Albert Mohler flip-flopped on sexual orientation. Again. Previously, Mohler said sexual orientation was useful. Now, Mohler thinks sexual orientation is not a helpful way of understanding sinful sexual desires. Mohler made the statement on the Thursday, June 30 edition of The Briefing.
According to Mohler, “the Presbyterian Church in America took at least an important first step in understanding that a homosexual or same-sex orientation is itself sinful. It’s not morally neutral. It is itself an identity that is incompatible with a biblical understanding of discipleship. So that was an important step. It didn’t gain so many headlines because frankly it’s kind of difficult and complex to understand or to discuss. But it’s the kind of thing we need to note very, very carefully. So let’s just state it. I hope that the Presbyterian Church in America will move forward that a sufficient number of presbyteries will affirm the overture.”
Mohler made clear that Side B views of homosexual desires are based on identity politics.
Mohler said, “Theologically, the distinction between side A and side B begins to fall apart when you understand the fact that both of them are based in a form of modern ideology and identity politics and a modern understanding of affirming identity in such a way that both side A and side B would use language about being, for instance, a gay Christian.”
This is a very clear and strong condemnation of any leftward drift on LGBTQ issues. Of course, this is the opposite of a view Mohler articulated just a few years ago.
According to this 2014 post from Mohler, “The concept of sexual orientation is not only helpful, it is in some sense essential. Even those who argue against its existence have to describe and affirm something tantamount to it. There is a pattern of sexual interest and attraction that is discovered in early adolescence. It is not something that is, in itself, freely chosen. That does not mean that the individual is not completely responsible before God for how that orientation is then handled.”
That 2014 view was a flip-flop from Mohler’s previous view.
According to Mohler, “As I explained in my address, I had previously denied the existence of sexual orientation. I, along with many other evangelicals, did so because we did not want to accept the sexual identity structure that so often goes with sexual orientation. I still reject that notion of sexual identity. But I repented of denying the existence of sexual orientation because denying it was deeply confusing to people struggling with same-sex attraction.”
This is as clear as mud.
Is sexual orientation an identity as Mohler asserts in 2021? Or, is sexual orientation not an identity but a helpful concept as Mohler said in 2014?
In 2014 Mohler also offered this in another article, “Even though no ‘orientation’ can alter the moral status of actions, the fact remains that some persons are sexually attracted to persons of the same sex while the majority are sexually attracted to persons of the opposite sex. There are other terms to use here, ranging from ‘sexual attraction pattern’ to ‘sexual arousal profile,’ but sexual orientation seems a bit less explicit and is generally understood within the culture.”
And, also, “Caring Christians will be aware of the fact that many persons who struggle with homosexuality — males and females — testify as Christian believers or as those troubled in conscience that they simply have no idea where same-sex desire originated in their lives. They do know that they did not choose this pattern of attraction.”
So, Mohler was for using sexual orientation before he was against it. And Mohler was against it before he was for it.
Or, perhaps not so helpful.
Albert Mohler appears to turn his sails in the direction the cultural wind blows. In 2014, the culture (and the Church) appeared to be moving left, so Mohler accommodates using a term “sexual orientation” that is “generally understood within the culture.” And today as the culture and church become reactionary against the radical LGBTQ agenda, Mohler turns his sails to ride the breeze of the conservative reaction.
With evangelical leaders this constant, is it any wonder that the Church is confused about issues of sex and doctrine?