73 Comments

Vaughan Roberts Fighting His Battle without Compromise

The web lit up this evening on Facebook and Gospel Coalition due to this important interview with Vaughan Roberts posted by blogger David Ould. I believe it is an important contribution to the current discussion of the Christian faith and homosexuality. As you’ll see when you read this article, Vaughan Roberts has enter the discussion of same-sex attraction from the INSIDE rather than commenting from the usual faith-based outside position. I was very uneasy in just reading the headline because I have great respect for Roberts as a pastor and theologian. But I must say, I was encouraged by Roberts uncompromising Biblical stance on his own very real battle of which he goes into very personal detail. Be sure to read the full interview by Julian Hardyman at the link below.

From davidould.net”

“In a tremendously brave move Vaughan Roberts, rector of St Ebbe’s, Oxford, and a prominent leader amongst English evangelicals has announced that he experiences same-sex attraction and yet he remains celibate since this is the clear teaching of Scripture.

It’s helpful for background to understand that in the Church of England, in which Vaughan is an ordained minister, we have had increasing interventions by theological liberals over this issue, advocating for the acceptance of homosexuality in general and the blessing of same-sex relationships. Vaughan’s statement and interview ought to be read not least as a contribution to that debate.

Vaughan has issued the following press release,

In the preface to a new edition of my book “Battles Christians Face”, which features eights areas of struggle, including homosexuality, I write that, to a greater or lesser degree, I face them all myself. Close family and friends have known for a considerable time that I experience same sex attraction. None of the issues in the book define me. As a single man I am celibate, because I believe the Bible teaches that the right context for sex is only in marriage between a man and a woman.

My motivation for writing the preface and answering the questions in the interview in “Evangelicals Now” is pastoral. I believe there is value in a greater openness to talk about these issues in evangelical churches. I hope to encourage those who experience same sex attraction and yet believe that fulness of life is to be found in Christ and holding to his teaching. Singleness can be challenging at times, but I have many good friends, and a loving family, and I thank God for the blessings and opportunities it offers.”

Continue reading here: David Ould’s Blog Post

Full interview by Julian Hardyman here with more questions and answers

About abidingthroughgrace

Married with kids, work as CEO of Engineering Firm, I am Reformed in faith and Baptistic in flavor, I hold to the 5 Solas, TULIP, and currently studying Systematic and Practical Theology at Reformed Baptist Seminary.

73 comments on “Vaughan Roberts Fighting His Battle without Compromise

  1. thanks for the link. Delighted to have another Reformed Baptist partner on board!

  2. David, thanks for visiting. Any background on the story you can share? Such as how you discovered it?

    in Christ,
    -atg

  3. I must disagree with some of his statements concerning homosexuality and its origin; why is this the only sexual sin that is discussed as some sort of ‘orientation’, or as though it is something unwillingly ingrained in those who are involved in this sexual sin? Does the adulterer or the pedophile classify as having their sin labeled as an ‘orientation’? To state having a desire to help those who ‘experience’ same sex attractions makes it as though they cannot help themselves, accountability is chucked to the wind because this orientation is just too big and outside the realm of personal responsibility. Remaining ‘celibate’ is not the answer, this only masks an obvious ongoing temptation that comes from forbidden desires birthed from within. We must spend our whole lives battling against sin, praying no sin have dominion over us. We should not struggle with the same besetting sins day after day, week after week. Sin must be confessed and forsaken, in order to do this, it must be seen for what it is and not labeled as some type of unavoidable orientation which we will never have victory over. Christ has given us power over and freedom from sin; we should not harbor it nor should we define it in worldly terms.

    I too am commenting from an ‘inside’ view, this was my sin of choice for a number of years. This sin no longer tempts me or controls me, I find the act repulsive and am saddened so many within the Christian community look to lessen its severity by labeling it as an ‘orientation’…poppycock!! It is just as all sexual sin is…a choice. However, there is hope and freedom found only in Christ, this I know.
    To think we must go outside the bible to define sin and be victorious over it is unheard of; this type of thinking will only lead to those in bondage to this particular sin as seeing themselves the ‘victim’.

    I am saddened that DefCon would even post this.

  4. hi atg,

    Sure, happy to tell a little more of the story. First, general background – in the Church of England there are a number of good evangelicals working away at proper gospel work (if you’re prepared to tolerate paedobaptists as “brothers”) ;)

    Vaughan is one of those men. He’s run a wonderful church in the middle of Oxford (and hence the University there) for many many years and has supported apprenticeship schemes and now is chair of the Proclamation Trust (www.proctrust.org.uk). In every way a well-respected and much-loved leader.

    In the meantime the battle over homosexual behaviour has picked up in the CofE, with increasing noise being made by known provocateurs in an effort to push the scheme “forward”. We should understand Vaughan’s contribution in this context.

    Personally, my twin brother Peter (www.peter-ould.net) is part of the post-gay movement with their own particular story to tell of God’s grace in this situation. He’s a bit of an activist like me and was involved at some stage in getting Vaughan’s release together. I got into the mix at the publication stage since I also write for a large website in the States – Stand Firm (www.standfirminfaith.com). We got ready to release an article which I duplicated on my own site. Someone at TGC then picked up my article (not sure how), put it on their front page and then Justin Taylor picked it up from there.

    That’s the story!

  5. Laurie, I’m a little saddened by your response but let me preface what I say by commenting how wonderfully remarkable it is that God has freed you from your previous sinful desires.

    You write, “To state having a desire to help those who ‘experience’ same sex attractions makes it as though they cannot help themselves, accountability is chucked to the wind because this orientation is just too big and outside the realm of personal responsibility. ”

    and yet is it not worth considering that Roberts is actually stating the exact opposite? That he is taking personal responsibility over this issue despite the fact that the desire remains.

    Is it so wrong for us to speak of an “orientation” without conceding that one should simply succumb to it? Like it or not, there are many who experience all sorts of “orientations”, not just sexual. Indeed I would suggest for all of us this is the case in one form or another. By acknowledging this we are not condoning it nor suggesting we give up. Rather we follow the pattern of the Apostle who asked that a thorn might be removed from us and yet what we received was not removal of that thorn but the grace to continue by the strength of Jesus in our own weakness.

    So let’s not castigate Vaughan nor defcon for promoting this. Your paradigm of stunning healing in this regard ought not to be imposed upon others. There are many godly men and women struggling away with this issue who find no respite from an at-times overwhelming temptation and yet they find themselves also growing in godliness as they learn that Jesus is gracious in all things. Indeed, it is in their struggle that the glorious grace of the Lord Jesus Christ is most apparent.

  6. I would also have to say that the transparency is fantastic and I highly applaud that. Perhaps it isn’t articulated as it is truly intended to, but I would have to say that one evidence of the new birth is a new heart with new desires. For a Christian to have a continual, ongoing desire to participate in homosexuality, even if not acted upon, does seem to contradict the new birth with the new heart and new desires. I understand battling temptation as it presents itself, as well as the work of sanctification by the Holy Spirit, but I would certainly be concerned if a Christian would have a lifelong desire to blaspheme, or steal, or murder.

    Again, not throwing stones at anyone, I applaud Roberts for the courage to post. I just think that perhaps the way his struggle was articulated may not be as helpful as intended if people get the impression that the desire for homosexuality gets different accommodations in the heart of a Christian than other sinful desires.

    God Bless,

    Josh

  7. Laurie,
    Thank you for your comment and for sharing your personal story. I wonder if you read the whole article and the 2nd link with the full interview because I am not sure where you are getting the idea that Robert’s view is worldly or one of a victim. He clearly states that there is no grey area, Biblical sex is defined as between a man and a women within the bounds of marriage and that it is a sexual sin. The whole point is that he struggles with the SIN of same-sex attraction. He doesn’t say he struggles with homosexuality. He also states that he prays for release of this same-sex attraction as other (yourself included) yet God has not given him that yet. He also mentions the men that keep him accountable by name…so accountability is part of the story he is telling. This is also in the context of the Anglican world and he is using language that fits the context of the Anglican homosexual preacher problem.

    What I find so encouraging about what Roberts is saying is that he knows it is a sin, he is willing to admit and confess that it is a sin he struggles with to the global church, and he is willing to say that there is no grey area and defines Biblical sex without compromise. This is a great discussion on a volatile issue in this country, in the American Church and in his Anglican context.

    I am sorry that you are saddened by this post, however, I think you are missing the point of the article and interview. We all need to sort through these sorts of issues and to deal with them in our own churches with love and gentleness without any compromise on what Biblical love is and how the Bible defines sex as within a marriage of a man and a women because it is very likely that someone within our own church is dealing with this same issue. If we are to model our responses after Jesus, we see that he was rigid and direct with the pharisees, but was gentle and loving with the prostitutes and tax collectors.

    Faithfully,
    -atg

  8. David,

    Thanks for the story. I do know there are some great brothers doing good work in England and we have many great paedobaptist Presbyterian brothers in the US doing good work for the gospel as well. I’ve been following Vaughan for a little while, and we are currently selling his book, “God’s Big Picture,” at our little church’s bookstore.

    thanks for sharing,
    -atg

  9. Josh, Your points are well spoken and your have a good perspective. Thank you for the comment. I can’t quite agree and would simply point you to Paul as my defense of the Christian’s battle with sin:

    (Romans 7:14-25 ESV) “[14] For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. [15] For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. [16] Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. [17] So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. [18] For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. [19] For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. [20] Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. [21] So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. [22] For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, [23] but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. [24] Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? [25] Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.

    (2 Corinthians 12:5-10 ESV) [5] On behalf of this man I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses—[6] though if I should wish to boast, I would not be a fool, for I would be speaking the truth; but I refrain from it, so that no one may think more of me than he sees in me or hears from me. [7] So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. [8] Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. [9] But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. [10] For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

    I agree that the expectation of sanctification is to grow away from sin, but we never grow away from TEMPTATIONS…if Paul here in Romans 7 is battling sins, how much more did he battle temptation. I still battle the temptations of former sins that I am not living in.

    We cannot condemn Vaughan Roberts for having temptations, especially when he is living celibate and surrounded by accountability…now the accountability of the whole world as it is public knowledge now.

    In the love of Christ,
    -atg

  10. ATG, your points are well taken. In fact, I suspect that his view is exactly as you articulated it. I think the WAY it was worded was more unhelpful than what his actual position probably. What I read was this: “I AVOID doing the things that I deep down still DESIRE to do”… as opposed to Paul’s argument of doing the things that deep down he didn’t want to do.

    It is difficult to ascertain the relationship between the words “orientation” and “desire.” Roberts says, “God has the power to change their orientation, but he hasn’t promised to and that has not been my experience.” I think that statement would be problematic if the word “desire” is considered a suitable substitute, because I think God HAS promised to change the desires of our heart through both regeneration and sanctification.

    Often, in order to analyze the sin of homosexuality, I like to substitute other sinful lifestyles found in 1 Cor 6:9 and see how they might apply to what’s being said. I think it’s too easy to give homosexuality a politically correct “pass” versus other sinful lifestyles. So, I have to ask myself, does God change man’s “orientation” towards drunkenness or idolatry? Could a very mature Christian still have an orientation towards boozing, or towards Satan-worship? That is what I ask myself, and again I think it hinges on what the word “orientation” means. Tough call.

    Good discussion, I appreciate your perspective.

    Josh

  11. Laurie, I have to agree with you. I read the whole article last nite and it just didn’t settle well with me on many of the issues. Some of what he said was good… But as for me since I came out of homosexuality I know firsthand that ,,, it’s the power of GOD that changes our lives. It just sounds like he’s trying to grit our teeth and abide by the law of God. God’s GRACE in a Christian’s life molds him/her.

    Sheer will power is not the same thing as yielding and walking in the Spirit and THIS is the impression I had when I read Mr. Roberts article. This is not what the bible describes self control as or where it comes from.. it has nothing to do with God enabling us to have self control…Unbelievers can be disciplined in many areas of their life. Losing weight, time, money health, marriage faithfulness, etc etc.. This is not the same as what God enables his children to have in Christ. Unbelievers can be highly disciplined people..
    … the biblical view of self control goes way beyond shear will power. It goes beyond what we can do on our own. It’s something that’s supernatural. Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit. We need the Holy Spirit to deal with the passions and the drives and desires of our flesh. Eph.5 . Don’t do anything that is excessively just giving into the lusts and the passions and the drives of your flesh<<<–don’t get drunk with wine)))here's the contrast –but instead be FILLED with the Holy Spirit..Get under the control of the Holy Spirit because he is our source of power to say no to the flesh and say yes to God.

    There is a relationship with JESUS that is gained and enjoyed -that grows with Jesus whereas with shear human effort it's empty and there's no relationship,,, It's just YOU and it becomes dry and meaningless..
    I guess one can ask what motivates them to obedience in order to find out if it is Christ or just our own strength. Sooner or later as a Christian obedience will become very dry and stale without that intimacy with Jesus and you will want to quit. Jesus should be who motivates us to self control.

    This is what I'm reading and it's not good..

  12. Linda, where are you getting any of this? Its like you guys are reading different articles. Where does Vaughan Roberts talk about will power and doing it in his own strength? Where does he talk about giving into his temptations? The whole discussion in the interview is about the battle he has faced in his life and the Biblical view of sex/marriage and his dependency on God in it all?

    What I am hearing from you, correct me if I’m wrong, is that his fight against TEMPTATION is some how sinful and in his own strength and not dependent on God?

    -atg

  13. Is a penance in a new believer progressive?
    Paul washer talks about penance being progressive as a disciple grows in sanctification. Laurie – your post implies if I am reading correctly that one struggles with sin but not the same sin each day. This seems to be opposite Paul Washer (who helps me much) and my understanding of deliverance from sin as a process of maturation and discipleship. You say I should not struggle week after week with same sin. Can you point me to scripture that supports this ? I am a new convert and ask this in curiosity only . My pastor directed me to Paul and his talk about the thorn And grace. Your comments seem to say if one is not COMPLETELY delivered from same sex attraction it is not good enough . Is that accurate?

