A Moon Crater

I need to say a quick something about Exodus International shutting down, as they did so with apologies extended to gays and lesbians who had been harmed by their reparative therapy.

Here is how one news story put it:

“Exodus is an institution in the conservative Christian world, but we’ve ceased to be a living, breathing organism,” Alan Chambers, president of Exodus, said in a statement. “For quite some time we’ve been imprisoned in a worldview that’s neither honoring toward our fellow human beings, nor biblical.”

I want first to note the obvious thing about this, and then two others things that are perhaps not so obvious. The obvious thing is that this is a capitulation, a collapse, an apostasy, a travesty, and a moon crater. This is an instance of an organization that existed to call men and women to biblical repentance, and has wound up repenting of their belief in the need for any such repentance. So here is the first lesson — never repent of repenting. Bad idea.

A couple not so obvious things. This was an organization clearly dependent, in an unhealthy way, on one guy. It was a parachurch organization, and its governmental structure was plainly not built for the ages. Like so many evangelical parachurch operations, it appears to have been the kind of thing that revolved around its personali . . . its president in a way that ceded way too much authority to him. The mainline denominations are all going through this very same apostasy, but notice for them how agonizingly slowly it has gone. This is because there is still some measure of accountability there, and thus the possibility of effective opposition.

And last, note how the apology is phrased — we, the bad guys of Exodus International “were imprisoned” in what we were doing. We were the bad guys, but . . . but we were victims too! Alan Chambers has bet on the wrong horse, but you can understand why he did. The path of ambition today seems to require attaining victim status somehow, and Chambers has identified what he thinks is the way. “We were trapped . . . trapped . . . it was dark, hard to breath . . .”

In my mind’s eye, I can see when Lot was leaving Sodom, how there was a group of men at the city limits laughing at him. “You know,” they said, “you’re on the wrong side of history.” Lot’s wife nodded slightly, wishing she had married that Chambers fellow instead.

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Seth B.
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Seth B.

It’s funny really. I read part of the HuffPo article on this. One thing we absolutely for sure know is that homosexuality isn’t a choice, so calling people to repentance is “mean” and bigoted… but we can sure howl at evangelicals and call them down and demand their repentance of their *views* of homosexuality. But but… I was born in the Bible belt. I was born this way. I can’t help it! I’m gonna go get a lawyer and sue away your ability to provide a living for your family because I have a chip on my shoulder and my… Read more »

Michael Darius
Guest

I read the article put out by the LGBT community which seemed pretty clear that Alan Chambers had ‘caved’ into their pressure. I am not entirely sure this is a bad thing as it may be a new chapter in building rapport and relational harmony with those who he had been clearly called to reach (assuming Mr. Chambers’ apology was inspired by God that is).

JT
Guest
JT

Mr. Wilson, I suppose your first point isn’t as obvious to me as it seems to be to you. I don’t think it follows from the apology that they’re repenting of calling people to repentance. The broader scope of the information that is coming out is that, consistent with the physical sciences on such matters, there’s no such thing as a spiritual cum genetic cure for homosexuality (this is altogether different from acting homosexually)–the latter half of this conjunction was altogether denied by EI prior to this (i.e., they didn’t think it was a biological issue). So, this ‘obvious’ point… Read more »

Ron K
Guest
Ron K

It’s funny really. I read part of the Bible on this. One thing we absolutely for sure know is that homosexuality is a sin, so calling people to repentance is absolutely the right thing to do.

RFB
Guest
RFB

Pastor Wilson,

“capitulation”

Exactly!

It seems to happen so often with many: “I am going to make a stand, yes indeed, I am going to stand firm and fight to the bitter…Oh, never mind…”

Steve Wells
Guest

Yes, you’re pretty much all alone now, Douglas. No one else is willing to apply the biblical law to homosexuals. It didn’t use to be that way though. Not too long ago that verse was loudly and unashamedly proclaimed at Credenda Agenda. Here, for example, is a quote from Magestralis. (Your Eye Shall Not Pity, Greg Dickison, 1999, Vol. 3) “Capital crimes, for example, include premeditated killing (murder), kidnapping, sorcery, bestiality, adultery, homosexuality, and cursing one’s parents (Ex. 21:14; 21:16;22:18; 22:19; Lev. 20:10; 20:13; Ex. 21:17).” But you have to go to the wayback machine to find quotes like that… Read more »

Jane
Member

Steve Wells, I think knowing the context for that quote would be most helpful. Unfortunately Volume 3 doesn’t appear to be available online.

