An evangelical speaks frankly

Warren Throckmorton is Associate Professor of Psychology at conservative Grove City College and the creator of the Sexual Identity Therapy Framework, a set of guidelines for therapists who wish to help gay people of faith (particularly a more conservative form of Christianity) to reconcile their sexuality with their faith.

Recently, Dr. Throckmorton wrote a blog post in which he discussed Christian media sources to refrain from discussing or even mentioning recent studies relating to sexual orientation.  The entire post (and the rest of his blog) is well worth reading, and is one of the reasons I respect Dr. Throckmorton.  As fellow gay blogger, Pomoprophet, put it while covering this post:

Throckmorten[sic] (though he doesn’t fully agree with me) is the type of Evangelical Christian that I can actually respect. He is informed and thoughtful. When he talkes about “defending truth is the name of Jesus” he does so with the best data available on “the truth”, not merely conservative talking points that fit nicely into his narrow view of the world. I find it ironic that many Evangelicals shun one of their own because he reports the facts and the studies and calls them on their anti-gay animus.

The fact that Dr. Throckmorton has faced much criticism from his fellow evangelicals — some have even pressured Grove City College to terminate his employment there — for his honesty and his integrity makes his commitment to both all the more admirable.  However, I would like to suggest that in this post, Dr. Throckmorton has gone beyond simply standing up for the truth, but acting in what some Christians might consider a prophetic role.  Consider this quote from his blog post:

Many evangelicals get their information from NARTH through groups like Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, Exodus International, etc. Others get information from Christian media. However, these studies are not reported in these places. No wonder most evangelicals approach sexual orientation with a 1990s mindset. It is as if the evangelical world is in blackout mode when it comes to current studies on sexual orientation.

Dr. Throckmorton is not merely standing up for the truth, but he is calling out those here are hiding the truth, misconstruing it, or even lying about it.  This has become an endemic problem among many evangelical leaders (for more examples of this, simply check out a half dozen other posts from Dr. Throckmorton’s blog, an equal number from Fred Clark’s blog, and my own post from Wednesday.)

Note however, that Dr. Throckmorton’s prophetic warning is not merely aimed at those leaders who would either leave their followers in ignorance or even actively deceive them.  His warning to those followers is also clear:  Do not assume that your leaders are being honest with you just because they’re standing in front of a cross.  It is up to those who value truth to verify the veracity of what they’re being told for themselves.  To do otherwise is to play some small part in their own deception.

Thank you, Dr. Throckmorton, for being such a voice for integrity and justice.

One thought on “An evangelical speaks frankly”

  1. Jarred!

    It’s been quite some time since we spoke. I sincerely hope you’re doing well.

    I’ve started reading a book called “Out of a Far Country” by Christopher Yuan. I’m wondering if you’re familiar with it. Christopher has a very interested story, and I’m refreshed by his approach to the issue of homosexuality and faith. You may or may not agree with his take on things, but regardless I think you may find it an interesting read. Just saw your have your Twitter feed here as well…I will start following.

    All the best!


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