  14. Laurie,

    While I certainly understand your perspective, I must disagree with your comments. While it is true that we are children of God indwelt by the Holy Spirit, it is also true that we are stuck in these bodies of flesh and Paul tells us in Galatians 5:17 that “the flesh lusts against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh.” Our flesh wants to do what it wants to do–whether we are saved or lost. As long as we are in these bodies of flesh, we will suffer temptation. But we who are saved and who have within us the Holy Spirit of God know that those temptations must be fought against so that we do not grieve that Holy Spirit. Just because we are saved does not mean we will no longer be tempted by sin

    Mr. Roberts is saying is what is true of any Christian. We go through these temptations, but we do what Paul did, as he told the Corinthians, “I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified” (1st Corinthians 9:27). Even Paul suffered temptation, and had to “beat myself up” (literally) to keep himself from giving in to those temptations. He even told the Corinthians in his second letter that God allowed Satan to buffet him “lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of revelations). Even Paul was capable of being prideful of the way God used Him and the revelations God gave him.

    I think you are being too hard on Mr. Roberts. He is human, stuck in a body of flesh just as we all are, subject to temptation. His temptation is attraction to men. And I’m sure he hears Satan in his head all the time to “just give in just once.” Just like Satan tries to play on my old desires for pornography. “Come on, just have a peek.” And like Mr. Roberts, and like Paul, I must discipline my body and remember who my Lord is and not do those things that grieve Him. As we all do.

  15. I never meant to imply we reach a state of ‘sinlessness’, however, I see many problems when dealing with homosexuality as though it were a ‘special’ issue. It is referred to as ‘orientation’, the bible calls it an abomination. To struggle with this sin and feel tempted as an ongoing issue is to say Christ is a liar, for He Himself stated He frees us. This is a lifelong battle, but it shouldn’t be a lifelong battle concerning the same besetting sin.
    My problem is with the labeling of homosexuality, and the statement concerning celibacy, as if thinking about it is okay as long as you don’t do it. Did Christ not teach us if you even look at someone to lust, you are guilty of the sexual sin of adultery?
    Do I still struggle with the temptation of lesbianism? No, because I do not feed my thoughts concerning this sin. It takes disciplining oneself to overcome sin. Do I still sin? Of course, my life is one of continual repentance, but not because I entertain sexual lustful thoughts.

    This is the heart of the matter for me…calling the desire for same sex an orientation, as though such a person is a victim. I chose to delve into this sin, no one is to blame but me. I will not excuse it, nor will I use worldly terminology to lessen the severity of it.

    I have no intentions of being too hard on anyone, all I ask is that we call it what it is.

    Lyn {laurie}

  16. ” It takes disciplining oneself to overcome sin.” let me clarify, this is done through the steady feeding upon the word and prayer, under the guidance of the Spirit. I know apart from Christ, I can do nothing.

  17. My last comment concerns a previous comment awaiting moderation

  18. Titus 2:11 it is the grace of God that teaches us to say NO to ungodliness and to live upright and godly lives in this present age.” Celibacy does not teach us to say no -God’s GRACE does.

  19. Linda, do you not believe that Vaughan Roberts is resting in God’s grace to find strength to resist the temptation of sin (all sins) in his life? Do you think that he doesn’t get that point? I’m not sure why you are suggesting that celibacy in the face of sexual sin is not saying “no” to ungodliness. Or are you suggesting that he shouldn’t have temptations…which of course would be absurd. What I am hearing you say is that saying no to temptation is somehow not living in God’s grace. You’ll have to explain that logic in more detail.

    in Christ alone,
    atg

  20. Unworthy1,

    Roberts was very clear that he was dealing with a sexual sin and he was dealing with it biblically, has strong accountability and has remained celibate. He wasn’t making it a “special” situation, it was an interview regarding that particular temptation in his life in the context of what is happening to the Anglican church in England. Besides, homosexuality is one of the most important issues in our day in this country and the western world for sure. We address all sins and issues directly and under special consideration as a topic from time to time, to suggest otherwise isn’t keeping with what we do around here. That would be like saying we should never talk about false teaching because it isn’t a “special issue”, but a sin in general like all other sins…or alcoholism, or pornography, or…you name the sin…we just can’t talk about it specifically or specially?

    I agree that the word “orientation” is probably not the best one to use, but we have to remember the context of the interview…it is a) British, b) directed towards the Anglican church. I find it strange that some chose to condemn the man who is taking all necessary steps to deal with the temptation to all sins in his life because he is talking about it (as a way to help others in the church by the way) and because he may not use the perfect word or two in a casual interview.

    You say you are saddened that this was posted on defcon. I’m saddened by the obvious lack of God’s grace around here.

    In Christ Alone,
    atg

  21. Thank you ATG,

    I was saved 7 months ago and God it was revealed to me that homosexual behavior is a sin. THis was after a long time being adamant that it was not and that Christians were bigoted, homophobic, small minded and backwards. Jesus Christ saved me from a life of sin. He showed up when I was at my lowest and cried out prepared for anything or nothing; I wanted help more than i wanted my own “beliefs.” God pulled me off the Titanic and showed me i was just bailing water in attempts to use modern cures to basically ignore the notion of sin. HE SHOWED ME, I was not saved in a church listening to the “good news” or at home reading book (I tried this and now see it was like rubbing two sticks together to try to create light). HE TAUGHT ME and is teaching me. Anyway, out of my deepest level of humility and gratitude that He brought me to life and cut through all my BS , I have sought repentance and deliverance from all the ignorance and sin and refusal to listen to His word and every time I do I get FREE. I refuse to think thought that God will give me a full penance and deliverance from homosexual attraction over night which is being implied. What grace and what a MIRACLE that God could speak TRuth to me and immediately persuade me, a former AntiChrist to turn away from EVERYTHING I once clung to, adamantly and defiantly clung to!!!! Thankfully, I am accountable to God and God alone. There is a lack of Grace and I am saddened by it because I have enjoyed reading this site as a new believer. Linda, I am so happy for you and your full deliverance.

  22. “You say you are saddened that this was posted on defcon. I’m saddened by the obvious lack of God’s grace around here”.— is it a lack of grace to say homosexuality should not be labeled as an orientation, or that choosing celibacy is the way to go? I suppose we will just have to agree to disagree, and I will leave it at that.

  23. My comment should read ‘choosing celibacy is NOT the way to go…with that said, I will not pursue this any farther. Feel free to respond if you wish, but I will not reply. My time spent on this blog has drawn to a close.

  24. atg, I’m saying as a former homosexual that celibacy is not how Christians overcome their temptations to sin -it is God’s GRACE that teaches us to say NO. Vaughaun’s way to rid himself of sexual temptations and sexual attractions are not biblical. All this is-is a form of asceticism. Abstinence will not get rid of the unholy desires in a person’s heart. Deliberately abstaining from getting married does not profit a person spiritually. It may be that God has called him to remain celibate as he does with many people-biblically.. But being celibate for homosexuals as the answer to help him overcome his sexual temptations and same sex attractions is not the answer and not why God calls anyone to be celibate. Also remaining celibate has no value against sensual indulgence.-Colossians 2:20-23 and they are based on the basic principles of this world, human commands and teachings.
    When a person is saved that power of sin over their lives is broken. The grip it had on us is gone and has no hold on us anymore. Now there might be and there are times of temptations now and then(I agree with this) but it is not ongong and it’s not an unbroken patter of temptation and struggling as Vaughaun implies. This is not a normal pattern of a regenerated-truly born again believer to struggle on and on with the temptation of same sex attractions.

    In Vaughaun’s issue he released he states “Close family and friends have known for a considerable time that I experience same sex attraction.”

    —this statement of Vaughaun’s is (present tense) “I experience same sex attractions” and his “close family and friends have know for a (considerable time).” So (it’s current and ongoing).
    This is not the mark of a truly regenerate person. A person doesn’t have the experiences of same sex attraction anymore once Christ redeems them. They may have temptations or an attraction every once in awhile but it’s rare and it is not an unbroken endless cycle as implied by Vaughaun. Once Christ comes in our lives as our Lord and Savior, the power sin had over is is broken.
    This is very troubling to me as a Christian who has been saved out of homosexuality myself, as I don’t currently experience same sex attractions. Certainly I’ve been tempted as every Christian has. Some Christians are freed from alcohol. I’ve known some who have been tempted to drink again and even have for a time.. But it’s not their orientation. They know that they are a New Creation in Christ the old has gone and the new has come”. They know God’s grace and look to the cross of Christ.
    Believe me when I was first saved, that same sex attraction was GONE. It’s no longer there and I am set free. Now every once in awhile I might be tempted but I have been given by God because of HIS grace to say NO to sin!!!. The cycle is broken. Moreso, God doesn’t just break sins iron grip on us HE gives us a new heart that has new desires that long to please him now. He doesn’t leave us in that state he sanctifies us and we long to be holy as HE is holy. That’s the difference. The new heart doesn’t continue to crave those old sinful desires. Genuine believers Don’t have an ongoing continuing lifestyle with same sex attractions. -“No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.”-1John 3:6. It’s not an ongoing struggle or habitual normal lifestyle. So from what I’m hearing Vaughaun say is this same sex attraction that he’s experiencing is not broken in his life but unceasing.

    Also, since Mr. Vaughaun is a pastor and a theologian… this statement of Vaughaun’s is (present tense) “I experience same sex attractions” and his “close family and friends have know for a (considerable time).” So (it’s current and ongoing) in Vaughaun’s life.

    This is very troubling since he IS a Pastor and a theologian. If a person namely Vaughaun- is identifying himself with “orientation” meaning that his identity is (present tense) “I experience same sex attractions” and his “close family and friends have know for a (considerable time).” So (it’s current and ongoing) in Vaughaun’s life—— then he need to GET OUT of the pulpit.

    I wouldn’t want a pastor even if he is a Christian in my pulpit who is struggling with alcohol or pornography etc remaining in the pulpit. Same with struggling with same sex attractions. Vaughaun needs to get out of the pulpit and be healed FIRST from these struggles and same sex attractions and then and ONLY THEN should he be allowed to return to the pulpit. Get the help and healing you need in Christ through godly council and God’s word and THEN once the struggle and temptation is gone -you can return. If you continue to struggle and continue to experience ongoing same sex attractions then that’s an indication that something is seriously wrong.

    Vaughaun states-“The press is often very misleading here. There is no objection to people being church leaders because of (a homosexual orientation). The focus of the argument is overteaching and practice. Evangelicals say that clergy should up-hold the Bible’s teaching that sex is only for heterosexual marriage in teaching and lifestyle, both of which I do.”

    So Vaughaun states- “there’s no objection to people being church leaders because of homosexual orientation?

    Really? There are objections firstly if the person has not truly been regenerated. I disagree with Vaughaun on the basis of God’s word. How do we know Vaughaun is born again? Because he said so? His unbroken pattern of same sex attraction and his continued on and on identifying himself with Orientation is very troubling. Vaughaun keeps stating his “identity” is orientation.
    The more I read Vaughaun’s statements the more I am greatly disturbed. This is very subtle and very dangerous risqué’ language: First of all Vaughan never acknowledges what the Bible actually says. It doesn’t matter what HE means by (orientation) as defined by Biblical Christians and God’s word. What if orientation by Vaughaun’s definition is (whether you are a practicing or non practicing homosexual) since HE identifies with orientation which means (homosexual lifestyle) btw? HE doesn’t deliniate what HE means but rapidly deviates from it.
    If you are standing in the pulpit as possibly an unregenerate homosexual claiming that you are a Christian but at the same time embracing orientation and being a new creation in Christ, –then Mr. Vaughaun should NOT be a leader in any Church –at all. Vaughaun calls it “homosexual orientation” and sidesteps the issue altogether. Why not call it for what it is. Either a person is living IN sin as a non-practicing homosexual or practicing homosexual because THAT is their sinful lifestyle- their true identity or else they are born again believers who are struggling. Vaughaun even stated-“They, along with close family and friends, have known for a considerable time that I experience same-sex attraction.”–Sounds like an ongoing struggle for him which is not a true mark of a Christian and not the fruit of a born again believer.

    One of the qualifications of being a Pastor is obviously that HE must be a Christian. “he must not be a new convert”, “They must be above reproach”-Titus 1:5.-But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.”-Ephesians 1:5.

    ———-

  25. unworthy1 – “Choosing celibacy in sexual sin is not the way to go” – this is very confusing. I cannot figure out how someone choosing celibacy amidst a sexual temptation is the wrong way…especially when that person has made it clear his heart and strength is in Christ alone. I say that there is a clear demonstration of the the lack of grace because of the condemning by some of this pastor because of the temptations he faces and that those temptations manifest differently in his life than mine or yours. Just because his temptations manifest differently than yours doesn’t make him in the wrong. Now that we are Christians, we’ll never be tempted with anger, never be tempted with sexual sin, never be tempted with lying, never be tempted with the draw of past sins? Is this your view of the life of the believer? As I have asked now numerous times, how can you condemn a man who has rejected the sin, has strong accountability partners, is gospel/bible centered and remained celibate, but happens to still have temptations? Is the believer condemned for his temptations…especially when they are different temptations than you face? With they way you have responded do you think this pastor is not qualified to be an elder in the church? Is he disqualified in your view for temptations he battles?

    In Christ Alone,
    atg

  26. Interesting discussion.

    Neither the word “orientation” nor the concept are in the Scripture. This is a word that those who endorse corruption have used to make this sin “define a person” and to convey that this is a permanent condition. Neither are true. Vaughan Roberts says it does not “define” him, which is good, but unfortunately he uses the word. Based on his comments, I do not believe at all that he means by the word what the world means, so it causes confusion to use it, but I can’t call it sin or false doctrine to do so. We should let his definition stand when he uses it.

    As to the choice or origin of the desires, the Scriptures do not say. The Scriptures DO say the actions are a choice. Romans 1 indicates the desires are, in some cases at least, a result of God giving people over to rebellion. People may not choose to have these particular desires, but they come as a result of their rebellion. For instance, a person may choose pornography, and that choice stirs up sinful desires. Such a person did not, perhaps, choose to have homosexual desires, but he chose sin, and that choice brought more sinful desires.

