Using 'Reparative Therapy' to 'Fix' Homosexuals 'Severely Counterproductive,' Says Lead Theologian

Oct 29, 2014 09:24 PM EDT

Russell Moore
Russell Moore serves as the president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (Photo: Baptist Press)

Using "reparative therapy" to turn gay people straight is "severely counterproductive," according to the president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.

Russell Moore, who is a theological conservative, made his comments on Tuesday to a group of journalists covering the group's national conference.

"The utopian idea if you come to Christ and if you go through our program, you're going to be immediately set free from attraction or anything you're struggling with, I don't think that's a Christian idea," he said. "Faithfulness to Christ means obedience to Christ. It does not necessarily mean that someone's attractions are going to change."

Moore added that a majority of evangelicals had an "inadequate view" of what same-sex attraction looks like.

"The Bible doesn't promise us freedom from temptation. The Bible promises us the power of the Spirit to walk through temptation."

The Evangelical leader also urged Christians to view homelessness for homosexual youth as "a human dignity issue" and encouraged parents not to shun their gay children.

"The response is not shunning, putting them out on the street," he said. "The answer is loving your child."

"You've been given a mission of reconciliation," he continued. "Jesus is not afraid to speak the truth, but Jesus is not shocked by people or disgusted by people."

Moore said that instead of forcing reparative therapy upon those struggling with homosexuality, Christians should encourage them to turn to the Gospel. Doing so, he stressed, would help homosexuals live chastely despite being attracted to people of the same gender.

Earlier in the day, Moore made similar comments to a group of 1,000 attending the conference on The Gospel, Homosexuality and the Future of Marriage.

Rev. Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, echoed Moore's assertions when he admitted that he was wrong in his previous belief that homosexual tendencies could be changed through therapy.

"One of the embarrassments that I have to bear is that I have written on some of these issues for 30 years," he said. "At a couple of points, I've got to say I got that wrong, and we've got to go back and correct it.

However, he emphasized the belief that gay marriage is a "rejection of God's law," adding that evangelicals needed to have "a lot of agonising conversations" about how to move forward.

He also said that while he fears many churches will accept gay marriage, such a belief does not belong in the Southern Baptist denomination.

"It's kind of like having a car parked on your foot. If there's a way to get it off our foot, that would be a great thing. If there were a genuine third way, I think we would all want to at least consider it pretty closely. I don't think there is."

Last month, the Southern Baptist Convention withdrew fellowship from New Heart Community Church in California after their pastor, Danny Cortez, announced they were a "third way," meaning its leaders are permitted to hold varying perspectives regarding same-sex marriage.

At the time, SBC President Ronnie Floyd said that New Heart had "walked away from us as Southern Baptists, we have not walked away from them. So it is with compassion that I would appeal to them to reconsider their decision, mostly their position related to the Word of God on homosexuality."