Counseling homosexuals involves ‘speaking truth in love,’ leaders say

Heath Lambert, executive director of ACBC and associate professor of biblical counseling, speaks at homosexuality conference, sponsored by ACBC.
Heath Lambert, executive director of ACBC and associate professor of biblical counseling, delivers an Oct. 5 plenary address on homosexuality.

Christian counselors should be able to speak lovingly and winsomely to people struggling with homosexual attraction, said evangelical leaders at the Oct. 5-7 homosexuality conference at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

The conference, titled “Homosexuality: Compassion, Care, and Counseling for Struggling People,” was sponsored by the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).

“The integrity of our message is at stake in this, brothers and sisters. If we believe that the Bible teaches homosexuality to be a sin, and if we believe that Jesus Christ changes people, but we don’t know how to help them, then ... we will make a mockery of the Word of God,” said Heath Lambert, executive director of ACBC and associate professor of biblical counseling at Southern Seminary and Boyce College. “If we don’t know how to lay hold of the grace of Jesus, we will slander the Word of God and the grace of Jesus.”

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Butterfield, former lesbian and LGBT activist, gives her testimony at ACBC conference

While many speakers during the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC) conference were evangelical counselors or longtime pastors, Rosaria Butterfield offered a unique perspective on homosexuality. The conference, titled “Homosexuality: Compassion, Care, and Counseling for Struggling People” and held at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, featured the popular author and speaker’s testimony during one of its plenary sessions, Oct. 6.

Butterfield — once a liberal, feminist, lesbian college professor at Syracuse University and now a pastor’s wife — offered the perspective of someone formerly a member of the gay lifestyle, but radically and supernaturally saved out of it through the ministry of a local pastor.

Rosaria Butterfield, former lesbian and LGBT activist, talks at ACBC conference.
Rosaria Butterfield, former lesbian and LGBT activist, gives her testimony during an Oct. 6 plenary session at the ACBC conference.

In 1997, after Butterfield wrote a scathing article about a nearby Promise Keepers conference, a Presbyterian pastor in town sent her a letter challenging her presuppositions and inviting her to dinner at his home. After initially throwing it away, she dug it back out and agreed to visit him. Their interaction eventually grew into a friendly, and eventually redemptive, relationship.

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The Bible and the blogosphere: Denny Burk contends for biblical sexuality with online Christian witness

 

Denny Burk, professor of biblical studies at Boyce College, lectures to a class in Southern Seminary's Norton Hall.
Denny Burk, professor of biblical studies at Boyce College, lectures to a class in Southern Seminary's Norton Hall.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (SBTS) — When the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage on June 26, evangelical leaders moved swiftly to respond. Before the day was out, Southern Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. released a special edition of “The Briefing” podcast and Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission President Russell Moore recorded a YouTube video urging believers not to panic and to prepare to “receive the refugees from the sexual revolution.” The evangelical world at large was not taken off-guard by the Obergefell v. Hodges decision and went online to make its voice heard.

Denny Burk, professor of biblical studies at Boyce College, is no stranger to the Internet world. He has curated a popular blog, dennyburk.com, for 10 years, offering an evangelical perspective on cultural issues. It was recently featured at No. 18 in Newsmax’s September list of the top 75 religion bloggers. In recent years, Burk’s blogging attention has often settled on gender and sexuality topics, as those issues have moved to the forefront of American culture. In the 48 hours after the SCOTUS ruling, Burk wrote eight posts on the decision, offering his prophetic clarion call for Christians to ready themselves for a new normal in cultural discourse.

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First evangelical conference on transgenderism responds to unprecedented challenge

The transgender movement presents an unprecedented theological and cultural crisis for the church, said Southern Baptist scholars at the Oct. 5 ACBC preconference, “Transgender: Transgender confusion and transformational Christianity” at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

The preconference preceded the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC) annual conference, which is being held at the seminary Oct. 5-7. The preconference, co-sponsored by ACBC and the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW), is the first time evangelicals have held such an event to discuss the transgender movement.

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Southern Seminary leaders underscore rejection of ‘superficial’ reparative therapy in response to LGBT protesters at ACBC conference

Southern Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. addresses the media in an Oct. 5 news conference to refute the claims of local LGBT activists.
Southern Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. addresses the media in an Oct. 5 news conference to refute the claims of local LGBT activists.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (SBTS) — Reparative therapy is a “superficial” response to homosexual and transgender change and Christian ministers must instead call all people to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, said leaders of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors in an Oct. 5 news conference.

“We don’t think the main thing that is needed is merely repair but rather redemption,” said Southern Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. “When it comes to sexuality, we do believe that wholeness and holiness can come, and will come, to the one who faithfully follows Christ.”

