Playlist:

Message 4, Pre-Conference Panel Discussion:

Tim Challies, Peter Jones, and Rosaria Butterfield joined Lee Webb to further discuss their pre-conference messages.

Message Transcript

WEBB: Dr. Jones I was interested to know if you thought — you came here in 1964. I assume you would argue that that survey would look a lot different in 1964 than it does in 2015, correct?

JONES: I think the survey does in its approach what I’ve been trying to do myself. Perhaps I’m looking in the more hardcore kind of influence in the culture from a thoroughly pagan point of view, but I think the influences of paganism amongst the elite produces the kinds of results in the average kind of person these days that get it from television and from the media of all kinds, so these results confirm what I’ve been seeing at, at a different level.

WEBB: It also reinforces our need to embrace the inherency of Scripture, it seems, and, Dr. Butterfield, I found it interesting — as you attended the church in Syracuse that Ken Smith was the pastor of, the sermons — every one of the sermons that you described, didn’t seem to meet the standard evangelical culture of living your best life now or meeting your felt needs. They all seem to be expository sermons. Is that correct?

BUTTERFIELD: Yes. That’s absolutely correct. That’s absolutely correct, and you know, one of the things that was so, I think, startling about that as a professor of English, in some ways I was used to knowing how to open a book and identify the narrative form and know what’s expected. But an expository sermon is unlike anything else. It is disarming and, you know, as I find myself, you know, a little bit unexpectedly on the frontline of a culture war again, you know, I just continue to believe that Reformed and systematic theology is the missing link of this conversation.

And so a really good question and just a practical question for everybody here is, you know, if we are here in part because we believe that, then we need to know what we know better than we know it.

We need to know it well enough to say it in five different languages. We need to know it well enough to bring it really far down and bring it really high up because we’re not just, you know, in this Christian life for us. So even when we have our devotions in the morning, it’s not just you and the Lord. There’s a whole culture that is in some ways waiting for a Reformed and systematic theological answer to this question and the question is this: Does my personal experience trump God’s Word?

And when my personal experience overwhelms me and beats me down faster than anything buoys me up, where’s Jesus? Where’s the gospel?

JONES: I’d like to add to that because I heard from your testimony some powerful notions. Lee, you’re right, the authority of Scripture is essential, but I think prior to that, to get people to accept that they need to grab ahold of the what I call — you’re tired of hearing this — the cosmology of the Bible, which I think is what Rosaria discovered as she read holistically the Bible and saw a holistic system applying to her life and seeing that she had come with an equally holistic system and the confrontation was between these two worldviews, and as the Spirit worked on her she came to believe in the authority of Scripture, but if I’m not misrepresenting you, it was the actual profound message of the Bible’s worldview that really is the important thing we need to be developing today.

WEBB: Tim, we want to bring you into this conversation. Where does all this fit in in the digital age?

CHALLIES: Let me add just one thing to what was said, and I think we can — we have to be people who are systematic in our theology, but I think there’s also a lot of room here for biblical theology. You won’t find the word ‘transgender’ in the Bible, but you can get to it by just understanding what sexuality, what gender mean as we see it from the garden to the cross and to forever to the final consummation.

So we just got to be people who are in God’s Word day by day just soaking in God’s Word, knowing God’s Word, trust in God’s Word, believing it in every part. If we immerse ourselves in God’s Word, we will have answers to bring to ourselves and to the culture.

And I see so many young people who have not had compelling answers to these questions, so when questions about transgenderism or other things comes up, they have no answer because we haven’t taught them. We haven’t led them deep into the wells of Scripture. Where does the digital world come in? It comes in everywhere. It’s all around us, and what we take for granted today, we, tomorrow will just be so, so different.

So we think that the Bible — when we think ‘Bible’ we think printed book. Right? We think the Bible is a book. Our children will think the Bible is an app. It will be an electronic entity for them. The whole notion of what the Bible is will completely change. We need to be aware of that and we need to be thinking about that and training our children, not in the Bible as a book, but the Bible as what it is, the canon. The Word of God.

WEBB: I asked each of the panelists if they would be so kind as to ask each other questions. I kind of want to disappear here and let them discuss some of the things that they were talking about in their presentations, but Dr. Jones, do you have a question for Tim or for Rosaria?

