SBC Leaders: Faced With a Denomination in Decline, Decide to Target Transgenderism

Since it is so likely that children will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage. CSLewis link

http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=2026&picture=financial-crisisDecline

SBC membership is in decline

This coming week, the SBC holds their annual meeting and things do not look good. The SBC is in trouble. Although some like to claim that the denomination has about 16 million adherents, most leaders admit that those numbers are far from accurate.  Here are some numbers as recently reported by LifeWay

The report by the Southern Baptist Convention's publishing arm, LifeWay Christian Resources, puts total membership in the Nashville-based SBC at 15.7 million. That's down from 15.9 million in 2012, a decrease of a little less than 1 percent.

Weekly church attendance decreased more than 2 percent last year, falling to 5.8 million as a weekly average for the year.

The report also notes a 1.5 percent decrease in the number of baptisms, falling to 310,368. Baptisms are an important measure for the denomination because of its strong commitment to evangelism.

Read those numbers carefully. The average attendance at weekly church services hovers at 5.8 million. The report also included this interesting fact that bodes poorly for the SBC.

Despite the membership decline, the total number of SBC-affiliated churches increased slightly in 2013 to 46,125.

So, it appears that, even with church acquisitions/plants, the numbers are still declining which makes this report even more bleak. Russell Moore's statement, included in the article, reflects the growing reality that the SBC is losing ground.

Russell Moore, president of the SBC's public policy arm, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, has said recently that Southern Baptists can no longer pretend to be the moral majority and should instead seek to be a "prophetic minority."

The number of actual SBC members is listed in the report as 15.7 million members. TWW bets that even LifeWay would admit that those numbers do not provide a true reflection of the SBC faithful. We wrote a post in 2010, dealing with this very issue.

When Dr. Danny Akin, President of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, was interviewed by Trevin Wax a year ago, Dr. Akin expressed the following serious concern:

"On any given Sunday, we do not have 16 million Southern Baptists in worship. More likely, we have around 8 million present. And if you use as a criteria for “faithful church attender” someone who comes just once a month, we might have 10.5 to 11 million true Southern Baptists, not 16 million. You put all that in a pot and you can see that we have some serious issues." 

Behind closed doors, many SBC leaders will admit that the numbers are even lower, as low as 7-8 million members. If one looks at weekly church attendance, a good indicator of the "faithful" members, the numbers stand at 5.8 million. 

Here is another assessment of actual numbers.

In 2000, Ernest C. Reisinger and D. Matthew Allen wrote:

The Wall Street Journal reported in 1990 that, of the 14.9 million members of Southern Baptist churches (according to an official count), over 4.4 million are “non-resident members.” This means they are members with whom the church has lost touch. Another 3 million hadn’t attended church or donated to a church in the past year. That left about 7.4 million “active” members. However, according to Sunday School consultant Glenn Smith, even this is misleading, because included in this “active” figure are those members who only attended once a year at Easter or Christmas.

More recent numbers from Jim Ellif’s Founders Ministries article are even smaller:

Out of the Southern Baptist’s 16,287,494 members, only 6,024,289, or 37%, on average, show up for their church’s primary worship meeting (usually Sunday morning). This is according to the Strategic Information and Planning department of the Sunday School Board (2004 statistics).

No need to belabor the point. That 16.1-million-member Southern Baptist Convention is as much of a myth as Bigfoot.

The numbers attending the SBC annual meeting have also precipitously declined, which could indicate that many of the current members don' t really have skin in the game.

Has the Conservative Resurgence/SBC Culture War contributed to this decline?

It is important to realize that Conservative Resurgence, along with the rise of the Neo-Calvinist movement within the SBC, was in full swing  over the past decade. This Conservative Resurgence focused on strict gender roles, emphasizing submission of women and the rolling back of the roles women can have in the church and even in Christian college settings. The Neo-Calvinist movement also focused on strict gender roles as well as authoritarian leadership and church discipline.

On Wednesday, TWW posted an article by Wade Burleson, who summed up the problems of the last decade.

If your organization is known more for the sins they're against and the message of God's judgment on unrepentant sinners, then right there is the reason why there are decreasing conversions.

Next time you feel tempted to clap and cheer at a convention for a thunderous message against 'homosexuals,' and 'transsexuals,' and other 'sexual sinners,' or a diatribe against alcohol and drug abuse, or a proclamation of God's judgment against our nation for the moral decay in Hollywood, or God's wrath on our culture due to the break-up of the traditional family, maybe you ought to sit on your hands.

In a recent article in The Daily Beast, Did the Southern Baptist Conservative Resurgence Fail? Mollie Worthen seems to question the legacy of the Conservative Resurgence.

So is this decline real? The short answer is yes—the social and intellectual authority of churches is a shadow of what it once was. That doesn’t mean that Jonathan Edwards wouldn’t recognize many of the challenges today’s evangelicals face. He, too, worried about how to keep teenagers from leaving church and succumbing to the temptations of the world, and how to persuade non-believers (in his case, the Indian tribes of New England) that Christianity was true. Effective evangelism has always required careful negotiation with the surrounding culture. Lottie Moon learned Chinese and ditched her Southern belle dresses for indigenous attire.

…When liberal mainline denominations began to shrink in the 1960s, conservative Southern Baptists and other evangelicals took this as proof that God had abandoned churches that adulterated his Word with Darwinism, progressive politics, and permissive sexual mores. 

…In a book called The Churching of America (1992) sociologists Rodney Stark and Roger Finke argued that in the American religious “free market,” the churches that grow are the strictest, most demanding churches, the ones that permit no “free riders,” require members to live in constant tension with the wider world and promise a big payoff for sticking to the one Truth.

By the 1990s they had driven most moderates out of the convention and enforced a regime of biblical inerrancy and traditional gender ideology—a worldview that, if Stark and Finke were correct, should have set the SBC on a path for boundless growth.

Except it hasn’t. 

…Poll numbers—rising numbers of “nones” who say they have no religious affiliation; slowly falling rates of church attendance—suggest that even if Americans continue to believe that life has a supernatural dimension, many may be drifting out of institutionalized worship

The rise of the nones

Interestingly, last year TWW wrote a post looking at the phenomenon of The Rise of the Nones as covered by Time Magazine. We were  startled when we received email after email, along with comments, which started with "I am one of the Nones." Even of more interest to us is that many of these so-called "nones" still believe in God but have lost interest in the evangelical church which has shown more interest in the culture wars than in the building of a loving church body. The SBC has lost faithful members who still believe. That is the tragedy of these numbers.

The Time piece highlighted a new book Christianity After Religion by Diana Butler Bass link.
Here is a quote about the book from Amazon.

“Some contend that we're undergoing yet another evangelical revival; others suggest that Christian belief and practice is eroding entirely as traditional forms of faith are replaced by new ethical, and a religious, choices. But Bass argues compellingly that we are, instead, at a critical stage in a completely new spiritual awakening, a vast interreligious progression toward individual and cultural transformation, and a wholly new kind of post-religious faith.

According to TIME, Bass claims that the last decade has seen the scandal of the pedophile priests along with the increasing “entanglement” of faith and politics. She believes that this is driving people away from organized religion. This has led to what she terms a “participation crash”. Apparently even megachurches are seeing drop in participation.”

According to Bass, people are fleeing “fierce theological fights.” We believe that the following factors figure prominently on this trend. All of these received major play in the last two decades.

  • The rise of hardcore Neo-Calvinism (Calvinistas)
  • An increasingly rightward shift in the SBC
  • An emphasis on authoritarianism,
  • Strict complementarianism/patriarchy
  • Young earth creationism
  • Rigid eschatological “theories”
  • Disciplinary actions for silly reasons (a questioning spirit)
  • Political activism and church/political party alliances
  • Isolation within mega-churches
  • The rise of the prosperity gospel
  • Membership covenants and discipline contracts
  • Distrust of science

The culture is rejecting the message of the SBC

In a thoughtful post, Russell Moore seems to indicate that conservative Christians have lost support in the court of public opinion. 

Russell Moore, president of the SBC's public policy arm, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, has said recently that Southern Baptists can no longer pretend to be the moral majority and should instead seek to be a "prophetic minority."

In particular, he looks at the continuing lack of success in preventing the recognition of same sex marriage by the culture at large. This has been a goal of many of the SBC culture warriors.

As a matter of fact, the organizations closest to the ground know just how dark the hour is. The courts are hell-bent on redefining marriage, which is why state definitions of marriage, put in place by the citizens of those states, are being struck down. This isn’t happening simply in blue states but in the reddest of red states—Utah, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Tennessee, and so on.

Is focusing on transgenderism or child sex abuse the way to draw people to the SBC?

It has been the position of TWW that, instead of constantly pointing fingers to those outside the ranks of the faith, we should clean up our own act. In particular, TWW has focused on the concerning issue of pedophilia and the evangelical church. The culture, as a whole, decries the sexual abuse of children as seen in the coverage of the Jerry Sandusky trial. It is an issue in which the SBC could lead.

Yet, it seems to us that this issue is downplayed by the leadership. Why is that? Could it be that some influential churches which lead the SBC have their own stories of poorly handled child sex abuse? Is it one of those "Don't talk about it because the spotlight might focus on our buddies" thing?

One has to wonder…

It appears the big issue to be presented at next week's SBC convention has to do with the issue of transgenderism!  

While the Convention ponders what to do regarding congregations that abandon biblical beliefs about sexuality, a Christian college professor and ethicist are requesting that the denomination also officially announce its opposition to “normalize” transgenderism.

Denny Burke of Boyce College and Andrew Walker, who serves as the director of policy studies for the Convention’s Ethics Religious Liberty Commission, have asked the Resolutions Committee to take a stand on the topic, which is now becoming a major issue in society.

“The public consequences of normalizing transgender are upon us,” Burk wrote in a blog post about the matter. “School systems across the country are beginning to allow boys who identify as transgender to make use of girls’ restrooms and locker rooms (see here and here). The state of New Jersey has made it illegal for licensed counselors to help a child embrace a gender identity that matches his sex.”

“Just last Friday, Medicare lifted its ban on sex reassignment surgeries,” he continued. “The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) has at different times seen majority support in both houses of Congress and would make it illegal for employers to make personnel decisions based on gender identity—a measure that would restrict the religious liberty of Christian employers.”

This is not a joke. According to a UCLA study there are approximately 700,000 transgendered individuals in the United States.

An estimated 3.5% of adults in the United States identify as lesbian, gay,or bisexual and an estimated 0.3% of adults are transgender.

Is the SBC losing the opportuntiy to become the leaders in fighting child sex abuse in the churches and the culture?

My guess is that few transgendered folks would be found in the pews of the declining SBC churches. They know they are not welcome. But, how many children and adults who have been victims of child sex abuse are found in our conservative SBC churches?

Let's take a look at one set of statistics. There are many stats out there but all of them show that child sex abuse is prevalent in the United Sates.

Studies by David Finkelhor, Director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center, show that:

  • 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys is a victim of child sexual abuse;
  • Self-report studies show that 20% of adult females and 5-10% of adult males recall a childhood sexual assault or sexual abuse incident;
  • During a one-year period in the U.S., 16% of youth ages 14 to 17 had been sexually victimized;
  • Over the course of their lifetime, 28% of U.S. youth ages 14 to 17 had been sexually victimized;
  • Children are most vulnerable to CSA between the ages of 7 and 13.

And many of these people are found in our church pews. Boz Tchividjian said 

The Christian mission field is a “magnet” for sexual abusers, Boz Tchividjian, a Liberty University law professor who investigates abuse said Thursday (Sept. 26) to a room of journalists.

While comparing evangelicals to Catholics on abuse response, ”I think we are worse,” he said at the Religion Newswriters Association conference, saying too many evangelicals had “sacrificed the souls” of young victims.

“Protestants can be very arrogant when pointing to Catholics,” said Tchividjian, a grandson of evangelist Billy Graham and executive director of Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (GRACE), which has investigated sex abuse allegations.

So, did the SBC see an opportunity to respond to the issue of child sex abuse and even garner some kudos from the surrounding culture for addressing this issue in a brave and forthright manner, decide to lead the way?

Nope.

At the close of this post, you will see a letter sent to the SBC leadership by the leaders of SNAP, along with our good friend Amy Smith, which was posted on her website here. They asked for some specific responses by the SBC, including the funding of a study which was approved by the Executive Committee to look at the development of a national SBC predator database. The also asked to speak to the Executive Committee to make them aware of the issues of child sex abuse in the SBC. (BTW-Amy is a long time member of an SBC church.)  

The answer, posted on Amy's blog,  was a resounding "not on your life, grasshopper." I guess the transgender issue was far too pressing. Here is an excerpt from her blog. 

Page says he has "great compassion" for "suffering victims." Where is the action to back that up?

Page says:

I regret having a delayed response, but as I said, I wanted to think through this again [calling sex abuse victims "opportunistic"]. As I have done so, I have found there to be no new or different factors, and therefore, no better course to take than the one we have taken to address the terrible threat and harm of sexual abuse in church settings.

The SBC is squandering an opportunity to lead the way on an issue that people from all sides of the culture war can agree. They could become the "good guys" in the war against child sex abuse. Instead, they come across as a ho-hum group of leaders who are fixated on pointing the fingers to those outside instead of cleaning shop. 


The letter from SNAP to the SBC

Dr. Frank Page
President, Executive
Committee Southern Baptist Convention
901 Commerce Street
Nashville,TN 37203
FAX: 615.782.4820         

Dear Dr. Page: 

We make three requests: 

1. Seven years ago this month, you wrote a column (published in the Florida Baptist Witness) in which you described a support group for abuse survivors as being “nothing more than opportunistic persons motivated by personal gain.” As was noted in Ethics Daily at the time, the only group that was publicly speaking out about Baptist clergy sex abuse was SNAP, an organization whose members are, for the most part, people who were molested, sodomized and raped by clergy when they were children. So, by publicly castigating SNAP members as being “nothing more than opportunistic persons,” you effectively demonized and dismissed clergy sex abuse survivors. And you deterred others who were sexually violated as children from speaking up, exposing predators and protecting others.

We hope that, in these subsequent years, you have been able to reflect on your words and to realize the extraordinary harm in what you wrote. So, on this anniversary of your caustic rhetoric, we sincerely request a public apology. 

For many clergy sex abuse survivors, such a derisive put-down served only to magnify the harm. Indeed, shortly after your column made print, we heard from one clergy abuse survivor who said she could scarcely breathe upon seeing your words. That’s how hurtful those words were. And not only were your words extremely hurtful in causing additional pain to child rape victims, but they were also hurtful in terms of fostering a climate of hostility toward clergy abuse survivors within your faith group. Coming from such a high official in the largest Protestant denomination, your words set a terrible example for other church and denominational leaders. So again, we ask for your public apology – better late than never.

2. Since you are now president of the SBC Executive Committee, we ask you to fund and conduct the study that Southern Baptist messengers directed the Executive Committee to make by a near unanimous vote at the SBC annual meeting in 2007. That study was supposed to consider the development of a denominational database to help churches identify clergy who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse or who have personally confessed to conduct constituting abuse. Yet, though the Executive Committee produced a document rejecting the idea of a denominational database, that document did not carry the usual indicia of a legitimate study. Instead, it appeared to be little more than the write-up of a predetermined conclusion. Indeed, SBC spokesperson Roger Sing Oldham specifically told the Nashville Scene at the time that there had been no budget allocated for such a study. And where was the data for the study? What outside experts were consulted and what testimony or opinions did they offer? Where is there any transcript of any hearings conducted? Was there even an attempt made to gauge the extent of the problem? And what about any charts to provide comparison with the processes of other major faith groups for handling clergy abuse claims? In compliance with that near unanimous vote of the SBC’s delegates, we ask that you finally conduct a legitimate study and that you do so in a manner that is transparent for all to see. In this networked day and age, it is simply incredible to imagine that this powerful denomination cannot find a way to cooperatively use its denominational structures so as to keep accessible records on church-hopping clergy who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse. 

3. We ask that a representative of SNAP be allowed to speak at the next SBC annual meeting in June 2014 in Baltimore, or alternatively, to at least speak to the Executive Committee at its session immediately preceding the annual meeting. As president of the SBC’s Executive Committee, you have the power and influence to grant this request and thereby to nudge greater awareness and compassion for clergy abuse survivors within your faith group. 

In conclusion, rather than disparaging those who speak out about this terrible darkness within the SBC, and rather than dismissing those abuse survivors who seek better protections for church-kids, we urge you to provide strong leadership on this dreadful problem, to reach out with a voice of compassion to those who have endured such crimes within the SBC, and to finally conduct the study that was voted for in 2007.

David Clohessy
Executive Director, SNAP
314-966-9790
SNAPclohessy@aol.com 

Amy Smith
SNAP leader Texas
281-748-4050
watchkeepamy@gmail.com

Lydia's Corner: Ezekiel 47:1-48:35 1 Peter 2:11-3:7 Psalm 119:49-64 Proverbs 28:12-13


Comments

SBC Leaders: Faced With a Denomination in Decline, Decide to Target Transgenderism — 414 Comments

  1. The Southern Baptist can blame whoever they want. I grew up in and attended off and on SBC churches until I was nearly 40. I will never go to a Southern Baptist church again. They can take their bigoted narrow minded hatred drop it in the pit of hell where it belongs.

  2. To quote one of my clergy friends: “Are we answering questions nobody is asking?” Is there a single person in the pews who truly believes that the time has come to take a stand on transgender people? Or do these leaders think that if they find a more convenient target, they can avoid ever having to answer questions on what they did and didn’t do for the innocents who were harmed in their churches?

    The SBC just needs another target for their “outrage,” so that they can stir up the faithful, but I doubt most of them would recognize a transgender person if he/she ran over them with a car.

  3. “Talk, talk, talk: the utter and heartbreaking stupidity of words.”
    ― William Faulkner, Mosquitoes

    My God what fools…

  4. I doubt most of them would recognize a transgender person if he/she ran over them with a car.

    …which is part of the problem.

    Burk is actually right that this issue is barreling toward the evangelical church like a freight train now that they’ve basically lost the gay marriage fight. His solution, however, appears to be tie himself to the tracks even tighter. CBMW’s doing the same thing by making gender roles eternal and institutionalizing them in heaven. On paper it’s a lame attempt at pulling a “gotcha” on egalitarians. In reality, it leaves them completely unable to deal even with intersex people, because how do you give gender role instructions to someone whose sex is ambiguous? Do you guess, and risk them getting to eternity completely unprepared for their all-important gender role because you guessed “wrong”?

    But transgenderism? Forget that. They can’t cope with it. They barely even understand what it is. In fact, I can’t see any way they can adequately prepare for this in time. In other words, they’re screwed.

    I have only one question for Denny Burk. I want to know what he would do if he had a child born with ambiguous genitalia – in other words, a child he couldn’t fit into his tidy system of pink and blue boxes with absolute roles. If he can’t answer this question or blows it off, then quite frankly, he should just shut up about transgenderism.

  5. @ Wisdomchaser:

    Some of them, who have abused children or have covered up or discouraged reporting of abuse of children should carry their attitude with them to their eternal resting place, because Jesus is NOT whom they are following. Their failure is the millstone Jesus referred to in Scripture as the tool of drowning of those who harm children as have many in the SBC, including the current leader of the SBC Executive Committee by dissing survivors of child sexual abuse in SBC churches. That is a terrible sin and a rejection of the message of the Christ.

    An I am a former SBC faithful attender who will not grace the doors of any SBC loyal church ever again.

  6. Transgender…….transgender……..man……I don’t know what to even say here……the average SBC person in the pew or in the pulpit wouldn’t know one if they tried….

  7. For neo-fundies, the Gospel is not good enough to draw people to Christianity, they need to create Boogeymen to try and scare people into coming to church. The Good News just isn’t good enough to preach for them I guess.

  8. I don’t think being defined by what sins you are against is really new or different for the SBC. I mean, for how many decades were conservative Baptists in general publicly defined by being against drinking and dancing? So much so that it was the general stereotype of the entire group (see, “Footloose”). The Gospel was painfully absent in many of these churches. Same as it ever was.

  9. This is the most ridiculous thing they have come up with yet. Why don’t they just pass a resolution against gall bladder disease and be done with it. After all, there are people out there who have stones in their gall bladders. Would you want one of them to show up in your sunday school class? After all, lines have to be drawn somewhere. And the trouble is, you can’t tell who has gall stones or not just by looking. They can look just as normal as the rest of us, but you never know. The next thing they will be wanting to use the same rest rooms as we do. Not in my life time. Think about it, a parent would have to accompany his child to the restroom until the child was at least 18. And what if one of them were to sit in the next desk over from your child in kindergarten? They do that trying to indoctrinate children as young as possible to accept gall stones as normal or something. And when you go to the hospital you never know if the last person in that room might have had gall bladder disease. In that very room, mind you. If somebody does not take a stand against this widespread social acceptance of gallstones now there is no telling where this will lead before it is over. Well, there are prophecies of such as this in the last days and here we see it before our very eyes. Time is short I tell you. Time is short.

  10. Hester wrote:

    But transgenderism? Forget that. They can’t cope with it. They barely even understand what it is. In fact, I can’t see any way they can adequately prepare for this in time. In other words, they’re screwed.
    I have only one question for Denny Burk. I want to know what he would do if he had a child born with ambiguous genitalia – in other words, a child he couldn’t fit into his tidy system of pink and blue boxes with absolute roles. If he can’t answer this question or blows it off, then quite frankly, he should just shut up about transgenderism.

    The existence of intersex people was one out of many factors that cemented in my mind that there was no way that complementarianism had any validity as a position. The Gospel must be good news for everyone, and if your theological system can’t deal with real people in the real world, then it’s not worth much, is it?

    Now, let’s play a not really that fun but very snarky game. It’s kind of like “You might be a redneck if…” and it’s called “You might not be ready to talk about transgender people yet.”

    If you think drag queens are transgender, you might not be ready to talk about transgender people yet.

    If you don’t understand the difference between sexual orientation and gender identity…

    If you think boys identify as trans just to get in the girls’ locker room to ogle the girls…

    If you think that people just wake up one day and suddenly decide out of nowhere that it would be fabulous to have a surgeon hack away at their private parts because, well, wouldn’t it be cool to try out being the opposite gender…

    Anyone else want to play?

  11. They may be responding (hyper-reacting) to the video currently making the rounds: http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/video/parents-transgender-child-choose-gender-23954641
    Do they realize that parents can’t just force or coerce a child to dress as a different gender? (That would actually be child abuse!) A child going through transition means countless visits with child psychologists and pediatricians. It doesn’t happen on a whim, and parents are often driven to take it seriously when a child begins having suicidal thoughts. Of course, all this flies in the face of “your local pastor can counsel you through anything.”

    Or maybe they are just furious that Laverne Cox made the cover of Time and is going around being a classy, kind, thoughtful voice for transgender people.

    Either way, I have to wonder if they realize how truly awful they sound when they attack children and minorities. Do they realize that? Do they care? Is it an intentional move to drive away more people and concentrate the hard elements down to pure bigotry? Does anyone up at the top realize how much this confirms the SBC’s lousy reputation?

  12. Mother wrote:

    Either way, I have to wonder if they realize how truly awful they sound when they attack children and minorities. Do they realize that? Do they care? Is it an intentional move to drive away more people and concentrate the hard elements down to pure bigotry? Does anyone up at the top realize how much this confirms the SBC’s lousy reputation?

    From their perspective, I suspect, they see themselves as the sane ones, and all the rest of us are going to hell in a handbasket (my spell checker doesn’t think handbasket is a real word; it’s wrong).

    What this tells me is that I, as a celibate person [who happens to be gay... shhhh!], might as well not even bother trying out an SBC church. Unless, perhaps, I see on the religious news sites that such and such a church just got kicked out of the SBC for not being harsh enough on LGBT people. Then I might have to visit and see what’s up. ;-)

  13. Thank you Dee and Deb! I’ll be working on a media advisory over the weekend for an awareness event we are planning outside the SBC meeting. Here is an updated letter sent to Frank Page this week:

    http://www.snapnetwork.org/tn_victims_seek_sbc_s_help_as_it_meets_next_week

    Excerpt:
    4. We ask that the SBC’s Executive Committee hire Boz Tchividjian’s organization GRACE to conduct an independent review of all the circumstances surrounding the Prestonwood/Morrison Heights scandal. This scandal in which an accused minister was allowed to simply move on to another church is one that has received wide publicity and that affects two of the SBC’s most prominent churches. Even if the SBC Executive Committee lacks power to actually do anything to hold accountable those officials who kept quiet about or covered up for minister John Langworthy’s abuse, thereby leaving other kids at risk, surely the Executive Committee can at least assure that an outside expert reviews the entirety of the matter with transparency so that people can have a full reporting of what happened and who was involved. In effect, we are asking the Executive Committee to commit to a process of complete truth-telling, with the help of GRACE, and with respect to this one case. We hope that such a process may bring some small measure of healing to the many who have been affected by this scandal, and we also hope that, by engaging such a process with even one case, the SBC Executive Committee may arrive at a better understanding of the dynamics of clergy sex abuse and cover-ups, and may appreciate the need for much stronger action within this faith group.

  14. I have been reading about Caster Semenya, a gold medal winning young runner from South Africa, who was forced by the International Athletics Federation to undergo testing to confirm that she is a girl. They thought her too masculine. It turns out that although her external genitalia is female and she has always identified herself as female she lacks a uterus and ovaries and has internal testes. Regardless of which gender she identifies with, she needs surgery.

    A good way for the SBC to gain new members is to bully girls like Caster. Yeah, that will work. And you know, if it actually DID bring in members, I would not care to be sitting next to them in the pew.

  15. I was baptized in an SBC church and attended one for 22 years. I too identify as a “none” and will probably never set foot inside one again. This is the reminder I needed to write a letter to my former church and ask to be taken off the membership roll.

  16. Darcyjo wrote:

    I doubt most of them would recognize a transgender person if he/she ran over them with a car.

    I come out of Seventies SoCal Car Culture.

    To me a “Tranny” will always be what fits between the mill and driveshaft of a muscle car.

  17. Darcyjo wrote:

    The SBC just needs another target for their “outrage,” so that they can stir up the faithful

    A dictator (or those who would be dictators) always needs an outside enemy to unify and rally the population units.

    “Blame Canada!
    Blame Canada!
    Before anyone can think of blaming us!”
    – South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut

  18. Josh wrote:

    If you think that people just wake up one day and suddenly decide out of nowhere that it would be fabulous to have a surgeon hack away at their private parts because, well, wouldn’t it be cool to try out being the opposite gender…

    In a land of 300 million, there’s probably at least one crazy who’s far gone enough to do exactly that.

  19. Wow. Just wow. In a world that’s hurting, in a world where Jesus told his followers to be about feeding the hungry, clothing the poor, visiting the sick and imprisoned and burying the dead, these guys are so totally off base that they’re going to go after transgender people? I can’t hardly believe it.

    Just a few minutes ago, I gave a brief synopsis of this post to one of my friends, a person I’ve known for nearly two decades and watched struggle with her gender identity pretty much the entire time. She was born male but now identifies as a woman. However, she also lives in the heart of Dixie and knows she’d lose her job if she did transition completely and come out as female. And she’s in her mid-50s. So she’s familiar with the Southern Baptists and her response to the SBC marching off this cliff (because really, that’s all you can call it) was; “Let ‘em go. Thin the herd.”

    What my friend said sounds harsh, but I think it’s more just frustration with the fact that the SBC is just doubling down on the crazy. And it does make life hard for people like my friend who live in areas dominated by the SBC.

  20. @ Josh:

    The existence of intersex people was one out of many factors that cemented in my mind that there was no way that complementarianism had any validity as a position.

    Yup. For me it was a perfectly-timed storm of that, plus CBMW’s journal article about gender roles in heaven. Seriously, they have no answer to a widely recognized physical phenomenon that has been staring them in the face for 2000 years. That’s kind of a problem when Jesus actually talked (briefly) about people “born eunuchs.” He saw fit to mention them, but CBMW can’t bring itself to do the same. My current pondering is what they’re getting emotionally/psychologically out of this giant game of Pink Shirts vs. Blue Shirts.

    Frankly, I was actually shocked to see Burk use the phrase “gender dysphoria.” I figured he wouldn’t know it.

  21. I am a none(literally can’t sit in a pew anymore like a zombie listening to sermons that I have listened to ??? times), socially and economically conservative, and my son’s mandolin teacher is transgender (who struggles with being accepted)- where does that put me?? Lol
    I personally don’t care- I just want learn how to be like Him. That is all I care about- what can the Spirit do in me that will best represent the love of Christ. Listening to Him always has steered me right, that I can count on; these preachers have lost my trust.

  22. First of all, Stark and Finke is obsolete because there study was completed prior to the explosion of social media. As many researchers have shown, the instantaneous ability to communicate with very different people from all over the world changes the way people think about socio-cultural norms, especially religion. The fact is that anything other than pluralism looks basically absurd in today’s world.

    And I think it is inaccurate to call it the “Conservative Resurgence”. It is probably better titled “fundamentalist resurgence”. Why? Because within the general Baptist rubric (remember, one of the lynchpins of baptist theology is the individual priesthood of the believer) many different theological perspectives should be able to find a home. But Baptist scholars that taught things like maybe the creation narrative is more typological or mythic were forced out. Unfortunately, they resorted to some pretty clumsy and sophomoric rhetoric to do this, basically using “inerrancy” as a catch-all cudgel to silence people who disagree (also using the empirical-rational epistemology inherent in the Chicago Statement, for example to define what inerrancy is – an important point, since many of these teachers etc. believe in inerrancy; just not the right “kind” of inerrancy, apparently). This oddly immature propaganda is still in place, along with the current magic word “gospel”. Bottom line, no matter what the SBC puts on paper, the most vocal among them are communicating pretty clearly that to be a Christian you have to look a certain way, be a certain way, etc. One could argue the theological merits of such a system, but the bottom line is that such an approach will logically entail a decline as more of the culture associates with these taboos.

    *sorry for a lot of the sociological and philosophical jargon. I work with the intellectual tools at my disposal.

  23. Josh wrote:

    Unless, perhaps, I see on the religious news sites that such and such a church just got kicked out of the SBC for not being harsh enough on LGBT people. Then I might have to visit and see what’s up. ;-)

    That has been the other freakout (and a church to visit!): http://www.christianpost.com/news/after-pastors-son-comes-out-southern-baptist-church-breaks-with-denomination-on-homosexuality-120916/

    And Mohler is hinting pretty strongly that the SBC may take action. Because, and I am going to sum his article up in a sentence, “You’re not allowed to disagree on this!” http://www.albertmohler.com/2014/06/02/there-is-no-third-way-southern-baptists-face-a-moment-of-decision-and-so-will-you/

    Again, they are sending all of their force and energy and political capital against…a dad who supports his 15 year old son enough to risk his career. Again, they are going to expose themselves as tone-deaf bullies.

  24. As a former lifelong Southern Baptist, I am ashamed. Never in the 40+ years growing up in that denomination have I ever heard of terms like “gender roles”, “patriarchy”, “church discipline”, “covenant membership” or even “calvinism”.

    When I was a young teen, I was sexually assaulted inside my church by one of the deacons, who was at least 40 years my senior. Shortly afterwards, I reported the incident to my pastor. He assured me that he would take care of it. He swept it under the rug instead, doing absolutely nothing about it.

    I still have Complex PTSD from that and many other abuses throughout my life. I will not only never step foot inside another SBC church, but any church at all. I will never abandon my faith. Just the institution. I am closer to God at home with my Bible and the Holy Spirit to instruct me.

  25. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    In a land of 300 million, there’s probably at least one crazy who’s far gone enough to do exactly that.

    And then there are the people who perform self-surgery to mutilate modify their bodies in ways that are beyond belief. I know. I innocently clicked on an article on Google one time and found out, despite my best intentions, that someone … bifurcated … parts of themselves that shouldn’t … ow … [faints]

    The fact that a few trans-curious people may exist does not change the fact that there are many trans* people who legitimately feel what they claim to feel.

    Hester wrote:

    Frankly, I was actually shocked to see Burk use the phrase “gender dysphoria.” I figured he wouldn’t know it.

    Based on what else we’ve seen, I suspect Burk’s use of “gender dysphoria” shows about as much understanding on his part as my use of words like “alternator,” “spark plug,” “radiator,” and “internal combustion engine” (my car knowledge ends just beyond the tip of the oil dipstick).

