In Search of the New Man: Not Gillette, but Christ

Society has changed. The public arena is no longer the exclusive male domain it once was. Women are now actively participating in all areas of life. Whether in politics, business or family life, men can no longer insist on perpetuating traditional roles or presume to enjoy the benefits long accorded to the privileged gender. But adjusting to new roles in modern society inevitably generates confusion and anxieties amongst men. In this article, I write to challenge my fellow men to address the present confusion and self-doubt confronting us, and to explore the need to define our sexuality, that is, our self-identity and our relationship to the other sex.

What Does it Mean to be a Man?
Just how and when does one become a man? It seemed quite clear-cut especially in traditional societies that practised rites-of-passage that helped boys know for sure that they had made the transition from childhood to manhood. Continue reading “In Search of the New Man: Not Gillette, but Christ”

Practising Homosexuals Can Change: A Simple Biblical Argument & Social-Scientific Evidence. Part 2/2

Can Practising Homosexuals Experience Change through Counselling?
A Report by Stanton Jones & Mark Yarhouse.Publication Sources: Ex-Gays? A Longitudinal Study of Religious Mediated Change in Sexual Orientation. IVP, 2007 and Homosexuality: The Use of Scientific Research in the Church’s Moral Debate (IVP, 2009).

Summary of research: [Stanton Jones, Same Sex Science, First Things Feb 2012]
We are told that homosexual persons are just as psychologically healthy as heterosexuals, that sexual orientation is biologically determined at birth, that sexual orientation cannot be changed and that the attempt to change it is necessarily harmful, that homosexual relationships are equivalent to heterosexual ones in all important characteristics, and that personal identity is properly and legitimately constituted around sexual orientation. These claims are as misguided as the ridiculed beliefs of some social conservatives, as they spring from distorted or incomplete representations of the best findings from the science of same-sex attraction.

Contrary to the assumptions of many social conservatives, biology does appear to play a modest part in determining sexual orientation. Contrary to the assumptions of many social progressives, psychological and environmental variables also appear to play at least a modest part in determining sexual orientation. In contrast to the hubris of those prone to making emphatic pronouncements, what we do not yet know about the causation of sexual orientation dwarfs the bit that we are beginning to know. And the fact that causation is indubitably a complex and mysterious by-product of the interaction of biological and psychological variables confounds the assertion that sexual orientation is just like skin color, determined at birth or even conception. And contrary to the suggestions of some, the involvement of some biological influence does not prove that change in sexual orientation is impossible. One of our foremost behavior genetics experts, Thomas Bouchard, has argued forcefully that “one of the most unfortunate misinterpretations of the heritability coefficient is that it provides an index of trait malleability (i.e., the higher the heritability the less modifiable the trait is through environmental intervention).” Continue reading “Practising Homosexuals Can Change: A Simple Biblical Argument & Social-Scientific Evidence. Part 2/2”

Practising Homosexuals Can Change: A Simple Biblical Argument & Social-Scientific Evidence. Part 1/2

Question posed by “Fractalist” at the previous postA Scripture-Principled and Pastoral-Sensitive Church Response to Homosexual Activism:
What do you think of the position of the American Psychological Association (APA) which states: “Homosexuality is not a mental disorder” and that “therapies that seek to reduce or eliminate same-gender sexual orientation are under extensive debate in the professional literature and the popular media (Davison, 1991; Haldeman, 1994; Wall Street Journal, 1997)”

Answer
Nowadays, no one would bat an eyelid if a great philosopher like Augustine or Aquinas were to share a gripping account of how the troubled soul can find peace with God. However, people would pay rapt attention to a psychologist who assures them that the self is totally good and is oriented towards growth and creativity, and that the purpose of life is to find one’s deepest self by following one’s “orientation” and forging one’s sexual identity in ways that counter all forms of authority represented by family, traditional social norms and religion. [See Paul Vitz, Psychology as Religion: The Cult of Self-Worship 2e (Eerdsman, 1994)]

Recently, the high priesthood of humanistic psychology, the American Psychological Association (APA), issued a new dogma that proclaims that homosexuality is natural and should be accepted, if not encouraged. This amounts to a reprise of ancient papal encyclicals. One of the sacred cows in the pantheon of social sciences has spoken. Whoever dares to question its sublime wisdom will be anathematized by its priestly order, the academia. Continue reading “Practising Homosexuals Can Change: A Simple Biblical Argument & Social-Scientific Evidence. Part 1/2”

A Scripture-Principled and Pastoral-Sensitive Church Response to Homosexual Activism

It would be good take note of the background of the ETHOS Forum on Human Sexuality, Marriage & the Church. The Church in Singapore and homosexual activists are locked in a contestation to determine whether homosexuality should be normalized in society. At the centre of this dispute is whether section 377A of the Singapore Penal Code, which criminalizes male homosexual sex should be repealed.*

Dr. Roland Chia writes in his latest article published in ETHOS, “Normalizing Homosexuality: How Should Christians Respond?”

The main strategy of these advocates is to convince the world that homosexuality is normal, that people who are same-sex attracted are born that way. Many have appealed to the modern concept of sexual orientation and insist that the genetic and neurological basis for homosexuality is well supported by science.

If homosexual orientation has a biological basis, then discrimination against people with same-sex attraction amounts to bigotry and the infringement of their fundamental rights and liberties – so goes the argument.

How should Christians respond to the obvious agenda of LGBT activists to normalize homosexuality in society? Because of the multi-faceted nature of the LGBT strategy, the Christian response must take different forms and be made at various levels of society.

Continue reading “A Scripture-Principled and Pastoral-Sensitive Church Response to Homosexual Activism”

ETHOS Conference: Human Sexuality, Marriage & the Church

Why is it the case that our local churches have avoided addressing the issue of homosexuality from the pulpit even though homosexuality has become (1) the defining social issue for many young people today, (2) an opportunity for virtue signaling for academicians, and (3) the celebrated cause championed by media celebrities and social activists in the West?

Perhaps, many church leaders hesitate to speak as they do not have adequate knowledge of the psychological and social scientific aspects of homosexuality. Their hesitation is exacerbated when the traditional Christian understanding of sexuality is challenged by sophisticated Western liberal theologians who offer novel readings of the Bible which purportedly support the case for homosexuality. Finally, church leaders are afraid of being accused of lacking pastoral sensitivity, or worse, being judgmental should they uphold the orthodox biblical teaching of heterosexual marriage.

Pastors seeking to be better informed theologically and better equipped  to minister to young people grappling with the issue of sexuality will benefit from  the videos lectures of the 2016 Conference on “Human Sexuality, Marriage & the Church” by ETHOS Institute for Public Christianity (which is sponsored by the Singapore National Council of Churches, Trinity Theological College and the Bible Society of Singapore). Continue reading “ETHOS Conference: Human Sexuality, Marriage & the Church”

Support for Homosexuality Logically Leads to Support for Polygamy

It is fun to read satire, but I usually avoid sharing links to satirical websites as many internet readers are too lazy to follow through with a few additional ‘clicks’ on the menu to double check the background info needed to ferret out genuine from mischievous satirical websites.
 
Remember, the Devil once tempted the Lord with the opening remark, “It is written.” Nowadays, he has a temptation-software-upgrade – “It is written in the Internet.”
 
But the ironic observation of Babylon Bee (a satirical website) is right on target about the biblical view of marriage and family of the Nashville Statement:

Continue reading “Support for Homosexuality Logically Leads to Support for Polygamy”

Nashville Statement on Biblical Sexuality: Different Takes by Robert Gagnon and Michael Bird

Related Post: Nashville Statement (2017): A Coalition for Biblical Sexuality

[If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the Word of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Him. Where the battle rages there the loyalty of the soldier is proved; and to be steady on all the battle front besides, is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point. The Apocryphal Martin Luther]

The Nashville Statement on Biblical sexuality does not answer all the questions that have arisen from the homosexual controversy. It is certainly not a complete, much less a perfect Statement. The purpose of any public statement is defined and delimited by its time and context. Like the historic creeds, it does not aim at full exposition of doctrine as to define the core beliefs and the boundaries of reflection.

Some evangelicals would like to suggest ways to sharpen what is basically an excellent statement. Others express concerns that it is not sufficiently pastoral. Still others, are worried that young people may misunderstand and therefore are put off by the Statement since the media has been effective in convincing many young people that being ‘gay’ does not necessarily suggest a promiscuous lifestyle. These are legitimate concerns. However, public statements have to navigate the fine balance between being concise and being comprehensive. We also need to keep in mind the central goals of the statement and its intended audience. Continue reading “Nashville Statement on Biblical Sexuality: Different Takes by Robert Gagnon and Michael Bird”

Claim that Homosexuals are “Born that Way” not Supported by Scientific Evidence

A new study in the United States says that homosexuals are not ‘Born that Way’ as sexual orientation as an innate, biologically fixed property of human beings—the idea that people are “born that way”—is not supported by scientific evidence.
The 144-page study is written by Dr. Lawrence Mayer from the Department of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Dr. Paul R. McHugh who is a renowned psychiatrist and former chief of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Link to the Executive Summary of the Study

Homosexual Study New Atlantis Executive Summary

Excerpts:
Part One: Sexual Orientation

  • The understanding of sexual orientation as an innate, biologically fixed property of human beings—the idea that people are “born that way”—is not supported by scientific evidence.
  • While there is evidence that biological factors such as genes and hormones are associated with sexual behaviors and attractions, there are no compelling causal biological explanations for human sexual orientation. While minor differences in the brain structures and brain activity between homosexual and heterosexual individuals have been identified by researchers, such neurobiological findings do not demonstrate whether these differences are innate or are the result of environmental and psychological factors.

Continue reading “Claim that Homosexuals are “Born that Way” not Supported by Scientific Evidence”

Disney’s Delicate Homosexual Moment

According to the Film Censorship Board of Malaysia, Walt Disney’s movie, Beauty and the Beast “has been approved…with a minor cut.” But it was the “most unkindest cut of all” for Disney.  So it decided that it will simply pull its latest movie from Malaysian distribution rather than allow the movie’s so-called “gay moment” to be censored.

Beauty and the Beast Postponed or Banned?

Hmm, one wonders: Is Disney saying that the “gay moment” is so essential to the movie that it must not be touched? This would only confirm the suspicion that Disney has a homosexual agenda. It would add satisfaction to the Malaysian Film Censorship Board that it has indeed got the cut right. Continue reading “Disney’s Delicate Homosexual Moment”

Homosexuality and Respect for Democratic Rights: YES, BUT – The Sociological Minimum

The Bible considers homosexual practice sinful since it violates God’s moral order (using Biblical language), or natural moral order (using language of public discourse). See earlier post, LINK.  Still, there is no need to single out homosexual activity for disapprobation as it is listed as one sin amongst many other sins. This theological truth is foundational for Christian moral teaching, but Christians need to supplement theological truth with sociological insights when they address the homosexual controversy in public discourse. In this spirit I offer the following propositions. Continue reading “Homosexuality and Respect for Democratic Rights: YES, BUT – The Sociological Minimum”