November 3, 2014

Where Are SBC Leaders Headed: Homosexuality?

This article addresses an issue arising from the Southern Baptist Convention's ERLC1 conference "The Gospel, Homosexuality and the Future of Marriage," held in Nashville, October 2014.

Southern Baptist leader Albert Mohler addressed more than 1,000 evangelical pastors and others attending the three-day conference hosted by the SBC's Ethics & religious Liberty Commission (ERLC). Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, stated that he was wrong years ago when he said same-sex attraction could be changed.2
With Al Mohler's track record of movement toward New Evangelicalism* (see below) there is the possibility of another compromise of Scripture in the making.  Does anybody sincerely believe that Mohler's statement that he was wrong about same-sex attraction could be changed will be as far as the SBC goes on the homosexuality issue?**  In my opinion, this is simply the first of what will be a series of incremental steps, over a long period of time, toward increasing tolerance for homosexuality in the church. 

In a previous article, from the Nashville convention, it was reported that,
"[Matthew] Vines met privately with Mohler, who had written an e-book response to Vines, titled "God and the Gay Christian?" Both men said the meeting was a cordial discussion of Scripture and they planned to stay in touch. Separately, about two dozen Christian advocates for gay acceptance and evangelical leaders who participated in the conference also met privately Monday night. Participants agreed they would not comment afterward."3
Met privately, no comment afterward, more dialogue to come. The Bible is very explicit (1 Cor. 5:1-5; Rom. 1:26-28; Rom. 16:17-18; Ephesians 5:3; 1 Thess. 4:3; 2 Thess. 3:6, 14-15). Yet, Al Mohler, as has been his pattern, will dismiss, ignore these God-given mandates. Instead Mohler will keep up a dialogue where there should be none other than to plead with the LGBT participants to recognize the authority of God, see their lifestyle as He does, and call on them to repent of it.

Why does this matter to Independent Fundamental Baptists? 

Because there are men in IFB circles who for years have been "heaping lavish praise" on the so-called "conservative" evangelicals, especially Al Mohler.  With essentially no warnings whatsoever of the serious doctrinal and practical pitfalls of the evangelicals Kevin Bauder and Dave Doran (among others) have encouraged learning from, attending the conferences of and cooperative ministry with "conservative" evangelicals, including, but not limited to Al Mohler, John Piper and Mark Dever. Instead of at least offering serious cautions along with their lavish praise for evangelicals Bauder, Doran and the pseudo-fundamentalist Sharper Iron site have ignored, tolerated, allowed for or excused virtually every doctrinal aberration, ecumenical compromise and cultural relativism. 

Bauder and Doran hold up the star personalities of evangelicalism as examples to emulated.  Under the guise of a so-called "separation in academic contexts" we have seen scores of younger men encouraged to neuter, water down or dismiss the doctrine of biblical separation for the sake of cooperation with compromising evangelicals. Kevin Bauder, Dave Doran, et., al. have by their own example encouraged the next generation to cooperate with evangelicals, and thereby tragically put them on the road toward New Evangelicalism.

Pastors, Christians in leadership in the church, school, homes: The apostle Paul's admonition to the Ephesians elders is as practical and timely today as it was to the first century church, and I close with his admonition.
"Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which He hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears," (Acts 20:28-31).
Yours faithfully,


Related Reading:

Just days before the SBC's conference on homosexuality Al Mohler, on behalf of the SBC, received as a gift the former Northland Baptist Bible College (NIU). Very sad. See, Northland Joins Southern: Culmination of a Modern Day Tragedy.

*Al Mohler sat as Chairman for the 2001 Billy Graham Crusade in Louisville, KY.

