Not long ago, I publicly stood against John MacArthur’s advice to parents of adult children who are gay on the account that it was not only theologically flawed, but dangerous as well. You can see the old post and the original MacArthur video here, but to quickly summarize: MacArthur told parents of adult children who were both gay and professing Christians that if their children did not repent, they should be shunned and “turned over to Satan”.
My argument was that MacArthur was taking a passage on church discipline and attempting to apply matters of church governance to familial relationships– something I believe is a misapplication of the scriptures.
I took some heat for standing up to him. There were plenty of emails (as usual) and this time there was a rebuttal video by Christian Apologist, Dr. James White of Alpha and Omega Ministries, both criticizing me as well as my employer, Patheos.
The storm from my take on MacArthur has died down, until I was reminded this morning of exactly why I think his advice on gay children is so utterly abhorrent and dangerous: this idea of shunning, alienation, turning over to Satan, combined with a general bigotry towards the LGBT community, has the potential to lead to violence and abuse.
The below video made it into my newsfeed this morning and reminded me of the whole thing. It is the sad yet perfect example of what I fear MacArthur’s parenting advice can lead to in the hands of hate-filled bigots (this is not to say that anyone with a traditional theology of sexuality is hateful or a bigot, just that some are.) The video was filmed recently by a young man named Daniel Pierce, who came out to his Christian family in a meeting that went way, way wrong. The meeting quickly turned verbally abusive, and ended violently.
Now, I get that MacArthur would not condone verbal or physical abuse, and hope he would also condemn the behavior seen in this video. However– and this is my point– even if traditionalists turn out to be correct on the theology of sexuality, the advice of MacArthur has the easy potential to lead to violence and destroyed lives, as seen in the video below.
My hope and prayer for John MacArthur is that he will see this video and see the praxis his theology can lead to– and that he’ll repent of giving such dangerous advice to the Christian public.
Here’s the video:
* Trigger alert: verbal and physical abuse. This video may be disturbing for some viewers: