The Queering of the SBC

Jared Moore

How False Teaching on Same-Sex Attraction Has Infiltrated Evangelicalism and What the Bible Really Teaches About Sin

Before Rosaria Butterfield became a Christian, she lived a lesbian lifestyle. She had a successful academic career as a professor and leader of queer studies at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York. To gather research for the purpose of disparaging evangelicals, she formed a relationship with a pastor, his wife, and their church, but it quickly turned into a friendship and a family. They left an impression on her that she could not shake. Through these folks, the Lord led her away from lesbianism to follow Christ. Now, over twenty years later, she is married to a Reformed Presbyterian pastor and is spreading the gospel far and wide.

In a 2019 interview with Apologia Radio, Butterfield said that if she were still living a lesbian lifestyle today and were trying to repent, theologians and pastors who teach that same-sex attraction is not sin would have prevented her from doing so: “I don’t know how it would have gone for me today, because … in working out what it means to have the indwelling sin of homosexuality, I would be told that it wasn’t a sin at all; or I would be told it’s only a sin if you act on it.”[1]

Doctrine Has Consequences

Butterfield is right—doctrine has consequences, for good or for ill. What if her pastor or church had told her that her same-sex desire was an “affliction” and that she was “dealing first and foremost with an unanswered prayer,” as former SBC President J.D. Greear preached in 2019?[2] What if she had believed that her homosexual attraction didn’t really matter when it came to living faithfully as a Christian, like a leader at CRU and a recent speaker at the SBC 2023 Pastor’s Wives/Women’s Conference and the SEBTS Re-Forming-Gen Z event, Rachel Gilson, teaches?[3] She probably would not be married to her husband, and she may be living with an “inner bondage” to her former homosexual desires rather than enjoying the victory she has in Christ today.

The Queering of the SBC

When it comes to the unbiblical teaching that same-sex attraction is not a morally culpable sin, Greear and Gilson’s two examples are just the tip of the iceberg in the SBC. We should also consider Nate Collins and his ministry, Revoice, Preston Sprinkle, Karen Swallow Prior, David Prince, Patrick Schreiner, and Sam Allberry.

Nate Collins
Nate Collins is a former Southern Baptist, who received his PhD from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS) in 2017. After leaving the SBC, he co-founded a ministry called Revoice in 2018. Revoice teaches that same-sex sexual attraction is sin, but same-sex attraction, the non-sexual and non-genital elements of “homosexual orientation,” is not sin and can be sanctified or turned to holiness.[4] They call this “Side-B Christianity,” like the second side of an album. The first side, “Side-A,” fully affirms “homosexuality” and “gay marriage.” Recently, Revoice has also applied its logic to transgender desires, arguing that these desires (to present oneself as the opposite sex) are not sin.[5]

Preston Sprinkle
Preston Sprinkle is the President of The Center for Faith, Sexuality & Gender. His ministry has been endorsed by Southern Baptists Karen Swallow Prior and Matt Chandler since at least 2017, and Rachel Gilson is one of his featured speakers and writers.[6] Sprinkle has said so many heretical things that it’s difficult to choose which quotes to share, but here are a few:

  • “I’m actually pro-gay. I’m pro-gay in the sense that I am for gay people and I want God’s best for them and believe they can fully follow and honor God while being gay.”[7]
  • “Given their destructive potential, mixed-orientation marriages are rarely viewed as an option for people who are same-sex attracted (or gay).”[8]
  • “Trans* people are needed in the church. The church will look more like Jesus if it has more trans* people in it, not fewer.”[9]
  • “Many trans* people are already following Jesus more faithfully, more passionately, more consistently, more boldly than other non-trans* Christians”[10]
  • “Jesus wants more trans* and dysphoric people in His church, not less. So should we.”[11]
  • “Someone could use a trans* identity label and still believe that Jesus reigns supreme in their life.”[12]
  • “We can acknowledge that many of the elements that draw people to polyamory—deep relationships, care for others, hospitality, and community—are good things.”[13]

Karen Swallow Prior
Karen Swallow Prior, who was the Research Professor of English and Christianity and Culture, at SEBTS from Fall 2020 to Spring 2023, may be the most pro-LGBT person who has worked at any SBC entity since the Conservative Resurgence. Before SEBTS hired her, she endorsed the Revoice Conference. She also endorsed Preston Sprinkle’s ministry. When Prior was made aware of the false teachings of both ministries, she refused to rescind her endorsements. Again, both ministries say same-sex attraction is not sin, and they also advocate for homosexual covenant households, monogamous same-sex friendship households, cuddling, etc. They essentially advocate for same-sex marriage without the sex, believing it is holy.[14]

