Sarah Young and Jesus Calling

Sarah Young and Jesus Calling

Sarah Young practices ‘listening prayer’, in which she hears messages directly communicated from Jesus. It is a technique she describes in her bestselling book Jesus Calling, which has sold over 9 million copies in 26 languages. This book is the 5th bestseller for the first half of 2013 for all books, not just Christian books. Through it all, the author maintains a low profile, partly due to physical disabilities, and thus she is relatively unknown. She has experienced chronic physical difficulties for many years and writes inspiringly of her loving connection with whom or what she thinks is Jesus; the messages comfort and encourage her.

It all began with Sarah wondering if she could receive messages during times of prayer. She hoped God would talk to her personally. And it began to happen. And yes, she believes that Jesus is really and actually speaking with her. She prays then listens, and He answers. This has been her experience for many years.

As she hears she journals what she hears, and after a number of years she published some of what she heard. Readers and prayer groups are encouraged and comforted by the messages, and as sales of books demonstrate, she has a growing audience. Many thousands are now taking up the practice of listening prayer.

The key question which must be asked is, who is speaking? Is it possible there is a clever demonic counterfeit here?

Over the centuries Christians have thought that God does speak to them. Richard Foster, who champions contemplative prayer or meditative prayer, defends Young’s practice. He has modeled his own recommendations for deep meditation and contemplation on what Theresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, Ignatius Loyola, and many others practiced and experienced centuries ago. What Young does is the same as or quite similar to the exercises of these so-called Christian mystics.

Sarah Young describes her own custom as meditating on Scripture and then waiting quietly to hear a reply from Jesus. When Jesus speaks she writes down what she heard or was placed on her heart. The words or messages are not revelatory in the sense of prophecy or fortune telling she insists; the content of the messages are fairly ordinary and biblically based. The Bible plays a major role in Sarah’s life and she firmly believes it is the inspired revelation of God, however, and it is a huge however, she wanted more than what the Bible offers. She indeed got more and has come to rely on these communications, the “encouraging directives from the Creator,” as she likes to say.

But there is a worrisome twist.  When Young journals the words spoken by Jesus they are written in the first person with Jesus as the person speaking. It is not, “Jesus said,” rather it is, “Focus on me.” Since she purports to write down whatever Jesus says readers of her book must conclude that her journal is as authoritative as the Bible, almost a fifth Gospel. If this is not so, then Jesus Calling is a false writing, an imitation, albeit very clever, of a revelation from God.

Young’s error then is serious and similar to that of the Course in Miracles, supposedly communicated by Jesus to Helen Schucman in the 1970s. Schucman’s Jesus dictated profoundly spiritual concepts to her, which she wrote down, and one of the most successful new age cults was born. Schucman’s Jesus bears little resemblance to the biblical Jesus, unlike Young’s Jesus, but could this make the counterfeit even more difficult to detect?

Young’s book sales are phenomenal, and again I cannot help but be reminded of Helen Schucman and the Course in Miracles. As I study Jesus Calling I do see a difference in the two books. Young’s book is far more biblically Christian than Schucman’s. The difference is clear and I am tempted to embrace Young’s claim to hear the voice of Jesus. But it will not work. There is neither biblical precedent nor warrant for quieting oneself, praying, and then listening for Jesus to speak. This is perhaps the most serious and dangerous counterfeit to be found in the broad spectrum that is Charisma today.

The Jesus supposedly speaking to Sarah Young is very affirming and encouraging, but little else. The messages lack the doctrinal content of the real Jesus found in Scripture. In fact, when one orders one of Sarah’s books on Amazon.com one sees that those who bought Sarah’s book also like the books of Joyce Meyer and Joel Osteen – purveyors of the health, wealth, and prosperity gospel. Sarah’s Jesus is more like a warm fuzzy teddy bear.

Let me note that nowhere in Scripture does God promise to speak individually to believers or answer prayer by speaking directly to the one praying. This is the critical point. What I discovered in my decades of ministry is that, if you want to hear things from God you will, eventually. But the communication is not from God, however real and spiritual the communication might be.

John 10:27 is quoted by proponents of Young’s book as proof that Jesus speaks directly to His ‘”sheep.” “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” To “hear” is to know Jesus as the Good Shepherd as distinct from a false shepherd or a wolf; the literal application of “hear” does not work here. It is the Holy Spirit who indwells the believer at conversion who “bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Romans 8:16).

An instruction for believers to listen for the actual voice of Jesus is foreign to the New Testament writings. There is nothing in Scripture about praying then listening for a response. It is surprising that so many do not know this. Churches across the country have “prayer” groups devoted to Young’s methods. It illustrates the fascination with feelings and direct experiences rather than seeking to learn what the Word of God actually teaches.

