Matt Chandler Expresses Remorse and Asks Forgiveness in Sunday Sermon

ChandlerScreenCapToday, amid the storm of controversy over the church’s handling of Jordan Root and Karen Hinkley, Matt Chandler expressed remorse over the church elders’ general approach to church discipline. I wrote about this matter in a prior post.
Video of the sermon is on the church website and Vimeo below.
[vimeo]https://vimeo.com/129371788[/vimeo]
 
 
Chandler spent much of the message talking about handling conflict between believers. He said (at 24 minutes and following) the matter of church discipline is serious because at the final stage of church discipline, when a church releases a member, the church is saying, “We are no longer able to affirm that you are a believer in Christ.”
One of the reasons I don’t like detailed covenant statements for members is that some people disagree over doctrine and if a member doesn’t come into line, the church is put in the position of saying explicitly or by implication, because you don’t agree with us, we can’t affirm you as a believer.
Chandler said that the process of evaluating church discipline began several months ago. As a result, Chandler said the elders decided that they had “failed to fulfill our covenant promises to you as members to lovingly exercise church discipline when necessary” and asked the audience to forgive the elders.
He said there are five specific things which require forgiveness:
Will you forgive us where our counsel turned into control?
Will you forgive us where we failed to recognize the limits and scope of our authority?
Will you forgive us where we allowed our policies and process to blind us to your pain, confusion and fears?
Will you forgive us where we acted transactionally rather than tenderly?
Will you forgive us where we failed to recognize you as the victim and didn’t empathize with your situation?
I’ll bet that was hard for Chandler to do. Now comes the harder work.
If these matters are being taken up with individuals, then I think this is a major step forward. It is hard not to compare to Mars Hill Church’s response to similar concerns, and in that comparison, Chandler’s approach is much better and more to the point.

Matt Chandler on White Privilege

Writing Tuesday on his church blog about the tragic shooting in Ferguson, MO, Matt Chandler validates the concept of white privilege.  The blog post is an expansion of tweets on the subject. According to the Christian Post, he also talked about the matter in his Sunday sermon.
I am glad to see this and intend to discuss white privilege and stereotyping next week here on the blog.
 

Twenty Former Mars Hill Pastors Seek Mediation With Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church Leadership

(Scroll to the end for an update)
 
On Monday March 17, twenty former Mars Hill pastors sent a letter to the executive elders  and Board of Advisors and Accountability of Mars Hill Church with an invitation to enter into a process of mediation designed to lead to mutual repentance and reconciliation. According to former Mars Hill pastors Dave Kraft and Kyle Firstenberg, the pastors want to bring in specialists in conflict resolution to facilitate the process.
As of this writing, no response to the letter has come from the Mars Hill leadership.
The executive elders are Mark Driscoll, Sutton Turner & Dave Bruskas. The executive elders also sit on the  Board of Advisors and Accountability along with independent members Paul Tripp, Michael Van Skaik, James MacDonald, and Larry Osborne.
Kraft is former Pastor of Leadership Development at Mars Hill and Firstenberg was executive pastor at Mars Hill Orange County. In an interview, Kraft emphasized that he wants to lead the way in repentance by expressing remorse that he stood by while some Mars Hill members were being sinned against by the Mars Hill leadership. He said, “we didn’t step up to the plate when we should have.”
On Friday, Mark Driscoll released a statement of apology to the Mars Hill congregation. In it, he said the deal with ResultSource to artificially elevate the book Real Marriage, was wrong. He also pledged to make an attempt to repair damaged relationships. While the statement has had mixed responses from Mars Hill members, former and current, the pastors hope that the move is authentic.
Kraft said, “At this point, we hope for a positive response to our proposal sent on Monday, March 17.”
Why Mediation?
In recent days, both Kraft and Firstenberg have spoken publicly about their concerns. On March 9, Kraft disclosed that he had filed formal charges against Driscoll in May, 2013. On his website, Kraft indicated what he wanted to see happen:

1.  I would (as would countless other former leaders from MHC) like to see Pastor Mark Driscoll publicly acknowledge that he has seen the charges, that they are true and that he will take whatever time and attention is needed to intentionally deal with the charges, which may entail a short sabbatical from work to focus on this.
2.  I would like to see Pastor Mark publicly state that he is sorry, that he has sinned, that he will deal with his past sin and make himself accountable in so doing to an unbiased group of leaders who will hold his feet to the fire on this.