Prior also endorsed Julie Roys’ book, Redeeming the Feminine Soul’s Vision of Women: God’s Surprising Vision for Womanhood (2017), where Roys details her inappropriate emotional relationship with a lesbian girl, a high school senior in her youth group. She writes: “Sarah was like a vacuum cleaner, and I was like a piece of lint—unsuspecting, powerless, and consumed. I wasn’t the only straight person who ever got sucked into her emotional vortex, and I thank God my relationship with Sarah never developed into anything physical.”[15] Prior endorsed her book, writing, “For too long, the picture of women offered by various camps within the church has been reactionary and flat. Now, finally, Julie Roys offers a rich and robust understanding of what womanhood is and what it means for the church. Redeeming the Feminine Soul’s vision of women is refreshing in being both timely and timeless.”[16]

Prior, back in 2015 at Christianity Today, in an article titled “Gay Marriage, Abortion, and the Bigger Picture,” wrote “And unlike abortion, gay marriage remains an act rooted in love. As Wesley Hill writes, even if we disagree with the expression of homosexuality, we can affirm the longing to be loved and belong.”[17] She believes that sin, the pursuit of gay marriage, is rooted in love. One must wonder if she would say the same thing about sexual immorality or adultery?

David Prince
David Prince, who taught at SBTS for 17 years until 2023, wrote an article in 2014 titled “Temptation, Jesus, Sin, and Same-Sex Attraction.” You can still find it on his website. He also argues that same-sex attraction is not sin:

“The discussion of how believers and churches should respond to brothers and sisters in Christ who struggle with same sex attraction has led some evangelicals to argue that the attraction itself is sinful, even if the Christian remains chaste, and in obedience to Christ never yields to the temptation. Of course, same sex attraction is simply one among many ways all believers are tempted to sin How we answer the question of the relationship between temptation and sin has huge implications for every Christian…

…Temptation is an experience ‘common to man’ (1 Cor 10:13) but not all are tempted in the same way. Whether the temptation is a same sex attraction, heterosexual immorality, deceit, materialism, laziness, pride, or countless others, if the person recognizes the danger, seeks deliverance from the temptation, and resists acting upon it to the glory of Christ, that is obedience—not sin. James argues that temptation alone is not the same as committing sin. According to James, temptation can give way to inordinate desire and give birth to sin but if it stops at the level of temptation then sin is not yet conceived (James 1:13-15). Agreeing with a temptation and capitulating to a sinful desire must not be considered the same thing as rejecting a temptation and turning from a sinful desire.

…Temptation certainly becomes sin when we yield to a sinful desire in our heart, mind, or actions but it is biblically wrong and pastorally tragic to suggest that all temptation is sin. Satan, the tempter, is the accuser of our brothers. Let us not join him in his destructive ministry of condemnation and false guilt Let us say with Paul, ‘with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it’ (1 Cor 10:13).”[18]

Patrick Schreiner
Patrick Schreiner, a Professor at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (MBTS), argued in a 2015 article that same-sex attraction is not sin[19] and recommended a sermon from Jon Tyson in 2019 that argued the same.[20]

 In his article, “A Primer on Whether Same-Sex Attraction is Sinful,” Schreiner wrote:

“It seems to me that there should be a difference between ‘desire/lust’ and ‘orientation/inclination.’ Orientation/inclination should not be considered sinful in of itself, while lust would obviously put someone into the category of sin giving birth. The hardest word, both in the bible and in contemporary use, is the word desire. But James 1:14-15 pushes me towards thinking that there can be desires that are not sinful, until they give birth to sin.

It is true, in a sense, that SSA is one dimension of what it means to have a sinful nature, just as heterosexuals have sinful desires within the sphere of their heterosexual desires. The question Christian’s must wrestle with is the moral status of ‘orientation’ not only ‘same-sex orientation.’ Heterosexual orientations can also be sinful. But this is different from seeing the orientation as sinful in and of itself.

Although we could spend quite a bit of time on terminology this is not where the center of the debate is. The major question of this debate is whether SSA can be reduced or defined by a sexual desire. If SSA is not reduced to the sexual act then the orientation itself is not sinful. This circumvents the terminology question and asks a deeper question of orientation itself. Could it be that we are defining orientation using the sexual revolution’s map?

It is related to anthropology and whether we follow Augustine and see every sinful desire as a disordered good and even holding onto some remnant of good. So does a ‘same-sex orientation’ preserve goodness in that the desire for mutuality, friendship, and companionship are good desires? Therefore if ‘same-sex orientation’ is not reduced to the sexual act then the orientation itself is not sinful [emphasis original].”[21]

Sam Allberry
Sam Allberry, who spoke at SBTS in 2019,[22] still has articles on the SBTS website,[23] and who spoke at a micro-event hosted by MBTS and 9 Marks Ministries in 2019,[24] also teaches that same-sex attraction is not sin.[25] He also helped found and continues to publicly support a ministry in the UK called Living Out. This ministry has encouraged same-sex attracted Christians to meet “longings for intimacy” through activities such as:

  • “Hugs with same-sex friends.”
  • “Visiting naturist beaches.”
  • “Visiting gay bars or nightclubs without the intention of sexual intimacy.”
  • “Using an online chat room or a dating website/app to meet other same-sex attracted people just for friendship.”
  • “Solemnizing a particular same-sex friendship.”

Living Out has also advocated for:

  • “Same-sex cuddling.”
  • “Same-sex sexual relationships having good in them.”
  • “Not acting on same-sex desires, but not repressing them.”[26]

In summary, these are just a sampling of the unbiblical and sinful teachings on human sexuality that one can find being promoted and accepted in the SBC and across mainstream American evangelicalism. The false teaching of Greear, Gilson, Collins, Revoice, Sprinkle, Prior, Prince, Schreiner, and Alberry—and their lamentable but widespread acceptance in SBC life and ministry—reveal that a “queering of the SBC” has been underway for quite some time now.

To combat this unbiblical teaching, it is essential for Christians to rightly understand the doctrine of the lust of the flesh, especially regarding evil attractions or desires like “homosexual orientation” or same-sex attraction.

Letting the Bible Define Our Terms

The first step to correcting this false teaching is to let the Bible, and not fallen man or compromise with the spirit of the age, define our terms on these issues. Here is what the Bible says about the “lust of the flesh” and “sexual orientation.”

The Lust of the Flesh

What is the “lust of the flesh”? Augustine taught that it is “whichever sense of the body the flesh has desires opposed to the spirit.”[27] Simply put, the lust of the flesh is evil desire within us. Any desire contrary to God or His Word is the beginning of the lust of the flesh. In other words, recognizing an evil desire within us is not just a temptation as some say.

The beginning of the lust of the flesh is sin, for if it’s a sin to do evil, it’s a sin to desire evil. When we’re drawn towards evil, we’ve begun to sin in our hearts, and we need forgiveness for this sin.

If we do not get this doctrine right, it will have disastrous consequences for the church and the world. Our culture is confused, and they are leading the church into confusion as well. We must return to a biblical understanding of the lust of the flesh as morally culpable sin so that we might enjoy God’s holy design and loving grace, two realities that Butterfield enjoys through Christ today.

Sexual Orientation

Instead of teaching that same-sex attraction is a sin, many Christians have redefined fleshly desires as “sexual orientations,” an unbiblical modern concept. The church has grounded lust in the consent of one’s will by accepting the popular definition of “sexual orientation” as being an unchanging “enduring emotional, romantic, or sexual attraction.”[28] This definition affects a person’s identity in two ways. First, it removes any moral responsibility for lusting. How exactly can someone be responsible for a “mere orientation”? Second, this definition encourages people to view themselves as victims of things “beyond their control.”

Embracing the world’s language and doctrine of “sexual orientation” as one’s identity makes one a victim without moral culpability, creating a snowball effect of accommodation. The culture continues to celebrate sexual perversion and expands the definition of “sexual orientation” to include many perversities. Any church or denomination that accepts this false doctrine of “sexual orientation” must follow suit. Such sin exercising control over a church is like the proverbial tail wagging the dog. As a result, unbiblical anthropology, “sexual orientation,” the study of man’s feelings, is steering the church’s understanding of Scripture—instead of Scripture steering our doctrine on these issues.

And man’s perversion is only growing. Medical experts have already argued that sexual attraction to children is a “sexual orientation.” The American Psychiatric Association (APA), in its “Bible,” the fifth edition of the Diagnostic Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM, 2013), referred to pedophilia as a “pedophilic sexual orientation.”[29] People were outraged, and the APA released a statement saying it was an error. They meant to put “pedophilic sexual interest” instead and have updated their latest edition with the new language.[30] Yet, they did not apologize for also changing the wording from previous manuals to say that sexual attraction to children is not a disorder; rather, it is only a disorder if a person acts on the sexual attraction. One logical conclusion of “homosexual orientation” not being sin is that sexual desire for children or any other sexual attraction cannot be sin either.

What is remarkable about this whole discussion is that “gay Christians” have won many Christians to their cause by arguing that they cannot remember a time when they were not attracted to the same sex.[31] And based on these personal testimonies, which is ultimately the study of man’s feelings and not God’s Word, Christians are willing to abandon thousands of years of Christian orthodoxy. What will they do when someone says, “I cannot remember a time when I was not pedophilic, voyeuristic, lustful, suicidal, greedy, prideful, angry,” or any other sin?

Can you—or any other Christian—remember a time when you did not desire sin? Does someone having an enduring attraction or enduring desire contrary to God and His law make one not responsible? If the answer is “yes” for same-sex attraction, the answer must be “yes” for every sexual attraction and every enduring sinful desire under the sun, as well.

