What a pleasant find to go to the Christian Post website and discover that Exodus International has banned conversion therapy, also known as reparative therapy. Truly, this is a strong step toward a biblical understanding of the matter and a strong step toward spiritual equality.
Simply put, conversion therapy is the attempt to turn homosexuals into heterosexuals. It emerged out of the debate over whether all people should be heterosexual or whether people choose to be homosexual. However, I have looked at every verse condemning gay sex, and not a single scripture states that everyone must be heterosexual or that people choose to become homosexual. This controversy is absent from scripture and is irrelevant. Nor have I found this controversy in any ancient culture.
Conversion therapy stems from the modern belief in sexuality as identity. The modern concept of sexuality is absent from biblical scripture. Indeed, all are equal in the eyes of God, and He never considers people to be heterosexual or homosexual. Once the concepts of heterosexuality and homosexuality are removed from our consciousness, then the concept of conversion therapy becomes ridiculous and absurd. Once the concept of sexual identity is removed, then people no longer have a sexual identity to convert into, rendering the conversion meaningless without a purpose. As a result, conversion therapy ceases to offend and becomes ridiculous in its irrelevance.
As a concession, I think this type of counseling should be an option for people who want it, but the decision should remain with them, and no organization should give it complete endorsement. I have never personally endorsed it and have never considered it of much value. I especially oppose churches and organizations who consider this the primary focus, goal, or resolution toward gays and lesbians. Why should people go from one orientation prone to sexual sin and become another orientation prone to sexual sin? The capability for sin remains, and because the capability for sin remains, the conversion of sexual identity is again meaningless.
Some Christians often cite Leviticus 18:22 to describe homosexuality as an abomination. If this is the case, then heterosexuality is also an abomination. A single verse in Leviticus 18 refers to gay sex. Fifteen verses (Leviticus 18:6-21) condemn heterosexual sin. This is half of Leviticus 18. And everything listed - including the heterosexuality - is called "abomination" in Leviticus 18:29. Therefore, for homosexuality to be an abomination means that heterosexuality must also be an abomination, according to Leviticus 18:29.
The concept of sexual identity is absent from scripture, but this conclusion again introduces the question: why should people go from one orientation prone to sexual sin and become another orientation prone to sexual sin?
The big problem with conversion therapy is that this declares heterosexuality as morally superior to homosexuality. Again, this has no basis in scripture. A complete reading of Leviticus 18 attests to that. Plenty of verses throughout scripture that condemn heterosexuality. The rape of Tamar by her brother Amnon, for instance. No group can claim moral superiority, especially with rampant heterosexual sins such as adultery and incest.
Paul of Tarsus considered incest to be the worst sexual sin.
"It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles - that a man has his father's wife! And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away from among you." (1 Corinthians 5:1-2)
I had cited this in response to a person who considered gay sex the worst sin, and a woman - I forget her name joined in and commented that all sins separate us from God, so it really does not matter which sin is worse when all lead to damnation. I did not reply to her, but she speaks the truth. There is little point in debating which sin is worse when all people are equal in the eyes of God. Sometimes, this helps to organize and understand things in our society, but we also need to remember equality.
Last year at church, I heard second-hand that someone said homosexuals cannot enter Heaven. Actually, this someone used a more offensive term. Because I did not hear the person who made the comment, I could not correct it. Instead, I told the person who relayed the comment, "neither can heterosexuals." I was thinking about 1 Corinthians.
"Do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind..." non-sexual list begins. "...has any place in the kingdom of Heaven." (1 Corinthians 6:9-10) Old King James
This verse is another sign of scriptural equality. Heterosexuals are equally sinful and therefore cannot enter Heaven except through repentance and the grace of God. Plenty of verses throughout scripture that condemn heterosexuality. Compare the Sodom/Gomorrah story with chapter 19 and 20 of Judges, the tribe of Benjamin almost went extinct and almost experienced the same fate of Sodom/Gomorrah for a heterosexual gang rape. The only difference is that the tribe repented and pleaded for mercy. These two stories side-by-side show that no group has a claim on moral superiority. In his condemnations, Paul often included the sins of heterosexuality with the remainder of the sexual sins.
Galatians 5:19 "Now the works of the flesh are evident which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness,"
Ephesians 5:5 "For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man who is an idolater has any inheritance in the kingdom of God."
Colossians 3:5 "Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry."
I did not cite 1 Corinthians, but he agreed with me that neither can heterosexuals be in Heaven, and he cited Mathew 22:29-30. This was brilliant. I had never considered it until he mentioned it.
Jesus answered the Sadducees and said to them "you are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like the angels in heaven." (Mathew 22:29-30)
Marriage does not exist in Heaven. Therefore, sex does not exist in Heaven. Because sex ceases to exist, sexual impulses likewise cease to exist in a purely spiritual realm. Truly, there are neither heterosexuals nor homosexuals in Heaven. This verse affirms that the concept of sexual identity is absent and does not exist in scripture.
Perhaps the most damaging thing to occur within Christianity and within society is the concept of sexual identity. According to sexual identity, for gay sex to be a sin means that homosexuals are the personification of sin. This has led to hatred, bigotry, and hypocrisy by many Christians. This has also led to an immense amount of fear from homosexuals, terrified of going to Hell just for being what they are without hope of redemption. Sexual identity portrayed God as unfair and unjust. Fortunately, sexual identity does not exist in scripture, and God never defines us by the flesh.
I think that instead of conversion therapy, we need group therapy. I suggest group therapy because everyone within the group are considered equals with the same problem. So, place all the heterosexuals and homosexuals together, have them discuss their same problems, and have them realize their equality. By making them equal, the group might realize the ridiculousness of sexual identity.