Jane
Member

Sorry, posted too soon — Steve, since you apparently have access to that volume, would you mind posting the entire paragraph in which your quote appears?

Marinus C
Guest
Marinus C

Don’t worry, if you read his “apology” carefully it’s clear he didn’t really apologize and it looks like he he’s going for a reboot. He’ll probably be bullying gays out of there money before you can say “Why did he stop praying the gay away?” Conversion therapy is way to lucrative or Christians to abandon. It’s expensive and since it doesn’t work, you can “treat” them gays basically forever, so it’s one of the best cash cows there is. “””””In my mind’s eye, I can see when Lot was leaving Sodom, how there was a group of men at the… Read more »

Steve Wells
Guest

Jane,

For some reason that volume was removed a while back. But that’s where the wayback machine comes in handy. Here’s a link: http://web.archive.org/web/19990421075951/www.credenda.org/issues/vol3/magi3-11.htm

As for context, I’m interested to know when you think it would be acceptable to obey the command in Leviticus 20:13? Would it have been okay at the time it was written? Was it ever a good idea to execute people for committing homosexual acts? Would it be a good idea today? And if so, should we stone them to death or burn them as in the verse that immediately follows Leviticus 20:13? (Leviticus 20:14)

Steve Wells
Guest

Sorry Jane I posted the wrong link.

Here’s the one to “Your Eye Shall Not Pity”: http://web.archive.org/web/19991006000635/www.credenda.org/issues/vol3/magi3-9.htm

And in case that doesn’t work for you, here is the paragraph that the quote came from.

“The civil magistrate is the minister of God to execute wrath on the wrongdoer (Rom. 13:4). God has not left his civil minister without guidance on how to exercise his office. The Scriptures set forth clear standards of judgment for many offenses. Capital crimes, for example, include premeditated killing (murder), kidnapping, sorcery, bestiality, adultery, homosexuality, and cursing one’s parents (Ex. 21:14; 21:16; 22:18; 22:19; Lev. 20:10; 20:13; Ex. 21:17).”

RFB
Guest
RFB

Mr. Wells,

I am not answering for Pastor Wilson, so this is not me saying his potential answer.

I am asking of you 4 questions:

Do you think that those judgments and punishments laid out in scripture are wrong?

Why?

If something is wrong, should it require some level of consensus to speak against it?

Why?

Steve Wells
Guest

Those are difficult questions, RFB, But I’ll try to answer them as best I can. “Do you think that those judgments and punishments laid out in scripture are wrong?” Well, if we stick to Leviticus 20:13-14, then my answer is, “Yes”. It is wrong always and everywhere to kill anyone for the acts mentioned in these two verses. It was wrong at the time these verses were written and it is wrong today. It would be especially wrong to apply the punishment proscribed in Leviticus 20:14 (death by burning). “Why?” It would be cruel and cruelty is wrong. “If something… Read more »

Katecho
Member

Are there 10 people, 5 people in the city who can still say “no” to our relativistic and hedonistic culture, enslaved to its appetites? From Obamacare, to government surveillance, to sexual promiscuity education, to amnesty for illegals, to abortion pills for 14-year-olds, to gay mirage, even the few who say “no” today, are ready to repent of it tomorrow. One of the last remaining things our culture can shout “no” to is the one who reminds of the need for discipline and self-restraint (and this includes parents who may want to discipline their own children). All of these things are… Read more »

Steve Wells
Guest

katecho asks, “Are there 10 people, 5 people in the city who can still say “no” to our relativistic and hedonistic culture, enslaved to its appetites?” To which I ask, “Are there 10 people, 5 people in the city who will still apply the biblical punishment for homosexuality clearly expressed in Leviticus 20:13?” God couldn’t find ten good people in Sodom (though there’s no evidence that he bothered to look); could he find ten people in Moscow who are willing to cast stones at homosexuals in Moscow’s Friendship Square? And who is willing to burn the strange threesome of Leviticus… Read more »

Moor
Guest
Moor

News of Christianity’s death is always greatly exaggerated.