We are all hungry to know more of God and little by little we do grow up into the fullness of the stature of Christ. (see Ephesians 4:1-16) Following Jesus is a lifelong process and there are no short cuts. Quick and easy methods of “going direct” to the source can be addictive and difficult to disengage from. Christians, yet sinners and living in a sinful world, are pilgrims and the road is straight and narrow and often filled with pain and sorrow. God hears our prayers, does strength and comfort us, but speaks to us through the Scripture. That is enough for us. We do not need more. Eve wanted more and she got it, but it brought disaster upon her and all of us.

A Church Newsletter

This post is the newsletter I prepared for the church of which I am pastor. There is a wider message, one which may be of some value to those who are not the direct recipients of the original newsletter.

Dear Church Family

Yesterday afternoon, right after the Thanksgiving dinner leftovers, I headed out into the neighborhood where our church building is and had a most wonderful time. I came back with 13 less booklets titled, God’s Glory, which is a handsome yearly calendar with lots of extras, plus a music CD, and a book mark with a schedule of our meetings. On the reverse side there is a wonderful piece Katie wrote, which I read to all 4 of the people I had a chance to talk with and which proved to be a perfect ice breaker. Every one of these was divorced and knew about our workshop, and this lead into a couple of rather deep conversations. I was surprised at how these people had very positive things to say about our MAC and every one of them said they would like to visit.

I intend to continue this “invitation evangelism” every afternoon after lunch that I can. Years ago I did this same thing and it yielded some fruit. There are about 40 booklets left and I am going to get them all out, by God’s grace, in the next couple of weeks.

The Friday before this past Sunday (November 30), Katie and I went into San Francisco to get some video footage for a book trailer we are getting ready for Memoirs of a Jesus Freak. Though we did not intend for this to happen, it was a fantastic time of witnessing and it was like the old days, and I mean the late 1960s and I was reminded that the real thrill and adventure of the Christian life is doing what Jesus said to do — proclaim the Gospel to all. In a way I am failing you if I do not encourage you to be a witness. Yes indeed, there is a genuine fear factor involved, the fear of rejection or humiliation. I mean, what if you run into someone you know.  These issues are soon overcome however. Now, I do not want to make anyone feel bad, and I certainly intend to go about the neighborhood by myself, even without Katie, because I think one person knocking on the door is less intimidating, but I must say that we are all called to tell others about Jesus and this is the best time of year to do so.

For some reason, I have been lately energized to reach out to Muslim people. I am past the point where I am concerned and worried about the Islamists and terrorists, that is real concern certainly, but more than that I have been given a heart to reach out to these poor people who have been captivated by a demonically oriented religion. And they are helpless to get out,  the vast majority of them, though some do leave Islam and at at price. In January, actually the 17th and 31st, Saturdays, from 10am to noon, we will be studying Islam. But, you must let me know so I can order the proper number of books. Already there are five indicating they want to be involved and I have already started feeding them some books. And guaranteed, this will change your life. Hey, you know what, us old preachers, we just never give up. We still have a reason to get up every day and go to the work. And who knows how much time we have left.

Now Christmas — for me and so many this special time of the year is a mixed bag. I love it really, the tunes go through my head, those lovely hymns I have known so long and which get richer in meaning as the years roll on; yet there is a certain melancholy for me right in the middle of it, and sometimes to the point I am merely hoping to get through till January in one piece. Long ago I stopped trying to be a cheer leader, jumping up and down and waving pom poms about how happy we all ought to be. After all, we are not children anymore. I prefer our low key celebrating of the season at MAC with our focus on the great traditions of Christmas and the core meaning of Christmas. And we spend a considerable amount of time together, in table fellowship especially.

This will be my seventy-second Christmas. It has been a good run and by God’s grace there may be some more. My dear friends, a most merry Christmas to you all.

 

Clearing up errors I made in last post

Dear Friends, I made 2 errors in the post I submitted yesterday.

 One, the actual URL is:

http://www.evpbooks.com/Deliver-Us-from-Evil-How-Jesus-Casts-Out-Demons-Today-PB-14.htm

 Two, the 20% discount is friendofEVP. Before the evp was not capitalized as it should be.

 Then, we discovered that the postage was not right either, so in a short time today it will be reduced. Sorry for the error.

 Kent

Deliver us from Evil: How Jesus Casts Out Demons Today

8 years ago I was asked to write a book about a subject I had engaged in for several decades, a ministry that I wish would simply go away. However, it looks like it has come back around. I am talking about casting demons out of people possessed by them.

In the early 1970s I did a master’s thesis titled, A Manual of Demonology and the Occult. Zondervan Publishing did just that, they published it and for many years people came from all over this country, and foreign countries to have demons cast out of them.

My college background is psychology and my career goal was to be a high school counselor. Oh well, right at the very end of a MA in psych at Sacramento State I bailed and enrolled at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in Mill Valley, CA.. I was shocked to find that the professors took demons realistically, but I did not. My training helped me think that what Jesus encountered was mental illness. I clung to that until it became impossible to do so.

Then after ten years of continual ministry to those who had demonic spirits, the ministry slowly dissolved due to lack of people wanting it. Over the years there have been some seeking deliverance, but now it is heating up again.

Now then the second edition, and an expanded edition by 30%, and a name change, we have 92 pages of how to deal with those who are seeking relief from the horrors of demonic spirits.

Essentially it is a rather simple working that most Christians can engage in. This new edition will help with that and that is my goal. Here are the chapter headings:

Jesus Casts Out demons

Jesus’ Disciples Cast Out Demons

Casting Out Demons After the New Testament Era

A Theology of the demonic

How People are Indwelt by Demons

Can Christians have demons?

How to Cast Out Demons

Hearing Voices

More on How to Become Possessed by Demons

After Care

Epilogue

There you have it. If you go to http://www.evpbooks.com/Deliver-Us-from-Evil-How-Jesus-Casts-Out-Demons-Today

and type in friendofevp you will receive a 20% discount, and my recollection is the book is selling for $8.95.

The Third Heaven

The Third Heaven

 

Paul once said that he went to the third heaven: “I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven — whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows.”

 “And I know that this man was caught up into paradise — whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows — and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter. On behalf of this man I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses” (2 Corinthians 12:2-5).

      Most commentators think 2 Corinthians was written in AD 55-57. So this vision occurred 14 years earlier, around the time of Paul”s second visit to Jerusalem and before his first missionary journey.

 Visions

 This experience may have been, it is speculated, Paul”s third vision. His visions can be listed as follows: the glorified Christ on the day of his conversion (Acts 9:3; 22:6); Ananias coming to him (Acts 9:12); the Lord showing that he would minister to the Gentiles (Acts 22:17);

      Paul”s call to Macedonia (Acts 16:9); encouragement in Corinth (Acts 18:9-10); after arrest in Jerusalem (Acts 23:11); during a storm at sea (Acts 27:23); and insight into the mysteries of Christ (Ephesians 3:1-6).

      It is likely this mention was the first Paul ever made about being into the third heaven, and he only did so because detractors in the Corinthian church were challenging his status as an apostle and thereby attempting to downgrade his teaching.

      These critics elevated themselves by claiming supernatural knowledge obtained by means of dreams and visions. For millennia shamans had claimed direct encounters with supernatural entities and this tradition was alive and well in the Graeco-Roman world. It is alive and well in our own day too.

      Reluctantly, Paul describes a vision he had, in order to assert his status as a true apostle of Christ. He did not employ typical shamanistic language, however; nor did he use such trance-inducing techniques as meditation, mind altering substances, dancing or physical deprivation.

 Third heaven

 Paul had been to the “third heaven” — surely a way of describing the real presence of the transcendent God. He humbly refers to himself in the third person, as being “caught up” there.

      Paul”s experience came to him in much the same way as John”s on Patmos. He did not seek it; there was no “soul journey”, no mediumistic trance and no paganistic transportation facilitated by spirit guides. Without warning, he was suddenly seeing that which later he would not speak of, even if he were able. He simply did not know whether he was in the body or out of the body.

      Also, “he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter”. Commentators suggest four possible meanings for this puzzling statement. First, he was warned not to speak of what he had seen; second, he could not find suitable words to describe it; third, it would have done harm to do so; or fourth, to reveal the vision would make it seem as though he had lost his mind. Whatever the meaning, Paul never revealed anything other than the fact of his vision.

      In complete contrast, Kat Kerr, a 60-year-old woman living in Florida (and sporting pinkish hair dyed, she insists, “in obedience” to God” command), has written a bookentitled Revealing heaven: an eyewitness account. In it she reports on her direct encounters, her visits and conversations with “the Father” in heaven”s “throne room”.

      Kerr is radically different from Paul in that there is no hesitancy on her part; she freely talks about what she sees and hears. It is apparent that her mission is to communicate what she has experienced in her visits to the “throne room”.

