By Bob Allen
A Southern Baptist seminary president said Oct. 7 that two rival meetings about how churches should respond to LGBT individuals held Monday night in Louisville, Ky., represents not just different views of homosexuality but of the nature and meaning of the gospel.
Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., said in a Wednesday podcast that protests of conferences on homosexuality and transgender issues held this week on the seminary campus were about more than controversy over the use of “reparative” therapy to change sexual orientation.
“Gospel-minded Christians simply cannot look to any kind of therapy, much less a secular therapy, for a rescue from sin,” Mohler said on the final day of the Oct. 5-7 conference on Homosexuality: Compassion, Care and Counsel for Struggling People at the 2015 annual meeting of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors.
“Those who were protesting the conference being held on our campus were protesting what was being taught on the basis of Scripture,” Mohler said. “They were clearly and quite publicly protesting any belief that there is anything morally wrong with homosexuality or transgenderism. They were specifically protesting the fact that homosexuality is a sin and likewise that it is a sin to reject the gender identity that is assigned by the creator at birth in terms of biological sex.”
Mohler said such views reflect a “great dividing line” in public controversy not only in culture but also within Christianity.
While more than 2,000 biblical counselors gathered Monday night at Southern Seminary to receive training on how to help Christians resist same-sex attraction as a sin, nearby Crescent Hill Baptist Church was host of a rival gathering presenting “another voice” offering a different religious perspective on LGBT persons from what is often heard from the church.
Crescent Hill joined Highland Baptist Church and other congregations in the 7 p.m. service to counter the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors’ belief “that all expressions of homosexuality are sinful and must be rejected and converted to heterosexuality.”
“Not only are we welcoming and affirming of the LGBT community, they are called on to be part of the church,” Highland Baptist Church Pastor Joe Phelps told the Louisville Courier-Journal.
Mohler said the argument is not “over this or that therapy” but a more fundamental question of “whether or not homosexuality and transgenderism — the entire LGBTQ agenda — whether or not they represent sin.”
“From a biblical perspective, those who are committed to the inerrancy and infallibility of Scripture understand clearly that the Bible presents a very consistent message,” Mohler said. “And that is that God’s gift of sexuality is given to human beings in order to be enjoyed within the context of marriage, within monogamous lifetime marriage defined as the conjugal union of a man and a woman.”
“It comes as early in the Bible as Genesis 2, and it is described throughout the Scriptures,” he said.
Mohler said the Bible speaks directly to the transgender issue in Genesis 1 when it says God created human beings as male and female.
“Those are not just abstract categories of social construction,” he said. “They are not merely evidence of what human beings have thought and what human societies have taught about sex roles and what it means to be man or woman. They are indeed rooted in creation itself.”
Mohler noted that the churches represented in Monday night’s counter meeting at Crescent Hill Baptist Church left the Southern Baptist Convention long ago not over the issue of homosexuality but rather whether the Bible is inerrant and sufficient.
Mohler said the rival meetings demonstrate how divergent views about the Bible over biblical authority in the Southern Baptist Convention in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s are being played out in today’s debate over homosexuality in the church.
One voice, Mohler said, was “doing its very best to clearly come to terms with what the Bible says about homosexuality and transgenderism, believing that the Bible is our sole authority and that God alone has the right to dictate the gift of human sexuality, and that what we are looking at is the responsibility of the Christian church to lean into the sufficiency of Scripture and the power of the gospel as the sole sufficient answers to the question.”
The other, represented by the protestors outside seminary campus and the worship service at Crescent Hill, he said, advocates “the full normalization of homosexuality.”
“The problem of all humanity is the problem of sin, and the Bible is quite specific about the forms that sin takes, including sexual sin, including same-sex relationships and acts and the question of transgenderism,” Mohler said.
Mohler said the whole point of the conference at Southern Seminary was “how the gospel of Jesus Christ is the sole and sufficient answer to the problem of sin, and how all of us, regardless or sexual orientation, once we come to Christ are to follow him in obedience, obey all of his commands and live lives of holiness in obedience to him.”
Mohler said that view and liberal denominations moving to the left in an attempt to “stay at least in step, if not even ahead of, the moral revolution” represent “two rival visions of Christianity.”
In terms of the Bible, we’re not talking about two rival visions of Christianity,” Mohler said. “We’re talking about Christianity and some new religion that claims some kind of continuing identity with the Christian faith, but it preaches another gospel; it holds to a very different authority than Scripture.”