Warning snark, satire, and slightly risqué humor ahead! You have been warned!
Two Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) luminaries — one sporting an honorary doctorate and a Sunday school-level education from Hyles-Anderson College, and the other who prides himself in not having any theological education — have been publicly sparring with one another over homosexuality. “Dr.” Bob Gray Sr., retired pastor of Longview Baptist Temple, Longview, Texas and deep-in-the-closet Steven Anderson, pastor of Faithful Word Baptist Church, Tempe, Arizona have been hurling attacks at one another for weeks now. The core issue is Gray’s support of Johnny Nixon of Born That Way Ministries and his bizarre, revisionist approach to homosexuality; that the eunuchs of the Bible were celibate homosexuals. (You can read Nixon’s response to Anderson here.) Anderson thinks Nixon is spouting heresy and supporting the Sodomite cause, and since Anderson is the expert on all things anal, he has decided to publicly excoriate Gray, Nixon, and anyone who supports them.
I have thoroughly enjoyed watching Gray and Anderson go after each other on their respective blogs. Another round of beers on me, boys. Time for the MMA Main Event: Lube-Me-Up Gray vs. Drop-the-Soap Anderson. Bickering like little children fighting over a toy, these “giants” of the IFB church movement are oblivious to how silly and foolish their bickering makes them look. Of course, from my perspective as I sit in the atheist pew, Gray and Anderson are proving once again how arrogant, vile, and nasty IFB preachers can be when crossed. If you are interested in reading up on the Gray/Anderson war, you can find Anderson’s blog here, and Gray’s blog here. Their remonstrations against each other go back to February 1, 2017.
The latest salvo in the Gray/Anderson war comes from Anti-Sodomite Steve writing a post detailing his disagreement with Anti-Sodomite Bob over whether soulwinners — the IFB version of Jehovah’s Witnesses — should attempt to evangelize homosexuals.
This thing where Bob Gray Sr. keeps telling us we should ask people whether or not they are Sodomites before witnessing to them is just a straw man argument. When you are out soul winning and an effeminate-looking man or a butch woman answers the door, go ahead and give them the gospel. You ought to give people the benefit of the doubt in these situations, anyway, because some people just dress wrong but aren’t actual homos. Preach the gospel to every creature, but you’ll probably get a lot of doors slammed in your face.
Those of us who try not to cast our pearls before swine have probably accidentally given the gospel to more Sodomites than many of the naysayers who say we aren’t loving enough. Most Sodomites probably don’t look any different than anyone else, so yes, we do try to give the gospel to them at the door. If I am 99% sure that someone is a Sodomite, I still give them the Gospel in case of the 1% chance they are not a homo. However, if they are in drag or state unequivocally that they are a Sodomite, I walk away.
Bob Gray wants you to think there’s some kind of contradiction between the reprobate doctrine and scriptures that say that salvation is available to everyone that believes, but there is no contradiction. Christ died for everyone, and whosoever will may come. A reprobate used to be a “whosoever,” but has now crossed a line with God. It’s not that a homosexual act is what makes them a reprobate, but a normal person is not tempted with unnatural sins. Burning in your lust toward the same gender is a SYMPTOM of being a reprobate. Romans Chapter 1 lays out the progression of how someone rejects God to the point where God eventually rejects them.
When someone comes to me concerned that they might be a reprobate (perhaps due to something they participated in unwillingly while drunk,) I ask them if they burn in lust toward the same gender. When they say no, I ask some questions to check what they believe about salvation. If they answer everything correctly, I reassure them that if they are able to believe on Jesus Christ, then they are not a reprobate.
“Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again, He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.” – John 12:39-40
Biblically speaking, a reprobate is someone who has crossed a line of no return and cannot be saved. (And yes, I realize Calvinists and Arminians have been fighting over what the Bible says about reprobation for centuries. I speak here generally, not as a defense of any particular view on what the Bible says about the doctrine.) According to Anderson — one of the greatest theologians of the twenty-first century — Romans 1 provides a road map which, if followed, results in reprobation. Romans 1:18-32:
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
According to Anderson, the path to reprobation begins with the rejection of God as creator. Six thousand, twenty-two years ago, the Christian God created the world in six literal twenty-four hour days. This belief runs contrary to everything science tells us about the universe, planet earth, and the biological world in which we live. As a rational being, I am given a choice: believe what Evangelicals say about creation or accept what science says about the universe. Either I accept a theological explanation or I accept a scientific one. Which one should I choose? For most of my adult life, I was in agreement with Anderson — God did it 6,022 years ago. Today I reject the notion that the God of the Bible created anything, and I accept that the sciences give us the best explanations for how things came to be. While science does not have all the answers, and may never have them, scientists continue to investigate, pushing forward our knowledge of the universe. Anderson (and Gray and most Evangelicals), however, stands pat with a literalist interpretation of an ancient bronze age religious text.
