I offer two letters addressed to the Rt Hon Boris Johnson, MP, and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Both letters attend to the question under discussion about so-called 'conversion therapy' for persons who are internally disordered in their sexuality.
The letter in the left column is a copy from a post-orthodox, progressive author in the UK, along with a few other signatories of like mind. It is copied from: https://anglican.ink/2022/04/05/rowan-williams-urges-boris-johnson-to-ban-conversion-therapy-for-transgendered-individuals/.
The letter in the right column is from this blog and expresses a Biblical understanding of conversion, using language from Paul's letters, 2 Peter, and the Book of Common Prayer. It represents an orthodox, Evangelical understanding of conversion that has been held by the Church since apostolic times.
The letter on the left is not recognisably Christian and offers no Christian hope to sinners. Only in a laboratory scrubbed clean of all Christian theology could someone attempt to define Christian conversion without reference to sin, Christ, or the cross, let alone try to replace the 'turning' (conversus) of conversion from darkness to light with an 'embrace' (amplexus) of anyone, however they wish to identity themselves. Instead of explaining the 'conversion' of the Christian faith, we are served the 'amplexion' of progressive culture. (The word 'therapy' is really irrelevant in this discussion and, in any case, does not capture a Christian understanding of conversion--we should never reduce pastoral care to counselling therapy.) The letter on the left also invites the government's authority into an area of concern for which it should receive instruction from the Church, were Church officials actually to deliver orthodox teaching.
Letter from a Post-Orthodox Progressive
Open Letter from an Orthodox, Evangelical Professor and Anglican Priest
Thursday 7 April, 2022
Rt Hon Boris Johnson, MP
Dear Prime Minister,
On the Proposed Ban on Conversion Therapy
Conversion to Christianity is a response to God’s free gift of salvation in the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ on the cross for us. This gift of salvation is for sinners, which we all are, who repent of their sins and place their faith in Christ and His death for us. Conversion is, furthermore, a turning from sin to serve God from the heart, a transformation of life that includes both what we do and what we desire. God’s grace is both a forgiving grace and a transforming grace, and our prayer for purity is that God will cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of His Holy Spirit that we might love Him completely and rightly magnify His holy name, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
To be a Christian is to enter upon a sacred journey of being transformed into the image of Christ, from one degree of glory to another, that we might so partake of the divine nature.
Not to allow those seeking such a life-transforming conversion to receive pastoral care, counsel, prayer, restoration, and encouragement from those who are spiritual is to attack the very calling of Christian ministers and to overreach the authority of government. Every church should be a holy fellowship that assists those caught in unholy passions of the flesh and transgression to find restoration in a spirit of gentleness. We Christians were once sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, men identifying as women, homosexuals, thieves, greedy, drunkards, revilers, and swindlers who could not enter the Kingdom of God. Yet we have repented of our sins and have been washed clean, set apart to God, and made righteous in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
We, therefore, see no justification for a ban on the Church’s practices of conversion, transformation, and community by either misdirected clergy abusing their offices or the government. Indeed, the hope of conversion defines Christian life and ministry.
Rollin G. Grams
Revd Dr Rollin G. Grams
Professor of Biblical Theology and Ethics
Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary