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Idolatry and Debased Minds Among the Evangelical "Elites"
During a recent interview with Jon Harris of Conversations that Matter,Dr. Jared Moore drew attention to the reality of moral compromise with sexual sin found among several prominent evangelicals. These individuals have been viewed as stalwart defenders of Christianity against the contemporary culture of death and rebellion we are seeing today, specifically in the realm of sexual ethics, yet they take a view of sexual desire that is no different than that of their supposed opponents. Men like Douglas Wilson, John Piper, and Kevin DeYoung have openly stated that they do not believe that same-sex attraction is a sin. While same-sex attraction is, according to these men, a desire that has been disordered by the Fall, and one is not culpable for having this desire, one can fall into sin by lusting and/or engaging in homosexual practices.
Thankfully, Moore correctly underscores the fact that Scripture clearly teaches us that to desire what is evil is to sin against God. He also correctly gives emphasis to the fact that homosexual desire is the product of idolatry. In Romans 1:18-32, fallen man’s suppression of the truth and subsequent worship of the creation in the place of the Creator leads to the man being given over to a debased mind that desires what is evil, including sexual engagement with a member of one’s sex. This is a much needed correction, for which I am very grateful. I think Christians have forgotten the importance of understanding the created order and its relationship to God’s moral law. Christians need to remember that one’s view of man and sexuality are inextricably connected to one’s understanding of who God is, moreover, and of what our obligations to God consist.
Ironically, however, this understanding of sexual immorality as being rooted in idolatry did not come up in the discussion of the evangelicals who have compromised on the matter of same-sex attraction. But it should have, given that two of the men mentioned above believe in a false gospel and, therefore, another deity altogether.
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Piper and Wilson — Salvation by Faithfulness
Despite their popularity, John Piper and Doug Wilson teach a false gospel that puts them outside of the Christian camp altogether. The documentation regarding this is extensive,but has been brushed aside by friends and fans of these teachers. The substantial argumentation made against the orthodoxy of these men has been met with ad hoc argumentation that cannot withstand scrutiny. Nevertheless, Piper and Wilson have continued to teach their false gospel of salvation by faithfulness for many, many years.
The bigger problem in evangelicalism, in other words, seems to be that men seem to not recognize that their favorite authors and pastors are heretics until they say something heretical on a culturally prominent issue. This is something we have seen happen before in evangelicalism. Around eight years ago, ModalistT.D. Jakes’ “gay-affirming” stance came to light and shocked many people who thought the man would be opposed to homosexuality. But why would they be surprised? Jakes’ doctrine of God is one of the oldest heresies known to the church, and it conclusively puts him outside of the camp. He is, in other words, an idolater whose mind has been, is now being, and will continue to be — if the Lord does not convert him — debased, corrupt, held captive in the bonds of iniquity. There is no reason why any Christian should expect the man’s thinking on the matter of sexuality to be sound.
Jakes’ modalism and corresponding gay-affirming theology parallels what is observable among men like Piper and Wilson, teachers whose soteriology marks them as enemies of Christ and his church. If they can so cavalierly reject the biblical Gospel and replace it with a false one, it should come as no surprise that they can do the same with the Scripture’s teaching on the sinfulness of having sexually aberrant desires. These men do not worship the God of Scripture, but an idol they have created for themselves from bits and pieces of orthodox theology and language. Their compromise on this matter was inevitable.
Moore’s critique of the men mentioned above, then, was good, but insufficient. It drew attention away from the bigger issue — the fact that there are revered teachers in evangelicalism who are not, by the standards of Scripture, Christians at all. This is all doubly ironic, given that Moore can see that these men are teaching what he calls the “modern Roman Catholic” doctrine concerning the non-sinfulness of sexually aberrant desires (i.e. “disordered desires”), but cannot see that the soteriology of Piper and Wilson is also akin to the teaching of the church of Rome.
What also goes unnoticed is that Wilson’s teaching, which is Federal Visionist, also bears much in common with the sacerdotalism of the Roman Catholic Church. This is decades old news that is accessible. Yet, sadly enough, rather than looking at the numerous tome written against the Federal Vision heresy, agains the heresy of Piper’s teaching on salvation by faith and works, many of the men who are aghast at Wilson and Piper’s teaching on homosexual desire give no indication of being remotely interested in actually investigating the charges of heresy made against Wilson and Piper.
