One Simple Question for James White
NOTE: SEE BELOW FOR LARGE UPDATE 12/13/19
Rosaria Butterfield does not think Christians who experience SSA should seek the help of the Church (through the Spirit) to overcome those desires.
Since James White continues to defend Butterfield and attack those who have pointed this out, should we conclude James White has no concern about Butterfield’s position?
James White attacked Diane Gaskins personally, but did not defend Rosaria Butterfield for saying any of the following:
“I do not believe sexual orientation changes are a gospel imperative. I’m on record for saying Reparative therapy is the prosperity gospel. Reparative therapy is a heresy… on this earth God will give one person 10 crosses to bear and another person one.“
“Heterosexuality is not the answer to homosexuality.”
“We should not think of our gay and lesbian neighbors as struggling with something that is different. It is part of the human condition.”
“Understand that homosexuality is a sin, but so is homophobia.”
“The strength of our words must never exceed the strength our relationships.”
“Christian brothers and sisters who struggle with unchosen homosexual desires and longings, sensibilities and affections, temptations and capacities… some people have more to lose than others…. people who live with unanswered questions and unfulfilled life dreams.”
So I repeat my one question:
Should we conclude James White has no concern about Butterfield’s position?
UPDATE 12/13/19 A
Diane Gaskins suggests the following as burning questions that hang heavy in the air. An honest man would provide clear answers to these questions. James White will not, because he is not an honest man.
- Is asking lesbians if they are wives or partners or who is mom and who is mommy a form of pronoun hospitality?
- Is this better than asking a threesome who is husband/wife/partner or asking a pedophile and his boy if they are partners or husbands?
- Is homophobia a sin like homosexuality?
- Is reparative therapy heresy?
- Does God give some persons vile affections as a “cross to bear”?
- Does the church need to learn how to love from the LGBTQ+ community?
- Is there such thing as a real, loving, LGBTQ+ community? (Especially the plus)
These are all simple yes and no questions. Unless nuance rots the brain.
UPDATE 12/13/19 B
In the following video James White talks through most of Diane Gaskins’ article:
James White didn’t directly answer my one question. (I don’t know if he has seen the question.)
But White did talk through most or all of the above quotes as he walked through Diane’s article. He defended Rosaria Butterfield at every point. If James White has any concern with what Butterfield is saying, he has not indicated it.
White’s defense of Butterfield involved making her out to not be stating and implying what she very clearly does state and imply. White’s exegesis of Butterfield was poor.
In sum: James White has not necessarily defended the corrupt ideas of Butterfield. He has read the corrupt ideas of Butterfield and not interpreted her as saying what she is saying. His main method of doing that was to read Diane Gaskin’s article as saying more than it was saying and then to knock down all his straw-men and move on. So he has not provided meaningful engagement with the concerns about Butterfield.
Here is an example of the kind of trickery James White engages in: White defended Rosaria Butterfield saying “reparative therapy” is the prosperity gospel by treating it as if she were talking about the secular psychological practice of “conversion therapy” (1:00:00–1:02:00). He pulls an equivocation there. By this equivocation, White skips over the main troubling point about Butterfield: that Butterfield does not think Christians who experience SSA should seek the help of the Church (through the Spirit) to overcome those desires.
One of James White’s most grievous straw-men was to suggest that Diane Gaskins and other Butterfield critics believe all homosexual desires disappear immediately upon conversion or shortly thereafter, and any continued temptation of this kind (SSA) would mean someone is not regenerate. No one active in this debate holds such a view.
James White correctly points out that this “sinless perfectionism” view does not have basis in Scripture, and instead we ought to understand that it is normative for Christians that as they grow in their love of God, their love for sin will diminish, but we are not promised that all sinful desires will disappear in this life.
James White belabors the above point, but in so doing he ignores the point that Butterfield’s critics have actually made: Our concern is that Butterfield does not show any indication that those who have SSA desires ought to work to reach the point of not having those desires.
Butterfield clearly accepts that such people ought not act on the desires, and that they ought to consider the actions themselves sinful. But Butterfield does not describe the desires themselves as something to feel shame for.
In the typical fashion of those who downplay wickedness of the desires that God calls “vile affections,” Butterfield avoids clear and biblically attested words such as “evil,” and instead uses happy little “oopsy-daisy” phrases such as “we are all messy.” As can be seen in the quotes at the beginning of this article, Butterfield aims to show that homosexual desire is not especially abhorrent or abominable in God’s eyes compared with the sins of heterosexuals. She aims to equalize all types of sins and to diminish homophobia (which she calls a sin).
We are glad that James White believes it is normative for Christians that as they grow in their love of God, their love for sin will diminish, and this will typically include a reshaping of sexual desires to match godly standards. We are certain that Rosaria Butterfield does not share this view. And we are shocked that James White would have the brazen dishonesty to continue pretending that she does.
As this controversy reaches its point of stalemate, we can take heart in the following good outcomes:
By so loudly and abusively attacking Diane Gaskins in order to protect Rosaria Butterfield (and his own reputation), White has drawn more attention to the question of Butterfield’s trustworthiness. Perhaps the few remaining conservative leaders within the SBC and the PCA will reconsider whether it is wise to parade Russell Moore’s favorite SSA expert — Karen Swallow Prior’s good friend and ally— the top ex-lesbian in the stable of TGC and the ERLC — the Rosaria Butterfield herself — as a reliable teacher.
Most people will not study Diane Gaskins’ article or James White’s blustery video marathons in depth to decide who is right. Most people don’t feel the need to know. The SBC and PCA mainstream will continue to embrace Butterfield. Christians will continue to exit these doomed institutions.
But Diane Gaskins has ruined Rosaria Butterfield’s brand, as far as conservatives are concerned.
Also, she has ruined James White. (Or, better said, she has allowed him to ruin himself. We cautioned White ahead of time. We had no desire to see him defend Butterfield.)
James White will forever be the man who personally attacked and lied about a conservative presbyterian homeschool mother for weeks in order to defend the ERLC’s top ex-lesbian.
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