The church must not create an arbitrary category of “sinless fleshly desire” for same-sex attraction or any other form of the lust of the flesh. If she does, her members will follow her example and do the same for other “sinless fleshly desires” that God opposes. There is nothing logically keeping them from doing so. We are already starting to see Christians argue that trans desires are not sin, and even some Christians are referring to themselves as “Christians who also happen to be Pedophiles.”[32]

The Negative Impact On Future Generations

If Christians teach that same-sex attraction is not a sin and that God does not require repentance for it, it will lead to more people in the church who struggle with, accommodate, and capitulate to same-sex attraction. When pastors or church leaders teach that same-sex attraction is not sin, they approve of having same-sex desires to some degree. And the church should expect to see an increase in whatever desires and behaviors they approve of. This means that the more that “gay Christians” are celebrated as faithful disciples in the local church, the more “gay Christians” there will be in the future. After all, if same-sex attraction is not sin, why should any Christian or child ever reject or turn from this attraction when it first springs up in his or her heart?

Robert Gagnon, Professor of New Testament Theology at Houston Christian University in Houston, Texas, weighs in helpfully on this issue. He provides statistics for how publicly celebrating homosexual acts influences others to participate in these behaviors, but these statistics are logically applicable to any sinful desires that are celebrated as well. Gagnon argues that a child’s social environment greatly increases or decreases his or her chances of developing same-sex desires. He gives percentages of those who identify as homosexual:

9.2% of men in the central cities of the twelve largest urban areas
1.3% in rural areas
2.8% generally.[33]

There is a 708% increase in those who identify as homosexuals from rural to urban and a 329% increase from general to urban. The study Gagnon cites also found that homosexuality was not distributed among the population like genetic or biological markers, such as left-handedness. Such statistics suggest a link between homosexuality rates and a person’s social and demographic environment.[34] The percentage difference of self-identifying homosexuals between areas where homosexuality is publicly celebrated and where it is not as openly accepted is telling. This is the principle from Christ and Paul that “a little leaven leavens the whole lump” (Mark 8:14–15; Gal 5:9). When sin is celebrated among a people, it spreads.

Not only does the public celebration of homosexuality lead to its growth among the population, but the indoctrination of future generations through public education and popular culture—television, music, and books—leads to its growth as well. Gagnon writes of the education levels of those who identify as either homosexual or bisexual:

High School Graduates
1.8% of men
4% of women

College Graduates
3.3% of men
3.6% of women.[35]

Startlingly, there is a 183% increase for men and a 900% increase for women who graduated college. These statistics affirm the biblical reality that accepting and teaching immorality leads to more people being immoral. It has yet to be seen how having a “gay Christian” as a pastor, deacon, teacher, or other church leader negatively impacts the children that grow up under his leadership.

It has also yet to be seen how having a pastor, like J.D. Greear, who teaches that “The gospel message is not ‘let the gay become straight’ but ‘let the dead become alive,” and that there are “gay and lesbian people,” will encourage children when they have a same-sex attraction, to view it as an unchanging reality rather than a sin, or a pathological sin pattern that Christ can change.[36] Will the children who grow up under these Christian leaders struggle more with having same-sex desires themselves? The statistics scream, “Yes!” So, what is the biblical answer?

Your Same-Sex Attraction Is Not You Being Tempted Like Jesus

In addition to biblically understanding the lust of the flesh, we must also biblically understand temptation. One of the most surprising arguments that is made when discussing “same-sex attraction” is that our temptations are not sin because Jesus was tempted and did not sin. Christians who make this argument believe that fleshly desire, inner temptation, is the same type of temptation Jesus had. But what does the Bible teach about Jesus and His temptation in the wilderness (Matt 4)? The text reads:

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’” Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’” Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.

First, notice that the devil only tempted Jesus with good things. Jesus’s first temptation was to eat bread. Having been led into the wilderness full of the Holy Spirit, Christ fasted for forty days and was tempted. Naturally, Christ was hungry (Matt 4:1–3). And what is hunger but a desire for food? Jesus desired food. And the devil knew it. He sought to persuade Christ to sin and fall like Adam, tempting Him with food first (Matt 4:4).

Remember that food is a good gift from God (Gen 1:29–30). Jesus was tempted by a desire for a good gift from God that was offered through an evil means. The devil did not use evil things to tempt Jesus, for he could not. For King David, the devil tempted him with laziness, adultery, and murder, and he fell for it (2 Sam 11:1–12:15), but he tempted the True David, Jesus Christ, with food. The devil tempted Jesus, who was hungry, with bread, encouraging him to do a miracle for His own benefit in obedience to the devil rather than to fulfill God’s will (Matt 4:1–4).[37]

Instead of fleshly desires, Jesus desired to always fulfill His Father’s will. He desired His Father’s food; He was hungry. He later taught the disciples to pray to God the Father, “Give us our daily bread” (Matt. 6:11), which is a good desire that Christ’s Father would fulfill in due time. Neither Christ nor the reader would be presumptuous to assume God would provide for Him food, because He is truly human, to keep Him alive so that He could fulfill His Father’s will. Yet, the devil tempted Him by claiming the food was his, not God’s, to give. Jesus did not hesitate but immediately rebuked the devil with Scripture (Matt 4:4).

