I'm going to comment on this:
Would you allow me to begin with a question? You say that the mere presence of same-sex attraction is itself sinful, and because of this we have no business inviting someone who experiences same-sex attraction to speak to our community. Friend, do you believe that there is a difference between temptation and sin? At Gethsemane, Jesus had desires that were contrary to the Father’s will — and so he prayed, “Father, take this cup from me.” Father, do I have to die for your will to be accomplished? Papa, I don’t WANT to die. Your will is HARD, it goes against my feelings. It is because of Jesus’ courageous, “Not my will, but yours be done” that we can say that he was tempted and yet without sin, yes? Can we not say the same about Stephen’s experience with same-sex attraction — that it is temptation for him, temptation which he has faithfully surrendered to the Father’s will?
Let’s say that there are two alcoholics who have been sober for ten years. The first, miraculously, no longer craves alcohol. The second, on the other hand, still battles hard against cravings every single day. Does the presence of cravings for the latter make him less faithful than the former? Some would argue, Friend, that he actually might be more faithful in his sobriety because for him, sobriety is a daily fight against the flesh — a fight that he keeps on, by the grace of God, winning.
If we would not condemn the alcoholic for having cravings, why would we condemn someone who experiences same-sex attraction? In the end, how are the two any different? Would we celebrate the sober alcoholic’s story as victory but not do the same with the sexually chaste man experiencing same-sex attraction? If Stephen is welcomed into our church’s seminary and has faithfully served as staff for our church’s campus ministry, do you really feel that it is a right, good, excellent, pleasing, and praiseworthy thing in the eyes of Jesus to take us to task on social media and in blogs because we have given him (and the many in our churches whom he represents) a voice?
The issue at hand centers on the actions of the pastor of a large and influential PCA church who decided to promote pro-homosexual ideology from the pulpit through a morally compromised young man seeking ordination as a teaching elder (TE, minister) in the PCA. This young man not only claims to be homosexually-attracted to men but is very firm in his unrepentant attitude regarding that attraction. His struggle is not with homosexual attraction itself. He embraces it. However, to be obedient to God as a homosexually-attracted man, he claims to remain celibate. The pastor and the Presbytery all agree that homosexual lusts and behaviors are sinful. However, they also agree that homosexual attractions (desires, thoughts and feelings) are not sinful. When the ministerial candidate was asked if he believes “his homosexual feelings, attractions, thoughts and desires are sinful,” he believes they are not and further upholds that homosexual attractions and God-given heterosexual attractions are morally equivalent:
“I believe my same-sex attractions are broken, but I do not believe they are sinful. It is not a sin for me to be attracted to another man, in the same way it is not sinful for you to be attracted to a woman.”These are the pastor’s exact words from the pulpit:
“He (Jesus) says some have been made eunuchs or some have been made celibate from birth. They were born to be celibate, born this way. And this could be through a physical disability of some sort, or it could be through an orientation. That if given into would represent infidelity to the gospel. And so with this orientation, assuming it doesn’t go away, the call to faithfulness is the call to chastity and to celibacy. Because you were this way from birth Jesus said. Celibate from birth the way you were made.You remember when, when, when the Pharisees were asking why is the man who was born blind, why was he born this way. You know, who sinned, the Pharisees said, “Who did something wrong that he was born this way; was it him or was it his parents?” And Jesus said, “Nobody did anything wrong. It wasn’t his parents, it wasn’t him. He wasn’t born this way because there’s something wrong with him. He was born this way so that through his affliction, through his minority position as a blind person, God can be glorified.”http://theaquilareport.com/what-do-you-think/
My operating assumption is that the Aquila article is accurate. I notice that Scott Sauls didn't challenge the factual accuracy of the article. The reply of Scott Sauls is unresponsive to some key issues raised in the article.
1. According to Rom 1, homosexual desires as well as homosexual activities are sinful. It speaks not merely of "shameful acts," but the "dishonorable passions" that motivate the dishonorable acts.
2. Even if we didn't have a passage of Scripture (e.g. Rom 1) that's specifically addressed to this particular issue (i.e. homosexual attraction), it's a general truth that sinful actions often act out or act on sinful motives. For instance, murder is, in the first instance, sinful because the attitude is sinful.
That, of itself, doesn't disqualify a person from church office. But we need to correct a false premise in this debate. Insofar as the ordination of homosexuals is justified by dichotomizing sinless feelings from sinful actions, that's a false dichotomy. And that invalidates a justification predicated on that false dichotomy.
3. Jesus didn't say homosexuals are born that way. Moreover, to be born a eunuch has reference to genital deformities, not "orientation". See Nolland's commentary on Matthew. It is illicit for Scott Sauls to prooftext his position from Mt 19.
Likewise, the attempted analogy from Jn 9 begs the question. We have no evidence that Jesus thought homosexual attraction is genetic. Even if, for the sake of argument, Jesus did think homosexual attraction is genetic, we can't read his mind. Since he never said that, we have no way to determine if that's what he thought. It is therefore illicit to invoke the authority of Christ when there's no evidence to believe he'd affirm the analogy.
4. Notice how Scott Sauls smuggles in the blind man's "minority position" to create a parallel with homosexual minorities. But that's entirely extraneous to Jn 9. Jesus says nothing about the blind man's minority position. The narrator says nothing about the blind man's minority position. That intrudes an extrinsic consideration into the text.
5. It's quite possible for someone to have a disqualifying impediment through no fault of their own. For instance, if I was born with defective vision, that disqualifies me from becoming a fighter pilot. Or suppose I contract AIDS from infected blood during surgery. That disqualifies me from becoming a blood donor. So even if, for the sake of argument, we say that homosexual attraction is innocent, it could still be an impediment to church office.
6. Church office is not a human right or entitlement. It's not as if "gay Christians" have an inalienable right to be ordained to church office.
7. The comparison with a recovering alcoholic is problematic on two grounds:
i) A desire for alcohol isn't sinful. So the attempted analogy is disanalogous in that respect.
ii) Moreover, the comparison backfires. Would it be prudent for a recovering alcoholic to be a bartender? Should he work in a liquor store?
By the same token, is it prudent to put a "gay Christian" in tempting situations where he has access to young people, in a position of authority over young people?
We've seen this movie before. It doesn't have a happy ending. We've seen what happened in the church of Rome when homosexual priests sworn to celibacy are put in that position.
8. In addition, we've also seen an incremental strategy in play where "celibate gay Christians" serve as a wedge tactic. Once that's acceptable, once they have that foot in the door, the next step is "faithful, covenanted" homosexual relationships. The complaint is how unfair it is for straight Christians to have the emotional and sexual fulfillment of marriage and kids, but deny that to "gay Christians". How hypocritical!
That's the "noble lie": you break down resistance through a softening-up exercise. You intend all along to normalize homosexuality within the church, but that's not where you start.
I'm not accusing Stephen Moss of that. Maybe he's sincere. But I'm discussing this from a policy perspective and not isolated individuals. Once you have the momentum of a policy shift, there's a preexisting homosexual lobby that will take advantage of that policy shift.