what denominations like the PCA and the SBC are doing when they employ SSA language.
Now, if you are reading this post, I want you to pay close attention to what I am saying. If you care about the faith, about your church, about the testimony of Christ before the world, then you need to pay attention. Your pastors and elders are doing one of three things with this SSA and other social gospel elements sweeping the churches today. First, they are taking a direct stand in opposition to the error and in many cases, outright heresy that is being propagated by the proponents of this movement. If so, you are in good hands. Encourage your pastors and elders as often as you can. Tell them you appreciate their courage and boldness. They are a true example of what loving Christ and loving the church looks like. Second, your pastors and elders are absolutely silent on the SSA and social gospel issues. They are saying nothing whatsoever. If so, you are in questionable hands. You can rest assured that not all is well in your house. You have a reason for grave concern. Talk to your pastors directly about these issues. Ask them pointedly what they’re position is on the issues. They have an ethical obligation to be transparent with you on these matters. That is what feed and clothe them to do. That’s right! You put food in their mouths and clothes on their backs and a roof over their heads in exchange for their spiritual leadership. And you deserve ethical spiritual leadership. You deserve transparent spiritual leadership. What you don’t need or want is a spiritual politician. Spiritual politicians are useless.
Third, your pastors and elders are imperceptibly and shrewdly turning the boiling pot up on your house. They find subtle ways to talk about these issues in a way that ever-so-slightly promotes them. Take note of this behavior. They have increased their criticism of racism, but other sins are not called out nearly as much as they used to be. Their focus seems to have shifted. They talk a lot more about adoption and fostering children, even to the point that they are tying these practices to one’s faith. They may even imply that one’s faith is not true faith if they are not fostering children or adopting children or actively involved in stopping things like human and sex trafficking. But they do this in a most subtle way. They use the expression “same-sex attraction” in place of gay or homosexual. They aggressively and openly push for you to befriend certain groups of people. But again, they do so ever so subtly. The rhetoric around these social issues is still in its early stages for these pastors and elders. But you can rest assured that it will be turned up quickly. It will hit you like a tidal-wave and when it does, it will be too late to do much about it.
The most susceptible churches are those where there is little to no transparency in leadership. These leaders have a sense of entitlement to lead the congregation without the consent of the congregation. Decisions are made behind closed doors without any true representation of the congregation. Elders and deacons are in place who simply are ill-equipped and lacking the backbone to stand up to the stronger and more charismatic personalities of the lead or leading pastors. If this describes your church, you have a recipe for disaster. You can either stay and fight or you can take flight. What you should do is beyond the scope of this post. Leaving a church is no small matter.
Same-sex attraction put directly and simply is the desire to have sex with someone of the same sex. It is used most often with men who want to sexually take or be taken sexually by, another man. The question regarding this desire is really not that complicated. Is it wrong to want to have sex with someone of the same sex? Is it wrong to desire to penetrate or be penetrated by, another man? I apologize if framing it this way offends you. It should offend you. It should repulse you. You should be disgusted, and I pray you will always be disgusted by this thought. That is a good thing. It is good and right and proper to find the thought of man on man sex and woman on woman sex, disgusting. It is inappropriate and improper to view homosexual sex or homosexual desires for such sex in the same way that we view heterosexual intercourse.
The argument for same-sex attraction trades off the idea of heterosexual temptation. But is that comparison legitimate? I don’t think it is. The sexual urge is biological. It is not something we have any control over. But how that urge is directed is something we have control over. To date, there is no scientific evidence that traces same-sex attraction or homosexual desire to chemical activity in the brain. And it seems to me that there will never be a way for scientists to conclusively link brain activity with causality. The reliability of cognitive neuroscience is an extremely controversial field at this time and it seems as though it will be for the foreseeable future. My point is that there is absolutely no proof that a person cannot learn to control the object of their sexual desire and affection. In fact, there is proof that points in the opposite direction. While the urge for sex is a biological fact, the truth is that the object of that urge is more psychological than biological. So, when I hear someone say that they are the passive victim of the so-called SSA condition, my sense is that this is not really the case.
However, let’s pretend for a moment that I am wrong and that SSA is a condition of the sinful heart. Let’s pretend that the person is in fact a victim of a sexual urge for man on man sexual intercourse. As one who believes in the power of the gospel, I have to ask if the gospel is actually powerful enough to change this person’s heart and to replace their sinful desires with desires that are godly. If the gospel is powerful enough to change this person’s heart, and we actually believe that when the gospel is believed it does supernaturally change a person’s heart, then what does it say about the person who is still SSA and who wants to hang on to their SSA? Is the gospel a fraud? Does it change hearts or not? Can it replace these wicked desires? What did Paul mean when he wrote to the church at Corinth and said “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”This participation in the new creation is reflected in the changed outlook of which v. 16 spoke and in a new holiness of life (cf. 1 Cor. 6:9–11), and will culminate in the renewal of the whole person by resurrection to immortality in the new created order at the Parousia.
I believe the SSA issue is subterfuge. Just like I believe that the racial reconciliation movement was subterfuge to move evangelicals away from the conservative vote, I believe the SSA issue is subterfuge to cut the final resistance against homosexuality off at the knees: the Church of Jesus Christ. I do not believe that gay men are interested in being celibate. Let’s take a look at what is already being proposed or suggested by those who are pushing for SSA members within our churches. The website livingout.org recently published this article. It is a sobering article that advocates celibate same-sex couples. It advocates non-sexual physical intimacy. The article is pie-in-the-sky nonsense that no honest person would take seriously for even a moment. But that is not my point. My point is the direction this is all taking.
When homosexuals argued for marriage, they did so under the ruse of property and inheritance rights. And the secular culture bought it. Now, as it turns out, it wasn’t about marriage at all. It was about the normalization of sexually deviant behavior. And it worked better than anyone could have hoped. I suspect the same strategy is at play in our churches. Instead of property rights, the homosexual movement is taking a much subtler approach. And some of our pastors and elders are such sloppy thinkers and so biblically inept that they are buying it. The reasoning at this point is that SSA is just a temptation to have homosexual sex. And if a person resists that urge, then they are doing the same thing that a man who has a sexual urge for a woman who is not his wife does. So, if that is really the case, then the floodgates open to all sorts of nonsense. For example, there is no reason why two homosexual men cannot live together as long as they promise not to have sex. They can hold hands, hug, kiss, etc., but they cannot have sex. And as long as they don’t have sex, they are not sinning, right? There is nothing wrong with a man and a woman who are courting, holding hands at church. Now, imagine gay men in your church, holding hands and singing how much they love Jesus. Imagine them living together. Imagine them adopting children. If it is the case that homosexual sex is what makes one a practicing homosexual and that only practicing homosexuals are sinning, then all of these other behaviors are perfectly moral.
Sound right? Seem right? Feel right? Read the Scriptures and observe God’s creation. Does this seem right to you? Nope! Not for a nanosecond. That’s because it isn’t right. You know innately that something is very wrong with this narrative. Are your pastors and elders a haven for truth, equipping the body to stand for truth or are they hiding in their closets or worse, are they promoting in ever so subtle ways the SSA and social gospel movement? Examine them. Hold them accountable. And if necessary, fire them. Find truth lovers with courage and boldness to lead your house.
Colin G. Kruse, 2 Corinthians: An Introduction and Commentary, vol. 8, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1987), 124.
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