JONES: Just an observation, I love what Tim is saying about this visual reality and I come back to the old sore, I keep mentioning that it really does come over to young people as a totalitarian, coherent system, and I’m sure we have to occupy the virtual waves in the same way somehow. I’m not sure this is for your generation to figure out, Tim, how we will do that, but more and more I see the confrontation not between specific notions, but between these two worldviews. I’ve tried to give them simple names, one-ism or two-ism, and that might go well on the — on virtual reality so try it out.

CHALLIES: Am I allowed to ask a question?

WEBB: Absolutely.

CHALLIES: Alright. I’d like to ask a question of both of you and I noticed when Rosaria was speaking she spoke about a transgendered person and used the pronoun ‘she,’ I believe, you used; and I would like to ask both of panelists here, what is your opinion of using, granting a transgendered person the pronoun of their choice?

Do we as Christians need to stand on some kind of principle and say, “No. This is what I believe, therefore, this is what you are?” Or is it OK to allow them to — to allow ourselves to describe that person as he or she describes themselves? And I think this is a very relevant question for us.

WEBB: Rosaria, would you like to —

BUTTERFIELD: Tim didn’t want to wait for an easy question or just a, you know, I don’t know. A couple of things. One is that there was an absolutely excellent article in public discourse on transgendered-ism, coming at, I think it was two weeks ago. You would know better than I would, but, and I would just recommend it to you because I think it was extremely helpful in pointing to this internal problem with LGBT.

See, if lesbian, gay, and bisexual would make the claim, ‘I’m born this way’ and I don’t necessarily want to argue that claim because I think the DNA of original sin is such that we, you know, we could go with that, but if you want to make that claim, there is absolutely not one, you know, atom in a transgender — a person who identifies as transgendered that’s born this way.

So, you know, a real question, I mean, I think Tim’s question points to two things: one is what’s the moral responsibility of Christians as we interface with people whose identifications don’t make any biblical sense? And I, and I would say this isn’t just a transgendered issue. I would say it also extends to the whole category of sexual orientation. I have a book coming out in June and I talk a little bit about it there, that the invention of sexual orientation as a category was a category mistake.

No, I’m really serious. It happened in the nineteenth century. It was an explicit move to replace the idea that what separates a human being from an animal is a soul, to what separates a human being from an animal is the ability to have the kind of sex you want whenever you want it because birth control has now made it so that there are no consequences.

So that’s a — you know, we have to realize that, you know, we interface with the world of ideas in every day. So, but the — there’s a pastoral question. There’s a pastoral question and that is, you know, can you find when you’re dealing with people that right relationship with accepting people where they are, but not approving that?

So, if you argue with a person about an identification, even one that you really suspect isn’t accurate at all, you might not get to the next place, but if you wholesale buy into it, you’re also not going to get to the next place, and so I think this is, you know, we are called right now to have, you know, such a deeply Bible-saturated apologetics that will allow us to be able to make some of those judgements as we’re, you know, as we’re in that relationship, but in general I think that there’s got to be a difference between acceptance and approval. And in most friendships, we’re able to share that. You know, most friendships can handle that.

WEBB: Before we move on, I think most folks would be interested to know if you still have any ongoing contact or relationship with Jay?

BUTTERFIELD: Yeah, no. I, you know, one of the ways that the Lord worked in my life was as soon as I would take one, you know, minuscule step towards him, he would burn the bridges behind me so that I really couldn’t go back. Providentially I was up for a post-tenure research leave and so I left Syracuse after a year of having changed my academic field from queer theory and nineteenth British studies to Christian hermeneutics.

There’s a — you, and you know, people often say, you know, “Oh, what a wonderful witness you must have been.” Well, can you imagine if you were one of those graduate students who came across the world to work with me in queer theory and now I’m just directing dissertations in Christian hermeneutics?

You might have a strong negative opinion about all of this, but my post tenure research leave really did make a break between my friendship and then, you know, the other thing that the Lord did that is, you know, mighty and powerful and providential is that He allowed me to marry Kent Butterfield who is my, you know, my firewall for any number of things.

But, so, you know, life went forward not backwards and, you know, the gospel brings you forward. You know, I think that’s one of the challenges, again, that this whole category of sexual orientation and the putting sexuality as the most important, you know, thumb print on humanity. One of the challenges is that people who, who believe that are always bringing you back, which is the wrong direction.

You know, the gospel’s bringing you home and home is forward. But one of the things that did happen the year that I was, you know, my post conversion year and, making my switch from queer theory to Christian hermeneutics and all of that. You know, Jay continued to really hang in there with me, and we had many, many deep conversations with the Bible open about what is the difference between healing and forgiveness, and ultimately she and I had a very important theological disagreement.

