Losing my religion? That’s news to me…

UPDATE 2: Is NARTH the next target for Peter LaBarbera? Since NARTH’s website also allows for client self-determination regarding goals and objectives, they are the next logical target. Also, Dr. Nicolosi, co-founder of NARTH does not discourage homosexual behavior in his clients.

UPDATE: Jim Brown at ONN published a follow up article to the one which is the subject of this post.

Dr. Warren Throckmorton of Grove City College says he has not lost faith in God’s ability to change people who are struggling with homosexuality, but believes most of those people are not likely to experience a “diminishment” in same-sex attraction.

“To say that because it appears from the research that change is infrequent in attractions doesn’t mean I’ve lost my faith in God’s ability to change people,” he states.

…………………………

In an article from OneNewsNow this morning, Peter LaBarbera says that I have lost my “faith in God’s ability to change people.”

Strange that no one asked me what I thought about this. OneNewsNow did not ask me what I think of change. LaBarbera paraphrases something I did not say and they printed it. If you were doing an article about someone, wouldn’t you make an effort to get that person’s views? (UPDATE: I am glad to report that OneNewsNow reporter Jim Brown just called and did seek my perspective)

Regular readers of the blog will understand the difference between the change and congruence paradigms of sexual identity ministry. The change paradigm seeks change of orientation as a goal and a standard of success. Some who hold to this paradigm believe that such change is an indicator of spiritual growth and what is known in Christian theology as “sanctification” – i.e., becoming holy and without sin.

On the other hand, the congruence paradigm seeks alignment with one’s understanding of Christian teaching. Change in the direction of essential attractions is viewed as infrequent and may actually be better describe as better behavioral control. A smaller subset of those people may change their attractions in a more dramatic and abrupt manner. This latter experience may be more common among women than men. Whether it happens or not is not deemed important to the objective of congruence. An assumption is that essential human desires are not likely to change much in this life and so the objective is to align behavior and will to Christian teachings.

The congruence paradigm defines change in ideological terms with meaningful cognitive and behavioral implications. Being converted to Christianity or experiencing a recommitment to one’s faith is a profound change and from the perspective of my Christian tradition is the most important kind of change.

So this accusation that I have lost my “faith in God’s ability to change people” is flat wrong. It also ignores the body of my work and efforts to bring evangelical concerns to the professions. I have been working to make the professional bodies aware that religious identity is powerful and for many evangelicals so vital that it overwhelms all other considerations. The chair of the recent American Psychological Association task force on sexual orientation acknowledged this in an interview with the Wall Street Journal:

“We’re not trying to encourage people to become ‘ex-gay,’” said Judith Glassgold, who chaired the APA’s task force on the issue. “But we have to acknowledge that, for some people, religious identity is such an important part of their lives, it may transcend everything else.”

Earlier today I posted a more detailed rebuttal to attacks on the sexual identity therapy framework. Co-author Mark Yarhouse also posted today on the same subject.

  • Michael Bussee

    I really appreciate how you explained this.

  • Eddy

    A smaller subset of those people may change their attractions in a more dramatic and abrupt manner. This latter experience may be more common among women than men.

    I’m not sure if this is where this would fit but. in men, we often saw the more dramatic change in those who had been either highly promiscuous or ‘entrenched in the scene’. For these people, it seems that they came to recognize that their entire value system was somewhat off-balance and so they were inclined to ‘change’ dramatically. Not by any means a change from gay to having heterosexual inclinations but a more radical change of mind…of outlook…or perception. (In fact, if anyone did express a ‘wham-bam’ change from gay to having heterosexual inclinations, our red flags would go up immediately and we’d have to counsel them re not jumping too quickly into hetero experience.)

  • http://www.holybulliesandheadlessmonsters.blogspot.com a. mcewen

    Mr. Throckmorton,

    you and I may not see eye-to-eye on some things but I am in your corner here. Stand firm against LaBarbera.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    OneNewsNow printed a fabricated story about a position you don’t hold?!? Well knock me down with a feather.

    Frankly, I’d be surprised some day if they actually printed something truthful, honest, balanced, and reflecting of the facts. By accident.

    But I do believe that LaBarbera’s unwarranted attack on you is evil. And it comes from Peter’s heart, which is overflowing with hatred.

    Usually his target is someone gay or “liberal”. That he’s targeting a fellow conservative Christian is interesting, but not exactly new. It is sad that this man has given himself over completely to lies, hate, and discord.

  • Timothy Kincaid

    Eddy,

    In fact, if anyone did express a ‘wham-bam’ change from gay to having heterosexual inclinations, our red flags would go up immediately and we’d have to counsel them re not jumping too quickly into hetero experience.