Seth B.
Guest
Seth B.

Maybe my post wasn’t clear, but I was being satirical. I was mocking homosexuals whose only defense when they’re called out on their sin is run into a corner and cry, then call their lawyer.

Seth B.
Guest
Seth B.

(That as directed at Ron K.)

Seth B.
Guest
Seth B.

Please excuse the typoes. Sheesh.

Luke B
Guest
Luke B

steve Wells

“Morality is not decided by vote.”

How is it decided?

Micah Burke
Guest
Micah Burke

“It is wrong always and everywhere to kill anyone for the acts mentioned in these two verses.” So let’s look at the presuppositions behind this statement: 1) Lev 20:13-14 says certain sexual activities are worthy of capital punishment 2) Those activities are acceptable by society now 3) Lev 20:13-14 must therefore be wrong 4) God was evil in demanding capital punishment for these activities OR Lev 20:13-14 is not the word of God. Why? “It would be cruel and cruelty is wrong.” Punishment hurts, that’s why it isn’t called dessert. The serious nature of the punishment underscores the serious nature… Read more »

Matthias
Guest
Matthias

Steve, if morality is not decided by vote, then what is it decided by?

Steve Wells
Guest

Micah,

I guess Douglas isn’t alone after all!

You think burning people to death is OK if God commands you to do so as he does in Leviticus 20:14.

I suppose you’re OK with stoning people to death, too. Like if a woman can’t prove her virginity on her marriage night, right? (Deuteronomy 22:13-21) Or if a woman doesn’t cry out loudly enough when raped. (Deuteronomy 22:23-24) Or if your family or friends have incorrect religious beliefs. (Deuteronomy 13:6-10).

There’s a long list of people who God commands you to stone. You’re going to need a lot of rocks.

Katecho
Member

Steve Wells seems desperate to have us be ashamed of Leviticus. Perhaps he’ll wear himself out in the attempt. In the meantime, we have already observed that our duty is not to trap as many people as we can with an external law on an unchanged culture. The idea is not to slam the door to convict as many as we can in their current depravity, rather we want to see the culture changed and then close the legal door on that depravity. Wells sees Leviticus as completely incompatible with our current culture, but unless his imagination is lacking, it… Read more »

Matthias
Guest
Matthias

katecho,

I have to ask…do you do any sort of regular writing, like on a blog or something like that? I regularly find myself enjoying reading what you write.

Matthias

Steve Wells
Guest

katecho, You say “Doug has simply observed that homosexual acts will be illegal in a converted Christian culture.” But he (or at least Credenda/Agenda) has done much more than that. If Doug had his way, homosexuals would be executed according to the command in Leviticus 20:13 (or perhaps, if he was in an especially good mood, exiled in accordance with 1 Kings 15:11-12). Or maybe not. Maybe Doug has changed his mind and is no longer willing to obey God’s nastier commands. Someone should ask him. (btw, why is everyone here so ashamed of Leviticus 20:13? Mentioning that verse is… Read more »

Tim V
Guest
Tim V

Will parachurches (and megachurches) update their bylaws to show that they are reaffirming time-tested church doctrines and guarding against the problems highlighted in the following paragraph? Doug Wilson writes, “This was an organization clearly dependent, in an unhealthy way, on one guy. It was a parachurch organization, and its governmental structure was plainly not built for the ages. Like so many evangelical parachurch operations, it appears to have been the kind of thing that revolved around. . . its president in a way that ceded way too much authority to him.”

Rick Davis
Guest
Rick Davis

Steve,

Virgil has a good answer for Dante when Dante appears to pity the tormented souls in Hell. I think it applies here too.

“Here pity, or here piety, must die
If the other lives; who’s wickeder than one
That’s agonised by God’s high equity?”

Kyle B
Guest

Steve Wells,

I’m still interested to know how you call one thing evil and not another. Where do you get your standard of good and evil? Not from the majority, I assume. But where? You can’t say cruelty is immoral without appealing to a source of morality. What is that source?

Moor
Guest
Moor

Steve,

It is perhaps as tired a response as there can be in this kind of dialog, but for the sake of clarity, I would point out that the Leviticus passage condemns homosexual intercourse.

Steve Wells
Guest

Kyle,

I use the Potter Stewart standard for cruelty. ( I know it when I see it.) And by that standard Leviticus 20:13 is cruel.

But if you don’t think it’s cruel to stone or burn people to death or if you just enjoy cruelty, then the Bible is for you. I know of no other book that approves of such things–not even the Quran (though it does say to cut off a thief’s hand, which might appeal to you).

Steve Wells
Guest

Moor,

You say “the Leviticus passage condemns homosexual intercourse.”

Which Leviticus passage are you referring to? Leviticus 18:22 or Leviticus 20:13?

The former condemns male homosexual intercourse as an abomination; the latter tells you what God wants you to do with people who perform such acts (kill them).

And Leviticus 20:13 isn’t a suggestion; it’s a commandment.

Steve Weeks
Guest
Steve Weeks

I copied this from one of your linked sites, Steve: “The civil magistrate is the minister of God to execute wrath on the wrongdoer (Rom. 13:4). God has not left his civil minister without guidance on how to exercise his office. The Scriptures set forth clear standards of judgment for many offenses.” Now, since we know that the bible was written by men, what does this sound like? Does it sound like the way a supposedly omnipotent god would take care of business? Or does it sound like something a man wrote to justify his own wish to effect punishment… Read more »

Steve Wells
Guest

Rick Davis,

I’m not sure what the make of the Virgil/Dante standard of cruelty. Does it mean that we shouldn’t pity people who are burned to death by those who obey Leviticus 20:14?

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

Steve Wells,

Not much of an answer to Kyle B’s question. How do you know it when you see it? You still need a frame of reference. Given most cultures in most times and places have seen fit to dispatch miscreants, often via some fairly harsh means, why do you suppose your sensibilities are what they are?

Katecho
Member

Matthias wrote:
“I have to ask…do you do any sort of regular writing, like on a blog or something like that? I regularly find myself enjoying reading what you write.”

Careful, you’ll just encourage me. :)
I’m actually trying to cut back on my wordiness on the internets. Maybe I’ll just focus here where I’m loved, but I think I’m in danger of writing more words on Doug’s blog than he does.

While I struggle to find the right balance, I really do appreciate the encouragement. Thank you for taking the time to offer it.

James Bradshaw
Member

Sure, the Bible says homosexuality is a sin. You know what it implies is most definitely NOT a sin in any way, shape or form? Buying and selling human beings for one’s own profit.

Right, Doug?

Perhaps we should reinstitute slavery. Think of how much cheaper healthy food would be to the overweight amongst “God’s Elect” if we could simply get the “bean pickers” to work for next to nothing.

Katecho
Member

By Steve Wells’ lights, sin is just not the sort of thing for which death or torment is ever an appropriate wage due. Sin against God is perhaps the subject of reform, penitence, or maybe fines, but not death or torment. Hell is just cruelty, and any taste of hell on earth is mean. God has much to learn about public relations, apparently. On the other hand, what if God is actually holy and awe-full and righteous in His judgments? What if our sin really is that bad? What if eternal torment really is justified? This would indicate that our… Read more »

Drew R
Guest
Drew R

“Like so many evangelical parachurch operations, it appears to have been the kind of thing that revolved around its personali . . . its president in a way that ceded way too much authority to him.”

How is this different from what’s been set up in Moscow?