Al Mohler Signs the Manhattan Declaration, and never repented of it
Al Mohler Endorsed RAP music for the Church
Al Mohler in Cooperative Ministry with Rick Warren
Al Mohler Joins Hands with the Mormon Church

**I have no dogmatic position on whether same-sex attraction can be changed, I don't know.


1) ERLC: Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission
2) News Now: Where are Southern Baptist Leaders Headed re: Homosexuality?
3) News Now: Southern Baptists tell pastors: Hold Line on Gays


    Several times in the past, and I will make mention of it here: The magnetic attraction of the evangelicals for some men in fundamental Baptist circles is Calvinism. Calvinism, and especially the false gospel known as “Lordship Salvation” is the rallying point.

    Lordship Salvation is the focal point of the so-called “gospel centric” fellowship of evangelicals and men in IFB circles who wish to close ranks and join in cooperative fellowship with the evangelicals. It is primarily for fellowship around and agreement on the LS interpretation of the gospel that other doctrinal aberrations, ecumenical compromises and worldliness are excused or ignored.

    See, Let’s Get Clarity on This: Kevin Bauder, T4G & Lordship Salvation

    For any objective commentator it is widely known and irrefutable that Calvinistic soteriology in the form of the Lordship Salvation interpretation of the Gospel is the Gospel message of the so-called “conservative” evangelicals. Is it possible that Kevin Bauder refuses to disclose the vast chasm, disagreement and debate in Fundamentalism over what is the true nature of saving faith; what is the Gospel?”


  2. So, the dialogue begins with the "LGBT community." Why is it that the SBC doesn't have dialogue with the "swingers community" (swingers refers to those who will swap marriage partners)? Or those who are fornicators, or adulterers? The SBC, and others, rightly label these things as sin, yet now they come to the homosexuals and it's "dialogue" time? Last I knew same sex attraction is nothing more than lust just like it is with opposite sex attraction and when acted upon becomes sin (James 1:13-15). The caving in of the Evangelical community on social issues is legion, this really should come as no surprise, since they have from their inception been unwilling to stand, mark the Biblical boundaries and stay. They have been influx throughout their history, it's as if everything is fluid, nothing rigid and unchanging. The tragedy of compromise, to borrow a title from a book.

    1. Brian: I appreciate the biblical and practical insight you bring to this discussion. This is IMO another tragedy of compromise in the making. For those who may be interested in the book, see The Tragedy of Compromise: The Origin and Impact of the New Evangelicalism by Dr. Ernest Pickering.

  3. Lou,

    I can imagine the eye rolling and accusations toward you that you are archaic and reactionary.
    This is a timely and revealing article.

    Never mind, "put off the old man and put on the new", never mind "be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind" and never mind, "Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ", just speaking psychologically and biologically, since when did Al Mohler become an expert in these fields to the degree that he dares speak so absolutely?

    And the private meeting and then no public comment on the meeting? Really? Because this is not a private matter, this is a public issue and Mohler, as an employee, leader and President of Southern Seminary owes a detailed explanation to those who pay his salary, to those to whom he claims to minister and lead and to the general body of Christ at large which he attempts to influence and to which he attempts to minister at large.

    Now, if Al Mohler is speaking of a Christian life of academic knowledge of the Bible and someone trying to live a spiritually empowered life merely on academic knowledge of the Bible, then he might have a point.

    But if he is speaking of God the Holy Spirit taking God's Word when we believe it by faith and transforming us in a Spirit empowered or Spirit-filled life, which I assume he would be or at least should be, then he is wrong. So why on earth would he say this?

    This is almost as elementary as it gets. In opposition to what Mohler has said, no one is suggesting all sin habits or lust patterns are never going to haunt someone or tempt them, that is prima facie in the Scriptures. However, real change to a Christian is promised in the Scriptures through spiritual transformation which is, indeed, part of a person and ultimately, their personality.

    Now it may be that certain well meaning and so-called Christian or Biblical reparative therapies have and do fail but that is not because God's Word and Spirit cannot and do not transform, rather that the Bible was being misused and a singular item therapy book and as well does not take into account the interest of its participants whether they sought true transformation or a magic cure even if true principle are being taught and finally these things take time, transformation is a life long event. But Al Mohler, in his statement, simply disregards this divine phenomenon that even a new believer learns during his or her first year as a disciple.

