Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Who is Saved: The Unrepentant?

There has been a lot of flap over reparative therapy (RP). Can it take away same-sex attraction (SSA)? Recently, the president of Exodus International, a ministry that helps Christians leave the gay lifestyle, has expressed his doubts about the effectiveness of RP in removing SSA. Alan Chambers instead prefers Christian discipleship programs focused on helping Christians resist various temptations.

No problem there. I too have my doubts about RP’s effectiveness in eliminating SSA. Although our Lord can easily remove our various temptations and weaknesses, He often leaves them for us to struggle through them (2 Cor. 12:9-10). However, this is no reason to dismiss Christian counseling. It might be helpful to understand the connection between their SSA and their early childhood influences.

However, knowledge doesn’t equate with cure. Through therapy, a female friend saw the connection between being repeatedly sexually abused by her father and her SSA. This understanding made her hesitate before plunging into the homosexual lifestyle. However, she still had the SSA and plunge she did. Consequently, she cut me off. (Despite all of the propaganda about Christian families cutting their children off as they take this plunge, I have no knowledge of such a family. Those Christian parents that I know have tried desperately to maintain a loving relationship with their wayward children. Instead, in every case of which I am aware, it is the children who reject their parents.)

However, Chambers, speaking at the Gay Christian Network, a group that supports this lifestyle, stated “we’re Christians, all of us,” and “we all love Jesus,” despite the fact that he continues to maintain that homosexuality is a sin. (World, August 11, 2012, 13)

This is truly problematic. While we all sin, repentance (along with faith) and confession are central to forgiveness and a relationship with Christ. According to Him, without repentance, we can only expect judgment:

  • Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. (Rev. 2:5, 16)
  • Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you. (Rev. 3:3)
Jesus explained that without repentance, there could be no basis for eternal confidence. His disciples asked why tragedy had befallen a certain group of Galileans. Jesus answered:

  • "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. (Luke 13:2-3)
Consequently, we have no Scriptural authorization to assure the unrepentant kidnapper or pedophile that they are Christians or that they are going to heaven as long as they merely profess a faith in Jesus. This isn’t a saving faith. It’s delusion. A faith that saves is a faith that repents. I cannot claim that I am trusting in Jesus if I refuse to do the things He tells me to do. This isn’t trust. If I trust in my doctor, I will do what he tells me to do. If I don’t do them, I really don’t trust him.

Although Chambers’ assurance to the Network was inclusive, it left God and His Word out of the picture. Sometimes love requires a warning and not a false but soothing word.

Chambers made a serious but common mistake. I pray that he will see that the approval of God is more important than the approval of men and that he will confess his mistake.

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