I believed, in spite of the fact that I didn’t necessarily feel this way in my body, but the Bible made it clear that homosexuality was a sin to be mortified, not a personal experience to be modified.

I didn’t really need to be healed. I mean, I did have, you know, chronic sinus infections. So I always — I, you know, you could always pray for my healing.

But that, that wasn’t a healing a question. It was a repentance question and then it was a ‘now what’ question. You know? Now, what? What if I never — what if my feelings never change? Does that mean that there isn’t a gospel road to me? Well, of course not. You know, of course not. Because we have an eternal perspective.

We realize that only two things will survive to the new heavens and the new earth. The Word of God and the souls of people, so we, you know, we know that it’s going to be hard and, you know, we also know know it’s going to be harder for some people than others. You know, another question that we might think about is what happens when someone who has gone through the surgery and is now genitally and physically mutilated comes to Christ? And our churches need to be ready to receive brothers and sisters in all shapes and forms, and that’s going to be hard.

JONES: I think Tim’s question is very insightful, profound, and I just wrote an article yesterday of how our culture will be radically changed if the Supreme Court accepts same-sex marriage. The number of ways in which normal life will be affected, you know, how are we going to adapt to that?

I’ve had letters sent to me and I wrote an article in answer, should I attend a same sex marriage, and I must say my answer at that point was attending a marriage the way marriages are set up, you attend as a witness, and can a Christian witness to a same-sex marriage union, and I said, “I don’t think you can. I think you have to maintain friendship, but can you function in a more sacramental kind of situation.” Well, we’re going to have to all be asking that question soon.

I think that this culture is going to implode. My wife gave a lecture a week ago about gender, and she did some study on her old alma mater, Wellesley College, and it was fascinating. They are going through a struggle now between the old style feminists and the modern feminists and whether they can admit a transgender male who’s now woman into a woman’s college, and the old style feminists absolutely say ‘no,’ and the new ones say ‘yes.’

But it is — here you have a situation where this traditional classic wonderful women’s college founded on Scripture, now cannot figure out who it should accept as a student. I think that that is wonderfully ironic that this is where we’re arriving. No one can figure out what kinds of prepositions to use anymore and she discovered lists and lists of prepositions. So, you know, when you ask should we use prepositions, I’m not even sure we’ll know which ones to use.

WEBB: Rosaria, Iwanted to direct this question to you because there’s — I’m sure that as all of us were listening to your story, there was a sense of conviction for many that maybe we have not done a good job of coming up out of our fox holes and engaging socially and modeling Jesus in that regard, but there’s no question that this issue has a political component to it.

We’re seeing it played out in the state Alabama now as they wrestle with this issue. I guess my question to you, is it OK, or do Christians have a role and a responsibility to engage this issue politically and how should they do it?

BUTTERFIELD: Right, right, right. And, you know, I’m not a — that’s not a great question for me because I’m — my eyes sort of glaze over at the whole policy debate, you know, but there’s no question that Christians have a responsibility to be good citizens.

There’s no question that Christians have the responsibility to be good neighbors and there’s no question that Christians are not expected to be schizophrenic in how they engage themselves as neighbors or citizens. You know, but I think it’s a ‘both/and,’ you know. I don’t think that, natural law and public policy are going to answer the problem because the gospel isn’t in either of those. So, the problem goes deeper than that.

Although, you know, what Dr. Jones is saying is absolutely right, that the way that the shifting sands are shifting will change, you know, all kinds of things.

One of the things it’ll change is when the erotic is not contained in biblical marriage, it’s almost not safe to have friendships. Almost any same sex friendship is leaves people with a question mark now. And that’s terrible for friendship. You know, it’s horrible for what it means to be brothers and sisters in Christ.

So, I think it’s a ‘both/and,’ but, you know, remember that you have neighbors. You know, not many of us have, you know, jobs in public policy, but you do have a job when you are, you know, at work and someone asks you what you think, you need to have a good answer. You — and you have to be willing to risk friendships and I think that’s the hard thing.

The two things that Christians don’t like to do, we don’t want to lose friendships, we don’t want to lose our reputation for being a kind of reasonable person, and we also don’t like the fact that some people have more crosses to bear than others. So, we need to sort of realize that those are not sacred cows that you’re supposed to be bowing to.