    He is Chamberlain.

    1. Alex: I appreciate your extended and helpful commentary on what is transporting within the SBC, with Mohler spearheading it. I encourage my guests to read what you have offered here as a study.



      To All: Brother Alex has written an article that I believe deserves a wide-reading. Please see, Must All Christians be a Calvinist or Arminian? The Infelicitous Assertion by Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary’s Bill Combs or When Devotion to a School of Theology Leads to Impoverished Reasoning at The Pedestrian Christian.

  4. I am definitely not a Southern Baptist apologist, but it should be noted that the articles that you reference do not tell the entire story of what went on at the ERLC conference. Throughout the conference, speakers (including Al Mohler and Russell Moore) made it clear that homosexuality is a sin. They even featured people at this conference such as Jackie Hill and Rosaria Butterfield who shared how God transformed their hearts and completely changed them, including their sexual orientation. Mohler has a book that completely refutes Matthew Vines and his errant, heterodox, and heretical book/view that Homosexuality should not be treated as a sin within the evangelical community. It was handed out to every single person that attended this conference.

    Furthermore, correct me if I am mistaken, but I believe the context of Mohler's comments was reparative therapy, which is more about behavior modification rather than Biblical Sanctification.

    Here is an article that provides a fuller explanation of what happened and what the leaders of the SBC actually believe. Also, here is Mohler's book response where he takes on Matthew Vine.

    Lou, as much as I appreciate your militancy against compromise, you need to get the entire story on the conference and Al Mohler rather than cherry picking them to suit your agenda. This article was written in such a way that you came dangerously close to committing several logical fallacies, including the strawman (misrepresenting Mohler's argument so it becomes easier to attack), the Texas sharpshooter (cherry picking his words/looking for patterns to fit your assumptions), and the slippery slope (asserting that Mohler's statements reflect a change and compromise, which will lead fundamentalists down the road of compromise as well).

    1. Jim:

      I appreciate your concerns, but you may want to dig more deeply into my article, and the links to the two primary sources. There folks can read the entire story, which is why I provided the links. Let me briefly say:

      1) My article focuses on what is IMO the seed of another major compromise coming from Al Mohler. Have you read the previous compromises I have documented from him, followed my links to the full details on each of them? In each of his previous ecumenical compromises he stated his reasons for reaching out, what he felt were good intentions, but his compromises of biblical principles have been egregious, and he has never repented of any of them. So, what I see here, and my reaction to it is this. “He’s at it again.”

      2) When I read of the change in his view on reparative therapy, I was somewhat neutral because I don’t know the science well enough to have a firm opinion.

      3) We can appreciate Mohler’s refutation of Vines, “errant, heterodox, and heretical book/view that Homosexuality should not be treated as a sin within the evangelical community.” That said, Mohler’s “cordial,” private and secret meetings, with more to follow, is NOT what the God given mandates demand for such sin and those who advocate it within the church of Jesus Christ, is it? No, it is not! The Bible, which I cited in the article, is very clear: 1 Cor. 5:1-5; Romans 16:17-18; 2 Thess. 3:6, 14-15.

      To sum up: Based on Mohler’s well established track record of egregious compromises, refusal to obey our Lord’s doctrine of separation I can see it happening all over again, and that is why I focused our attention on the issue as I have above.

      Kind regards,


      PS: You wrote, “...Mohler's statements reflect a change and compromise, which will lead fundamentalists down the road of compromise as well.” I am far more concerned about the men within fundamentalism leading our own astray, which I detail within the balance of the article.

  5. Jim

    Maybe the line being crossed is obscured by all these qualifications and parsings of what went on, I don't know, but you seem to be missing the nature of this event, a Christian fellowship of like-minded believers who are seeking (or should) edification by way of reinforcing their doctrine.

    Not that much of this did not occur but still, a boundary was crossed. Al Mohler/Russell Moore lent their ears on behalf of the SBC and modeled a posture that the obvious needs further consideration and that, from advocates of an unrepentant lifestyle.

    Did you know an apology was also issued toward homosexuals for the church's discrimination against them? And that apology wasn't with regard to private struggles of a Christian with a homosexual lust pattern who is seeking sanctifying power and victory but toward advocates of open homosexuality in society and worse, the church.

    Of course the church is to discriminate against Christians who make such claims, it is called church discipline and expulsion from fellowship which is precisely the point, here.

    They were given an inappropriate hand of fellowship. The line may seem insignificant, after all, they were just trying to love and reach out which would be an incomplete love seeing that these are not pagans whose darkened hearts lead them astray, rather those professing Christ yet advocating sexual immorality in which case they must understand through rejection (the love of church discipline) that while Christians may be courteous, respectful and show approptiate manners, they are not to be received into fellowships and certainly our ears lent to their doctrines.

  6. Rarely will I link to the pseudo-fundamentalist Sharper Iron (SI), but today I am making an exception. I encourage each reader to consider Dr. Mike Harding’s Alarming & Sad comment in the SI thread. Dr. Harding has a clear biblical view about, and answer to what is going between Mohler, the SBC and the LGBT faction.

    “[I] read most of the original articles related to this. Alarming that Mohler would repent of previously not acknowledging the legitimacy of sexual orientation. The Bible does not attribute homosexual sin to a natural sate of birth. Quite the opposite. Several times Paul says they are forsaking the natural use of the man and woman---that this sin is against nature (Rom 1:18-32). Paul echoes the same truth in 1 Cor. 11 ‘does not even nature itself teach you’ regarding the differences between men and women. He reminds us that males being effeminate is sinful (1 Cor. 6). Once you give in on orientation as a natural state equal to race, then the race card will be thrown, and you will be considered legitimate bigots. Mohler knows this.”

    Dr. Harding continued.

    “It is not right to dialogue with gay Christian groups. Those who practice sexual sin and give approval of such will not inherit the KOG (Rom 1; Gal 5; 1 Cor. 6). Our tone has to be Scriptural and Christ-like, I agree, particularly when witnessing to someone practicing sexual sin. Nevertheless, change of tone has led to change of position. How far will it go? Are we going to grant orientation to pedophiles, necrophiliacs, bestial behavior as well? How about orientation to murder? That was Cain’s problem. You can think murderous thoughts and hate your brother in your heart as long as you don’t actually kill somebody. I think Jesus talked about that. The disposition to sin is sin and we must agree, admit, ask forgiveness, and act to turn in our hearts and bodies from sin. I don't think you will hear John MacArthur saying these kinds of things. Russell Moore scares me, and I wonder if he is influencing his previous mentor.”

  7. Later Dr. Harding continued with this comment, Sexual Attraction is a Gift

    “Sexual attraction is a gift of God (Genesis 1-2; Eph 5; 1 Cor 7:1-6). Unnatural sexual attraction is perversion (Lev 18-22). Nothing new here. It’s been going on for thousands of years. A number of months ago I discussed this issue at the lunch table with Dr. Mohler. He made no excuses or allowances for same-sex attraction. He then addressed a small group of believers in an extemporaneous speech about the issue and condemned the same-sex marriage proponents in the strongest of terms. That was six months ago. This is a definite change in disposition. Re-read his two presentations at Salt-Lake City. In his desire to avoid ‘red-neck theology’ he has made a major concession. It appears that the only one doing any repenting at this conference is Al Mohler himself. Haven’t heard about any repentance from the pro-gay Christian groups who attended.”

  8. Lou,

    What about these comments made by a prominent and influential individual in IFB circles:

    "My response is that same-sex attractions by themselves are no disqualification from church membership. They are no disqualification from church office. They should be no disqualification from the friendship of God’s people. In fact, same-sex attractions by themselves should not even hinder Christians from entering the marriage covenant and bearing children.

    Attractions are things to be managed. They can be rejected, or they can be dwelt upon and acted upon. They can be learned and unlearned. Those who reject them and seek to unlearn them are not to be judged as if they had acted upon them."

