On Friday, Bob Stith, after retiring as pastor of Carroll Baptist Church in Southlake Texas becomes director of Southern Baptists' Ministry to Homosexuals Task Force.
Thirteen years ago Stith began to feel guilty about negative attitudes toward homosexuals coming across in his own preaching. He got involved in Exodus International, a Christian ministry that leads people out of homosexuality, and Living Hope, a non-denominational Exodus referral agency in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.
In 2001 Stith made a motion at the SBC annual meeting to establish a task force "to inform, educate, and encourage our people to be proactive and redemptive in reaching out to those who struggle with unwanted same-sex attractions."
What sent ol' Stith over the edge is that "gay right activists" - y'know, those folks who want everyone to be nice to gays and lesbians and give them equal rights - those evil people, are trying to "normalize" homosexuality by pulling the wool over everyone's eyes and making them believe that the Bible doesn't clearly condemn homosexuality.
Stith said if people are born homosexual and cannot change, the Bible must be wrong, because 1 Corinthians 6:9 says there were people in the early church who came out of homosexual lifestyles. Stith said even a tacit embrace of homosexuality as acceptable and normal threatens the authority of Scripture.
Well, guess what, Stithy-boy, the Bible must be wrong by your math, because 1 Corinthians 6:9 doesn't say one word about homosexuals. It talks a lot about male prostitutes, but not one word is spoken against gays or lesbians (who, by the way, are generally not prostitutes - those who are should certainly "come out" of that "lifestyle").
But, of course, the Bible is wrong on many things, including the shape of the earth (round, not with four corners), the status of women (equal, not property), and the practice of slavery (wrong, not condoned by God). But, in this case, it's really not the Bible that's wrong as much as it is the interpretation. Since the word "homosexual" wasn't coined until the 1800s, there's no way it appeared in the ancient text. And don't think the ancients didn't have words for the gay and lesbian folks among them, they certainly did - they just never mentioned them in any of their list of moral condemnations.
So, please, SBC, keep your "outreach" in the closet. We have no need of "ex-gay ministries." We need good Jesus-lovin' men and women telling us about God's love for us just as we are, since that is how God formed us in the womb - same-gender loving children of God.
Now, that's Good News!