Sexual Confusion in the Presbyterian Church in America…

screen-shot-2016-09-08-at-5-33-07-pmAn article written by PCA Chaplain Chuck Williams recently surfaced. Chaplain Williams brought charges against Christ Presbyterian Church‘s Senior Pastor Scott Sauls in the Nashville Presbytery based upon the toxic teaching at CPC’s Same-Sex Attraction Forum (April 2015). The results of Williams’ quixotic mission are chronicled in his article. Pastor Sauls responded here with some bad Christology, flowery emoting, and antinomian hand-wringing.

Chaplain Williams posted a link to his article on a Facebook group comprised of 1600 PCA teaching elders and ruling elders. As you might suspect, he was promptly dragged through the mud by men who think there is nothing sinful about men desiring men and women desiring women. Williams handled himself well. A few of the men who opposed Williams on his FB post were those who argued in a similar manner for the formation of the study committee on women’s ordination on the floor of this year’s General Assembly (transcripts here). As you look at the history and trajectory of other denominations, the ordination of women and acceptance of homosexuality, effeminacy, and sexual perversion quickly follows. It is now conceivable that the PCA is attempting to outdo those denominations by simultaneously opening the offices of Christ’s Church to women and promoting the acceptance of homosexual perversion.

Last year when CPC’s SSA Forum was still fresh, a few volunteers made transcripts of all of the videos. After studying those transcripts, I teamed up with a few others to write some articles. You can find them here:

How should the church approach homosexuality (I): Christ Presbyterian Church, Nashville; a case study…

How should the church approach homosexuality (II): the removal of masks…

How should the church approach homosexuality (III): Homosexual desires are sin…

How should the church approach homosexuality (IV): what Scott Sauls gets right…

How should the church approach homosexuality (V): “Biblical friendship” as a Trojan horse?…

How should the church approach homosexuality (VI): Who is exempt from pursuing marriage?…

Here is one of my contributions to the series (part II of the previous links)… And please pray that God would use the division occurring in the PCA for the repentance of His people, the purity of the Church, and the revealing of those who are approved.

 

How should the church approach homosexuality (II): the removal of masks…

“…and the good news is that Jesus came to take away our masks.” -Stephen Moss, featured speaker at Christ Presbyterian Church’s “Same-Sex Attraction Forum

Stephen Moss used to wear a mask. He says he wore the mask in order to hide himself from his parents, his church, and his friends. His mask helped him portray his life and character as that of the “evangelical poster-child.” He wore his mask to please others, but behind that mask was the real Stephen Moss. He was always a young man tempted by homosexual sin. The mask, says Stephen, had to be removed. He needed to be known as he really was:

And so that’s really why one of the main reasons why I decided I needed to take off the mask is because I knew I was loved but I also knew I was not fully known, and so it was comforting yet superficial. I knew I was loved but I didn’t really feel it because I thought “well, these people just love my mask.”

Stephen needed people to know his real self—that he is a person with romantic and sexual desires for men. Until others knew this, they couldn’t truly love him.

There is another reason he had to get rid of the mask: opening up about his truest personhood and desires would allow him to address the topic of gayness with authority and that would be helpful to a church struggling to figure out how to live in a culture that has changed its convictions concerning the sinfulness of homosexual identity and relations:

But I realized I couldn’t really do that [speak up] very effectively while still trying to say “well, you know what I think about this” or “I think someone who’s same-sex attracted would maybe think…” (laughs) and that didn’t work too well, so I finally realized that if I’m really going to be able to speak up and share my heart in this conversation I need to be able to be honest that it’s where I’m coming from as well.

The third reason Stephen had to remove his mask was so he could know peace in his conscience through repentance. And the fourth reason was that, with repentance, he might lay aside the old self, which was being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit…and be renewed in the spirit of his mind, and put on the new self, which, in the likeness of God had been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth (Eph. 4:22-23). So Stephen began praying that God would make him chaste, sanctifying even his sinful desires… Not.

Obviously, Stephen and those who joined him in speaking at Christ Presbyterian Church’s “Same-Sex Attraction Forum” did not state the third and fourth reasons. Rather, they pled with everyone present and listening to join them in removing their masks. They were silent about what to do once those masks are removed. The burden of the situation, they made clear, was on those observing to affirm the courage of all the mask removals. Full stop.

Speaking Biblically, what should come next? What would it look like for other Christians to show love to Stephen and others like him who remove their masks, coming out as adulterers, fornicators, homosexuals, and the effeminate? When Christ Presbyterian Church failed to address how to help those removing their masks, this was a tragic failure to love them and necessarily led to confusion: are we to remove our masks merely so others can know the real me, or is the purpose that others can come to terms with the real me? Is the mask-removal process simply to the end that those who have removed their masks can be loved with a love they experience as authentic? Are we telling other people who we really are in order to determine who truly loves us? Maybe we are telling other people about our true selves and true desires so we can speak with authenticity to those who have our same identity determined by the same desires? Jesus came to take away my mask, right? Are we saying that now, at long last, even God will know the real me?

On the other hand, as Christians we tell others about our sinful desires because we wish to repent and be free of them. With the affirmation of same-sex attraction comes this weird new category of the professing Christian who does not want to be free from a particularly precious set of sinful desires, and who is not encouraged to press on for better things—whether chastity or marriage, in this case.