Driscoll may have been responding in part to these concerns with his recent apology. However, both Kraft and Firstenberg do not believe the apology addressed the issues which the former pastors have raised.
Also on March 9, Firstenberg disclosed that in 2013 he too contacted the Board of Advisors and Accountability with his experience at Mars Hill. To date, he has not received a reply from that board.
Now, Kraft and Firstsenberg have been joined by other former pastors who believe that Mars Hill should be responsive to ongoing and unfinished matters within their church.
UPDATE: As of Friday evening March 21, Mars Hill Church has not responded to the invitation to enter into mediation.
 
Related post:
The Seeds of Trouble: Mars Hill Church, Mark Driscoll and the 2007 Purge – In addition to concerns since, many unresolved issues remain from the 2007 disputes over governance.
For all posts on Mars Hill Church and Mark Driscoll, click here

NARTH member: Mixed orientation marriages hurt children

Recently, a lively discussion has been taking place on the thread of this post: Seton Hall professor: NARTH member “misreported and misrepresented” my research (go to the comments section for the discussion). Central to the discussion has been disputes about whether or not a study by Theodora Sirota on women who grew up in mixed orientation marriages could offer any insight about gay parenting in general. Sirota found that women with gay fathers and a straight mother had more problems with interpersonal trust.

I wrote the post after Dr. Sirota made a statement about how her study was misused in an article by National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality member, Rick Fitzgibbons, posted on the website Mercatornet. Fitzgibbons generalized the results of Sirota’s work to gay couples saying,

There are strong indications that children raised by same sex couples fare less well than children raised in stable homes with a mother and a father.

Fitzgibbons then cited Sirota’s study as evidence for this claim even though the adult women in Sirota’s study grew up in homes where both a mother and father lived, at least for a time. The issue for Fitzgibbons was the father was gay.

Fitzgibbons’ writing partner on the topic of forgiveness, Robert Enright (professor at University of Wisconsin-Madison), then joined the conversation, and after much discussion boiled down his belief about what Fitzgibbons sought to accomplish with his use of the Sirota study.

There is *indirect* (not direct) evidence in the peer-reviewed scientific literature showing statistically significant (in the case of Sarantakos and Sirota) negative effects for children when at least one LGB parent is studied scientifically.

Sarantakos studied gay couples (I will eventually present a critique of this study) but Sirota is the study which Enright referred to as having one gay parent.

There are many things wrong with the way Fitzgibbons used the Sirota study but here I want to note one not often covered. Essentially, Fitzgibbons proposes that same-sex attracted parents are harmful to children, even if they follow church teaching and marry heterosexually.

Many men I work with clinically are gay or bisexual but have fallen in love with their female spouse and together they have made a marriage work. By Fitzgibbons’ reasoning, the children involved are at greater risk for being hurt simply because one parent is gay/bisexual, even though they grow up in a home with a mother and father.

Fitzgibbons’ article, whether intended or not, stigmatizes people with same-sex attraction, no matter how they live.

In fact, Sirota’s research did not use representative sampling and almost nothing can be generalized from it to other mixed orientation couples. The mixed orientation parents in her study divorced more frequently and so it is highly likely that the results were more related to divorce than to anything else. However, in any case, Sirota’s results are only suggestive of further studies and prove nothing. Fitzgibbons’ use of the study was unwarranted and as a result recklessly stigmatized both gay couples as well as those men who direct their lives in accord with their religious views.

North Jersey magazine says “Don’t blame mom”

I am quoted often in this article by Kathryn Davis on parenting, primarily mothering and various adult outcomes, including homosexuality and eating disorders. Her initial focus is autism:

In his book, Teaching Individuals with Developmental Delays, author O. Ivar Lovaas notes, “The number of proposed causes was limitless because professionals found it easy to be inventive, considering their ignorance of the etiology of behavioral delays. These delays already tend to be amplified by the parents’ guilt and anxiety over the possibility of having contributed to the problem (a characteristic of most parents regardless of the child’s problem).”

Lovaas was a behaviorist who taught George Rekers. Rekers adapted the behaviorism into his treatment of GID but did not follow his teacher’s skepticism of parental cause for childhood issues.

Reflections on what we share in common

(This post from occasional contributor, clinical psychologist David Blakeslee, covers some similar territory as conservative gay blogger, GayPatriot on the Kevin Jennings controversy.) 

