We’ve lied about the nature of homosexuality and have practiced what can only be described as a form of homophobia. . . . 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.
At the convention of the Southern Baptists just a few days ago in Phoenix, in answer to a public question Mohler was given the opportunity to distance himself some from his comments, but he didn't. He said (youtube of the question and answer):
We have said to people that homosexuality is just a choice. . . . It’s clear that it’s more than a choice. That doesn’t mean it’s any less sinful, but it does mean it’s not something people can just turn on and turn off. . . . We have also exhibited a certain form of homophobia of which we must, absolutely must in gospel terms, repent precisely because we believe in all the scripture teaches about homosexuality, and all that the scripture teaches about sin.
Mohler defended his statements by saying that no one should be confused by what he said because he has written over two hundred articles on homosexuality. But I believe that what Mohler says is confusing and the original confusion wasn't clarified by the later confusion.
First, he was quoted in an article to support the following point made by the author of the Christian Science Monitor article:
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.
In other words, we've got to soften on homosexuality, be more accepting, or we'll be losing the people in our churches, because they want us to be more forgiving of homosexuality. It's church growth methodology with a supporting quote from Mohler on "homophobia" in Baptist churches to buttress it. When given the opportunity in public to repudiate it, Mohler did not. In so doing, he's backing the strategy offered there.
Second, Mohler alleges that Baptists are lying about the nature of homosexuality. Do the Southern Baptists know that Mohler was calling them liars? And of all things, about lying about the nature of homosexuality? How are they lying about the nature of homosexuality? The only lie I've ever heard was that homosexuality is an alternate lifestyle and that people are born homosexuals.
Third, Mohler claims that "sexual orientation" is "not a merely a matter of choice," and clearly "more than a choice." If God created male and female, if He designed men to be with women and women with men, then someone must choose to go the other direction. People who sin do choose to sin. This is a view of depravity that I can't agree with, that says that it is more than a choice.
Fourth, Mohler declares that Baptists have "practiced what can only be described as a form of homophobia" and "exhibited a certain form of homophobia" of which they must repent.
I can understand how the reformed or Calvinist supporters of Mohler would seek to defend him here. It can be done in so many ways. God is the author of sin and He predestined these souls to destruction. That's one way. The homosexual didn't choose to be homosexuals because they were born with a sin nature of which they had no control or choice. "Choice" would impede upon the sovereignty of God. No one chooses to be a homosexual, but he is born in that sin. That's another.
On these, Romans 1 says the lifestyle is a choice. Homosexuals know God, but choose to suppress the truth, even about their design, in unrighteousness (vv. 18-19). "They glorified Him not as God" (v. 21)---that's a choice. They "changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man" (v. 23)---that's a choice. They "changed the truth of God into a lie" (v. 25)---that's a choice. The men burn "in their lust one toward another" (v. 27)---that's a choice. They "did not like to retain God in their knowledge" (v. 28)---that's a choice. If they repent, that will be a choice too. The reason God's wrath is justified against them is because they make these choices.
The last defense would need to be more clinical. These Baptists have become hysterical and unhinged, insane, in their hatred of homosexuality, beyond what is reasonable or godly. The hatred is self-centered and self-destructive. They have disobeyed God's command to evangelize everyone because of their distorted disgust with homosexuality. The latter is the homophobia, I guess. I'm just attempting to figure it out. Because they target the sin with a unique hatred, the homosexuals won't be able to be saved---something like that. And so they, according to Mohler, need to repent of this sinful phobia.
Shouldn't Mohler rather consider hatred of homosexuality to be biblical? That unique hatred is biblical? That rejection of homosexuality is important? That shaming the behavior is good? I think Christians could be more consistent in hating all sin. They could be against some of the other sins to a greater degree in comparison to homosexuality, but even that does not mean that hatred of homosexuality is the problem. The greater problem today is the acceptance and toleration of effeminate, soft men, and domineering, manly women. That's the creeping problem today. We need to be strong against that, but I see the church itself becoming more and more soft.
I don't see homophobia in the Bible. I don't see it as a sin. I don't see a particular fear of any sin to be phobic. In the Old Testament, God called for Israel to stone homosexuals. That was righteous. The homosexuality was rejected and was not made to feel welcome and that didn't clash with God's love, because God is love. Holiness and love don't conflict.
So what is going on with Mohler here, the conservative evangelical, member of Together for the Gospel, and close friend and regular associate of John MacArthur? The leaven of Herod.
Leaven symbolized influence. Jesus warned against the leaven of the Pharisees, of the Sadducees, and of Herod at different times in His ministry. The leaven of Herod was secularism, a worldly way of thinking. Paul warned the Corinthians about this, about bringing the leaven of the world from their old life into the church (1 Corinthians 5). Jesus commanded us to beware because it was a threat even to Christians. Men of God can be influenced by secular thinking, and this talk of homophobia is not biblical thinking, but secular thinking. The homosexual lobby is working. The homosexual media is making head-way. The agenda is moving forward and Albert Mohler is helping it along now too.
The new generation of reformed have also brought in their own new measures for church growth. They have grunge for the grunge. They have rock for the rocksters. It's contextualization. This one is developing a friendlier relationship with homosexuals, not being so condemnatory with them. If so, if we use this method, then they can be saved. That clashes with the Mohler, gospel centrality. If it is the gospel that saves, then we don't need to add anything to the gospel, even this Mohler homosexual evangelistic strategy.
If homosexuals are not getting saved at a fast enough clip, it isn't because we have "failed miserably" as Mohler says in building these bridges with homosexuals or tried to sympathize with their plight. If people are not getting saved, it's because we haven't been faithfully preaching the gospel. I don't run into people preaching the gospel. We've got people who are more interested in their worldly things, their games, their new methods, their worldly strategies. I would be fine with Mohler parking there. It's why our church has a few times gone to the Gay Pride Parade here and handed out tracts and done preaching. We don't walk away at the door of homosexual. I talked to one just this Wednesday, late afternoon, for awhile. Part of his rejection of the message was that he didn't believe God condemned homosexuals.
Yes, this is the leaven of Herod influencing conservative evangelicals. That leaven has long been welcome in the evangelical midst.