    The Bible calls the action an abomination. If all one means by “orientation” is temptation, it would be wrong to it an abomination to be tempted. If one pursues the temptation, either physically or mentally, instead of steadfastly resisting, that would be an abomination. It is not an abomination to be tempted, it is an abomination to sin.

    This temptation is ultimately selfish. I’m glad he remains celibate in the face of it, but I doubt he really understands marital love. Marital intimacy is not about experiencing one’s desires, but about giving one’s self to one’s spouse. Continued struggle reveals ingrained selfishness in one’s view of physical intimacy. Perhaps the book is better, but his words in the interview don’t really convey that understanding. It’s more along the lines of “batten down the hatches to withstand the storm” than it is about “re-wiring my thinking.”

    Until that thinking is re-wired, you have to “batten down the hatches” or you’ll go into slavery. So what he said in the interview is good, as far as it goes. It’s a start. But I hope we aren’t going to anoint him as the new expert for evangelicals on dealing with this temptation. Because by God’s grace, people really can be set completely free, and that’s hardly the emphasis of his comments. He emphasises remaining steadfast even if you haven’t been set free, and that’s valuable. But he gives little hope of eventual freedom.

    What he’s said is vital — be faithful even when you still struggle with the temptation. Good for him. It’s a start, but only a start.

    Perhaps the Lord will give him a wife who he will really, really love. Then, he’ll want to be with her because he’ll want to give himself to her, and he’ll learn intimacy the way God intended it. When we define it as something only for marriage, as he’s done, we miss the point. It’s about a complete giving of one’s self, which is only appropriate in marriage. It isn’t about what we get, but about what we give. And God, in His great love for us, in teaching us so much of His love, deigned to make it an intense joy and pleasure for us to give ourselves. It’s so wonderful to experience that we shift the focus to getting rather than giving, but when we do that, we cheapen it, even if we keep it within marriage as God intended. And this brother’s comments, while good as far as they go, still perpetrate a diminished view of what God has given us.

  27. Jon Gleason, yes that is essentially what I have been trying to articulate. Like I said earlier, I suspect (and hope) that his position has just been poorly-worded. The word “orientation” really just stems from secular psychology and like you said has no Biblical basis. That has been the most troubling part of this piece. Not that I think he isn’t a Christian or that he isn’t dealing with it appropriately, just that it is unhelpful to address it with that type of language.

  28. Exactly Jon Gleason we should call SIN what it is what GOD Calls it and not placate it with “orientation”

    Also, why is Vaughan flip-flopping? Which does Vaughan identify with (“orientation” or who we are in Christ) because we can’t have 2 separate identities. -That’s idolatry

    Vaughan goes on to state-“All of us are sinners, and sexual sinners. But, if we have turned to Christ, we are new creations, redeemed from Slavery to sin through our union with Christ in his death and raised with him by the Spirit to a new life of holiness, while we wait for a glorious future in his presence when he returns. These awesome realities define me and direct me to the kind of life I should live”

    Then I have to ask in all sincerity, why is Vaughan having this ongoing struggle if he knows these essential beautiful truths ARE a living reality in his life? We live our lives accordingly to what we believe is true. Why doesn’t he act upon the TRUTH that he really IS free from being a slave to sin and why doesn’t Vaughan act like he’s redeemed? if he truly believes these truths are true, then why is Vaughan struggling if he’s a “new creation?” there’s no NEED for celibacy to try to keep oneself abstinent. Actually this is works based on his part because abstinence does not restrain the desires in one’s heart if they are not whole. Only God can give us a new heart and with that new heart come NEW desires that long to please God. No amount of abstaining by keeping celibate will change those inner deep desires- that’s a work of God not a work of man.

    I’m extremely concerned that this will more than likely be the camel’s nose under the tent that opens the floodgates for anyone who is a homosexual to enter our churches.. Christians are so quick to laud Vaughan because to many who read of Vaughan it sounds like the noble and right thing to do in -“choosing celibacy but they are only looking at the surface of things.

    “All genuine believers should take into consideration that the rector’s “abstinence” of sin does fit well with the entrenched thinking of Catholics and Anglicans that is works focused, rather than a truly changed heart.” But, not surprisingly (to the discerning), I also noticed some clever reasoning in the rector’s article that set up the audience to nod in agreement with his assertions.”-end quote
    Sincerely in Christ, Linda

  29. @ Jon Gleason, You make a good point. This is an important discussion to have and to think through regarding homosexuality and the church. Rest assured, I have no intention of anointing this guy for anything. I’m not sure what his real understanding of marriage is since the discussion wasn’t about marriage, but about one of many battles he faces. This article was the result of the outcry following the new preface of his book, Battles Christians Face, where he stated that he has had struggles in all 8 areas discussed. Since one of those areas was homosexuality, it blew up…as it should. So, let’s not make this the defining position of all his doctrine and beliefs, but take it for what it is, a discussion about a temptation that he struggles with and how he deals with it.

    in Christ,
    atg

  30. Dear friend Linda,

    I think I understand your passion on this subject, but I think that you’ve gotten off track by so boldly questioning his salvation and his being in the pulpit. You are calling him an unregenerate sinner and unqualified for the office of pastor/elder and stating he is in a works based faith.

    I must say that you have made all these judgements based on his interview regarding a temptation that he faces. Based on your standards written above, there isn’t a man ever to live who could hold the office of pastor/elder because all humans are tempted for their entire life on earth…and thus by logical conclusion we are all unsaved as we have ongoing temptations.

    Can you please in 1 short and simple sentence state what Vaughan’s sin is and where you get that from scripture?

    In God’s grace alone,
    atg

  31. ATG, like I said, perhaps his book is better. :) I’d quibble slightly, in that it IS about marriage, if we’re thinking about it Biblically. He’s talking about desires that should be marriage-centred, we can’t separate it from marriage.

    And I know you weren’t anointing him, but evangelicals are really good at deciding that someone is the next star of evangelicalism, and running with it.

    Finally, yes, I absolutely agree that it isn’t a defining position of his doctrines and beliefs. But if it is a discussion of a temptation he struggles with and how he deals with it, then it seems fully appropriate to say, “Hmm, I think he’s doing ok for starters but there’s still clearly some thought process issues here.”

  32. Linda, this confused me:

    “Also, why is Vaughan flip-flopping? Which does Vaughan identify with (“orientation” or who we are in Christ) because we can’t have 2 separate identities.”

    Seems pretty clear from what he’s said that he identifies with Christ. He’s not using “orientation” as his identity, he specifically said so. He’s not thinking as clearly as we would hope, and he’s using the world’s term, but he doesn’t mean what they mean by it.

    You know what I think? I think he’s come a long way on this, and still has a way to go. I’m thankful for what I hear from him, even if I’m pretty sure he’s not yet where he needs to be. He’s on the right path.

    Sanctification is a process. We need to be continually putting sin to death in our lives. No one has arrived, except those who have gone on from here. The church at Corinth was a mess in a lot of ways, yet Paul commended them. Let’s rejoice in the good that we see here while acknowledging that there is further to go.

    And by the way, I think you are correct about the Catholic tendency, also often present in Anglicanism, to a works focus, and that abstinence from temptation (rather than a renewed mind) may well feed off of that tendency. I’d not thought of that aspect of it.

  33. Jon, Yes, certainly there is more for us to think through and he may have holes in his thinking. It would be nice to know more about his perspective on this issue and the associated issues like marriage. Maybe more will develop and we’ll know. Thanks for your well reasons contribution as always.

    -atg

  34. This is Vaughan’s SIN—if one is embracing Christ then they MUST forsake orientation-“homosexual lifestyle”.. There is no middle ground with GOD.

    GOD has said in Exodus 20:3- “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”

  35. Linda,

    So he is not saved and disqualified from ministry because of the sin of idolatry? What pastor will ever be saved or qualified and live up to this standard?

  36. Linda, I’m really troubled by some of what you’re writing here. Not specifically with regards to Vaughan, although I fear that you have made 2 basic errors there too in extrapolating far too much from his interview and in also making unfounded statements about the inner-life of a man you do not know.

    But more than that, you appear to be (and I say “appear to be” since I’d be grateful for your clarification) pushing towards some form of sinless perfectionism.
    From the interview one can discern the following:

    1 Roberts recognises that homosexual activity is a sin.
    2 He also identifies the homosexual desire he experiences as sinful.
    3 He is determined not to give way to that sin and so pursues celibacy and seeks support and accountability, not least, from Jesus Himself and his friends.
    4 He identifies as having a homosexual “orientation” – ie he is honest about his homosexual desire.

    You appear to be saying that 4 is simply unacceptable – that he should not in any way label himself this way for it is, somehow, a denial of the gospel. And yet you phrase this critique in a way that suggests that Roberts has somehow embraced this orientation. Any fair reading of the interview would suggest otherwise – he is simply recognising that, despite his desire otherwise, it remains there.

    My great fear is that, as atg has noted, your position leads to a trajectory of a form of sinless perfectionism – where we may not even speak of the sinful desire in our life. I do not think that is Biblical and it leaves us with the danger of producing a new pharisaic moralism.

    I would rather mirror the words of John Newton. I (also a pastor) am a great sinner and Christ is a very great saviour. By acknowledging the first I am not denying the grace of Christ but, rather, making it all the more precious. The answer to any sin in our life is not to insist that it must be declared behind us but to thank Jesus for where by His Spirit He has removed temptation and to continue to ask for His assistance for where, in His wisdom, He has left that thorn in our flesh.

  37. ATG, thanks.

    David, I believe Linda has misunderstood Vaughan, but I believe he bears significant responsibility for that.

    “You appear to be saying that 4 is simply unacceptable – that he should not in any way label himself this way for it is, somehow, a denial of the gospel.”

    For the vast majority (over 99%, probably) who label themselves with “orientation,” it is effectively a denial of the Gospel. So when Vaughan uses it, it is hardly surprising, if unfortunate, that some would take it that way, even though his elaboration makes it appear to me that he’s not using it in that way.

    “…where we may not even speak of the sinful desire in our life.” There’s a difference between acknowledging the sinful desire and doing so using the same word that just about everyone else uses to excuse the sinful desire as defining who they are. It’s not (as far as I can see) moral or doctrinal error to use that word, but it is extremely unwise, and those who have been set free of the sin and the excuses are likely to react to his use of a word which is almost always an “excuse” word.

  38. Not at all David Ould am I coming from “sinless perfection”. I’m coming from a compassionate heart that knows what it’s like to be imprisoned to homosexuality and my desire and love for people who are enslaved to it to be SET FREE. I have mORe compassion and love for homosexuals since I know the torture, pain, hopelessness and just utter abject life it brings. If anyone understands Vaughan’s struggle with same sex attractions” —I’ve BEEN THERE. If anyone KNOWS what it’s like to be in the hopeless torment and imprisonment of it I’d know better than anyone whose never had same sex attractions. I find it ironic that those of you here who have NOT had homosexual desire, oppose and attempt to “correct” those of us who HAD such desires as Lyn and I have had. Even what is more disturbing is when you, atg, jon pontificate in matters as if know more about it than those of us who have personally experienced it. Then we (Lyn and I) are chastised for lacking grace, trying to achieve some sinless perfection or just simply misunderstanding Vaughan and the whole article. Vaughan’s view is completely at odds with the Scripture (from a professing Anglican no less), while attempting to profess faithfulness to Christ!

    My desire is for Vaughan to be FREE and this ongoing same sex attractions is not the mark of a redeemed Christian.. Please stop reading more into what I’m saying than is actually there. If anyone is a wretched sinner it’s ME. I’m saved and I’m FREE from those same sex attractions the moment I was SAVED By God’s GRACE. Ongoing Same sex attractions are NOT the mark of a truly redeemed Christian. Do I know Vaughan’s heart> NO. I don’t but I can make a spiritual assessment BASED UPON what Vaughan Has said and BASED UPON His adherance to the Anglican Church and their embracement of “non-practicing homosexuals …

    My deep CONCERN is for his SOUL. For HIM to be born again and SET FREE if he’s NOt and from this same sex attraction. Also to give a caveat to the Church of this as many Christians are so credulous to openly laud Vaughan without QUESTION. We can feel compassion for Vaughan but we MUST remain cautious and warn the body of Christ of this present danger. I’ve even given God’s very WORD and it is danced around and argued over… .

    Btw Vaughan’s -language fits well with the Anglican Churches agreement to celibacy…

    —“The Anglican Communion has been divided over the issue of homosexuality in several ways. The Church of England, the mother church of the Communion, currently maintains (according to the statement Issues in Human Sexuality) that same-sex partnerships are acceptable for laypersons but gay clergy are expected to be abstinent.[2] The Lambeth Conference of 1998 called homosexuality “incompatible with Scripture” but this remains a purely advisory guideline as there are no communion-wide legislative bodies in the Anglican Church.[3] On the other hand, in 2003 the Episcopal Church, which is the American body (province) of the Anglican Communion, approved Gene Robinson to the bishopric of the diocese of New Hampshire. Bishop Gene Robinson is the first openly gay (non-celibate) clergy to be ordained to the episcopate.[4]

    btw, maybe it would shine a bit of light on the matter of orientation if you read this from Thirsty Theologian—-http://www.thirstytheologian.com/2012/10/02/is_samesex_attraction_sinful.php

  39. Linda, I fear you appear increasingly unable to contemplate that there may actually be others who do have an experience of these matters and yet who phrase things slightly differently. On several occasions you have presumed that those you are discussing this with are ignorant in this regard, both to the specific issue of homosexual attraction and also the wider debates within the church and specific denominations. On the contrary, some of us as well-immersed in both.

    Yes, your experience may be that you were completely freed from homosexual desire and that is a wonderful thing indeed. But others do not have this relief, they continue with a thorn in the flesh.

    My great fear, again, is that you are turning Luther’s wonderful ‘simul justus et peccator’ (at the same time justified and a sinner) to ‘semper sine tentatione’ (always without temptation).
    For clarity – for Vaughan to state that he has an orientation is not to endorse that orientation but, rather, to point all the more to the glorious sustaining grace of Christ.