By choosing science over the Bible, according to Anderson, I have taken the first step down the path to reprobation. My heart has now become darkened and I am a fool. The Bible says in Psalm 14:1, The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Embracing atheism nine years ago was another step toward the line of no return. Speaking of people who once were saved and now repudiate that which they once believed, Hebrews 10 states:
Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
Simply put, God’s going to get those who at one time were saved and who now trample under their feet the Son of God. Hebrews 6 warns:
For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
I was once enlightened, having been a follower of Jesus for almost fifty years and a preacher of the gospel for almost four decades. I tasted of the heavenly gift and it was oh so good and sweet. But one day, that which was once sweet to my taste turned bitter and disgusting, so I spit it out. In doing so, I made a mockery of Jesus and his super-duper salvation. By openly disparaging Jesus, I clearly showed that I am a reprobate, and now I am no longer able to repent of my sins and be saved. I am beyond the reach of God’s grace, having been turned over by God to the lusts of my flesh. More ice cream, please!
As you can see, Hebrews 10 and Hebrews 6 dovetail quite nicely with Romans 1. According to Anderson’s check list view of Romans 1, since I have rejected the creator and openly and defiantly have spit in the face of Jesus — rejecting his awesome offer of living for eternity in heaven next door to the likes of Steven Anderson and Bob Gray Sr. — God has turned me over to the desires and lusts of my flesh. Now that I have been given over to a reprobate mind, it is only a matter of time before I start craving homosexual sex. In Anderson’s mind, homosexuality is the conclusion of my choice to reject God and embrace atheism.
Just remember, the same can be said for all Evangelicals-turned-atheists. We might say we are heterosexuals, but deep down in our hearts we really desire to wickedly fornicate with members of the same sex. According to Romans 1, we know that our licentious behavior deserves God’s punishment, but we laugh in the face of God and take great pleasure in screwing our brains out.
Anderson’s explanation of reprobation is quite convoluted and contradictory. According to Romans 1, Hebrews 10, and Hebrews 6, there is no doubt about me being a reprobate. But, I don’t crave anal sex or blow jobs from men. Does this mean that I still might be able to be saved? Does this mean one foot is on the line of no return? Or perhaps I am hiding my homosexual desires, and that, in time I won’t be able to contain myself and I will give in to my vile, burning lust for men. I ask you, oh great and mighty Anderson, am I a Sodomite?
Anderson is not smart enough to hide his homophobia and bigotry. Instead, he concocts the notion that there are two classes of sexual sin: natural and unnatural. Any sexual behavior practiced by LBGTQ people is unnatural. Heterosexual sex, even if it is adultery and fornication, is natural. But how does Anderson label sexual behaviors practiced by God-fearing, Jesus-loving Evangelicals — you know anal and oral sex, to name two — that are the primary ways LGBTQ people engage in sex? Is natural sex only one man, one woman, married to each other, man on top missionary style, primarily for procreation? I ask you oh real man of genius, exactly what is natural and unnatural sin?
While I find great delight in watching Anderson and Gray out-homo one another, I am saddened by the fact there are preachers who can still draw a crowd with homophobic preaching. While Anderson and Gray battle over who is the least nice to LGBTQ people, kind, decent, loving people are being hurt by their preaching. I have no doubt that there are deeply closeted gays who attend Longview Baptist and Faithful Word. They dare not reveal their true nature lest they be labeled a Sodomite and a reprobate. Some of these people genuinely love God and believe that Jesus is their Savior, yet they are trapped in churches that invest tremendous amounts of time and effort in destroying them.
I generally subscribe to the theory that Evangelical preachers who scream the loudest about this or that sexual sin have secret lives they are trying to hide. It is not too far of a stretch to think that someday the news headlines will read “Steven Anderson Photographed Leaving Solomon’s Gay Bath House with Bob Gray.” Both men say they were there “evangelizing” S-o-d-o-m-i-t-e-s. Wait a minute! I thought homosexuals were reprobates! I thought reprobates have crossed the line of no return and are beyond reach! What were you really doing, preachers Anderson and Gray? Ah, we can only hope, right?
I find it ironic that both Anderson and Gray believe that people are saved through mental assent to a set of theological propositions; that requiring sinners to actually turn from their sins and forsake them is “works” salvation. When Anderson and Gray, along with their followers, fan out into their local communities to go soulwinning, their goal is to get people to one-two-three, repeat after me the sinner’s prayer. (One,Two,Three, Repeat After Me: Salvation Bob Gray Style) No demands are made, and any sinful lifestyle choices are between God and those who prayed the prayer. That is, except for homosexuals. Evidently, sodomy is the ONE sin that must be forsaken. Both Anderson and Gray agree: there are no Sodomites in heaven. Of course, the Bible also says neither will fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, the effeminate, abusers of themselves with mankind, thieves, covetous people, drunkards, revilers, extortioners, liars, murderers, those who practice witchcraft, those who cause strife, those who are envious, those who are at odds with others, those who don’t regularly bathe (uncleanness), those given to wrath, and those with heretical beliefs inherit the Kingdom of God.
If the Bible is the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God, and every word is straight from the lips of the Big Kahuna, then this means, based on the aforementioned verboten sins list, that every Evangelical church member, including Gray and Anderson, will someday join LGBTQ people in hell.
Imagine how delightful hell will be one day when Anderson and Gray arrive, thinking they are going to heaven, only to find that they are roommates with Harvey Milk, RuPaul, and Neil Patrick Harris. Surprise! Surprise! (Please say in Gomer Pyle voice.)
Of course, there is no hell, except for the hell caused in this life by people such as Bob Gray Sr. and Steven Anderson. Since these men are likely reprobates, past any hope of a course correction through which they gain a modicum of love, kindness, decency, and respect, all any of us can do is try to do is rescue as many people as possible from the IFB cult.