  26. Russell Moore, president of the SBC’s public policy arm, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, has said recently that Southern Baptists can no longer pretend to be the moral majority and should instead seek to be a “prophetic minority.”

    Moore’s statement lends credence to a comment I made on a previous thread that they [the new SBC] will probably hunker down with their faithful adherents into a kind of modern day quasi-monasticism.

  27. Muff Potter wrote:

    Moore’s statement lends credence to a comment I made on a previous thread that they [the new SBC] will probably hunker down with their faithful adherents into a kind of modern day quasi-monasticism.

    Sounds more like a cultural bunker to me.

  28. Hmm…sadly, these religious games don’t surprise me.

    A few years ago, when I was still up to my eyeballs in the cult/church I was in, an transgender came into a Sunday night service. No one knew she was transgender, of course. We had a prayer line that night and she came up and was prayed for and began attending….that night, she had shown up dressed as a man. A couple of weeks later, she started coming as a woman. A friend and I had started getting to know her and my friend, who lived alone in a two bedroom apartment, found out she was homeless and took her in. Now, here is where the typical religious bull**** started.

    She identified as a woman, but when staying in shelters, would dress as a man because it was safer. Once she felt it was safe, she began dressing as a woman. And….using the ladies restroom. And one member complained to the pastor that they didn’t want their children to run into the ‘man’ using the ladies restroom. So the pastor’s wife told her to come dressed like a man and use the men’s room or don’t come.

    Here’s the problem. She was born with female internal and external organs …. and a partial male external organ. Back at the time she was born, when that happened, the doctor’s would normally just take care of this surgically with the parent’s permission and that would be that. But in her case, her father would not have it. He insisted she was male and she spent her childhood having her father and uncles force her to ‘be male’ to the point of even starting her on testosterone treatments before she even hit puberty. Needless to say, this did a number on her body. She of course, retained the female organs. And the male organ did not develop, but neither did her breasts develop and she did develop an Adam’s apple and upper body mass….looking male. I won’t even get into what her father and uncles did to her when this did not succeed in ‘making her male.’

    So, she comes to church – is welcomed – then kicked out for not fitting in properly. And I will be honest. It was my first experience with someone who was transgendered and it challenged my preconceptions. But I realized I had to make a choice to treat her like the child of God she was or be a total a**. It took some internal shifting and adjusting of my own attitude, but I continued to meet with her and we had discussions about the bible – went to dinner – for about a year until she moved back east and I lost track of her. This was about 10 years ago. But this, along with a conversation I had with God about a gay friend after their funeral, completely shifted my perspective – and what I believe about God’s perspective on it. I get a lot of flack from family/friends who don’t see it.

    Here is what I think. I think that before your condemn a whole people group to hell, you should be willing to at least get to know one person in that people group. Hear their story. Really listen and see if your dogma stands up to the reality of people’s lives. It’s easy to make a villain out of nameless, faceless people, but not so much when you meet and get to know individuals….I don’t think the SBC (or greater protestant fundagelicals) really want to know ‘these’ people. They just need a target to vilify to keep the pew sitters stirred up and fearful/angry. In my opinion.

  29. @ Josh: excellent post, Josh.

    These foolish people, abusing vulnerable young people on their misbegotten crusade. It makes me feel sick.

  30. @ Mother:
    + 1, and yes, I’m *sure* they’re angry about that classy lady Laverne Cox (one of my fave cast members on Orange is the New Black).

    I wonder if these guys even know the tertm “intersex”? Let alone the actual meaning of trans.

  31. JeffT wrote:

    For neo-fundies, the Gospel is not good enough to draw people to Christianity, they need to create Boogeymen to try and scare people into coming to church. The Good News just isn’t good enough to preach for them I guess.

    Perhaps they believe that transgendered folks exist more than they believe in the Good News?

    Or perhaps they want Heaven all to themselves and they assume [ahem,cough, cough, ahem] that they’re afraid they might baptize some by mistake & have to share space with them– eternally. (As, it is said, Queen Victoria did not believe that King David was in Heaven because that would mean she might have to speak to him occasionally).

  32. Josh wrote:

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    In a land of 300 million, there’s probably at least one crazy who’s far gone enough to do exactly that.

    And then there are the people who perform self-surgery to mutilate modify their bodies in ways that are beyond belief. I know. I innocently clicked on an article on Google one time and found out, despite my best intentions, that someone … bifurcated … parts of themselves that shouldn’t … ow … [faints]


    Indeed. Google “Boston Corbett” sometime. And that was in the 19th Century, for heaven’s sake!!

    If that hasn’t tempted anyone, let me add that the only other well lknown fact about Boston Corbett is the fact that he was the cop who claimed to be the one who killed John Wilkes Booth.

  33. mirele fka Southwestern Discomfort wrote:

    However, she also lives in the heart of Dixie and knows she’d lose her job if she did transition completely and come out as female. And she’s in her mid-50s. So she’s familiar with the Southern Baptists and her response to the SBC marching off this cliff (because really, that’s all you can call it) was; “Let ‘em go. Thin the herd.”

    Let me defend “Dixie” here a bit. We are not monolithic, thank goodness. I live in a town of about 230,000 in a larger population are of about 1,600, 000. There are a number of medical facilities here, of course, one of which is a university center. A few years back the pride of the ENT department, chairman of the department, writer of articles, giver of speech in that field, highly visible man underwent gender reassignment surgery. It was big news. All over the newspapers and such. And everybody said, “My, my I want you to look at this. Who would have thought.” And then they went back to Starbucks and the golf course and the job and that was that. She went right on in the same position and doing the same job and writing the same articles and doing the same surgical procedures that were cutting edge in that field at that time.

    So, let me say that if the SBC thinks it has “Dixie” in its pocket not around here they don’t.

  34. @ Nancy:

    And as for the comment about “thin the herd” that is exactly what I think. We have here three “uptown” formerly SBC affiliated churches which have gone with one of the moderate baptist associations. I am thinking some more may join that exodus.

    The SBC has brought this mess on themselves. The bulk of the south moved from the farm to the city, and according to Southern Living we brought part of the farm, the good part, with us to the city. The city is better off and the people who moved are better off. SBC needs to move in from the farm. It is not more virtuous to live without electricity. Indoor plumbing is not a work of the devil. SBC needs to give up their one room schoolhouse mentality and move on. Mostly because the things they are hanging on to are wrong. Keep the good, leave the bad, and move to town.

  35. Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:

    *sorry for a lot of the sociological and philosophical jargon. I work with the intellectual tools at my disposal.

    Quite right, but your problem is that you actually have “intellectual tools” at your disposal. This is not the SBC way. Some of them flunked reading comprehension early on and never did catch up. Most of them operate from the adage, “I know what I think, so don’t confuse me with the facts.” This is not bitterness here on my part. I spent decades in SBC dom. I had, by a gift of either nature or God, some intellectual tools at my disposal and had no doctrinal drum to beat. When people “hear” Jesus say something it differs a tad from person to person, but what I heard him say is “I am the Truth.” I was a freakazoid among the baptists. (There is no trauma tale here, I played the game to win and mostly did, but I am trying to make people believe me when I say –been there and done that.

    No amount of evidence, no amount of reasoning, no amount of “the bible actually says,” will impact the self destructive path they are on. Forget social pressure, they thrive on resisting social pressure. Resisting is what they do best. They wear the T shirt which says “though none go with me still I will follow.” It makes them feel special. It carves out a societal niche especially for themselves.

    Hear me now. When they look at other denominations there are certain things they despise: creeds, tradition, societal accommodation of any kind, vestments and candles and incense, liturgy of any sort, catechisms, priests, bishops, women deacons/teachers/catechists/eucharistic ministers/ushers/preachers/ and even the president of some women’s groups. SBC churches for the most part no longer even affiliate with their own Women”s Missionary Union because the WMU refused to part company with the moderate baptist churches. There is no end of the list of things they disapprove of. If they only pick one or two things per year against which to mobilize they could go on for a long long time marching in opposition to this or that.

    But this latest move is as low as I have seem them go. To actually target people with gender dysphoria (the DSM has changed the name from gender identity disorder to gender dysphoria) is garbage. Now if somebody wants to talk about residuals of the old idea of biological superiority based on physical characteristics here it is.

    Let the SBC go on and self destruct. The land will be better off without them. The rest of christianity will be better of without them. All those churches out there calling themselves “community” instead of baptist can quit pretending. And the worse they get the more of their people will get out and go find something better (hopefully) because there is better to be had.

  36. I read with interest the idea of going from being a moral majority to being a prophetic minority. I haven’t seen the context in which Russell Moore said this, so I don’t know exactly how he said it. I’ll just have to take the idea at face value.

    Part 1 of 2
    When the denomination felt that it could call itself the moral majority, did it claim this was because God was blessing their faithfulness? If so, now that they have shrunk, why do they think God chose to withdraw that blessing? If they’re shrinking, something else is growing. The population of “nones” is growing, for instance. Is that because God is blessing more and more “nones” so that they find community and life outside of denominations like the SBC? Why exactly do movements grow and shrink, and what part do they believe God, in real time, is playing in this?

    If you’re going to be a prophetic minority, then you have to know what God is saying now.

    Part 2 of 2
    The change from moral majority to prophetic minority might prove harder than they expect. They no longer have power.

    In the good old days, maybe they could easily get their own way; they could, in a very real sense, sanction people they opposed and make them suffer somewhat. Now, they have to earn the right to be heard, and they themselves may be doing the suffering. Just as it took 40 years to get the slavery mindset out of Israel during the exodus, it won’t be easy for a previously powerful denomination to drop its sense of entitlement.

    Part 3 of 2
    And finally… but the SBC already has experience of prophetic minorities. Those who stood up within their own ranks and called for justice for abused children were a prophetic minority. There were others – but you get the idea. When it was powerful, what did the SBC do to those prophetic minorities? Does it expect to be treated differently?

  37. Hester wrote:

    Burk is actually right that this issue is barreling toward the evangelical church like a freight train now that they’ve basically lost the gay marriage fight. His solution, however, appears to be tie himself to the tracks even tighter.

    Homer: “The only antidote to a zany scheme, is an even zanier scheme!”

    Nerdy Classmate: “Awww, why does it have to be zany?”

    — The Simpsons, “Homer Goes to College”

    The attitude of the SBC is beyond baffling. How can anyone claiming to be a Christian leader be so clueless? These guys make Homer look smrt (oops) smart. ;)

    Either they’re seriously blind, or they have something serious to hide.

  38. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    the idea of going from being a moral majority to being a prophetic minority

    I don’t think that the SBC ever thought it was the Moral Majority. Moore is slinging words around to sound good and make a point. The Moral Majority, so named, was a political organization/movement pushed initially by Jerry Falwell, who was never an SBC mover and shaker. He came from an IFB background, even though he distanced himself from that in later years. The movement was more like the Tea Party movement with an ethical/religious bent being prominent. It went defunct some time ago. Moore is grasping at straws here. The people he was aiming at will understand what he meant, but no accurate assumptions should be made between that statement and the actual history of the Moral Majority cause.

    Interestingly, while the organization and political movement were separately identifiable as such, the use of the term “moral majority” as a general term to mean “lots of folks who act morally” was really not used much at all, because it was too easily mistaken the the movement itself.

    But Moore is clever and no doubt (in my mind) this idea and phrase will catch on right much. The SBC can not pick up the idea that they used to be some “moral majority” and feel good about it. Like saying my granddaddy used to plant 30 acres of tobacco. Really? Who runs the farm now? We lost it to the tax man, actually, when granddaddy died. On, that’s too bad. It happens. Yes, it does.

  39. The state of New Jersey has made it illegal for licensed counselors to help a child embrace a gender identity that matches his sex.”

    Well this is ridiculous statement if I’ve ever heard one – what may be ‘illegal’is forcing a child who shows signs of gender dysphoria to embrace a gender identity they feel alienated from/disgusted by/deeply wrong no-matter what their sex. It sounds like he’d like a form of ‘reparative’ therapy to be the norm for these children just like it was in attempting to pray the gay away. Children with gender dysphoria, or with ambiguous genitalia or anything that effects their sexual identity & self-perception are already in a very vulnerable position, these cause huge stress, distress & anxiety & I do not want that type of evangelical christian anywhere near them.I have a post-surgical trans friend, & manage a youth project dealing with LGBTQ young people & I am a billion more times concerned with their vulnerability & welfare than with their gender ‘correctness’.

  40. About two years ago I tried to go back to a SBC Church. Tried so hard. Did like my father’s generation did, got up on Sunday morning, got dressed in a coat and tie and went to church…even tried to go Sunday nights.
    The church was so watered down, so bubblegum, so boring, so one sided, one message, I could not stand it.
    I knew it was time leave when the pastor started to avoid my questions that I asked during Bible study.
    You say, ” well you could try another church.” To which I reply….where? I am in rural East Texas.
    My neighbor also attended the same church and he and his wife left in an attempt to find more ” meat” ….they are still searching….the closest church that they felt comfortable at was over 30 miles away.
    So, tomorrow, I will still be a ” none.” I am reading Luke. I’ll probably get more out of it than if I went to some SBC Church….

  41. faith wrote:

    I personally don’t care- I just want learn how to be like Him. That is all I care about- what can the Spirit do in me that will best represent the love of Christ. Listening to Him always has steered me right, that I can count on; these preachers have lost my trust.

    Beautiful statement.

  42. Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:

    And I think it is inaccurate to call it the “Conservative Resurgence”. It is probably better titled “fundamentalist resurgence”

    i agree with 100%. The history proves the linkage. Recently, Gresham Machen is being quoted more and more by the Calvinistas. That is proof positive that your are correct.

  43. Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:

    to define what inerrancy is – an important point, since many of these teachers etc. believe in inerrancy; just not the right “kind” of inerrancy, apparently). This oddly immature propaganda is still in place, along with the current magic word “gospel”.

    Well said!

  44. @ Amy Smith:
    Wow! That is a story we need to discuss here. The SBC is going to have to “pretend” to care about this issue. The horror of child sex abuse is one issue that just about everyone on the political and religious spectrum agrees upon. This could be a win/win for the SBC but my guess is that all of the BFFs who pal around together will continue to protect each other.

  45. It all just goes to prove that neo-fundies are incapable of complex thought and vision that only allows to see things in black and white. Any nuances in life are impossible for them to comprehend. On the gender issue, they can only see humans as heterosexual males and females, to them, anything else is a deliberate perversion on the part of the individual.

    In reality, it’s becoming clear that, biologically, a continuum exists between male and female, the case of Caster Semenya being one, for example. It really only makes sense since all humans begin in the womb as female and develop from there into a male only if a Y chromosome is present. It’s not surprising that this transformation isn’t all-or-nothing, that an individual’s transformation might halt somewhere in between the two.

    But such nuanced thinking is not allowed in the neo-fundie world. After all, they reject the overwhelming scientific evidence that the earth is billions of years old, why should we expect them to accept a nuanced view of gender based on science?

    The neo-fundies have created an ever-growing list of things a person must be and believe in order to be considered ‘Christian’, many of which have nothing to do with the Gospel and some of which are downright ridiculous. It’s no wonder that as their list of ‘Christian’ requirements grows longer, more people quit on them because they can see that these have nothing whatever to do with being a true Christian.

    Question of the Day: If man was created first, why do we all start out in the womb as female?

  46. K.D. wrote:

    You say, ” well you could try another church.”

    No, I don’t. I say, cheer up! You could try an online community.

    I won’t pretend that online relationships are a complete substitute for face-to-face gatherings of like-minded people (or even just time spend with friends); they aren’t. But they’re not just “better than nothing” – they actually offer several advantages. You can wait before joining in rather than being sucked into a conversation you’re not ready for. You will certainly get to hear other viewpoints, and although not everybody who contributes can handle other viewpoints, many can.

    All you have to do now is find an online community.

  47. It used to be a strength that there was diversity in the baptist church. There has always been schism and doctrinal strife. There were anti missionary Calvinist churches who became primitive baptists. Then there was the landmark controversy. Then there was this present mess that started in the early 20th century and shows no sign of ending. What will be the next schism: the Neo Puritan/Arminian schism? All this is occurring in a growing secular society where the public couldn’t care less. I am sorry that baptists can be so certain about their positions that they make their world smaller and smaller, and those they fellowship with become more and more a remnant. I explained the Southern Baptist doctrinal strife and how the people termed moderates were leaving the denomination. My friends who grew up in schisms from Northern Baptists said this was a good thing. Really?

  48. @ Mother:

    I read that article on the Pastor’s son who came out as gay. For some reason, the Christian Post reporter refuses to accept the spelling of judgement with an extra e. There’s something ironically appropriate about that.

  49. The SBC could not be working more feverishly to become irrelevant. A majority of American Christians do not agree with the SBC and few Americans who are not Christians will ever darken the door of an SBC affiliated church. It is sad that the vibrant, active denomination has allowed itself to be derailed from reaching out to people to becoming fount of negativity toward people who may need a savior.

    News item: http://www.abpnews.com/ministry/organizations/item/28788-at-sbc-s-annual-meeting-sobering-report-possible-change-in-representation-top-agenda

  50. @ An Attorney:

    After reading that article it appears the SBC club will continue to diminish as it requires increased dues to attend. And do I understand correctly that the more money a church gives the more messengers you can send? I would have to conclude that the wealthier SBC churches have a larger say in what gets done in the SBC.

  51. NO SPOILERS: Tennis fans may safely read on.

    In other news: the first set in the women’s final has just concluded. Both players hit more winners than unforced errors; the winner of the set won only four more points than the loser thereof and there were over a dozen deuces. It’s been a good contest so far.

  52. They are rapidly becoming a denomination of mega churches who control the message and the resources, while the rural congregations gradually die or leave, and the small town churches ignore what is happening. If the small town churches stop giving, the SBC will begin to have to reduce their support for their missions and seminaries. It is coming. We may well get to a few SBC churches in major metro areas, who will continue to boast, boost their friends, and consolidate.

  53. Mark wrote:

    What will be the next schism: the Neo Puritan/Arminian schism?

    No, there is nothing between the two to divide. The neo-puritans are calvinists, the arminians are not. They are not connected and so therefore there is nothing to sever. The only thing they have in common, let us say the southern baptists and the free will baptists is the word baptist. I was raised SBC and stayed for about 40 years all told, and then I raised my children free will baptist. Totally different thing. Different schools, different mission boards, many different doctrines, different sets of rules, different personalities of the adherents. Different.

  54. Mark wrote:

    I explained the Southern Baptist doctrinal strife and how the people termed moderates were leaving the denomination. My friends who grew up in schisms from Northern Baptists said this was a good thing. Really?

    I actually think that it is a good thing. They resemble a species that cannot adapt to a changing environment and therefore starts the slide into extinction. It happens.

  55. This is kind of off-topic, but not really. I have to ask, do these leaders who cover up child abuse, don’t they feel anything for the children?

    A couple of days ago, I found out that a (deceased now for 15 years) science fiction writer whose work I just loved had basically enabled her husband’s child abuse. I knew her husband had a conviction for child abuse and had died in prison, but I didn’t know the extent of his wife’s complicity in the abuse. (She knew and she didn’t turn hubby in. Not only that, she *copy edited* hubby’s book on p*d*r*sty.) Then one of my friends, a writer herself, complained on her blog on Tuesday about a big science fiction website publishing an appreciation of this child abuse-enabling author the same day. My first reaction was to want to throw up, over and over and over again. My second reaction was to want to find all of this writer’s books in my house and run them through the shredder. (The books are going into the trash. The shredder is owned by my employer and I’d probably break it if I ran all the books I have through it.)

    But this is the deal. If I found out that child abuse had occurred on my watch, I’d be sick, just sick. I’d want to do whatever I could to make it right to the children and their families. Because that’s just what you do. So I don’t understand how Jack Graham can get around what he knew about John Langworthy. I don’t understand how the SBC head honchos can cover up and weasel around convicted sex offender Darrell Gilyard. I don’t understand how C.J. Mahaney can basically say *nothing* about the child sexual abuse that took place under his watch at Covenant Life Church. I just don’t.

    One thing can be said about science fiction fandom which cannot be said of churches: At least my friend was able to write her blog post AND go to the prominent science fiction website and post a terse rejection of the appreciation given to the deceased author. You won’t find that among the church world, as Amy Smith can testify.

  56. @ sg:
    An Attorney wrote:

    It is sad that the vibrant, active denomination has allowed itself to be derailed from reaching out to people to becoming a fount of negativity toward people who may need a savior.

    I read the brief article by Paige Patterson to which sg linked. In it, Patterson very clearly conflates establishing premillenialism with establishing the authority of scripture (and thence with the gospel itself). Wherein lies the inevitability of the endless factions, splits and bust-ups within and between denominations. Ultimately, it’s never enough to “believe” the bible; you have to own it. So “mission” is not the sharing of something wonderful, but the recruiting of people to a cause.

  57. Forgive a naive question.

    How do we reconcile the phenomenon of homo- and transsexuality with Scripture (providing we still revere Scripture as the word of God)?

    Look, I get it. People are complicated, and it’s a lot harder to label, marginalize and demonize a group if you have gotten to know a few of them as individuals. Ultimately, though, it’s not Albert Mohler or Russell Moore that you run up against; it’s the word of God.

    Some individuals are born intersex through no fault of their own. For every one of those there are many others with normal bodies who believe themselves to have been born in the wrong body. Is it a birth defect? A psychosis? Is it, as some would suggest, the result of demon possession?

    Scripture is silent. But:

    “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God.” Deut. 22:5.

    (I won’t bother to quote I Cor. 6, etc. on homosexuality.)

    (And yes, Josh, I know the difference between a drag queen and a transexual.)

    The CBMW may have its extrabiblical theories, and the SBC may sound the alarm against “teh ghey” to goose its falling attendance, but how do we reconcile Scripture to phenomena on which it is largely silent?

  58. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    You could try an online community. I won’t pretend that online relationships are a complete substitute for face-to-face gatherings of like-minded people (or even just time spend with friends); they aren’t. But they’re not just “better than nothing” – they actually offer several advantages. You can wait before joining in rather than being sucked into a conversation you’re not ready for. You will certainly get to hear other viewpoints, and although not everybody who contributes can handle other viewpoints, many can. All you have to do now is find an online community.

    Great recommendation!

  59. The SBC continues to lose members in part because they remain excessively focused on the 1955 nuclear family unit as portrayed in American sit coms of the era.

    Southern Baptists prefer to weep or complain about this situation (that we’re no longer living in 1955) rather than help people where they actually are -divorced, childless, widowed, or never married).

    Meanwhile, 44% of adults in America are single, which includes a huge chunk who are over 30 and have never been married.

    Southern Baptists have nothing to offer never married, adult, childless women, they don’t even attempt to address us, our needs and concerns. Most ministries and sermons pertain to marriage and parenting.

    Of course, one of their other problems, is that they seem more preoccupied in stating what they are against (abortion, homosexuality, etc) than what they stand for.

    I don’t think it’s wrong for any group of Christians to speak out against things that bother them, but I’d like to see more equal time paid to being “pro” things, as they do with “anti” positions.

    For every hour Southern Baptists spend ranting against homosexuality, for instance, I’d like them to spend one or two hours helping a divorced single mom who is financially struggling to feed her three kids, and do stuff like that.

  60. mirele fka Southwestern Discomfort wrote:

    One thing can be said about science fiction fandom which cannot be said of churches: At least my friend was able to write her blog post AND go to the prominent science fiction website and post a terse rejection of the appreciation given to the deceased author.

    Which author was this?

    You won’t find that among the church world, as Amy Smith can testify.

    And that’s the difference between God’s HUMBLE Anointed(TM) and Those Heathen(TM)….

  61. Somewhere and sometime people need to start using the more harsh and more specific terminologies which beg to be used about some of these things. Evil may be appropriate. Not just as meaning “really bad” but with its specific spiritual meaning. Some behaviors have the symptoms of something evil. Heresy is another good word. Not as meaning “I don’t agree with you and I will be ugly about it” but rather as something which people should denounce and flee. Sometimes lie/lies is the only appropriate way to say it, not “different take on it.”

    You are extremely handicapped in trying to treat the disease if you do not have the right diagnosis. Calling something by its most accurate name is a good place to start with trying to understand something.

  62. Serving Kids in Japan wrote:

    The attitude of the SBC is beyond baffling. How can anyone claiming to be a Christian leader be so clueless?

    It’s simple:
    1) I AM ALWAYS RIGHT. (“Missionary Man, he got GAWD on his side…”)
    2) Any evidence piles up against the above, DOUBLE DOWN AND SCREAM LOUDER!

    “And stop screaming. No one likes a religion with people screaming.”
    – Internet Monk

  63. Daisy wrote:

    Of course, one of their other problems, is that they seem more preoccupied in stating what they are against (abortion, homosexuality, etc) than what they stand for.

    I’ve heard it said “You can tell when a preacher is in trouble when he stops preaching what he’s for and starts preaching only what he’s against.”

  64. The original post said,

    It has been the position of TWW that, instead of constantly pointing fingers to those outside the ranks of the faith, we should clean up our own act

    I agree.

    The OP said,

    It appears the big issue to be presented at next week’s SBC convention has to do with the issue of transgenderism!

    To be fair to the Southern Baptists on this point, I don’t see them pushing this as an agenda, so much as liberals and the left have turned it into one.

    I visit a range of sites and blogs on theology, social issues, and politics, from right wing, to moderate, to left wing, and the moderate- to- left wingers have been promoting transgenderism quite a bit the last year or two.

    The moderate- to- left wing sites still post quite a bit on homosexual marriage and so forth, but the real interest and effort seems to now be in promoting transgenderism.

    I think the Southern Baptists are reacting to this shift by the left and the culture, not pushing it of their own accord because they are terribly interested in the topic per se.

    I do agree that SBs need to address child sexual abuse (as well as domestic abuse of spouses) in their churches.

    The Southern Baptist church stopped supporting sexual purity and virginity for hetero adults over the age of 25 years ago
    (I’m over 40 years of age and still a virgin, and adults like me either go ignored by SBs, or ridiculed for our virginity, celibacy, and singleness by SB talking heads in their books, radio shows, and blogs),
    so I sometimes have a hard time accepting anything SBs have to say on most any other sexual- related issue.

  65. “It appears the big issue to be presented at next week’s SBC convention has to do with the issue of transgenderism!”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    read the article in Christian News.

    so, Denny Burke and someone named Andrew Walker have gotten control of the spotlight and are swinging it around to focus on transgender issues.

    The article seemed to say that Fred Luter, outgoing SBC president, acknowledged the many issues to ponder (ie, transgender), but isn’t necessarily supportive of this new focus.

    “Fred Luter, the outgoing president of the Southern Baptist Convention, said that amid all of the issues that Southern Baptists must ponder, the overarching answer to the nation’s problems is to preach the gospel.”

    Sounds kind of good. But “preach the gospel”… it’s hard to think of a more anemic, trite statement.

    “…the gospel” — which is what, now?

    it can mean whatever a Christian wants it to mean, what with the bible being used kind of like silly putty & all.

    (“you can stretch it, you can chop it, you can roll it into a ball. you can bounce it, you can flatten it, ….and wait till you see what it does with newspaper comics!”)

    I can even see someone using “let’s just preach the gospel” as a roundabout way to get consensus on putting the transgender topic front & center. (since “gospel” can be stretched to mean just about anything and everything).

    …BAH!!!!!!!!!

  66. @ Wisdomchaser:

    That sounds kind of similar to my position and experience. I will say that the smaller, po dunk Southern Baptist churches are not as bad. (The ones that have only about 200 members and the preacher is not nationally famous.) They tend to be more friendly and personable, at least in my experience.

  67. Darcyjo wrote:

    Is there a single person in the pews who truly believes that the time has come to take a stand on transgender people?

    Some hetero, non-transgender males are using new laws and stuff to dress up in lady clothing to enter women’s bathrooms to sexually assault women (or they are at least claiming to be trans), so I am personally a little concerned about this topic.

    Sexual predator jailed after claiming to be ‘transgender’ in order to assault women in shelter

    I don’t think I want to see Southern Baptists become absolutely consumed with this topic, but it is one of concern to me personally when assaults are going on.

  68. @ Daisy:

    When I do the math, and when I pair that up with what I have heard meetings and/or conversation I conclude that it is mostly about the money.

    The issue of “those people would be a bad influence on little Johnny and Susie” comes in second. I listened to a tape that Jerry Falwell made one time about how to minister to the general populace of teens and still keep the general populace of teens (boys) away from the daughters of the deacons at the same time. Like: would you want your daughter to date a boy who came from a broken home? So Jerry was basically saying how you can be separate without being separate. Jerry did not say this, but I am saying that one of the ways is to have so many requirements and rules and peculiarities that “they” just move on by their own choice.

    I do not for one moment think that the groups you mentioned are excluded by oversight. I believe it is deliberate and is done by simply having nothing there to attract “them.”

  69. Daisy wrote:

    The SBC continues to lose members in part because they remain excessively focused on the 1955 nuclear family unit as portrayed in American sit coms of the era.
    Southern Baptists prefer to weep or complain about this situation (that we’re no longer living in 1955) rather than help people where they actually are -divorced, childless, widowed, or never married).
    Meanwhile, 44% of adults in America are single, which includes a huge chunk who are over 30 and have never been married.
    Southern Baptists have nothing to offer never married, adult, childless women, they don’t even attempt to address us, our needs and concerns. Most ministries and sermons pertain to marriage and parenting.
    Of course, one of their other problems, is that they seem more preoccupied in stating what they are against (abortion, homosexuality, etc) than what they stand for.
    I don’t think it’s wrong for any group of Christians to speak out against things that bother them, but I’d like to see more equal time paid to being “pro” things, as they do with “anti” positions.
    For every hour Southern Baptists spend ranting against homosexuality, for instance, I’d like them to spend one or two hours helping a divorced single mom who is financially struggling to feed her three kids, and do stuff like that.

    I laughed at your post, sadly, you are absolutely correct.
    I retired from a school that was stuck in 1955. The FBC a SBC affiliated church was right across the street from the school. If you don’t think the two didn’t go hand in hand, think again. For a period of time high school graduations during bad weather were held at the church’s activity center. I swear, and this is no exaggeration, they had four prayers during the graduation ceremony, never mind this was a secular event….( they have since gone to one….and I started to write the prayers, if not, some of the prayers would be ten minutes long….)
    Let me tell you how ” stuck in time” the school was/is….when I arrived in 1993, I kept looking at my classroom flag, it didn’t look right, it took me 2 yrs to finally figure out the field of stars was 6×8….48 stars…..yes sir, stuck in time….

  70. Hester wrote:

    CBMW’s doing the same thing by making gender roles eternal and institutionalizing them in heaven. On paper it’s a lame attempt at pulling a “gotcha” on egalitarians. In reality, it leaves them completely unable to deal even with intersex people, because how do you give gender role instructions to someone whose sex is ambiguous?

    Their strict gender roles never took into account hetero, adult, never-married and childless women, or women who are divorced or widowed. They really should be hammered on this point but seldom are.

    They are totally preoccupied at defining womanhood to mean only “Married women with children.”

    They do the same thing with men, “Manhood means married to a woman and have children with her.”

    Some make additions to that definition, such as, “man = works full time job, so wife can be SAHM.”

    And some gender complementarians add, “man = guy who likes to drink beer and watch football and cage fighting.”

    CBMW’s view that female subordination continues in heaven parallels what Mormons believe about gender and marriage, and again makes no consideration for women like me over 40 years of age who never marry, or women who have been widowed or divorced.

    Of course they are paying lots of attention to these side issues and not tackling child sexual abuse (I also feel they neglect spousal abuse, or deal with it inappropriately)

  71. Josh wrote:

    If you think boys identify as trans just to get in the girls’ locker room to ogle the girls…

    Some of them in fact do. Hetero guys are copping the trans label to break into restrooms and shelters to prey on women. I provided a link above, it may be in moderation at this point.

  72. @ Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist:

    “*sorry for a lot of the sociological and philosophical jargon.”
    ++++++++++++++

    no need to apologize! this comment is GREAT

    I learn from comments like these — not that I understand the significance of everything you mentioned, but it gives me direction in how to pursue information to better understand.

    this is like sitting around a table with an impossible gathering of individuals of amazing perspective and knowledge, and taking it all in.

    don’t hold back.

  73. Hester wrote:

    My current pondering is what they’re getting emotionally/psychologically out of this giant game of Pink Shirts vs. Blue Shirts.

    I said this before on a couple of older posts, but they are not so much pro biblical womanhood and pro bib. manhood as they are anti- homosexuality and anti-whatever.

    (I’m a social conservative, lifelong Southern Baptist who knows how they think. I agree with a lot of their positions on things, but I disagree with how they choose to fight these positions, or the amount of time they choose to devote to them.)

  74. JeffT wrote:

    Question of the Day: If man was created first, why do we all start out in the womb as female?

    Great comment. I never knew we all start out female. That’s intriguing isn’t it? And your question is thought provoking, so I’m going to take a little stab at it starting from the basis of the account in Genesis of the creation.

    There are so many people who assume, and have been taught, that Adam deserves the position of headship and leadership because he was created first. Yet, what changed? The account in Genesis shows an order of God creating things in ever-increasing complexity. The argument can easily be made, therefore, that women should be given preeminence.

    But we know it was never God’s plan from the beginning to create just the male of the species. “Let us create man in our image, male and female…” Woman was no after-thought, created to help improve the quality of the man’s life, serving as his subordinate, confined to a separate sphere of life than the one he alone was created to occupy.

    The man appeared first. Then from him, and not from another mound of dirt, the same DNA material was used and wha-la! the woman was created or manifested from Adam’s rib. The plan was already in place for the both of them to be created from the beginning. So, in my mind it makes perfect sense then, based the information you shared, that the man would appear first because the originative material, the female came from the man needing no alteration of any kind. Adam became a man from the DNA God created that was proven to be primarily female when the rib taken from him became the form of a woman.

    And it makes sense to me now that I think of it that God referred to her as his “helper” which, in the language of the OK a helper is one who rescues others in situations of need, like God the Holy Spirit is our Helper. It’s not a word that is to be taken to mean domesticity or subordination, but competency and superior strength.

    So really, the man was initially formed or created out of material that was essentially female to begin with, and it continues to unfold in the same pattern ever since: man being born of woman.

    That’s my stab at an answer.

  75. Mother wrote:

    Again, they are sending all of their force and energy and political capital against…a dad who supports his 15 year old son enough to risk his career. Again, they are going to expose themselves as tone-deaf bullies.

    I’m sympathetic with the SBs on that one.

    It’s fine to welcome homosexuals into a church, but the Bible still defines homosexual behavior as sinful, and the church in question seems to be giving a stamp of approval on the whole enchilada.

    Which also begs the question of why I, a hetero, have bothered staying true to the Bible’s guidelines on sexual morality (sex being for a married couple, married couple in Bible understood to be one man, one woman).

    If a church is going to start embracing behavior defined as sinful in the Bible, they’ve lost it.

  76. WaitingForTheTrumpet2 wrote:

    As a former lifelong Southern Baptist, I am ashamed. Never in the 40+ years growing up in that denomination have I ever heard of terms like “gender roles”, “patriarchy”, “church discipline”, “covenant membership” or even “calvinism”.

    I’m very sorry for the abuse you underwent

    As to the part of your post I am quoting, I wonder if that is a phenomenon of larger SB churches only, like the megas?

    Out of the smaller Southern Baptist churches (around 200 members – they tend to be more homespun, down home,country folk types) I have gone too, I don’t hear much about gender roles, church discipline, and the rest at those churches.

  77. Daisy wrote:

    Mother wrote:
    Again, they are sending all of their force and energy and political capital against…a dad who supports his 15 year old son enough to risk his career. Again, they are going to expose themselves as tone-deaf bullies.
    I’m sympathetic with the SBs on that one.
    It’s fine to welcome homosexuals into a church, but the Bible still defines homosexual behavior as sinful, and the church in question seems to be giving a stamp of approval on the whole enchilada.
    Which also begs the question of why I, a hetero, have bothered staying true to the Bible’s guidelines on sexual morality (sex being for a married couple, married couple in Bible understood to be one man, one woman).
    If a church is going to start embracing behavior defined as sinful in the Bible, they’ve lost it.

    Daisy,
    If the SBC was true, they would be doing more about divorce, trouble is 50% of the congregation in any church may have been divorced. Sure, a lot of church’s don’t allow divorced ministers and deacons, I’ve been REALLY reading the Bible over the last few months and the Bible says a whole heck of a lot more on divorce than homosexuality.
    Gays, transsexuals are easy targets. They’re already not sitting in SBC pews….

  78. Nancy wrote:

    Let me defend “Dixie” here a bit. We are not monolithic, thank goodness.

    Anti-South / Anti- Southern bias has turned up on a previous thread or two.

    A few of the commentators who visit here often mistakenly believe most southerners are whites who wear white hoods and burn crosses on black people’s lawns.

    The reality is, most southern states I have lived in, I worked and went to school with, black people (as well as Middle Easterners, people from India), and you work along side with and become friends with, people of different skin colors and nationalities in the south, especially the big cities, like Houston.

  79. JeffT wrote:

    Question of the Day: If man was created first, why do we all start out in the womb as female?

    We do not all start out in the womb as female. This is a rather common misperception. I just checked and a simple goole search turned up a number of sites which explain this well.

    I say this before we get to making some theological conclusions based on an inaccurate beginning statement.

  80. The problem with their focus on the sexuality issue is they are focusing on how to identify an issue in the world around the Church rather than focusing on how to show people of all types who Jesus is through his Church. Contrast these: “The government has horrible policies regarding transgender people” and “Transgender people have a hard time in our society and we should find ways to serve them as Jesus served the marginalized people of his day.”

    Churches shouldn’t reject people on sexuality issues, but welcome them in Jesus’ name. The SBC’s efforts are not in line with how Jesus treated the woman at the well, the woman who wiped his feet with her tears, the woman caught in adultery, all of whom did not meet the sexual standards of his day.

  81. elastigirl wrote:

    @ Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist:
    “*sorry for a lot of the sociological and philosophical jargon.”
    ++++++++++++++
    this is like sitting around a table with an impossible gathering of individuals of amazing perspective and knowledge, and taking it all in.
    don’t hold back.

    THIS. A million times.

  82. @ Paula:

    First of all, like I said, we do not all start out female in utero. See above comment to Jeff. Second, if God took a body part from Adam and made Eve she would have had the same DNA as Adam and would have been male, which she was not. (This gets difficult when one asks where did Jesus get his Y chromosome.)

    Defenders of various theories can always say that God can do anything he wants to, but that is about the only thing that can be said in these matters. At least at this stage of knowledge.

  83. WaitingForTheTrumpet2 wrote:

    WaitingForTheTrumpet2

    I’m so sorry for the abuse you endured. I hope you will consider reading and posting here now and then as you will find love and support from TWW.

  84. Daisy wrote:

    I’m sympathetic with the SBs on that one.
    It’s fine to welcome homosexuals into a church, but the Bible still defines homosexual behavior as sinful, and the church in question seems to be giving a stamp of approval on the whole enchilada.
    Which also begs the question of why I, a hetero, have bothered staying true to the Bible’s guidelines on sexual morality (sex being for a married couple, married couple in Bible understood to be one man, one woman).
    If a church is going to start embracing behavior defined as sinful in the Bible, they’ve lost it.

    Well, there are several things I’m going to say here. And you’re not going to like it, but just bear with me.

    First, despite what you hear over the pulpit, it is UNCLEAR whether St. Paul was referring to homosexuality as we know it, or to the well-known practice of pederasty. What IS known is that the word Paul uses (arsenokoitai) is NOT an easy word to define. It’s a combination of “male” and “bed” and first appears in GREEK here. It’s also been conflated with another word, malakoi, which means “soft”. This word is always used in scripture as a descriptor of things, except in one place, where it is used in 1 Corinthians 6 to describe a human being.

    People have been arguing about the use of these two words for literally centuries. It wasn’t until the RSV was published that arsenokoitai was equated to homosexuality. Previously it was equated to sodomites in the KJV, but, as described above, how do you get “male” and “bed” to sodomy? This, by the way, is one of the problems with Biblical translation. For these specialized words, for which there is no other use or definition, are we possibly reading back into them what we want to think they mean? It wouldn’t be the first time. Look at the history of the translation of “Junia, esteemed among the apostles” where Junia was turned into a man because it was inappropriate for a woman to be called an apostle.

    So, if it’s unclear what Paul was getting at (despite what his interpreters say), then why are we saying it’s a sin? *And* to be blunt, why is THIS sin so much more important in deciding fellowship than, say, child abuse, spouse abuse, wasting of the marital resources in imprudent living (not just drugs and booze here, I’m also talking about get-rich-quick scams), habitual speeding at 90 mph down the freeway, embezzlement, strife, envy, gossip, etc., etc.? All of those are present in the church, and in fact, as I pointed out in a previous post, some pastors go out of their way to protect child abusers and cover up abuse. But it’s important to single out homosexuality as a terrible, horrible sin and cast out the wicked church from among us.

    Finally, I’m going to state that I’ve never married, I likely never will get married, I am in my middle 50s and I have not been celibate. Yes, I very much understand in Christianity that fornication is a sin. However, I also *own* what I have done, but I don’t let it define me as a human being. Take this for what you will, but I’m a little tired of hearing your pride about your celibacy.

  85. @ Daisy:

    My church had a membership of over 3500 with each choir (adult, high school, children’s and college) each with over 100 voices.

  86. WaitingForTheTrumpet2 wrote:

    I still have Complex PTSD from that and many other abuses throughout my life

    This is amazing. I had never heard of complex PTSD until about a week ago, even though I had worked for VA in the past and they deal with PTSD a lot. But when I heard about it I checked it out and sent off to Amazon for a book by Judith Herman who I understand has championed the cause of classifying complex PTSD separately in the DSM. Anyhow, the mail man/woman/person/individual just delivered by latest from amazon a few minutes ago and here is the book. It looks like a lot of pages and small print so it will take a few days, but it is good to get to know something about it.

    I am so sorry you have to deal with this. I cannot imagine what it is like. About five years ago I was in an auto accident–not life threatening but painful and scary and I have residuals of something when driving. Not PTSD by any means but aggravating all the same. Anyhow if just this little bit bothers me I can only imagine what you and others must go through. This whole area needs a lot more research and attention and understanding.

  87. @ Victorious:

    Thanks, Victorious. :-). I’ve been reading and lurking here for many months now. Last night, though, I finally decided to comment. I do love this place. So many great thoughts from brothers and sisters. Please don’t stop!

  88. @ Daisy:
    Wow, I totally agree Daisy. Well said. I’d like to hear your comment thunder forth from thousands of SBC pulpits tomorrow morning.

    You’d think the church would be more welcoming and inclusive of everybody but for so many the church is more a social club and we’ll, within that they assume “there are those, there are those…”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFYIYvnpZ9c

  89. @ Nancy:
    I for one appreciate your looking into complex PTSD Nancy. Some of us go through life with a ‘limp’ left by our past. Sometimes the opinions of others about it feel as harsh as if I told someone who had their leg severed to just get over it and walk like a normal person.

  90. Daisy wrote:

    Which also begs the question of why I, a hetero, have bothered staying true to the Bible’s guidelines on sexual morality (sex being for a married couple, married couple in Bible understood to be one man, one woman).

    Hmmm….you say this often. For me, the question is, why did you do it? It feels like you expect some sort of special reward for ‘following the rules.’ So why did you bother?

    I knowing it is difficult to grasp tone and emotion through blood comments and I know I read everything through the filters of my own experiences, but every time you say this, it comes across as though you feel morally superior to those who did not do this. As someone for whom this was never an option, it reminds me of the pain and fear I experienced as a child knowing that by this standard, I was ruined and condemned before I even could read.

    [[MOD: Correction per poster.]]

  91. One year later and I my blog post still applies to SBC14…
    The Selective Outrage of Southern Baptists

    http://watchkeep.blogspot.com/2013/05/the-selective-outrage-of-southern.html

    That blog post is what sparked the call from Doug Bischoff at Houston’s FBC to chew me out. It also led to the powers that be in the SBC (HFBC, Prestonwood, Exec committee, etc.) to contact a Houston police detective in the criminal intelligence division (they investigate terroristic threats- I kid you not). Their attempts to intimidate and silence us did not succeed. Pam Palmer came and stood with me outside the SBC annual meeting at the convention center in Houston, a large, very public place in which we needed no prior approval to stand on a public sidewalk, along with another abuse survivor. We did several news interviews. Here is the voicemail from the detective. He also called SNAP executive director David Clohessy: https://archive.org/details/HoustonPoliceVoicemail

  92. @ Paula:
    I think God took a whole equal sized side from the first human to make them male and female, not just a little oil’ rib. I think rib is a mistranslation.

  93. Nancy wrote:

    JeffT wrote:
    Question of the Day: If man was created first, why do we all start out in the womb as female?
    We do not all start out in the womb as female. This is a rather common misperception. I just checked and a simple goole search turned up a number of sites which explain this well.
    I say this before we get to making some theological conclusions based on an inaccurate beginning statement.

    I was just speaking in terms of fetal development, where the male sex organs develop from the female organs. It was more of an interesting throwaway comment at any rate.

  94. @ Patti:
    So you think God put Adam into a deep sleep and sawed him in half? Please don’t say the woman came forth from a bloody chainsaw massacre! :-P ;-)

  95. @ JeffT:
    I thought it a good throwaway comment worth contemplating within the context of this discussion and thought it worth crumbling up and throwing it across the room into the waste basket. From a distance mine was a 3-pointer btw :-P

  96. Hi, folks. I’ve been trying to use my Google Fu for good today but I’m coming up dry. Can anyone tell me if C.J. Mahaney was a founder of The Gospel Coalition or was he merely on its Leadership Council?

  97. Cayuga wrote:

    How do we reconcile the phenomenon of homo- and transsexuality with Scripture (providing we still revere Scripture as the word of God)?

    The point of this post was not to make a statement on transgenderism as a sin versus not a sin. In fact, I wanted to avoid that like the plague. As a nurse, I am aware of biological issues such as being born with two distinct gender organs.

    In the midst of all of this is the fact that this issue only encompasses about 700,000 people. Suddenly Statement.Must.Be.Made. Like any one in the greater culture will be shocked that the SBC opposes gender reassignment.

    Yet, the churches have many people who were sexually abused as children. Now, in this case, no statement must be made. Why?

  98. mirele fka Southwestern Discomfort wrote:

    A couple of days ago, I found out that a (deceased now for 15 years) science fiction writer whose work I just loved had basically enabled her husband’s child abuse.

    Who? MZB? (She’s the only one I can think of that I know the date of death….)

  99. Paula wrote:

    There are so many people who assume, and have been taught, that Adam deserves the position of headship and leadership because he was created first. Yet, what changed? The account in Genesis shows an order of God creating things in ever-increasing complexity. The argument can easily be made, therefore, that women should be given preeminence.

    Exactly! They tell us that humans are the pinnacle of creation because they were created last, BUT the male is supreme over the female because the male was created first. HUH? Unbelievable how they bend, twist, and hammer things to make the Bible fit what they believe.

    Another interesting aside, in the beginning of Genesis 2-3, the word adam in not a proper name, instead, it’s more properly translated as something like “earthling”. It’s only as the story develops that adam becomes the proper name Adam. So perhaps humans began sexless in Genesis?

  100. Darcyjo wrote:

    mirele fka Southwestern Discomfort wrote:
    A couple of days ago, I found out that a (deceased now for 15 years) science fiction writer whose work I just loved had basically enabled her husband’s child abuse.
    Who? MZB? (She’s the only one I can think of that I know the date of death….)

    Yes, it’s MZB. This is what my friend Deirdre had to say about all this (warning, triggering, may have bad language, etc.): http://deirdre.net/marion-zimmer-bradley-gave-us-new-perspectives-all-right/

  101. Never mind, went to Wikipedia and found my answer. All of her books are going to be OUT OF MY HOUSE shortly.

  102. Jeannette Altes wrote:

    Here is what I think. I think that before your condemn a whole people group to hell, you should be willing to at least get to know one person in that people group. Hear their story. Really listen and see if your dogma stands up to the reality of people’s lives. It’s easy to make a villain out of nameless, faceless people, but not so much when you meet and get to know individuals….I don’t think the SBC (or greater protestant fundagelicals) really want to know ‘these’ people. They just need a target to vilify to keep the pew sitters stirred up and fearful/angry. In my opinion.

    Your opinion is highly valued in my book Jeannette. I think also that if Messrs. Burk, Moore, et al. considered the ‘weightier’ matters of the law and what defines our shared and common humanity rather than what divides it, they too just might find it harder to consign the ‘other’ to hell.

  103. JeffT wrote:

    Exactly! They tell us that humans are the pinnacle of creation because they were created last, BUT the male is supreme over the female because the male was created first. HUH? Unbelievable how they bend, twist, and hammer things to make the Bible fit what they believe.

    Just another version of “What’s Yours is Mine and what’s Mine is MINE!”

  104. @ numo: I want to clarify my previous comment: totally agree on translation issues and people reading into some words. We just *don’t know* what some of those words meant, and we are very foolish, imo, to claim otherwise.

    Far better to note in the text or footnotes that a word or phrase is unclear, as is done with many other passages, than translate amiss for ideological reasons!

  105. mirele fka Southwestern Discomfort wrote:

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Which author was this?

    Marion Zimmer Bradley. The website is tor.com.

    MZB?
    Pedo/Pedo enabler?
    WTF?

    Only remember ever reading one thing by her but she was one of the Big Names during my litfan days; only two things that come to mind are:

    1) The infamous Wiccan deconstruction/realism version of King Arthur, all grubby and gritty and Dark & Edgy. (Like some sort of proto-Game of Thrones except more dark & grungy.) Especially remember her using GAELIC spellings for ALL the names, requiring a Gaelic-English dictionary to read. YOU DON’T INTERRUPT YOUR NARRATIVE WITH SPELLINGS WHERE YOUR READERS HAVE TO STOP AND LOOK IT UP IN A DICTIONARY! EVER! I DON’T CARE HOW BIG A NAME YOU ARE!

    2) A legendary note on a rejection letter, stating the opposite of the above: “STOP SHOWING ME HOW STYLISHLY YOU CAN WRITE AND TELL THE DAMN STORY!”

  106. JeffT wrote:

    I was just speaking in terms of fetal development, where the male sex organs develop from the female organs. It was more of an interesting throwaway comment at any rate.

    The fetal male genitalia do NOT develop from fetal female genitalia in utero. What your are saying is not accurate. Please check out your facts.

  107. Paula wrote:

    @ Patti:
    So you think God put Adam into a deep sleep and sawed him in half? Please don’t say the woman came forth from a bloody chainsaw massacre! :-P ;-)

    “The Eden Chainsaw Massacre”?

    Actually, that reminded me more of some cheap Italian space-opera movie I saw on TV in the Sixties. Don’t remember the title, but it had a blurb about “Secret experiments: The Union of Male and Female” with a visual of a figure composited from a male on one half/side and female on the other.

  108. @ Cayuga:

    1. I’m curious how would you apply Deuteronomy 22:5 to someone with ambiguous genitalia. How do you know whether or not they’re breaking that command?

    2. What would happen if it could be shown that Deuteronomy 22:5 was a culturally based command – for instance, pertaining to local Canaanite paganism? Do we have any data on this? And how far are we willing to take that verse, given that in context it probably would have prohibited women from being in the military?

    3. What would happen if it could be shown that transsexuality had some kind of “nature” basis (i.e., brain wiring, hormone exposure in the womb, etc.)? Transsexuals would then be born that way through no fault of their own as well. Granted, genetics don’t necessarily translate into a free pass (see also here). But we can’t assume carte blanche that transsexuals were made that way by their environment, or are making it up. Also the suggestion of demon possession is extremely misguided.

    4. Does the fact that the human authors of the Bible were prescientific have any bearing on this subject?

  109. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    I read with interest the idea of going from being a moral majority to being a prophetic minority. I haven’t seen the context in which Russell Moore said this, so I don’t know exactly how he said it. I’ll just have to take the idea at face value.
    Part 1 of 2
    When the denomination felt that it could call itself the moral majority, did it claim this was because God was blessing their faithfulness? If so, now that they have shrunk, why do they think God chose to withdraw that blessing? If they’re shrinking, something else is growing. The population of “nones” is growing, for instance. Is that because God is blessing more and more “nones” so that they find community and life outside of denominations like the SBC? Why exactly do movements grow and shrink, and what part do they believe God, in real time, is playing in this?
    If you’re going to be a prophetic minority, then you have to know what God is saying now.
    Part 2 of 2
    The change from moral majority to prophetic minority might prove harder than they expect. They no longer have power.
    In the good old days, maybe they could easily get their own way; they could, in a very real sense, sanction people they opposed and make them suffer somewhat. Now, they have to earn the right to be heard, and they themselves may be doing the suffering. Just as it took 40 years to get the slavery mindset out of Israel during the exodus, it won’t be easy for a previously powerful denomination to drop its sense of entitlement.
    Part 3 of 2
    And finally… but the SBC already has experience of prophetic minorities. Those who stood up within their own ranks and called for justice for abused children were a prophetic minority. There were others – but you get the idea. When it was powerful, what did the SBC do to those prophetic minorities? Does it expect to be treated differently?

    You, sir, are absolutely right. Their track record with actual prophetic minorities shows the truth.

  110. @ Hester: Re. # 3, I have no doubt that there are physiological bases (multiple) for transgenderism.

    Look up intersex conditions (a different thing, but still) and you’ll find a bewildering array of actual physical conditions. Some intersex people are trans, others are not.

    The more I look into all of this, the less hard and fast definitions per “male” and “female” (as the CBMW promotes) make sense. In fact, their propaganda makes NO sense to me anymore, though at one time I was semi-brainwashed by some (though not all) of it.

  111. Cayuga wrote:

    Forgive a naive question.
    How do we reconcile the phenomenon of homo- and transsexuality with Scripture (providing we still revere Scripture as the word of God)?
    Look, I get it. People are complicated, and it’s a lot harder to label, marginalize and demonize a group if you have gotten to know a few of them as individuals. Ultimately, though, it’s not Albert Mohler or Russell Moore that you run up against; it’s the word of God.
    Some individuals are born intersex through no fault of their own. For every one of those there are many others with normal bodies who believe themselves to have been born in the wrong body. Is it a birth defect? A psychosis? Is it, as some would suggest, the result of demon possession?
    Scripture is silent. But:
    “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God.” Deut. 22:5.
    (I won’t bother to quote I Cor. 6, etc. on homosexuality.)
    (And yes, Josh, I know the difference between a drag queen and a transexual.)
    The CBMW may have its extrabiblical theories, and the SBC may sound the alarm against “teh ghey” to goose its falling attendance, but how do we reconcile Scripture to phenomena on which it is largely silent?

    If you are truly curious as to how a Christian might reconcile Scripture with affirming and accepting LGBT people, I recommend starting with “Torn” by Justin Lee. Easy read, good overview of that interpretation of Scripture. And even those who are not LGBT affirming can still take issue with how the SBC treats people and prioritizes issues.

  112. Recommendation: there is a wikipedia article entitled “Gender Identity Disorder” which goes into this pretty extensively. Yes, the newly minted DSM 5 uses a different terminology, but lots of stuff which is already out there is under the old name.

  113. Nancy wrote:

    JeffT wrote:
    I was just speaking in terms of fetal development, where the male sex organs develop from the female organs. It was more of an interesting throwaway comment at any rate.
    The fetal male genitalia do NOT develop from fetal female genitalia in utero. What your are saying is not accurate. Please check out your facts.

    Nancy, please, I was merely citing what I thought was how it worked. I make no claim to expertise and it was simply a minor question I brought up. I’m perfectly willing to be be corrected. But don’t just do a drive-by scolding. Explain why it is wrong. I’m willing and eager to learn, that’s why I read TWW. I’m a big boy, I don’t need to be correct in all I say. But I would appreciate a conversation rather than a belittling.

  114. @ Daisy:

    1. The majority of trans people are not cis guys faking it to get at women. If that’s what you’re saying, you’d better have some pretty compelling evidence to back it up, beyond the few incidents mentioned in that article. This also doesn’t address people who were born women and now identify as male.

    2. This reminds me of a slightly modified form of the arguments used to deny women the right to vote – i.e., some women aren’t responsible enough to vote, so women should not vote. Some trans people are really cis people faking, therefore all trans people are untrustworthy. I hope this wasn’t what you were saying.

  115. @ numo:

    I am trying to sort all of this out after finding out that a friend has gender dysphoria. It’s a process and I’m just starting. But yeah, I can tell already that the standard comp line has utterly failed. It was pretty shaky to begin with (see Daisy’s comments about the omission of singles and non-parents), but I think this is the issue that will put the final nail in its coffin. Perhaps Burk senses that and is desperately attempting damage control.

  116. @ Daisy:

    I do not think that anyone is “promoting transgenderism”. I do think that there are many people, myself included, who would like to see people who are truly transgender have the same civil rights that everyone else has. That is, to be treated fairly regardless of their gender history. There are many horror stories out there about how the transgendered have been treated evilly by society at large and by people who call themselves Christian. Especially harshly treated are those who are born intersex or with incomplete sexual development in either sex and get mislabeled with the wrong sex. Sympathetic, fair treatment should be a civil right for all of us.

  117. @ JeffT:

    The explanation is complicated and you would be better off checking out one of the websites. In a sentence or so here is what you will find.

    The male and the female are different from the moment that the egg and sperm unite. However, at the one cell level, a cell looks like a cell, regardless if it is destined to be male or female. All of the development of the human body occurs step by step, and the fetus looks different at the various stages of development. At one time people thought that the developing fetus went through stages of being some other animal in stages. That old saw that ontogeny recapitulates phyelogeny is not true. That is, we do not go through stages in which we are other animals in the process of development. Nobody believes that anymore. I use this just as an illustration that ideas change in embryology.

    When it comes time for the gentialia develop there is a stage in which there are no external genitalia visible and that area looks the same in male and female. With further development the male begins to look male and the female begins to look female. Eventually it all works out. Because of the developmental stage where there are no gross differences in external appearance between male and female, somehow the idea got started that the lack of identifiable external male genitalia actually meant that the fetus was female at that stage and only later became male. Nobody thinks that any more. It never was correct any more than the ontogeny theory, but there it is.

    Ordinarily it would not matter much to stamp out an old idea, but this one can get tangled up in people’s thinking about men and women when trying to understand certain biblical ideas. Since these biblical ideas are hot topics right now, and since the neo-puritans focus so much on sexual issues, both physical and mental, I think it is important to be sure that any ideas are as accurate as possible.

    That’s it. BTW, this current issue of transsexualism (a general term for a lot of stuff) is rightly a medical issue and not a moral or ethical issue. The Wikipedia article on Gender Identity Disorder includes discussion of physical (brain) changes in some (many?) of these folks. For SBC to come along and declare that they disapprove of it is like saying they disapprove of leprosy. Who doesn’t, but it is not an ethical issue.

  118. I don’t think it is possible to successfully ‘promote’ transgenderism. Gender is so central to the identity of the average person that you could not convince them that they had been mislabeled and needed surgery to remove parts of their body to have the correct appearance. That is why when people are convinced frim their early years that they are the opposite sex trapped in the wrong body, I believe them.

  119. Daisy wrote:

    promoting transgenderism.

    There is no way to promote transgenderism. It is a condition, or actually a general term for many conditions. Now somebody might be saying that we ought to treat people with these conditions well. Or they might be saying even that this is a neglected area of concern and it is time to change that. But if such attitudes are coming from the “left” and not the “right” then the right is wrong and the left is right. Since when did the so called right yield common human decency to the other side? Since when do medical conditions (either physical or mental or some combination) become a religious kick ball for bullies? And don’t anybody bother with some OT quote. We are not ancient Israelites, we are not modern day Jews, and we are not under the mosaic laws (Paul said so.)

    You all do understand by now that I feel intensely about this sort of thing. I got a right. I got a responsibility.

  120. mirele fka Southwestern Discomfort wrote:

    Hi, folks. I’ve been trying to use my Google Fu for good today but I’m coming up dry. Can anyone tell me if C.J. Mahaney was a founder of The Gospel Coalition or was he merely on its Leadership Council?

    I believe he was on the council only. He was/is a founder of T4G.

  121. I spent many years living in a town known for treating issues of sexual identity.

    Transvestite is not transgendered which is not intersexed.

    There needs to be awareness on all sides. Someone born intersexed needs one set of responses from society and the drag queen another. At the same time, the ten year old girl entering the ladies’ room at McDonalds doesn’t need a fully functioning male, no matter how feminine he looks or feels, in the next stall.

    There are common sense ways to handle some of the situations without discriminating against anyone. Most public places there offer the standard men’s rooms, ladies’ rooms, and one marked for both men and women. It may be the handicapped restroom, or marked the family restroom, but most often it will be just marked with the symbols for males and females both. It is a “single”. It works for the intersexed, the transgendered, the transvestite, the moms of toddler boys, the dads of toddler girls, and those that prefer more privacy.

    This is an issue where the rights of all sides must be considered, not just the one with the sexual identity issue. A teen boy who has not yet transitioned from male to female but plans to do so in the future still doesn’t really belong in the high school girls’ locker room, although our state law puts him there. Unfortunately we have no state law allowing other provisions for the girls his presence might make uncomfortable. I know of one situation where a grade school boy considered transgender and presenting as female felt uncomfortable with being sent to the teacher’s lounge restroom, so was sent with the girls to the girls’ restroom. Some of the girls were uncomfortable and willing to go the teacher’s lounge, but were not allowed. That was wrong. Sensitivity must be exercised for all sides.

    Most of the time we had no problems. Those who were transitioning, or planning to do so, simply dressed as they felt and kept their mouths shut. If a woman transitioning to male presents as male, goes in the men’s room and goes into a stall and shuts the door, well, discretion ruled. Folks were not carded at the door of the ladies’ room to make sure the woman entering was genetically female.

    Those biologically intersexed, to my knowledge, were accepted and encountered no problems, including in conservative and even SBC churches.

    Those without detectable genetic or biologic problems I admit were viewed as “troubled” or as “having some sort of problem” but generally treated with compassion.

    Those not dealing with their issues as a physical, mental, or emotional issue but rather making a political issue of it–and they existed, believe me–were dealt with far more harshly.

    Our SBC leaders need to do their homework, learn some of the medical issues, and learn that while there is a level indeed scripturally forbidden of men posing as women and women posing as men, there are also those individuals not born xx or xy.

  122. Off topic, sort of.

    Tomorrow I will be going to a highly questionable religious service. What? Not a ( ), I thought that was illegal in NC. Not, not a ( ). An infant baptism. I am one of the grandmothers of the infant in question. I am being gracious and smiling. Mostly because I do not know what I think of infant baptism. The other grandmother has registered her objection, but she will be there. But, you say, don’t the methodists baptize infants? Indeed so, but the majority of baptisms at my church have been adult baptisms. What? I thought that the baptists were the only people baptizing anybody any more. No, they just think they are.

  123. Bridget wrote:

    I believe he was on the council only. He was/is a founder of T4G.

    Thanks. This is very helpful.

  124. elastigirl wrote:

    (“you can stretch it, you can chop it, you can roll it into a ball. you can bounce it, you can flatten it, ….and wait till you see what it does with newspaper comics!”)

    One of the best illustrations of the Bible and evangelicalism I’ve seen in a long while. I have argued before that the mindset is not much more than 40-45 yrs. old and almost exclusively American in origin.

  125. @ Nancy:

    There is no way to promote transgenderism. It is a condition, or actually a general term for many conditions.

    Except I don’t think Burk accepts gender dysphoria as a medical condition. Physical problems, maybe, like ambiguous genitalia or the South African runner mentioned upthread. But in otherwise physically normal people who feel like they were born the wrong gender, I think Burk sees gender dysphoria as a fancy name invented by evil secular psychologists to “normalize” sin. So I suspect you’re wasting your breath here.

    What’s also interesting here is that strict gender roles/ideas about women’s “proper place” in society, have in the past actually resulted in men posing as women (such as in theater). Then there’s the castrati – basically forcible genital mutilation of men to get them to be (vocally) feminine – which resulted directly from the belief that women could not speak in church. So perhaps the SBC should be aware that sometimes, when you push strict gender roles to prevent the blurring of the genders, what results is…the blurring of the genders.

  126. @ linda:

    Most public places there offer the standard men’s rooms, ladies’ rooms, and one marked for both men and women. It may be the handicapped restroom, or marked the family restroom, but most often it will be just marked with the symbols for males and females both. It is a “single”. It works for the intersexed, the transgendered, the transvestite, the moms of toddler boys, the dads of toddler girls, and those that prefer more privacy.

    As one of those people who prefer more privacy, I’m all for single restrooms regardless of gender identity issues. :-)

  127. Hester wrote:

    I think Burk sees gender dysphoria as a fancy name invented by evil secular psychologists to “normalize” sin. So I suspect you’re wasting your breath here.

    As far as that individual goes, no doubt. But there are a lot of ears and eyes out there, and this is the information age, and (at least for me) you got to preach it day in and day out, good times and bad. Because you never know who is listening. Or even if nobody is listening, it still has to be said. But as for physical changes you did note about neurological changes in some of these folks brains. Saying that the genitalia look normal does not rule out what goes on in the brain of some of these folks. Brain, not mind. This is far more complex than Burke would admit (or maybe understand–how would I know.)

    There is a long history between religion and science and between religion and medical science in particular. When I was in nursing school we had a course in the history of nursing; in college a required course in the history of science; in medical school a course in the history of medicine. By the time those people got through with me I was not only convinced, I was evangelistically inspired for the cause.

    And then if you look at how Jesus dealt with the sick of all sorts, how could I not not take up the cause, so to speak.

    You don’t hear me defending sin. In fact, I am opposed to some stuff that some folks on this blog disagree with me vigorously about. But being sick, mentally ill, traumatized, born with a congenital defect, being female, being on the really low end of the intellectual bell curve, having some condition that nobody can pronounce or understand and things of that sort–that is not sin. And being unemployed or poorly educated or having trouble with english as a second language or abandoned by a spouse or being a thrown away child, those things are not sins. They are problems, but there are not sins.

    But not caring about these suffering people, that is sin. Passing by on the other side of the road and never lifting a finger is sin. And preaching the “gospel” of passing by on the other side of the road as the right way to do-that is doubly sinful as it is sinning and it is justifying sinning. They want to talk about sin? Lets.

  128. JeffT wrote:

    Another interesting aside, in the beginning of Genesis 2-3, the word adam in not a proper name, instead, it’s more properly translated as something like “earthling”. It’s only as the story develops that adam becomes the proper name Adam. So perhaps humans began sexless in Genesis?

    Wait, stop the galaxy! Are you suggesting men are not from Mars and women not from Venus?

    In the SGM church I used to be in, the Senior Pastor and his wife CJ & Carolyn LetsCoverUpChildSexAbuse-Mahaney didn’t like the idea of men breathing the same air as women unless the air had first been sprayed with Anti-Feminism and freshened with scents of hunting, the forest, and ax swinging. The Pastors monitored the movements of women while occupying the air space of men as closely as the FAA would monitor an aircraft in a no-fly zone. One wrong move and the women were shot-down.

    This really holds the potential to wreck a lot of careers, dismantle complementarianism and leave us all living together on a tilted planet. Next thing we know women will be preaching the word of God. Horrors!

    http://www.psych.rochester.edu/people/reis_harry/assets/pdf/CarothersReis_2012.pdf

  129. All the fundamental baptist denominations are in decline in the US. The BBFI has reported a decline in membership for quite awhile. It might have to do with their association with the religious right and also their holier than thou attitude, and hypocrisy. The GARBC suffered a massive schism during the 1980s. A group of churches left the GARBC because they weren’t separatist enough. Now it is that the leadership GARBC wasn’t Calvinist according to some GARBC critics. Some of these churches from these IFB fellowships have gone over to the SBC because they are comfortable with the conservative resurgence. Then you have to consider the child and spiritual abuse scandals that are shaking all the fundamental baptist sects, including the SBC. Fundamentalism and culture wars and hypocrisy aren’t popular and why should they be?

  130. Hester wrote:

    It was pretty shaky to begin with (see Daisy’s comments about the omission of singles and non-parents), but I think this is the issue that will put the final nail in its coffin.

    Only tangental to this thread, but the main reason for this disconsonance is that (some) gender comps have confused vocation with some kind of embedded gender role. Which in turn springs from a theology which has to ground everything in some kind of foundationalism (an whole other topic for a third thread). “Wife” is a vocation, not a gender role, as is “husband”, “parent”, etc.

  131. Cayuga wrote:

    Ultimately, though, it’s not Albert Mohler or Russell Moore that you run up against; it’s the word of God.

    The CBMW may have its extrabiblical theories, and the SBC may sound the alarm against “teh ghey” to goose its falling attendance, but how do we reconcile Scripture to phenomena on which it is largely silent?

    Scripture is silent on mental illnesses, too, some of which look quite similar to the demon possessions mentioned in scripture, yet we treat them with pharmaceuticals to some success, and most Christians don’t have problems with that (never mind the nouthetic counseling nutcases). I’m probably not the best person to answer this, because I no more feel the need to “reconcile” the Bible with the existence of trans* people than I do with psychiatry, neurosurgery, self-driving cars, space exploration, or superconducting magnets.

  132. Beakerj wrote:

    The state of New Jersey has made it illegal for licensed counselors to help a child embrace a gender identity that matches his sex.”
    Well this is ridiculous statement if I’ve ever heard one – what may be ‘illegal’is forcing a child who shows signs of gender dysphoria to embrace a gender identity they feel alienated from/disgusted by/deeply wrong no-matter what their sex. It sounds like he’d like a form of ‘reparative’ therapy to be the norm for these children just like it was in attempting to pray the gay away. Children with gender dysphoria, or with ambiguous genitalia or anything that effects their sexual identity & self-perception are already in a very vulnerable position, these cause huge stress, distress & anxiety & I do not want that type of evangelical christian anywhere near them.I have a post-surgical trans friend, & manage a youth project dealing with LGBTQ young people & I am a billion more times concerned with their vulnerability & welfare than with their gender ‘correctness’.

    Reparative therapy has been forbidden from being practiced on minors in California and New Jersey in part because of the existence of parents who listen to the teaching of Burk et. al. and threaten to kick their LGBT+ kids out of the house because that’s, uh, evidently the “loving” thing to do. There is no such thing as consent of a minor when the threat of homelessness is hanging over your head if you don’t straighten up (pun fully intended).

  133. @ Cayuga:

    “The CBMW may have its extrabiblical theories, and the SBC may sound the alarm against “teh ghey” to goose its falling attendance, but how do we reconcile Scripture to phenomena on which it is largely silent?
    ++++++++++++++++++

    my response to this one:

    you don’t. you simply treat such people the way you would want to be treated. end of story.

    scripture is not an answer book.

  134. @ Hester wrote:

    1. I’m curious how would you apply Deuteronomy 22:5 to someone with ambiguous genitalia. How do you know whether or not they’re breaking that command?

    Most intersexed people identify with one sex or the other. They end up dressing as the sex they decide they are.

    2. What would happen if it could be shown that Deuteronomy 22:5 was a culturally based command – for instance, pertaining to local Canaanite paganism? Do we have any data on this? And how far are we willing to take that verse, given that in context it probably would have prohibited women from being in the military?

    What is a “culturally based command”? Take, for example, the issue of head coverings, as discussed in I Cor. 11:3-16. Some churches insist on it and make a big deal of it; others have utterly disregarded it. (You still see some churches where the ladies wear nice hats.) There is probably more written about head coverings than, say, personal evangelism. Can we dismiss any section of scripture by saying it is a dusty, first century relic, or is all Scripture for our guidance and edification?

    3. What would happen if it could be shown that transsexuality had some kind of “nature” basis (i.e., brain wiring, hormone exposure in the womb, etc.)? Transsexuals would then be born that way through no fault of their own as well. Granted, genetics don’t necessarily translate into a free pass (see also here). But we can’t assume carte blanche that transsexuals were made that way by their environment, or are making it up. Also the suggestion of demon possession is extremely misguided.

    That’s an interesting question. I haven’t read all the literature about the subject, but if a transexual’s brain scan more closely resembled the pattern of his/her chosen sex, that would strengthen the arguments of those who say that this is a person born into the wrong body. If, on the other hand, the transexual’s brain lights up the same areas as his/her original gender, then that suggests that this is merely a man/woman with issues.

    4. Does the fact that the human authors of the Bible were prescientific have any bearing on this subject?

    Yes and no. The Bible is not a science textbook; it has nothing to say about nuclear reactions, DNA, the precise age of the Earth or exactly what happened to the dinosaurs. God says we have been given ” all things that pertain unto life and godliness,” 2 Peter 1:3, i.e., everything we need to know about living a life that is in accordance with God’s will. That does not mean there will not be ethical questions that are not contemplated by Scripture.

  135. Mother wrote:

    If you are truly curious as to how a Christian might reconcile Scripture with affirming and accepting LGBT people, I recommend starting with “Torn” by Justin Lee. Easy read, good overview of that interpretation of Scripture. And even those who are not LGBT affirming can still take issue with how the SBC treats people and prioritizes issues.

    Thanks. I will give it a look.

  136. Can i say how heartening it is to see so many comments that are more concerned with the struggles of Transgender/LGBT youth than being theologically correct :).

    I appreciate it that so many Christians “get it” when it comes to some of these issues.

  137. Daisy wrote:

    If a church is going to start embracing behavior defined as sinful in the Bible, they’ve lost it.

    Then why daisy, are the sbc and others so comfortable with lying about what evolution is? Why are they so happy to lie about what scientists actually know. Lying is definitely against the rules.

    And a personal question: Are you mad because your church never found you a husband or that they didn’t give you a trophy for staying celibate? You have been stuck in the same rut for as long as I’ve been reading this blog and at some point I hope you can move on/

  138. @ Cayuga:

    Most intersexed people identify with one sex or the other. They end up dressing as the sex they decide they are.

    True. But what if they’re wrong? CBMW attaches extremely high stakes to gender – if you don’t identify your gender correctly, your entire life will be wrongly ordered on earth, and you won’t be prepared for your eternal gender role in heaven. And the Deuteronomy reference indicates that a wrong choice will make you an “abomination” in the sight of God. Clearly it’s important to get this right. So how can we tell if we’re wrong?

    And given Burk and company’s previous rhetoric, I’m not sure how this can all ultimately come down to a personal “call” on gender without destroying their entire system. They’ve presented gender as an objective thing, which I assume is why they seem to think they have magic X-ray vision that can tell them for certain what gender a person “really” is (thus the denunciations of trans people). A personal identification with a given gender, however, is ultimately a subjective thing. But if they cede that sometimes gender identification can rest solely on a subjective choice, then that means gender isn’t always as objective as they claim, which makes all their sweeping statements about clear universal gender distinctions hogwash. And if we allow intersex people to decide their own gender, we have to have a reasonable explanation for why trans people can’t.

    What is a “culturally based command”? … There is probably more written about head coverings than, say, personal evangelism. … Can we dismiss any section of scripture by saying it is a dusty, first century relic, or is all Scripture for our guidance and edification?

    A culturally based command would be something that only applies in a given cultural context. We don’t have slaves anymore, so do we still follow Paul’s instructions about slave-master relationships? No, because the command’s not relevant to our situation anymore. Per the gender-specific clothing, what I am asking is, is it eternal, or did it have something to do with the surrounding Canaanite religion – i.e., like the commands to not sacrifice your children to Molech? Is there any way to determine this?

    This isn’t the only issue where this comes up, either. There’s an almost identical question surrounding the commands that seem to prohibit tattoos. We could also bring up the commands about not cutting your beard, which were a way to distinguish Jews from their neighbors and thus don’t apply anymore. Another interesting one from the NT is this, where the Jerusalem Council seems to place eating blood on the same level as sexual immorality. But you don’t see Christians up in arms about rare steak, black pudding and czernina. What’s up with that?

    Per headcoverings, if you’re a woman, do you wear them? If you’re a man, does your wife wear them? If not, why not, and how is that not “dismissing” that passage as a “dusty 1st-century relic”? As far as I know, the command about crossdressing is not repeated in the NT, which makes this a much less “open and shut” case than even the traditional view of homosexual sex. And if we’re going just on # of verses, there’s a lot more in the Bible about headcoverings than about crossdressing.

    I should add now that I’m not necessarily dismissing Deuteronomy 22:5 out of hand or stating that it absolutely is only cultural, because honestly I don’t know for sure at this point. I’m just raising some issues that have to be addressed, and usually aren’t.

    (I’m also still interested in your opinion about women using weapons/wearing armor, because that is one way that verse has been interpreted. In fact I seem to recall Doug Wilson using it to “prove” that women couldn’t serve in the military.)

    I haven’t read all the literature about the subject, but if a transexual’s brain scan more closely resembled the pattern of his/her chosen sex, that would strengthen the arguments of those who say that this is a person born into the wrong body.

    I agree, and this was my point when I asked about the ancients being prescientific. They didn’t have things like brain scans, so if this turned out to be true, how would it affect our interpretation of verses like Deuteronomy 22:5? The Bible has some real scientific whoppers in it – here’s my favorite, in which bats are listed as unclean birds – so we do have to take this into account.

  139. I have no truck with the SBC, and believe trans people are free to live as they choose. However, the modern transgender movement has a lot of disturbing implications for egalitarians, women, gender non-compliant children, gay people and others. There are more issues than I have time to write about here, but here are a few I’ve dealt with over the past few years:

    While hormones have a significant effect on human behavior, there are no studies proving that “male” or “female” brains exist, or that trans people have the brains of the opposite sex. In contrast, the people who drive trans politics argue that biological sex is a construct, and internal gender identity is immutable. That brings up some questions: how does one define gender? What is a woman if biology is irrelevant? Females are socialized from day one into a subordinate role. Many of the cultural markers of this role that trans women claim as authentic womanhood are not innate but defined and enforced by men.

    In reading the writing of trans women online, one notices that a lot of them get their ideas about what constitutes womanhood from pornography and other trash culture. One doesn’t have to be a radical feminist to find it disturbing that these same trans activists tell biological females that we don’t get to define womanhood. What else is new, right?

    Also, trans activists and the doctors who profit from them are pushing for the use of hormone blockers like Lupron on young children, despite the fact that no studies of their long-term effects on children have been completed.

    Many gay people and others see the medicalization of gender non-conformity as homophobic. As we see in Iran, it’s one way to get rid of the gay.

    A prominent trans woman even claims that Joan of Arc was a trans man! They believe a woman who dons a suit of armor and leads an army in battle must be a man. This is deeply misogynist and something you’d expect from John Piper, not social liberals.

  140.   __

    “Let Me Take You Higher or The Proverbial Monster Under The Church’s Bed?”

    Trigger Warning: Child abuse, sexual abuse in an SBC affiliated church setting, without serious or proper remedy?

    ***

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDjnB_61k58

    hmmm…

    for example…as in the case of an SBC affiliated Baptist Church in Plano, Texas [1] , anything that challenges the ‘established’ party line seriously invites a police cruiser?

    Krunch!

    Should the church be bringing us God’s ‘higher’ love, perhaps? [2]

    (sadface)

    Kirrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrk!!!

    “As GRACE [3] works with churches and other Christian institutions, we often encounter professing Christians who struggle with whether suspected abuse within the Christian community should be reported to the civil authorities.   This struggle extends beyond the borders of the United States and is unfortunately sometimes the mindset of missionary organizations.    

    The issue often professed to be at the heart of this critical struggle is whether the Church is obligated to subject itself to the laws of man when it believes that it is capable to address the sin in-house.

    A fundamental question that Christians must confront when processing this issue is whether the Church is subject to the laws of civil government.   

    This is an issue that has generated years and volumes of debate within the Christian community ever since Christ was confronted by the Pharisees concerning what belonged to Caesar. [i]  

    Regardless of how one sides on this issue, a plain reading of Romans 13, clearly indicates that the civil government plays a role in God’s design for society and His people.[ii]   

    Many Christians seem to differ on the extent to which Christians are morally obligated to obey civil laws that do not require disobedience to God’s law (in which cases, he must not obey). 

    [iii]  There is nothing more that I can contribute to that debate, which has not already been argued and re-argued for centuries. However, there seems to be a general consensus among Christians that the civil government has a general duty and obligation to establish order within society for the purpose of protecting its citizenry from physical harm intentionally inflicted by others.[iv]   

    A central purpose of criminal laws is to punish those in society who intentionally commit inherently wrong actions that result in some form of harm to another.[v]   

    Such punishments are a necessary and central ingredient to an orderly and safe society.  

    If that is the case, can there be any greater responsibility of the civil government than to punish citizens who violate laws designed to protect society’s most vulnerable members…..children?  

    In order to determine whether such a law has been violated, the civil government must be notified of the alleged offense.   

    Governments are incapable of carrying out this Biblical mandate if the citizens fail to report the alleged criminal actions.   

    Therefore, Christians impede this biblical mandate when we fail to report suspected crimes against children to the civil government for investigation and possible prosecution of the offenders.   

    Hindering another from carrying out a biblical mandate is disobedience to God, otherwise known as sin.[vi]

    In order to effectively carry out its responsibility of protecting children, most states have laws that mandate certain citizens to report suspected neglect or abuse of children.[vii]   

    Violation of these mandated reporting laws subjects the violator to criminal penalties, including but not limited to, jail.   Thus, Christians in the United States have both a biblical and legal mandate to report suspected abuse of children. 

    When they fail to fulfill this mandate, Christians can and should be prosecuted.  For example, in recent months (ed. as of this writing) two pastors of Victory Christian Center, a church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, were criminally charged for failing to report child sexual abuse disclosures. 

    Besides the biblical and legal grounds for reporting suspected abuse to the civil authorities, there are also practical reasons to do so.  The Church lacks the understanding, experience and the abilities to address abuse issues “in house ”. 

    The civil government has the exclusive authority to unilaterally remove children from guardians who are inflicting physical and/or emotionally harm.   Therefore, if a child is suspected of being maltreated by their guardian, the child will generally not be removed from such an environment unless such has been brought to the attention of the proper authorities.[viii]  

    Oftentimes, the child’s very survival is based upon whether we take the initiative and report suspected abuse.   

    There can be little debate within the Christian community that the protection and survival of children is a God ordained responsibility that we cannot neglect or excuse.

    I have yet to encounter an abuse situation that was handled “in house” where the consequences were not extremely harmful to the abuse survivor.  All too often these issues are handled “in house” in a church-centered attempt to avoid public scrutiny and to bring the matter to a close as quickly as possible so that the church can return to more “productive Gospel work”.  The sooner a church can manipulate some form of “reconciliation” between the victim and the perpetrator, the sooner it can forget about this messy situation. 

     Tragically, this rush to reconciliation will often guilt the victim into thinking that the harmful effects of the abuse are a result of his/her own spiritual weaknesses or failures and that a “godly response to abuse” requires the embrace of the offender while minimizing the effects of the abuse.  

    Not surprisingly, this church-centered response leads to devastating consequences in the life of the abuse survivor.  

    Such responses to abuse have nothing to do with the Gospel, and everything to do with placing the institution over the individual.  

    Such an “in house” institution-centered response can also reap devastation by exposing unsuspecting children and their families to perpetrators.  

    GRACE recently conducted an independent investigation involving a missionary organization where a missionary physician confessed to sexually victimizing a child on the mission field.   This perpetrator was sent home with a letter sent to supporting and host churches explaining that his premature return home was based upon a “moral indiscretion”. As a result, this self-confessed child molester was able to return home and operate a family medical practice for over 20 years.  From everything we could gather, this physician’s patients or anyone else for that matter, had any knowledge of his prior sexual abuse.  To date, no one knows how many other children may have been sexually victimized by this offender at his medical practice or within his community.  

    Sadly, this type of situation is all too common within the Christian community that decides to handle abuse claims “in house”. 

    Why do some churches and other Christian institutions struggle with reporting suspected abuse to the civil authorities?   Regardless of the stated reasons, the common thread running through this struggle is a “fear” that is rooted in self-centeredness.   It is a “fear” of losing the “good reputation” of a ministry, it is the “fear” of losing ministry donors, it is the “fear” of losing congregation members, it is the “fear” of losing a ministry altogether, and all such “fears” are usually wrapped in a fundamental falsehood that reporting such abuse within the Christian community will “damage the cause of Christ”.[ix]  

    Do you see the great tragedy of this self-centered fear?   

    Ultimately, it is an attempt to rob God of his sovereignty and glory by attempting to “protect” identities and possessions.  

    This is in direct contravention of the Gospel.  The Gospel tells us that our identity is in Christ alone and that our reputation and all that we possess belongs to God.  

    Another way of putting it is that apart from Christ’s accomplishment, we have no reputation and we possess nothing.  This Gospel-centered perspective gives Christians (including churches) great freedom to confess, confront and expose sin without fear of the earthly consequences. By doing so, we acknowledge God’s holiness, His sovereignty, and our dependence upon the power of the Gospel.   

    This Gospel centered perspective must drive the Church to obey the God ordained civil authorities who are charged with protecting our little ones and punishing those who harm them.  

    The next time someone tells you that reporting suspected abuse within the Christian community will “hurt the cause of Christ”, tell them that we are attempting to rob God of worship when we leave criminal behavior to fester and grow in the darkness of silence.” ~Boz’ Tchividjian  [4]

    *

    His eyes…ever upon da wee sparrow…

    (tears)

    Sopy
    __
    [1] http://www.abpnews.com/culture/social-issues/item/8285-church-calls-cops-on-inquiring-member

    [2] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mGZWzYhHddA

    [3] G.R.A.C.E (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment). http://netgrace.org/

    [4] interview with Basyle ‘Boz’ Tchividjian, a founding member and Executive Director of G.R.A.C.E (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment). http://rachelheldevans.com/blog/abuse-boz-tchividjian

    ;~)

  141. Thanks to all you lovely people visiting my page re: the MZB/Breen child abuse.

    I thought I’d bring attention to three other links that may be of interest in light of the story and comments.

    1. My husband wrote this essay during the prop 8 era, pointing out that “male” and “female” are harder to clearly define than one might think, even excluding any trans issues. http://linuxmafia.com/faq/Essays/marriage.html

    As he says: “There really are no workable tests. This isn’t just a technical problem that hasn’t been worked out: Remember, the best minds in the International Olympic Committee, aided by the world’s top doctors and scientists, tried to solve it for 31 years, and gave up.” And he’s not even talking transgendered people.

    2. My own epiphany about pronoun usage re: an ex of mine who came out as trans. http://deirdre.net/pronouns-use-of/

    3. On the issue of reparative therapy, I’m looking forward to Tim Rymel’s book, Going Gay. He was involved with Love in Action and talks frankly about what it was like to go through that and come out as gay after. http://timrymel.com

  142. Nancy wrote:

    Off topic, sort of.
    Tomorrow I will be going to a highly questionable religious service… An infant baptism.

    Interestingly enough, around 45 years ago I went to just such a service – my own! Some very cute foties exist – I was teething at the time and had bright red little cheeks. The (Anglican) vicar in question was a relative, as it happens; Uncle Jim was my mum’s * cousin, and the father of Aunt Jude, my godmother.

    I have for many years the noo been a credobaptist. My take on the ceremony is: I cannot ascribe authority to it as a baptism as such, and therefore I refute any notion that I was “re-baptised” at age 18. But that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate what everyone was doing; it was a thoroughly good idea and a very decent thing.

    * A mum is usually known as a “mom” in Americanish.

  143. Why are they bringing up transgenderism? Some matters in life are unexplained. A child is born with a handicap that renders that renders that child a child forever, or worse, a child who must be a ward of the state because he or she is born in a vegetative state. Or adults who suffer anoxic brain injury due some accident or some other tragedy. Now trans

  144. @ Hester:

    Best comment ever.

    OK, I am still laughing at the image of Denny Burke tied to a train track ratcheting his own ties even tighter now that he didn’t a general gasp of consensus on the gay issue.

    Real story:

    Years ago a woman I was sitting with was laughing when another woman mentioned that a portion of the new birth certificate applications now contained an “other” option for the sex-of-baby (male, female, other). I commented that was there because of intersex babies. Her comment (sigh) was:

    “That isn’t glorifying to God!” (in the most huffy voice imaginable)

    The sad part was, she and the other women were a pastors’ wives. Had a child with that condition been born at the church she would be having a reality crisis and unable to deal with the situation.

    So much of the complimentarian/gender role movement is predicated on a(n evaporating) middle-class lifestyle where families can survive on one income and that income remains constant throughout the husband’s entire life. That is a steadily dwindling demographic. With Mohler adding the requirement of early marriage to the equation, they are pushing the gender roles closer and closer the upper class demographic only. Entry level jobs taken by 21 year olds rarely feed, clothe, house a family, nor do they last a lifetime.

    When times get tough, a wife becomes a partner in family provision, not a trophy to prove one’s earning ability.

  145. Now transgenderism? This is something that is a mystery. Some matters do not have clear biblical answers. Humans encounter things like this everyday. It may not be a biological anomaly. It may be tragedy that is self induced like a person who has developed anoxic encephalopathy due to an car accident or drug addiction, or it may be an un explained personal tragedy that visits us in the form of cancer. Some of us live with this tragedy everyday. It could be our child or our relative or it may be ourself and all we may do is cry “why God?” In our attempts to find meaning for all this. Transgenderism would be a conundrum for those who have a black and white view of morality in terms of sex. It would bring out that question of “why God?” I would have that question, but like so much that is unexplained in a conundrum of life I would hope I would see the humanity in that transgender person and treat that person as a human being rather than an it. The mystery means far less than how I treat an individual. And that anomaly may in the end turn out to be a gift like so much that is unexplained.

  146. @ Joan:

    You bring up a lot of good points. Much of what you say can also be applied to other issues in our culture. For example: what about alcohol abuse? Is it a sin? Is it a medical condition, alcoholism? Is it a crime: drunk driving; public drunkenness? Is it nobody’s business as long as nobody gets hurt? Whose responsibility is it to decide what it is? What about the economic impact on the larger culture of the effects of alcohol abuse? Since we have evidence that some propensity to alcohol mismanagement can be passed in the male paternal line does that change anything? If no definitive prohibition against the use of beverage alcohol can be found in scripture are churches teaching heresy if they teach that there is such a prohibition? Since Jesus was accused of being a “wine bibber” how much wine consumption was he actually doing, and should anybody care and how does one deal with accusations such as this-does it dishonor God? To what extent can an employer require abstinence from alcohol from an employee without this becoming a civil rights issue for the court to decide.

    Here is a big question. If an individual, or a segment of society, or the church or the legislature or the court makes some decision on one or all of these issues, and person or persons become offended (angry even) by that decision–to what extent, if any, does that matter? Should society ignore the issues for fear of offending person or persons?

    Now, a similar list of variable could be discussed about really an awful lot of stuff that is out there to be dealt with. I have mentioned alcohol only as an example.

    I have a few opinions. Society needs to deal with its problems. Ignoring problems rarely helps. The church needs to quit hiding behind closed doors and see if it cannot make some legitimate contribution to the larger society. Go with the evidence at hand, even if not all the evidence is available, while continuing to research the issues; that especially includes solving what can be solved even if that solution does not make it all go away.

    Joan of Arc. Maybe she did have some medical problem. Maybe she was schizophrenic. Maybe she was a heretic. Maybe it was a miracle. I do not hear a single possible explanation for Joan that does not include something about which somebody can protest. Sigh.

  147. Nancy wrote:

    Joan of Arc. Maybe… etc etc etc

    Indeed. Off-topic, as I’m about to disappear outside and make a start on the new foundations for the compost bins (long story), but…

    Years ago, I read somebody’s comment parodying all the half-baked speculation around Joan of Arc. He observed that there were no records of Joan getting off her horse to go to the toilet (to the degree that they had toilets in those days), and that this perhaps meant that Joan had no bladder.

  148. Nancy wrote:

    BTW, this current issue of transsexualism (a general term for a lot of stuff) is rightly a medical issue and not a moral or ethical issue. The Wikipedia article on Gender Identity Disorder includes discussion of physical (brain) changes in some (many?) of these folks. For SBC to come along and declare that they disapprove of it is like saying they disapprove of leprosy. Who doesn’t, but it is not an ethical issue.

    Yes, exactly. That’s another reason this whole business is so utterly bizarre.

  149. @ Joan:
    Joan,

    Your comments on trangender activism are very interesting. The next logical step would be chilling. Suddenly every woman with any assertiveness or convictions, any woman willing to speak out, would be considered to be a closeted trans.

    Actually, come to think of it, that’s probably what some leaders in the complementarian movement think of anyone who doesn’t marry or doesn’t fit their gender roles.

  150. Val wrote:

    When times get tough, a wife becomes a partner in family provision, not a trophy to prove one’s earning ability.

    Here in the U.S. the percentage of working wives is just a bit higher than it was 20 years ago. (for wives with children under 18: 66% in 1990 and 69% in 2010) So it’s a myth that a lot more wives are having to work. They’ve always worked…but perhaps didn’t talk about it in church.

    Many church leaders are completely out of touch with reality, and they invent stats.

    (Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Families and Living Arrangements, Detailed Table MC-1, “Married Couples by Labor Force Status of Spouses: 1986 to Present,” November 2010)

  151. In other news: Novak and Rafa are apparently both wearing the same colour top. That must’ve been an awkward moment.

    Anyway, the match has only just started, so there are no spoilers to avoid yet.

  152. My husband had a pituitary tumor that was changing his hormones. I have noticed since then that he is more comfortable around men who are not as ‘macho’ as he is. I would imagine that he realizes how he would have been treated by our Christian community if his surgery had not restored him to the hormonal pattern that he was born with. Just sayin…

  153. What is this business of picking and choosing this or that out of the Mosaic law and them trying to make an issue of it within christianity. Has nobody read Galatians? One either is under the law (the whole law) or one is not. For those who want to be under the law, let me say this, go ahead and put yourself under the law, which of course includes circumcision. Have you checked out what the religions ceremony is for previously (surgically) circumcised gentile males who convert to orthodox Judaism? (Maybe all Judaism for all I know; it was an orthodox Jew fellow classmate in med school who told me this years ago.) Well, I will not be too graphic but it includes a knife, but don’t worry, the rules require that the knife be very sharp to minimize pain. And my informant said the rabbis are very good and very quick at the procedure. But thereafter, of course, you are a son of the law–the whole law. So why worry about cherry picking favorite stuff out of the law and fretting over it unless one has already officially placed oneself under the law by circumcision? It makes no sense. It made no sense to Paul either, and he was more graphic than I have been.

  154. We should have more information out soon, but we are planning our SNAP awareness event outside the Baltimore Convention Center on Wednesday, mid day. Our leader Becky Ianni will be joined by several other survivors and Pam Palmer hopefully. We would love for any others who are able to make it to join us in standing in support of the many wounded…if you are interested in more info, email me at watchkeepamy@gmail.com.

    Thank you to all of you who have given us so much support and encouragement.

  155. Off topic followup

    I survived this morning’s encounter with the high church episcopalians. It was awkward but nobody seemed to notice or care, and that was good. We sang songs with lyrics from people with latin names from the sixth century. I did like the Bach prelude though. Seriously, I did. Reminded me of my childhood. I can take a deep breath now and relax.

    Interesting question however. Not only should one baptize infants. Everybody knows the arguments back and forth on that one. But I noticed, well the pastor mentioned, the issue of the quantity of water involved. He had different size sea shells from which he poured water on the heads of the people he was baptizing, little shells for the bitsy babies and larger shells for the older teenagers. No really, he did and he specifically called attention to it. Meanwhile at my church, the pastor has said that methodists can baptize with a medicine dropper–several people without refilling the dropper. Serious. He said that and was not joking, though I never saw it done. Meanwhile the baptists (my former group) seem to think the more water the better and souse them down until they are thoroughly under water. For anybody out there who thinks christians can be really weird –yep, and some of us share that opinion.

  156. @ Nancy:

    Thanks for the nuanced explanation. It explains why the understanding I had gathered from many other sources was incomplete. As I said, I offered it only as an unrelated philosophical question that came to mind and I always appreciate getting accurate information.

  157. Joan wrote:

    While hormones have a significant effect on human behavior, there are no studies proving that “male” or “female” brains exist, or that trans people have the brains of the opposite sex. In contrast, the people who drive trans politics argue that biological sex is a construct, and internal gender identity is immutable. That brings up some questions: how does one define gender? What is a woman if biology is irrelevant? Females are socialized from day one into a subordinate role. Many of the cultural markers of this role that trans women claim as authentic womanhood are not innate but defined and enforced by men.
    In reading the writing of trans women online, one notices that a lot of them get their ideas about what constitutes womanhood from pornography and other trash culture. One doesn’t have to be a radical feminist to find it disturbing that these same trans activists tell biological females that we don’t get to define womanhood. What else is new, right?

    I actually agree with this. Not intersex or individuals, but the (is it?) transvestite movement is inherently sexist. If a white person was to claim they felt African-American it would meet with harsh criticism, and rightly so. However, if a man says he feels like dressing and acting as a woman, then proceeds to act out in a stereotypical way as a female, should we have a right to call that sexist. I am a woman because I have an xx chromosome making me a female. If I chose to go serve in the army, wear camouflage and fixed cars in my spare time, I would still be a woman. Why? because I was born a female, raised as a girl and experienced both the blessings and challenges of being female. It is not about a gender role, but a) a biological role and b) a societal role.

    Our biology determines how we are socialized. Once we are socialized into our gender roles, usually at a very young age, we then develop within our culture’s framework for that gender. However, if a war drove us from our home country and landed us half way around the world in a new country, with new customs and expectations, it would show us that being a woman is inherently a biological category, overlaid and defined by a societal category that may or may not cross cultural boundaries. Anyways, what I mean is: it isn’t how one perceives a woman’s aptitude (hair dresser or secretary vs. mechanic), or response to a situation (emotional or rational) that makes a female a woman, it is inherently her biology that sets her on a course from a very, very young age. Therefore, gun toting jihadist mothers in the middle east are as feminine as geisha’s in Japan. They are just fitting into their own societies in expected ways.

    When boys or men claim they are internally female, yet externally fully male, they are saying they feel like a stereotypical woman not a biological woman. That is really quite sexist. They imply there is a huge gender difference, that it is, as you said, innate. They imply that all being female is, is a collection of attitudes and behaviours one can simply copy and then claim that is the sum of femaleness.

    There is nothing worse than a transvestite trying to fake menses by acting moody and belligerent. Of course they never seem to get that both males and females are on hormonal cycles and, although some women experience more mood swings during menses, it is not all month long and not experienced to the same degree by all women. But, such is the culture that, being offended by that sort of behaviour from a transvestite would be considered inconsiderate, intolerant, etc., etc.

    I am fine if intersex people choose to be female, I can sympathize if an individual feels more like a woman, but, no matter what, that person is reacting to a society that has strong gender expectations. It doesn’t surprise me that there is more transexual activity in Dixie than in, say, San Francisco (I am sure they eventually move there). Since the South has less culturally accepted gender flexibility, making anyone who doesn’t conform to their narrow definitions feel like an “other”. (if few women work outside the home while childrearing, for example, that sets up more entrenched gender enclaves) It is a similar situation in other cultures where gendered roles are strongly adhered to.

    Anyways, I agree, not actually enough differences have been found between male and female brains to claim one can “be” the opposite gender to their biology. Not being insensitive, just pointing out it isn’t really a medical issue, rather, a cultural perception issue. Since how a gender acts is a socialization process, not an inherent trait.

  158. Val wrote:

    So much of the complimentarian/gender role movement is predicated on a(n evaporating) middle-class lifestyle where families can survive on one income and that income remains constant throughout the husband’s entire life. That is a steadily dwindling demographic. With Mohler adding the requirement of early marriage to the equation, they are pushing the gender roles closer and closer the upper class demographic only. Entry level jobs taken by 21 year olds rarely feed, clothe, house a family, nor do they last a lifetime.

    That is all true. What I cannot understand is why, if they want to build these mega churches and rack in people by the hoards, would they establish criteria for the masses which fewer and fewer people can meet? Even assuming that people agree with and want to practice such a standard. Is that any way to sell a product? Have they even thought it through?

  159. @ Janey:

    Poorer women have always worked. I wonder if the percentage to poorer vs middle class women in the work force has shifted and this might be the underlying issue. After all, middle class educated women in the workplace present competition for desirable jobs, while dealing with burgers and mop buckets would not present a threat to middle class men.

    In my own life when I “transitioned” from RN to MD everybody’s attitude changed. Suddenly I was the wicked witch. Really? We did some of the same things in the same atmosphere and at the same crazy hours while raising children and trying to keep a husband happy. But suddenly I went from hero to villain practically overnight. I am thinking that nobody cares if women work, just so the work they do does not challenge the ideas of the relationship of male to female in our society.

  160. Nancy wrote:

    if they want to build these mega churches and rack in people by the hoards, would they establish criteria for the masses which fewer and fewer people can meet?

    They do this because they are blind to reality, and as long as money is coming in, they really don’t care.

  161. Nancy wrote:

    Off topic followup

    I survived this morning’s encounter with the high church episcopalians. It was awkward but nobody seemed to notice or care, and that was good. We sang songs with lyrics from people with latin names from the sixth century. I did like the Bach prelude though. Seriously, I did. Reminded me of my childhood. I can take a deep breath now and relax.

    Interesting question however. Not only should one baptize infants. Everybody knows the arguments back and forth on that one. But I noticed, well the pastor mentioned, the issue of the quantity of water involved. He had different size sea shells from which he poured water on the heads of the people he was baptizing, little shells for the bitsy babies and larger shells for the older teenagers. No really, he did and he specifically called attention to it. Meanwhile at my church, the pastor has said that methodists can baptize with a medicine dropper–several people without refilling the dropper. Serious. He said that and was not joking, though I never saw it done. Meanwhile the baptists (my former group) seem to think the more water the better and souse them down until they are thoroughly under water. For anybody out there who thinks christians can be really weird –yep, and some of us share that opinion.

    One of my great-grandfathers grew up in a church which baptized by triple immersion (once for each part of the Trinity), and they required that their members be baptized in flowing water–a stream or river. Because they said, Jesus was baptized in the River Jordan….and nothing else was a “real” baptism……Oy!

  162. Nancy wrote:

    I am thinking that nobody cares if women work, just so the work they do does not challenge the ideas of the relationship of male to female in our society.

    I agree, or as Sheryl Sandberg says, women have to be twice as nice as men in the same position otherwise they are seen as heartless.

    I’m high ranking in my industry and it really doesn’t matter to me what men think anymore.

    And my conservative male staff? They just love being on a winning team regardless of the gender of the leader. Market superiority and job security count more than sex.

  163. The chickens come home to roost! Everyone should read a great book by Carl Kell, professor of religion at Western Ky. Univ., called “EXILED: Voices from the Southern Baptist Convention.” I inadvertently found this at the local public library several years ago. Many testimonies about the power play in the late 70′s to mid 90′s by familiar names like Paige Patterson and Al Mohler to literally take over the SBC leadership. Al Mohler, who finally became a seminary president, after firing a few professors allegedly said, “If we say that pickles have souls, that is what they will teach.” The Cooperative Ministry, according to this book, was greatly damaged. Before I read this book I knew very little about the Baptist tradition. I was so impressed at what they were really about. What a sad thing that so many devout people (many women) were forced out.

  164. Joan, I understand what you are getting at and it’s an interesting hypothesis, but I disagree. There is something more going on with transsexuals rather than that they are simply assuming that wanting to do things that are stereotypically associated with the opposite sex must mean that they are trapped in the wrong gendered body.

    There are plenty of good role models to tell them otherwise – from happy gay and lesbian couples to male nurses, female construction workers (just watch HGTV), and stay at home dads. A sensitive man or a take charge kind of woman will find partners. What is it that anyone cannot do as a man or a woman? So I cannot believe that there is anything cultural that is propelling people into wanting to alter their bodies to resemble those of the opposite sex. It us too huge of a step.

  165. There has been preaching against Neo Calvinism from SBC megachurch preachers. You are correct about Free Will Baptists. I am looking at SBC seminaries who haven’t embraced Neo Calvinism. The only two that have embraced Neo Calvinism are Southern and Southeastern Baptist Seminaries. The more Arminian side has more traditional dispensational fundamentalists such as Charles Stanley and jerry Vines. The only belief that divides these pastors from Free Will Baptists is the security of the believer. The Neo Calvinist side is pretty fundamental in their beliefs but are ultimately more radical in some of their ideas. We see some of it in these discussions such as in Al Mohler’s ivory tower ideas. I think these differences could cause a split. Some churches are refusing to call SBS and SEBS graduates because they don’t agree with Neo Calvinism. They don’t want Neo Calvinism forced on their church. Oh well, the Southern Baptist Convention is dying over so many issues, within and without. What a mess it is.

  166. Joan wrote:

    One doesn’t have to be a radical feminist to find it disturbing that these same trans activists tell biological females that we don’t get to define womanhood.

    And then there are the biological females who define their own womanhood as other than heterosexual. And biological females who let male neo-puritan preachers define what womanhood is. And biological females, presumably hetero since they are married (though this is not totally necessary, of course) who want to define womanhood for other people, thinking that there ideas entitle them to define life for other people. So, what exactly is it to be a woman? Are you a woman if you have never been sexually involved with a male, for instance, or is the old “today you are a woman” really true? And what about Angelina with both breasts gone, both ovaries either gone or surgery in the offing and on anti-estrogen meds the rest of her life, is she still a woman? Has the woman who consistently and repeatedly aborts her own fetuses so departed from the natural biological processes that constitute biological womanhood that she is no longer to be considered a woman? And which of these is going to be the chairman of the committee that defines what it is to be a woman?

    The trans-sexuals are a tiny minority of the population. The number of women who have tried to tell me in my life what is alright and what is not have been presumably heterosexual biological females. For me, this is the greater problem, not to minimize the other.

  167. nmgirl wrote:

    And a personal question: Are you mad because your church never found you a husband or that they didn’t give you a trophy for staying celibate? You have been stuck in the same rut for as long as I’ve been reading this blog and at some point I hope you can move on/

    I think it may be helpful if you read, “Quitting Church” by Julia Duin. The author interviews people and discusses their experiences in church. Chapter 5 deals with singles and how they are treated. Daisy’s comments are apropos. Her experiences are not unique. They are similar to those experienced by numerous singles in church and need repeating because the church isn’t getting the message.

  168. Hester wrote:

    I agree, and this was my point when I asked about the ancients being prescientific. They didn’t have things like brain scans, so if this turned out to be true, how would it affect our interpretation of verses like Deuteronomy 22:5? The Bible has some real scientific whoppers in it – here’s my favorite, in which bats are listed as unclean birds – so we do have to take this into account.

    Permit me (what?, Potter?) to play Advocatus Diaboli for the Bible:
    The Bible is not a science text, nor can the Mosaic dietary code(s) just cited be construed as a sort of pre-scientific taxonomy held by the ancients. A careful reading of the text will show that the only reason bats are tacked onto the previous list of bonafide ‘birds’ is because the sole commonality is flight.

  169. In other news, I decided not to dig the foundations for the compost bins as I did enough bending over to drill/screw together the new cold frames. (My lower back is rather vulnerable to that kind of activity and I’d rather quit while it’s not sore.)

    Furthermore, a wee job for tomorrow revolves around the very unusual rattling noise coming from my offside front wheel yesterday. I plan to remove the wheel and see what I can find… never know, it might be the pound coin we lost the other day.

    I hope this is helpful.

  170. @ Joe:
    I agree and think Daisy’s voice is vital and important. The kind of marginalization that goes on in the church should not be happening, and she knows from first hand experience the damage it causes and how the church alienates people, which is not at all Christ-like. A woman or man doesn’t need to be married to be whole or complete in Christ, and it’s a difficult thing to recover from when you’ve been raised to believe you must get married in order to respected and regarded as though that’s a qualification for full participation.

    I don’t think Daisy is stuck. That’s like saying she somewhere she needs to get out of. I think what we all need is validation. I think that should be the essential component within how we encourage one another in Christ.

    We see people encouraged all the time in things like getting engaged, married, pregnant, having a baby, etc. Certainly for many these are important milestones. But marriage and family life, even if we’re enjoying it, should never become the main source of our identity as believers. Nothing about being married or having a family either adds or takes away from the focus of our union with Christ, and that is His imputed righteousness. That should be what we gather for, to experience life together as a body in which we all supply, and what should bring us together is the desire to meet with Him and for his life to be expressed in and through each one of us.

    Instead so often church is about children’s ministry and marriage seminars and everything focused on the family as if that’s central to the Christian life when it is not.

    Face it. The church is often organized around the family instead of God. And people join in order to enhance their family life. Family, family, family. And the single people are just the odd ones out.

  171. Val wrote:

    Therefore, gun toting jihadist mothers in the middle east are as feminine as geisha’s in Japan. They are just fitting into their own societies in expected ways.

    Val, I respect you very much as a commentator so let me just gently note: gun-toting jihadis of either gender are NOT normative, and are culturally not expected excepting in the violent extremist circles in which they exist.

    Thanks in advance for bearing with the correction.

  172. I can’t identify by experience with most of the comments on here.

    I grew up in a mainline liberal church. Sort of heard something like the Gospel, but not really.

    I joined an SBC at age 16. I am in an SBC church now, but have been a member at non-SBC churches, too over the years.

    I guess a lot depends on local context. The churches that I have been in have been faithful to the Gospel and healthy places.

    I am sure that there are bad churches. And I am equally sure that religious denominations of all stripes do and say silly things.

    I was very supportive of the Conservative Resurgence and see great benefits from it all of the time. The SBC seminaries are faithful to the Gospel as presented in the Scriptures and doctrines espoused as far back as the ancient Christian creeds.

    I don’t like everything about all of the seminaries. Each has strenghts and each has weaknesses.

    The SBC is far from perfect and I am working to make it better until I move to some other church or denomination.

    All denominations face decline today. But in my city more new, strong conservative churches, including SBC churches, have been established in the last 10 years that churches from groups that do not believe the Gospel. The young pastors at these churches are really a sharp group of people.

    The SBC has a big challenge with regard to rural America. More and more people are moving from rural areas to urban areas. The SBC is really a rural denomination in many ways, so this will have a big impact over the years. There is nothing the SBC can do about the decline of rural America. But that, more than anything, will affect the SBC’s future.

    I am concerned about the continued rejection of Christian truth in the West and in the U.S. I am not as concerned about the decline of the SBC. Different movements come and go. The SBC and its churches should be concerned about faithfulness and managing their resources well. If numbers go up, fine. If they go down, then the SBC should plug on with its task whatever the scope.

    I realize that lots of people on this blog have had negative church experiences, some in the SBC. I am sorry for that, and hope that everyone will find their own place with they can grow.

    If I see Amy Smith at the Convention, I will try to meet her.

  173. I wanted to elaborate a bit more on what I mean by validation and Christian encouragement.

    We know the Bible says that God is the God of all encouragement, and that as Christians we are to encourage one another daily. This doesn’t mean we don’t love other people and work to alleviate the suffering other people experience due to sin. But we are directed to specifically be encouraging toward one another with the body of Christ. And there’s a difference here I think, just as we make a distinction between godly sorrow and worldly sorrow. There’s godly encouragement and worldly encouragement.

    Godly encouragement, on my view, should always stem from the basis of our being new creations in Christ. Old things have passed away, all things have become new. We are being transformed and renewed day by day. We overcome the world by faith. And it’s important that our minds become renewed so that we can appropriate the truth, enter into His Joy, and encourage and support one another as we go through various trials and tribulations. We’re peculiar people too, right? We rejoice in all things.

    But it takes encouragement to stand on faith and believe, right? It does! Doubt, fear, unbelief, independence etc are all manifestations of the carnal nature, which is contrary to the Spirit that God wishes for us to walk in, by faith.

    But this is the special territory belonging to believers. All are invited to join in, but it remains the exclusive right of the Christian and of those who enjoy fellowship together in Him because we don’t live under the power and the dominion of sin, right? There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. We have been specially declared not guilty, and freely justified and forgive of our sins, no longer separated from God but united with him. We have this treasure in earthen vessels which cannot be taken away from us. His blessing has made us rich and he’s adding no sorrow whatsoever to the richness of His grace that he has lavished upon us. We will never be forsaken.

    People apart from God see no value in this kind of encouragement. It’s foolishness to them. Non-believers don’t focus on Christ’s work and how that is the only way we achieve right standing with God – not through our own efforts, but through faith in what he accomplished. Or unbelievers will focus on things they believe give them worth and value based on what the world defines as worth and value. Or they focus on all their problems and issues as though those define and shape their identity.

    That’s pretty much all I had to say about that.

  174. @ Hester:

    I certainly am not an advocate for the CBMW’s quasi-Mormon beliefs about one’s gender affecting one’s eternal destiny. There is no male or female in Christ Jesus, Gal. 3:28, and we shall be like the angels in Heaven, Matt. 22 :30.

    As far as women wearing armor, I don’t see any Biblical issue with it. Personally, I have other concerns about women in combat roles.

    The Biblical admonition for headcoverings is pretty much ignored in every church I’ve ever attended. Also, I had a juicy pink hamburger for lunch (so much for Acts 15:20). So maybe in practice we do treat some of these verses as culturally-based.

    I don’t want to come across as a stickler for obscure rules. My tendency is always to err on the side of more liberty (which I believe was also the attitude of Jesus, in His teachings on the Sabbath, for example).

    And yet …

    To the extent that God has addressed these issues, it is always good to diligently inquire what Scripture says, which may not always agree with what society or our own feelings tell us.

  175. @ Anonymous:
    That’s good you’re having a healthy experience that has not been marred by authoritarianism or dysfunction that you’re aware of.

    I used to be in SGM. There was a big emphasis on “the local church” as though you absolutely had to be part of a church or else. Being part of a church is what you need in order to be “under authority” and submitted to ordained leadership like it’s a requirement if you’re a real Christian.

    Not sure, but I’m guessing there’s a similar emphasis in the SBC.

  176. Re Head Covering:

    This issue came to Paul in a communication to him about issues in that particular church. I contrast the issue of head covering with the statement that in Christ there is neither Jew nor Gentile, etc., and with Paul making circumcision of no regard. Several theologians who have studied Paul in depth have suggested that Paul is writing about head covering in a jesting manner, sarcastically poking at the congregation for making a big deal out of the idea. If circumcision, mandated by the OT law, is of no value, why would the Apostle make a big deal about a scarf???? We need to have some practicality about our understanding.

    BTW, the prostitutes of the day in much of the Roman world had shaved heads or very short hair cuts. Perhaps he was talking about being distinct from the hair styles of the members of the oldest profession.

  177. Paula wrote:

    @ Anonymous:
    That’s good you’re having a healthy experience that has not been marred by authoritarianism or dysfunction that you’re aware of.

    I used to be in SGM. There was a big emphasis on “the local church” as though you absolutely had to be part of a church or else. Being part of a church is what you need in order to be “under authority” and submitted to ordained leadership like it’s a requirement if you’re a real Christian.

    Not sure, but I’m guessing there’s a similar emphasis in the SBC.

    Paula,

    Ask SBC Anonymous if s/he is male. If yes, then ask if he is an elder or pastor. Position has a lot to do with perception.

    Also, thanks to you and Joe for defending Daisy.

  178. @ Joan:
    The point of this post was not to “defend” transgenderism but to point out that the SBC is far more interested in dealing with sins that they consider “out there” so they do not have to deal with sins that are “in there.”

    I am a retired nurse. I know of children who are born with dual sex organs and the difficulties families go through trying to assign a sex. i know of one family who had a terrible time choosing, chose, and years later found that the child did not identify with the chosen sex and there were good medical reasons for the child not feeling that way.

    I deeply feel for those who struggle with their identity. I also understand the concerns that many have for people who put forth reasons that do not square well with certain Biblical interpretations.

    However, my post was not meant to flesh out this problems or I would have written far more extensively on the biological issues involved.

  179. nmgirl wrote:

    You have been stuck in the same rut for as long as I’ve been reading this blog and at some point I hope you can move on/

    People heal at different rates. I am impressed at the number of people out there who will decide when is the “proper”time to be done with healing. We are all individuals and feel things in different ways. There are those who have been robbed in their house at night who experience PTSD years later. Sometimes it pops up from nowhere.

    On this blog, we give people the space they need to heal and or express the pain that they have experienced in their churches.

    Just so you know, it is 20+years since my daughter was diagnosed at the age of 3 with a malignant brain tumor. To this day, i still have moments when I experience the fear all over again. Also, I have some physical symptoms from the stress of those days which will probably be with me until the day that i die.

    For Daisy, her pain is the way she has been treated as a single in the church. We need to hear her. In fact, it is because of her that I reach out to singles that I see around the church more intentionally. In some ways, Daisy is a prophetic voice to me, reminding me of those issues.

  180. Anonymous wrote:

    But in my city more new, strong conservative churches, including SBC churches, have been established in the last 10 years that churches from groups that do not believe the Gospel. The young pastors at these churches are really a sharp group of people.

    The question is this: is the Conservative Resurgence a resurgence of the Gospel or the redefinition of the Gospel to include secondary issues? I once believe that the CR was just getting rid of all those icky liberals and getting back to basics. What I have a learned has startled me. Yes, there was some rejection by some of the primary beliefs and those folks needed to go but that was not the half of it.

    There were decent people who loved the Gospel but viewed certain issues as secondary: gender, creationism, charismatic gifts, etc who also got thrown out.

    We have been predicting, for the last 5 years, that the SBC is effectively throwing out committed Christians and we continue to believe that is true. Your sharp, young pastors have been around in the last 10 years and the numbers continue to decline. There are a few people here on this blog who have been on the receiving end of a few of these sharp pastors.

    Do not mistake the declining numbers in the SBC as the winnowing out of the unfaithful, leaving the stalwart behind. That would be a serious mistake.

  181. Cayuga wrote:

    To the extent that God has addressed these issues, it is always good to diligently inquire what Scripture says, which may not always agree with what society or our own feelings tell us.

    Here is the problem. What happens when one diligently studies what Scripture has to say and disagrees with how things have been interpreted? Why do you necessarily assume that it is society dictating those changes in theological views.

    Also, why can’t society spur a reexamination of Scripture. As you know, the SBC had its heyday by restricting integration of churches. Racism was rampant, buoyed with Scriptural “proof texts ” such as the “curse of Ham”, etc. The same goes for the abolishment of slavery.

    Also, societal discoveries, such as the earth revolving around the sun and the Earth being discovered to be round, prompted a reexamination of the the interpretation of certain Scripture verses.

  182. Nancy wrote:

    Meanwhile at my church, the pastor has said that methodists can baptize with a medicine dropper–several people without refilling the dropper. Serious. He said that and was not joking, though I never saw it done

    My. He’s so……funny? For those who aren’t familiar with how Methodists do things, we can baptize in whatever way the person (or infant/child’s family) prefers. I haver assisted in an immersion baptism in Jordan Lake, and will be doing my first baptism by pouring this month. And yes, we baptize babies. If you want to know why, I’ll be glad to explain, but I don’t want to hijack the thread. :)

  183. Anonymous wrote:

    Ask SBC Anonymous if s/he is male. If yes, then ask if he is an elder or pastor. Position has a lot to do with perception.

    Also, thanks to you and Joe for defending Daisy.

    That’s interesting. I agree. I read SBC Anonymous as a male, and I reasoned it had a lot to do with his (assuming they are male) comfort level. I didn’t think to ask. Good suggestions!

  184. Cayuga wrote:

    To the extent that God has addressed these issues, it is always good to diligently inquire what Scripture says, which may not always agree with what society or our own feelings tell us.

    It is also good to remember that the words of the apostles in the epistles were written to specific churches, in a specific culture, during a specific time period. They contained some instruction meant only for that church. Though we can glean a lot from the epistles to the churches back in the day. We must be careful about calling everything they wrote as God addressing gender issues for all people for all times. God and Jesus were actually far less concerned with all the ‘gender’ issues than what people think.

  185. @ (SBC) Anonymous:

    Hi (SBC) Anonymous – I added the “SBC” to distinguish you.

    Out of curiosity are you female? Also, have you ever been involved in church leadership in any capacity?

  186. (off topic)

    I posted about this organization before. There are “survivor” sites by former members who claim abuse and so on.

    Ron Luce, World Magazine Debate Why Teen Mania [and ATF, Acquire the Fire] Is One of America’s Most Insolvent Charities

    Ron Luce disputed some of the reporting which includes:

    … Luce said World’s article—which detailed expenses such as $100,000 for T.D. Jakes to speak at a 2008 New York City event, $21,000 for his private jet, and $10,000 for gifts for Jakes’s family—”included false statements, errors and misperceptions regarding the current state of our ministry.”

    … He also responded to a charge from a former Teen Mania development director, who said Luce raised $250,000 to “raise awareness and support for reaching America’s 26 million teens with the gospel of Christ” but spent it instead on campus carpeting, a coffee shop, and a new conference room.

  187. Paula:

    Neither I nor our church are fans of SGM or any type of “authority” argument for why people should be in church.

    People should be in church for encouragement, fellowship, learning and encouraging others. The writer of Hebrews says to the readers not to forsake the gathering of yourselves together.

    But I don’t find anything in the NT that says people should be in church so that they can be “under authority.”

    I am male. For the first half of my Christian experience, I was not a deacon, elder or whatever. I have been for the second half.

    My experiences in SBC churches during that time have been good.

    I have never exercised “authority” over anyone and really would not know what that means. I have tried to live out the NT description of pastor, bishop, elder (all the same word), not some sort of distortion of that.

    I would hope that you would be able to grasp what I am saying and accord to me some good will on this point, and not simply discount my opinion because of my gender or because my church made me a deacon or elder. I think it is best when we take people on their own terms. I no more care for throwing out all opinions from males (unless they are the “correct” opinion) any more than I do throwing out the opinions of females.

    Again, I agree that there are many bad churches out there in all denominations and that people have had bad experiences. Mine, fortunately, have been good.

    As an aside, the man who was my pastor from age 16 to about 30 (with gaps for school etc.) passed away last December at age 87. He was a sweet, kind and generous man. He was a great model. He was faithful doctrinally to the faith, but was a beloved man and a true servant. I imagine that the NT apostles were like this. From their writings, Paul and Peter, for example, hold no quarter on faithfulness, but they were loving examples.

    Thanks.

  188. Dee:

    I agree with what Judge Pressler said in his book about A Hill on Which to Die.

    The only “Hill” for me was doctrinal faithfulness.

    I know that there are those who have and want to exclude based on other things. I could be excluded because of my position and my church’s position on alcohol, open communion, etc.

    But all that would mean is that I could not be an employee or a trustee. And that would be sad if people wanted to do that.

    My franchise, however, would not be removed. I would still be able to speak, attend the annual meeting, and vote, and express my feelings. No one has been prevented from doing that.

  189. @ Anonymous:
    I prefer to make friends Anonymous whenever I can, and I appreciate your kind reply. Just so you know, I didn’t predispose myself one way or another toward you, but it can make a difference depending on one’s level (no pun intended) of involvement.

    And dude, I’m so glad to hear your no fan of SGM. High fives x 1000.

    And of course you must be married, I would assume lol. I only ask because of how often 1 Tim 3 is applied literally, know what I’m saying?

    I’m with you on not being authoritarian or relating to others within the church in an over/under authority kind of way.

    Earlier I addressed a post to nmgirl who responded to another commenter Daisy that you may have noticed.

    Daisy is single never married, and has been marginalized. She relates how her status as a single person has made her feel shut out in many areas of church life. You seem like the kind of guy who would sympathize with that, and disagree with her having been marginalized.

    I’ll await your response of course, and don’t think me presumptuous here, or judgmental. But again, assuming you are married and that your church(s) have asked you to serve in as elder, deacon, I’m guessing your church(s) use 1 Tim 3 as one of its main guidelines and used as a source for qualification/disqualification. I could be wrong, but I think many SBC churches do?

    The requirement as outlined in 1 Tim 3, however, is very exclusive. Applied literally, as though it’s meant for every church, in every age, it excludes women completely. Also, single men are out. Also men with wayward children, or even a married man with no children or just one child.

    So, I’m guessing you fit comfortably into the married man with children category, too?

    No hate! Just asking. And you may see where I’m going with this.

  190. Anonymous wrote:

    I agree with what Judge Pressler said in his book about A Hill on Which to Die.

    Ugh. Judge Pressler. I can’t give details because people would figure it out, but when a friend of mine died, we could not mention that he died of AIDS because…Judge Pressler might have used him as an object lesson. So this guy leaves a REALLY BAD taste in my mouth. And decades later, the SBC still has a problem with gay people.

  191. An Attorney wrote:

    If circumcision, mandated by the OT law, is of no value, why would the Apostle make a big deal about a scarf???? We need to have some practicality about our understanding.

    Exactly. In another vein too, I think it’s important to remember that in reading Paul we are reading somebody else’s mail so to speak, and that it may or may not have application for the here and now. The trend and mindset that makes Paul’s writings jot-and-tittle binding much in the same sort of way as the old Torah was to observant Jews, is not much more than 40-45 years old and almost exclusively American in origin.

  192. @ Muff Potter:

    “The trend and mindset that makes Paul’s writings jot-and-tittle binding much in the same sort of way as the old Torah was to observant Jews, is not much more than 40-45 years old and almost exclusively American in origin.”
    ++++++++++++++++

    are you referring to The Chicago Statement? what other factors?

  193. elastigirl wrote:

    are you referring to The Chicago Statement? what other factors?

    I don’t think this is the result of the CSI; I think it is the other way around. There have been multiple books, doctoral dissertations, etc. written about the theological history in America, but the roots actually go back to the Puritans, who had some really, rely horrendous theology surrounding works. But the bottom line is that at some point during the coalescing of evangelicalism, Paul’s writings came to be understood as law, where they had previously been understood primarily as something more like wisdom. Gosh, I could write a whole blog on this topic. I better stop.

  194. Muff Potter wrote:

    A careful reading of the text will show that the only reason bats are tacked onto the previous list of bonafide ‘birds’ is because the sole commonality is flight.

    This is correct. And rabbits are listed as clean animals because they “chew the cud”, despite the fact that conies are not ruminants. Of course, most translators just sort of shrug and say duh, they had no concept of conie or avian as a clad. But the point is that this appeal to cultural contextually gets chucked out the window when we talk about other things (like sexuality, or the creation narrative, etc.); all of the sudden, the literal absolute words of the text are binding like duct tape on super glue. I think that is Muff’s point.

  195. Dee wrote:

    “Also, societal discoveries, such as the earth revolving around the sun and the Earth being discovered to be round, prompted a reexamination of the the interpretation of certain Scripture verses.”

    Funny thing is that Scripture actually recognizes that the world is round:

    “It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in” Isaiah 40:22

    I certainly agree with you about the disingenuous way in which Southern Baptists like Jerry Falwell in his pre-Moral Majority days used to try to justify segregation (and, in earlier days, slavery) with proof texts. That is NOT loving your neighbor as yourself.

    I suppose life is too complicated to fit neatly into a Jack Chick kind of simplistic, fundamentalist worldview. I would like to think that Scripture is big enough to embrace and encompass any and all aspects of the fantastic world God has created, with all its contradictions and complexities — as long as we are careful not to condone what God actually considers sinful.

  196. Cayuga

    We could have some fun with this one. The Bible says the earth has 4 corners in Rev.7:1 Of course, then there is the debate that corners is an inaccurate translation. However, I am not a strict literalist and do believe in literary devices. My point being is that we have used the Bible to justify all sorts of things and then we question it when we discover things like the earth revolving around the sun or we begin to question institutions like slavery. 

    But, even some things that might have been considered sinful at one time, we now ignore. Wome dressing like men…now what does that mean? I wear jeans, pants, etc. Some have used the Bible to jutsify condemning interracial marriages. Proper gender roles is another one. Some have used Scripture to deny women the vote or to keep women from serving in the military, etc.

    Sometimes, the Bible is silent. How do you deal with a child born with male/femal organs? Talk about the needing the wisdom of Solomon. 

    And then, there is the lovely fight between the pedobaptists (Ligon Duncan) and the believer’s baptism (Mark Dever). Dever said he wouldn’t allow his friend Duncan to take communuion at his church because Dever believes that pedobaptism is a sin. Some things are not as cut and dry as they seem. 

  197. If Dever believes that paedobaptism is a sin he should not associate with the Ligon Duncans of the world.

    Of course, he has no problem associating with C.J. Mahaney.

  198. @ An Attorney:
    That was the consensus among my Classics professors at university – that the headcoverings “rule” was to distinguish from the prostitutes.

  199. @ Cayuga: oh good night!

    Btw, I think “circle of the earth” likely echoes the idea of the “dome of the sky,” which is exactly how these things appear to the eye alone (w/no scientific knowledge to state otherwise). As such, it is a valid observation, but definitely literary. I sure wouldn’t want to make it an article of faith, any more that I would want to make the “treasuries of hail” (in Job) or other poetic figures of speech into doctrine.

  200. @ Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist:

    “Gosh, I could write a whole blog on this topic.”
    ++++++++++++++

    please do! do you have a blog of your own? I very much want to understand this better. (i’m obviously looking for the shortest distance between 2 points here)

  201. @ Cayuga:

    “I would like to think that Scripture is big enough to embrace and encompass any and all aspects of the fantastic world God has created, with all its contradictions and complexities”
    ++++++++++++++

    do you think it is?

    if one should come to a conclusion otherwise, how should one go about living their life with God?

    honest questions (that would be interesting to dialogue on — at least to me)

  202. @ elastigirl:

    I can only refer to and respond to what’s written by other commenters here at TWW, namely the usual points involving the whole panoply of ‘gender issues’ which some (CBMW et al.)have determined are inviolate structures issued by Paul for all time and for all spaces. Hence the allusion to Torah and observant Jews. So far as the Chicago Statement is concerned, I gave up long ago trying to decipher its subtleties. One of our legally trained folks here at TWW would probably have far better luck than I.

  203. @ elastigirl: I don’t know that it is; there’s no way any one book (or, in this case, collection of books) could possibly contain deep, nuanced exploration of/revelation about the hardest question and experiences in life.

    There isnt anything that directly addresses the suffering caused by genocide or slavery; theres nothing at all about grieving the death of a spouse (except tangentially, in Ezekiel)… I could go on.

    I like what you said earlier, about the Bible not being an “answer book.” In many ways, I think it’s a “question book”; one that raises more question than it answers. But I don’t think it is – or ever was – intended to be a Complete Instruction Manual for Life on Earth.

  204. numo wrote:

    @ Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist:
    Confession time: I’m a house rabbit person, in case you hadn’t already guessed.

    Hey Numes…how do we know you’re not actually a rabbit? I’ve had my suspicions for a while ;)

  205. numo wrote:

    I like what you said earlier, about the Bible not being an “answer book.” In many ways, I think it’s a “question book”; one that raises more question than it answers.

    This is a really important observation, that deserves to be trumpeted very loudly from a very large number of very well-sited rooftops.

    Jesus observed to his critics: If you believed Moses you would believe me, because he wrote about me. The point of believing in his resurrection is that it means he is alive and accessible today, 9th June 2014. If that is true, it changes everything. Including the primacy of scripture: even it must bow and give way to its Author.

    I understand the desire of (to borrow an easily-misunderstood term) conservatives to push back against liberals (another easily-misunderstood term) by elevating the Bible. But Jesus did not come to write about Moses. If you’re going to push back against something, the greatest challenge is to know how far back to push.

  206. @ Muff Potter:

    The essence of the Chicago statement is that the Bible, in the original “autographs” was and is “inerrant” (without error). However, as we do not have the “original autographs” of any of the OT or NT, but especially the OT, we have to rely on copies of copies of copies . . .. One example of the issue is that many students of Paul’s writings believe that the letters to the church in Corinth which are in two current documents, may have been put together from parts of four letters or fragments of letters.

    It is especially clear that the OT writings, many of which appear to have been created or recreated during the Babylonian exile, are the farthest from being “original autographs” if one presumes that Moses or someone else contemporaneous put Genesis, etc., into writing.

  207. My, my what a wonderful world we have developed in to. GD has given us the solution to all the ills we have created and that is REPENTANCE!!! Repent from what you ask, how about SIN. Oh, I’m sorry if that offends anyone , but that is what GD’s word tells us. Are natural tendencies are to disobey GD so what better way than in sexual identity. This may sound to simple but how about telling people they are SINNERS with a very gloomy future if they don’t confess the REAL JESUS and allow HIM to clarify their gender.Don’t be afraid he is loving and willing and waiting for you to own up to your sinful nature and give you the strength and love and courage you need to follow and please him. Remember the Holy Spirit will come and live in you and cleanse your soul which will allow you to know who you are. GD wants to love you, but He can’t if you are at war with Him.

  208. Mandy wrote:

    @ An Attorney:
    That was the consensus among my Classics professors at university – that the headcoverings “rule” was to distinguish from the prostitutes.

    This kind of thing was one of those aha-moments for Lesley, years ago before we met. More specifically, Paul’s question in 1 Cor 11 -

    does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him…

    Er – nope. Apart from Roberto Baggio of Italy in the 1994 Fitba’ World Cup – the exception that proves the rule – long hair can often suit a man, and “disgrace” is invariably cultural, rarely a law of nature. For Lesley, knowing as she does that God is not (contrary to popular opinion) stupid, this was the hard evidence that God did not give us the Bible because he thought we were short of byelaws!

  209. @ Nick Bulbeck:

    “The point of believing in his resurrection is that it means he is alive and accessible today, 9th June 2014. If that is true, it changes everything. Including the primacy of scripture: even it must bow and give way to its Author.”
    +++++++++++++++++++

    very awesome point, clink cubkeb.

  210. @ Anonymous: a greeting and handshake in a parking lot is a nice gesture. if T-shirts were made with wording like "I stand in support of the many wounded by sexual abuse in church", would you wear one into the building?

  211. Anonymous wrote:

    I have tried to live out the NT description of pastor, bishop, elder (all the same word), not some sort of distortion of that.

    Sorry I overlooked this part in your comment. I’m going to assume when you say, “NT description…” you are including 1 Tim 3 in that.

    I have no beef whatsoever with the 1 Tim 3. In no way do I dismiss Paul’s instructions to Timothy. However, I do think the instructions we read in 1 Tim 3 are contained in a letter, and it needs to be read in context of the situation Timothy was dealing with at the time, and which Paul was addressing in his personal letter to Timothy. We know now the church in Ephesis was in serious danger at the time, and that Paul’s instructions to Timothy were intended to be applied to help resolve the problem the church was faced with, which included removing and replacing existing leadership. The instructions were remedial, for that particular church.

    When you say “you try and live out the NT description…” of the position you occupy within the church of elder or deacon or whatever you are, I am assuming then that that includes being married to one wife and that all your children are properly submitted to your authority as a parent, known for their good behavior.

    What I’m pointing out is that 1 Tim 3, applied to the letter and taken to mean “the NT description” of what qualifies a person for a position of deacon or elder means that unmarried men are shut out. It also means women are shut out. It also means married men without children or married men with only one child, or a married man with children who are not known for their good behavior are also shut out.

    If you are a man committed to the bible and wanting to live according to the “NT descriptions” then I would assume if you agree that 1 Tim 3 was written by Paul with the intention of it being applied to the letter to every single church, for all times, down through the ages, then you would agree only married men should serve as elders and deacons.

    Assuming you are rather intelligent and knowledgeable of scripture, I would have to suppose you are aware that this position doesn’t square with the other things Paul taught, as well as with other NT verses which obviously teach that singleness for both men and women is the preferred status to do ministry. And because you like to be logical, you should be able to logically understand that the underlying principle we can take away from Paul’s letter to Timothy in which he instructed him to restict leaders to a few with proven managerial competency was because the church was sick and the situation was extreme.

    But I’m guessing you don’t want to get into a discussion with me along those lines, and franky nor do I. Because what troubles me more than the fact your gender and your position in the church contribute to your comfort and contentment, it also seems to me to contribute to your coming here with a hidden agenda.

    You’ve targeted Amy Smith for “the worse kind of character assassination” and despite your friendly overtones of wishing to meet her at the convention, you seem to be one of her detractors.

    Moreover, Paul Pressler holds the dubious honor of having been one of the original leaders of the Fundamentalist Takeover of the SBC along with Paige Patterson.

    As you may or may not know, Paige Patterson has said:

    “I’m not going to talk to the press about things that are matters internal to the church of the Living God, it is none of their business. And they can’t possibly get it right, and they don’t get it right, so why do you take it to the world of unbelief?There’s just no other way to handle it.’ Yes there is. Commit it to the Lord God Almighty.”

    “If I appeal to the church elders, if I appeal to the church congregation as a whole in the matter where I have been offended, where I’ve been misused and abused and misrepresented, if I appeal to them they may not get it right. What do I do if the church makes a mistake? The church of the Living God may very well make a mistake, and Paul anticipates it and says: ‘You don’t understand. You still don’t go to the court. Why don’t you learn to just accept wrong, just to accept injustice?’”

    Why does Judge Pressler maintain such a close association with Paige Patterson? It doesn’t seem to me the Judge you’ve come here to defend hasn’t had much influence on his close friend and his views on crime, civil authorities, the law and the courts. Don’t you find that strange?

    Regarding Amy Smith’s comments you said, “If you think about it for just a moment, such a charge is not logical.” Yet, what is logical about a Judge like Pressler maintaining close company with a man who discourages Christians from reporting crimes such as the sexual abuse of children to the police, but instead preaches against Christians going to the ‘world of unbelief’?

    Here is Paul Pressler together together with Paige Patterson two months ago. It would seem these two men have been thick as theives over the years and remain very tight: http://jasonkallen.com/2014/04/pressler-patterson-panel-discussion/

    You also say you are against SGM’s style of authoritarian leadership, yet the very thing Paige Patterson has taught was put into practice in SGM. Right now, as I write this, the case against CJ Mahaney et al is being heard in the Court of Appeals. So, logical you say? I see plenty of logic behind why someone would question Paul Pressler’s judgment, which would of course play into this counsel and decisions regarding issues of criminality that have occurred within the church.

    You seem to give lip service to the problems of abuse occurring within the church, specifically child sexual abuse and cover-ups. You know what Amy Smith stands for. Your desire to meet her at the convention comes across more like a veiled threat. You know who she is, but you are hiding behind an Anonymous name. She wouldn’t know who you were if you approached her at the conference and frankly, that seems a little creepy to me.

    You seemed like a nice guy at first Anonymous, but it would appear your “kindness”, as I called it, has turned into a focused attack on Amy Smith. I would suggest you turn your energies into supporting people like Amy Smith who are crying out and pointing out all the piles of filth present in the house, rather than sitting there comfortably in your leather armchair raising objections to those who are willing to fight for what’s right.

  212. @ numo:

    “But I don’t think it is – or ever was – intended to be a Complete Instruction Manual for Life on Earth.”
    ++++++++++++++

    so, where did this idea come from? i’m sure those “pocket promise books” and other collections of verses grouped topically both derive from and contribute to this idea.

    when someone brings up the verse “All Scripture is God-breathed (inspired by God) and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God[a] may be thoroughly equipped for every good work,” the questions that immediately pop up in my mind are,

    -what do God-breathed, inspired by God mean?

    -who had the power to say that “inspired” means inerrant?

    -what is scripture?

    -why do so few people even question these things? at least out of curiosity?

    -because a group of men deems something scripture, does that make it so?

    -just because whoever wrote II Timothy said that, does it make it so?

    -II Timothy was a private letter — whatever the writer considered scripture, he certainly didn’t consider the letter he was scribbling then and there as part of it.

    -what did Paul and his contemporaries consider scripture at the time?

  213. @ An Attorney:

    One does not need the original copies (the autographa) to know what the very first copies said.

    The original readings of the Bible’s autographs can be reconstructed via lower textual criticism.

    There are many hundreds of copies of the New Testament. Some date within a few hundred years, and some papyri fragments within about 90 – 100 or so years (e.g., Papyrus 52) – which is the truth, it is not “dishonest,” as someone here was trying to argue on an older thread.

    The Dead Sea Scrolls contained parts (copies of) of Old Testament books dating a couple of hundred of years before the time of Christ, and showed that the OT in the time of Christ was not changed in content from the copies hundreds of years older.

    The funny thing is, though I am in a wilderness of agnosticism regarding God and Christianity, the one area that annoys me to no end by other folks who want to criticize or attack the faith are those who do it on bogus charges that involve attacking the Bible – its transmission or accuracy, saying the Bible cannot be trusted.

    My view is that if someone wants to be critical of Christianity, please find another ground to attack the faith, the trustworthiness Bible is not a strong area.

    It’s almost always very theologically liberal people, or hostile, militant atheists (who have an ax to grind against the Bible or the Christian faith), who prescribe one test or set of criteria for the Bible and another (usually less rigorous one) for other works of ancient literature.

    Skeptics are often more stringent in regards to mss evidence and so forth with the Bible than they are Homer’s Iliad. You need to treat the Bible as you would any other work, but do skeptics do this? Nope. Skeptics of the Bible are very dishonest regarding the Bible and how they approach it.

  214. But no one says the Iliad is THE BOOK TO LIVE BY!!! And by which people justify prejudice and discrimination and threats against people who wish to treat it a little differently than they do. The question was, what does the Chicago statement on inerrancy say. So I said that, and pointed out that inerrancy as a concept is pretty meaningless since we do not have any of the “original autographs”, and there is also evidence of incompleteness and mixing and other things that point out that our Bible, which may reflect the earliest and best manuscripts, is clearly not identical to the “original autographs”, making it subject to possible concern about how well the proof texts we take from it reflect the “breath of God”, or man’s attempts at instructing us of what they perceive as the will of God.

    That is not to say that the Bible is not, as Paul described, profitable for many purposes, nor that we should not study it intensely. But we must be careful not to over impute to the translated, copied from copies of copies text, that it inerrantly represents what God would have us to read, hear and know. Human instruments are error prone and human hands and minds have made changes in the Bible we now have from what was originally written.

  215. @ elastigirl: OK, let me just say this – I get weary of jokes about rabbits as food. We don’t eat cats or dogs, or joke about doing so to those who count them as family members/friends, right?

    At this point, I feel like the characters in The Last Battle when they find out that the meat they’re eating came from a talking stag.

    Please understand, I’m not trying to go all PC on you, but enough is enough.

  216. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    The point of believing in his resurrection is that it means he is alive and accessible today, 9th June 2014. If that is true, it changes everything. Including the primacy of scripture: even it must bow and give way to its Author.

    (First time commenter, but long-time lurker)

    Yes. I recently ended an heated debate with a neo-Cal friend of mine by saying that I care less about what the Bible says and more about what God did and is doing. It is only one source of wisdom from God. Only one source.

    I’m not gonna say anything about the inerrancy of scripture because that’s a hornet’s nest right there. But I am going to say that you’ve got a book written 2000 years ago and then some, written for every human everywhere and everywhen, inspired by a God who likes to do things the hard way, and we aren’t even sure what it’s supposed to be for (My personal thought: it is God’s autobiography and only relates to how humans are supposed to behave in that humans are God’s creation meant to reflect His glory and so knowing what He finds glorious is a good way to start), you take a book that complicated and you have the audacity to sit there in front of me and tell me that you know its One True Meaning. Ha.

    So yeah, the Bible is part of the picture, but not the Alpha and Omega.

  217. To Our readers:

    We have removed a few comments while we await further information. No one has done anything wrong. We just need to be careful.

  218. Hear hear Dee and Paula.
    I presume that Daisy writes what she does because being treated as lesser somehow because single is a painful thing, and especially so in a church setting. It is the same story in the secular world of course, but worse in church as that is a place where it shouldn’t happen. In practical terms this behaviour is kind of a default because marriage is the social norm – or has been until very recently – and in church maybe this is extra reinforced because Future Members! Tithes! Hasty complementarian proof texting!
    If you are a woman in a very conservative church environment where marriage is heavily fetishized, and you don’t match that criterion, you may attract explicit and implicit criticism, and being the subject of constant criticism is damaging to the strongest soul. Even if you move away from the toxic environment, you might carry that thinking with you for many years. Daisy’s comments on this subject will always be pertinent as long as there are places like the monstrous Mars Hill and these dreadful one horse town mentality SBC churches where women are bullied or shamed if they don’t marry.

  219. Daisy wrote:

    It’s almost always very theologically liberal people, or hostile, militant atheists (who have an ax to grind against the Bible or the Christian faith), who prescribe one test or set of criteria for the Bible and another (usually less rigorous one) for other works of ancient literature.

    An Attorney wrote:

    But no one says the Iliad is THE BOOK TO LIVE BY!!!

    I know what you mean, Daisy, and I agree that there are some very silly excuses for “scholarship” rebutting the Bible from one angle or another. But I’m not theologically liberal nor an atheist (with or without an anti-biblical axe) and An Attorney’s point is an important one. Regardless of how we got the Bible, Christian claims about why we’ve got it mean that the Bible cannot be treated like any other work. I say that precisely because I do believe the Bible is unlike any other work.

    It also means that we who make claims about the Bible’s uniqueness must make them with thoughtful awareness of all the issues raised by them. Let’s accept, for instance, that we do have copies of the original autographs that are accurate to the letter. They are in Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic (that I know of). But most people don’t speak any of those languages, and I doubt whether any of the men responsible for the Chicago Statement used to preach in any of those languages.

    So we study translations of the original autographs, and therein lies a whole nuther can of worms. Both King-James-Only-oids and Jehovah’s Witnesses share the same enormous misconception: that there is one ideal translation from any one language into any other. Everything has to be interpreted, whether we realise we’re doing it or not. As evidence, I cite the disagreements that occur from time to time here on TWW, in a modern language of which most of us are native speakers.

  220. Caitlin wrote:

    Nick Bulbeck wrote:
    The point of believing in his resurrection is that it means he is alive and accessible today, 9th June 2014. If that is true, it changes everything. Including the primacy of scripture: even it must bow and give way to its Author.
    (First time commenter, but long-time lurker)
    Yes. I recently ended an heated debate with a neo-Cal friend of mine by saying that I care less about what the Bible says and more about what God did and is doing. It is only one source of wisdom from God. Only one source.
    I’m not gonna say anything about the inerrancy of scripture because that’s a hornet’s nest right there. But I am going to say that you’ve got a book written 2000 years ago and then some, written for every human everywhere and everywhen, inspired by a God who likes to do things the hard way, and we aren’t even sure what it’s supposed to be for (My personal thought: it is God’s autobiography and only relates to how humans are supposed to behave in that humans are God’s creation meant to reflect His glory and so knowing what He finds glorious is a good way to start), you take a book that complicated and you have the audacity to sit there in front of me and tell me that you know its One True Meaning. Ha.
    So yeah, the Bible is part of the picture, but not the Alpha and Omega.

    Welcome…
    And
    Hear! Hear!

  221. I’ve been chewing on this all weekend, trying to get my mind around all this. I think it comes down to the following. Evangelicalism always needs an enemy. It always needs someone to wage war, attack, demonize, etc… Parts of evangelicalism is profound for its intensity and its hate. And when you back it up with scripture I think I now understand why events like the Crusades occurred.

    But evangelicalism will always need an enemy. In its history which has evolved and changed the following have been an enemy at one point. Some of these are ongoing, by the way. Meaning once marked, always marked.

    1. The Federal Government
    2. Women
    3. Academia
    4. Science & Scientists
    5. The Porn Industry
    6. Planned Parenthood
    7. Gays
    8. Atheists and agnostics
    9. Communists
    10. School Boards and Education System
    11. Moderate Christians
    12. Mainline Protestants
    13. Catholics
    14. Modern Culture
    15. Alcohol
    16. Dancing and Music
    17. Theater

    The 18th point now appears to be transgenderism.

  222. I too like and appreciaet Brcue’s contributions to this blog. He says things Christians need to hear. Deebs….I need you to delete the final two posts in Wade’s article. I had a brain fart and put them in the wrong thread!!!

  223. To Nick Bulbeck and KD,

    Thanks for the welcome! I am sad that lurking is so necessary before I can feel comfortable joining an online community, but such is the world.

  224. numo wrote:

    I get weary of jokes about rabbits as food. We don’t eat cats or dogs

    Fwiw, I have eaten dog. It was in Peru, and it was what was served, so…
    But no offense intended. In my neck of the woods, though, rabbits are raised for food.

  225. For all the rabbit enthusiasts out there, you would be happy to know that our first pet rabbit, a black mini-rex was named after a family vote and the girls won.

    The girls wanted him to be named Ebony, because he was black and “Ebony” sounds like “A bunny”.

    The boys, however, wanted the rabbit to be named “Stu”. The girls were disgusted and voted it down 4 – 3.

  226. Amarantine wrote:

    Hear hear Dee and Paula.
    I presume that Daisy writes what she does because being treated as lesser somehow because single is a painful thing, and especially so in a church setting. It is the same story in the secular world of course, but worse in church as that is a place where it shouldn’t happen. In practical terms this behaviour is kind of a default because marriage is the social norm – or has been until very recently – and in church maybe this is extra reinforced because Future Members! Tithes! Hasty complementarian proof texting!
    If you are a woman in a very conservative church environment where marriage is heavily fetishized, and you don’t match that criterion, you may attract explicit and implicit criticism, and being the subject of constant criticism is damaging to the strongest soul. Even if you move away from the toxic environment, you might carry that thinking with you for many years. Daisy’s comments on this subject will always be pertinent as long as there are places like the monstrous Mars Hill and these dreadful one horse town mentality SBC churches where women are bullied or shamed if they don’t marry.

    Hey girl!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nEjLFpU2pJ4

  227. @ Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist: I live in an agricultural area, too – mostly dairy farming. But you won’t catch me going to mlocal agricultural fairs anymore.

    I have nothing against farmers, but the fact that the FDA classes rabbits as poultry (not an urban legend) means that they don’t come under the provisions of the humane slaughter laws that protect other mammals. That in itself is a *huge* problem.

    Fwiw, my state is notorious for its inhumane puppy mills, which are largely run by Amish people. I kind of hate to say it, but they have a very utilitarian view of animals (there are some exceptions) and I’ve seen more than a few broken-down horses between the shafts of a buggy. One looked so malnourished that I wouldn’t have been surprised if it had ultimately collapsed and died in harness.

    I am of two minds here, as I think there are good ways to treat farm animals and beds, as well as varying degrees of bad/awful/horrendous/the npeople should be jailed for animal cruelty. And yet, I still eat meat, albeit much less often than I used to.

  228. @ Eagle:
    I wonder if the reason the SBC targeted Transsexuals as THE BIG THREAT TO CHRISIANITY is because in their minds Transsexuals are associated with HOMOSEXUALITY HOMOSEXUALITY HOMOSEXUALITY(TM).

    Seems logical that someone whose entire Faith and Righteousness is built on distinct gender roles and identities would get all bent out of shape when encountering someone or something that blurred those clean separate gender identities.

  229. Pingback: Smackdown on the Southern Baptist Convention | 1st Feline Battalion

  230. Eagle wrote:

    I’ve been chewing on this all weekend, trying to get my mind around all this. I think it comes down to the following. Evangelicalism always needs an enemy. It always needs someone to wage war, attack, demonize, etc… Parts of evangelicalism is profound for its intensity and its hate. And when you back it up with scripture I think I now understand why events like the Crusades occurred.
    But evangelicalism will always need an enemy. In its history which has evolved and changed the following have been an enemy at one point. Some of these are ongoing, by the way. Meaning once marked, always marked.
    1. The Federal Government
    2. Women
    3. Academia
    4. Science & Scientists
    5. The Porn Industry
    6. Planned Parenthood
    7. Gays
    8. Atheists and agnostics
    9. Communists
    10. School Boards and Education System
    11. Moderate Christians
    12. Mainline Protestants
    13. Catholics
    14. Modern Culture
    15. Alcohol
    16. Dancing and Music
    17. Theater
    The 18th point now appears to be transgenderism.

    *Crickets* on child sex abuse within…by their own… covered up and enabled by their own.

  231. numo wrote:

    Fwiw, my state is notorious for its inhumane puppy mills, which are largely run by Amish people. I kind of hate to say it, but they have a very utilitarian view of animals (there are some exceptions) and I’ve seen more than a few broken-down horses between the shafts of a buggy. One looked so malnourished that I wouldn’t have been surprised if it had ultimately collapsed and died in harness.

    “A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.”
    Proverbs 12:10

    I think this whole ‘sin’ thing needs to be re-thought in terms of real-time and real-life suffering brought about by actual actions, rather than a mystical quantity inherited from Adam.

  232. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    @ An Attorney:
    Whereas Emanuel Ax, the Ukrainian-born pianist (now an American citizen, I think), hasn’t – it is, as I say, all good clean fun!

    Thread drift alert: your comment sent me on an unforeseen errand to Youtube, and this is what I turned up… I’d heard the Brahms 1st piano concerto before, but not with Emanuel Ax on the piano. It’s good stuff!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WxH50l50dvs

  233. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    @ Eagle:
    I wonder if the reason the SBC targeted Transsexuals as THE BIG THREAT TO CHRISIANITY is because in their minds Transsexuals are associated with HOMOSEXUALITY HOMOSEXUALITY HOMOSEXUALITY(TM).
    Seems logical that someone whose entire Faith and Righteousness is built on distinct gender roles and identities would get all bent out of shape when encountering someone or something that blurred those clean separate gender identities.

    I think we may have touched on it earlier, but it bears repeating that these folks really don’t understand the difference between orientation and gender identity and gender expression. That’d be fine if they didn’t insist on censuring people and telling the rest of us that we’re heretics when we don’t agree with them.

    But yes, as you’ve said, LGB or T, it’s all about [the fear of] “teh ghey.”

  234. I have separated myself from the SBC and any other mainline evangelical church and it has to do with non essentials becoming essentials and hearing too much what people are against versus what they are for. Individually and independently there are some great SBC churches if I divorce the larger ecclesiastical structure from the autonomous church. But oftentimes you can’t support a local congregation without supporting the denomination. I feel great caution in supporting the SBC or any other evangelical church right now. So now I will settle for reading my Bible and listening to the Wartburg Watch e church. The great commission isn’t being carried out if the message is hate rather than love. You don’t have to agree with people’s lifestyle choices. Just don’t treat them like lepers and do try to walk in their shoes before being too judgmental and please realize as you condemn others so will you also be judged, and get that pole out of your eye. Hypocrisy never has been a selling point, and sadly this is how Evangelicals are viewed.

  235. @ Muff Potter:

    In my locale, cruelty of any type to animals is vigorously prosecuted by the authorities. There was a time though in the past when horrific abuses existed and were tolerated. But thanks to people of both faith and no faith who united on the basis of conscience and who could not look the other way, the laws got changed.

  236. @ Muff Potter: I believe you, but I wonder if any of the hoarder cases (which happen everywhere, nonstop) are handled that way.

    Sorry for my skepticism, but I don’t have a lot of faith in this (meaning swift and vigorous prosecution of animal cruelty, not the kindness and concern of many).

  237. @ Mark:

    “The great commission isn’t being carried out if the message is hate rather than love. You don’t have to agree with people’s lifestyle choices. Just don’t treat them like lepers and do try to walk in their shoes before being too judgmental…”
    +++++++++++++++++

    well isn’t that just the most pure bit of common sense.

  238. Josh wrote:

    I think we may have touched on it earlier, but it bears repeating that these folks really don’t understand the difference between orientation and gender identity and gender expression.

    Secularists are also confused on this. On the one hand, they say sexuality is hard-wired, then claim that gender identity can be chosen, is therefore something more fluid. These can’t both be true at the same time!

    Saw recently part of a program on German TV featuring would-be transgenders. A boy of 16 now dressing as a female, has persuaded some psychologist he is a ‘women trapped in a man’s body’, and so will be eligible for surgery some time in the future, that is, cosmetic surgery/mutiliation of a healthy body to give the appearance of being a woman. Lives with grandma who is clearly distresssed by the whole thing, had completely dropped out of school (0% for all subjects) and only likes going clothes shopping in ladies’ boutiques with his mother. Dad was missing.

    What is the most loving thing the church can do with someone like this?

    Scream he’ll go to hell when he dies? I doubt anyone thinks that, and I certainly don’t. Alternatively, accept him as he is, that is, pretend he is female, call him ‘she’ etc? Isn’t this to believe and propagate a lie?

    Or speak the truth in love, calmly confront him in that he is clearly messed up, and sinning in rejecting the person he was created as, that is male and not female? Using kindness, get him to see the need to change, that this is not acceptable to God, being all that really matters. My point is to ask whether it is loving for the church to go along with the gender confusion currently so obvious in parts of secular society. Isn’t this confusion the fruit of moral rebellion against the creator? When has that ever led to anything healthy.

    If the SBC has suffered from cases of sexual abuse, the answer is not to jettison the Christian sex ethic altogether, but to more consistently apply it. That means both no to sexual abuse and covering it up, and no to transgenderism and similar. You cannot complain about the former and simultaneously try to OK the latter.

  239. @ brad/futuristguy:

    Weird thing is it never occurred to me that this was on topic here!

    I put it on this thread rather than the notes from Jane Doe vs SGM because humour needs to respect its context. Whereas SGM leaders targeting transgenderism – now that’s a context for humour.

  240. Mark wrote:

    So now I will settle for reading my Bible and listening to the Wartburg Watch e church. T

    Another option is to use this time to check out some non-evangelical churches. Never hurts to get a birds eye view of things.

  241. @ Nancy:
    Nancy
    Nancy wrote:

    Mark wrote:
    Never hurts to get a birds eye view of things.

    I have tried mainstream churches. I am a bit too fundamental in my theology. There are brothers and sisters in Christ in the mainstream. It is just not my style.

  242. @ Ken:

    On the one hand, they say sexuality is hard-wired, then claim that gender identity can be chosen, is therefore something more fluid. These can’t both be true at the same time!

    To be honest, I actually don’t see how those two things are contradictory. I’m also curious what you think of situations in which physical sex can’t be determined, i.e. ambiguous genitalia, or a person who is outwardly one sex but has the chromosomes of the other. What is that person’s “real” gender? And if gender identity can never be chosen under any circumstance, what are they supposed to call themselves if their sex can’t be determined? “It”? Or do they not get to have a gender assignment because of this ambiguity? Granted, this isn’t the same as transsexualism, but it is relevant to the discussion.

  243. Patricia Hanlon wrote:

    Eagle wrote:

    The 18th point now appears to be transgenderism.

    Add “secular humanism” to this list.

    I remember when ‘secular humanists’ became the enemy. I was teaching in a business college in the mid-eighties. The students were required to take a certain percentage of courses in the humanities in addition to their business courses, ie history, literature, etc. Some students objected to this requirement on religious grounds, that they needed to avoid humanists. Sigh.

  244. Ken wrote:

    That means both no to sexual abuse and covering it up, and no to transgenderism and similar. You cannot complain about the former and simultaneously try to OK the latter.

    As @ Hester discussed, it’s not this simple nor black and white as you seem to imply. If we can accept and see sickness and brokenness when it comes to illnesses, cancer, etc., is it not possible that there is brokenness in the area of our sexuality that is not just fixed by deciding something different? Can you imagine telling someone to just decide not to have cancer any more?

  245. @ Bridget: I’d have to add things like cerebral palsy to your example, Bridget.

    The truth is that there are a *lot* of intersex folks (people with biological conditions) out here, and they’re not going to diminish or go away just because some refuse to see or accept them.

    This is equally true of transgender people.

  246. Bridget wrote:

    Can you imagine telling someone to just decide not to have cancer any more?

    There are actually people who think that way, except they say if you have enough faith you can speak to the cancer and make it go away. Doesn’t work, of course, but they just attribute it to lack of faith. Stuff likes this is what makes me say that something weird is going on that I do not understand. How people can ignore the evidence to that extent–why? Dear goodness. I am trying to stay calm. There is really no use trying to explain some things to some people, because they are not interested in explanations or evidence or reasons or anything else the bible might say about the issue or anything. Best to just step over them and go on.

    I am not talking about anybody here, just stuff like making the cancer go away and such.

  247. Ken wrote:

    Josh wrote:

    Secularists are also confused on this. On the one hand, they say sexuality is hard-wired, then claim that gender identity can be chosen, is therefore something more fluid. These can’t both be true at the same time!

    Saw recently part of a program on German TV featuring would-be transgenders. A boy of 16 now dressing as a female, has persuaded some psychologist he is a ‘women trapped in a man’s body’, and so will be eligible for surgery some time in the future, that is, cosmetic surgery/mutiliation of a healthy body to give the appearance of being a woman. Lives with grandma who is clearly distresssed by the whole thing, had completely dropped out of school (0% for all subjects) and only likes going clothes shopping in ladies’ boutiques with his mother. Dad was missing.

    What is the most loving thing the church can do with someone like this?

    Scream he’ll go to hell when he dies? I doubt anyone thinks that, and I certainly don’t. Alternatively, accept him as he is, that is, pretend he is female, call him ‘she’ etc? Isn’t this to believe and propagate a lie?

    Or speak the truth in love, calmly confront him in that he is clearly messed up, and sinning in rejecting the person he was created as, that is male and not female? Using kindness, get him to see the need to change, that this is not acceptable to God, being all that really matters. My point is to ask whether it is loving for the church to go along with the gender confusion currently so obvious in parts of secular society. Isn’t this confusion the fruit of moral rebellion against the creator? When has that ever led to anything healthy.

    If the SBC has suffered from cases of sexual abuse, the answer is not to jettison the Christian sex ethic altogether, but to more consistently apply it. That means both no to sexual abuse and covering it up, and no to transgenderism and similar. You cannot complain about the former and simultaneously try to OK the latter.

    Oh yes I can. You don’t see a difference between someone attacking another person sexually, any person let alone a child, and someone thinking that they are a different gender than their DNA suggests? Really? You don’t see the difference between someone victimizing another person and someone who believes something you don’t believe?

    Would you like transsexualism to be made a crime like rape and child sexual abuse?

    I don’t think gender identity is a choice at all. I think that if someone thinks they are trapped in the wrong body then something has caused that. At this point I don’t know exactly what that might be with the exception of children with ambiguous genitalia who may identify with a different gender than their DNA. But that very example is suggestive of possibilities. Is there mosaicism in their DNA (chimeras)? That can happen. Did the person get the wrong hormonal washes during fetal development? ThT can happen too. I believe that whatever it is, the cause(s) of transexualism is biological.

    What is your alternative? The person has decided to sin? They think to themselves, I know what will annoy God, I will have sex reassignment surgery. What if they don’t believe in a god to annoy?

    What on earth could be the motivation here? If somebody steals money or commits adultery, the goal is clear and understandable. We all like money and sex, but most would prefer to work for our money and have sex within marriage, attaining these things morally.

    Where is the payoff in having sex reassignment surgery? It is expensive, people like you will call the person a sinner, some will shun the person, and depending on how ‘convincing’ the person’s new appearance is, it can be hard to find a job.

    This is why is someone tells me they are trapped in the wrong body, I believe them. Why else would they say it?

  248. @ Bridget:

    If we can accept and see sickness and brokenness when it comes to illnesses, cancer, etc., is it not possible that there is brokenness in the area of our sexuality that is not just fixed by deciding something different?

    The idea that gender/sex itself could have been affected by the Fall/the curse, just like every other area of life – basically what you said, brokenness – hardly sounds scandalous/novel/controversial to me.

  249. Part of what drives some of this misunderstanding of gender issues is the fact that medical science is just now determining not every individual is xx or xy. We formed our “take” when all we could judge by is behavior.

    And then again, there really are some folks that just love kinky. They were not born ambiguous and will make it very clear they are not suffering gender dysphoria. They don’t feel like a man trapped in a woman’s body or a woman trapped in a man’s body.

    They came where I once lived seeking reassignment surgery BECAUSE to them it was, as they put it, the ultimate rebellion against any idea of a creator.

    I can say without any hesitation we should not judge those with medical, emotional, or mental cause for gender confusion.

    And I can also say without any hesitation that those that want to live as other than born solely and specifically to rebel against God are sinners.

    Thing is, they are two separate groups, something our illustrious SBC leaders and pastors don’t seem to realize.

  250. Linda, I have a B.A. in psych and a Ph.D. i sociology and I have never ever heard if anyone saying that they are seeking sex re-assignment to rebel against God. It has always been that they believed that their body has the wrong appearance.

  251. Patricia Hanlon wrote:

    Add “secular humanism” to this list.

    And according to some it’s not possible to be a ‘Christian humanist’ either, the rationale being that humanism and Christianity are incompatible and therefore by necessity must remain mutually exclusive. Luther and Erasmus went round’ and round’ over this long ago. Personally? I think Erasmus carried the day–even though I’m not a Catholic and don’t see myself swimming the Tiber any time soon.

  252. If it is a sin to undergo sex reassignment surgery because you are altering the appearance God gave you the what about cosmetic surgery for a cleft palate? Of because you think your nose unattractive? What about dying your hair? (I am not a natural blonde)

  253. I have had several acquaintances over my life time who lived as the other gender from the apparent one on their original birth certificate. Not a one was doing so out of rebellion or kinkiness, but out of a deep-seated belief that somehow in their development, an error happened making them appear to be a different gender than they really were. Some of them had had surgery and others were pre-surgery, undergoing hormone therapy. BTW, some had tried treatment with hormones matching their birth certificate, to see if that would deal with their sense of a mis-assignment, without success.

    One of the things a lot of people do not realize: all humans have some level of the hormones appropriate to the opposite gender, and the amounts vary across people and across time and other variables. That is, women have some testosterone and men some of the various female hormones. At higher levels of the cross-gender hormones, people can experience emotions and other phenomena that society describes as appropriate to the cross-gender.

  254. @ An Attorney:
    And if the cross-gender hormones are present in utero or in childhood, development can be affected that can include changes appropriate to the cross-gender in areas like breast development, muscle development, voice, etc.

  255. Oh, I get it. If somebody thinks they are Napoleon we say “poor thing” but if somebody thinks they are a woman when their anatomy belies that we say “confess your sin.”

    If somebody cuts off a hand because they think that is what scripture requires we say “he needs help!”, but if somebody has a surgeon cut off other body parts we say “repent and confess and while you are at it move on down the road.”

    What on earth is it about sex and gender about which the neo-puritans are so obsessed and so afraid? I mean, really, both obsessed and afraid at the same time? Like the guy with the proverbial tin hat to ward off the radiation which he thinks his enemies are beaming at him–both obsessed and afraid? Are there things to worry about? Sure. But standing around pointing fingers and checking DNA at the church door will not solve anything.

    I am thinking that if these guys cannot deal with things of this earth any better than that, why should anybody listen to them when they talk about spiritual things?

  256. Nancy wrote:

    What on earth is it about sex and gender about which the neo-puritans are so obsessed and so afraid?

    It’s genuinely, sincerely, fervently, one of the new “fundamentals” among the YRR, the neo-puritan, or whatever the heck you want to call them. There are all sorts of fascinating reasons why this obsession has found a home in these times. My two cents: in a knowledge economy, you have a much more level playing field economically than in the past, when strength mattered more and men had a huge advantage int he workplace. There are a lot of disenfranchised men out there in the new economy. Positing that women are ontologically subordinate, and–in the really extreme parts of the patriarchy movement, suppressing their agency almost entirely–must meet a need. Okay, overly simplified, but maybe some truth there?

  257. Patricia Hanlon wrote:

    Eagle wrote:
    Add “secular humanism” to this list.

    My father felt that secular humanism was the enemy. Some of the nicest people I met in college were humanists and secular. They were relatively balanced people and were kind to me. I liked spending time with them because they were different and were pretty transparent. They didn’t turn me liberal but opened my horizons. Never understood why they are the enemy or how the NEA is Satanic. There was a list of five of these in the hallway of a church I attended.

  258. @ Marsha:

    I have a B.A. in psych and a Ph.D. in sociology and I have never ever heard if anyone saying that they are seeking sex re-assignment to rebel against God.

    Neither have I, though I wouldn’t rule it out that it has happened somewhere at some point because, well, some people just have really strange ideas.

    A much more entertaining strange idea came from the homeschool mom I knew who thought the fact that male parakeets have blue skin around their nostrils and females have pink skin, actually signified something about gender. And as to whether this was delivered in jest, I’m honestly not sure.

  259. @ Nancy:

    Agreed, but a key point is that the person who thinks he is Napolean, or self-mutilates may readily acknowledge he has a problem, or may be shown that he is engaging in unhealthy behaviors. Some transexuals, on the other hand, may be defiantly out and proud.

    I have no doubt that our Lord who healed lepers and paralytics can cure gender dysphoria as well — that is, if people see that condition as something from which to be cured. Some would deny that they are sick at all.

  260. Cayuga, then why did He not heal my first husband or my friend’s little daughter (both devout Christians) from Huntington’s? Why do believers get sick and die young if healing is available?

  261. @ Cayuga:
    I think you might want to look into the difference between the illnesses that cause sefl-mutilation vs. trangenderism. They are *not* the same thing; transgenderism is not an illness.

  262. Cayuga wrote:

    I have no doubt that our Lord who healed lepers and paralytics can cure gender dysphoria as well — that is, if people see that condition as something from which to be cured. Some would deny that they are sick at all.

    People have said this for decades about sexual orientation, yet “reparative therapy” has been a colossal failure. The low success rate for that form of treatment can be explained much better by the existence of bisexualism rather than by any efficacy of the methods used. That is, if someone swings both ways, it’s entirely conceivable that they can hype up their straight urges and suppress their non-straight ones. All others, for whom the treatment doesn’t work, are told that they didn’t have enough faith or just didn’t want hard enough to be straight, and are thus thrown by the wayside.

    Incidentally, reparative therapists (I cringe at dignifying these fake practitioners with the term therapist) have tried curing trans* people as well, with – from what I’ve heard – similarly dismal results.

    Maybe someday the evangelical church* will learn from the definition of insanity – doing the same thing over and over and over and expecting different results – and come up with a way of treating LGBT people that involves much more compassion than shame, guilt, and blaming them for being unable to change largely unchangeable aspects of themselves.

    * Obviously, there are some evangelical Christians who aren’t jerks about it, but I refer here to the denomination heads and other people with microphones standing on metaphorical street corners shouting condemnation in every direction.

  263. Thanks for the various responses.

    I didn’t have those in mind where there is a geniune biological problem. I specifically had in mind those who choose to try to change sex, using the mantra they are ‘trapped in the wrong body’. That surely would qualify as a form of mental illness, a delusion of some sort. Those who espouse ‘gender reassignment’ are the last to want to classify it as a disease though.

    I’m not sure to what extent this kind of thing reflects a conscious rebellion against God, but I find it interesting that as society in the West has become more secular and unbelieving, blurring God-given distinctions has become the order of the day. You don’t have to have a list of strict gender roles to see God doesn’t want the fundamental distinction of male and female confused.

    There is a difference between surgery to try to remove unsightly deformities, and deliberately seeking a form of mutiliation of an otherwise healthy body. Isn’t this a wrong use of finite resources?

    The small part of the program I saw on this, which thought the whole thing wonderful, showed a boy clearly in a great need of help, surrounded by a society who are groping around in a fog about this. I wouldn’t be surprised if the absence of a father plays some role in his problem, but rather than face the utter mess so much family life and ‘relationships’ have degenerated into, better to let a confused boy go down the road of disfigurement.

    I did not equate child abuse with transgenderism, merely stated that the Christian sex ethic applies to both.

    It is not the unforgivable sin.

    I think Linda well brought out the difference between those who need compassion, and those who are in moral rebellion. But it bothers me when yet again the church seems to be following the world into what may appear to be loving and compassionate, only to risk finding in the end this is a false compassion, and is actually cruel.

  264. Marsha–all respect to your degrees, but I’ve lived in the sex change capitol of the USA. MOST of our patients were patients who had been born ambiguous, assigned a gender with surgery as toddlers or infants, and been assigned the wrong gender. Some actually tested as chimeras, male/female. Most of the rest did feel they were trapped in the wrong body. I don’t see any of those as sinning in seeking the surgery.

    BUT we did get a few who came, declaring they saw it as the ultimate rebellion against a creator. We also got a few who were actually homosexual or lesbian and did not want to continue dealing with social disapproval.

    Those latter two were usually pretty shocked to find out they first had to go through an intensive time of mental health care plus psychological testing to be considered for reassignment surgery. During that time, candidates had to live as the gender they wanted to become AND submit to a battery of medical and genetic testing. This all took around a year. You could not just come, sign up for surgery, and get it done.

    Those seeking kinky were weeded out quickly, as were the gays and lesbians tired of dealing with society. The former washed out of the program, the latter usually soon self selected themselves out of the program when they found living as the other gender unsatisfying.

    Those that made it through the program to scalpel time usually viewed it as correcting a birth defect, much like fixing a club foot or a cleft palate.

    And personally I believe, at least from those I’ve known, those that washed out were pretty happy it wasn’t a quick procedure but an arduous process. It saved them from making a huge mistake.

    Some left and continued the lifestyle they had before they came. Some left but with much more self understanding and a new outlook.

    Some liked our town so much, from all groups, that they stayed and became welcome members of the community.

  265. @ Eagle:

    I think I said this above in one post but will repeat here (and I have not read every post since I was last here a few days ago in this thread)…

    Sometimes, I don’t think that evangelicals and Baptists necessarily go looking for causes or groups to fight against (sometimes they do, but not always).

    Transgenderism, for example, has largely been pushed and advocated for by left wingers – both secular and theological types – on their blogs and sites now the last year or two.

    Baptists and evangelicals, from what I can tell, are more reacting to the topic, because those on the left have made it an issue, rather than making it an issue.

    I do think that evangelicals and Baptists engage in the cultural wars a little too much, but then, a lot on the left are guilty of it as well. Sometimes the right is reacting to what is going on, not starting something afresh.

  266. @ Daisy:

    “Baptists and evangelicals, from what I can tell, are more reacting to the topic, because those on the left have made it an issue, rather than making it an issue.”

    I meant,
    Baptists and evangelicals, from what I can tell, are more reacting to the topic, because those on the left have made it an issue, rather than they themselves (the evangelicals/ Baptists) making it an issue.

  267. I have know transgender people for well over a decade. Not one of them has sought to be in the spotlight. They have been discriminated against; they have been assaulted for being who they are; they have been denied rights, including marriage to someone who knows about their background, and the rights associated with marriage, like spousal benefits, tax savings, inheriting, etc. Most would like to live quiet lives and be left alone, but have to stand up to discrimination to be able to do so.

  268. They are subject to police harassment, denied access to benefits, etc., as well, and frequently denied leasing a house or apartment merely because they are transgendered.

  269. Here is what is happening and what is going to happen. The secular society will take steps one way or the other to deal with these issues, and the SBC and their ilk will then have more fuel to stoke their fires of distrust and dislike of the government, pretty much regardless of what the government does either way.

    So, either way, the SBC types win, because what they really want, like somebody said, is enemies against whom to rail.

  270. Ken wrote:

    But it bothers me when yet again the church seems to be following the world into what may appear to be loving and compassionate, only to risk finding in the end this is a false compassion, and is actually cruel.

    Can you elaborate on what you mean here?

  271. Linda, now I understand what you were saying! All of the studies I have read and all of the transsexuals I have met had gone through the screening process so that would exclude the people who weren’t genuinely transexual that you described.

  272. There is one more group needing compassion, not judgment

    They are the folks who get stuck during transition. They may have had reassignment surgery as infants due to a tragic accident, or may have been ambiguous, etc. Whatever the cause, they have lived their entire lives as one gender. They may have felt like a man trapped in a woman’s body or vice versa. They find out they really are the other gender and begin transition.

    Some discover that they may be, say, xy and feel like a man trapped in a woman’s body or vice versa. When they begin living the gender they truly are they find that they do NOT want to transition. That is acceptable and their business.

    But some get stuck emotionally, not wanting to go back to the old life and unwilling or unable emotionally or mentally to transition to the new.

    Those are the saddest people I have ever met.

  273. @ Bridget:
    Affirming homosexuality, for example, is currently thought to be loving. But if this lifestyle is as unhealthy as I think it is, notwithstanding it alienates its practitioners from God, affirming and enabling it would be just as unloving in reality as encouraging people to smoke. What do you say when they get the diseases associated with this?

    Similarly if the ‘woman trapped in a man’s body’ mantra gains currency, and I find it difficult to see how in most cases this is a genuine medical condition, more confused teenagers are going to go down a road that is damaging to them.

    When the world tells us that the bible might have been fine for its era, but we now know much more about human nature, I’m uncomfortable being told I have to go along with these new insights, in particular when something sinful is explained away. After all, the whole world lies in the power of the evil one, and is not therefore a particularly reliable source of truth.

    That doesn’t mean (I very much hope!) I have a mind closed to learning anything new, but I don’t think Christ commissioned and enabled apostles who in effect got it wrong.

  274. Marsha wrote:

    Daisy, how are we making transsexuals a issue? By arguing for non-discrimination?

    By doing things such as constantly discussing the topic on blogs, asking for bio males who feel they are female to be allowed to use women’s bathrooms.

    It was the same with homosexuality. A lot of homosexual groups pushed homosexuality to the forefront of Americna culture starting in the 80s with stuff like ‘Act up” and going on a crusade against Ronald Regan for supposedly not funding AIDS research enough, and it snowballed from there.

    Southern Baptists are merely reacting to some of these topics, they are not the ones who brought them up, the militant groups who claim victim status and the theologically moderate to very liberals did that.

  275. An Attorney wrote:

    I have know transgender people for well over a decade. Not one of them has sought to be in the spotlight. They have been discriminated against; they have been assaulted for being who they are; they have been denied rights, including marriage to someone who knows about their background, and the rights associated with marriage, like spousal benefits, tax savings, inheriting, etc. Most would like to live quiet lives and be left alone, but have to stand up to discrimination to be able to do so.

    I disagree.

    Like militant homosexual groups, some of the trans folk and their hetero fan base are very very vocal now.

    I don’t know if marriage ought to be characterized as “a right.”

    I for one do not want biological males, who believe they are inwardly female, to be permitted into a women’s restroom I am using. Nope.

  276. Ken wrote:

    Affirming homosexuality, for example, is currently thought to be loving. But if this lifestyle is as unhealthy as I think it is, notwithstanding it alienates its practitioners from God, affirming and enabling it would be just as unloving in reality as encouraging people to smoke. What do you say when they get the diseases associated with this?

    I think that affirming and tolerating something are not the same thing. We might have a kindly old uncle who smokes. We love him all the same even though we don’t approve of his smoking. His good qualities far outweigh the yuck-factor we feel knowing that he smokes. We know he loves us too because he smokes outside and doesn’t demand that we allow him to do it in our faces inside. This is tolerance practiced.

  277. An Attorney wrote:

    They are subject to police harassment, denied access to benefits, etc., as well, and frequently denied leasing a house or apartment merely because they are transgendered.

    Some of these same types of people are discriminating against other people who have differing views, harassing them, suing them, etc., nonsense such as…
    Baker Who Refused Same-sex Couple Must Take Sensitivity Training

    Some of the homosexual lobby (and I’d imagine we’ll see the same with the trans groups) are bullies. They are not victims.

  278. Muff Potter wrote:

    I think that affirming and tolerating something are not the same thing.

    Not as defined by liberals.

    I already tolerate things like transgenderism and homosexuals… but, I don’t agree with (affirm) homosexuality and trangenderism, but with many liberals, that is not good enough.

    You cannot just agree to disagree on these subjects anymore, they insist you fully accept, celebrate, and embrace homosexuality and transgenderism.

    I am considered a hateful hater on some liberal blogs just for agreeing with the concept of “hate the sin but love the sinner,” or “agree to disagree,” or “tolerate but don’t accept.” Those views are not accepted by the far left.

  279. @ Daisy:

    What brought it up was the discrimination against those who are not standard definition heterosexual. Discrimination in medical care, in legal status, etc., and being attacked on an ongoing basis by the police, with no support from the courts, etc., etc., etc. BTW, Baptists were treated the same way in the 1500s and 1600s. So they went public asking for the protection of the first amendment. And the reaction of the Christian churches is exactly what has sustained and maintained the discrimination. The activism only followed the discrimination and the police initiated violence against LBGT people. People stand up for rights as citizens when they have been discriminated against, as the Baptists did in Virginia and other states in the late 1700s.

  280. And Daisy, your knowledge of the history of the LBGT movement is woefully inadequate to be the basis for the statement you are making. The discrimination and violence against LBGT persons existed long before there was any “movement” at all. A major event was a police raid on a gay bar, with clubs wielded by the police, against people who were behaving peacefully, when it began. And it created the LGBT movement.

  281. @ Daisy:

    In all fairness to this discussion Daisy, I can also see where you’re coming from. It’s sad that the courts have to play Solomon complete with an infant on his dais (metaphorically of course), and decide whether or not a cake shop must bake a wedding cake for a gay couple. It’s too bad that the plaintiffs can’t be ‘big enough’ to find another cake shop and equally too bad that the cake shop can’t be reasonable enough to just bake the cake for them as a business transaction with no implied ‘approval’ of the gay couple’s lifestyle.

  282. Act Up saved lives! Up until then, clinical AIDS trials were conducted with time to death as an endpoint, not measurements of improvement. I greatly admire those activists.

  283. It doesn’t bother me to use a public restroom with a male to female transsexual. It would alarm me if a female to male transsexual in a full beard walked in though.

  284. Ken wrote:

    Affirming homosexuality, for example, is currently thought to be loving. But if this lifestyle is as unhealthy as I think it is [citation needed], notwithstanding it alienates its practitioners from God, affirming and enabling it would be just as unloving in reality as encouraging people to smoke. What do you say when they get the diseases associated with this?

    For that matter, Daisy could also stand to broaden her reading list beyond things produced by groups such as the American Family Association and the Family Research Council that continually spread disinformation of the most malicious sort about LGBT people. An Attorney has a much better grasp on history than those organizations.

  285. Marsha wrote:

    Act Up saved lives! Up until then, clinical AIDS trials were conducted with time to death as an endpoint, not measurements of improvement. I greatly admire those activists.

    And, this.

  286. @ Daisy:
    It is absolutely my experience that the transgender people I know have also been hideously discriminated against, & strive to live a quiet life. In fact, it has never truly occurred to me that my closest transgender friend is anything other than a woman, & that when she used a male toilet previously she felt out of place. She, by the way, strived for years & years to out run, shut out & shut down her feelings of being female rather than male. She did a lot of sport & hyper-macho stuff, desperately hoping it would all stick. It didn’t. And it certainly wasn’t for the want of trying.

    I have a truly outrageous suggestion for the church – how about the category that we use for human beings, first & foremost, before any other descriptors, is that of ‘human being’, ‘image of God’, ‘precious’? Let’s try it in action. Ambiguous genitalia? Still a precious image of God. Gender dysphoria? Still an image of God. Gay, straight, bi, asexual? Guess what – still an image of God. Nothing, nothing, nothing, not sexuality or disability or any other aspect can overturn this basic truth. How is it that discussion about which flavour of human being blocks out this deeper truth. What unites us is much much more profound than that which divides us. Let us all love each human being as ourselves.

  287. @ Ken:

    What do you say when they get the diseases associated with this?

    There are just as many diseases associated with heterosexual behavior. And didn’t women in Africa already have AIDS back in the day when Americans were convinced it was a “gay man’s disease”? (Please somebody correct me if I’m wrong about that.) Basically, I’m disinclined to believe that the homosexual population has special diseases all its own without citations/statistics attached to that claim.

    When the world tells us that the bible might have been fine for its era, but we now know much more about human nature, I’m uncomfortable being told I have to go along with these new insights, in particular when something sinful is explained away. After all, the whole world lies in the power of the evil one, and is not therefore a particularly reliable source of truth.

    I’m sorry, but to me this sounds exactly the same as Ken Ham denying evolution by writing off science as a conspiracy of “worldly” lies. We can’t just press the “lies of the devil” easy button to avoid thinking through/about something we don’t like or understand. You may not be doing this in reality, but that’s how it comes off. On a similar note, you never answered my question upthread about chromosomal abnormalities and their relation to objective vs. subjective gender assignments.

    I don’t think Christ commissioned and enabled apostles who in effect got it wrong.

    The general idea of “the faith once for all delivered to the saints,” I think, still doesn’t negate the fact that the apostles lived in a prescientific world and sometimes made statements limited by their context. This, for instance, is a very informative article arguing that Paul used ancient ideas about women’s hair being a testicle, in the infamous headcoverings passage in 1 Corinthians. (And yes, I read the blogs of Christian Biblical scholars who accept this idea so I don’t think we can dismiss it out of hand just because it sounds weird.) We now know that women’s hair is not a testicle, of course, so if this theory is true, then yes, Paul got something wrong because of his limited scientific knowledge. What implications that has for inerrancy, headcoverings and other topics still has to be worked out. But we do have to make allowance for this kind of thing.

    Per transsexuals, I’m still researching these issues but for various reasons, I’m not entirely comfortable dismissing the entire phenomenon as a lie constructed in the heads of transsexuals. And frankly the idea that biological sex (i.e., what organs/chromosomes/secondary sex characteristics you have) is an ironclad failsafe determiner of gender identity, has been shot so full of holes by modern science and intersex conditions that it’s laughable. The real argument now is whether someone with a biologically normal body can have a legitimate reason for believing they were born “in the wrong body.” I don’t think that debate is anywhere close to settled yet. A lot more research appears to be needed on the matter.

  288. @ Beakerj:

    Beaker, that is so radical: Love everyone as we love ourselves. I think I learned that lesson at VBS ca. 5 years of age, now 60 plus years ago.

  289. Yes, love others as we do ourselves!

    Another piece of advice I was given years ago was ‘err on the side of kindness.’

    I don’t see anything against homosexuality in the New Testament, not in terms of how I interpret Scripture. It certainly wasn’t something Jesus preached against. I don’t think we are bound by the laws of the Old Testament other than the Ten Commandments.

    What possible harm can it do for two adults of the same sex to have a loving, committed relationship? Why should people who are attracted to the same sex have to be celibate and live without companionship? It makes no sense to me at all.

  290. @ Ken:

    An Attorney, Josh, and Hester addressed what my concerns were about your response to me. I’ll not repeat the same concerns.

    I will say that, to me, you seemed to be mischaracterizing the reality of those who are homosexual, transgendered, etc., and those who want to love them as themselves.

  291. Ken wrote:

    notwithstanding it alienates its practitioners from God,

    And you are absolutely sure homosexuals are alienated from God? I do not believe that to be a blanket assessment that should (or even could accuratelty) be made. Contrary to the way I was taught to interpret the bible growing up, I concretely do not believe being gay is a ‘one-way-ticket-to-hell…can’t-be-saved-if-you-are’ deal.

  292. What will be our answer should medical science progress to the point we discover all gay, bi, and trans people are really male/female chimeras?

    Not saying that is the case, but just asking what if?

    Would it be Biblically enough for them to pick a gender, stick to it, and have relationships only in marriage with the opposite sex?

    I think Daisy is generally quite correct about this issue, and yet I do know there really are those with provable medical conditions driving it.

    How do we maintain a strong moral ethic based on Scripture and yet deal with proven birth defects?

    And let’s remember some–many–incorrectly said to be having sex change surgery are having surgery to correct that very surgery done on them when they were infants in response to a medical issue.

    The person you castigate for a female/male change may have been born a boy, suffered an accident, been made a girl (that whole mantra it is easier to dig a hole than build a pole), and now wants to be the male he was born.

    And sometimes it is born ambiguous but xx women, turned into ersatz sons for their fathers’ sakes, returning to being the women they were born.

  293. Daisy wrote:

    Like militant homosexual groups, some of the trans folk and their hetero fan base are very very vocal now.

    When we take up the extreme end of a debate, we do not take up the debate but extremity.

  294. Ken wrote:

    But if this lifestyle is as unhealthy as I think it is, notwithstanding it alienates its practitioners from God,

    This may sound a bit naive of me, but…aren’t we all alienated from God when we come to Him? Isn’t that why He had to die on the Cross? I wish you could have seen the person I was when I became a Christian. I didn’t understand the ins and outs, I believed some things that I no longer believe, …As the years have gone on, I have seen things in myself that have been in need of changing. Even now, i see flaws in myself that should be changed.

    So, if I needed to pass some examination in order to be accepted into the family of God, what would that be? Would I have had to give up some things right away before I became a Christian? And who gets to decide what that threshold is?

    Here is another thought. I hear time and time agains of Christian guys (and women) who struggle with pornography-some for most of their adult Christian life. Yet, we seem to have no trouble with calling these folks Christians even though they struggle (and sometimes downright give in) to this sin. But it is the homosexual who is somehow prevented from being a Christian and the guy who views pornography is a garden variety red blooded Christian who “struggles” with pornography.

  295. @ Hester:
    Loved your comment. I, too, struggle with a number of issues regarding what is biological, what is psychological, etc. I remember my daughter’s neurosurgeon telling me that he felt he was a caveman exploring the brain. There is so much that we don’t know.

    A fallen world produced changes in the DNA which led to my daughter’s brain tumor. We have learned that bipolar disease is caused by a chemical imbalance. Some day we may learn that there is some tiny process somewhere deep in our hormonal system that causes gender dysphoria. Can you imagine how we will be viewed by our descendants if they find some biochemical malfunction which causes people to struggle with their supposed identified gender and we persecuted those who struggled?

    We must be very, very careful that we approach our conclusions with fear and trembling or we will be viewed by those to come as we view those who believed illnesses were caused by demons or the night air, or tomatoes, etc.

  296. Daisy wrote:

    I already tolerate things like transgenderism and homosexuals… but, I don’t agree with (affirm) homosexuality

    Could I ask you to clarify what you mean by “I don’t affirm homosexuality.” Are you saying that a person who is a homosexual is unacceptable in all ways? What about the celibate homosexual? Or do you believe that all homosexuals must undergo some process so that they no longer are homosexual?

    If possible, when we use terms, I would like further definition of what we are saying. For example, what do you say about a woman who feels like a man for her whole life but does not have an operation to look like a man?Daisy wrote:

    I for one do not want biological males, who believe they are inwardly female, to be permitted into a women’s restroom I am using. Nope.

    Also, as you know, all women’s rooms have stalls which do not permit me to see into the next stall. So, what does it really matter who is in the next stall unless they are “peeking” which would be super weird if it was done by a male or female!

  297. Daisy wrote:

    Some of the homosexual lobby (and I’d imagine we’ll see the same with the trans groups) are bullies. They are not victims.

    I’ve got news for you-there are bullies in every single subgroup.

  298. Marsha wrote:

    hen why did He not heal my first husband or my friend’s little daughter (both devout Christians) from Huntington’s? Why do believers get sick and die young if healing is available?

    I am so sorry for your first husband’s struggle with Huntington’s Disease. It is a harsh disease. And you are 100% correct. God can heal the lepers but most of the time He does not. My daughter’s friend died of leukemia in her teens and she was prayed for by so many people.

    It is very dangerous when we believe that God will always “heal” people from disorders. It is fascinating to look at the New Testament and the writings of Paul. Paul rarely (if ever) mentions Jesus’ healings and other miracles. Instead Paul focuses always on the Cross. It is only through the Cross that we are forgiven on earth and guaranteed to be ultimately healed in heaven.

  299. I agree with you, Dee. We live in a fallen world and we are mortal. I believe that doctors, nurses, and researchers are doing God’s work, but our knowledge is limited. We can count on healing in Heaven though.

  300. @ dee: Dee, I think we *are* going to discover biological bases for transgenderism, and that people in the future will be deeply pained and horrified by our bigotry.

    I cannot for one second imagine that Jesus would ever demand that a trans person not be trans. We are who we are, and I honestly think that sexual orientation and gender identity cannot be altered. (As Josh noted earlier, the “success stories” that used to be touted by ex-gay groups are mostly about people who are bi to a greater or lesser degree – as for the rest, lies and attempted brainwashing don’t even begin to cover it.)

  301. @ dee: I’m not comfortable with the thought of trans people being told they are trans as the result of a “malfunction.”

    It seems cruel at best, though I know that wasn’t your intent. These folks struggle constantly with words and actions that tell them that they’re freaks and much worse.

    I don’t think it is ethical to want some kind of “brave new world” in which it’s possible to “cure” gay and trans peoples’ “malfunctions.” (Pedophilia, however… *that’s* the kind of thing that truly is, imo, a malfunction on a massive scale, and could be compassionately addressed by theoretical future treatment – I hope, at least.)

  302.   __

    Sixty-Four Thousand Dollar Question$, Perhaps?

    hmmm…

    Quiz-a-tive Christian Community Questionnaire:

    (Quack, Quack…)

    Q. Should committed same-sex relationships be  considered on par with similar heterosexual relationships in christian community?

    Q. Should lesbians, gays, bisexuals,
    transgendered persons and transsexuals (LGBTs) be considered on par with similar heterosexual relationships in christian community?

    Q. Should qualified gays and lesbians in committed relationships be eligible for ordination as Pastors, or selected as Deacons and Elders?