    The outcome of your position, I fear, is that all those who love and trust Christ and yet find their temptation to homosexual desire is not removed will view themselves as inherently wrong. They are not – their very yearning that the desire be removed and their pursuit of Christ in the meantime speaks volumes of the work of the Spirit in their life. You have arrived at the position where you brand a faithful minister of the Gospel as teaching something totally contrary to Scripture and I increasingly get the sense that you don’t understand the gravity of your polarising position.

  40. Linda, not everyone who is saved is immediately set free from every temptation. That’s why the Scripture calls for the renewing of the mind, for the putting to death of the flesh (that’s an on-going matter).

    No, I do not have your experience with this particular temptation. I don’t have to have it to speak Biblically about it. It is temptation to sin, and the Bible has a lot to say about sin, and how believers deal with temptation.

    You are absolutely correct that the idea of a continuing non-practicing homosexual is not an ideal to be held up as the ultimate answer. If someone were to say, “I’m oriented towards theft, and I keep struggling with the temptation to steal,” we’d say something is wrong. We’d rejoice to hear that he always resisted the temptation, but we would say he needs to learn not to covet, and then he will be free..

    I rejoice that Vaughan Roberts does not yield to the temptations he faces. This might be a mark of a legalistic / works mindset, but it also could very well be the mark of a true believer. But he needs to learn that the temptation arises from a selfish mindset in this area of his life, and if he will renew his mind along Biblical lines in this area, he’ll be free from this temptation.

    You are correct that he needs to be free. But it sounds to me like you are saying that any true believer will be immediately set free, perhaps not from all temptations, but from this one. If that is what you are saying, the Bible simply doesn’t say that, it doesn’t single out this temptation in that way. It says we are set free from the power of temptation so that we need not serve sin anymore. It does not say temptation will be removed — quite the contrary.

  41. Jon, I’m not sure that even this statement can be substantiated,
    “It says we are set free from the power of temptation so that we need not serve sin anymore.”

    But I’m sure you will be able to. Can you help clarify our thinking in this discussion by pointing us to where there is the promise in Scripture that we will be set free from the power of temptation?

  42. daviddould,
    Yes we all sin and are sinners saved by God’s grace. I’ve struggled as Paul has with covetousness since I’ve been saved. I’ve even (fallen) into sin (for a season) in my own life as a Christian-not at all proud of it. I identify with David, Sampson, and Moses, Paul and Peter. I’m not sinless perfection by any means. I’m a sinner saved by God’s GRACE and I understand people who are Christians who (struggle) and I have a deep burden in my heart for them to be restored and healed (gently). WHY? because I myself have been RESTORED by the GOD of all comfort from whom ALL blessings FLOW. I’ve even listened to Christians who were no doubt SAVED and afterwards have had affairs. But they were restored-gently. They didn’t identify themselves with the excuse of it just being an orientation and well it’s just an ongoing struggle I have. I never questioned the whole time they gave their life story of when they were saved , when they fell into sin and then when they were restored.

    The LORD REALLY DOES discipline and rebuke those he loves and if someone is not disciplined and rebuked then they are an illegitimate child and none of his. I’m ALL for coming alongside a Christian and gently (restoring) them. I love showing mercy because I’ve been given mercy from the Lord

    “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”-Gal.6:1-2…

    The difference according to God’s word in Galatians 6:1-2 is– a person who IS saved has FALLEN into the sin. This implies that there WAS a time in their life where they were obviously saved and free from sin-the sin cycle was BROKEN. They had a secure position IN Christ and will always identify themselves at the CROSS when God’s GRACE set them free.

    THIS is not the same thing I’m reading based on Vaughan’s statements. Vaughan is having the (ongoing struggle) with “same sex attractions” and is using language that does NOT fit with “falling into sin” but is more like a “lifestyle” he’s accepting and embracing that he identifies himself with. It reads as though he’s never (NOT) experienced this Same sex attraction ever and has never been FREE at (any point) in his life. So, he falls back on identifying himself with the only thing he can relate to– orientation as the very basis of his Christian life and not the CROSS. If there was a point in Vaughan’s life where he WAS born again and set FREE then he should be RESTORED. If he has then why tell us. ALL Christians have a living testimony of when they were saved. “The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy”

    According to Vaughan though, (choice) is not the proper thing to say because it increases guilt and shame. –“These can be heard to imply that homosexual attraction is just a matter of personal choice. This only increases the sense of shame already felt,,,”

    This is not the language of a Christian. I don’t agree with Vaughan at all. Has it ever occurred to Vaughan that the choices we make are supposed to convict and PRICK our God given conscience? That shame and guilt as painful as it is -is actually a good thing? Remove Choice then you remove (any responsibility) on your part–you just can’t help it that you are the way you are–If we remove shame then we remove (personal responsibility) of one’s OWN SINS before GOD. We’re not supposed to be “in your face” with it. NO but we ARE to call SIN what it IS–the result of WRONG CHOICES

    I was sexually abused by my own Father. I used to blame HIM for my sins. It was all his fault because I was the way I was. But I was DEAD WRONG. When I came to the cross, I saw for the first time that “I” had sinned before a holy, righteous, and just GOD. It was not my father’s fault nor anyone Else’s for the (choices) I had made along the way. we all have made choices that were wrong that have led to sinful lifestyles. We make choices every single day

    Calling Same sex attractions -orientation is the very reason why many people do not come to true repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. WHY? orientation is a stumbling block that shifts the blame on our surroundings, or our environmental conditioning or even genetics. But never on CHOICE because that means WE are responsible for our own CHOICES right?. But if it’s called orientation then well we don’t have to worry about being responsible for our own sins do we we can’t help it that we are the way we are. This is Passing the blame which is as old as when Adam and Eve sinned and began to pass the blame. Let’s call it what it is. It IS a Choice-it’s SIN and we need to repent so that we can come into agreement with God and be forgiven and restored.

    Jon Gleason-“Linda, not everyone who is saved is immediately set free from every temptation. That’s why the Scripture calls for the renewing of the mind, for the putting to death of the flesh (that’s an on-going matter).”

    Jon I agree with you that there are many Christians who are NOT set free immediately. But there’s EVIDENCE that the power of sin IS broken and by God’s GRACE they sin less and less and desire to please GOD NOT because of a changed heart that is evident.

    If anything I’m very seriously concerned for Vaughan. Reason why is he uses terminology that is not biblical and Christians who are truly born again do NOT talk like this. I would NEVER identify myself with orientation–that’s just blasphemous.

  43. “they sin less and less and desire to please GOD NOT because of a changed heart that is evident.”
    I apologize for they typo of (NOT)—- I meant to say “they sin less and less and desire to please God BECAUSE of a changed heart that is evident”

  44. ‘Jon, I’m not sure that even this statement can be substantiated,
    “It says we are set free from the power of temptation so that we need not serve sin anymore.”’

    David, temptation has no power over us anymore. We do not need to serve sin.

    Rom 6:6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
    Rom 6:7 For he that is dead is freed from sin.

    That does not tell us that temptation does not exist, but it does tell us it has no power over us, and the old nature has been crucified with Christ. It is that old nature that served sin, and it is the old nature to which temptation appeals.

    Verse 11 says we are to be reckoning / accounting ourselves dead to sin, which means temptation has no power over us. That accounting is in the Greek present tense, which tells us we must continually keep counting ourselves dead to sin. Verse 12 says not to be letting sin reign in our bodies (again, present tense – continuous action).

    Temptation only holds power if we let it. We can always defeat it. I Corinthians 10:13 is also relevant.

    Galatians 5:24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

    That’s the things that temptation appeals to. They are crucified. The only power temptation has is that which we choose to give it.

    Perhaps I’m misunderstanding what you are asking, because the Scriptures seem pretty clear on this point.

  45. Linda:
    “If anything I’m very seriously concerned for Vaughan. Reason why is he uses terminology that is not biblical and Christians who are truly born again do NOT talk like this. I would NEVER identify myself with orientation–that’s just blasphemous.”

    I know lots of Christians who use terminology that isn’t Biblical. It’s unfortunate — someone should teach them to think and speak Biblically. Unfortunately, there are a lot of churches that fail to do that.

    Has anyone ever challenged him Biblically on it? I don’t know. Has he thought through the problems with the terminology? Again, I don’t know. Does he use “orientation” the same evil way the world does? That seems pretty clear that he means something different by it. I don’t think what he means by it is Biblical, either, but it doesn’t seem to be what the world blasphemously means, either.

    Christian charity (I Corinthians 13) believes all things. Until I have facts to prove otherwise, I’m willing to believe that he’s likely a Christian brother who is mistaken in his terminology and hasn’t been challenged with the fact that Scripture knows nothing of this “orientation” of which he speaks. We’re told to believe the best we can about others. I might find it necessary to warn him about certain things in person, and to examine himself as to whether they are true, but that is very different from determining myself that those things are true and asserting them to others publicly. .

    I’m entirely willing to speak to the problem with his wording (and have done so), but I don’t believe it would be right for me to make any assumptions about his eternal destiny, or to assume he has wrong motives for his word choices. I’m not actually equipped to judge those things. I’m equipped, by God’s grace through His Word, to judge actions and words (when I have sufficient knowledge of them), but judging hearts and motives is a place to tread very lightly.

    I hope that clarifies where I stand on it. Blessings to you, my sister.

    Jon

  46. Linda, I’m sorry to say, that you are off base in this area. I am speaking to you in love and concern in this post. I know you mean well and you have passion for this issue. I know that you love the Lord and he has done mighty work in your life. However, regardless of the specific temptation in discussion, we are talking about temptation and the Gospel is very clear on this. We don’t need to have experienced any particular sin to see the gospel realities, so again you are way off base in your claims that you have the authority because you’ve been there…we’ve all be there as sinners saved by grace.

    You condemnation of this pastor is not from the Bible and if you sit back and think through this a bit you’ll see that you have made this same-sex temptation a “special issue sin” and taken it out of the broad context of sin presented in the Bible…and we are only talking temptation here and not full on sin.

    We know as Christians that saved children of God are tempted and will sin. Period. The beauty is that one came and died for us and we are saved by grace. This is the perspective you seem to have except in this one temptation. It is inconsistent. You have decided that because this is an issue of same-sex attraction that it is different and is held at a higher standard. If you sit back and look at the situation, you’ll also see that you are on an island all alone on this issue. We’ve all agreed that he could have used different words and this is a touchy subject. But you are the only one claiming his is unsaved and disqualified for ministry due to his temptations. This is patently not Biblical. I earnestly ask you to think through this as you are on this island alone on this issue, which is never the place you want to be. You are not defending the truth against liberals or unbelievers, but brothers in Christ who are very familiar with the gospel as are you. Please take the wise council of your brothers here talking with you and consider the simplicity of the gospel and that your claims of this man’s salvation is a higher standard than God’s own standard for pastors. All will be tempted and all will sin.Vaughan has admitted to temptation, not sin. I liken it to pornography…any who has been involved in the sin of pornography will know that that temptation never leaves them and for decades they will struggle. The slightest thing can trigger that desire and it has to be squashed immediately by capturing those thoughts or sin could arise. Or alcoholism…the draw to that sin will always call to them. Or sexual relationships outside of marriage burns the tracks of those sins into our minds and the temptations call and draw to that sin comes back…it comes and goes, but may never leave. Need we discuss pride? Lust for power? Lust for money? Anger? These are temptations and sins that will always call to the sinner who is also a saint. To claim otherwise is to deny the pure simple truth of the gospel. Thus to boldly claim that Vaughan is unsaved due to temptation is not Biblical. Please consider this error and receive our words in the spirit of love as they are intended.

    I suspect based on the tone and pattern of your comments here that you will reject my plea for you to consider the counsel of your brothers here. I hope that you can see the perspective we are presenting and let it guide you to reconsider your position.

    in the love of Christ,
    -atg

  47. ATG:
    Linda is not alone. There just doesn’t need for any more to be said. She has spoken well, and apparently neither you, nor some others here have understood what she was getting at. The issue was never about temptation to sin, per se. The issue, as both Linda and Unworthy have repeatedly attempted to explain, is Mr. Robert’s “identifying”, “desiring” (and, yes, having an “orientation”, however we choose to define the word) of that which is forbidden in God’s word. That is entirely different than a born again individual being occasionally tempted to sin.

    There is a whole long study here that time and space prohibits regarding the old nature, the new nature, the regenerate heart vs the unregenerate heart, temptation and bondage, the depth and efficacy of true repentance vs false repentance, Christian responsibility, fruit, discipline, lusts, etc.

    And though God does list all sins together (all unrighteousness being sin), there are sins which the Lord specifically condemns. He didn’t destroy with fire from heaven two whole cities (and their surroundings) because they were a bunch of thieves. Or because they were proud. Or covetous. Or liars. Romans 1 records homosexuality as being the product of being given over to a reprobate mind. Yes, it is sin, but not just another sin. God does draw a distinction. It strikes at the heart of God’s ordained order, the physical manifestation of the male becoming of one flesh with the female, directly relates to the relationship of Christ to His Bride the Church. A perversion of that relationship between God and man is especially abominable, which is why the Bible is so harsh in it’s condemnation of it. For any true, born again individual, with the mind of Christ, who is drawn toward Christ and the things of Christ, the very concept of being “tempted” toward, have an “orientation” toward, have a “desire” toward, or to “identify” with the very antithesis of this most basic relationship, should seem utterly outrageous. One simply cannot be of Christ, and “identify” oneself with that which is against Christ. One simply cannot desire Christ, and also desire that which is against Christ. Again, we’re not talking temptation to sin here. We’re talking about joining an incompatible dichotomy. No where do we see such a thing in Scripture.

    You have made some broad sweeping statements that simply are not true: “any who has been involved in the sin of pornography will know that that temptation never leaves them and for decades they will struggle.” Never leaves them? Even after one repents? Sorry, but I was involved at one time with pornography, and I no longer have any such temptation to it. On the contrary, I am repulsed by it. Same with alcoholism. I also have been set free from bondage to alcohol by Jesus years ago, and have absolutely NO desire for alcohol, nor am I tempted by it. I believe you have given too much credit to the power of sin, and have in a sense downplayed the miraculous, transforming and redeeming power of Christ in the regenerated individual.

