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“Nuance”–yet another manifestation of rhetoric serving the cause of sin. Where oh where is C.S. Lewis when we need him to poke holes in the fancy façade of sophistication that we sinners don to conceal our acquiescence to a fallen world.
Grove City College Professor Warren Throckmorton’s feet have been put to the fire recently regarding the Sexual Identity Therapy guidelines that he and Mark Yarhouse of Regent University have developed. Their guidelines state the following:
The emergence of a gay identity for persons struggling with religious conflicts is a possibility envisioned by the recommendations….some religious individuals will determine that their religious beliefs may become modified to allow integration of same-sex eroticism within their valued identity. We seek to provide therapy recommendations that respect these options.
How can a serious follower of Christ “envision” a homosexual identity, that is to say, an identity defined by disordered desire and objectively immoral behavior? Substitute another sin for homosexuality and imagine such a statement: “The emergence of a polyamorous or promiscuous identity with religious conflicts is a possibility envisioned by the recommendations. Some religious individuals will determine that their religious beliefs may become modified to allow integration of polyamorous eroticism or promiscuity within their valued identity. We seek to provide therapy recommendations that respect these options.”
Throckmorton and Yarhouse’s statement could be made only by those whose allegiance to a secular worldview takes precedence over their allegiance to Christ. Unfortunately, Throckmorton and Yarhouse are not alone in their subordination of faith and truth to the demands of secular professional guidelines or requirements.
In an interview with One News Now, Throckmorton stated that “in a professional therapy situation” it is accurate to say that “homosexuals can live normal, natural, and healthy lives that are free of mental illness.” Throckmorton and Yarhouse quote APA guidelines which state that “Psychologists understand that homosexuality and bisexuality are not indicative of mental illness.” In the words of the infamous Gollum, this is tricksy rhetoric that calls for some careful parsing.
What constitutes “mental illness” is determined by the notoriously liberal American Psychiatric Association, which removed “homosexuality” as a disorder from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual in 1973 because of the political machinations of a group of homosexuals who stormed and disrupted an APA meeting and subsequently applied political pressure to any pockets of resistance.
But whether the APA considers homosexuality a mental illness or not should be irrelevant to a Christian mental health professional. Christian counselors ought not ignore serious moral issues when deciding how or whether to counsel a client. Neither polyamory nor adult consensual incest is considered a mental illness either. Does that mean that Throckmorton and Yarhouse would be complicit in helping a brother and sister who were involved in an incestuous relationship to work out their relationship conflicts?
Throckmorton asserts that “homosexuals can live normal, natural and healthy lives,” which raises the critical question of how he, as a Christian first, defines normal, natural and healthy. He quite obviously is not applying biblical understandings of normality, naturalness or health. I can’t imagine even what secular standards he is using to define these terms. Since homosexuals constitute somewhere between 2-4% of the population, homosexuality can’t be considered normal. And since the predominant sex act between homosexual men is profoundly unhealthy and structurally damaging, and homosexual sex is inherently sterile, it’s hard to see how anyone would define homosexuality as natural or healthy.
But most important, as a Christian first, how is Throckmorton defining that which God calls abominable as normal, natural and healthy?
In his interview with One News Now, Throckmorton also said that “he takes a more ‘nuanced’ view” on the topic of same-sex marriage. He said “that he opposes same-sex marriage but believes the Equal Protection Clause permits homosexual civil unions.” Tricksy rhetoric again. He cleverly avoids saying he supports homosexual unions, instead saying that the Equal Protection Clause permits homosexual unions.
First, if the Equal Protection Act actually required homosexual unions, it seems it would require same-sex marriages also.
Second, the question Throckmorton needs to answer directly is, does he, who claims to hold orthodox Christian views on homosexuality, believe that civil unions–which are really same-sex marriages in all but name–should be legalized. Some are interested not in what he thinks the Equal Protection Clause permits, but what he personally thinks should exist.
What seems clear is that many Christian mental health professionals are subordinating their faith to the professional standards established by a world largely hostile to faith. No serious Christian–no one who understands that Christ expects full submission of every aspect of the lives of those who accept the gift of eternal life that came at the cost of His life–would affirm to others either implicitly or explicitly profoundly sinful behavior, behavior that orthodox Christian doctrine teaches will lead to eternal damnation.
Increasingly, Christians from all walks of life are going to have to choose between their work and their faith, between friendships and faith, and perhaps even between family and faith. But we shouldn’t be surprised: Jesus told us that,
Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven. Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law–a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.
Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. (Matt. 10:32-39)