Some might wonder why I am all in on the whole same-sex attraction buzz working itself out in the PCA and the larger Reformed world. The answer is multifaceted. Let me limn that out somewhat before reviewing another interview I listened to by Dr. Greg Johnson today.
First, I’ve seen the sodomite world somewhat closely. Not as close as some but close enough. A couple of my better friends in (Christian) college were sodomite and ended up as part of my wedding party though I did not know they were sodomite until after the wedding when right after having a photo taken of each of them simultaneously giving me a kiss on the left and right cheek they informed me they were “gay.” One of those chaps I even lived with for a summer in between my sophomore and junior years. Only afterward after becoming a little more worldly-wise do I look back and realize that he may well have been hitting on me that summer of 1980. I was 20 and still quite naive about all things sexual.
As time went by it was clear what the sodomite lifestyle had done to them. The gross immorality accompanied by the revolving door “relationships” led to broken spirits, broken health, and personalities that are no longer integrated. There is nothing glamorous about the sodomite lifestyle. The bacchanalian hedonism was over the top and the “gay bar” scene had to be seen to be believed. (On a dare I went to one with my friends one night even then not realizing that they were daring me for a reason.) In the words of Three Dog Night,
“I seen so many things I ain’t never seen before
Don’t know what it is – I don’t wanna see no more”
Second, I was associated once with an ecclesiastical movement that was populated by sodomites. Debates raged more than once about this issue in the context of those meetings and it was clear that while they claimed Christ theirs was a different faith than mine. To this day I am convinced that I had fallen into an ecclesiastical sodomite nest. I don’t mind admitting that the mannerisms and the “logic” used by those people gave me the creeps.
Third, as a Pastor, I have seen what the sodomite lifestyle has done to people and families. These people don’t live well and they don’t live long. My observation is that they are perpetually miserable and find very little meaning in life. As a Pastor one sees a great deal of brokenness in people’s lives and it breaks one’s heart in two. Little brokenness is more broken than what I’ve seen among the sodomite and lesbians’ lives.
All of this means that I am saddened for them and the trap they have created for themselves. The most loving thing I can do for them is to resist the same-sex attracted movement as Johnson wants to move into the Church while at the same time trying to remain sympathetic to those like Johnson who are confused on issues at hand.
All that tees up the brief review that follows on another interview I listend to today done by Dr. Greg Johnson. It is clear that Johnson sees himself as a kind of visionary seeking to pull the Church into a reality that he believes it is denying. This interview was 45 minutes long and centered on how John Stott (especially) as well as C. S. Lewis, Billy Graham, and Francis Schaeffer were early proponents of what Johnson is now championing.
Now, we should note out of the gate that Lewis though at times intriguing and so sometimes quite helpful was hardly orthodox. The same is true of Billy Graham who was straight-up Arminian. John Stott had a huge streak of early on SJW’ism in his theology and had low thoughts on the seriousness of sin as seen in his doctrine of soul sleep. That leaves us with Francis Schaeffer who also had streaks of SJW’ism in him. So, this foursome is an interesting quartet for Johnson to be appealing to in his new book.
Johnson likes the story about an encounter between Francis Schaeffer and Jerry Falwell wherein Falwell and Schaeffer are reputed to have had a conversation about sodomites. Falwell asked Schaeffer what he thought of sodomites and Schaeffer gave a nuanced answer whereupon Falwell responded; “If my dog did to other dogs what those men do to each other I would put him down.”
Per Johnson, Schaeffer reputedly told his son about their departure from that conversation; “That man (Falwell) is disgusting.”
Now the reason I found this now twice accounted conversation (in two different interviews) interesting is that putting down men who engage in this kind of behavior is exactly what God required in His law upon the testimony of two or three witnesses.
“If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.” Leviticus 20:13
This made me realize that Johnson has low views of God’s law. Johnson sees God — if we are to learn from how enamored Johnson is with this Schaeffer and Falwell conversation — as being disgusting. God, like Falwell, told His people to put such people down.
Another thing that comes out from this interview is that Johnson is on a crusade against reparative counseling, or the “Ex-Gay movement.” Johnson is absolutely convinced that same-sex attraction does not go away. This seems to suggest that Johnson believes that people are born sodomite or lesbian. I don’t believe this. If people were born sodomite the way they are born left-handed there could be no sin in sams sex desire and the Scripture would not label it “contrary to nature,” as it does in Romans 1.
Also, Johnson’s view of the 1st use of the law I think is under question. For Biblical Christians, the belief is that the work of the law is to convict of sin before the Gospel can provide for relief for that conviction. There is in Evangelism then the reality that those apart from Christ have some hard things to hear that will quite unsettle them before a solution comes to relieve them of that fear and righteous condemnation. It seems to me that Greg wants to step over that portion of Evangelism where the law must do its work. Greg seems to opt instead for a kind of friendship evangelism model where if people see their sin they see it not in terms of God’s righteous wrath against sin but rather in terms of a kind of psychological model where people discover what they are pursuing is not good for their human flourishing. The former finds people repenting because they realize that God is opposed to them and they understand that they can only find relief under the wings of the Son of God who paid their penalty. The latter finds people repenting because they realize that their behavior is getting in the way of their best life now. It doesn’t take much to understand that there is a world of difference between these two types of repenting.
Greg says in this interview that same-sex attraction when it flares up in him must be mortified as sin. So, in Greg’s mind, there seems to be a distinction between the active temptation of same-sex attraction which must be resisted and mortified, and the ongoing reality that one will never be other sex attracted (heterosexual). This distinction allows him to talk about being a “same-sex attracted” Christian. The problem I see here is that there seems to be just a matter of factness about all of this reality in Greg’s mind, instead of a crying out to God to be delivered from this same-sex attracted reality which is contrary to nature. In brief, Greg is too comfortable with being “gay.” None of us as sinners should be comfortable with who we once were in Adam.