    ATG, we are all growing. But I really don’t think you have come to the place of spiritual maturity to understand some of these things. And perhaps you should seriously pray about whether you should be expounding on these things publicly. At least at this point in your walk. This is NOT meant to be a put down! But an honest, serious concern. And I hope you would seriously seek the Lord about it.

  48. RS, I am glad to see you are visiting again. I thank you for your comments. I must begin by pointing out that you have presuppositions about me obviously and you have assumed to much about me in your zeal. You need not take the time explaining the old nature and new nature and regenerate/unregenerate. Regardless of your predisposed opinion of me, I am quite comfortable in these areas.

    You state:
    “One simply cannot be of Christ, and “identify” oneself with that which is against Christ. One simply cannot desire Christ, and also desire that which is against Christ. Again, we’re not talking temptation to sin here. We’re talking about joining an incompatible dichotomy. No where do we see such a thing in Scripture.”

    This is the exact truth of the saint who is simultaneously a sinner. I can’t imagine how you get to the place where you believe that a Christian not only wouldn’t sin, but won’t be tempted of ANY sin. What male believer in this world doesn’t struggle with having lustful thoughts? To suggest this doesn’t happen is dishonest. Your statement above is completely contrary to Paul’s words in Romans 7…he struggles with his sins and he knows his sins and he hates his sin, yet he still sins and his hope is in Christ and his freedom is in Christ of course, but this dichotomy of sin in the believer is there and all sin is contrary to Christ.

    You and Linda have raise this “indentifying” with this temptation and sinful thoughts (I assume he has lustful thoughts) above other sins. You also state that Vaughan “desires” homosexuality…this is simply not true. He identifies with Christ and he hates his sin. He doesn’t desire same-sex attraction or the temptations that come with it. To say that he desires it is to prove that you didn’t understand the article and are reading into it what you want to read so that you can condemn the position.

    Sure, of course homosexuality is an abomination in God’s eyes. But Vaughan isn’t engaging in homosexuality. He has taken all the necessary steps to protect himself from it. Even still, homosexuality or a same-sex attraction doesn’t take more of Christ’s blood to wash away these sins…and certainly doesn’t take more of Christ’s blood to wash way Vaughan’s identifying to these temptations than it takes to wash away your sins. Christ didn’t have to die more or die harder for homosexuality. The homosexual that is saved and repents and forsakes this life and is renewed in Christ doesn’t require deeper and harder and more fervent repentance. This former homosexual believer does required extra saving work or extra grace over your sins to be saved, to be redeemed, to be reconciled with God. You are elevating one sin over others and elevating one temptation over others in your claim. You have missed the gospel completely in your zeal against homosexuality or holiness/perfectionism. I am amazed by this. God’s grace is sufficient and God’s grace is infinite..even for homosexuality or the temptations of same-sex attraction His grace is sufficient. To state anything to the contrary is contra-gospel.

    I don’t know you at all, other than I know you typically disagree with me on issues, so I won’t address your personal sanctification and freedom from temptations of pornography or whatever else as I have zero insight into your life as you have zero insight into mine. But I will share that because of this post and the comments, I have done some serious prayerful consideration and sought wise counsel and talked with others in these areas. I spoke to several very mature wonderful men in ministry who like me still have that distant call to certain sins of lust and pride and fame. It isn’t the norm. It isn’t our heart. It isn’t our practice. But we each have that distant call from time to time to past sins (especially ones of sexual immorality). We have the power of Christ over our sin and can resist and can pray and can find strength in Christ alone, we can take the thoughts captive…but these temptations still call. This is what I hear Vaughan saying. He isn’t saying that he lives the secret life of a homosexual. He is saying that he has the struggle as one who has had past sexual sin that that sin still calls his name and it is a struggle. Your claim that this is the definition of the unregenerate is simply wrong. I am not giving sin too much credit, I am being real and honest about the reality of the Saint who is still a broken and desperate Sinner. Likewise, I am not downplaying the miraculous power of God’s redemption through Christ either, because that power is all we have. Christ is all we have. You on the other hand are representing a position of reaching a place of holiness/perfection in maturity, which is alarming in its denial of the reality of sin in the most mature believers. I completely 100% agree that God sanctifies us in Christ and as we mature our sins are less and less and we have more power through the spirit to reject temptation, but I do not agree with your implications that you qualify certain temptations selectively as the sign of the unregenerate. You’ve simply missed the gospel in this case.

    I want to share with you more here as you have commented on my maturity and how I am unqualified to expound publicly…I feel no need to defend myself in this matter, but I think this last bit is important for you to read. I was concerned this week about these comments by Unworthy1 and Linda and began questing my position on this issue. Along with prayer and meditation, I sought counsel on this issue as I mention above. I sat down with two of the most spiritually mature and biblical sound men I have ever met and laid it out and had a formal gut check on what I was seeing and feeling. I was greatly encouraged by what I heard and was confirmed in my belief on this issue. I say this not as a defense of myself, but I say it as a response to you and your concerns for me and my immaturity. I suspect that you mean well, but I am steadfast in my position. I have sought the Lord, have sought counsel, have stewed in the Word already. I thank you for your concern for me and I ask that you would pray for me. Maybe it would be valuable for you and Linda to also seek counsel in this area to ensure you are thinking Gospel and not performance or perfection. I will not even with your earnest concern for me “quit expounding publicly” as you suggest.

    In God’s Steadfast Mercy and Infinite Grace,
    -abidingthroughgrace

  49. ATG, as I think I’ve made clear, I’m convinced Linda has gone further in her words on this than we should. Your response to her, on the other hand, gives the impression she has not raised important issues. “You condemnation of this pastor is not from the Bible….”

    “Orientation” suggests many things that, as Linda has stated, are inconsistent with true faith. For instance, it implies that this is part of my natural makeup (God says it is unnatural), and ultimately, if God is the Creator, that this is the way God made me and therefore it is God’s fault. (I am not saying that Roberts is suggesting those things, but those who use the word of themselves usually are saying those things).

    Should we be surprised that those who have been set free of this sin would react strongly and object to a Christian, indeed, a minister, using that word? I am not surprised at all.

    Especially when the rest of his comments talk about this as something to be continually endured and resisted, rather than as something which should (either immediately or eventually) be changed by the power of God and the renewing of the mind.

    Linda has appeared to suggest the change should be immediate and complete. I don’t know whether she really means that or not. But Vaughan Roberts gave the impression with many of his comments that he doesn’t necessarily expect it to change. I don’t know whether he means that or not, either, but if so, there’s a problem, and there’s nothing wrong in saying so.

  50. John, apologies for the delay in responding. Thanks for taking the effort to answer my question. I wonder if you will allow me to take up some of what I think is not entirely right about what you say,

    Rom 6:6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
    Rom 6:7 For he that is dead is freed from sin.

    That does not tell us that temptation does not exist,

    Yes, that is entirely true.

    but it does tell us it has no power over us, and the old nature has been crucified with Christ.
    Well, the first half of that statement is simply not true. On the contrary, Paul is abundantly clear that there is still very much a power – as others have noted in chapter 7 he goes on to describe in great detail the reality of the Christian experience – that we are new people and yet there is also something (“someone” – the old man) within us to which sin is always calling.

    It is that old nature that served sin, and it is the old nature to which temptation appeals.
    indeed, and none of this is denied by what Vaughan has said, is it? Surely a fair assessment of him is that he is simply recognising that the old man is still there – he calls it “an orientation”. What you and Lisa keep pushing, however, is tantamount to insisting we do not even mention the old man for fear, somehow, of denying the work of Christ in our lives. It seems, however, that the more Pauline approach is to acknowledge his existence openly as a factor in our lives and yet to strive to put him to death – just as Vaughan appears to be doing.

    You go on…

    Verse 11 says we are to be reckoning / accounting ourselves dead to sin, which means temptation has no power over us. That accounting is in the Greek present tense, which tells us we must continually keep counting ourselves dead to sin. Verse 12 says not to be letting sin reign in our bodies (again, present tense – continuous action).

    I’m afraid some of you grammar is a little too simplistic here and you draw some conclusions not merited by the text. λογιζεσθε (reckon) is a present middle so yes, it stands in contrast to βασιλευετω (to reign) which is an active. The force of the first middle is to call an action that looks inward (ie reflexive), as self-reckoning obviously would. Then in v12 then is a conjunction ουν which draws a conclusion from the introspection.

    Logically you would chart those 2 verses in this way:

    Rom. 6:11    In the same way,
    count yourselves dead to sin
    but [count yourselves] alive to God in Christ Jesus.

    Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.

    Now I set this out in order to demonstrate that your assertion does not hold. You state “Verse 11 says we are to be reckoning / accounting ourselves dead to sin, which means temptation has no power over us”

    but that is not Paul’s logic, on the contrary the very force of the argument relies on the premise that temptation still has a clear power over us. Paul, however, calls us to recognise the reality that we are dead to sin and alive in Christ and then as a consequence (hence the conjunction) appeals to us to not let sin reign. If that temptation were not still there (albeit in the old man) there would be no need for this appeal.

    Now I put it to you that there is nothing in what Vaughan is recorded as saying that stands against this. You and Linda might not like his use of the word “orientation” but what if he were to say “there is an old man living in me and I recognise that sin works upon him calling me to obey it’s evil desires. But I refuse to do that! I have considered the matter as it really is (reckoned it according to Rom 6:11) and I acknowedge that I am dead to sin ad alive to God in Christ and so I will not let that sin reign in my mortal body”.

    Would you be happy with that? If so, then I really don’t understand your almost legalism with this one word “orientation” nor your lack of charity in the way you have read him.

  51. But Vaughan Roberts gave the impression with many of his comments that he doesn’t necessarily expect it to change. I don’t know whether he means that or not, either, but if so, there’s a problem, and there’s nothing wrong in saying so.
    Why is it a problem? Where is the expectation in the Christian life that we be released from all temptation? On the contrary, only with the return of Jesus will we be removed from every sinful temptation because only then will the old man be totally put to death.

    Again, I fear the creep of sinless perfectionism here.

  52. To the two ladies who were simply stating what they learned from literal experience, I’m sorry no one is listening to you and the strong feelings you have about your past. You know more on this topic than people who have not overcome homosexuality, but for some reason people feel like they’re an expert on the topic.

    To everyone else, I don’t think Linda and unworthy1 were trying to argue with you guys. I think they were stating that the article could lead people to believe that you are born with certain orientations. Instead of spouting Biblical verses that do not pertain to what they are saying, listen to your fellow man, in this case woman, and understand they probably know a little bit more about the homosexual lifestyle than you ever will. If you say homosexuality is not a “different type” of sin, then start writing articles on gluttons. While I agree, sin is sin, the Christian world is just extremely focused on certain things while many Christians continue to overeat day after day.

    I don’t want to argue. It just saddens me to see two people attacked for stating this article handles this sin too lightly.

  53. David, thank you for taking the time to interact with some of the Scriptures I cited.

    You object to my saying “no power.” I do not care about those words, particularly, but the substance of them. We need never yield to temptation — if temptation has any power at all, it does not have enough to make us yield. We have the ability in Christ to refuse to let sin reign over us — therefore, if temptation has any power at all, it does not have enough to make us sin and bring us under sin’s reign. We are told to be accounting ourselves as dead to sin, which means if temptation has any power over us, it does not have enough to render us alive to sin. We are told that we have crucified the flesh with its affections and lusts, so temptation, whatever power it does have, can only appeal to that which is dead in us.

    If we want to go to the Greek, I would say that temptation has no exousia (power in the sense of authority) at all over us, and it has precious little (if any at all) real dunamis (power) over us — the only power it has is that which we cede to it.

    None of that is to say temptation ceases to exist, nor that we do not need to be continually reckoning ourselves as dead to sin. It is a far cry from sinless perfectionism.

    Now, as to this:
    ‘what if he were to say “there is an old man living in me and I recognise that sin works upon him calling me to obey it’s evil desires. But I refuse to do that! I have considered the matter as it really is (reckoned it according to Rom 6:11) and I acknowedge that I am dead to sin ad alive to God in Christ and so I will not let that sin reign in my mortal body”.’

    Several thoughts:
    1. We should clarify, this is not a case of “making me happy,” but of seeking to best reflect what the Lord says.
    2. I do believe strongly in the sufficiency of Scripture. Scripture IS sufficient to describe every sin, every temptation, every struggle of the Christian life. We easily go wrong when we abandon Scriptural terminology for these things. So your alternative wording is far superior. I don’t see why you would see it as uncharitable for me if I found this alternative wording acceptable and non-Biblical wording as unwise and dangerous. So first and foremost, Biblical wording is always better than non-Biblical wording.
    3. Since we all know who has adopted the “orientation” wording, the purpose for which they’ve adopted it, and the connotations they wish to advance with it, I don’t actually understand why you disagree with my assertions that it is dangerous and unwise, and that Christians shouldn’t use it. I have not said it is forbidden by Scripture. It seems silly to me to put the word “legalism” anywhere near what I’ve said about it. Vaughan Roberts runs a very real risk (and we’ve seen it happen before our very eyes here) of giving the impression that he identifies with / accepts an evil and blasphemous philosophy when he uses that word. Secondly, therefore, your alternative wording is superior because it replaces dangerous and confusing wording.
    4. All that said, this “old man living in me” has been crucified (Romans 6:6). So in providing alternative (Biblical) wording, we need to recognise that. And this is where the substantive issue (not just language) comes in. That old man is not living, but crucified. It is still present. We can still treat it as if it is alive, but it is dead. The way you stated things is a significant step forward. But Romans 7 is preceded by Romans 6 and followed by Romans 8

    I do not see that it is uncharitable to rejoice over Vaughan’s resistance to temptation but recognise and state that what he has said in this interview (and again, I haven’t read his book) falls short of the total victory that Christ can give in this area.

    Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight thyself also in the Lord, and He will give thee the desires of thine heart.” Now, either that means that God is going to give Vaughan those things he currently desires (which can’t be true) or He is going to change Vaughan’s desires. Obviously, it is the latter, and it appears to me, from what Vaughan himself has said, that is in the process of happening, for which I praise the Lord. It would be better if Vaughan used language that fit with that truth and explicitly recognised it, rather than language which implies a permanence to sinful desires.

    We have more to offer to homosexuals than always wanting and never having. We have a God who offers changed desires, renewed minds, and victory. The Scripture does not teach that this will always come easily or immediately, but neither does it teach us to speak as if it never comes at all.

  54. Jenny, thank you for your comments and for contributing here. I just want to direct your thoughts to a couple of things:

    Linda and unworthy1’s opinions on this matter are appreciated and valuable contributions. Just because some disagree doesn’t mean they are not valuable opinions on the topic. I am glad they have offered their experience and opinions…it makes us all thing through the issue.

    No one is being attacked here. This is a discussion with an equal amount of disagreements and opinions on an important issue. Disagreeing with someone is not the same as an attack. We must have vigorous conversations on important issues and when they are important issues there will be passion and emotion. We can’t label disagreements as attacks in this virtual conversation…otherwise there would never be a discussion that WASN’T considered an attack.

    The idea that someone needs to have experienced the sin to be the authority on the sin is actually contrary to our belief in the authority of scripture. The Bible defines sin and the gospel, and they are not defined by someone’s personal experience. This would also defy logic in this argument since the discussion is regarding Vaughan Roberts’ experience, of which seems to have no credibility in the eyes of those opposing his position. How can one person’s experience be more right than another? We must hold to the scriptural authority above any personal experiences. There will be many personal experiences, but one scriptural truth. The disagreement and discussion here is really focused on the Biblical basis for Vaughan Roberts’ position.

    Please do not be saddened by passionate discussion, but be encouraged that everyone here is willing to be very serious about what scripture teaches us about sin and the gospel.

    In His Grace,
    -atg

  55. Thank you for your kind response. You are correct. Everyone can voice their own opinions.

  56. ATG:
    My reference to Mr. Robert’s “identifying”, having a “desire” for, is in direct regard to Mr. Ould’s statement about him:

    “4 He IDENTIFIES as having a homosexual “orientation” – ie he is honest about his homosexual DESIRE.”

    Thus my comments above were in regard to that.

    But in the interest of a fair and honest assessment, and not wishing to go round and round endlessly about what we think Mr. Roberts meant or said, or didn’t say, let:’s take his actual words:

    “All of us are sinners, and sexual sinners. But, if we have turned to Christ, we are new creations, redeemed from slavery to sin through our union with Christ in his death and raised with him by the Spirit to a new life of holiness, while we wait for a glorious future in his presence when he returns. These awesome realities define me and direct me to the kind of life I should live. In acknowledging that I know something of all eight battles covered in my book, therefore, I’m not making a revelation about my fundamental identity, other than that, like all Christians, I am a sinner saved by grace, called to live in the brokenness of a fallen world until Christ returns and brings all our battles to an end.”

    He seems to understand , at least on an academic level, this basic biblical truth. Fair enough.

    “They, along with close family and friends, have known for a considerable time that I experience same-sex attraction. “

    Here’s the beginning of his departure from a right and biblical understanding of true repentance and real practical deliverance by Jesus Christ.

    “…those who continue to seek to be faithful to the Bible’s teaching that the only right context for sexual intercourse is in a marriage between a man and a woman and those who have moved away from that view. Sadly the second group is growing.”

    True enough. He acknowledged the physical homosexual act as being unbiblical.

    “we in the church are too often heard to be presenting only a negative message which can leave them feeling deep shame and discourage them from emerging from the isolation of a lonely and private battle, which creates a fertile soil where temptation increases and compromise becomes more likely.”

    I disagree here. He’s now departing into what so many emergents do: comdemning the condemnation of sin as too “negative”. Sin should cause shame. Sinners should feel shame for sinning. It should draw them to a place of repentance from sin.

    “Media reporting often doesn’t help and can give the impression that we think this particular sin is especially heinous”

    Roberts clearly disagrees that this particular sin is especially heinous. The Bible indicates otherwise. Sodom and Gomorrah being one example. Another being Rom. 1. In the Law of Moses, it was a sin worthy of death. I’d say that makes it a sin more heinous than others.

    “The Bible presents only two alternatives: heterosexual marriage or celibacy. Celibacy, whether deliberately chosen as a vocation or reluctantly accepted as a circumstance, is hard. But when tempted to self-pity, I remind myself that that’s true, not just for those attracted to the same sex, but for all who remain single despite longing to be married or those who, for whatever reason, are denied sex in their marriages..”

    What Roberts is referring to here is no doubt regarding 1 Cor.7. But this is in context to heterosexual activity. It has nothing to do with specifically forbidden sexual activity, such as homosexuality. It’s blurring the lines, adding homosexuality to the mix when the Bible does not .

    “While homosexual sin must always be resisted, the circumstances which often accompany same-sex attraction should be accepted as a context in which God can work. There is, without doubt, a difficult aspect to those circumstances, such as, for example, the frustration of not being able to experience the intimacy of a sexual relationship or a feeling of isolation because of the sense of being different. They can nonetheless be viewed in some senses positively, because of a recognition that God is sovereign over them and can work in and through them for his glory, the good of others and our own growth into the likeness of Christ.”

    Mr. Robert’s reasoning here has gone out of any Biblical context into his own brand of “Christian” experience or “circumstantial” morals or ethics. He is lending credence and legitimacy to “being different” as if that is just who they are, and implies this (“being different”) can be part of a real Christian’s life. Then goes on to say God can work in and through that. Biblically unsound, and unsubstantiated by Scripture.

    Then Roberts goes on to say:
    “…some godly believers who have experienced a seemingly intractable attraction to the same sex”.

    This is a completely un-Biblical concept and unsupported by Scripture. One cannot be a truly “godly believer” (assuming he means truly born again, regenerated, new creation, with a new heart, new mind, attracted only to the things of God and repelled by those things which are not of God) AND simultaneously have an “intractable attraction” to a particularly heinous sin which God singles out among those things which are abominable to Him. Such is not the fruit of true repentance.

    “A small proportion of people, including Christians, find that they remain exclusively attracted to the same sex as they grow into mature adulthood. God has the power to change their orientation, but he hasn’t promised to and that has not been my experience. Research suggests that complete change from exclusively homosexual desires to exclusively heterosexual ones is very rare. While supporting the right of anyone to seek help to change if they wish, our emphasis needs to be on encouragement to be godly and content in current circumstances.”

    Whether we agree with Roberts’ correct use of the word “orientation” here or not is irrelevant. The clear message he is presenting here is that some simply have a “bent” or “leaning” toward homosexuality (or being attracted to the same sex), that “God hasn’t promised to change”. This is extremely misleading. Of course God hasn’t promised to change anything we do not wish to change. But true repentance IS change, from EVERYTHING which exalts itself above Christ. A new creation and a new heart IS promised. And it IS a reality in a truly born again individual. Roberts in his appeal to his own defeated “experience” over the truth of Scripture, and his appeal to “research” by some chosen organization over the testimonies of many who have experienced complete deliverance in Christ, has altered his theology on the issue to allow for the existence and tacit acceptance of an “attraction” as if it’s just something one must spend a considerable amount of time, if not a lifetime, dealing with. Such is not consistent with a truly regenerate experience, nor the teaching of Scripture. Rather than wholeheartedly supporting change, which is what repentance essentially is, he merely offers that as a secondary option to his preferred method of accepting such a “circumstance” and living godly and content with such homosexual attraction. That’s no more than a compromisingly, pseudo-Christian world view which denies true repentance and the delivering redemptive power of Jesus Christ.

    Mr. Robert’s parting statement reveals his acquiescence to and legitimization of homosexual attraction for believers:
    “We will then be able to see our struggles, including the experience of living with same-sex attraction, not just negatively, but also positively.”

    I flatly and emphatically reject Robert’s philosophy regarding this. It is contrary to the clear teachings of Scripture. A Christian need not just accept living with an “attraction” which is both forbidden by God, which is contrary to the righteousness of God, and which Jesus offers COMPLETE and lasting deliverance from. And how he can see such a defeated life as a “positive” thing is beyond me. It seems pretty clear Mr. Roberts neither truly understands, nor has experienced, the delivering power of Jesus Christ, nor what true repentance is.

  57. I had vowed not to return to this thread and this blog, but after listening to John MacArthur preach on homosexuality, I knew I had to share what he said…

    “Let me tell you something. One of the supreme tragedies of our time is the declassification of homosexuality as a sin because when you declassify it as a sin, you cut them off from their salvation source. It is a damning declassification. You’re not being nice to homosexuals to call it an optional life style, a sexual preference. You’re not nice to them to do that. That isn’t kind. That isn’t thoughtful. That isn’t loving. That is damning. The kindest thing you could ever say to someone engaged in homosexual sin is it is a sin that will damn you and it will exclude you from the Kingdom of God forever. That’s the kindest thing you can say. A proper diagnosis is absolutely crucial. This is not a preferred sexual orientation. This is not an alternate lifestyle. This is not a genetic thing. This is sin and perversion that damns men’s and women’s souls. The massive movement to appease the guilt and to release lust unchecked, to free up homosexuals to live any way they want and to feel good about it by defining their blasphemous sexual conduct is nothing more than an alternative lifestyle is a damning thing. As we shall see later, those who advocate homosexual rights will have the blood of dead homosexuals on their hands. Homosexuality is an insatiable lust. It is a drive that goes beyond anything that heterosexual people experience. And these people are not only trying to justify their own lust, their unchecked, unbridled, insatiable desires but they are trying to sell it to everybody else because then that becomes even a greater justification the more they can normalize it. And so they’re selling it to your children. ” from ‘God’s view on homosexuality’ which you can listen to or read here – http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/90-69/gods-view-of-homosexuality-part-1

    I also recommend this sermon from Dr. MacArthur – http://iamhis-lyn.blogspot.com/2012/10/homosexuality-and-campaign-for.html

  58. Unworthy1 –

    Thanks for returning and posting. I don’t think Vaughan Roberts would disagree with anything you posted from MacArthur’s sermon since he didn’t classify it as his preference or anything he is engaging in. He acknowledged it as a sin and that there was no grey area for him in the temptation.

  59. John, thanks for your response.

    You object to my saying “no power.” I do not care about those words, particularly, but the substance of them.

    Well John, here’s my problem – you grounded your claim in Romans 6. I’ve shown that Romans 6 simply doesn’t say what you claim it says. No you may, as you put it, “not care about those words” but I fear that is part of the problem here. People are making claims that cannot be supported scripturally.

    So, again, in your response, you say:

    If we want to go to the Greek, I would say that temptation has no exousia (power in the sense of authority) at all over us, and it has precious little (if any at all) real dunamis (power) over us — the only power it has is that which we cede to it.

    And I say “show me such in the text”. Show me the language of εξουσια and δυναμις being used that way with respect to sin. Because I can’t find a single instance in the NT where either of those words are used to describe the power of sin, using either the straight αμαρτια (sin) or the alternate σαρξ (“flesh” ie used sometimes to refer to the sinful nature), at least not together in the same verse.

  60. I think this is the guts of the issue:

    Linda says,

    “My desire is for Vaughan to be FREE and this ongoing same sex attractions is not the mark of a redeemed Christian.”

    Which we might better paraphrase as “My desire is for the Christian to be FREE and this ongoing temptation to sin is not the mark of a redeemed Christian.”

    Linda, have I summarised your position (with respect to sin more generally) clearly or could you clarify it better?

  61. From David’s blog post…

    “God has the power to change their orientation” Vaughan Roberts

    “A proper diagnosis is absolutely crucial. This is not a preferred sexual orientation.” John MacArthur

    Am I the only one who sees the vast difference between these two statements? A proper diagnosis is indeed absolutely crucial…and to that I say a big, huge AMEN.
    I believe Dr. MacArthur stays true to truth by not defining sin using worldly terminology and phrases. Roberts may not disagree with MacArthur’s sermon speaking out against homosexuality, but he needs to STICK WITH THE BIBLE and throw out unbiblical terminology. This is the crux of my dissatisfaction with this whole post. Let’s not go off course and throw out accusations such as ‘unloving’ , or ‘not showing grace’, let’s stick with sola scriptura when dealing with sexual sin, sexual forbidden lustful desires. John MacArthur speaks out against homosexuality by calling it what it is…sin. Roberts uses words not found in the bible, such as ‘orientation’.

    We must confront sin, identify it, and ‘hack it to pieces’ , another wonderful sermon dealing with sin by MacArthur at http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/80-128/hacking-agag-to-pieces

  62. David, temptation has no power to make us sin. The Scripture repeats that in multiple places. If you think it does have that power, you’ll have to explain what the old man being crucified means. You’ll have to explain what the lusts and desires of the flesh being crucified means. You’ll have to explain what I Corinthians 10:13 means. I’ve explained quite clearly what I mean by “no power” and it is Biblical. Surely you don’t think temptation has the power to make us sin, do you? Then if not, what power exactly do you think it has?

    You have showed that the old man is still present. Very true, and thus temptation comes. I’ve stated as much. That old man is dead, crucified. The Scriptures clearly say so, but you have completely ignored.it in your comments here.

    The problem of Romans 6 is not that the old man isn’t dead, the problem is in our “reckoning”. Our reckoning is not right reckoning and so we yield ourselves to sin, even though the old man is dead. We make provision for the flesh to fulfil its lusts, even though those lusts have been crucified.

    Temptation does not give us a problem because it has power or authority, but because of will, foolishness, and ultimately because of unbelief..

  63. Jon,
    David, temptation has no power to make us sin. The Scripture repeats that in multiple places.

    Well, here is another of your assertions. Could you back that one up too, please? I am happy to concur with James 1:13 et seq that we have nothing to blame but our own sinful desire when we succumb to it, but that’s not quite the same. So, could I add this to the list of assertions that it would be helpful for you to demonstrate?