I have been a bit agitated lately, it is probably my own problem, but instead of being internally ruminative about such sensations I decided to find some object to focus these feelings on.  It didn’t take long, all I had to do was visit Warren’s blog .  There I could find a few outlandish assumptions, hypocritical comments and distortions of fact to justify ventilation.  Apparently that was not satisfactory enough, so I am writing this posting after a couple of years of absence (Warren, I don’t know how you do this day in and day out, your energy and integrity are deeply appreciated). 

Rationalization, minimization, and justification are not scientific arguments; they are psychological defenses to ward off anxiety.  Sometimes they are so effective that we feel quite calm when a grave injustice, which we should agonize about, has occurred.  Instead of tossing and turning at night, struggling with headaches and pacing the floor, we sleep quite soundly.  Sometimes they are so effective that the weak and the vulnerable are left without an outraged and strong protector; instead they get a philosopher, who through his mental games ends up functionally being a passive collaborator with a predator. 

Are gay teens vulnerable? Absolutely.

And just to whom are they vulnerable? Continue reading “Reflections on what we share in common”

Father-son estrangement: A straight guy problem?

Last Friday, I wrote about father-son estrangement and the new book by Joseph Nicolosi, Shame and attachment loss: The practical work of reparative therapy. Since then, I have looked off and on for illustrations of father-son estrangement in current events, literature and movies. Others are sending illustrations via email as well. Feel free to add examples in the comments section.

In these stories, both fictional and real life, the vast majority of abandoned or injured sons are straight. Of course, this is not research, but I reason that if the father-son disruption theme was so tied to homosexuality, I would find homosexuality in the sons. However, it looks like father-son estrangement is a straight guy problem.

Take this story, “Healing the Father-Son Wound” from straight guy John Lee.

Some of you may know what a rocky relationship I have had with my father. I was raised in an alcoholic home where there was tremendous physical and emotional abuse. I have written about this in my books as a way to heal and hopefully to help others. Because of my wound, I wandered through the swamps and deserts of a ten-year period of estrangement from my father. We didn’t see each other or talk during that time.

Lee goes on to describe a distant, shame-filled relationship which eventually resolved due to Lee’s efforts. This man was clearly “delight deprived,” as Nicolosi describes the typical situation he reconstructs from the narratives of his clients. It seems clear that Lee perceived his father as someone who fit the narcissistic, shaming father Nicolosi describes in Shame and Attachment Loss. On one visit, accompanied by his wife, to his father, he knew his dad was going to shame him.

My third visit was just before I came down with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Susan and I had spent about two hours at my parents’ house and were getting ready to leave when my father said, “Susan, did John ever tell you about the time…”

I froze in terror. I thought my dad was going to do to Susan what he always did to anyone who liked or loved me– tell a story that would make me look silly at best, stupid at worst.

As he began to talk, I began to shrink.

This sounds like it could come out of a reparative therapist’s casebook. Lee goes on to say that on this occasion, his father praised his son, which was completely unexpected. However, it seems clear that Lee’s historical feelings about his dad did not involve “shared delight.”

Remember that Nicolosi made inferences about the childhoods of both gay and straight males when he said recently:

In other words, that fact remains that if you traumatize a child in a particular way you will create a homosexual condition. If you do not traumatize a child, he will be heterosexual. If you do not traumatize a child in a particular way, he will be heterosexual. The nature of that trauma is an early attachment break during the bonding phase with the father.

There are many of these stories where straight males clearly felt traumatized (e.g., ignored, distanced, hated, unloved, etc.) by their fathers and did not become gay.  The experience of father-son estrangement seems universal with the longing for connection universal as well.

Related posts:

Shame and Attachment Loss: Going from bad to worse

Shame and attachment loss: Reparative therapy and father-son estrangement

Also read Fathers, Sons and Homosexuality for a father’s view of the reparative thesis.

Sexual abuse and the perception of children: Jerome Kagan and The Nature of the Child

In graduate school, I read and thoroughly enjoyed Jerome Kagan’s The Nature of the Child. I have excerpted the beginning of chapter 7 below as a means of continuing the conversation about the relevance of childhood events for sexuality. This chapter is titled, “The Role of the Family” and the excerpt comes from pages 240-242.

