In order to keep from appearing pedantic, this is my last post on Dr. Mohler’s response. I was fully prepared to not write anything further the last time I said this but Dr. Mohler responded in two different venues since that time. Thus, unless he responds again with anything other than an apology to Southern Baptists I will drop this issue.
@albertmohler Same-sex marriage approved by 33-29 vote in New York senate. Sad day for marriage…and for us all.
The tweet above was tweeted by Dr. Al Mohler from his twitter account late at night on June 24. Dr. Mohler’s tweet was retweeted by over 100 others which included many younger Southern Baptist pastors and leaders. What is confusing with all of this?
First, I am saddened by the vote of New York. I believe if we ever give up the fight against making same-sex marriage normal, our children’s children will accept it as normal.
Second, Dr. Mohler seems to have surrendered, not the Biblical position against same-sex marriage as normal, but the cultural fight concerning the nature of homosexuality. I submit to you that as a result of the laying down of this epistemological position concerning homosexuality, same-sex marriage will be the norm within the next 10 years. Dr. Mohler is a leading conservative voice in the culture battle and his statement “we have lied concerning the nature of homosexuality” is a huge step.
It is not that Dr. Mohler needs to take on the political faction, but he must understand political factions listen to those who affirm and embrace his thoughts. Politicians will follow the voices of their constituents.
Do not lose sight of the fact that a brouhaha became news within the evangelical world after Dr. Mohler’s comments at the convention in Phoenix and then New York passed the same-sex marriage act. Those who affirm and embrace the thoughts of Dr. Mohler are the constituents of these politicians. Could it be when the politicians read about Dr. Mohler’s statement they saw it as a time to strike?
If Dr. Mohler’s position is that we have forsaken the cultural battle for same-sex attraction/orientation then the logical assumption is we have given up the battle against making same-sex marriage the norm in society. It seems that we have surrendered to the argument that same-sex attraction is “normal” for some. Thus, our continued battles on this point make conservatives look like homophobic Neanderthals.
Well, I have only one question. Does it not appear we are being homophobic to tweet how sad it is for a state to pass a same-sex marriage bill? As one tweep in Iowa responded; “why would you think this affects you at all?” It is as if she is challenging Dr. Mohler that unless you are living in New York, or you are homosexual, then you have no voice in this debate. Oh, guess what? That is the exact definition Dr. Mohler termed as homophobic because some in the church have dared stand against a platform without speaking with those on the platform. Therefore, Dr. Mohler seems to be unable to move from his own charge of “practicing a form of homophobia.”
With that in mind I want to explore the two issues of the question asked Dr. Mohler on the convention floor. I do this for two simple reasons. First Dr. Mohler responded in Baptist Press in what appears to be a backing away from his statements made on the convention floor. Second, Dr. Mohler also responded to a private email from an SBC pastor with what appears to be a further distancing from the statements he made on the convention floor. By no means am I using something that was meant for private consumption because the pastor was given permission to present Dr. Mohler’s response publicly. Also, a leading Calvinist Pastor has expressed his concern over Dr. Mohler’s statements in a recent sermon.
Your charge that we are “practicing a form of homophobia.”
According to Phil Johnson, homophobia is used by those that are trying to give homosexual behavior some sense of normalcy. However, in the Baptist Press article you seem to have fallen victim to Mr. Johnson’s position when you define homophobia as follows;
”Mohler defines homophobia in the church as being “afraid of the conversation and afraid of the issue” of homosexuality.”
The Anti-Defamation League defines homophobia as; “Homophobia is the hatred or fear of homosexuals.” Dictionary.com defines homophobia as; “unreasoning fear of or antipathy toward homosexuals and homosexuality.” Neither of these definitions speak anything about being afraid of the conversation or the issue. It brings fear to the point of hatred, which Dr. Mohler, is not the definition you are using. Thus, you have used a word and now in a postmodern way defined it differently than the norm. In the classic sense of the word “queer” you have assigned a “queer” definition for the word homophobia.
What I do not understand, Dr. Mohler, is how your position remains congruent with your past positions. I remember the day I read your article concerning the tragic death of Tyler Clementi where you said;
“But this is not the end of the matter, and we know it. When gay activists accuse conservative Christians of homophobia, they are wrong. Our concern about the sinfulness of homosexuality is not rooted in fear, but in faithfulness to the Bible — and faithfulness means telling the truth.”
I remember thinking as I finished your article on that Monday morning in 2010, Dr. Mohler gets it. While I weep over the untimely deaths of those three souls, my heart breaks they could not find a person that could present to them the truth in love and acceptance. You shined forth in that article that accepting a person is not the same as accepting that person’s sin. Dr. Mohler you took a clear stand then on how conservative Christians have been accused, based solely on a word meaning hatred–homophobia.
In your article in Baptist Press, Dr. Mohler, you express your account of how the gay activists use the word “homophobia” as a battering ram.
”But we play in to that when we do demonstrate ourselves to be afraid of the conversation.”
Dr. Mohler, you clearly present the situation but then you muddy the waters by using the phrase, “afraid of the conversation.” I understand that you may not have been in your office on March 26, 2007, but to offer up a prayer in chapel on March 27, 2007 does not indicate that you are open to conversing, either. My point here is not to get into a back-and-forth about whom has spoken to the more militant among the homosexual activists. But to call your attention to the inconsistency of charging Southern Baptist with “practicing a form of homophobia” and then changing the definition of “homophobia.” What you have done to Southern Baptists is exactly what you have accused the gay activists of doing to you. You have used “homophobia” as a battering ram.
When one reads Dr. Mohler’s response to Pastor Les Puryear the first thing to note is the less than usual clear wording concerning the question asked at the Phoenix convention. The comment by Dr. Mohler of not speaking about Southern Baptists in particular but about the church for the past 2000 years has no basis for accuracy. Dr. Mohler, was asked this question during the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention. Peter Lumpkins question directed him, not to the church for the past 2000 years, but to us as Southern Baptists. When one reviews the video one will find Peter Lumpkins asked Dr. Mohler how “Southern Baptist in particular” have practiced a form of homophobia. Dr. Mohler responded to Lumpkins question without referencing the church of 2000 years but in his response to Pastor Puryear he brings out the church of 2000 years. Also, in the Baptist Press article, Dr. Mohler never once said anything about the church of 2000 years. It is clear, in the Baptist Press article, that we are referencing Southern Baptists. Even Alan Chambers of Exodus International expressed how he was afraid to speak about his same-sex attraction in the “Southern Baptist church” he grew up in. In his response to Pastor Puryear, Dr. Mohler illustrates something the Conservative Resurgence had to overcome in the 80′s–Double-Speak!!!
Your charge that “we” have “lied concerning the nature of homosexuality.”
It is this charge, Dr. Mohler, that needs as much of an apology from you as the homophobia charge you leveled. You say to Pastor Puryear;
“I never spoke of “members of the SBC as ‘liars’ and ‘homophobes,’” but I did speak of the failure of the Christian church over the centuries to deal with homosexuality in a fully honest and Gospel-centered manner.”
It seems that once again you missed the question Pastor Lumpkins asked. I do not know the specifics of Pastor Puryear’s email to you. He may have worded his email differently than Pastor Lumpkins worded his question on the convention floor. It is your response to the question at the convention that Pastor Puryear emailed you. Pastor Lumpkins, on the convention floor, specifically questioned you on the statement by Jonathan Merritt where you told him that Southern Baptists have lied concerning the nature of homosexuality. In word-for-word reading of the article that Pastor Lumpkins quoted one would have to admit you referenced “the church.” However, you were introduced in the article as the President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. This introduction, along with the context of the article, indicates your reference of “the church” certainly appears to mean Southern Baptists.
As this article comes to a close I want to ask for something we have not received yet–CLARITY. Dr. Mohler, no one is asking about your stand on homosexuality that you have written about with such clarity in your over 200 articles. Dr. Mohler no one desires to hear you express how this society is in turmoil because of the sexual perversion of our day. Dr. Mohler, no one desires to hear you speak about how the churches in the last 2000 years has not dealt with the militant homosexuals.
Dr. Mohler, here is what we want to hear from you. Quote for us the specifics where we have used the “choice language” to negate any sin. You say we have “lied concerning the nature of homosexuality” and then you further identified this lie as speaking only half the truth using the “choice language.” Give us specifics!!! Point out who and where we have advocated that sin can be done away with merely by choosing not to sin without the blood of Jesus Christ.
Dr. Mohler, something else we need from you for further clarification. Quote for us the specific ways we have practiced a “form of homophobia.” You have defined “homophobia” as a fear to sit down and speak with the homosexual community. Where have we done this? Should we have consulted SoulForce before the convention boycotted Disney? Would it have helped to get Mel White’s input before we added a statement to Article II of our Bylaws? Dr. Mohler, should we have spoken with the Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists before the SBC Executive Committee withdrew fellowship from Broadway Baptist Church? Please, Please Dr. Molher, I desire to know where you believe we have practiced this form of homophobia, as you have now defined it.
Dr. Mohler, one last point of clarification. In the Baptist Press article you are reported as saying; “Humans don’t choose their temptations but they do choose whether to act on those temptations.” You went on to clarify your position by saying; “every single human being past the point of puberty has some form of sexual temptation…” Thus, it gives the appearance that you believe homosexual passions and desires are something to which some are predisposed/predetermined. These same-sex attraction temptations are thrust on these humans with a homosexual predisposition/predetermination at puberty and it is the submission to that temptation that makes a homosexual become a homosexual. Can you provide clarity for us on this? Would I be correct to state your position in this way?
Dr. Mohler, I want you to continue sounding forth the cultural alarm based on Scripture. Yours is a voice desperately needed. However, this voice has become muffled, not by the culture, but by your dance around a clearly worded question asked by a duly elected messenger.