The Christian Post’s Lillian Kwon writes this morning about the call from Richard Rothstein to criminalize conversion therapy. She extensively quotes Tim Wilkins about the controversies surrounding the matter.
Tim Wilkins asks a question near the end of the piece that I want to briefly address:
“Since when did the church of Jesus Christ delegate its responsibility to healing people’s hurt to some source outside the church?”
While Wilkins doesn’t negate the benefits of counseling or therapy, he pointed to the Church as “God’s primary source of healing” the hurt.
“In one sense, it is easier for evangelical Christians to passionately pound the APA right now regarding this possible move (to ban therapy) than it is to recognize and to implement our responsibility as Christians to share the life-changing gospel of Jesus Christ,” Wilkins stressed.
I ask in reply: What hurt are we talking about? The gospel changes lives but as I understand orthodoxy, it may not change inclinations. I agree that the APA is not the Church of APA and I resist their efforts to take sides in religious debates. However, the mission of the church as I understand it is not primarily a therapeutic one. Health and wellness gospel adherents may take exception but I submit that a change in sexual inclinations is not an inevitable by-product of Christian conversion. I believe many people have been promised this to their eventual great frustration.
I may be misunderstanding Tim here. My reaction is based in concerns that much ex-gay ministry tries too hard to be therapeutic changers of orientation and not ministers focused on support for congruence with church teaching.
Here is a question that I hope to address and expand on in time: What is the proper focus of sexual identity ministry? Change of sexual inclination or loving support for participants to develop congruence with church teaching?