But, you know, one thing that you can do, everybody here is a neighbor, and neighbors deal with neighbors at the level of barbecues, lost dogs, kids who need to be picked up at the bus stop, library book returns; those are the things that we can all do when we get home from this conference.

And, there are a number of good books. I love the book ‘The Art of Neighboring.’ I think Tim likes that book, too. I’ve — in fact I’ve used it and bought so many copies and handed them out to my neighbors and, even to be — because it’s very simple but, you know one of the things that it does, too, is it balances some of these policy questions, but we need to do both/and.

JONES: Well, I feel embarrassed with these two wonderful people involved in all kinds of personal relationships, and I like to think about the big picture, which is so impersonal and dehumanizing, but anyway. I’ve gotten involved in the worldviews kind of stuff, not, not for political reasons, but for the sake of the gospel. I believe that we need to understand the way people think in our time so that when we do speak the gospel they cannot hear it through the lens of a totally different worldview, and thus, never hear it.

And so I think we have to deconstruct the worldview that is now on offer before we can actually speak the gospel. Now, I’m not talking about this deep spiritual commitment stuff, which I love and is absolutely necessary, but just in terms of how you articulate the gospel involves all of this stuff, and that’s independent of politics it seems to me.

It’s a worldview that the devil is using, and one thing I have found in approaching these issues of sexuality from a worldview perspective, you can effectively avoid moralism. Moralism is awful to get things going, you know, that you’re inferior or you’re a lawbreaker.

As Rosaria said, “We’re all lawbreakers” so how far do you get there. But if you can describe, what I believe, are only two worldviews, and one is based on distinction (two-ism), then a rationalization — not a rationalization — explanation of biblical sexuality falls into place whereas a oneist worldview in history, homosexuality was classically the expression of the shaman in almost all the pagan cults because that sexuality fits into a pagan oneist worldview.

And it seems to me that we can engage, and I don’t know, Rosaria, whether you approve of this, but we have to always turn to you now. You’re our expert. That I believe we can engage in an argument of cosmology more effectively than in moralism. Say something. Please.

BUTTERFIELD: Amen, brother.

CHALLIES: I’ll just throw out, the one thing the Bible clearly commands is that we pray for rulers and those who are in high authority and that we pray that they would allow us to live quiet lives, that we can go about the business of the gospel free from interference and intrusion from those rulers, so I’m sure there are some people that are called and gifted specifically to be involved in the political process and that’s wonderful and I’m glad that they have their fingers on that pulse and that they’re trying to be influencers. That’s wonderful.

For the rest of us, some of us can do that, but all of us ought to be praying and praying with faith that we would be able — even when the sands are shifting and it looks like doom and gloom out there in society, but just keep praying that we would be allowed through government to live quiet, peaceful lives where we can dedicate ourselves to the Lord’s work.

WEBB: Tim, staying with you, and we really appreciate some of the things you outlined for us to be careful of in this digital age. I was wondering, do you have a program in your church that — where you are discipling men and women, boys and girls, people of all ages, in setting up some of these boundaries, and then the second part of that question, you talked about legalism and how the critique is that maybe sometimes this borders on legalism. How do you put the fence up there?

CHALLIES: Yeah. We do not have a formal program for teaching these things. Instead, I just try and — our church is small enough that I can speak to everybody and just reach out to them as their kids get older and just ask what they’re doing and try and help people put together a plan. That’s really what I want.

If you know that you need to approach this issue through planning, you’ll be well on your way, because then you’ll just have to think about each part of the network in your home, every device, every piece of software, and you’ll have to fit it into a category. So just that idea. I need a plan. I can’t just open up my home, open up my family to all of this, and the second part of your question was —

WEBB: How do you put up a fence to make sure that you’re not crossing over into a legalistic structure, for that?

CHALLIES: Yeah, so we are putting structures in place in my home to protect the children and really to help guard them as they grow in their understanding and as their ability. So we do this in all of life. I use the example of driving. It’s not legalistic to give your child a learner’s permit and give then them lessons and then set them free.

That’s just pure reason. That’s just a very good idea. And the same is true with our devices. Just slowly train our children to use them. As they use them well, give them more and more ability with them. Let them use them more.

As they fail, then start curtailing those things again and eventually just have it your goal that by the time they’re out of my home I want them to understand how these things work. I want them to be able to use them well and responsibly and see that these tools can be used to carry out why God has put us on this earth. They must be. And so, we need to help our children understand that.