Brian
Guest
Brian

Doug, I’m probably too late in the thread to get your response, but what would you think if Exodus had said something along the lines this? “After much prayer and consideration, we have decided to discontinue our operations. We are no longer convinced that reparative therapy is the best way to minister to the so-called gay community or to call to repentance those living an openly homosexual lifestyle. With this, we want to emphasize that we have not changed our Biblical position and believe that Scripture is abundantly clear that acts of homosexuality are clearly a violation of God’s holy… Read more »

RFB
Guest
RFB

katecho,

I wanted to take the opportunity to echo the encouragement without seeming obsequious. Continue the mission, sir!

Mr. Wells,

Since you say that you “know it when you see it”, then what happens when you encounter someone (or many someones) who disagrees? Do you only call upon yourself, or the voices of your sympathizers as your standard of good and evil?

Steve Wells
Guest

That was beautiful, katecho!

Under the terror of God’s righteous eye you’ll be stoning and burning people to death while giving cups of water to lowly and thirsty souls.

So I guess Doug won’t be the only one throwing stones and lighting fires. Micah and katecho will be right there with him.

Will any others here be joining them as they stone and burn non-virgin brides, rape victims, sabbath breakers, homosexuals, disobedient children, witches, blasphemers, and nonbelievers to death in Friendship Square?

RFB
Guest
RFB

Mr. Wells, I also wanted to answer your question of me, and you can use this as my comprehensive answer for any further questions of similar construct. You may have seen the bumper sticker that says “God said it, I believe it, that settles it”. I do not agree with that. Mine would say “God said it, that settles it.” Or, to paraphrase a few good men, “…we have no need to answer you in this matter…our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand. But… Read more »

David
Guest
David

Steve, It’s clear that you do not hold homosexuality to be as heinous as the Bible describes it. So, the first thing to observe is that you have a different ultimate authority that you appeal to when it comes to your sexual ethics. You do not tell us what that is. At least for those of us who are trying to be people of the book, the Bible indicates that the law of God is useful for restraining certain outward evil acts. One of those is homosexuality (I Tim. 1:8-10). Paul says it is lawful for the law to be… Read more »

Andrew
Guest
Andrew

David, do you believe the establishment clause regarding religion in the 1st amendment should be repealed?

Because the only way the Bible in the US can be used for legislation is if that clause is removed from our Constitution.

mikebull1
Member

Steve Wells, you are being critical of the Bible without really understanding it. Israel was a church-state. Thus it had excommunication and also execution. After the exile, Israel was more like a church within a Gentile state. Without its own king, it did not have the power of execution, but was called to a role of greater maturity, that is, serving as a prophetic witness to the Gentile nations. It still had the power of excommunication. The church, an even more mature stage, is an Israel made of all nations, and with the Spirit has this prophetic role (a legal… Read more »

Steve Wells
Guest

Who knew there were so many stone throwers here! Now we have katecho, Micah, RFB, and David joining the stoning and burning party! Maybe Douglas won’t have to cast the first stone (or any stone) after all. He’ll just pronounce the sentence and his loyal followers will do it for him. But I am puzzled by this “civil magistrate” business. The Bible says nothing about it. Here, for example, is what it says in Deuteronomy 13:6-10: “If thy brother … or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own… Read more »

Andrew Lohr
Member

Will the real weaker brother please stand up?

Nick Holloway
Guest
Nick Holloway

Steve, I’m pretty sure I’ve violated some of the statutes and laws in Leviticus. Leviticus 20:9 comes to mind. A good many of us have probably broken that law in our teenage years. According to God’s Law and Leviticus, we do deserve to be executed. I guess you and I should stand together in Friendship Square and have rocks thrown at us til we are dead. But guess what? God already executed someone else in our place for our cursing, adulterating, homosexual, lying, cheating ways. Read the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) to see how, what, and who God… Read more »

Steve Wells
Guest

Mike Bull, You say I should “do some homework before throwing around such slurs.” But I did my homework, Mike. It’s true that you “won’t find Pastor Wilson stoning or burning people.” But it’s also true that he believes people should be stoned to death when the Bible requires it. And yet it seems there are some biblical punishments that are too cruel even for Mr. Wilson. For example, he.is unwilling to administer the punishment God calls for in Leviticus 20:14. At least that’s what he said here on June 30, 2005. So apparently Doug thinks it is wrong to… Read more »