Notes from FIEC Leadership in Lockdown webinar on ‘Banning Conversion Therapy’ with John Stevens and from The Christian Institute, Sharon James and Simon Calvert.
1. God will bless His people because Jesus perfected feared and obeyed the Father. Jesus is entitled to the covenant blessings, and we share in them because we are included in Him by faith, and He gives them to us by His grace. These blessing we enjoy are primarily spiritual now but we do look forward to the physical enjoyment of them in the new creation.
2. Coronavirus Guidance Update.
– From 8 March meet one person outdoors, not just for exercise.
– Weddings with 6 people only until 29 March. No longer limited to exceptional circumstance.
– From 29 March meet max 6 people / 2 households (including private gardens).
– No change on guidance against singing indoors or outdoors [Public Health England not ready to lift the guidance].
– No promise of end to social distancing and face coverings indoors after 21 June.
– Possibility of reintroduction of restrictions in the Autumn [gov. going for a realistically cautious approach].
– Possibility of special Easter dispensation regarding singing – still waiting to hear.
3. What is conversion therapy? According to the campaign group, Ban Conversion Therapy, “Conversion therapy includes medical, psychiatric, psychological, religious, cultural or any other interventions that seek to erase, repress or change the sexual orientation and/or gender identity of a person.”
4. Government is committed to introducing legislation for outlawing conversion therapy. Debate took place in Parliament on Monday 8 March 2021. None of the Christian MPs prepared to speak against the legislation were selected to speak in the ballot. All the MPs that spoke supported the ban without qualification.
5. People should be protected from quack therapists and abuses. The extreme stories you hear concern activities already illegal in UK, covered by a memorandum of understanding, or things that no longer take place because of cultural changes.
6. The way the ban of conversion therapy is being presented would restrict our ability to call people to repent. We need to be free to proclaim God’s perfect moral standards, to be faithful to teach the whole counsel of God, to introduce sinners to the Saviour, and to help sinners follow Jesus’ teaching.
7. We believe in conversion not conversion therapy.
8. All of us have struggles in areas when it comes to sanctification. None of us will become temptation-free in this life.
9. We preach repentance of all sins. The ban would says that certain sins are out of bounds when it comes to repentance.
10. There must be room for preaching God’s Word, for believers to receive prayer and pastoral support for whatever temptation they are struggling with.
11. There could be a situation when we are allowed to pray for help for people to resist the temptation of heterosexual pornography, but to pray for help resisting homosexual pornography would be illegal.
12. The goal of this campaign appears to be stopping the teaching and application of biblical sexual ethics.
13. Legislation could lead to not just church leaders or pastors finding themselves in trouble, but the member of the church who prays for a friend. Even parents teaching their children could end up being criminalised.
14. This is using the law to settle a theological dispute as to whether homosexual practice is a sin.
15. Some of the prominent campaigners for a ban call themselves ‘evangelical’ which means that people in society no longer think that evangelical faith means believing homosexuality is prohibited by Scripture.
16. We need to speak about this issue in a helpful way, including the relevant qualifiers. Be clear what we are not defending.
17. There may need to be a ban but it is possible to do so in way that does not impinge on religious freedoms and the ordinary work of the church.
18. The Christian Institute have produced a helpful briefing paper on this topic HERE.