Then the Lord said to me, “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I have not sent them or appointed them or spoken to them. They are prophesying to you false visions, divinations, idolatries and the delusions of their own minds.” (Jeremiah 14:14)
Prominent theologian Thomas A Howe once rightly observed that if we cannot trust the Word of God in earthly matters, then how can we trust the Word of God when it speaks on spiritual or heavenly matters?
One of the chief threats to authentic Christianity is post-modernity’s belief that we can create our own truths. If we mix this precept with the cultural zeitgeist of the day and political correctness, what we end up with is a toxic potion which threatens the very foundation of the Church.
From 7-11 July, the Church of England will convene its General Synod in York. Among the issues being debated will be Jayne Ozanne’s Private Member’s Motion on banning therapy for people with unwanted same-sex attraction. It reads:
That this Synod:
(a) Endorse the statement of 16 January 2017 signed by The UK Council for Psychotherapy, The Royal College of General Practitioners and others that the practice of conversion therapy has no place in the modern world, is unethical, harmful and not supported by evidence; and
(b) Call upon the Archbishops’ Council to become a co-signatory to the statement on behalf of the Church of England.’
Let me be very clear: Jayne Ozanne is acting in her exclusive capacity as a homosexual rights advocate, not on behalf of the Church, but in order to undermine the Church. Her disdain for authentic Christianity can be found in her published material on so-called ‘spiritual abuse’.
Spiritual abuse is a very serious matter, no allegation of which should be made lightly. But according to Jayne Ozanne, spiritual abuse can be just about anything found in orthodox Christianity that she doesn’t agree with: promoting purity before marriage, preaching that sexual expression belongs within life-long marriage between one man and one woman, or therapeutic help to deal with unwanted same-sex attraction.
Jayne Ozanne specifically targets Church of England churches belonging to the charismatic movement, such as HTB and Soul Survivor, as well as healing ministries such as Ellel and Living Waters. She appears to claim that spiritual gifts, the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and even raising hands in worship, can be considered spiritual abuse.
Healing ministries singled out by Ms Ozanne in her published material facilitate ministry for all aspects of our broken human nature (including our sexuality). They take seriously Jesus’ John 10:10 claim that He came to bring us life, and life to the full. We surrender our broken desires at the foot of the cross, and He, faithful to those who wholeheartedly seek Him, will bring about healing. But it requires saying ‘Not my will, Oh Lord, but yours be done.’ It is little wonder, then, that Ms Ozanne would claim such ministries are operating abusively.
But the larger question here is why someone participating in the General Synod is even permitted to pursue a Private Member’s Motion which would do enormous damage to the Church’s teaching on biblical sexuality.
There are any number of valid reasons that an individual would seek help with unwanted same-sex attraction – loving Jesus passionately and wanting to be faithful to Him and His teaching, maintaining a heterosexual marriage and preventing a family breakup, or to maintain vows of religious celibacy, to name only a few.
The notion that therapy for unwanted same-sex attraction is harmful and lacking in evidence is simply not true. There is a modern-day adage that no one wants to do any research, they just want to be right. Sadly, this sentiment seems to pervade Jayne Ozanne’s proposed Private Member’s Motion.
Just this year, The New Atlantis, devoted an entire journal to the subjects surrounding sexuality and gender and published the extensive findings of Dr. Lawrence S. Mayer and Dr. Paul R. McHugh of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
These findings refute many of the claims made by LGBT activists. They state that sexual orientation is not an innate biologically fixed trait; that sexual orientation can be particularly fluid throughout adolescence; and that environment, not genetics, plays the largest part in determining same-sex attraction.
It’s a hard truth, but I believe that one of the reasons we have same-sex ‘marriage’ in this nation is because the Church remained silent. By doing so, whether willingly or not, she was complicit in the mainstreaming of homosexual behaviour.
This same Church is now giving a national platform to ideologies which want to destroy biblical Christianity. The Synod is also to debate a motion called ‘Welcoming Transgender People’, which will consider introducing transgender ‘baptisms’ to ‘reaffirm’ those who have decided to identify as the opposite gender to which they are born. This is nothing short of a heretical assault on God’s creation ordinance and the very meaning of baptism.
These ideologies are a poison seeping into the very roots of the Church, and if left unchecked, the roots will rot. We must recognise Jayne Ozanne’s Private Member’s Motion for the deception that it is, and the existential threat that it poses.
Love does not mean celebrating our neighbour’s behaviour no matter how much it offends God’s Word. Love sometimes means flipping a few money changers’ tables in the temple.
This is precisely the task we have before us, to cleanse the proverbial temple. I urge all members of the General Synod to stand against this Private Member’s Motion and all that it represents.
Here is Andrea Williams speaking about the truth of marriage at the General Synod
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