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Apr 21, 2011

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Dr. James Galyon

Homosexuality is sin. The preceding sentence is considered "harsh" and "homophobic" by some. So be it. It has been, is, and will always remain sin.

Drpenn

Peter - didn't Jesus treat different sins differently? He threw the money changers out - rather violently; but to the woman at the well, he told her about her sins, and told her to 'go and sin no more'.

I think the difference is the sinner - not the sin. A gay/lesbian sinner that has an agenda to eradicate the world of a moral standard to justify their sinful behavior is like the money changers.

Not that I have met any, but the gay/lesbian that knows they are choosing to sin, and perhaps struggle with the inner conflict - may need to be addressed as Jesus did the woman at the well. "Go and sin no more".

I've oft wondered if the woman at the well went away and really did "sin no more". I doubt it. Maybe that's just the pessimist/realist in me - but I understand we are a fallen people - who, left to our own devices fail time and again.

The young man is right, sadly - I've witnessed with my own two eyes - the generation coming behind has been successfully brainwashed by the liberal homosexual activists from an early induction under the guise of "acceptance/tolerance". They roll their eyes at our "old school" religion. We're too intolerant...and "so what" attitudes of the next generation runs rampant. The church will change - as we move on to glory, and they come behind us.....Jesus WILL come back, and wonder - "where are my followers". It's sickening, and sad. It makes me wonder why we are trying at all - except to perhaps slow the erosion.

As for Mr. Mohler....wow. I wonder what he has to say about that?

BDW

I found it interesting that Merritt didn't even get considered for the March Madness bracket over at SBCVoices. Oddly, I don't think Merritt is on the radar of the average Southern Baptist blogger. Yet, Merritt receives more media attention than probably any Southern Baptist in the United States other than Richard Land.

I enjoyed the post. Obviously, I disagree with your assessment of Merritt. I was greatly encouraged by his SBECI (a very centrist document in my opinion and actually consistent with the stewardship views espoused by Southern Baptist leaders back in 1990 under CLC leadership of Louis Moore and Richard Land). His other positions (nuclear, gay rights) are not as centrist - at least in the Southern Baptist context. I have an appreciation for Merritt. And if SBCers ever run him out of town, I know Baptists like myself and Dr. Gushee will welcome him in the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship!

Tim Rogers

Brother Mark,

I have searched that article and cannot find anything that could be a reference concerning Merritt's quote. The closest I can find is

Yet, when gay activists accuse conservative Christians of homophobia, they are also right. Much of our response to homosexuality is rooted in ignorance and fear. We speak of homosexuals as a particular class of especially depraved sinners and we lie about how homosexuals experience their own struggle. Far too many evangelical pastors talk about sexual orientation with a crude dismissal or with glib assurances that gay persons simply choose to be gay. While most evangelicals know that the Bible condemns homosexuality, far too many find comfort in their own moralism, consigning homosexuals to a theological or moral category all their own.

It is clear that Mohler is not arguing that sexual orientation is something we are born with. Unless one reads into Mohler's wording of "ignorance and fear." But that is a huge leap.

Blessings,
Tim

selahV (a.k.a. hariette petersen)

Drpenn, what you say here is so very true. young Merritt's generation and younger are more and more desensitized to sin because of indoctrination of political correctness in our school systems, cartoons, television programs, movies and pop culture.

I want to cry Holy, Holy, Holy. Where is the Holy we are to be?

That said, I wonder...if all we had were the best of the world, would we be any better than Eve and Adam given a garden of perfection with a tree of knowledge of good and evil at our disposal? I think not...we have the knowledge now--we know good from evil and yet we choose evil again and again. Not only do we choose it, we embrace it. I'd like to think we would rise above the sin if the world was less sinful, but given man's desire to live unto the flesh, I'd say we are more and more fortunate that our blessed Savior paid the penalty for us all. hariette petersen (a.k.a. selahV)

Ron Hale

Peter,

Even with the link that Mark [above] supplied, it seems that Dr. Mohler was misquoted and taken out of context in Jonathon's article.

I first read this article in the Christian Science Monitor some time ago and quickly after reading Dr. Mohler's second quote on page two of the CSM, I thought something wasn't right.

I join with many others [with hope and prayers] that Jonathon and many other young leaders will have a revival of the Word and rest on Biblical convictions, rather than being pulled into the pagan pool of our culture.

