No ‘therapy,’ but Jesus can change LGBT lives, say evangelical leaders

(RNS) Evangelical leaders spoke out against “reparative” mental health therapy for LGBT people Tuesday (Oct. 6) but still called on them to “change,” saying that only through faith in Jesus could they find “wholeness and holiness.”

The Association of Certified Biblical Counselors and the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, meeting this week at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., the flagship school of the Southern Baptist Convention, have been under fire from LGBT activists for failing to condemn reparative therapy, sometimes also called “conversion” therapy.

Oregon, California, New Jersey and the District of Columbia now prohibit licensed therapists from attempting to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of a minor. However, the Biblical Counselors group, as religious advisers, are not necessarily subject to those bans.

Yes, Jesus can change their lives. But first, they have to want to have their lives changed, and be willing to let go of those behaviors that are not acceptable to God.

Too many folks seem to want their cake and eat it too.
i.e. “I want to be sober, but I don’t want to stop drinking.”
" I want to please God, but I also want to have sex when and with whoever I please."
" I want to be rich, but I don’t want to have to work."

I think this has probably been debated on here before. I don’t really have much to say, but will offer the following thoughts:

  1. Reparative therapy doesn’t guarantee “change”. Terms need to be defined - I’m not going to define them because I don’t know for sure, but I am quite sure that “reparative therapy” and “conversion therapy” aren’t the same thing and they shouldn’t be equated.
  2. There’s nothing wrong with believing that, though most people don’t choose to be attracted to the same sex, various factors in an adult’s childhood paved the way for same sex attractions; I think all reparative therapists would say that homosexuality is caused by certain emotional developments as a child, so they would say there is certainly a mental factor to it
  3. from #2, there’s nothing wrong with trying to dig deep into those possible childhood developments, which I believe is a part of reparative therapy
  4. Finally, with all that in mind: I think it’s absurd, and indeed not a Catholic teaching (though I realize this was posted in the Non-Catholic forum), to believe one must solely rely on God’s grace to be healed. That’s like saying we can’t have medicine if we’re sick, we have to just rely on faith in Jesus.

So, there’s nothing wrong with recognizing that all healing will come through God’s grace, if it is His will that healing comes for a person - but it doesn’t have to be either/or. We are encouraged to take advantage of advances in medicine, and in this case, in the area of mental health, while still relying on the goodness of God and trusting that His will be done.

I’m editing to add this regarding my #1 above: I don’t know, maybe reparative therapy and conversion therapy are the same thing, but either way, I think it is very possible that the purpose of reparative therapy and what it specifically entails is misunderstood/misrepresented by its “enemies”.

OK, I guess I have a lot more to say about this than I thought, since this is quite a personal issue. But just one more (group of) thought(s):

I think the only way that one could possibly believe that “no therapy, only Jesus can change LGBT lives” is if you also believe that same-sex attraction is something that one is born with, that one’s same-sex attraction is an unchangeable part of him/her because he was created that way. Isn’t that why LGBT activists so strongly oppose it - because it challenges their belief that they were born with SSA?

Don’t get me wrong - as I stated in my other post, there’s certainly something to be said about trusting in God and believing He can heal. But that one story comes to mind…that one where someone is on top of his house in a flood, waiting for God to save him as the flood waters rise, and a boat comes by, a helicopter comes by and whatever else and he refuses because he says God will save him. Then he dies in the flood and in the afterlife he asks God why He didn’t save him, and God says, I sent you a boat and a helicopter, etc., and you didn’t accept them. You get the idea - God can give us help through material means - we need to always strive to have the prudence and understanding and knowledge that He will provide us with what we need, and to pray for the grace to accept the help He chooses to give us, no matter in what form that help is.

At the very least, all I’m trying to say is that one just can’t totally write off reparative therapy, because it has been proven in some cases to be very effective. Unless you just claim that everyone who says it has worked in their lives is downright lying. Don’t think that is the case.

:hmmm: Sounds familiar…

Grant me chastity and continency, but not yet.

                                                    -St. Augustine of Hippo
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