    But that’s the difference between you, who are interested in the soul, and Peter LaBarbera, who is interested in political activism. You are more concerned about honesty and the harm that could result from such a step. He just wants to condemn gay folk and raise money.

  • Lynn David

    http://www.onenewsnow.com/Poll.aspx?ekfrm=931238

    One News Now must be read by more people who don’t hold to their party line than do.

  • http://www.amwilliams.com Alan Williams

    One News Now must be read by more people who don’t hold to their party line than do.

    =D I noticed that, too. Over 90% of over 80,000 people think “a relationship with Jesus Christ” is not enough to “overcome unwanted same-sex attractions.” It makes the post almost satirical.

  • Phelim McIntyre

    Having seen some of what Dr Throckmorton writes about NARTH and others could this now be a case of you reap what you sow?

  • Phelim McIntyre

    I would encourage people here to buy the book Exchanging the Truth of God for a Lie by Jeremy Marks from Courage UK who is now a darling of the ex ex-gay movement to see how this Congruence teaching leads to so called “accepting evangelicalism” without foundation of theology or psychological understanding. As a counsellor and life coach I am interested in the soul rather than political activism, so is CORE in Northern Ireland, Joe Nicolosi and Dr Paul Miller but because of the Day of Truth I feel that Dr Throckmorton is as much if not more a poltical activist than a therapist. If people go to the ABEO site they will find that Dr Miller speaks that people can choose to get gay affirmative therapy if they wish. Core has been asked, because of doing a series of workshops with Dr Miller, to remove a link to Dr Throckmorton’s therapy guidelines without trying to understand CORE’s beliefs. So much for caring for the soul – I see here more about defending an opinion than caring for the hurting. As said in my pervious post Dr Throckmorton is reaping what he has sown. The Bible warns us about sowing the wind and reaping the whirlwind – is this about to happen?

  • TomPaine

    Another campaign waged by a dangerous, obsessive fanatic who seeks to impose his warped idea of Christianity on everyone else.

    After seeing five consecutive posts convicting a college faculty member of thought crime, one wonders whether Dr Throckmorton is about to become the new Galileo. This is just another twist in the war fundamentalist faith has declared on science, which began with the burning of the library at Alexandria.

    Dr Throckmorton’s recent experiences mirror those of biology teachers who get fired, or come under constant attack, because they dare to teach the facts about Evolution. What next a witch hunt against faculty members guilty of the thought crime of accepting the Earth is somewhat older than 6,000 years? It would not surprise me.

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    Eddy wrote:

    In fact, if anyone did express a ‘wham-bam’ change from gay to having heterosexual inclinations, our red flags would go up immediately and we’d have to counsel them re not jumping too quickly into hetero experience

    Good stance it seems to me. This stance would get you branded a heretic by Peter LaBarbera though.

    Timothy – Where is that feather when I need it?

    a.mcewen, Michael – thanks.

    Alan, Lynn David – I was surprised to see the poll results as well. I wonder if ONN will promote the results.

    TomPaine – I wonder if there is a record for consecutive attack posts? Joe Dimaggio, Cal Ripkin, and heretic Throckmorton? Streaks that may never be broken.

    Phelim – You may have your Days mixed up. I am not doing the Day of Truth, rather the Golden Rule Pledge. On the other stuff, I would just ask if you approve of the things identified with Dr. Miller in the UK Independent article. If so, then there would be significant conflict with the sexual identity therapy framework. We specifically note Richard Cohen in the framework as an example of work inconsistent with the framework. If that website is going to promote work that is contradictory with the framework, I would like it to be removed (or remove the other material which is inconsistent with the framework). RE: NARTH – we have our differences but I do not recall ever questioning anyone’s faith or calling anyone there a heretic. Also, by LaBarbera’s logic, we could call Joe Nicolosi gay affirming since he acknowledges doing gay affirming therapy for those who request it.

  • David Blakeslee

    The Paranoid and the Magical,

    These are two painful cornerstones for some people of faith…

    1. In order for God to exist, Miracles have to happen (independent of scriptural support).

    2. Those who don’t agree with a certain sect of Christianity (these rotate…from old Catholicism to LaBarbera); are unbelievers at best, tools of the devil or the world (pejorative) at worst.

    Anger just feeds these two positions…it exhausts me.

    Mostly I feel extraordinary grief…that my faith and the efforts of good, ethical, Christian and non-Christian people can savaged by the call for “paranoia” and for the “magical.”

    Sorry Warren, you deserve better.

  • David Blakeslee

    I would encourage people to visit LaBarbera’s site…

    He has picked his target, Throckmorton, and is going to press his point, it appears, relentlessly.

    Remember Dean’s and Joe’s attempt to censor Warren several years ago?