WEBB: Dr. Butterfield, back to you and your relationship with Pastor Ken Smith. It dawned on me as you were talking about him and his communication with you. It seems to me that we — this is especially true of me. I’m the least patient person in the world, and I think that many times our evangelism has lost a lot of patience, but he is a man who exhibited a great deal of patience with you. Is that right?

BUTTERFIELD: Absolutely. No, absolutely. And, you know, we are a small denomination. We had a small church. It wasn’t as though he had people in the church saying, “Boy, you’re really wasting your time with this professor.” You know, he had — he didn’t just give me spare time. He gave me pricey time, and, you know, a lot of that stemmed from being a good neighbor.

We were neighbors and he was trying to teach me that that actually means something. But the other thing that he was willing to do was he was willing to get to know me well enough to know where the gospel really met my vulnerabilities. You know, Ken didn’t look at me and say, “Well, aha, you know, she’s a lesbian, so the biggest sin in her life is her sexuality and that’s where I’m going to meet her.”

I mean, he really knew that the biggest sin in my life was my unbelief and that was his primary calling, was to make sure I understand that, and make sure that I understood that I have a soul that will last forever and, make sure that he was willing, you know, available to answer questions, and, you know, and his wife, Floy was amazing as well. You know, I had not really ever met Christians. Christians, probably — I felt about Christians maybe the way you feel about gay and lesbian people.

You know, I just, they were just this big sort of stereotype that they were all, you know, especially conservative Christians, you know, the men were all overbearing and the women were all kind of brain-dead. And you know, really, you know.

And, just getting to know Ken and Floy and spending time in their home and their home, in some ways, was a lot like my home. It was open all the time. People were in and out. People were reading books, but the Bible was always open, and any question that you had you could go to all these other books, but ultimately we would go back to the Bible and, it wasn’t — the Bible wasn’t some kind of museum piece.

You know, ‘Oh, don’t hurt that. Don’t ask that hard question of the Bible. You know, it might fall apart.’ So, you know, he was just very willing to do that. He was always very willing to show what Christian hospitality really is.

Right after my conversion, one of the graduate students I had mentioned, she tried to kill herself and, I was her advisor and when you have an international student you become sort in loco parentis and so, this student spent a month in the ICU burn ward and it was very clear that she would need our lesbian community there and I would need my Christian there, and so not only was Ken willing to engage in hospitality, but all of my homeschool mom friends, you know, were willing to do the same thing, and there’s a lot that happens in the waiting room of a hospital when somebody’s life is on the line.

There’s a lot that happens and after my student was ready was ready to be, discharged from the hospital, well, where was she going to go?

You know, we were all 80 hour a week professional women. It’s not like any of us had homes that could help, but Ken Smith did and so, well, of course she recovered there, and that led to another line of openness. So, you know, very rarely do people argue with hospitality, and with mercy work, and — but it wasn’t just that.

I think, you know, there’s always a danger in just saying, “Well, you know, that’s a good — that’s all Christians can do. That’s good. We can all agree with that.” But, you know, Ken was somebody who not only knew the Bible well enough, but knew how to train people in knowing the Bible well enough that, that people in this church community were hungry to see those receptor sites for the gospel.

You know, this was not a church where people read a verse a day. I mean, you know, people read a horoscope a day, too, and, it’ll probably get you, you know, what you want for that day, too. That’s not enough. It’s never — it was never meant to be enough, and so Ken was really committed, not just to dealing with me and all of my mess, but also really training and discipling the men and the women and the children in the church, so they, too, could relate to someone like me.

So I didn’t — I wasn’t a blank slate, and I didn’t walk into a church where I only had one friend. But neither did I walk into a church where people said, “Oh, you know, you’re a lesbian. Let’s see. We’ve got a support group over here you can go to.”

You know, not at all. Not at all. The Word of God is sufficient and actually getting to know other people’s problems and not your own is extremely helpful in your life of faith and what it means to apply faith to your fear. So Ken was just all in.

CHALLIES: One of the interesting things you said earlier was just that, the gay community has a caricature of Christians, and I think the opposite is true as well. So neither group is seeing the other group clearly, and when you spend time, at least when I spend time with people who are homosexual, they’re not militants. They’re not radicals. They’ve just been immersed in this culture, which tells them if you have this feeling, then by all means follow that feeling.

So in that Romans 1 sense, yes, they are rebelling against God and there’s a sense in which they know that they’re rebelling against God, but culturally and just the way they think, they’re just doing what culture has told them is good and acceptable and perfect, which is in this case not the will of God.

And so we can’t look at everybody out there as a radical, every homosexual as someone who’s trying to destroy our way of life and who’s trying to — who’s deliberately going against the Bible. Just to get into community with people as Rosaria outlined, to speak with them, to invite them into your home, to invite them into your world.

That’s where you open up these great conversations where they get to see, “He’s not who I thought he was” and I get to see, “You’re not who I thought you were,” and I think you can have some very good conversations there that hopefully lead to the Lord.

BUTTERFIELD: Right. Right. I think one of the challenges today, though, is that people have a political lobbying group that not just supports the right to what we know is a sin and our tolerance of it, but it’s — we’ve moved way beyond tolerance and so I think that’s where Dr. Jones’ position on really being a student of worldviews, you know, really knowing where these worldviews came from. I mean, history of ideas is not an add-on anymore.

Yeah, I don’t think Christians can share the gospel in this culture without being able to anticipate what some of the assumptions already are, and some of the preexisting beliefs, and even some of the attacks are. So I think it is definitely a ‘both/and,’ but I really loved what — I loved what Tim said, that, you know, some people are militant and some people aren’t.

But it’s hard today to deal with people in individual ways because of this political lobbying group. It’s hard. It’s harder.

WEBB: We have just four minutes left and we want to certainly honor your time, but before we conclude, it just dawned on me that over the last couple of years one of the compelling questions that we’ve received from folks who’ve attended this conference is that from a number of Christian families, moms and dads, who are not just dealing with their next-door neighbor in this regard, they’re dealing with their own sons and daughters.

Let me ask any of the three of you, but particular you, Rosaria, how — what would be your counsel to them in dealing with this?

BUTTERFIELD: Yeah. I’m so glad that you asked that question, because my heart really goes out to parents who have raised their children in the Lord, and this — a child’s identifying now as gay or lesbian is really out of the box, and I think a couple of things are happening. One is that those parents feel an unrightly so, guilty, you know.

I mean, I think we need to remember that Satan is our accuser, and one of the greatest, you know, I don’t know, weapons that Satan has to is to falsely accuse and to say somehow it’s all your fault. And, there’s also — so it’s not. It’s just not your fault. You made all kinds of mistakes, but you can’t make this happen.

This is — we’re all in a very confusing place right now, and you didn’t do it. It is not your fault. But the other thing that parents feel is just this profound grief, because as everyone else in their church, or so it seems, is preparing for a biblical wedding or a, you know, a grandchild, they’re in a totally different world, and they feel isolated and, unable really to know how to reach out about that.

And so I just keep encouraging people to talk to their elders, to talk to their pastors. There’s, you know, there is a group that I really like. It’s called Harvest USA and they do come to your church and they’ll help you to set up, you know, a group for parents because parents need to pray together.

Parents, you know, the worst thing you can do is be isolated. I mean, Tim was saying that. Whether you’re isolated in your sin or you’re isolated in your grief, it’s not — it’s so counterproductive. It’s not what God has called you to. I mean, if God has called you to this ministry, it’s really hard, but God doesn’t ever get the address wrong. He put you on the frontline for a reason and we, the rest of us need you to not be filled with shame, but with a sense of community in a community care.

But, you know, the other thing we need to do is develop and have better community within our churches because the gay and lesbian community is a real community. Every night of the week when I was in the community, somebody’s home was open for fellowship or food or conversation and, you know, it’s sad. Our churches are often on a starvation diet of that. You know, one fellowship meal, third Lord’s Day of the month and, you know, well you’re set. And you know, we’re just not set.

JONES: I wonder if it’s like the basic problem of covenant children who turn away from the faith without entering into homosexuality. We have two children of our seven who no longer walk with the Lord and it’s such a burden, and my wife is planning to start a prayer group of parents in our church to pray for our wandering children. But there’s no simple answer.

WEBB: Tim, go ahead.

CHALLIES: The theme for both was ‘church.’ That’s why God gave us our local churches, so before you need a book, before you need to have your child come and speak to Rosaria, before any of these things you have to get into your local church. Those will be the temptations. Right?

To find something else, but go to your local church and let them weep with you. Let them bear that burden with you. That’s why God has put us in these gospel communities. So whatever else you do, go there first.

WEBB: Dr. Peter Jones, Tim Challies, Dr. Rosaria Butterfield; would you join me in thanking them for their wisdom today?