Mark

Tim,

I read Merritt's quote of Mohler here:

“We’ve lied about the nature of homosexuality and have practiced what can only be described as a form of homophobia,” Mohler says. “We’ve used the ‘choice’ language when it is clear that sexual orientation is a deep inner struggle and not merely a matter of choice”

And thought it was from the link I posted which you quoted as:

Yet, when gay activists accuse conservative Christians of homophobia, they are also right. We speak of homosexuals as a particular class of especially depraved sinners and we lie about how homosexuals experience their own struggle. Far too many evangelical pastors talk about sexual orientation with a crude dismissal or with glib assurances that gay persons simply choose to be gay.

The content is similar, but it is obviously not the same quote. Even so, Mohler is not supporting Merritt's and Mohler's words would have to be taken out of context to do so. It is possible that Merritt was quoting from Dr. Mohler's old radio program.

So, please know that I am not in any way claiming that Mohler's position supports Merritt's.

My problem is that I was reading and posting from a phone. :)

Jonathan Merritt

Peter,

I'm not going to respond to your article point by point, but I'd like to clarify one minor point. Dr. Mohler's quote was from an interview I conducted with him personally. He and I have corresponded since the piece was published, and while he was not in full agreement with the angle of the piece, he did not mention that his quote was taken out of context.

Furthermore, your not-so-subtle insinuation that perhaps the other quotes were fabricated are similarly answered. Every person quoted in the piece--Bakker, Mohler, Jones, etc--was interviewed. I have transcripts for each conversation. Every fact referenced was footnoted in the original submission and fact-checked by the editorial team at the CS Monitor. This is the beauty of journalistic writing that still exists in some places today. It attempts to tell a story based on things like facts and interviews--all those pesky obstacles that get in the way of bloggers.

By the way, I've told you several times over the years that if you have an issue with me you can always contact me. You might want to consider Matthew 18 if you feel like I've done something unbecoming of a Christian brother. I expect more and better from ministers of the gospel.

Jm

peter lumpkins

BDW,

Thanks. I appreciate your perspective. As for your wondering why Merritt was not on the SBCV bracket, I'd ask the same of your blog actually. Yours may be the most well read Progressive Baptist blog out there. Even so, I wouldn't think much more about that. There were bloggers in the top tier which hardly blog at all any more. What does that say about how "votes" were valued? ;^)

On another note, I think you're right about Jonathan's successful exposure in cultural matters. The fact is, he's probably got more in print (cyber or hard-copy) within the media at least over the past couple of years than either Land or Mohler, a fact we cannot overlook. I do think, however, he's being played by the left because of his rogue conservativism more than his giftedness as a commentator (no belittlement of his talents intended).

Grace, BDW.

With that, I am...
Peter

peter lumpkins

Jonathan,

Thanks for your clarification. If Mohler’s words you quoted were taken directly from an interview, Jonathan, why not say so in the piece?  Just a simple introductory context like, “In fact, Al Mohler recently indicated to me in a personal interview ______” could have avoided needless wondering on the reader’s part.  I find it completely odd—not to mention unacceptable--you documented other assertions but not Mohler’s, that’s all.

So, since you interviewed Mohler, is the interview available for inspection? I’d like to read the entire interview. After all, that remains my chief complaint. As I mentioned in the OP: “Frankly put, if Al Mohler did either write or speak these words, I don’t believe for a minute these words accurately represent the context in which Jonathan says Dr. Mohler allegedly used them.” The only way I’ll know is to interact with the source itself. I hope you see my dilemma. Of course, Dr. Mohler could make a public response and settle the issue as well.

On another note, your assertion I projected a “not-so-subtle insinuation that perhaps the other quotes were fabricated” is strange.  I doubted not a single source except the Mohler quotes and/or context for the quotes. That’s all. However, your insulting slur at bloggers as unworthy because they view facts as “pesky obstacles that get in the way” in juxtaposition, I'm supposing, to "real" journalists who display only factual integrity qualifies for an opening spot on Saturday Night Live.  While some bloggers like some journalists have little regard for factual integrity, many bloggers like many journalists go the second and third round to check their information before releasing it. And, while I cannot say I’ve always got my facts perfectly straight, I can say it is not because I routinely am either sloppy about checking them or am more interested in getting a “story out” than getting a “story right.” While my means of “fact-checking” may not be as sophisticated as journalists such as yourself, Jonathan, I’m not at all embarrassed by the result.

Finally, your appeal to Matt 18 remains a tired refrain I hear over and over from those who desire to scold someone for challenging something they wrote or said publicly but to scold them in a "spiritual" way. And quoting Scripture surely makes it "spiritual."