      On one occasion the Father escorted her via time travel to the very occasion when Jesus was crucified; she says she was right there at the cross of Calvary. Not only that, she was there at the resurrection. Not even the shamans have been as brazen as that!

 Apology

 As with the psychics and mediums of spiritism, she also “visits” deceased loved ones, in order to bring back reports to the bereaved on their status. Always she reports that the departed are safe in heaven, much to the bereaved’s comfort. In one instance, according to her testimony, a person who had lost a loved one was surprised to hear of the deceased person being in heaven at all!

      She reports that every human being has at least one guardian angel from the moment of conception. These angels go with believers along the road of life and at death accompany them all the way to heaven. Sometimes, however, Jesus personally does the work of escorting to heaven, at least for those who have been especially faithful.

      She has learned that, if a person does bad things while on earth, the guardian angel is owed an apology upon arrival in heaven!

      Kat Kerr recounts her own conversion experience when aged four, then again aged five when she prayed “the sinner’s prayer” just to be sure. She is of a Pentecostal persuasion and her rapidly growing audience is primarily among Charismatics and Pentecostals.

      It is not necessary to continue detailing the incredible things Kerr reports about her frequent visits to heaven; these can be garnered by visiting YouTube.

      One either accepts what she says is true or disagrees and objects. In the latter circumstance, it is tantamount to declaring her a false prophet. The Old Testament penalty for false prophecy was stoning, although the New Testament settles for rejecting the message.

 Spiritism

 There are further dangerous aspects to Kat Kerr”s ministry. First, acceptance of it opens the door to connection with spiritism and shamanism, for this is essentially what she is up to.

      We do not find mention in the New Testament of congregations developing such connections. The experiences of Paul and John were exceptional and were not in any way the same as Kerr”s.

      Second, there is a mind bending process going on. People have to suspend scepticism in order to accept the often-bizarre nature of what she proclaims.

      Third, Kerr reveals a not-so-subtle expectation that others could or should be doing what she herself is doing. You too can visit heaven and talk with the Father; and here”s how — so why don”t you? Christians will be moved along a slippery slope into the occult realm.

      Fourth, those critical in their analysis are likely to be regarded as blaspheming the Spirit or rejecting what God is doing in “these last days”.

      Paul does not state that he spoke with any person within the Godhead in the third heaven; Kat Kerr, on the other hand, does. Her picture of the Father is akin to a description of conversation with a human friend. I think that this is exactly the relationship Kerr intends to convey — that she has such an exalted status that she is able to be in the very presence of God and talk directly with him just as Adam and Eve spoke with the Creator God in the Garden of Eden before the Fall.

      But Paul speaks of God”s utter transcendence: “He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see” (1 Timothy 6:15-16).

      It is true that the Spirit indwells all born again Christians and, through Christ, they have access to the Father in prayer. The Scripture also affirms that we rest in the finished work of Christ and cease from our efforts of trying save ourselves.

      But that does not mean we treat God as just another friend or buddy. Kerr ignores the historical Christian understanding of God”s otherness and claims to have been repeatedly in his presence as though she were nearly his equal. This cannot be accepted or ignored.

 False prophets

 Kat Kerr is not the first to claim conscious contact with heavenly beings. One thinks of Muhammad, Joseph Smith, David Berg of the Children of God, Sung Myung Moon and countless others.

      The claiming of special revelation is standard fare in the spiritual market place. There are others too today currently claiming familiar heavenly conversations with the angels, Jesus and the Father.

      We must recognize that not everyone who claims spiritual experiences has to be accepted and believed. In the last days there will be false signs and wonders performed through the power of Satan; and deceptive attacks and demonic tricks are often played out within the Christian community.

      We are to “watch and pray”, as Jesus told his disciples that last night in Gethsemane. “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).

 

                                                                                                                               

The Book Convention in Atlanta

Late June Katie and I were part of the annual book convention for retailers in Atlanta when America’s Christian book publisher display their goods. We were with the Christian Small Publishers Association, which made it financially possible to part of the event. I have been many times as an author, but the first time now as a publisher.

We had 3 book signings, one for the Awakenings in American and the Jesus People Movement, a second for If the devil wrote a bible, and a third for Memoirs of a Jesus Freak. These last two attracted a lot of attention. We wanted to do a fourth signing for the newest book, out now less than a month, our The Soul Journey: How Shamanism, Santeria, Wicca, and Charisma are Connected we had on display only and it garnered a whole lot of interest.