In the devil’s second effort to tempt Jesus, he told Him to prove that God would protect Him with His angels. Jesus desired to do His Father’s will, which would entail enjoying the protection of His angels; again, a good desire. Yet, the devil tempted Him by commanding Christ to enjoy the protection of his Father’s angels by submitting to the devil’s will for Him to throw Himself off the pinnacle of the temple. Again, Christ replied immediately with Scripture, rebuking the devil, no contemplation, no doubt, no compromise.

Finally, in the devil’s third attempt, he tempted Jesus with the kingdoms of man. Jesus desired His Father’s future gift to Him of the kingdoms of the world, to rule and reign with all authority and glory; again, a good desire.[38] Yet, the devil tempted Him by offering these kingdoms before Christ had earned them, in a truly human way, by fulfilling His Father’s will. And yet again, Jesus rebuked the devil immediately with no doubt of God or His Word or consideration for what the devil offered.

With these three objects of temptation, the devil took good things and distorted them. He took good things and offered them through an evil means. This detail matters because it shows that Jesus’s temptation was void of the lust of the flesh. He desired the objects the devil offered because they belonged to God; they were intrinsically good. But He did not desire them from the devil. He was tempted to receive what His Father had already told Him would be His, whether in eternity past, through the prophets, or the Holy Spirit, or all three. Yet, He did not desire to submit to the devil’s will, only His Father’s will. As Jesus said, “For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of Him who sent me” (John 6:38).

Jesus’s temptation lacked fleshly desire. This means He was only tempted from without and not from within. The desire for evil neither entered Jesus’s heart, nor was willed by Him. Indeed, Jesus, being the Divine Son united and acting through His human nature, could not desire anything evil. As Augustine argued, if Jesus was going to desire something inherently evil, something contrary to God’s law, He would have to will this desire since God was his Father, not Adam.[39] For Jesus to be tempted toward sin from within, He would have to choose to desire the devil’s offers from the devil, because He had no original sin from Adam. And Jesus never desired to receive anything from the devil.

Therefore, Christians are only tempted like Jesus when we are offered inherently good things through evil means. If we desire the good things because God has created them good or has promised them to us, and we reject the evil means entirely, then we have not sinned. We have been tempted like Jesus. But same-sex attraction is never a desire for anything good, and thus, it can never be compared to Jesus’ temptation. Same-sex attraction occurs when a man looks at a man the way that Eve looked at Adam, or when a woman looks at another woman the way that Adam looked at Eve. But if it’s not like Jesus’ temptation, whose temptation is it like?

Same-sex attraction is like the temptations of David or Peter, not Jesus, because they were tempted from within by their flesh for inherently evil objects: David with selfishness, lust, deception, and murder (2 Sam 11) and Peter with denying Christ (Luke 22:54-62). James tells us that inner temptation occurs when our flesh desires something that is contrary to God and lures and entices us. God cannot tempt us because it would be sin for Him to tempt us (James 1:13). Thus, our inner temptation is contrary to God’s nature and God’s design, and is therefore sin.

When Christians face inner temptation, the question is not if we will sin, but how much we will sin. For, the first desire from our hearts that is contrary to God is the beginning of the lust of the flesh. Will we feed it, and let it consume us; or will we starve it, and let it burn itself out to no effect? See, our flesh tempts us with what we find tempting. And the more we deny the flesh and walk in the Spirit, the more the flesh is starved.

So, is there any hope for a Christian who has a pathological sin pattern of same-sex attraction? Yes! There is hope.

The Biblical and Better Way Forward

Paul told the Corinthians that they were able to “stand” by the gospel (1 Cor 15:1). This gospel “saved” them, and this gospel is “of first importance” (1 Cor 15:2–3). Since the gospel is of first importance, grasping the gospel is critical to fighting against all sin including same-sex attraction and forms of the lust of the flesh. To do this, each Christian must understand the gospel, understand repentance, and understand the fight every Christian must wage against the flesh.

Understand the Gospel

First, we must have a clear understanding of the gospel. Apart from the good news of Christ, there is no hope of being reconciled to God the Father (John 14:6). All mankind, on their own, are bent towards themselves in rebellion against God (Ex 34:6–9; Rom 3:23). But God has looked upon these rebels with compassion and love. When man could not save himself due to his sin, God sent His only begotten Son to save him (John 3:16). The Second Person of the Trinity, God the Son, became Man, fulfilled all of God’s requirements for mankind, but then died as if He broke the law and sinned against God (2 Cor 5:21). All those who repent and believe in Christ, that He died and rose from the dead, are credited with His righteousness, His passive obedience, which is His death, and His active obedience, which is His fulfillment of God’s moral law (Rom 3:21–4:25).