Yet I encourage you to look a little more deeply into Matt 18 which has no contextual application to public exchanges on ideas, Jonathan. Jesus specifically references personal sin against a brother as the contextual backdrop—“if thy brother sin against thee…” Know had I taken your public speech as personal sin against me, you would have a point.  Otherwise, you’re unhappily exploiting Jesus’ words by suggesting that if I have differences with your publicly vocal stances, I’m obligated to “contact you” privately before offering my own public commentary. Sorry. It just doesn't morally compute.

Consequently, your mistaken notion concerning Jesus’ words and the obvious ignoring of the particular context in Matt 18 makes my need to see Al Mohler’s words in their original context all the more significant. For if I perceive you so easily misread the context of written words as you did with our Lord’s words—a context about which I am fully able to check and see for myself—how much more the context means to me for alleged words sourced in a context concerning which I have no access. Again, I hope you see my dilemma.

Wishing you the best, Jonathan.

With that, I am…

Peter

Mark

After reading Jonathan's comment and thinking about Mohler's words in the article, I should have been more careful in my comment. At first, I was merely trying to find the quote in its context. I didn't succeed.

I may have been wrong about Mohler's words being taken out of context in Merritt's most recent article. I'm sorry about that. Jonathan makes it clear that Mohler's (biblical) position of homosexuality being a sin has not changed. While Merritt admitted that Mohler's position on homosexuality has not changed, he simply puts forth that Mohler perceives that some Christians have not done so well in their approach to and treatment of homosexuals. I don't find that disagreeable. Merritt did make other observations in his article, but did not tie Mohler to them as if Mohler supported them. (Again, I should have been more careful with my words.) Of course, I would still like to read/hear the entire context of Mohler's words.

Jonathan Merritt

Peter,

This will be my last response in this forum on this matter. If I desired to spend my time jumping through others hoops, I'd join the circus. I would, however, like to address something you said: "If Mohler’s words you quoted were taken directly from an interview, Jonathan, why not say so in the piece?"

I'd respond to your question with a question: Do you read? Seriously, do you ever pick up a newspaper or periodical? Because if you did, you notice that common journalistic practice is to offer context on sourcing ONLY IF the quote was taken from a secondary source. I realize that may seem odd to bloggers because because you and others like you base all your stories on secondary sources. When it comes to publications like the CS Monitor--publications with editors and fact-checkers and reputations--there are processes in place to make sure that all content is both original and credible.

Secondly, I get what you are saying regarding Matthew 18. The difference is, we have corresponded with each other. We don't even live far from each other. Even if the letter of the law concerning Matthew 18 gives you some sort of loophole upon which to sleep well at night, the spirit of the law would undoubtedly move you to drop me an email and at least ask for clarification before making assumptions and insinuations about me in a public web site. Again, I'd expect more from a minister of the gospel. Think on it, pray on it, reflect on it. See if the Spirit does not lead you to more prudent engagement on these sorts of things.

Jm

Max

“The group that should be paying the most attention to this ideological change right now is evangelical churches themselves. Retaining young people is crucial, and a more accepting generation will not tolerate business as usual when it comes to the debate over homosexuality. Pastors need not compromise their convictions, but they can expect congregants to call for a more accepting, forgiving message – a more Christian message. If Christian leaders can’t make that transition – and quickly – instead of an awakening, evangelicals may be facing an exodus” (Jonathan Merritt, Evangelical shift on gays: Why 'clobber scriptures' are losing ground).

The subject and exchange here reminds me of the proverbial frog in the kettle … acclimated slowly to a rise in temperature until it found itself boiled and lifeless. We live in a day in which vain philosophies and useless psychologies have crept into the evangelical conversation. We are told that we are OK the way we are, when we are not OK the way we are! Divorce rates in the church mirror those of a rotting society, alternative lifestyles strut unchallenged on certain church corners, prayerless saints no longer intercede for the daily murder of the unborn. If you say anything about the signs of the times, you are labeled as judgmental or intolerant … if you don’t, the burner under the kettle is adjusted higher.

Regardless of “ideological change” by a “more accepting generation” or veiled threats of generational “exodus”, the evangelical church must stand its ground on these issues … not with “clobber scriptures”, but by speaking the truth in love with the same old Christian message about forgiveness of sin to all sinners who repent. “Pastors need not compromise their convictions” … lest we become fried frog legs on this new American plate.

Max

Chris Gilliam

The last comment is too simplistically manipulative. Paul told Timothy to rebuke publicly those who were sinning openly....An appeal to Matt 18 is ridiculous in context of the entire exchange. Furthermore, Mr. Merritt, I EXPECT MORE FORM GOSPEL MINISTERS TOO. The spirit of both of your responses smack of superiority and novice pride.

Bart Barber

If this were Major League Baseball, the comments by BDW and Peter might very well have led to a trade. ;-)

Bart Barber

By the way, Peter, although I know that you are indeed a well-read individual, allow me to say this about you: I'm always content to be around people for whom there is much more evidence that they have been reading the Bible than that they have been reading "a newspaper or periodical." Deficiency in the former is the source of so much trouble in our churches and in our society.

Rick Patrick

Along with Peter, I simply CANNOT believe that there is ANY context in which Mohler indeed said, "We've lied about the nature of homosexuality..."

I have not exactly been Mohler's strongest fan--in denominational matters, in soteriology or even with regard to the theological triage formula. However, I ALWAYS trusted him in discussing these kinds of ethical issues because he has always been forthright, biblical and articulate.

It is hard for me to imagine Southern Baptists allowing a Seminary President to remain in office who claims that we as Baptists have lied about the nature of homosexuality. For the sake of Southern Baptists and for the sake of Southern Seminary, I can only hope that Jonathan has inadvertently misquoted Dr. Mohler.

peter lumpkins

 

Jonathan,

As to the “hoops” through which you feel no obligation to jump, may I applaud your sense of certainty about what you are willing and unwilling to do in order to communicate your views as clear as possible. Yet know I remain clueless as to what circus I’d invite you to join.

And, it may surprise you to discover I do read—quite a bit in fact—but hardly as much as I’d like. But thanks for noticing ;^)

Know also while I claim no journalistic expertise in the least, I am well aware that whether it is journalism, authoring a book, or even a blog piece—which for some reason you have twice now slurred as if blogging itself is some form of universal literary disease which cannot be taken seriously as projecting honest, studied opinion (by the way, since you blog, should we make a hard distinction between Jonathan the “blogger” who has no real credibility and Jonathan the “journalist” who may be trusted completely because, well, he’s acting as the journalist when he journals and reason demands journalists are credible?)—clarity and integrity trump the curious *ONLY IF* you logged. Please, my young neighbor—to argue that denying context for a statement pulled from an interview not even cited as an interview is *required* by journalistic standards is—forgive me—nonsense. Even so, granting it may be *acceptable* journalistic practice for some venues—since it was obviously *acceptable* to the CSM to neglect context—to unequivocally assert as the standard on sourcing to be offering it *ONLY IF* the source cited is secondary I do not think can be proved.

Interestingly, I counted your “secondary sources” in your piece in the CSM to which I linked. On my count you had eleven—eleven “secondary sources”. And, of the eleven “secondary sources” how many times do you think you observed your own ONLY-IF-the-quote-was-taken-from-a-secondary-source journalistic rule to which, as a journalist, you  are supposed to abide, Jonathan?  Zero. Not once did you offer context. Nothing. In fact, even the quote from Bakker’s book lacked contextual citation. So, what is one to conclude about your own rule, Jonathan?

Moreover, were I you I would not be so quick to judge us poor, back-seat bloggers for depending on “secondary sources” when your own journalistic piece scored a whopping 11 to 1 favoring “secondary sources” for its content—secondary sources lacking your own required context I might add.

Finally, I don’t think you do get what I was saying from Matthew 18. Our personal circumstances noted, Jesus was specifically speaking of a) local church context which called ultimately for local church discipline; b) when someone definitively has sinned against another—”if thy brother shall trespass against thee.” I’ve already stated and now state again as plainly as I know how: by holding contrary views to mine, you have not sinned against me. Ideas presented publicly are publicly open to scrutiny. Neither you nor I nor anyone else is morally obligated to contact anyone who has presented their ideas publicly. Do you not see how completely absurd this would be? 

For example, Jonathan, if this were actually to be followed the way you suggest, the question begs to be asked, why did you not pick up the phone and call me before you contested me here? Nor does it matter that I first contested you. What a low moral principle it would be if one was required to follow proper moral norms if and only if another followed proper moral norms. Of course, I hold no ill toward you for contesting me here and would think it morally absurd if I did.

I will say before closing your implication I employed a “loophole upon which to sleep well at night” when I only interpreted the Lord’s words in proper context and showed how you ignored it is highly offensive, and I regret you suggested it. Contrary to your questionable remarks, I desire no so-called “loophole” to avoid the Lord’s words. I need none. I take His Word seriously and if—rather *when*—I fail, I place a bead on the cross, and aim my biggest guns there, for it is the cross and nowhere else any *loophole* from my stated guilt may find true refuge.

Nor do I need to pray about this, Jonathan, as if the Spirit will lead me in a direction contra my understanding of the clear teachings of Jesus. And, since you offered no alternative to my contextual  interpretation of Matt 18--but only ridiculed it (as in “loophole”)--it only affirms me even more I am on the right track in understanding our Lord’s Words.

Thanks again for your rejoinder.

Grace.

With that, I am…

Peter 

selahV (a.k.a. hariette petersen)

Max, I think your kettle analogy is today's GCW (Global Culture Warming). selahV

Tim Rogers

Brother Peter,

Even Mr. Mohler admits that the church has often done a poor job of engaging with the issue. “We’ve lied about the nature of homosexuality and have practiced what can only be described as a form of homophobia,” Mohler says. “We’ve used the ‘choice’ language when it is clear that sexual orientation is a deep inner struggle and not merely a matter of choice.”
It seems either our young Brother Merritt needs to produce a transcript of that interview or our Brother Dr. Mohler needs to publicly speak to the statements produced by Merritt. Either way, there needs to be further insight given to this statement.

Blessings,
Tim

Tim Rogers

Brother Peter,

One other thing. Dr. Mohler presented a clear basis for statements some attributed to him that were taken out of context. http://www.albertmohler.com/2007/03/16/was-it-something-i-said-continuing-to-think-about-homosexuality/>Here, Dr. Mohler sets the record straight. Unless Dr. Mohler has changed his stance, Brother Merritt needs to produce that transcript.

Blessings,
Tim

selahV (a.k.a. hariette petersen)

Bro. Tim, your link is messed up. Below is the link you wanted folks to see:
http://www.albertmohler.com/2007/03/16/was-it-something-i-said-continuing-to-think-about-homosexuality/
Interesting article. Seems like he's not all that happy with the secular "journalist" that write about his thoughts. Amazing. selahV

peter lumpkins

Thanks Tim. One wonders, however, if Jonathan will take this as "jumping" through somebody's "hoops" or, as it is meant to be, a matter of verification for his assertions about a well-known Southern Baptist. I could sympathize with him had he not identified the source and just vaguely said, "a well known Southern Baptist theologian told me in private that..." However, he identified Al Mohler as explicitly suggesting Southern Baptists have lied about homosexuality.

With that, I am...
Peter

selahV (a.k.a. hariette petersen)

Peter, can you tell me if Jonathan considers himself a journalist? In light of his position at Crosspointe, I assume he is not. But since he writes for national periodicals which he presupposes are journalistic in context, I just wonder if he considers himself a journalist or simply a blogger. Do you know? I would ask him, but he says he is not coming back to this forum again. Thanks. selahV (a.k.a. hariette petersen)

Chris Gilliam

Peter you said: "Rather the gay agenda will settle for no less than an unconditional surrender of our legislative definition of marriage. There is no compromise on this. Period. This is the gay-rights agenda. Marriage as we know it becomes culturally, legally obliterated."

Not only that, but it would be an epistemological shift, that would allow for all ancient words to be redefined, thus rendering a full and complete surrender to both post-modernity and nihilism.

R

Check out Mohler's comments on Larry King Live, around the time "End of the Spear" was released. He said something akin to what Jonathan Merritt claims. There is also the "gay gene" comments that brought the Freedom Riders into Southern where they attempted to forcibly enter his office and had to be removed by the metro police.

However, I don't think Dr. Mohler has ever condoned homosexuality or claimed that it wasn't a choice. On LKL he said the choice is made sometimes much earlier than the person realizes. On his blog he said there is increasing evidence of a gene that inclines a person toward homosexuality.

Lee

Peter, what does jonathan's writings say about Cross Pointe Church? I just wonder if his congregation feels the same way? He cannot separate what he writes as a "journalist/blogger" on the net, from being the Director of College & Single Adults, can he? What he writes may be on his blog, but he is under the banner of his home church. Does this mean CP church condons/affirms juniors same beliefs? I guess the bigger question would be, does his father (Senior Pastor & former SBC President) share the same far left viewpoint? Wow, that would be an interesting Q&A!

Casey

I talked to Dr. Mohler's office today. Dr. Mohler's stance has NOT changed. He is troubled by a 'distortion of his words'. He believes, as I do, that we may have 'fallen' genes or dna...but that doesn't change the Scripture of what 'to do' and 'not do'. Scripture is the "trump card". Our fallen nature, no matter how it affects us, can be overcome by the power, grace and boldness of His Word. No 'fancy' words or delicate side-steps will help the issue of sin. Only in presenting the saving gospel will it have the affect He asks.
If Jonathan can't find the boldness to 'tell the truth in love'...then find another line of business.

peter lumpkins

Casey,

Interesting. Perhaps I need your method of getting hold of Dr. Mohler. It remains a little more difficult for me.

With that, I am...
Peter

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