    If you think it does have that power, you’ll have to explain what the old man being crucified means. You’ll have to explain what the lusts and desires of the flesh being crucified means.

    Do you mean from Romans 6:6. I think that it’s a soteriologically forensic statement, as Paul’s language is throughout the statement. He doesn’t mean that the sin is dead – quite obviously not since he urges the reader to cease sinning. As I already argued, if sin were gone then the imperative to cease sinning would make no sense. Rather, Paul argues a forensic reality – that in the crucifixion our sin has been killed with regards to how God views it and we ought to therefore live consistently with that forensic reality. Of course, he will go on to explain that the Spirit enables us to do this.

    You’ll have to explain what I Corinthians 10:13 means.
    Glad to. It means that there is no temptation that overcomes us that is not common to the rest of humanity (ie what the Hebrews were tempted by in the wilderness is the same as our temptations today). He then goes on to state that we will not be tempted beyond what we can bear. It also states that God will provide a way out so that we might endure that temptation. I note that he states endure which presupposes that the temptation will remain.

    I’ve explained quite clearly what I mean by “no power” and it is Biblical.

    It is your contention that it is Biblical. You used the Biblical terms dunamis and exousia and so I asked you the simple question of where the Bible uses those terms about sin in the way that you use them. I don’t that’s an unreasonable question to ask. Until you are able to provide the answer the reader will have to conclude that your assertion is unproven.

    Surely you don’t think temptation has the power to make us sin, do you?
    In part, yes. It all depends what you mean by “power”. Again, as I stated above, the real problem is our own sinful nature. It is ever-present until our resurrection/glorification upon the return of Christ. (Phil. 3:21 etc.)

    Very true, and thus temptation comes. I’ve stated as much. That old man is dead, crucified. The Scriptures clearly say so, but you have completely ignored.

    not at all, although I addressed the same issue more specifically with regards to 6:11-12.

    it in your comments here. The problem of Romans 6 is not that the old man isn’t dead, the problem is in our “reckoning”. Our reckoning is not right reckoning and so we yield ourselves to sin, even though the old man is dead. We make provision for the flesh to fulfil its lusts, even though those lusts have been crucified.

    Again, I fear that problem is that you take “crucified” here to mean something like “eradicated”. Am I correct in reading you this way? If so then I think you destroy the logic of Paul’s argument. he uses “reckon” forensically.

    I think this is the consistent way to read it, at least consistent with his ongoing usage in Romans as he examine the justifying work of Jesus. Let me try and make my case. In the following I have translated “logizomai” as “reckon” for each usage

    Rom. 3:28 For we reckon that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.

    Rom. 4:3 What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.”

    and on a continued basis throughout chapter 4 – each of which is dealing with a forensic reckoning. Neither Abraham nor the contemporary believer is ontologically righteous. But God “reckons” him as righteous anyway. This is the beauty of Justification by Faith Alone that I assume you and I both delight in!

    The next usage occurs in chapter 6.

    Rom. 6:11    In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

    At this point I think it is entirely consistent with Paul’s usage thus far (and, as I’ve already pointed out, makes more sense of his direct argument) to read logizamai in the same way again. We are to view ourselves as “dead to sin” because of what Christ has done. We are not ontologically dead to sin yet but God views us as though we are, through our union with Christ.
    In the light of this, Paul calls the believer to therefore get rid of sin.

    Temptation does not give us a problem because it has power or authority, but because of will, foolishness, and ultimately because of unbelief..

    Indeed. With this I have no argument.

    Jon, with the greatest respect, here so far are your unsupported assertions:

    Temptation has no power to make us sin.
    The Scriptures speak about a seperate exousia and dynamis of sin in order to distinguish between various forms of “control” or “power”.

    To the second (from a previous comment) I add the first. And now for both I ask where you get them directly from the Scriptures. I know that you have already told me “it is Biblical” but you have yet to actually point us simply to the Scriptures. Having done that, as I’m sure you can, we can then engage with our understanding of specific texts.

  64. Unworthy1,

    You stated above: “Roberts may not disagree with MacArthur’s sermon speaking out against homosexuality, but he needs to STICK WITH THE BIBLE and throw out unbiblical terminology. This is the crux of my dissatisfaction with this whole post. Let’s not go off course and throw out accusations such as ‘unloving’ , or ‘not showing grace’, let’s stick with sola scriptura when dealing with sexual sin, sexual forbidden lustful desires.”

    I see your point and I haven’t disagreed that he could have stated things more clear. However, just follow my logic here for a bit: You are saying that your disagreement is with his vocabulary and word choice in discussion is battle with temptation and the words he uses to describe his temptation. How is this sola scriptura? I’m sure there are plenty of word choices that we used today that can’t be supported Biblically, but it is because we are putting things in the context of the day we live in. He isn’t saying the same-sex attraction is acceptable…to the contrary he is saying it is wrong as defined by the Bible. That is sola scriptura. The word “orient” simply means that something is pointed in a particular direction or is of a particular group. As I have mentioned before, Roberts’ isn’t addressing MacArthur’s church…he is addressing the Anglican church. The Anglican church is embroiled in a serious issue of homosexuality and the word “orientation” is relevant in his conversation as directed towards those that are supportive of homosexual pastors. So, his words are a real attack on the beliefs of those in the Anglican church who support homosexuality. Do you see what I mean? I understand your point and it is correct. I have been arguing that there is so much more here though.

    My concern all along has been with HOW the sinful man protects himself from the temptations of sin and his unwillingness to allow this temptation to gain a foothold in his life. I have no interest in arguing about vocabulary here because there is such a bigger picture that is beautiful…a man in ministry who struggles with a socially unacceptable sin (that is to say if it was pride or lust of money or lust of women it would be no big deal to most) and his process of accountability and his view that homosexual relations are unbilblical and must be protect against. Sadly, he has yet to be freed of the temptation as others have, so he takes all the necessary precautions to avoid any sin or appearance of sin in his life. This piece is what I am pleased about. I’m not concerned as much with his word choice, because we are seeing the gospel in action: sinners saved by grace, fleeing sin and waiting on God.

    I hope we have closed the gap a bit on this topic between you and me and that although we can disagree on the word choices (not minimizing this), we can agree on how he is handling his temptations?

    In His Grace,
    -atg

  65. Jon Gleason~ a hearty AMEN
    Many people are -“having a form of godliness but denying its POWER”. Have nothing to do with them”-2 Timothy 3:5

    And what did Jesus say? “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

    The pharisees even thought they were okay because they didn’t commit the literal act. Anyone can abstain from sexual sin, murder, thievery etc but if they are having this “desire” in their heart, then it’s still SIN.

  66. RS, I appreciate your willingness to be more clear and specific here. I really have no interest in discussion the fine details of Vaughan Roberts’ word choices. I will comment on these though in the interest of the Gospel and sinners saved by grace. I am responding to your paragraphs and comments briefly by number as your post was too long to quote…each number represents your quote of Roberts and your assessment of the quote. My number is my response to your assessment:
    1 – I agree he understands. You calling it academic requires insight into his life that you don’t have.
    2 – According to your comments here and in the post above, you seem to believe that a proper biblical understanding of repentance = not having a temptation to that sin again. Do you really believe that repentance takes away temptation? The logical end to what you are saying is that the world is full of sinless Christians because once you are saved, you repent, you no longer have temptation, therefore you no longer have sin. This is unbiblical and completely contradicts Paul’s numerous writings like Romans 7 and others where he is saying to “flee” from these sins. Why would he say this and not just say “repent and you won’t sin again.” To remain biblical here you must accept that Vaughan Robert’s still experiences temptation to past sins.
    3 – yes, my point all along…he isn’t compromising on the truth.
    4 – I understand your point, but don’t agree. We agree sin is bad and the act of sin must stop immediately. Your focus is to drive people to repentance. My focus is to drive people to Christ. The Christian church is notoriously self-righteous. I agree with Vaughan here that we need to be more open to working with “socially unacceptable sinners” like homosexuals or past homosexuals in order to share the gospel with them and to lead them in biblical truth. You forget that Jesus shamed the Pharisees for their self-righteousness, but was gently and lovingly leading the sinners (shamed by the Pharisees like tax collectors and prostitutes) to faith. You see the difference here? Roberts (nor I) want someone who suffers with this sin or any sin hiding, lonely, and without support and accountability where they can fall into sin…instead let’s make all struggles equal so we all can work together in accountability and growth and fleeing from the sin. This seems to be the glaring difference between your view of the Bible and mine.
    5 – You’ve set up a hierarchy of sin in your mind and heart. This is self-righteousness. All sin is heinous. All your sin is heinous. All my sin is heinous. If we can’t see that, then we are Pharisees sitting back saying, “thank God I’m not as bad as them.” You have missed the point of the gospel here.
    6 – Roberts is right in the overarching biblical discussion of sexual immorality. All sex is confined to marriage and all marriage is between a man and a women and anything else is sexual immorality. Therefore Roberts has protected himself from this temptation through accountability.
    7 – You don’t understand what Vaughan means. He is saying that having a battle as such will be fertile ground where God can work through faith and sanctification towards Christ-likeness. This is good news for the sinner. He isn’t saying it is acceptable or good to have this temptation or difference, he is saying that God can use it to change people and to work in their lives. I’m not sure how you can disagree with such things. 1 Pet 1:7 trials and testing of your faith lead to praise and honor of Christ. James 1 – count it all joy when you face various trials because the testing of your faith produces steadfastness & let it have its full effect so you lack nothing. Romans 7 – Paul hates his sin, but it drives him to cry out for Christ. I wonder if you are blinded by a predisposed opinion that homosexuality is worse than other sins that makes you unable to see how God can work through this sin/temptation like any other sin/temptation.
    8 – see my response to 4 & 5 above.
    9 – I think this comment of yours comes from the same heart of what I address in 4 & 5 above. I believe he could have stated this more clearly, but I’m not going to through him under the bus for it. I think it is too big of a leap to keep claiming that because his temptation hasn’t been removed, he is unregenerate. He is speaking from the position that others may experience the same ongoing temptation having not been freed from that temptation (freed from the sin, yes…that is biblical) should receive the gentleness and guidance needed to help them where they are. If God hasn’t released the same-sex attraction, then we shouldn’t condemn them, as you have been stating in your comments, as sub-human unregenerates, but as sinners in need of accountability and shepherding and guidance so that they will not fall back into the sin.
    10 – Living with the attraction positively…I’d like more explanation from him here too. It is an odd statement, but within the context of his whole interview I think he means that they don’t have to live in fear and as sub-humans if the church is willing to deal with the temptation as any other temptation and shepherd them accordingly with accountability.
    Finally, I am amazed at your willingness to condemn this man. You have stated numerous times that he doesn’t know repentance or the delivering power of Christ, and that he has not experienced salvation. You keep talking about the clarity of scripture, but the clarity you see isn’t the clarity of the Gospel – sinners saved by grace dependent on God and will receive final complete freedom at his return and the resurrection. The clarity you speak of is rooted in a hierarchy of sin and a repentance removes temptation leading to sinless perfection. I understand why you hold this position, but it is contrary to the Gospel. The brilliant results of this entire exercise for all of us is to consider through the gospel and to check our hearts. We as wicked hearted sinners saved by grace – hanging by the thread of God’s Grace and Mercy daily – have no leg to stand on when it comes to condemning others for the temptation to sin they face. If this man was actively engaging in homosexual relationships, I would call for his removal. But as a man facing temptation who has protected himself with accountability and the black and white truth that homosexual activity is forbidden by the Word, I am encouraged.

  67. Linda,

    So, lustful thoughts? Let’s assume that Roberts’ has lustful thoughts…I think that is a fair assumption. How does this make him any different then your pastor who has lustful thoughts?

  68. David, I fear we are going to just end up talking past each other. I believe there is both substantive difference between us and wording difference in some cases where there is no substance.

    A) I do not see how anyone can read I Corinthians 10:13 and say that temptation ever has the power to >make us sin<, in any sense at all. Romans 6:22 says we are free from sin, so it is completely impossible for temptation to make us sin. Either we are free or we aren't.

    I don't think anything Vaughan Roberts said indicates that he thinks temptation can make him sin. I'm not sure why you've chosen to pursue this aspect of the question so strongly.

    Obviously the old man remains, though crucified. I'm not sure how many times I have to say that. I've said that temptation often continues, that's why we need to be renewing our minds, etc, etc.

    The old man is crucified, the affections and lusts off the flesh are crucified (Gal. 5:24). So, present but crucified. The whole point is that, though remaining, they no longer have the power to make us serve them. Thus, we can yield ourselves as servants to obey righteousness (Romans 6:16). That would not be the case if they had power to make us obey them — it would be an empty command to tell us to do something we can't do. The old man is powerless to prevent that, powerless to make us sin, powerless to bring us into dominion (v. 14). We are no longer servants of sin, but free from sin and servants of righteousness (v. 17-18).

    Why then do we sin? Not because temptation has the power to make us sin, not because the old man is living, but because we fail to reckon ourselves dead to sin. We think and act as if that in us which calls us to sin is still alive, still powerful. And so we yield ourselves again unto unrighteousness, and we serve it.

    We are like slaves who have been set free, but we keep working on the plantation, anyway. There is no force that could keep us there, the emancipation has been proclaimed. We are legally free and practically free if we will just walk down the road to freedom. But we turn aside, back to the field, and live as slaves again. That's what we do when we sin. It's not that we have to. It's that we simply don't take the freedom that is ours, we don't reckon ourselves dead to that sin.

    ***
    B) "You used the Biblical terms dunamis and exousia and so I asked you the simple question of where the Bible uses those terms about sin in the way that you use them."

    I used Greek terms. I didn't say I was using them in the Biblical sense. I used them to illustrate that "power" can have two different meanings, one authority, the other might. I could research, but I don't know whether the Scripture uses them directly in reference to sin. It uses the concept, clearly. The concept of sin having authority or might is very much in view in Romans 6 and other passages I've mentioned.

