Update III: I posted some final thoughts on these posts.
Update II: In some commenting I did on facebook, I feel I communicated myself more clearly on a couple of issues than I did on this post. So, below, you’ll find those clearer comments, edited for your consideration.
Update: The second and final part of these posts is up.
In response to my post earlier today on Exodus International’s decision to move away from “conversion therapy” of homosexuals, in which I criticized many more conservative reactions (don’t worry, you progressives will get your due tomorrow, haha). A couple of comments, messages, and such have asked me about that classic Evangelical formulation that homosexuals that “persist in their sin” or “walk in deliberate willful disobedience” cannot be “saved”. (This idea is based on some parts of 1 John, but that application of those verses has too many interpretive issues to go into here, as I type on my phone. Suffice it to say, though, that it’s a bad application and doesn’t naturally flow from the text).
Anyway, back to the question.
Life is much more complicated than those simplistic categories of “willful”, “deliberate”, and “persistent” (and “sin”, frankly). Being in counseling myself, and being a counselor, this whole “willful disobedience” thing is much grayer than that articulation implies.
What do you do with pastors that are irresponsible in their preaching and “pastoring”, and even in light of SO many other believers telling them they are wrong, disobedient, harmful, and sinfully relating to their people, they “wilfully persist” in that? What about all of us Christians that “willfully persist” in driving even 5 mph above the speed limit? What about the person in the church that never stops gossiping, even in spite of sitting in sermon after sermon on the topic? Or all the southern and midwestern christians that “wilfully persist” in their gluttony?