    This is a greater attack.

  • David Blakeslee

    To continue the topic of another thread (sorry)

    This is what I mean by MADE TO WEAR….

  • Phelim McIntyre

    Warren – I can not comment on the Independent article due to legal issues. But are you actually taking the word of a gay activist without bothering to check it out? I am in contact with the other therapist as well and am seriously concerned that you would make any form of comment in the tone you did without actually trying to find out the facts. This leads me to wonder why you hate NARTH so much. Having seen some of the emails you have sent people because of networks and them wanting advice I can not see why you are getting hot under the collar about this article when you treat people who disagree with you in exactly the same way. Seriously – the term chip on shoulder is more than appropriate.

    Joe Nicolosi and Paul Miller accept that not everyone can change and that some people may choose gay affirmative therapy, this does not mean that they agree with it but that they respect human right to choose. The point is that rather than from a muddled position of congruence they are promoting change of some description from homosexual to heterosexual as a reality, a therapy that has very little properly recorded cases of harm, for those who pursue it rather than a nice post modern idea of acceptance which panders to the politically correct whims of the APA. They accept that people have the right to disagree and allow them to pursue that – if someone came to you and wanted to pursue change under the SITF framework where would you refer them? Would you send them to NARTH, to Joe, Dean, Paul and others? If you are not willing to refer to people you disagree with then there is a problem. They gay affirmative therapists do this. I asked a major psychiatrist who works as a gay affirmative if they would respect their client’s right to choose to change if they wanted to. They told me that they would stop working with the client but would not give them any advice on getting help to change because they didn’t agree with that type of therapy. How would a therapist working from an SITF position handle this? How would you handle this? Please answer straight and not speak from both sides of your mouth at the same time (if that is possible).

    As to CORE removing you SIT stuff, they work with Paul as they are in Northen Ireland. They link to groups in Europe which take a softer approach to change as well as NARTH. They are there to educate the church about how to respond to the homosexual issue so they are in the process of providing resources for church leaders. Your stuff and Narth are just two of a wide variety of things put there. Have you read Alan Chamber’s latest book where he talks about having to rely every day on Christ to overcome his ssa. Core are doing an event with him next year, but then he is on the reparative therapy side of the divide but you link to on your blog role as you do the Marin Foundation. What are you afraid of?

    Oh yes, have you read Marin’s book yet? If so what do you make of his chapter where he argues that we misinterpret the Bible and homosexuality isn’t actually sin?

  • David

    LaBarbera has posted another 2 pieces attacking Dr. Throckmorton. One of them is a supposed email from a parent to GCC purporting to express reservations over sending his children to GCC because of Throckmorton’s views. Of course it is just a massive coincidence that a parent interested in sending his kids to GCC just happens to be a reader of LaBarbera’s little-known blog and who happens to copy LaBarbera on the email.

    These attacks are arguably defamatory both as to Throckmorton and GCC. The campaign to contact GCC is arguably tortious interference with contract.

    The other day, Throckmorton said he is starting to experience to sort of “love” that gay people get from right-wing Christians on a daily basis. He is right. A standard tactic is to run hit pieces on one or another gay leader’s “radical” views without ever contacting that person to get his actual opinions. For a quick comparison, look at the current campaign against Kevin Jennings and Chai Feldblum, which attempt to link these people with views that they don’t actually hold. The hit pieces run on these people never – ever – include input or response from the target.

  • http://www.collegejay.blogspot.com College Jay

    Joe Nicolosi and Paul Miller accept that not everyone can change and that some people may choose gay affirmative therapy, this does not mean that they agree with it but that they respect human right to choose.

    I think the main point in all of this is that those shouldn’t be seen as the only two options. If Nicolosi and Miller think that everyone who can’t change should go gay affirming, then they have abandoned a Christian ethic. Throckmorton’s viewpoint helps those Christians who can’t experience sexual orientation change but who don’t want to abandon their values.

  • Phelim McIntyre

    College Jay – may I call you naive. To say that people have the right to choose gay affirmative therapy doesn’t mean that Miller and Nicolosi have abandoned a Christian ethic. Did the Apostle Paul adandon a Christian ethic by saying all things are permissable but not all things are beneficial? What Nicolosi and Miller are doing is accepting the human right to choose to carry on what they see as scientifically unnatural and many Christians would see as sinful behaviour. This is different from congruence where there is the promotion of an issue where people can change their theology to become gay accepting. Neither Miller or Nicolosi do that where Throckmorton does. This is not splitting hairs but about shining the light.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

    Phelim said:

    This is different from congruence where there is the promotion of an issue where people can change their theology to become gay accepting. Neither Miller or Nicolosi do that where Throckmorton does.

