On the whole, this was not a great week for the Southern Baptist Convention, as one of its leaders appeared to pander to the homosexual lobby and the convention itself pandered to lawbreakers, all in the space of two dizzying days.
Rev. Al Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY, urged attendees at the SBC’s annual convention to “repent” of what he called “a form of homophobia,” without saying exactly what kind of homophobia he was talking about.
Evidently, according to Rev. Mohler, if you don’t believe gays are born that way, you’re either a homophobe or right next to it. He told the delegates at the SBC that homosexuality is “more than a choice,” and that it apparently borders on something sinful to believe otherwise.
He did not elaborate on exactly what he meant by “more than a choice,” but what else could it mean but that he’s urging SBC’ers to accept the bogus claim that homosexuality is innate and that people can be homosexual from birth. Perhaps that’s not what he meant to say; if it wasn’t, then it’s important for him to clarify exactly what he did mean.
Paul uses choice words over and over again in Romans 1:26-27 to emphasize that the problem with homosexuality is behavior, and that such behavior represents a choice. Note the choice words there: “...their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature, and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men...”
Rev. Mohler’s motives for this unfortunate choice in wording are unclear, but If it was an effort to get gays to like him, or to like the SBC, good luck with that. They will accept nothing less than total abject, surrender, and Rev. Mohler didn’t offer them that. He still calls homosexuality a “sin,” and that will make his position completely unacceptable to the folks he was trying to appease.
Rev. Mohler is on the board of Focus on the Family, which is also sending confusing signals regarding the homosexual agenda, as its president, Jim Daly, now supports placing foster children in gay households and supports civil unions legislation as long as it, in his judgment, is properly written.
The good news is that the president of the SBC, Rev. Frank Wright, met with homosexual activists this week and did not budge an inch in the face of their demand for an apology for teaching the sinfulness of homosexual behavior. He told these activists what Rev. Mohler could have said, that, "Obviously, we don't feel that there can be an apology for teaching sexual purity."
Then the entire SBC convention adopted a resolution to reward people who break the law, hardly something a clear-thinking, Bible-centered organization should do. The good folk at the SBC want a “path to legal status” guaranteed to people who do not even have the legal, moral or biblical right to be in this country to begin with. They lamely added language to claim that this is not “amnesty,” but they’re not fooling anybody with that.
In fact, the SBC accused those who reject amnesty of “bigotry.” The bottom line is that, whether they realize it or not, the Southern Baptists have thus adopted, as an official position of the denomination, that anyone who supports the rule of law is a bigot.
The time-honored standard of ancient Israel was quite clear: there was to be “one statute for you and for the stranger who sojourns with you” (Numbers 15:16), not two different sets of statutes in which illegals get rewarded for breaking the law and the native-born get punished.
This pandering to the illegal alien lobby was done, according to proponents, to promote “evangelism” among Hispanics. Okay, exactly what kind of faith are these Hispanics going to be saved to? A faith that teaches its followers to deliberately break the law and expect to be rewarded as a result? So much for the “wages of sin is death.” It will, of course, be much easier to believe the new SBC gospel, “the wages of sin are citizenship, food stamps, welfare and subsidized housing” but then what kind of disciples will such converts make?
To the SBC’s credit, it did adopt a resolution opposing the sale of the new, gender-neutral NIV translation in SBC bookstores. For this, the SBC should be applauded. By changing the very words of Scripture to make them politically correct, the NIV has essentially told God that he’s sexist, out of date and out of touch and needs to get his mind right on the whole gender thing.
Here’s hoping that Rev. Mohler will reconsider his position on homosexuality and choice, and that the SBC will reconsider its position on illegal aliens. And I’m guessing there are a lot of faithful Southern Baptist churchgoers who are hoping the same thing.
(Unless otherwise noted, the opinions expressed are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Family Association or American Family Radio.)
Bryan Fischer is the Director of Issue Analysis for Government and Public Policy at the American Family Association, where he provides expertise on a range of public policy topics. He hosts the "Focal Point" radio program on AFR Talk,which airs live on weekdays from 1-3 p.m. Central on American Family Radio's nationwide talk network of 145 stations.