    Also here are some 2011 published comments about Dr. Mohler:

    "The president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary said June 15 that Southern Baptists need to repent of a 'form of homophobia' that keeps gays and lesbians out of their churches."


    "Writer Jonathan Merritt, a Southern Baptist minister and well-known social critic, quoted Mohler as saying 'We’ve lied about the nature of homosexuality and have practiced what can only be described as a form of homophobia,' and '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.'

    Mohler said at the convention 'there is no way anyone in fair mindedness can be confused about what I believe about homosexuality,' because he has written more than 200 articles about it, but that 'the reality is that we as Christian churches have not done well on this issue.'

    'Evangelicals, thankfully, have failed to take the liberal trajectory of lying about homosexuality and its sinfulness,' Mohler said. 'We know that the Bible clearly declares – not only in isolated verses but in the totality of its comprehensive presentation – the fact that homosexuality not only is not God’s best for us, as some try to say, but it is sin.'

    'But we as evangelicals have a very sad history in dealing with this issue,' he continued. 'We have told not the truth, but we have told about half the truth. We’ve told the biblical truth, and that’s important, but we haven’t applied it in the biblical way.'

    'We have said to people that homosexuality is just a choice,' Mohler said. '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 are not a gospel people unless we understand that only the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ gives a homosexual person any hope of release from homosexuality.'

    Mohler said churches have not done their job until 'there are those who have been trapped in that sin sitting among us.'

    Sadly for Dr. Mohler and the SBC, the camel's nose went in the tent years ago.

  9. Lou,

    An excerpt comes to mind from Dr. Rich Flanders' July 15, 2013 article entitled "The Most Important People." He wrote, "It is not time for the followers of Christ to find ways to adjust to the new facts of life in the world by departing farther from the ways of God." I added a comment to that post that highlighted the LGBT advances at BIOLA. The lack of ability of the respected-by-the-world-but-powerless-with-God conservative Evangelicals to hold ground on this issue is becoming more evident. Why is it that they can not hold their previous theological ground? I believe it comes because there is a big difference between what mere scholarship of the Word can do as opposed to the working of God's Spirit with the Word can do.

    A reading of the comments at SharperIron on this subject reveals much. In grappling with the issue of SSA/orientations, certain men have discovered that in applying the old-school theology about homosexuality they haven't been able to help others attain freedom from the bondage of SSA/orientation; therefore, their institutionally ingrained instinct is to disregard the old theology as faulty and through better scholarship including some valuable assistance from experts in extra-biblical fields such as sociology and biology (Who knew what city folks might learn from misguided sheep?) find the reason of the failure of that theology. As it is being revealed more and more each day, they now know that there are more complicated reasons for SSA/orientations than previous generations of simple Bible believers were able to understand.

    However, the real problem is us, powerless Christians, not a misunderstood text. The pride of scholarship which causes a man to reach for more apt learning than to lean more upon God for ability is a plague of powerlessness and speaks to our shame. To win the day some men should parse less words and pray more effectively as the old-school theology men did in their days. How sad to read accounts of individuals coming to men of the Word for help out of sin and instead only being told that complete deliverance isn't always possible.

    The conservatives is the SBC relied upon politics not the power of the Word to gain victories in their denomination and schools. Not having learned what it takes to have victory by God's power, they are experiencing the swinging of the pendulum of what they have wrought.

    1. Gordon:

      I appreciate both of your important contributions to the subject matter here. If I had not been so very busy with various matters I would interact more with what you've shared. I want you to know that I and many of our readers do appreciate your input.


    2. Lou,

      For those who would like to read Dr. Mohler's further explanation of what he said he has posted an article entitled "Sexual Orientation and the Gospel of Jesus Christ" at his blog.

      Some clarifying points he made:

      1) "As expected, the conference [The Gospel, Homosexuality, and the Future of Marriage] was one of the most responsible and edifying meetings yet held of Christians concerned about these issues. This is exactly what would be expected of the ERLC [Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission] and its leadership. The conference was both helpful and historic."

      2) "As I explained in my address, I had previously denied the existence of sexual orientation. I, along with many other evangelicals, did so because we did not want to accept the sexual identity structure that so often goes with sexual orientation. I still reject that notion of sexual identity. But I repented of denying the existence of sexual orientation because denying it was deeply confusing to people struggling with same-sex attraction. Biblical Christians properly resist any suggestion that our will can be totally separated from sexual desire, but we really do understand that the will is not a sufficient explanation for a pattern of sexual attraction. Put simply, most people experiencing a same-sex attraction tell of discovering it within themselves at a very early age, certainly within early puberty. As they experience it, a sexual attraction or interest simply 'happens,' and they come to know it."

      3) "When it comes to a same-sex attraction, the orientation is sinful because it is defined by an improper object — someone of the same sex. Of course, those of us whose sexual orientation is directed toward the opposite sex are also sinners, but the sexual orientation is not itself sinful."

      4) "The concept of sexual orientation is not only helpful, it is in some sense essential. Even those who argue against its existence have to describe and affirm something tantamount to it. There is a pattern of sexual interest and attraction that is discovered in early adolescence. It is not something that is, in itself, freely chosen. That does not mean that the individual is not completely responsible before God for how that orientation is then handled."

      5) "At the same time, our biblically-informed understanding of sexual orientation will chasten us from having any confidence that there is any rescue from same-sex attraction to be found in any secular approach, therapy, or treatment. Christians know that the only remedy for sin is the atonement of Christ and the gift of salvation. The only hopeful answer to sin, in any form, is the Gospel of Christ. Understanding the complexity of sexual orientation and sexual sin should make us all cling to the Gospel ever more closely, and to the authority and truthfulness of the Bible ever more faithfully."

      While he now affirms the "concept of sexual orientation," he still maintains "the orientation is sinful" and concludes by addressing the remedy drawn from "our biblically-informed understanding of sexual orientation." In other words, what I understand him to be saying is that human experience ("a sexual attraction or interest simply 'happens' ") better defines the source of this evil rather than his previous held position which was that it was of a matter of choice or herein stated as the will. He furthers indicts himself by admitting that this previous position was based primarily for the protection of his argument against a sexual identity. This strongly suggest to me that neither his previous or current position on SO were ever founded upon any Biblical text. That certainly makes it easy to eventually have a change of mind concerning it when the winds of human reasoning shift.

  10. Lou,

    If I may, with your indulgence, bring up one last point that should be considered concerning the acknowledgement by Dr. Mohler and other Evangelicals that there really is some concept of a Sexual Orientation (SO) in regards to Same-Sex Attraction (SSA).

    What about SO's that are not about SSA? A recent article posted on National Review Online reported that an online dating service now has a list of 12 different SO's from which an individual can choose. Are there other real SO's beside a SSA SO? Some people's experience say there is. If human experience is now a touchstone of truth for the one (SO for SSA), how can it be denied for the others?

    Furthermore, are these SO's that go beyond a bent to SSA to some other deviant sexual attraction not a matter of the person's will either since as Dr. Mohler says, "[W]e really do understand that the will is not a sufficient explanation for a pattern of sexual attraction"?

    Where are lines to be drawn now? Are compromised Evangelicals now logically forced to defend SO in regards to SSA as an equal with God-ordained/natural order orientation against all other orientations? Or, do they need to continue their repentance? This time for failing to accept any and all SO's no matter what evil behavior they breed?

    When any man unmoors himself from the Rock of Truth that is God's Word, his bark will surely be blown far from the shore by the prevailing winds of human reasoning.

  11. You ask, "Where are the lines to be drawn now?" The whole point of Mohler's on going compromises is to blur the biblical lines of distinction to allow for ever increasing numbers of more egregious compromise.

    And what does Mohler's chief apologist among Baptists, Kevin Bauder, have to say? Does he finally put an end to heaping "lavish praise" on Mohler? Does Bauder sound the alarm, raise cautions?