Many have considered the response of prominent Evangelical church leaders’ responses to the rise of homosexuality and transgenderism, in the church and culture, inept. In 2018, Nate Collins organized the first ever Revoice Conference setting off a massive debate in Evangelicalism over side b theology. Side b theology asserts that homosexuality is part of one’s identity and the sin is in acting on the behavior. This is meant to distinguish itself from “side a” which denies the sin of homosexuality and “side x” which is shorthand for the “ex-gay movement.” In other words, side b theology asserts that “gay Christians” are here and queer, and the church needs to get used to it. The most obvious problems with this movement are the premises that sinful desires are not in and of themselves sin and that it is good, much less debatable, for a Christian to identify with a sinful category. Additionally, this movement is in its infancy trying to formulate a cohesive ideology for what is and is not consistent with Christian living and same-sex attraction. Yet what allowed this movement to spread rapidly in Evangelicalism? In this report we will show how Big Eva platformed Mark Yarhouse at the peril of orthodoxy on this issue.
Whereas Tim Keller promoted the heretic Francis Collins to promote his theologically liberal views on Creation to Evangelicals, DA Carson, the other founder of The Gospel Coalition would rely on the work of Mark Yarhouse to help the church “respond” to the rise of homosexuality in our culture. In 2010, DA Carson commissioned Mark Yarhouse to write a white paper titled, “A Christian Perspective on Sexual Identity.” This white paper is not readily presented on the internet by the parties who champion it. Nevertheless, this 2010 paper by Yarhouse has glaring theological issues intended for use by campus missionaries. One of the immediate errors is the recognition of sexual orientation as a fixed position.
In the most extreme example, what if nobody experienced change? Although that was not the case, when we look at the debate about whether homosexual orientation can change, Christians understand that change is also not directly relevant to the moral debate. The Christian sexual ethic is a part of a larger identity that is grounded in being faithful to God’s revealed will and honoring God with our lives. From a Christian perspective, if God’s revealed will is that full genital sexual contact should occur only in the context of a lifelong heterosexual union, then same-sex behavior is the primary concern rather than same-sex attraction or orientation. If neither attractions nor orientation change, the sexual ethic remains, so believers must take responsibility for whether and how they express their impulses in their behavior. In that sense all people are capable of conforming to God’s expressed will in this area. This response will be viewed as quite foreign and perhaps more radical to a culture that sees no reason whatsoever to resist impulses that feel like self-expression. Indeed, we are a culture of self-actualization, and sexual self-actualization is one of the most salient examples of how people in our culture express themselves. (pg. 10)
After summarizing a study in which he demonstrated that Change Therapy was more successful than not, Yarhouse posits a hypothetical question in which homosexuals could never become heterosexual. Here Yarhouse introduces a distinction between homosexual behavior and attraction, as it relates to the Christian sexual ethic. He presupposes that this is a radical position to the culture while it is a compromised position with Christianity.
It’s critical to note that Mark Yarhouse’s framework for discussing “sexual identity” is a postmodern framework constructed with Intersectionality, which he defines as the “the manner in which multiple aspects of identity may combine in different ways to construct social reality” (pg. 16).
But this experience of “multiple aspects of identity” is quite salient when we look at the relationship between religious and sexual identities as experienced by Christians who are sorting out sexual identity conflicts. Unfortunately, the experience of Christian sexual minorities in particular is often overlooked or even derided within the gay community (and sometimes within the broader culture),46 particularly when Christians do not integrate their experiences of same-sex sexuality into a gay identity. The multicultural movement’s literature refers to this as “intersectional invisibility,” the phenomenon in which those who have “intersecting identities” are “regarded as nonprototypical members of their constituent identity groups.” 47 Again, those who do not integrate their experiences into a gay identity are certainly nonprototypical today. (pg. 17)
Mark Yarhouse takes a third way approach to navigating interpretations of Scripture as it relates to his theology. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 is a demonstrable instance where he reads his own ideology into the text.
Another approach to the topic is realistic biblical hope. From this perspective, 1 Corinthians 6:11 describes a change, but we have no assurance that the change in question is a change in attraction or orientation; rather, the change may be a pattern of behavior that characterizes a person. Change may also occur at the level of attraction or orientation, but that is not considered typical or a necessary interpretation of the biblical passages. Also, emphasizing change of sexual orientation can risk idolizing heterosexuality. What is more important to the Christian is not heterosexuality but a Christ-like life devoted to God (e.g., 2 Timothy 2:21; 1 Thessalonians 5:23). (pg. 23)
This argument came after positing two “extreme” views on the topic of “orientation” change. Mark Yarhouse chooses a third way, splitting the baby down the middle. Repenting of homosexuality is then tied to idolatry.