I am a poor sales person, maybe too shy, but anyway, I invite folks to look at especially the Soul Journey book. It is absolutely unique and in my view will prove of value to all who read it. It is available at our online store as well as at amazon.com. Hoping you will get it at our store, www.evpbooks.com since authors and publishers make very little through amazon and this was a costly book, 3 years in preparation. Please check it out.

 

Mindfulness

Mindfullness

In Sunday’s Washington Post, May 25, 2014, is a story about a Buddhist teacher/therapist who works with military veterans who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Her theory, as outlined by the Post journalist, is that keeping one’s mind on the here and now is healing.

            Focus, center on you right now, where you are, how you feel, right now, seems to sum up her approach. Question: Is this ego-centric? If you think about others or troubles you are presently facing, are you still being mindful? I suspect some will find a measure of relief while others will not.

            Perhaps being mindful is beneficial, and like everything else of course, it is debatable.      

            Mindfulness! I read this often, hear this often, after all I live in Mill Valley, California which is a bastion for Buddhist and yoga-style meditators. One of my friends at our local gym is the director of a Zen center and he and I have talked on and off over the years on the subject of mindfulness.

            Mindfulness! Sounds like one ought to be mindful. Sounds like a good thing, maybe even a virtue. Mindful of the moment, mindful in the moment; yes, a worthy goal I suppose. What if a train were bearing down of you, one would want to be mindful.

To ask — mindful of what — probably misses the point however. I don’t think it is about jumping out of the way of trains, planes, or automobiles, but it might encompass such. Seems like a koan, one of those sayings that leave a person scratching his or her head, like “What is the sound of one hand clapping?”

This is now bordering on being silly; even I know it. I am not mindless. Let me get down to it: I am suspicious that what the mindfulness practitioner means is she has discovered something very large and that those who do not practice mindfulness are missing out.

I also wonder if the call to mindfulness is not a form of Buddhist evangelism. There is a Christian type evangelism which basically looks like this: Christians speak of their gospel which may be reduced to a three part formula: Law plus Grace = Gospel. The Christian evangelist points out that the Law of Moses, whose centerpiece is the Ten Commandments of Exodus chapter 20, when read will lead the reader to understand that they have sinned and fall well short of God’s demands. Bad News. The second part of the formula is Grace, which means that though God could send the poor Law breaker to hell, He instead pardons, forgives, and saves the miserable sinner. Good News. The result is Gospel, which literally means Good News. Shocking! Instead of hell there is now heaven.

So then, is there anything of a mindful nature here? It clearly is self focused to a considerable degree and it centers on really large issues that do impact the here and now; thus it is mindful and in a large way. What is more ultimate than a present relationship with the Creator? How much more significant, hey, even mindful can you get?

Mindfulness. The impression I often get is that the Buddhist, or perhaps the Hindu yogi, those who meditate and focus on the NOW are where one ought to be as opposed to those Christian types who are thinking only about the kingdom to come with the harps, angel wings, fluffy clouds, and much more in the sweet bye and bye, which is down the road someplace and certainly not in the here and now. Is mindfulness the Buddhist version of the good news and is it superior to the Christian version. Of course, like everything else, this is debatable.

Let me get down to it right now. I am mindful that living in the now is a good thing. No question, I embrace it, but is that all there is? Since there is a future, however short or long, there is more to life than now. I confess I do not get too excited about now all the time. Sometimes now is painful, discouraging, boring and I would rather not focus on it twenty four seven. Hope is a good thing, and hope is future oriented and centers on what may or may not come to pass. But it is nonetheless not now. Is this an acceptable state of mindfulness?

 

Got an App?

Got an App?

Michael Sam kisses his “wife” (boyfriend), someone expresses disapproval, actually disgust, and the Gay Gestapo attacks.

A guy named Ward expressed less than positive feelings about seeing this scene on TV and started getting death threats; his kids were included in the murderous threats, too.

Well, didn’t Ward deserve what he got? After all, the guy dared to have thoughts about seeing one man kissing another on television. Ward didn’t do anything – didn’t deny anyone their equal rights, didn’t do or say anything he could even be sued for. The Gay Gestapo “thought” police, however, were offended.

The media, out of the usual fear of being attacked by the Gay Gestapo never uttered a word in defense of Ward, not even regarding the death threats against him or his family. Yes, here was a vile homophobe who deserved to be punished.

Homophobic. Is that fear of homosexuals? Is it fear of being homosexual? Fear is an emotion and is mostly involuntary. Thinking or feeling that homosexual behavior is immoral is probably common for the majority of Americans, and this is not overt and intended discrimination against homosexuals, which is a violation of a person’s civil rights, and which is wrong. But does not wanting to be homosexual or experiencing disgust when seeing gay behavior on mainstream media constitute homophobia? Let’s hope not, but no telling to what extent the enforcers will go.