Now surely it is good and right, at this point in the conversation, for someone to say that a same-sex attraction is not innately sinful. They might put it this way: “It is no more sinful for a man to be attracted to a man than for a woman to be attracted to a man.” That very point was made during Christ Pres’s forum:

My—I believe as I’ve said at the beginning, I believe that my same-sex attraction is a result of the fall. I believe that it is not the way God originally intended humanity to be. That it is one of the ways that my sexuality is broken. But at the same time, the fact that I’m attracted—if I’m attracted to another guy, that in and of itself is not a sin. In the same way that for my friend who’s not same-sex attracted, for him to simply be attracted to a woman is not a sin. What the problem is, or where the problems come up, is what we do with those attractions. If somebody walks down the street that you’re attracted to, it’s not a sin, but if you take that attraction, nurture it and turn it into lust, that’s where it starts becoming sinful.

These are confusing sentences, so here’s a question to bring some clarity: How is anything that is “a result of the fall,” “broken,” and “not the way God originally intended humanity to be” not also sinful? What did attraction look like before the fall? Well, for starters, Adam was attracted to Eve. We know because he wrote a poem (Genesis 1:23). This was (and remains) God’s paradigm. God’s order of sexuality. God’s pattern. God’s way things are to work. This is the way God originally intended humanity to be—not broken, but healthy, not sinful, but healthy, whole, and righteous. Anything other than that attraction depicted in Eden is, indeed, “a result of the fall” and “not the way God originally intended humanity to be.” So then, can we say it? Anything else is sinful.

Even if one still presses the point that temptation is not equivalent to sin, the one advocating for the sinlessness of same-sex attraction has to prove it does not have even an inkling of lust in it. The definition of same sex attraction is a man wanting to have sex with another man. If Stephen didn’t have original sin, he wouldn’t want to do that, as he himself admits. The fact is that his mask and ours are in place because we are ashamed of what we want. Some people are tempted by their wrong desire to cause pain to others. Others are tempted by their wrong desire to have sex with children or animals. And we are ashamed of what we want because we know it is wrong to want that. To reject this is to deny that the desires of our hearts are able to be cleansed and purified by Christ. It is to refuse to attempt, in the power of the Holy Spirit, to move on from bare resistance against acting out our sinful desires to actually desiring the things of God.

It is sad that Stephen’s friends are unwilling to offer him hope—specifically the hope of being free from his broken, fallen, sinful desires. They seem to shrug their shoulders and say that his desires are merely a result of the fall, of the brokenness of the world. They tempt him to go on vacation with another man. And then, with blushing faces, they tell him that he may not, you know, have sex with a man. They bid him “take fire in your bosom, your clothes will not be burned.” They are healing this dear soul’s wounds superficially, placing temptations in his path and calling it kindness and love.

May God open his and our eyes to our sinful desires so we may repent and experience the sweet peace of a clean conscience. And in God’s providence, the satisfaction of desires that are a result of the Spirit’s making what was crooked, straight. What was broken, whole.

12 thoughts on “Sexual Confusion in the Presbyterian Church in America…

    • Yes. The backlash is going to be coming, too. Promises to prosecute him for something have been thrown out on Twitter by pastors in the Nashville Presbytery.

  1. “It is sad that Stephen’s friends are unwilling to offer him hope—specifically the hope of being free from his broken, fallen, sinful desires. They seem to shrug their shoulders and say that his desires are merely a result of the fall, of the brokenness of the world. They tempt him to go on vacation with another man. And then, with blushing faces, they tell him that he may not, you know, have sex with a man. They bid him “take fire in your bosom, your clothes will not be burned.” They are healing this dear soul’s wounds superficially, placing temptations in his path and calling it kindness and love.”

    Should we encourage the adulterer to vacation with the adulteress?? Should we encourage them in their sinful desires? Should encourage the child molester to continue in their sin?

    The Scripture tells us 1 Corinthians 6: 9-

    Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

    All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food”—and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.” But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sins a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

    “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).

    “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh”(Galatians 5:16).

    James 5:16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

  2. Stay strong in your Faith Chuck Williams!! It isnt easy being a Christian who tries to live by Gods laws. But we were warned it wouldn’t be. And it’s going to get worse. Praying for you and your family, and the rest of Gods children. God Bless you Chuck, for your courage to stand for Gods laws!

  3. I have read the open letter from Sauls to Williams.

    I have three questions

    1) Jesus was tempted in all ways – if you say that doesn’t mean literally in “all” ways (including homosexual desires) how do you justify your definition of ” in all ways”?

    2) if Jesus was tempted we have to assume He was tempted to sin. This would mean that the temptation isn’t sin since He was without sin. What exactly is a temptation and how is it different from a desire? I can’t understand how temptation without a desire for something sinful even makes sense.

    3) has Mr Williams responded to the open letter from Sauls? If so where can I find the response. I think it would be helpful to clarify the first two questions and spare you some time.

    Greetings

  4. I have read the open letter from Sauls to Rev William and I have three questions about it.

    1) did Williams respond to this letter?

    2) Jesus was tempted in all ways as we are. Does this include literally “all” the various ways we are tempted, including homosexual desires? If not, how do you defend your answer from scripture?

    3) if Jesus was tempted we have to assume He was tempted to sin. What exactly is temptation? How could Jesus have been tempted without a desire to sin? Temptation and sinful desire kind have to go together, don’t they?

    I guess that’s 5 questions

    Greetings

  5. I’m sorry about posting twice. I keep messing up on blogs like that and I’m not sure what I am doing wrong. feel free to delete one of those.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *