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Have the Southern Baptists Compromised?

In October 214, the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission department of the Southern Baptists held a national conference, titled “The Gospel, Homosexuality, and the Future of Marriage”. It was noted for exhibiting a higher level of compassion toward those burdened with homosexual temptation, and for a downplaying of the virtue/value of reparative therapy for homosexuals.

I think that overall, the themes and achievements of the conference were a great thing. However there were other conservative evangelicals who were not so impressed, in particular perhaps, those more aligned with Restored Hope Network theology, IE the belief that homosexual orientation is not okay, and the belief that its existence as an ongoing inclination, should be denied by those who are burdened by it. And those who hold to this theology are able to articulate their position fairly well. One person explained –

We are set free [from sin such as homosexual expression] because the Bible says we are. Read Romans 6, which says that we should count ourselves dead to sin and alive to God. Just because we are tempted with sin does not mean that we are not free from sin. Christ Jesus died and rose from the dead to give us a new spirit, a spirit free from sin. We are new Creations in Christ Jesus. What we have to do once we are made new in Christ is to renew our mind to God’s Word according to Romans 12:1-2. We must share the truth of God’s Word no matter what others might experience. Our experiences do not negate the Word of God. But as I believe the Word and choose to walk by faith and not by my senses, the Word will cause a change in my mind and body which will cause my experiences to change to line up with the Word of God. The thorn of St Paul was a spirit sent to buffet Him and that is what the devil does with all of us who Call on the Name of Jesus. He wants to camouflage the Truth so that we want believe and receive what Christ Jesus has done for us. Christians who struggle with homosexuality are not the only people who are tempted with the sin they were set free from. Fornicators, who decide to live a celibate life are tempted to return to their former lives. Former drug addicts are sometimes tempted to return to drugging after they have received Jesus Christ and His freedom. There are some people who have struggled with all the above but are never tempted again in that area of sin but are tempted with other sins. The truth still remains the same, we have been set free from all sin but we live in a world where sin abounds. Thank God the Word says where sin abound graces does much more abound. God has given us the grace to say no to sin and yes to Him.

And such an argument is quite Biblical. But on the other hand, the opposite might be argued from Scriptures such as Romans 7. So what do we do? Are Christians set free from sinful inclinations or is the inclination something that sometimes sticks with us? Can I suggest that the following line of thinking may be helpful in some way. We accept the fact that Christians with cancer often die of cancer. This is despite Scriptures such as Is 53:5, Mat 10:8 etc telling us that we neednt settle for sickness. It’s interesting to contrast how we accept this lack of healing, but we struggle to accept that there are a lot of same-sex attracted Christians who despite prayer, fasting, exorcism etc etc, have found that the Lord has not taken the burden from them. Why do we accept the former but not the latter? Why is it regarded as compromise to recognise that a Christian will continue to battle homosexual inclination, and yet not compromise to recognise that a Christian may die of cancer?

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