    ***
    C) I do not think it makes sense to view Romans 6 as entirely forensic. I take your point that logizomai is used that way previously in Romans. But when we come to Romans 6, the old man is already crucified, that's an aorist. We are dead with Christ (v. 8, present tense). We are dead unto sin and alive from the dead unto God (v. 11, 12).

    These are present realities, things that have already happened, that drive the present reality that we must not yield to sin, but yield ourselves unto God. Yet, I would agree that logizomai itself is forensic — we are told to accept forensically (and thus from the context apply practically) the wonderful reality that we are alive to God and dead to sin. Thus, we can (to use my illustration above) walk off the plantation — the legality of doing so has been handled, the chains are broken, all we have to do is make sure we keep accepting the reality of that.

    ***
    D) I'll probably drop out of the discussion of temptation's power at this point. I've explained what I believe the Scriptures are teaching here. It seems quite clear to me, but I don't know how I can explain it any more clearly than I have. If you don't agree, then I'm pretty sure we'll not agree. I've got real life and real ministry, as I expect you do as well. I thank you for the discussion, and the way in which you've engaged in it.

    ***
    Finally, as to Vaughan Roberts, I rejoice in his faithfulness in the face of temptation. I pray that, by the renewing of his mind, he can eventually be completely free from that. Based on your comments to me, I think you think I've been very negative towards him. I think if you go back and look at my comments in order from the start of the thread, you might see it a little differently. If I could give him one piece of advice, it would be that the Scriptures are sufficient to describe all our sins and temptations, and he would be wiser to use Scriptural terms. If I could give a second piece of advice, it would be to recognise that this temptation is rooted in selfishness in the area of intimacy, viewing intimacy as something I want to receive, rather than something I give in love, and that if he can renew his thinking on physical intimacy it will help immensely. And his book may cover that, so that second piece of advice may be entirely superfluous.

    Blessings to you.

  69. Jon Gleason~”but because we fail to reckon ourselves dead to sin. We think and act as if that in us which calls us to sin is still alive, still powerful. And so we yield ourselves again unto unrighteousness, and we serve it.”

    You hit the nail on the head Jon. We FAIL to believe the TRUTH that we DIED with Christ.
    ——————

    atg,,,I give you Scripture and you still dance around it. Why?

    The world’s wisdom is NOT compatible with the wisdom of scripture. You’re not permitting the revealed truth of Scripture to act as a corrective to wrong ideas. What you are doing again and again in this meta is adapting your interpretation of Scripture to make it fit with worldly wisdom. Misusing and abusing Scripture is wrong.

    “For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers…traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away…Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”—II Timothy 3:2a, 4–5, 7

    “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”—II Timothy 4:3–4

  70. Linda,

    I am not dancing around anything I have been very thorough to address everything directly and to keep pointing to the Gospel. Your claim that I am using the wisdom of he world is just not true. Since when has focusing on God’s infinity grace in saving sinners and the Gospel been worldly wisdom?

    Your 2 Tim 3 passage doesn’t fit our conversation. That is a passage about blatant unregenerate people. I know that YOU have repeatedly concluded that Roberts’ is unsaved, unregenerate, in a life of unrepentant sin, so I understand why you are using that passage. However, I believe your assessment of Roberts is completely wrong and that your use of this passage in this conversation is therefore inappropriate.

    2 Tim 4:3-4…I am sorry to say, but this passage just as easily can be directed to you from my perspective. You seem to only want to hear from people that support your opinion, that tear down another brother, and rely on a hierarchy of sins philosophy to condemn some that are tempted over others who are tempted.

    Finally, you didn’t answer my simple question regarding your relevant scripture passage above about lustful thoughts. I’ll kindly ask again as I think it is vital to the conversation: Who is the lustful thoughts of Vaughan Roberts more sinful and disqualifying and prove the lack of faith, while the lustful thoughts of your pastor and my pastor are not disqualifying? Can you explain this, please?

    In God’s Grace,
    -atg

  71. ATG:
    In the interest of avoiding misunderstanding, I attempted to directly address what Mr. Roberts specifically said. It’s obvious by your responses to what I said that you either didn’t understand what I was saying, or simply have chosen a predisposition to be antagonistic. Which of the two, I don’t really know. Somehow there’s a real disconnect in our communication, so I don’t see it as a fruitful endeavor in pursuing this.

    I will close, not with rehashing my assessment of Mr. Robert’s philosophies which I’ve already given, but by addressing some outrageous falsehoods you’ve applied not just to me, and in some respects similarly to others who have commented here as well, for the purpose of greater understanding. The numerical references are just to distinguish them apart, and have nothing to do with your numbered points above.

    1) My reference to Mr. Roberts understanding of a particular biblically based concept “at least academically”, was meant in all honesty as a compliment, something positive. I never inferred that it was ONLY academically. I am saddened you have taken this as anything other than complimentary, and misjudged my intent.

    2) Your continual insistence that I (and others here) are somehow promoting “sinless perfectionism” is a totally erroneous conclusion. I am not promoting sinless perfectionism. Nor do I see anything of the sort in Linda’s or Unworthy’s statements. Not one of us is without sin, nor can any of us be altogether sinless. That’s not at all what I was referring to by true repentance. You’ve totally misunderstood what I was talking about.

    3) Your insistence that I am condemning Mr. Roberts, and your strong inference that I am somehow judging him as unsaved, is also totally untrue. I’ve made no such claim or inference. I merely disagree with the philosophy he expressed in that one interview. But that is a far cry from what you have falsely accused me of. To me, this wasn’t a personal assessment of his standing before God, but rather an assessment of the concepts he expressed.

    4) Your accusation that my focus is to “drive people to repentance”, whereas yours is to “drive people to Christ”, as if my focus were NOT to drive people to Christ, is very false. My focus IS to drive people to Christ, first and foremost. And to repentance, and holiness, and obedience to the Scriptures, etc. To drive them to all these things which befit sound doctrine.

    5) Your accusation that I set up a hierarchy of sin “in my mind and heart”, then using that as a springboard to condemn me as “self-righteous” and “missing the point of the Gospel” is not only blatantly bearing false witness against me, it is offensive in the extreme. You have negatively judged my heart (several times in your comment), and have apparently entered my mind, boldly placing yourself in places only God Himself can go. Yet you have repeatedly displayed throughout a total lack of understanding of most of what I’ve said. You repeatedly insinuate that I am a Pharisee, or like one, who is pointing the finger at others, as if their sin makes them worse than mine. And thus have come up with the only theory that fits your accusation: that I have developed a “hierarchy” of sins. What I have given you were Scriptural examples of what I meant, which you have summarily dismissed/ignored. So to be perfectly clear, I hold that we ALL sin. That I am no more righteous than anyone else. That I certainly do not look down at another as being somehow “a greater sinner” than I. Nor have I ever said or inferred otherwise.

    6) “I think it is too big of a leap to keep claiming that because his temptation hasn’t been removed, he is unregenerate.” I’ve never said, nor meant that Mr. Roberts is unregenerate. Again, I’m not personally condemning him as being unsaved or unregenerated. And I’ve never said that someone is unsaved, or regenerate if they have any temptation to sin. On the contrary, I’ve already said this isn’t about temptation to sin per se, but my emphasis was that there is freedom in Christ from all forms of bondage to sin (in mind and heart as well as in action).

    7) “If God hasn’t released the same-sex attraction, then we shouldn’t condemn them, as you have been stating in your comments, as sub-human unregenerates,” Again, you insist on accusing me of what I have neither said, nor inferred. “Sub-human”? This is way beyond misunderstanding now, but biting, derogatory false accusations, ATG. And I don’t see any reason for this outrageous jump, nor for the biting and devouring attitude you are displaying toward me.

    8)” Finally, I am amazed at your willingness to condemn this man. You have stated numerous times that he doesn’t know repentance or the delivering power of Christ, and that he has not experienced salvation. You keep talking about the clarity of scripture, but the clarity you see isn’t the clarity of the Gospel – sinners saved by grace dependent on God and will receive final complete freedom at his return and the resurrection. The clarity you speak of is rooted in a hierarchy of sin and a repentance removes temptation leading to sinless perfection. I understand why you hold this position, but it is contrary to the Gospel.”

    I don’t know where to begin to address the numerous false accusations you’ve heaped upon me here. Again, I flatly and categorically deny any condemnation of Mr. Roberts. I have questioned the depth of his understanding of true repentance and his understanding of the depth of the delivering power of Christ, but I have NEVER said nor inferred he has not experienced salvation. We all are growing in our understanding of Christ and the things of Christ. So we’re all at different levels of understanding. That’s a reality of the Christian walk. I wholeheartedly believe that sinners, no matter what sins they have committed, are saved by God’s grace, and ONLY God’s grace. I have never said nor inferred otherwise. I never said nor inferred that a belief of repentance removes all temptation to any and all sin leading to a sinless perfection.

    I can accept that you’ve misunderstood what I was getting at. But I cannot accept your responses. You’ve chosen to falsely and grossly pervert and distort most of what I’ve said, insisting I said what I did not at all say, then used your falsely arrived at conclusions to condemn me as believing and proclaiming that which is “contrary to the Gospel”! I find that dishonest, unloving, unreasonable, and offensive. So I don’t see any point in continuing this. Goodbye.

  72. RS, I think there could be reason to continue and a way to find a way to repair any broken communication. Let’s resolve this and not allow a broken relationship to remain.

    I am completely willing to believe that your true beliefs and feelings have been misrepresented or misunderstood. This is always possible in this environment. From the moment you returned to DefCon it was clear you were here to bring a serious charge against me. I have been trying to deal directly with what you are writing. My first response was a very kind response and responded to you with personal information in regard to your serious allegations against me. You never even responded to any of this. In your 2nd post, I have tried to respond directly to the words you wrote in a serious manner. I think what you wrote in both your comments above are a very serious picture of something other than the gospel. I don’t say this lightly and I don’t say this to be antagonistic or offensive. My goal and priority here is to always center on the cross and I’m not seeing that in your words. I cannot see your heart from here.

    Maybe the words you wrote don’t reflect what you actually meant…I am willing to believe that. I would ask that you take the time to reread what you wrote since this is what I was commenting on as direct and serious as I could. I also took time in responding in order to be accurate and thoughtful.

    You have made several statements now that you are offended and represented falsely. I am not attempting to offend or to misrepresent, but to simply respond to the words written. I know nothing of you and your life or your faith. All I can respond to is the words you write. So, maybe the breakdown in communication is that your words don’t represent you fully.

    In the interest of resolution and reconciliation, I am willing to start over and take a slow approach to the issue so we can get it right to the Glory of God alone. I think you’ll agree that this shouldn’t be about us.

    In His grace,
    -atg

  73. A very interesting topic which has lead to a much heated debate. Before I give my comment on the matter I would like to say how much I love and appreciate defcon, and its contributers. I have been encouraged, blessed, and sometimes challenged to examine, study, and learn more about what the Bible has to say on many different subjects. There is a ministry here! And my prayer is that God will continue to use it for His glory.

    Here is my meager two cents worth. After reading what everyone had to say it seems to me the real issue is not homosexuality, it is more about temptation and sin. When we are born again we realize what sinful dirty wretches we truly are in need of a saviour. We learn and understand why Christ died in our place. And of course on the 3rd day He rose again conquering sin and death. We sincerely repent of all our sins, this means we hate our sin, and are given a new nature which causes us to desire to be like Christ, to really hate this world and the things of it. I know you all know this, however sometimes it can be good to be reminded of what the glorious gospel of Christ is. We all deserve hell and would wind up there if not for the mercy and grace of God.

    Romans 6 was brought up. ” knowing this, that our old self is crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died IS freed from sin.” Earlier in the chapter Paul says,”How shall we who died to sin still live in it?” Okay, I know we all have temptations, and certain sins might be more tempting, or one that we struggle with more than others. But my goodness, we also have the power of the Holy Spirit living in us, teaching, guiding, encourageing and sanctifying us. This is the power of God Almighty. I am not a legalist however Jesus told us to be holy just as our Father in heaven is holy. I have to agree with the others who are concerned about what Mr. Roberts has said. I too find it very troubling. I have no doubt he loves the Lord and is a christian. However God has given explicit instructions in what He expects in a Pastor. I would not want to be under a pastor who could or would get up in front of his congregation and declare that he has a present or ongoing problem with sexual temptation, whether it be heterosexual or homosexual. And even though we know God hates sexual immorality which is evidenced many times in scripture, hence perhaps more concern than other sins, it would also be troubling if the pastor said the sin he was struggling with was habitual lying, stealing, coveting etc. I think Mr. Roberts needs to have some serious growth in spiritual maturity in order to be a Godly example to the flock he is sheparding.

    This discussion leads me to want to ask about a problem that has rampantly arisen in evangelical churches for quite awhile, it has been going on for many years. We have all heard it. Men are very visual, this is true, then its taken to another step, even mentioned in this thread, all or most men struggle with lust, including pastors. This is troubling to me, and I would like to hear from some of the men here at DefCon if you would be so kind. Question. Do true Godly men have serious problems with other sins, like lying, stealing, coveting, not loving your neighbor as yourselves, taking the Lords name in vain? Over and over again I have seen this put out there that sooo many poor guys have this problem. I honestly feel that the enemy has succeded in decieving many, men and women, that men just can’t overcome this particular temptation, this problem with lust. What abot Job, who made a covenant with his eyes? Is it true that christian men can be growing in sanctification in many areas of their lives but just cannot with the help of the Holy Spirit overcome lustful thoughts? I have heard this for years and many times from the pulpit. Do wives have to resign themselves to the idea that their husbands are most likly at times commiting adultery in their hearts? And men, can you tell us how you would feel if the shoe was on the other foot? Talking to husbands here… how would you come to terms with the idea that your wife whom you love dearly, whom you know belongs to you only, how would you feel if it were a societal norm and widely accepted that women in general had a serious problem with the temptation of desiring to have sexual relations with other men?
    I apoligize for making this so long, it wasn’t my initial intention. One thing kinda lead to the other. Take care, and please no one take this personally, I didn’t mean it to be.

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