    Q. Should a church ritual recognizing and blessing committed same-sex unions be available?

    Q. Should christian community embrace same-sex civil unions?

    Q. Should christian community embrace homosexuality?

    *

    Please use the paper and the number two pencils provided. You have one hour.

    Ooooooooh…
       (4X)  [1]

    Sopy
    __
    [1]  Intermission: The Rolling Stones- “Gimme Shelter?”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_a0zOLMAfw

  303. I’ve got to stand with Daisy on this one.

    We know homosexuality is wrong from the law – a man shall not lie with a man as with a woman. This is ‘detestable’ because a man is trying to be something he is not, namely a woman – also the case in trans-gender or sex changes. These are much the words of Jesus as the NT is. OK, I know we NT Gentiles are not under the law, but its definitions of sexual immorality are binding on the church (Acts 15). Jesus himself limited marriage to one man and on woman as the original created order, including forbidding his followers to divorce. He also talked about the immorality, the porneia, that comes out of our hearts, which would hardly exclude homosexuality, and would include the indulging in pornography in a modern context. The rottenness starts inside.

    What Christ said through his apostles, Paul in particular, is also not so difficult to understand. Homosexuality is the hallmark of a society that has turned its back on God, and whom God in his wrath in turn has handed over to wrong, twisted thinking.

    This isn’t the whole story as Jesus died to save sinners, and this included the repentant homosexuals in 1 Cor 6. That particular passage doesn’t say whether they struggled to keep free of this particular usually life dominating sin, but there is enough in Paul’s other writings dealing with putting of the old man or walking in the Spirit to suppress the works of the flesh etc. for us to know the Christian life is a battle, and that is true for all of us. It’s what we struggle against that differs depending on which sins we are being saved/cleaned up from at any one time.

    But dealing with the flesh/self-life including anger, drunkenness or theft or whatever does not entail accepting it as our orientation and seeking to affirm and welcome it, justify it of love it in others. If we aren’t prepared to crucify the flesh, we cannot enter the kingdom. We’d ruin it!

    It does not follow from this that homosexuals should be bullied or mistreated, but it is no more justifiable in the life of a believer than watching porn or having temper tantrums.

    There is a nasty, self-righteous little pharisee in every one of us biding his time to manifest himself, and this can often occur when we are dealing with sins with which we ourselves have never been tempted.

    I don’t see how the NT writers allow us any other option on this, and I am not looking to modern science for information about it, as science cannot tell me what is right and what is wrong, let alone what God thinks of something even if it might sometimes give limited information on why some people act the way they do.

  304. Ken wrote:

    I don’t see how the NT writers allow us any other option on this, and I am not looking to modern science for information about it, as science cannot tell me what is right and what is wrong, let alone what God thinks of something even if it might sometimes give limited information on why some people act the way they do.

    Though you also said:

    Affirming homosexuality, for example, is currently thought to be loving. But if this lifestyle is as unhealthy as I think it is, …

    Since you appeared to be relying on a supposed observation of the physical world – something that would fall in the domain of science – to prove your point, I asked for a citation. Needless to say, I’m not holding my breath, and I’m never surprised when people in your position make wild claims (e.g. LGBT people are disease-ridden, child molesters, etc.) and then fail to back their claims up with evidence, which should by all accounts be easy to come by if the claims were actually true. I shouldn’t have to tell you that this severely weakens any argument you attempt to make from nature, as you did in your earlier post.

  305. @ Ken:

    I suspect you were responding to Dee, but if you were responding to me, I wasn’t addressing the question of whether homosexual sex was okay. I only asked for a citation about rates of STDs in the gay community vs. straight people (which BTW you did not provide).

    Jesus himself limited marriage to one man and on woman as the original created order, including forbidding his followers to divorce.

    The marriage half of this is fine, but it’s just plain false that Jesus absolutely forbid divorce. He explicitly allowed it for adultery, and scholarly studies of ancient Jewish documents/context have revealed that it was also standard to allow it for abuse and abandonment.

    But dealing with the flesh/self-life including anger, drunkenness or theft or whatever does not entail accepting it as our orientation and seeking to affirm and welcome it, justify it of love it in others. If we aren’t prepared to crucify the flesh, we cannot enter the kingdom.

    Are you aware that there are lots of Christians who accept that they are gay by orientation, but otherwise agree with you about the sinfulness of gay sex and are celibate? You sound like you’re saying that someone who does this cannot get into heaven, even though they don’t engage in the problematic behavior in question. If that is what you’re saying, you’re WAY out of line.

    Also, I see you’re still not addressing those intersexual conditions I mentioned upthread in which it’s basically impossible to determine biological sex. And since you’re now switching gears to homosexuality, the answer to the question about intersexuality is pretty important to that topic because it determines whether a person with one of those conditions is engaging in heterosexual or homosexual sex.

    And in case you’re wondering, I actually agree with you that it seems pretty difficult to get an acceptance of gay sex out of the NT. That being said, however, you’ve come off as pretty intellectually irresponsible since joining this thread – for instance, I really hope your entire knowledge of transsexual issues does not come, as you seemed to imply earlier, from watching part of a single one-hour TV special that followed a single transsexual and their family. And switching gears now to homosexuality, only makes it look like you’re deliberately avoiding the questions posed to you about transsexual and intersexual issues. I really hope that’s not what you’re doing.

  306. Ken wrote:

    What Christ said through his apostles, Paul in particular, is also not so difficult to understand. Homosexuality is the hallmark of a society that has turned its back on God, and whom God in his wrath in turn has handed over to wrong, twisted thinking.

    What makes homosexuality the hallmark of a society that has turned its back on God? Why isn’t the hallmark of this debased society sexual exploitation of children, children sold into sex slavery, a father raping his own child, or the willful taking of an innocent life? If we’re ranking sin here, there are worse offences, as I see it.

  307. There can be no better hallmark of a debased society than child sexual abuse.

    By now, most of my fellow posters are aware that Christianity Today has published a self serving article by a youth pastor currently imprisonned for raping one of his underage students after grooming her with special attention since she was in middle school. He writes as if they were equally responsible for consensual adultery, rather than that he committed a crime. The negative consequences he bemoans are all HIS, no concern for the victim or his wife and children is expressed. At all.

    As you can imagine decent people are up in arms and want this article removed.

    Christianity Today’s response?

    1) to assure us that the man is repentant and takes 100 percent responsibility when it could not be more obvious that he doesn’t.

    2) to tell us this is an important article because sexual abuse is the number one reason that churches get sued. They don’t tell us that they think it is an important topic so that children can be protected.

    3) to change the man’s words so he sounds better.

    It just goes from bad to worse.

  308. @ Marsha:

    Yeah, what that CT article is describing, is really no different than what Doug Phillips is alleged to have done to Lourdes Torres. It’s actually worse, because youth leader guy’s victim was younger.

    There was a situation in the church I grew up in, in which the youth pastor actually got one of his students pregnant. I never knew many details beyond that except that he quietly left, and (I believe) she was older than the girl in the CT article (not that that makes any of it okay).

  309. numo wrote:

    @ dee: Dee, I think we *are* going to discover biological bases for transgenderism, and that people in the future will be deeply pained and horrified by our bigotry.

    I cannot for one second imagine that Jesus would ever demand that a trans person not be trans. We are who we are, and I honestly think that sexual orientation and gender identity cannot be altered. (As Josh noted earlier, the “success stories” that used to be touted by ex-gay groups are mostly about people who are bi to a greater or lesser degree – as for the rest, lies and attempted brainwashing don’t even begin to cover it.)

    I think that you’re right. Trans persons are almost certainly simply yet another group of people who have been born with a biological result of the fall of man. Our hangups and/or obsessions regarding sex & sexuality make this subject controversial.

  310. @ Hester:

    Time and space don’t allow for specific citations of STD rates etc., although I have seen them from time to time. Needless to say promiscuous sexual immorality has a price tag as far as health is concerned. If this were not the case, the so-called safe sex campaign would be pointless, in particular for gays.

    I read the now somewhat dated Truth about AIDS by Patrick Dixon. He is critical of the church’s often lack of compassion with sexual illnesses caused amongst all sections of the community, whilst simultaneously gently but directly pointing out you reap what you sow and much suffering here is due to lifesyle. I also recently listend to Dick Lucas on homosexuality (Anglican much in the ilk of John Stott, who is always biblical, thoughtful and takes the trouble to be well informed).

    I am aware of believers saying they have a gay orientation but remain celebate. My point is that the orientation does not justify the action, or make it inevitable. Such believers are hardly welcoming the orientation, they have to struggle against it.

    I don’t have in mind genuine biological problems regarding determining sex. That’s not really the issue here. It’s what people clearly choose to do I have in mind. I know you think I have conflated homosexuality with transgenderism, but the reason both are sinful is surely because in both cases a man (usually) is trying to be something he is not, namely a woman. This is not the will of God for him.

    I know you should be wary of making a generalisation out of a specific case, namely the program I saw recently, but this whole ‘woman trapped in a man’s body’ (or vice versa) is gaining currency. If I’m honest, I just don’t believe it, I think this is symptomatic of something else having gone wrong. Previous generations would have thought we were bonkers to entertain such an idea. Biological sex and gender identity are more ‘hard-wired’ in the vast majority of cases than modern secular thinking would like to admit.

    I think this whole area needs looking at biblically and with a cool head so as to determine what the correct Christian attitude should be. It is by no means impossible that saying ‘being gay is sinful’ will become a punishable offence in Europe in the future, although to date religious freedom has been exempted from hate crime or equality type legislation.

    That is one side of it, and the other is how you treat people – real flesh and blood – you come across in daily life. Perhaps there is talking at cross-purposes here. The former can sometimes appear harsh (you probably fear I am!), whereas too much emphasis on acceptance and unconditional love looks as though we are going soft on something that is harmful in trying not to be Pharisees.

    Somewhere along the line it must be possible to keep the two in balance. Who said being a Christian is easy?!

  311. @ Ken:

    Needless to say promiscuous sexual immorality has a price tag as far as health is concerned.

    Yes, it often does. But I expect the STD problem is more closely linked to promiscuity itself, without regard to whether it’s gay promiscuity or straight promiscuity. Some forms of sex are less safe than others simply because of what’s going on, and it has nothing to do with the sex of the participants. (There’s also the rather inconvenient fact that lesbian sex is often very safe because there’s no exchange of bodily fluids.) Thus why I requested statistics. If you can’t provide them, that’s fine – I don’t have them either – but just keep these things in mind.

    You’ve also come dangerously close, to my ears, to implying that all or most gays are promiscuous, which again would require statistics to demonstrate. My personal experience: none of the gay people I know are promiscuous, but I do know promiscuous straight people.

    I am aware of believers saying they have a gay orientation but remain celebate. My point is that the orientation does not justify the action, or make it inevitable.

    I actually agree with you here. But then later on you use the phrase “being gay is sinful,” which I can’t get behind. This implies that the orientation is the problem and someone is actively sinning just by having it, when what’s really at stake is acting on the urges it gives you. In other words, your sex drive just is – an orientation just is. All they do is incline you toward certain temptations. So when I hear the phrase “being gay is sinful,” I hear someone telling a glutton that the solution to their gluttony is to cut out their stomach, which we would all agree is ridiculous. The logical outcome of that is reparative therapy, which has been repeatedly demonstrated to not work.

    Basically, it’s next to impossible to change someone’s orientation, so we need to just start saying things like “gay sex is sinful” or something along those lines, which conveys the actual position of Side B folks. In fact gay people on Side B already say this. We also need to move away from using broad unqualified terms like “homosexuality” to refer just to gay sex. Homosexuality, strictly speaking, is an orientation, not an action. If you want to use it to refer to the action, that’s fine, but just make sure you tell your audience that first or they will fill in everything else.

    I actually think the distinction between a temptation to sin and the actual sin is extremely important here. James is pretty clear that they’re not the same. In other words, we can be tempted all day and never sin. If we don’t keep this straight, we risk going down the same road as the Botkins who think that having a crush on a boy is the same as committing adultery against your future husband. So ultimately this kind of thinking is destructive all around, not just for gay people. This post is also relevant.

    What’s funny to me is that the last time I had this conversation about temptation, it was also on TWW, about this exact same topic (attraction and temptation), but that guy insisted on giving me the runaround and conflating being attracted sexually to a woman with being attracted aesthetically to a painting, rather than answer me directly about whether his son was sinning by having a crush on a girl. So thanks, you’re much easier to talk to. :-)

    I don’t have in mind genuine biological problems regarding determining sex. That’s not really the issue here. It’s what people clearly choose to do I have in mind. I know you think I have conflated homosexuality with transgenderism, but the reason both are sinful is surely because in both cases a man (usually) is trying to be something he is not, namely a woman.

    I actually don’t think you conflated the two. You seemed to be changing the subject without answering my question about intersex people. I’m glad you wrote back to me because for a while there it looked like you were just flagrantly dodging something that made you uncomfortable.

    I know you don’t have intersex people in mind, but they really are relevant to this conversation. So let me rephrase my question. If you were faced with someone who had a woman’s external sex organs but xy (i.e., male) chromosomes, and they wanted to marry a biologically normal man, what would your thoughts be on that? Because on a chromosomal level, that would be homosexual sex. On an external level, however, it would be heterosexual.

    As for transsexualism, it might interest you to know that not everyone with gender dysphoria self-describes as feeling like “a man in a woman’s body” or vice versa. The person I know does not. And I’m actually okay with psychological gender identity being hard-wired, but in a post-Fall world, don’t you think it’s at least possible that the physical hard-wiring (sex) and the psychological hard-wiring (gender identity) could be mismatched? And if so, what do we do with that?

    And here’s where we run straight back to intersex people. You’re basically saying that our gender hard-wiring must come only from our physical sex. So if we can’t determine what sex someone is physically/biologically, what does that do to that idea? They’re hard-wired as…both? Neither? Nothing? It? And if we allow them to subjectively assign their own gender, we need a reasonable explanation as to why trans people can’t do the same. Maybe this explanation can be provided, maybe it can’t.

    Honestly, I’m not trying to be argumentative and contentious here, I’m trying to give you food for thought, because you’re sounding like you haven’t gone there mentally at all.

    …this whole ‘woman trapped in a man’s body’ (or vice versa) is gaining currency. If I’m honest, I just don’t believe it, I think this is symptomatic of something else having gone wrong. Previous generations would have thought we were bonkers to entertain such an idea.

    I don’t think we can say what it is symptomatic of at this point. There’s just not enough research yet. I think it’s just as irresponsible to say at this point that it’s all a delusion, as it is to start handing out sex reassignments like candy (though actually they don’t do that in reality – see linda’s comments upthread). We just don’t know. Granted, perhaps you’re not inclined to give a rip about the research. But science is part of the picture and I think God wants us to factor in things like that when interpreting the Bible and the world around us, because it’s part of the general revelation He gave us. If we don’t, we risk ending up like Ken Ham and Kent Hovind.

    As for previous generations, sure they would have thought we were bonkers about this, but they would also think electricity was witchcraft. They also wouldn’t have been able to recognize the medically valid intersex conditions I mentioned earlier. Previous generations often have a lot of wisdom to give us, but sometimes they really didn’t have the entire picture. It requires a lot of study and thought to determine which is the case on a given issue, which I don’t think has been done yet on this subject.

    I think this whole area needs looking at biblically and with a cool head so as to determine what the correct Christian attitude should be.

    Absolutely.

    That is one side of it, and the other is how you treat people – real flesh and blood – you come across in daily life. Perhaps there is talking at cross-purposes here. The former can sometimes appear harsh (you probably fear I am!), whereas too much emphasis on acceptance and unconditional love looks as though we are going soft on something that is harmful in trying not to be Pharisees.

    I’ll be honest here and say outright that unless the Side B person is themselves gay, I am automatically afraid that they are harsh and cruel. And I say this as a straight Side B person. I have known too many people who are homophobic – in the literal sense, not the popular sense – to proceed without that level of caution. To demonstrate what I mean, I once knew a lady who was a membership coordinator for a Christian homeschool group, who was afraid to pick up the phone if the couple had unisex names (i.e., Pat and Lynn) because she had convinced herself that those evil scheming gays would try and infiltrate the group and sue them. If a phobia is an irrational fear, then this is true homophobia, and it’s not only unacceptable for Christians but also unhealthy.

    Conversely, I’m sure you think I’ve swallowed the entire thing hook, line and sinker. I haven’t. I’m trying to study it, keep an open mind and be honest. I think there are legitimate issues here that need to be worked through, and they haven’t been, so we have to start somewhere. There are also real people who are often terribly mistreated.

  312. Ken wrote:

    I know you think I have conflated homosexuality with transgenderism, but the reason both are sinful is surely because in both cases a man (usually) is trying to be something he is not, namely a woman. This is not the will of God for him.

    A century or two ago, people used to think that gay men were trying to be women. Nowadays, most people realize that this is not the case. As a Christian who happens to be gay (and single), I can’t for a nanosecond take you seriously when you say things like that, because you’ve shown that you don’t understand what you’re trying to discuss. Were you only intending to preach to the choir?

    There’s not much one could add to Hester‘s coverage of the intersex/trans* angle. Current thinking is that gender and sex (see Hester’s discussion for the distinction between the two) are indeed hard-wired, though each (i.e. genitals, then brain) develops at a different stage of a baby’s growth in the womb. Therefore, it is conceivable – and does in fact happen – that intra-uterine factors can push physical development one way and mental development the other. Et voila, a trans* person is born! As Hester said, how we respond to this is a different sort of question.

  313. @ Ken:

    I know you think I have conflated homosexuality with transgenderism, but the reason both are sinful is surely because in both cases a man (usually) is trying to be something he is not, namely a woman.

    Yeah, seconding Josh here. This doesn’t even make sense on its face, because not all gay men are passive. If I may be a bit frank for a moment, there has to be a penetrating or at least non-passive partner in the sex act(s) you’re thinking of. How is that guy “trying to be a woman”?

  314. Another link on a topic that was touched upon, and I agree with many of the sentiments expressed here:

    The ‘Transgender Tipping Point’ to Censorship

    Now that our cultural elites feel they have sufficiently educated the public on the virtues of gays and lesbians, it’s time to drill down to the next level. Here comes transgenderism.

    …Beware of the words “tipping point.” That means Americans will no longer be allowed to express dissent, moral or otherwise, about the choice to discard the oppressive “gender binary” and be whichever blend of genders you choose. Disagree, and you “stigmatize” and “dehumanize” people. You deny them “civil rights.” You “criminalize” the innocent.

    …GLAAD is rising, and freedom of speech in America is dying. Everyone must promote only the glorious fluidity of gender narrative.

    And there-in is my concern.

    Americans can no longer hold opinions or give voice to them, or, if they do, they get shouted down on many forums, blogs, and in some cases, people have been almost fired from their jobs, or harassed into quitting from their jobs, for expressing disagreement with homosexuality or trandgenderism.

    [MOD: Edited to remove a comment related to blog operation.]

  315. zooey111 wrote:

    . Our hangups and/or obsessions regarding sex & sexuality make this subject controversial.

    For me, it’s largely a matter of personal safety. I posted a link here not too long ago of a guy who claimed to be trans to get into a woman’s shelter, and he sexually assaulted the women there.

    I am also concerned about censorship and bullying that goes on, where people who do not agree with transgenderism or homosexuality are getting black balled from employment and so forth.

    It’s also troubling to me that people who have reservations about any of this due to religious reasons are being targeted for harassment.

  316. Hester wrote:

    There’s also the rather inconvenient fact that lesbian sex is often very safe because there’s no exchange of bodily fluids.

    Saliva is a bodily fluid. Do you have a reference to back up this claim?

  317. Daisy wrote:

    I am also concerned about censorship and bullying that goes on, where people who do not agree with transgenderism or homosexuality are getting black balled from employment and so forth.

    And then there’s the censorship and bullying that comes from the conservative arena, where they fight for their rights to continue to discriminate against LGBT people as they previously have. You know, like campaigning for the continued right to fire people just for being LGBT (you don’t even have to be partnered to get canned; you just have to trip some bigot’s gaydar), or campaigning against things like the “mix it up at lunch” anti-bullying initiative because it’s a part of the liberal agenda to make gay people seem normal.

  318. @ NC Now:

    Well, here’s an answer from an M.D. with 30+ years experience with STDs.

    http://www.medhelp.org/posts/STDs/saliva-and-STD/show/435039 (sorry for the questioner’s description of his sexual encounter, couldn’t be helped)

    What I did accidentally omit was oral sex. I had manual stuff in mind when I wrote the initial statement, which was an oversight on my part. Oral sex does carry risk and involve an exchange of bodily fluids, but it doesn’t appear to be any riskier between two women that between a man and a woman. There’s also ways to use protection while doing this, so once again, nothing special here. Per manual activities, the only time I imagine there would be risk of transmission is if there was blood involved – i.e., one party had an open cut on her hand or was menstruating.

    Basically, protected gay sex is probably still safer than unprotected straight sex – i.e., the kind of sex promoted by Kevin Swanson, Quiverfull advocates, Abeka, and other abstinence-only sex ed/anti-birth control people/groups. Funny how that works out. Frankly I’d love to see what Mark Driscoll has to say about birth control and protection, given that he’s probably the biggest, loudest evangelical proponent of anal sex.

  319. @ Hester:

    I read the link and it’s a pretty trivial example of sexual practices. Without going into detail, this is no where near representative of the ways fluids can be exchanged via sexual practices. Many of them many people here would call deviant but go skim a few issues of Cosmo and you’ll begin to see how common they are amongst a non trivial (or large minority or even majority of younger people) number of people.

    And once you start ingesting via mouth or nose fluids and bacteria from contact with various bodily openings you have a chance to spread most diseases. And don’t forget that many people may not scrub their hands after each session and transfer things via contact with drinks or food or whatever.

    Here’s a WebMD example of just two diseases.
    http://www.webmd.com/women/features/could-you-have-std-not-know

  320. @ NC Now:

    Thank you for the correction, then. I don’t read trash like Cosmo or hang out in seedy corners of the internet so I’m not familiar with deviant sex acts. Though the stuff listed in your link is hardly exclusive to lesbians, so the main point, that evangelicals exaggerate how dangerous gay sex can be, and underplay (or just don’t mention) how dangerous straight sex can be, still stands.

  321. Hester wrote:

    Have fun reading that novel I left you. Probably should have broken that up…

    I read your novel (so it was not in vain), but for next time would humbly and in a spirit of brotherly love suggest I Hester and II Hester. :-)

    We agree to be tempted is not to sin. We are also agreed this whole issue needs thinking through by believers who want to be responsible. But when the word homosexuality is used, in my thinking it conjures up the idea of men having sex with men (MSM), whereas the orientation aspect is same-sex attraction (SSA). The former is sinful, a wrong use of sex like any other form of immorality, but for the latter you could argue exactly how much culpability for this lies with the person experiencing it. It’s why this kind of discussion needs to be had. Whilst I would not dismiss science in this area, science is always subject to revision, whereas the bible is not.

    When I say for both homosexuality and transgenderism a man is trying to be something he is not namely a woman, I have in mind the text in Lev 18 ‘You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination’. Doesn’t this define what is wrong? Add it to Deut 22:5, the spirit of which to me reappears in 1 Cor 11 regarding hair length, and it is quite clear that God does not want M and F to become blurred.

    One reason why I am a believer is that the commands God has given make sense, and when we think we know better, it leads to all sorts of suffering, sickness and death. Sexual immorality is a classic example of this. That’s part of why I don’t think it is loving to encourage or affirm any sort of immorality, which includes homosexuality. Transgenderism may not exactly be immorality, but is still unhealthy, and to me 1 Cor 6 covers this kind of behaviour if you think of the older version of ‘effeminate’ as being those who wear soft clothing or in some other way are too girlie (for want of a better term).

    I don’t think what previous generations thought is binding on us, but what they thought about things might sometimes help us in not following the culture in which we live, all the more so when that culture is increasingly turning its back on Christian truth and the gospel.

    Finally, I think Daisy’s worry that Christians are going to come under pressure over this in the future needs taking seriously, it’s once reason we need to be clear over exactly what we are to believe and practice on this issue.

  322. @ Ken:
    With respect, your comment about “trying to become a woman” re. sexual orientation/activity is pretty much *not* what it’s about.

    Why do people focus so relentlessly on a single sexual practice that many straight people also engage in, while conveniently ignoring love? As in, gay people feel profound emotional affinities toward others of the same gender. Focusing on what might or might not be done as part of someone’s sex life is, imo, frankly creepy – and profoundly dehumanizing.

    Let’s just turn the tables and imagine that straight people were loudly, publicly, unceasingly castigated for having piv sex. And that *nothing* else about these people or their relationships was ever mentioned – especially love.

    See what I mean?

  323. @ numo:
    If we go by what we are for, rather than against, then there is nothing wrong with men ‘loving’ each other in the David and Jonathan sense, or in a more general sense of looking out for the well-being of others. Healthy and close male friendships are good and should be cultivated. Nothing wrong with the old charismatic holy hug.

    It is precisely the sex amongst those of the same sex that is the problem, that is what the bible forbids. It is both out of order and unhealthy.

    Promiscuous sex amongst heterosexuals is just as out of order and unhealthy, more often related to lust rather than love. There is no partiality when it comes to reaping what you sow in this area.

  324. Ken wrote:

    When I say for both homosexuality and transgenderism a man is trying to be something he is not namely a woman, I have in mind the text in Lev 18 ‘You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination’. Doesn’t this define what is wrong?

    You’re going to need to explain how you make the leap from saying that Leviticus 18:22 describes a particular sort of intercourse to claiming that it states that gay men want to be women. The former is a legitimate interpretation of the verse; the latter … well, it requires supporting documentation, because the conclusion simply does not follow from the stated premises.

  325. @ Josh:
    Exactly.

    Also, I wonder why we happily wear clothing made of mixed fibers, eat shellfish and ignore most all of the rest of the commands in Leviticus, but make so much of this single sentence, which doesn’t even state what sexul act(s) is being referred to?

    I wonder if this commandment is related to not abusing others, as it wasn’t uncommon for men in the ancient world to use slaves (of all ages) and male prisoners of war for sex – in the latter case, as deliberate sexual assault/humiliation. Rape and other kinds of sexual abuse are inherently rooted in the rapist/abuser using sex as a way to show that they have power over their victims. Hmm…

  326. @ Ken: I’ve got a reply to Josh’s latest that is in moderation. It has more than a little to do w/this comment of yours.

    I wonder why you think that gay men want to be women? As Josh said, that’s quite a leap, and isnt consonant w/the reality of masculine gay men’s lives and experience. I don’t know if you have or have had any gay friends, but you might be surprised at how many regular guy-type men are gay/bi. (Likewise for many lesbians/bi women whom most men “read” as feminine straight gals.) There are many stereotypes, but reality – in terms of personality as well as orientation – is far more complex than that.

  327. @ numo:
    While I generally take a “Side B” aka “the actions are wrong though the feelings are not” approach for the sake of argument when discussing this topic here at TWW, I’ve wondered some similar things. I feel that the points raised by the side in favor of monogamous lesbian and gay relationships are often dismissed too quickly by those opposed to such relationships.

    Concerning your second point, I can only say that I evidently do an effective job of passing as straight; no one has ever suspected that I’m, well, not (though, strictly speaking, I should only claim that they’ve never vocalized such suspicions and I’ve never been the subject of rumors). When I try to be deliberately campy, it comes off as a parody of a stereotypical gay person rather than a genuine characteristic. And I’m certainly not the only one in this situation. So the “gay men want to be women” trope is getting old, never mind that it’s completely wrong, though – as we’ve seen – that certainly doesn’t stop misinformed people from using it.

  328. @ Ken:

    But when the word homosexuality is used, in my thinking it conjures up the idea of men having sex with men (MSM), whereas the orientation aspect is same-sex attraction (SSA). The former is sinful, a wrong use of sex like any other form of immorality, but for the latter you could argue exactly how much culpability for this lies with the person experiencing it. It’s why this kind of discussion needs to be had. Whilst I would not dismiss science in this area, science is always subject to revision, whereas the bible is not.

    I humbly submit that I doubt you would be arguing any kind of culpability for someone with OSA (opposite-sex attraction – not sure if that’s a real term but hey, I just coined it! :-D ), just for having OSA. You would be telling them how not to let it spiral out of control into lust, but not that they were somehow culpable for being attracted to the opposite sex. Frankly, that’s just a double standard, esp. if we discover via science that it’s nothing more than a wiring difference in the same part of the brain, or something similar.

    Like I said before, the logical outcome of someone being culpable for their own SSA is reparative therapy. But we pretty much know that that rarely works, even when people desperately want to change for religious reasons, so what do we make of that? They’re just not trying hard enough? They were lying to the therapist? Either way, you’re just going to end up dumping a heaping pile of blame on the head of someone who already feels terrible about themselves, because they found out they can’t change something that’s supposedly incompatible with them being acceptable to God. See also this page from Warren Throckmorton, a Christian psych prof who was involved a video project about ex-gays but now believes “durable change in basic attractions is very infrequent.” (There are more thorough statements from Throckmorton about this, but I don’t have them on hand at the moment and my computer is having problems right now loading basic webpages.) And even for those rare cases where reparative therapy does appear to work, how do we know those people weren’t bisexual to begin with?

    As for the Bible not being subject to revision, I will note that the Bible only talks about MSM and lust, not SSA. So really there’s nothing to revise, because the Bible is silent on the topic.

    Add it to Deut 22:5, the spirit of which to me reappears in 1 Cor 11 regarding hair length, and it is quite clear that God does not want M and F to become blurred.

    You do realize that Deuteronomy 22:5 runs straight back to the intersex conditions I talked about earlier, in multiple ways. The most obvious one is, what is a person of ambiguous sex supposed to wear, since their biology has already blurred male and female? If they pick the wrong option, they’re an abomination according to Deuteronomy 22:5, so according to your own logic you can’t just dismiss this, since that puts it on a level with the gay sex verse you quoted.

    As for hair length, you may want to look into the cultural background of that verse in particular. I think I mentioned upthread that many Biblical scholars (including Christians) believe that Paul’s argument from nature there, actually stems from ancient views about women’s hair being a kind of sex organ that drew the man’s sperm up into their bodies through ducts. Obviously none of that is true, so let’s just say I’m skeptical that this constitutes some kind of timeless binding command about gender-appropriate hair length. Would you be upset if your daughter chopped her hair short or your son grew it out long?

    Transgenderism may not exactly be immorality, but is still unhealthy, and to me 1 Cor 6 covers this kind of behaviour if you think of the older version of ‘effeminate’ as being those who wear soft clothing or in some other way are too girlie (for want of a better term).

    What constitutes too girly, and can you justify your standard without basing it on a cultural stereotype? Case in point, the men’s clothing alluded to in Deuteronomy 22:5 (and some Middle Eastern clothing even today), would be considered “effeminate” in the West because it was almost certainly some kind of skirt. And as for soft clothing, pretty much all modern clothing would have felt soft to the ancients so make of that what you will. ;-)

    for next time would humbly and in a spirit of brotherly love suggest I Hester and II Hester

    Well, Hester is just the Latin form of Esther so technically I already have my own book of the Bible. ;-)

  329. @ Josh: I was in favor of Side B at one time, but I honestly don’t see how/why monogamous relationships should be off the board for gay people. The many churches that demand lifelong celibacy would likely be aghast at the notion that *straight* people might or ought to do the same.

    Focusing solely on sexual practices is so cruel – it undermines the humanity of all lgbtq people, and conveniently provides a way for people to ignore the very human need for love and building a life w/another person. What right does anyone have to deny that to others? I am just amazed at how people demand something from others (no matter who they are) that they would never in a million years think of doing in their own lives.

    And it’s SO exhausting to see culture war types bring up one target after another. The plain truth is that every group of people seems to want another group to be “less than” so that they can kick them around. I wish that wasn’t in human nature, but…

  330. @ Josh:

    There’s also the problem (as we’ve also seen on this thread) that gay relationships get conflated with gay promiscuity, even though we can all see the difference between monogamous straight relationships and straight promiscuity. Which is funny, because all the Side A people I’ve read, gay or straight, have all explicitly stated that promiscuity is wrong in a Biblical sexual ethic.

  331. @ numo: err, make that “bath house.”

    I like the idea of a “bat house,” because it sounds like a good premise for a cartoon… ;)

Leave a Reply

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

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>