Substantial critiques of the heretical theology of Wilson have been met with shallow and insubstantial retorts which reduce to nothing more than name calling. Those of us who have called out Doug Wilson’s heretical doctrine of salvation have been identified as being “deranged”, “haters” who oppose the man out of jealously. Those of us who have called out Piper for his false gospel have been met with similar, ungodly, irrational scoldings.
Perhaps this is the real reason why men like Piper and Wilson have been able to propagate their false teaching regarding homosexual desire. As the Scriptures teach —
Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.
Though the evil of teaching that homosexual desire is not sinful is itself very evil, teaching that salvation is by faith and obedience is even worse. One can be deceived into thinking that homosexual desire is not sinful and yet be a Christian. However, one cannot believe that his salvation is based on his faithfulness and be a Christian. What should be concerning to us all is that heretics like Piper and Wilson have taught and propagated a false gospel for decades, and only raise the eyebrows of their friends and fans when they teach a false view of homosexual desire.
Moore correctly identifies the problem, but does not go far enough. He correctly sees the affinities between the “homosexual desire is not sin” view and that taught by the church of Rome, but he does not see that this is just icing on layered heretical cake Piper, Wilson, and many other evangelicals have been sharing for decades.
Evangelicals need to be reminded that the Gospel is of first importance, and that all who teach a false gospel are under the condemnation of God,as are those who allow them to do so, and support their endeavors.
“Evangelical Compromise on Same-Sex Attraction with Jared Moore”, Conversations that Matter, Jan 5, 2023, https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/evangelical-compromise-on-same-sex-attraction-with/id1446645865?i=1000592781286.
cf. 2 Cor 11:4.
Regarding Doug Wilson’s false gospel, see —
“Is Doug Wilson a False Teacher?”, Theocast, https://theocast.org/is-doug-wilson-a-false-teacher/.
“A Defense of Reformed Orthodoxy Against the Romanizing Doctrines of the New Auburn Theology”, Brian Schwertley, https://www.pilgrim-covenant.com/weekly-article-archives-2008-2010/a-defense-of-reformed-orthodoxy-against-the-romanizing-doctrines-of-the-new-auburn-theology.
“Report of the Synodical Study Committee on the Federal Vision and Justification”, United Reformed Churches in North America, https://www.urcna.org/urcna/StudyCommittees/FederalVision/3FV%20&%20Just.%20Study%20Committee%20Report-Booklet.pdf.
“What the Federal Vision Still Does to the Definition of Faith”, Chris Gordon, https://agradio.org/what-the-federal-vision-still-does-to-the-definition-of-faith.
“More Quotes from Wilkins, Wilson, Barach, and Schlissel”, The Trinity Foundation, https://www.trinityfoundation.org/horror_show.php?id=10.
Regarding John Piper’s false gospel, see —
“John Piper on Final Justification by Works”, Timothy F. Kauffman & Tim Shaughnessy, https://www.trinityfoundation.org/journal.php?id=331.
“When Protestants Err on the Side of Rome”, Carlos E. Montijo, https://www.trinityfoundation.org/journal.php?id=335.
“John Piper’s Damnable Heresies”, Paul M. Elliot, http://www.teachingtheword.org/apps/articles/?articleid=179316&view=post&blogid=5449.
“John Piper’s False Gospel”, Patrick Hines, https://www.sermonaudio.com/search.asp?seriesOnly=true&currSection=sermonstopic&sourceid=bridwellheightspca&keyword=John+Piper%27s+False+Gospel&keyworddesc=John+Piper%27s+False+Gospel.
Modalism is an ancient heresy that teaches that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three manifestations of one divine person, as opposed to the orthodox teaching which states the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are eternally distinct, consubstantial persons. For more on this, see Edwards, Jonathan. “The Trinity”, A Puritan’s Mind, https://www.apuritansmind.com/puritan-favorites/jonathan-edwards/miscellaneous-writings/the-trinity/.
I wrote about this situation on my very old and now defunct blog, here: https://involutedgenealogies.wordpress.com/2015/08/17/t-d-jakes-stance-on-homosexuality-is-irrelevant/.
2 John 1:9-11.