I have said little about the influence of experience on the child, especially the consequences of parental behavior. The most important reason for this omission is that the effects of most experiences are not fixed but depend upon the child’s interpretation. And the interpretation will vary with the child’s cognitive maturity, expectations, beliefs, and momentary feeling state. Seven-year-old boys who are part of a small isolated culture in the highlands of New
Guinea perform fellatio regularly on older adolescent males for about a half-dozen years; but this behavior is interpreted as part of a secret, sacred ritual that is necessary if the boy is to assume the adult male role and successfully impregnate a wife (Herdt, 1981). If an American boy performed fellatio on several older boys for a half-dozen years, he would regard himself as homosexual and pos­sess a fragile, rather than a substantial, sense of his maleness.
Children growing up in Brahmin families in the temple town of Bhubaneswar in India hear their mothers exclaim each month, “Don’t touch me, don’t touch me, I’m polluted.” These children do not feel rejected or unloved, because they know this command is a regular event that occurs during the mother’s menstrual period (Shweder, in press). And a small proportion of American children, whose affluent parents shower them with affection and gifts out of a desire to create in them feelings of confidence and self-worth, become apathetic, depressed adolescents because they do not believe they deserve such continuous privilege.
As these examples make clear, the child’s personal interpretation of experience, not the event recorded by camera or observer, is the essential basis for the formation of and change in beliefs, wishes, and actions. However, the psychologist can only guess at these interpretations, and the preoccupations and values of the culture in which the scholar works influence these guesses in a major way. For example, Erasmus (1530), who believed the child’s appearance reflected his character, told parents to train the child to hold his body in a controlled composure – no furrowing of brows, sagging of cheek, or biting of the lip, and especially no laughter without a very good cause.
Educated citizens in early sixteenth-century London, who were disturbed by the high rate of crime, begging, and vagrancy among children of the poor, blamed the loss of a parent, living with lazy parents, being one of many children, or a mental or physical handicap. These diagnoses ignored the possible influence of genetics, parental love, or social conditions existing outside the home. Two centuries later, a comparable group of English citizens concerned with identical social problems, but still without any sound facts, emphasized the influence of the love relation between mother and child (Pinchbeck and Hewitt, 1969 and 1973).
Many contemporary essays on the influence of family experience also originate in hunches, few of which are firmly supported by evidence. This is not surprising; the first empirical study to appear in a major American journal that attempted to relate family factors to a characteristic in the child was published less than sixty years ago in The Pedagogical Seminary (Sutherland, 1930). The fact that a hunch about the role of family originates in a society’s folk premises about human nature does not mean that it is incorrect. Eighteenth-century French physicians believed that a nursing mother should bathe the baby regularly and not drink too much wine – suggestions that have been validated by modern medicine. But those same doctors also believed – mistakenly, I suppose – that cold baths will ensure a tough character in the older child. The absence of conclusive evidence means that each theorist must be continually sensitive to the danger of trusting his or her hunches too completely, for at different times during the last few centuries of European and American history, the child has been seen as inherently evil, or as a blank tablet with no special predispositions, or, currently, as a reservoir of genetically determined psychological qualities. Modern Western society follows Rousseau in assuming that the infant is prepared to attach herself to her caregiver and to prefer love to hate, mastery to cooperation, autonomy to interdependence, personal freedom to bonds of obligation, and trust to suspicion. It is assumed that if the child develops the qualities implied by the undesirable members of those pairs, the practices of the family during the early years – especially parental neglect, indifference, restriction, and absence of joyful and playful interaction – are major culprits.
I cannot escape these beliefs which are so thoroughly threaded through the culture in which I was raised and trained. But having made that declaration, I believe it is useful to rely on selected elements in popular theory, on the few trustworthy facts, and on intuition in considering the family experiences that create different types of children, even if my suggestions are more valid for American youngsters than for those growing up in other cultures.