The pro-gay lobby has successfully shut down nearly all dissent. If a retailer gets tagged with something that offends them, a boycott starts, and vendors who sell products in the store will be attacked as well. Do you suppose an app will be developed that will detect anti-gay thoughts going through the brain? And if so, what will be the punishment?

I wonder if we are not seeing a kind of revenge from the gay population for the mistreatment they have experienced over the years. Despite their inevitable guilt and shame, they want to be seen as normal and okay like everyone else, but they’ve been seen as less than okay by others, even considered to be sinners by Christians like me, and that may have become intolerable for some. So, like gets like?

How long will knee-jerk reactions from gays on the emotional edge advance their cause? Will the pendulum swing back into a kind of balance?

Yes, that is possible, I think. But things will never be the same, as say in the 1950s. We are looking at a new “normal,” in which the norm is tinged with a kind of perverseness — sorry but that’s what I am thinking and feeling. I will never accept this new “business as usual” that our society has been cowed into accepting. Hope you can get over it, since I, and hosts like me, are not likely to change, despite the threats, boycotts, mudslinging, civil suits, and bad publicity.

Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, Google — which will be the first to come up with the app?

Memoirs of a Jesus Freak

Now you see why my blogging has slowed down. But finally the book is ready to go.

 Just released!

Kent Philpott’s memoirs of the

Jesus People Days

 

In 45 chapters, Kent relates how he was called to go to the hippies in San Francisco to tell them about Jesus and what happened in the years to follow. Includes 36 bios and 66 photos Jesus people era leaders and committed followers.

 

Available to ship now from www.evpbooks.com

Retail price is $21.95

Use coupon code “friendofEVP” for a 20% discount = $17.56

 

Homophobia and Heterophobia: Two Sides of the same Coin?

Homophobia and Heterophobia: Two Sides of the Same Coin?

 

    by Kent A. Philpott 

 

Homophobia – “A hatred or fear of homosexuals.” (from the Oxford Concise Dictionary). This expresses the core definition of homophobia as found in most standard dictionaries. 

 

Heterophobia – “A hatred or fear of heterosexuals.” This definition is not found in standard dictionaries, but the “Urban Dictionary” does not shy away from giving some rather politically incorrect definitions: 

 

From the Urban Dictionary, found online at www.urbandictionary.com:  

  • Heterophobics – “Gays who are afraid of heterosexuals usually due to their own heterosexual feelings or leanings.” This followed up with, “Gays, don’t be afraid, you’re probably just straight.”  Homophobia – “a severe condition, usually prominent in Republicans and most of American culture, leading one to: 1. inaccurately use bible quoting for the justification of killing homosexuals; 2. restrict the rights of millions; 3. hide in their rooms crying if they looked at the male body of one of the same gender and do not vomit; 4. incessantly call things ‘gay.'” 
  • Heterophobia – “an unreasoning disgust of heterosexuals, frequently supported by erroneous and faulty statements about heterosexuals.”  
  • Homophobia – “the irritation of having faggotry shoved in your face.” 
  • Heterophobics – “People who indulge in bigotry or intolerance because of the Heterophobia sickness.” 
  • Homophobia – “an irrational fear of going home.” 
  • Heterophobia – “The often irrational fear of heterosexuals. Usually experienced by a homosexual or bisexual who has had bad experiences with heterosexual coupling.” 
  • Homophobia – “fear of homosexuals or possibly a condition where one person has the same fears as someone else.” 
  • Heterophobia – “To hate heterosexuals out of some bizarre, irrational or innate fear of them. Probably due to repressed heterosexual feelings. Up with heterosexual pride!” 
  • Homophobia – “Dislike, fear, hatred, and/or disapproval of gays and/or homosexuality, often (but not always) for religious reasons or because of insecurity about one’s sexual orientation.” 
  • Heterophobia – “Queer frustration and hatred towards straight oppression. Often mistakenly perceived to be equivalent to homophobia, or other forms of discrimination.” 
  • Heterophobia – “Unreasoning prejudice against heterosexuals or their sexuality, the LGBT equivalent of reverse racism, and the inverse of homophobia. Commonly manifested as disgust with the very idea of straight sexuality and/or reproduction. It copies the prejudices of homophobia, including the idea that straightness is unnatural, or unhealthy, or can somehow be ‘cured.'” 
  • Heterophobia – “Frequently paired with prejudice towards the opposite sex. This is surprisingly common in the LGBT community, but is often not addressed due to concerns for political correctness.”    

