The rash of recent laws concerning conversion therapy (CT) has many pastors worried that their government will declare the Bible to be hate speech in the near future. The LGBTQ+ agenda has made sexual orientation a fluid matter of health, rather than a fixed matter of biology. Combine this with several years of Covid policies that have restricted religious freedoms, and you have a recipe for tyranny.
If you think this an overreaction, consider the following reports from recent days:
Conversion Therapy Laws in the World
- Canada Passes Bill C-4 Banning Conversion Therapy: The language of the bill defines CT in such broad terms that it could outlaw any teaching of biblical sexuality. Megan Todd, Senior Lecturer in Social Science at the University of Central Lancashire, has argued that conversion therapy bans must include religious groups if they are going to be effective. Her sentiment is not a rare one.
- France Officially Bans CT: France will penalize any offense with up to two years in prison and a fine of 30,000 euros.
- Britain Seeks to Follow Canada’s Lead: Although their proposal is slightly more lenient, it is concerning none-the-less. Thankfully, it allows for an exception if the individual voluntarily requests counseling.
- Scotland is Poised to Ban CT: Equality campaigners say they expect a full ban on controversial “conversion therapy” in Scotland, after MSPs concluded a change in the law must be “full and comprehensive”.
It’s Happening in the US too!
This is not only happening in other countries. In the United States, it is currently a state issue that is gaining momentum.
- LGBT Movement Advancement Project is tracking what states are doing to put an end to conversion therapy. There are currently 20 states with conversion therapy bans for minors. An additional 5 states have a partial ban in place.
- West Lafayette City Council Proposes a Similar Ban: The City Council of West Lafayette, Indiana has proposed a penalty of $1,000 per day to any unlicensed counselor practicing conversion therapy.
- In related news, YouTube labeled a clip from John MacArthur’s Sermon as hate speech. In the sermon clip he declared, “There is no such thing as transgender. You are either XX or XY, that’s it. God made man male and female. That is determined genetically, that is physiology, that is science, that is reality.”
Does the Bible teach Conversion Therapy?
Bill C-4 is what led thousands of pastors, myself included, to preach a sermon on Biblical Sexuality. God’s Word on biblical sexuality is under attack from a rebellious world that rejects it and a timid church that is all too often embarrassed by it.
God is clear about his intentions for biblical sexuality. We see this primarily in Genesis 1:26-28; 2:23-24. Jesus refers to this passage as the foundation for our understanding of sex and marriage (Matt 19:4-6). In the sermon I outline several steps the PCA has taken to affirm God’s design for biblical sexuality. For example, it almost unanimously agreed to make the definition of marriage constitutional in 2018. Then, the following year, it commended the Nashville Statement as biblically faithful.
The Bible is equally clear regarding man’s perversion of God’s design. We see this primarily in Romans 1:26-27. This passage not only condemns unnatural acts, but it also includes unnatural desires. You can also refer to Romans 6:11-12; 1 Peter 1:14; 2:11.Those who struggle with such unwanted desires should repent, believe, and honor God’s revealed will.
Bill C-4 defines conversion therapy as a practice, treatment or service designed to change, repress, or reduce a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. Is teaching someone about the Bible’s condemnation of homosexual desires and actions tantamount to conversion therapy? It seems like an easy case to argue from the given definition.