Understand Repentance

Second, we must take responsibility for our fleshly desires (Eph 2:1–3; 1 Cor 6:9). By taking personal responsibility for our lust of the flesh, we admit that we are not victims, but willful participants, at the very least, in our flesh (Rom 7:13–20). If we are not willing to take responsibility for our fleshly desires, we cannot enjoy the reality that Christ took responsibility for our lust of the flesh on the cross (Rom 4:25; 2 Cor 5:21). The law commands everyone not to desire or covet a neighbor’s wife or anything that belongs to one’s neighbor (Exod 20:17; Deut 5:21). And the apostle Paul summarized the law by quoting the same command in Romans 7:7.

People often trip over whether their desire is “chosen” or “unchosen,” running to the mirror, practicing anthropology while calling it “theology,” instead of focusing on the ultimate issue, their lack of conformity to God’s holy standard. If we do not conform to God’s moral law with our hearts, souls, and minds, we sin (Matt 22:37-39). Inclinations (fleshly desires), whether they are “chosen” or “unchosen,” are sins if they are against God. The response to both “chosen” and “unchosen” desires is the same, repentance. This raises another question, “How does one repent of a fleshly desire?”

Understand the Fight

Third, once we take responsibility for our fleshly desires, we must then declare war against them. But in order to declare war, we must admit that we are not a “special case” trapped in some sort of “special sin” that must be treated differently than other sins. Even a cursory glance at Scripture reveals a large list of vices that many godly men and women dove into. Not a single person on earth has been sinless since the Garden of Eden, except Christ.

Thus, those who struggle with the lust of the flesh are in good company. The whole church throughout human history has been full of strugglers. We all are battling indwelling sin, and every godly person you know is too. Every single Scripture writer struggled with sin, because neither Christ nor God wrote any books of the Bible with their own hand (though the Bible is the infallible and inerrant word of God due to holy men being carried along by the Holy Spirit, 2 Tim 3:15–17; 2 Pet 1:16–21). Every Christian battles sin every day, and if we think we do not, then hidden pride has blinded us (Rom 7; 1 Cor 10:6–13).

Furthermore, we should not determine victory or defeat before we even begin to fight. We must fight because we love Jesus, not because we have some arbitrary timetable for sinlessness in this life. The goal is to be like Christ, but that is not why we fight. The goal is indeed to be sinless, but that is not why we fight, and that is not where our hope lies. Our hope is in Christ not the mirror. He is the goal. And we do not pursue holiness so that we can boast in our own self-righteousness. We fight so that we can boast in Christ and reflect His holiness to others.

We fight because Jesus, not sin, not the flesh, is our Lord (Phil 3:1–21). We must continually repent because His tomb is forever empty. And we must base our repentance on objective truth rather than on our faulty subjective evaluation of our own progress. Self-evaluations really are not worth the trouble since our discernment is faulty. Rather, we should fight and keep fighting until eternity. Christ is worth the fight. No one has loved us like our triune God does. He can transform us. And in the power of His Holy Spirit, we can mortify every motion of the flesh in our hearts, including same-sex attraction.


The queering of the SBC—and all of conservative American Christianity—is a major problem. It appears that in a misguided effort to be winsome to the world, we have allowed leaders and ministries to advance unbiblical teaching that undermines God’s good plan for human sexuality and even celebrates the embrace of sexual immorality in the lives of professing Christians and the church. In our sexually confused and sinful day and age, what the lost need most is courage and clarity, not compromise.

What’s at stake? The gospel itself. The queering of the SBC threatens to turn the glorious biblical truth of “And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Cor 6:11) into “Stay just as you are in your sin, and Jesus will welcome you anyway.” This is already happening, as seen by First Baptist Orlando’s willingness to baptize and platform an unrepentant homosexual within their congregation.

The prophet Isaiah had strong words for those who do this: “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isa 5:20).

Once you embrace the biblical framework for understanding the lust of the flesh and the sin of same-sex attraction, you will begin to see these sub-Christian and false teachings everywhere—in articles, books, videos, seminaries, and Christian conferences—all endorsed and celebrated by “trusted voices” in the evangelical world and the SBC.

The question, then, is this: How will you respond?

Recommended Resources that Teach Biblically on Same-Sex Attraction

1. The Lust of the Flesh: Thinking Biblically About “Sexual Orientation,” Attraction, and Temptation, by Jared Moore.

2. Five Lies of Our Anti-Christian Age, by Rosaria Butterfield.

3. Transforming Homosexuality: What the Bible Says About Sexual Orientation and Change, by Denny Burk and Heath Lambert.

[1] Rosaria Butterfield. “Interview with Dr. Rosaria Butterfield — From Victim to Guest: Sexuality, Intersectionality, and Hospitality” Podcast, Abounding Grace Radio, Atlanta, July 26, 2019,, (07:28) – (08:00).

[2] J. D. Greear, “How the Fall Affects Us All: Romans 1:24-32,” January 27, 2019,

[3] Rachel Gilson, video clip,

[4] Jared Moore, Applying Revoice’s Logic to All Sin—Part 1,” Accessed April 6, 2024,

[5] Mark Jackson and Todd Vician, “Identity crisis: Ascendant gender ideology undermines group trying to balance homosexuality and biblical orthodoxy,” at World, October 21, 2022,

[6] For endorsements from 2017, see Center for Faith, Sexuality and Gender, Accessed April 4, 2024, For today, see

[7] Preston Sprinkle, “Grace//Truth 1.0: Five Conversations Every Thoughtful Christian Should Have About Faith, Sexuality, and Gender,” Accessed January 27, 2024,

[8] Preston Sprinkle, “What is a Mixed-Orientation Marriage?” Accessed January 27, 2024,





[13] Preston Sprinkle, “A Response to the Critics of My CT Article on Polyamory,” February 29, 2020,

[14] For the Center for Faith, & Sexuality, see Gregory Coles, “Understanding Celibate Partnerships and Committed Friendships,” Accessed April 6, 2024, For Revoice, see this article by Greg Mathis, “Revoice Gay-Straight Friends Planning a Life Together,” March 31, 2021, Greg Mathis shares about a Revoice Webinar titled “Better Together” where Art Pereira, a “gay” PCA youth pastor shares about his household with his “straight” friend. Pereira’s pastor approves. He even gave them “friendship premarital counseling.”

[15] Julie Roys, Redeeming the Feminine Soul: God’s Surprising Vision for Womanhood (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2017), 24.

[16] Karen Swallow Prior, endorsements, Accessed April 6, 2024,

[17] Karen Swallow Prior, “Gay Marriage, Abortion, and the Bigger Picture,” June 29, 2015,

[18] David Prince, “Temptation, Jesus, Sin, and Same Sex Attraction,” December 20, 2014,

[19] Patrick Schreiner, “A Primer on Whether Same-Sex Attraction is Sinful, at Ad Fontes: to the fountain, December 1, 2015,

[20] Patrick Schreiner tweeted, “I found this teaching by @JonTyson a helpful overview of historical, biblical, and pastoral wisdom on ‘Jesus and the Gay Community.’ Thanks for your work on this Jon. Patrick Schreiner, October 3, 2019, In the sermon Schreiner recommended, Tyson argues, “(1:11:11) Is orientation sinful? The church in some corners has taught that. I don’t think so. In the book of James it says there’s a desire that leads to sin, parsing out the difference between sinful practice and temptations and desires that come towards us. So I don’t think it’s sinful to have the desire, but that it becomes sin when the desire is acted upon (1:11:36).” Amazingly, 30 seconds later, Tyson says, “(1:12:06) Jesus hates hypocrisy, and anytime we find it in our hearts, anytime we find it in our community, it should be categorically repented of and resisted in all of its forms (1:12:18).” Tyson says you do not have to repent of same-sex attraction when you find it in your heart, but you must repent of hypocrisy when you find it in your heart. Jon Tyson, “Jesus and the Gay Community,” Accessed January 27, 2024,

[21] Schreiner, “A Primer on Whether Same Sex Attraction is Sinful,”

[22] Sam Allberry and Denny Burk, “Q & A with Sam Allberry,” Accessed April 6, 2024,

[23] Southern Equip, “Sam Allberry,” Southern Seminary, Accessed April 6, 2024,

[24] “FTC Micro-Conference at TGC19,” April 1, 2019, Living Out wasn’t even the topic of discussion, but Jonathan Leeman and Sam Allberry discussed it. For quotations from this discussion, see Seth Brown, “Allberry responds to criticism at MBTS, 9Marks event,” April 2, 2019,

[25] RZIM HQ, “Is Same Sex Attraction a Sin? Sam Allberry,” April 18, 2019, In this video, Allberry says, “Is same-sex attraction a sin? It sounds like it requires a mono-syllable to answer it. I hate beginning answers with, ‘Well, Webster’s defines…’ but we need to be very clear by what we mean by ‘attraction.’ Some people use the word ‘attraction’ to mean “the capacity,” what some would call ‘the orientation.’ Is it a sin to have the capacity to be attracted to people of the same-sex? And I would say on that issue, I don’t think it is a sin. All of us will experience certain forms of temptation. Virtually, all of us will experience various forms of sexual temptation. We don’t tend to choose the particular form temptation takes. What is our responsibility is how we respond to temptation. And the Bible is very clear that we need to flee sexual sin. The Bible makes a distinction between temptation and sin. Jesus, in the Lord’s Prayer, says, ‘Deliver Me from temptation, but forgive us for our sins.’ So, the experience of ‘being tempted’ is not in and of itself a sin. It is however a reflection of the fact that we have a fallen nature, that we’re even tempted in these ways. We’re not the way we’re meant to be. That we have the capacity to be tempted. In that sense, is a sign that we’re fallen. The temptation itself is not a sin. If we indulge the feeling even in the privacy of our own minds, that is a sin. Jesus says in Matthew 5 that if someone looks with lustful intent, he’s committed sexual sin in his heart. So, it’s not enough to say, ‘I’ve got the feelings, but I’m not physically acting.’ Jesus says, actually, if we are mentally acting, that is a sin. So, temptation isn’t a sin. But indulging feelings and fantasies, and looking with a certain intent is a sin. So, even before we’ve begun to physically do anything, we’ve already committed a sin. And by the way, that teaching of Jesus, convicts every single one of us. Every single one of us is a sexual sinner. And it’s the flip-side of something good, that Jesus regards your sexual integrity as being so precious, that it is not to be violated even in the privacy of someone else’s mind. And theirs is so precious it’s not to be violated in the privacy of your mind.”

[26] Tom Buck, “Living Out Part 2 – A Closer Examination,” Alpha & Omega Ministries, March 26, 2019, Tom Buck, “Living Out Part 3 – Unbiblical Counsel,” Alpha & Omega Ministries, March 27, 2019, Tom Buck, “Living Out Part 4 – A Call to Immediate Action,” Alpha & Omega Ministries, March 28, 2019, Tom Buck, “Living Out—A Follow-Up and Call to Further Action,” Alpha & Omega Ministries, June 6, 2019,

[27] Augustine, “Unfinished Work in Answer to Julian,” in Answer to the Pelagians, 3, part 1Books, vol. 25 of The Works of Saint Augustine: A Translation for the 21st Century, ed. John E. Rotelle, trans. Roland J. Teske (Hyde Park, NY: New City Press, 1999), 410-11.

[28] “Just the Facts about Sexual Orientation and Youth: A Primer for Principals, Educators and School Personnel,” American Psychological Association, 2008, 3,

[29] The fifth edition of the DSM reads, “If individuals also complain that their sexual attractions or preferences for children are causing psychosocial difficulties, they may be diagnosed with pedophilic disorder. However, if they report an absence of feelings of guilt, shame, or anxiety about these impulses and are not functionally limited by their paraphilic impulses (according to self-report, objective assessment, or both), and their self-reported and legally recorded histories indicate that they have never acted on their impulses, then these individuals have a pedophilic sexual orientation but not pedophilic disorder.” American Psychiatric Association, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Disorders, 5th ed., (DSM-5) (Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association, 2013), 698.

[30] Cheryl Wetzstein, “APA to correct manual: Pedophilia is not a ‘sexual orientation,’” The Washington Times, October 31, 2013,

[31] Nate Collins, All But Invisible: Exploring Identity Questions at the Intersection of Faith, Gender, and Sexuality (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2017), 178–79.

[32] Mark Jackson and Todd Vician, “Identity crisis: Ascendant gender ideology undermines group trying to balance homosexuality and biblical orthodoxy,” at World, October 21, 2022, Concerning the quotation, “Christians who also happen to be pedophiles,” see the “About” section at, accessed 1/5/24. They say that pedophilic attraction and desire are sin, yet they still refer to themselves as pedophiles.

[33] Robert A. J. Gagnon, The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics (Nashville: Abingdon, 2001), 416–17.

[34] Gagnon, The Bible and Homosexual Practice, 416–17.

[35] Gagnon, 417. Gagnon concludes, “Male homosexuality appears to be governed more by pure libido, whereas female homosexuality is more cognitive and relational. However one explains the increases, it seems clear that consistent exposure to a smorgasbord of variant sexual behaviors and the intense questioning of a heterosexual norm in educational settings can result in sevenfold to ninefold increases in the numbers of people identifying themselves as homosexual or bisexual.”

[36] J. D. Greear, “How the Fall Affects Us All: Romans 1:24-32,” January 27, 2019,

[37] Walter Liefield, Luke, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary 8 (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1984), 863.

[38] Liefield, Luke, 864.

[39] Augustine, “Unfinished Work in Answer to Julian,” 436–37.

  • Jared Moore

    Jared Moore is the Lead Pastor of Cumberland Homesteads Baptist Church in Crossville, TN. Jared has served in pastoral ministry in the SBC since 2000. He is the author of The Lust of the Flesh: Thinking Biblically About “Sexual Orientation,” Attraction, and Temptation and served as 2nd Vice President of the SBC from 2013-2014.