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Southern Seminary, ACBC to refute protesters’ claims in morning news conference

Southern Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (SBTS) — Leaders of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors will hold a news conference Monday at 10:30 a.m. on the seminary’s campus to refute the claims of an announced protest of ACBC’s conference at the seminary.

R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Seminary, and Heath Lambert, executive director of ACBC, will hold the news conference to respond to the Fairness Campaign’s false claim that the ACBC conference promotes reparative therapy when the group announced its plans Friday, Oct. 2, to protest near the seminary. Lambert said in a Sept. 14 news release he rejects reparative therapy and that the conference will explore an evangelical perspective of homosexual change.

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Mohler says new book responds to ‘moral emergency’ of sexual revolution

Southern Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. (left) talks about his new book on the sexual revolution.
Southern Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. (right) talks about his new book on the sexual revolution.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (SBTS) — In the span of three months in the summer of 2015, three headlines marked historic events that generations of Americans past could never have imagined. First it was former “world’s greatest athlete” Bruce Jenner debuting his gender transition on the cover of Vanity Fair. Next the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states. Within a few weeks Americans witnessed the horrors of abortion in a series of undercover videos purporting to show Planned Parenthood profiting from the illegal sale of aborted baby parts and organs.

R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, issues a call for faithful, biblical witness in his latest book, We Cannot Be Silent, that he says is ever more urgent in the wake of these landmark events. Written in late 2014, the book — to be published by Thomas Nelson Oct. 27 — examines the rise of the homosexual movement, the path to same-sex marriage, the emergence of transgenderism, and the sexual revolution’s imperilment to religious liberty.

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Report ranks Southern Seminary’s doctoral program in top 5

CO-511-2015 Doctorate Earned Chart (1)LOUISVILLE, Ky. (SBTS) — A recent report from the Association of Theological Schools ranks The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary fourth among peer institutions for producing faculty doctorates in the accreditation agency’s member schools. Trailing only Princeton Theological Seminary, Harvard, and University of Toronto, Southern improved 12 spots on the list since the previous report in 2001.

“Southern Seminary established one of the first research doctorates in higher education in America and has been a pioneer since the beginning, preparing scholars for the church through the highest level of academic preparation,” said Southern Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. “This report is a significant affirmation of Southern's leadership in preparing scholars for the church past, present, and future.”

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Speak for the Unborn leader pleads for life as babies are on the brink of death

Speak for the Unborn director Andrew King, a Southern Seminary Ph.D. student, speaks to a woman entering the clinic.
Speak for the Unborn director Andrew King, a Southern Seminary Ph.D. student, speaks to a woman entering the clinic.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (SBTS) — On this July Saturday, an unusual number of people gather outside 138 West Market Street in downtown Louisville, Kentucky. The reason for the large turnout is unclear — it could be coincidence, it could be the especially warm morning, or it could be the effect of a series of undercover videos released by the Center for Medical Progress that has drawn national attention. The videos purport to show Planned Parenthood, a nonprofit women’s healthcare provider, profiting from selling aborted baby parts and organs, though the organization has steadfastly denied such conclusions.

Most of the crowd are pro-life protesters, and they congregate more than an hour before the EMW Women’s Surgical Center (which is unaffiliated with Planned Parenthood) opens. Some are pro-life Catholics, some are from various pro-life Protestant groups, and some — a very small group huddling for prayer, dressed in yellow parking vests — are with Speak for the Unborn, an evangelical ministry that bills itself as a ministry of the local church. It intends to “make abortion impossible, both through godly and legal means,” according to its website.

In the center, quietly uttering a prayer asking for the women who visit that morning to “find their hope in the gospel,” is Andrew King, a Ph.D. student at Southern Seminary and director of Speak for the Unborn. For the better part of a decade, King and other volunteers have stood outside EMW, pleading with women to reconsider their decision. “We are quite literally the last line of defense,” King says.

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Reformation distinctives remain important, say evangelical scholars at SBTS Theology Conference

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — While Pope Francis visited the United States for the first time, leading evangelical scholars defended the “Five Solas,” central themes of the Reformation, at the 2015 Theology Conference at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Sept. 24-25.

With the approaching 500th anniversary in 2017 of Martin Luther’s nailing of the 95 Theses to the door of the church in Wittenberg, the signature moment of the Protestant Reformation, speakers at the conference emphasized the distinctiveness of the Reformed tradition from the Roman Catholic tradition.

“[A] Reformation understanding of grace sees God’s presence to people as mediated through the Word of God — especially the Word of God preached,” said Carl Trueman, professor of historical theology and church history at Westminster Theological Seminary in Glenside, Pennsylvania. “It’s the Word of God — not the sacraments, as in Medieval Catholicism — which was the primary means of God dealing graciously with his people.”

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