I like the term, “conversion therapy.” It is kind of what I do every week. Let me be clear, I am not a licensed counselor or therapist. Rather, I am a gospel preacher. I preach Christ crucified, buried, and resurrected. Each Sunday, I have open “therapy” sessions where I encourage “conversion” to three categories of people: 1) those who haven’t become Christians, 2) those who are “Christians” but aren’t living like it, and 3) Christians who need encouragement to remain faithful. It turns out though, what I do might land me in jail soon, especially if I preach in New Jersey!
Why New Jersey? Well, Governor Chris Christie has signed into law a bill that makes it illegal to practice, “gay conversion therapy.” Conversion therapy is a name that opponents have given to therapy that attempts to help patients stop having homosexual desires. The practice is highly controversial, and its effectiveness has been seriously questioned. Nevertheless, it does raise a question about whether preaching is next.
Whether you agree with “conversion therapy” for homosexuals or not, the interesting thing is that it is voluntary! Homosexuals aren’t being grabbed off the street and forced to endure heterosexual ideology. Rather, individuals who desire to stop living one kind of life and start living another life are voluntarily going for help. Wait a second…helping people change their life is what I do!
If it is illegal to attempt “conversion” of homosexuals, what about other issues? Consider the preacher who says, “Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” What if someone listening actually decided to give up idolatry, sexual immorality, greediness, or swindling? Would the preacher be jailed for “conversion therapy?”
Well, I guess he would be in good company, because that is what Paul preached in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 and he got thrown in prison too. Jailed for conversion therapy? Ok, if that is what brings glory to God and helps people see the error of their ways, I’m in – guilty as charged.