A Pastoral Statement regarding Human Sexuality in Our Contemporary World
The nation of Canada passed a law, Bill C-4, which went into effect January 7th; it bans all forms of what it calls “conversion therapy” which would seek to change, repress or reduce a person’s same-sex attraction or sexual behavior or their gender identity or expression if it differs from their biological sex. While certain forms of so-called “conversion therapy” are clearly, unquestionably to be denounced by the Christian, Canada’s new law intentionally undercuts every biblical mooring for even defining sexuality and gender. Churches in the United States have been called upon this Sunday to stand with our brothers and sisters in Canada whose faithfulness to the Scriptures has now been criminalized. Our session has prayerfully drafted the following statement:
All rejection of God’s voice involves irony: sometimes subtle; sometimes overt. We, your elders, grieve over the Canadian government’s recent legislation banning all forms of “conversion therapy” as it pertains to sexual deviancies, seeking to make unqualified, unopposed room in that nation for the sins of homosexuality and transgenderism. The deepest irony in this legislation is that the Canadian government’s alleged ban of all forms of conversion therapy actually and arrogantly prescribes conversion therapy upon Almighty God; i.e., the law demands that the eternal Creator of the universe, the Maker of every man and woman and of human sexuality, change his design for his creation in order to suit mankind’s sinful desires. And while seeming humble and open in its treatment of its citizens, the government calls all Christians in Canada to convert to the new societal norm; translate: the only legally opposable view is the one which gets in the way of the new, perverse societal norm. Whereas God created the state to exist in harmony with his church, Canada has criminalized those who seek to live peaceably under the reign of Christ and under the reign of civil government. Upon what basis does the Canadian government make its decree? Evidently upon the basis of “science.” But such heavy-handed “science” quickly discards scientific facts which do not comport with its biased stance.
Though the present manifestation of the Romans 1:18-32 spiral of sexual ethics in the West is deep and dark, any astute observer knows that there are still-deepening, enticing depths into which society can yet descend. If all conversion therapy is outlawed with respect to sexual orientation and gender identity, then where does this project stop? On its own terms, how does said ideology consistently reject, for instance, pedophilia and bestiality? How does it, with internal consistency, reject other forms of confusion and attempts at change which presently remain outside the pale of modern sensibilities? The answer of course is that it does not and cannot. For all the hubris behind our rebellion against God, we lack consistency of expression in our claims because deep down we know that such consistency reduces our claims to intellectual and moral absurdity.
We, your elders, know these tendencies all too well because we speak as fellow would-be autonomous sinners, and as sexual sinners at that. Only by God’s grace, we have sought his divine standard over us in the area of sexuality as with all other areas of life, asking the Holy Spirit to search us and know us and to expose our sin before him. God’s Word reveals how far short of his glory we fall. We mourn our own self-willed wisdom which is driven by our sinful passions and we rejoice at God’s converting grace in the wounds of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We call the Canadian government to repentance for its tyranny over Christian consciences under its care, and for its tyrannical and scientifically fatalistic treatment of those trapped in the sins of homosexuality and gender confusion. To those who will seek to lump our concern for God’s law and his Gospel with misguided, dangerous approaches to conversion therapy so that our God-centered concerns can be dismissed, we ask you to listen to our actual words. We join with Christians worldwide in praying for a faithful Christian witness on the part of the church in Canada, and in particular for ministers and church leaders who face persecution and reprisal for being true to the claims of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We call all churches who tolerate sexual immorality and who rely on sophisticated, subtle word-smithing to redefine sexual ethics, while still appearing faithful to God’s Word, to repentance. Specifically, we call the Standing Judicial Commission of the Presbyterian Church in America to repentance for its recent decision which refused to discipline a self-identifying homosexual minister in her bounds. Such Christ-shaming cowardice on the part of this commission, to put it mildly, is of no help to the church in Canada at this time.
We call the western church to repentance for its grossly oppressive view of women through its indulgence of pornography and the ways in which women have often been made the victims of abuse even in allegedly Christian marriages. Surely the fact that the church of Jesus Christ, his very bride, is stained with all manner of ongoing, unrepented of sexual blemishes, in spite of the biblical call that such things not even be named among her, connects to and perhaps even largely explains the sexual chaos so rampant in the culture around us. May we all fall before God in anguish over every expression of sexual sin in our hearts, words and actions.
Further, we call ourselves and all creation to repentance for the idolatrous greed which always interweaves with sexual greed and discontentment. We call for repentance of the violence which often comes in the wake of sexual greed, including rape and murder of both the born and the unborn. In yet another grievous irony, the murder of the unborn in our society has been codified as a right, even assuming the dreadful misnomer, “health care.”
Our holy God’s watching eye is over all of us; he sees through our sin; he sees through our attempts to assuage our consciences as we project our guilt and shame onto others; he sees through our clever sophistry in which we seek to explain, rationalize and hide. Truly to see the guilt and corrupting power of our sin is to understand our need of God’s mercy. We implore the Canadian government to look to Jesus Christ who is a refuge for sinful men and women. He paid for the guilt of sinful legislation and for the guilt of sins of every sort in his blood when he bore away God’s wrath on the cross. As fruit of true repentance and faith, we call on the Canadian government immediately to amend her law in accordance with God’s Word.
We conclude with the centuries-old words of Dutch Reformed Christians whose legacy has blessed Canada for generations; we pray their humble resolve will be true of God’s people there in this present moment, come what may. “They were willing and ready to obey the king in all lawful matters. But…rather than to deny the truth of God’s Word, they would… ‘offer our backs to stripes, our tongues to knives, the mouth to the muzzle, and the whole body to the fire…being ever ready and willing, if it be necessary, to seal [our faith] with our own blood.’” And may all who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake avoid dour, self-righteous dispositions; rather, may you, in the words of our Savior, “rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Lord, have mercy; may his name be praised.
With Sincerity and Prayerfulness,
The Elders of Holy Trinity Presbyterian Church – Tampa, Florida
Dustyn Eudaly, Senior Minister
Don Bennett, Ruling Elder
Dave Brittain, Ruling Elder
Gregg Fisher, Ruling Elder
Wink Hall, Ruling Elder
 R. Dykstra & M. Kamps, “Historical Introduction to Guido de Brès’ Letter to King Philip II of Spain,” Covenant Protestant Reformed Church, https://cprc.co.uk/quotes/