Kagan refers to Gilbert Herdt’s book, Guardians of the Flutes, published in 1981 which describes the masculinity rituals of the Sambian tribe (not the actual tribal name) in Papua New Guinea. Essentially the tribe “believes” boys become men by ingesting the semen (“male milk”) of older boys. And of course, by the teen years, it “works” and the boys attain manhood. At that point, the vast majority of males choose a female partner.
Kagan’s reference to this practice reminds us that these experiences are embedded in a culture. In our own, such experiences would not be normalized and contextualized as a contributing to masculinity but rather detracting from it.
I cannot improve on Kagan’s description of his thesis. He is a gifted writer. However, I will elaborate for sake of discussion. He proposes that perception drives the psychological impact of a given experience. How differing perceptions effect the development of sexuality seems to me to be highly individualistic. Thus, for some, sexual maltreatment might push an essentially heterosexual person toward same-sex preoccupations. For others, abuse might strengthen the budding heterosexual impulses toward heterosexual preoccupations. For others, the abusive events may have no effect on attractions but rather influence attachment security. My point here is not to describe all possible trajectories, but rather to illustrate the potential of many variations.
A related point made by Kagan is that our culture looks at parenting as causative of adult personality. I believe many people do not question this assumption. In the last several years, I have looked for data to support or contradict it. I find little support that individual personality traits or conditions are strongly related to particular family dynamics. However, some broad trends can be observed. Fatherlessness is associated with a variety of problems in children and society. However, not having a father around may be interpreted in different ways by different children. For some, having the wrong kind of father around might lead to anti-social behavior. Thus, simply isolating childhood variables and relating them to adult outcomes is insufficient. These points are often lost on reparative therapists and other advocates who want to reduce homosexuality to a set of family dynamics or childhood experiences. On the other hand, biological determinists err on the side of discounting these social experiences as potentially influential for some people.
A satisfying position to me is to consider homosexual behavior to be determined by different factors in different ways for different people. For some, there is a very early awareness of romantic and sexual attraction for the same-sex independent of any trauma or parenting actions. For others, trauma and poor parenting occur but the same-sex attractions appeared prior to these unhappy events. For yet others people, the unhappy experiences may serve to create a disconnect between impulse to same-sex behavior and internal desire and attraction which may be toward the opposite sex. While these complexities create PR problems for culture warriors on both sides, I believe we must recognize the existence of multiple pathways to adult sexuality if we are to be true to the data and experience.

Christianity, homosexuality and the law

I am repeating in full a post from August, 2008 regarding religious arguments for the separation of church and state. I do this in response to the calls from Stephen Langa, Caleb Brundidge and Scott Lively to maintain laws criminalizing homosexuality in Uganda (and elsewhere). First the post:

Sally Kern, with help from my friend and colleague at Grove City College, T. David Gordon provides today’s open forum discussion.
Mrs. Kern is in the news today about a speech she gave in Norman, OK about her entrance into government and her role as a “culture warrior.” She says:

“I started praying about whether or not the Lord wanted me to run,” Kern said. “And the more I prayed, the more I felt He did.”
Kern said she expected to “run, lose and just be a much better government teacher.”
“But lo and behold I won,” she said. “And so here I am, and I’m not the typical legislator. The Lord showed me right off the bat that I’m not supposed to be. As a matter of fact, my Lord made it very clear to me that I am a cultural warrior. And you know I tried to say ‘no’ to that, too, ’cause that’s pretty hard. But, anyway, that’s where I am.”

I cannot discern however, what Mrs. Kern believes government should do. On one hand, she talks about preserving the founders reliance on “one true religion” and on the other she indicates that

“Government cannot force people to change, and yet we see that’s what government is doing,” she said. “Every time government passes another law, they are taking away some of our freedoms.”

I do agree that government cannot force people to change, but I am unclear how government is making people change. If homosexuals pursuing the democratic process to elect legislators and pass laws is more threatening than terrorism, then what would winning the culture war against homosexuality look like? I have a clearer picture in my mind about winning over a foreign aggressor would look like. But if homosexuals are using the democratic process (elections, laws, courts) to pursue their interests, then how will the Christian culture warriors win? What will victory look like?
I fear that many colleagues on the religious right want the coercive power of the state to enforce a particular view of morality, one that comports with their understanding of Christianity. I might like others to believe like me but I surely think it is futile to seek the state to bring it about. Closer to the therapy world, where I usually labor, I do not believe that counselors should use the coercive power of the counseling relationship to attempt to inculcate religious fruit. We can provide information but the results are not in our hands.
On this point, last school year, Religion prof at GCC, T. David Gordon presented a paper titled, “Religious Arguments for Separating Church and State” at our annual Center for Vision and Values conference. I was edified by this presentation and link to it here. A couple of excerpts gives the tone and direction of the paper:

In the so-called “culture wars” of the late twentieth century, one commonly hears allegations that the separation of church and state reflects and promotes a “secularist” agenda. It is certainly true that most secularists (such as Paul Kurtz, in the 1973 Humanist Manifesto II) wish to separate church and state. However, many religious individuals and societies favor such separation also; therefore it is misleading to refer to separation of church and state as a secular or secularist idea. The purpose of this brief survey is to list some of the religious arguments that have been presented in favor of separation, so that religious people may consider those arguments as “friendly” to their faith-commitments, rather than hostile to them.

and regarding individual liberty:

For Protestant Christianity, the doctrine of the conscience plays a very important role. Unlike the Baltimore Catechism of the Catholic Church, where conscience normally appears only in sections dealing with Penance or Confession, some Protestant confessions have an entire chapter devoted to it, such as the Westminster Confession’s chapter on “Christian Liberty and Liberty of Conscience.” Within this understanding, an action or belief is only morally approved when it is a sincere act, an act that accords with conscientious faith. The conscience is thus “free” from false authority to serve God, the true Authority. Any professed faith or outwardly religious act that is merely done to avoid civil penalties is not an act of any true moral worth. When the beliefs and practices of the church are prescribed by the State with its coercive powers, this does not promote true religion, but hypocrisy. For many Protestants, therefore, one of the best ways to preserve true liberty of the individual conscience is to leave that conscience entirely free, in religious matters, from considerations of civil consequences.

Some laws which coerce moral behavior are needed to protect us all from each other. I am very glad when going to my car at night at the mall that the threat of punishment from the state might prevent some would be attackers from carrying out the desires of their evil hearts. However, as T. David states so well, some (many, which ones?) matters of personal liberty should be off limits from the state.
With that background, I will turn it over to the forum. I encourage you to read Dr. Gordon’s well-crafted paper. What is the proper role of a Christian in governance? How are legislators to govern in a plural society? Given that Christians were so involved in the founding of the nation, why did they create such protections for pluralism of belief, including the ability to believe nothing and pursue happiness via that worldview? How do we best advance the mission of the church? In which vision of governance is personal and religious liberty best achieved?

Here is another quote from Dr. Gordon’s paper which speaks to how religious people ordinarily confuse criminality and immorality.

Confusion on this point often centers around a misunderstanding of Paul’s comments about the civil magistrate in Romans 13, where he refers to the magistrate as one who is a terror to evil conduct. Many religious people conclude, therefore, that the magistrate’s duty is to punish all evil conduct, as the Bible describes “evil”. In its historical context, however, this interpretation is unlikely. The particular magistrate to whom Paul refers is the Roman authority, who knew nothing of the law of Moses or the commands of Christ, and yet Paul referred to this pagan Roman magistrate as a “minister of God for your good.” The “evil” spoken of by Paul is societal evil, evil of a public nature that threatens the well-being of the commonwealth or its
individual citizens. From what we know of first-century Roman law, it appears that Paul rightly assumed that the magistrate would punish crimes against persons and crimes against property. If the magistrate did this, Paul was content that he was serving his divinely-instituted role fine.
Many other behaviors might well be sinful and immoral, but they are not and need not be criminal. In the late eighteenth century, John Leland, the Massachusetts Baptist, addressed this important distinction:

What leads legislators into this error, is confounding sins and crimes together — making no difference between moral evil and state rebellion: not considering that a man may be infected with moral evil, and yet be guilty of no crime, punishable by law. If a man worships one God, three Gods, twenty Gods, or no God — if he pays adoration one day in a week, seven days or no day — wherein does he injure the life, liberty or property of another? Let any or all these actions be supposed to be religious evils of an enormous size, yet they are not crimes to be punished by laws of state, which extend no further, in justice, than to punish the man who works ill to his neighbor.

Leland reflected common views in his day: That states exist to preserve the natural or inalienable rights of humans, frequently considered to be life, liberty and property as referred to by Leland. Thus, an act is criminal when it harms another’s person or property, or restrains his liberty; but other acts are tolerable by the state.

It will not impair the Church for homosexuality to be legal but nations which attempt to coerce moral sexual behavior will impair the free exercise of conscience by same-sex attracted people. To repeat from Dr. Gordon’s paper:

Any professed faith or outwardly religious act that is merely done to avoid civil penalties is not an act of any true moral worth. When the beliefs and practices of the church are prescribed by the State with its coercive powers, this does not promote true religion, but hypocrisy. For many Protestants, therefore, one of the best ways to preserve true liberty of the individual conscience is to leave that conscience entirely free, in religious matters, from considerations of civil consequences.