In our research comparing experiences of Christians who experience same-sex attraction and who identify as gay and those who do not identify as gay, we reported that some of those who did not identify as gay felt that identifying as gay and worshipping God out of that gay identity was not being authentic to what God intended for them in terms of a more central identity in Christ. Similarly, some participants shared how they felt God did not intend for them to have a gay identity but to trust God as sovereign over their same-sex sexuality. (pg. 33)
Mark Yarhouse holds a theologically more liberal view than many of the subjects he interviews, which is rather telling about his third way mentality.
However, the church would do well to expand the vision of the Christian who is navigating sexual identity issues beyond the expectation of complete heterosexuality or the expectation of heterosexual marriage, even if a modest number of believers do experience a more significant shift. Many others will not experience the same degree of shift, and a Christian’s measure of spiritual depth and maturity does not hinge on the eradication of same-sex attraction or an increase in attraction to the opposite sex.
Yarhouse concludes his white paper by stating that the eradication of homosexual desires is not in any way correlated to sanctification and encourages the church to take up the same approach. The Gospel Coalition and the Christ on Campus Initiative operate on this issue according to Yarhouse’s white paper.
While Mark Yarhouse in his white paper points out that Change Therapy is more helpful than not, he would take a public stance to build bridges with the APA to be a “Christian” voice opposing it. Part of his bridge building efforts included positing a “third way” alternative that gained him respect in the Psychology community. Yarhouse worked with noted liberal Warren Throckmorton to oppose Change Therapy. Together they would author the Sexual Identity Therapy (SIT) framework.
In 2019, Mark Yarhouse would be a featured speaker at the Revoice Conference, a ministry he endorsed as maintaining the Christian sexual ethic.
In the last several years, Mark Yarhouse has shifted his focus to transgenderism. On numerous occasions, Yarhouse claims that the Bible “does not say much about gender identity.” On numerous occasions Yarhouse uses preferred pronouns and preferred names. What stands out is that Yarhouse legitimizes the “trans experience.” He calls comparing transgenderism to transracialism an absurd kneejerk reaction. Despite, or because of, his psychological background, there is no mention of autogynephilia, a sexual fetish in which a man is sexually arouse by imagining himself as a women.
When navigating issues, Yarhouse posits three frameworks, the integrity framework, the disability framework, and the diversity framework. The integrity framework is the standard biblical objection to transgenderism. The disability framework, in contrast to the integrity framework views transgenderism as a nonmoral issue and credits the effects of the Fall for this happening rather than sin. According to this view a person is not responsible for their gender dysphoria. Then there is the diversity framework which posits that being a transvestite is something to celebrate. Mark Yarhouse believes in a fourth way he calls the “integrated framework” which takes the “best” elements of the other three frameworks.
From the integrity framework, Mark Yarhouse upholds the distinctions between male and female. The integrated framework “give us pause when we consider seeking the most invasive procedures; seek wisdom and maturity in light of a Christian view of sex and gender.” Mark Yarhouse believes that the disability framework is the best at bringing forth compassion and empathy, by removing moral culpability. From the diversity framework, Mark Yarhouse believes the meaning making of both identity and community is valuable and good.
Mark Yarhouse erroneously claims that once a person reaches adulthood, gender dysphoria is not likely to discontinue because psychologists have not developed a protocol to see this result manifest. Mark Yarhouse and his prodigy Julia Sadusky wrote a pastoral paper for the Center For Faith and Sexuality, Preston Sprinkle’s Side B organization.
The influence Mark Yarhouse has had on Evangelicalism is palpable in the compromise of The Gospel Coalition which has been well documented by the Evangelical Dark Web. But beyond The Gospel Coalition, Yarhouse plays a corrupting influence in various campus ministries and Wheaton College.
Mark Yarhouse is the man Big Eva sought to build them a ramp on which to compromise on sexuality. His clinical approach to transgenderism especially is comparable to the notorious clinical approach of Margaret Sanger. Yarhouse does not bring a biblical worldview into science. Instead, he brings a mad scientist worldview into Christianity. Just like Francis Collins wanted to legitimize theistic evolution in the church, Mark Yarhouse has made it his life’s work to legitimize Side B theology in the church. For this reason it was vital to expose this sinister influence so that the church may be better equipped to combat the rise of this heretical ideology.