 

Finally, let me add this, which I gleaned – and paraphrased – from Gay Religion, edited by Scott Thumma and Edward R. Gray, and published by AltaMira Press in 2005: Some homosexuals believe homosexuality is necessary for the earth to survive, as the “breeders” keep pumping out babies, resulting in the population growing to an unsustainable level. Therefore, homosexuality is a survival mechanism.  

 

Two sides of the same coin? 

 

Both phobias are based on fear, or so it would seem. I would suggest that “phobia” is the wrong word to describe either phenomenon. The term means an irrational fear of something or the other, such as agoraphobia – a fear of open spaces or public places. But are the so-called homo and hetero phobias based on fear? Is the homosexual fearful of heterosexuals? Is the heterosexual fearful of homosexuals?[i] In both instances, I think not; My sense of it is that the “phobias” are something else all together. 

 

Heterosexuals may disagree with homosexuals as to the rightness of homosexual behavior. And should they not be allowed this? Equal rights, justice, fairness, civil rights, and so on, are what most heterosexuals would agree are owed to all people regardless of sexual orientation. What if heterosexuals think homosexual behavior is “sinful” and morally wrong? Is this a bad thing?  

 

Suppose it was a hate crime to even consider homosexual behavior wrong. Should certain kinds of thinking be criminalized? Should “homophobes “be marginalized and discriminated against? Most outrageous is the goal that anything short of complete acceptance of all that is homosexuality be stamped out and eliminated since such thinking is the seed bed for discrimination against homosexuals. Could it be that the pro-gay, LGBT community, the whole of it or segments thereof, might even justify the creation of a “thought police” that would be dedicated to eradicating anti-homosexual thinking?  Have I gone too far?

 

Irrational fear? 

 

Once again let me state that to believe certain behavior is wrong is not necessarily born of fear or anxiety. There may indeed be those who are homophobic, that is, having a fear of being molested or raped by a homosexual, or fear of becoming one, or identified as being one, and the list goes on. And for those who have been in the military, or in prison, or in other circumstances where a homosexual might have a certain amount of power and authority, say a high school sports team coach, there may be homophobia, and such would not be irrational or imaginary. 

 

Needless to say, heterosexuals in positions of power and authority over persons of the opposite sex have abused that authority in sexual ways. Certainly, there is much more of this than homosexuals exploiting those of the same sex. Both are wrong, plain and simple.

I have been homophobic. In the Air Force there were homosexuals living in the barracks at Travis Air Force Base, and once in a while some would be caught doing what they ought not to have done and were either dishonorably discharged from the service or at least demoted and locked up for a while. In my thirty years as a volunteer at San Quentin Prison I found out that prison life was dominated by sex, some heterosexual, but mostly homosexual. I have also put five children through the school systems in Marin County, and I have been a freshman baseball coach for nine years. There are valid reasons why some have a fear of homosexuality. I don’t want to get specific or graphic, but I have been there and seen that.  

 

Yes, I have a certain amount of what is mistakenly called homophobia. So, what should be done with someone like me? Do I not have a right to it? Must the authorities be intolerant of it? As a Christian, must I repent of it?  

 

I do not want to be fearful of homosexuals, and in fact, to the best of my ability, I am not. With the growing numbers of gay people in American, if I were homophobic I would live a fearful and miserable life. I live in the world and am very much a part of it; I am a law-abiding citizen, and I will act according to the laws of the land. But I reserve the right to believe that homosexual behavior is wrong. 

 

For all have sinned 

 

What about heterosexuals? Many, perhaps most, heterosexuals are disturbed sexually to one degree or another. And how would we expect anything less, particularly in western societies where sex is distorted and confused? We have rapists, child molesters, sex-slave traffickers, pimps, brothel keepers, porn addicts and makers, and more than I care to know about, and in far greater numbers than do the homosexuals. The marketplace commercializes sex and throws naked flesh before our eyes daily to sell products.  

 

Much of the distortion has come along with the millennia-long patriarchal cultures that are in place in most parts of the world, cultures that falsely empower men to control those who are physically weaker. And our religions have either looked the other way or actually institutionalized this departure from biblical models, including Christianity. All of this morass has to do with what theologians call “the Fall,” that time when humans rebelled against the Creator God (who, by the way, is both feminine and masculine, see Genesis 1:27), and sex got completely tweaked.  

 

Moments after the Fall, Adam and Eve – or if you can’t handle that, the first man and woman – looked at each other, having a new knowledge of good and evil firmly implanted in their brains, and realized they were naked and were ashamed. Wow! Ashamed and guilty – and it is right here where the trouble is. Read the account below and see what you make of it. Here is Genesis 3:1-13:   

 

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.  He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.  