    I read this three times and I still don’t know what you mean. People are free to live “unnatural” but they are not free to change their theology?

  • Richard

    RE: Poll at ONN There has been a highly affective campaign on several Facebook pages in recent days to respond to said poll with a resounding “NO”! You will note that the three choices are “Absolutely”,”Not sure” and “No”. Regrettably there is not an option “Absolutely untrue”. AFA and ONN wish to create a strict dichotomy between “Christian” -or- “Homosexual”. I would say there are enough of us here and multiple segments of the Internet to refute the notion that a person can practice and treasure their faith without denying their innate, God-given sexuality.

  • http://www.collegejay.blogspot.com College Jay

    To say that people have the right to choose gay affirmative therapy doesn’t mean that Miller and Nicolosi have abandoned a Christian ethic.

    You didn’t read my statement correctly. For Miller and Nicolosi to say that the only two options are to change your sexual orientation or go live a gay lifestyle is abandoning a Christian ethic, because they essentially say that the only appropriate way for a Christian to live is heterosexually-oriented. They leave no room for Christians who are same-sex attracted, who have not experienced orientation change and do not wish to preoccupy themselves with it, and yet who still want to live full lives as celibate people committed to Christian values. Throckmorton does this.

  • Lynn David

    What? No more Switzerland?

  • http://exgaywatch.com David Roberts

    Oh yes, have you read Marin’s book yet? If so what do you make of his chapter where he argues that we misinterpret the Bible and homosexuality isn’t actually sin?

    Phelim, you will need to provide a page number or numbers to reference what you state here as I do not believe it to be true.

  • Jayhuck

    They leave no room for Christians who are same-sex attracted, who have not experienced orientation change and do not wish to preoccupy themselves with it,

    Which, I understand, is the majority of same sex attracted people with these feelings.

  • Jayhuck

    Amen Richard :)

  • Phelim McIntyre

    People are free to do both Warren but Narth position is that of promoting change of feelings. If people want to change feelings or not that is their choice. SITF appears from its wording to deal with the theological beliefs rather than the emotional feelings as such it is more a religious theraputic system than a totally secular one – as such you should not be suprised when attacked especially when you do the attacking.

    Also Warren, are you going to answer my questions about Narth and reparative therapy?

    David Roberts – there is a whole chapter entitled “The Big Five” where Marin does this. Don’t believe me – go read the book!

  • Jayhuck

    College Jay,

    I love your posts and respect you a great deal, but please just be careful about your choice of words, I know you did not mean any harm, but – when you say things like:

    For Miller and Nicolosi to say that the only two options are to change your sexual orientation or go live a gay lifestyle is abandoning a Christian ethic,

    I think what you mean is YOUR definition and understanding of a Christian Ethic – the comment above appears to contradict the feelings of a large number of gay Christians who don’t believe that their innate sexuality, or practicing it in certain ways, is sinful.

  • http://www.collegejay.blogspot.com College Jay

    Thanks Jayhuck, I will be more careful in the future.

  • Jayhuck

    Sorry College Jay – I just realized how critical my post sounded! I did not mean to come across that way – sometimes I write and post things too hastily. I always enjoy your posts

  • http://www.collegejay.blogspot.com College Jay

    It’s okay, Jayhuck. I honestly agree that I should have been a little more careful in my language. No harm done.

  • http://exgaywatch.com David Roberts

    there is a whole chapter entitled “The Big Five” where Marin does this. Don’t believe me – go read the book!

    Phelim, I’ve read Marin’s book twice, three times if you count the early draft which led me to endorse it. And I just read the chapter you mentioned again. No where in there do I find him making such a declaration. What hermeneutics exist appear to be well sourced.

  • Pingback: Lifesitenews article: An exercise in confirmation bias — Warren Throckmorton

  • Msg

    Phelim

    if you read the passage in 1 Corinthians 10 correctly you will see that the Apostle Paul did not mean ‘everything’ when he used the word ‘everything.’ just prior to these words he gives a list of things which are not permissable to – read the beginning of chapter 10 – i note verse 7 ff gives a list of things that christians are not to engage in – one of them being sexual immorality (verse 8). Personally it appears that Miller etc have moved from the christian faith if they say gay lifestly is acceptable before God.

    i dont understand the paradigm/framework material but i do understand that all of us are called to live holy and obedient lives before God – that means sexual relationships, especially sexual intercourse, is to for marriage between one man and one woman and outside of that God-ordained context it is sinful and therefore not the way a chriistian should live or behave. the challenge of yoru orientation is actually immaterial to that biblical standard – there are as many heterosexual christians who are living immoral lives before God and need to repent of their sinful sexual behaviour as there are those whose orientation/attraction is homosexual.


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