 

8 And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” 11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”      

 

Guilt and Shame 

 

A careful interpreter could reel off pages of commentary and never get to the bottom of all that is in the above passage. But there is certainly guilt and shame. 

 

The balance between the man and the woman was gone. Together they reflected the Creator; now separate and apart life drastically changed and not for the better. Heterosexual marriage is now a mere shadow of what it was intended to be. Not until that which is called heaven and paradise, symbolized as a wedding between Christ, the groom, and the Church, His bride, will there be restitution and realization of the original intent of the Creator. Until then, well, we know the story, don’t we? 

 

Pleasure, contentment, fulfillment, completion, happiness, rightness – it was all there for Adam and Eve. These wonderful gifts were replaced with guilt and an abiding sense of shame. No matter how much pleasure might be found in a sexual act, it would never be, for anyone, what it could have been. So we have sin lodged right in the core of the identity of the human sexual experience. And heteros and homos have forever attempted to overcome guilt and shame. 

 

Within marriage between a man and a woman, however flawed and imperfect, is contained a hint and a promise of what will come in the grand eschaton, that end point when there will be a recreation and a new heaven and a new earth. What God started will be completed. God’s laws, the thou-shalt-nots, were intended to make the best of what is. Adultery, fornication, and homosexual acts are a breaking of the law and thus guilt and shame arise. That is just how it is. 

 

Though the LGBT community may succeed in all its demands for equality and normality, guilt and shame will remain. Could it be that the homosexual, who in the quest to irradiate homophobia, is really being driven by guilt and shame? If homosexual behavior is normal and good, then ought not the negative and powerful emotions go away? But they will not go away, since the ‘wrongness experience’ is hard wired into every human being. 

 

God made sex and meant it for both procreation and pleasure; it is a strong bond that keeps a husband and wife together. It is in that “one flesh” relationship where sex can be experienced absent guilt and shame. God-ordained and -approved sex is a wonderful thing. A marriage between a man and a woman allows for the freedom to develop a very sexy relationship, which is not driven by lust and a never-ending quest for fulfillment. Such a sexuality opens a door to a “peaceful easy feeling.” 

 

Is achieving equality enough? 

 

Victory won, normalcy and equality achieved, backed by the law of the land, and clear sailing ahead. All will be well, right? This has certainly not been so for heterosexuals, and the trend seems to be downward rather than the other way around. Will homosexuals fare better? Probably not. 

 

Sexuality is the human core identity, but it is not larger than the kingdom of God and life eternal. The fuss about homo and hetero phobias is magnified, because sex has become so very distorted and filled up with the hope of ultimate satisfaction. In sexuality, even for the most well adjusted and blissful heterosexual married couple, there will be disappointment and frustration. As they say, “Get over it.” 

 

Phobias must not drive our behavior 

 

Both hetero and homo phobia are expressions of sinfulness, not the sense of fear itself, but the acting out on the fears to the detriment of others. We are called to love our neighbor as ourselves, so we have to admit that expressing these phobias is wrong. At least, let us deal humanely and rationally with each other, homosexual and heterosexual. Let us hear and respect each other’s positions while not having to approve of them. 

 

If I could say that homosexual behavior is right, I would do so, but I cannot.  I cannot say that the heterosexual’s adulteries and fornications are right, either. To approve homosexuality in any form, or to approve sex outside of marriage, is unacceptable from a biblical perspective. And to many, such is unacceptable.

 

There is hope, strength, and dignity in saying “No.” The aberrational, criminal, abusive, or exploitive quest of self-centered sexual pleasure cannot be tolerated by a civilized society where the rights of the weak must be safeguarded. Heading off the steep cliff without an observer shouting out a warning is both negligence and unloving to the extreme.  

 

Enough of this phobia talk. 

 

 



[i] News reports of pedophilia and the reality of child pornography and child sex slaves, and both of a hetero and homo sexual nature, frequently find their way into print. For instance, in the San Francisco Chronicle (November 12, 2013) is an Associated Press article titled, “Police rescue 386 kids in global child porn bust.” The arrests of 348 people, was orchestrated by Canadian police, included schoolteachers, doctors, and actors, among others. The arrests of operatives of Azov Films, that had been in business since 2005, distributed some of the most vile images of boys from age 5 to 12. “The videos included naked boys from Germany, Romania, and Ukraine which it marketed as naturist movies.”  This sort of thing is likely to produce some fear, and if it does not, then the human situation is more vile and evil than we have imagined.