Critical Concern Series

Critical Concern Series

Dr. Stanton Jones will discuss a biblical response to the contemporary challenge of same-sex attraction. Photo courtesy of Wheaton College (www.wheaton.edu)

by Public Relations

October 9, 2009

In the last 11 months, eight states have significantly altered their stance on gay marriage — three banning it, five permitting it. With state laws varying across the country and changing at such a rapid pace, same-sex attraction is a crucial issue in society.

Recently, the American Psychological Association issued a directive generally discouraging counselors from helping gay clients seek to change their sexual orientation. That is why Cedarville University has invited Dr. Stanton Jones, provost of Wheaton College (Il.), to its Critical Concern lecture series to speak about homosexual conduct and conversion therapy, also known as “ex-gay” therapy. He recently published a compelling and scholarly longitudinal study of such practices, finding that while the process is difficult and long, change is possible. Many participants in the study learned how to live peacefully with celibacy and others substantially shifted toward heterosexuality.

“This study is a groundbreaking classic — scientifically erudite and clearly presented,” says Dr. Merton Strommen, founder of the Search Institute and a fellow of the American Psychological Association (APA). “It invites an open forum where scientific evidence and rational thinking are allowed to dominate discussion of the subject.”

Jones’ research, presented to the APA, influenced their 2009 report on homosexuality. While the report recommended that counselors should not try to change clients’ sexuality, it permitted counselors to help their clients identify personal beliefs, examine their conflicted sexuality, and adjust their values or behavior in order to achieve a peaceful resolution. “We have to acknowledge that for some people, religious identity is such an important part of their lives, it may transcend everything else,” said Judith Glassgold, chair of the APA’s task force on the issue.

Dr. Carl Ruby, vice president for student life at Cedarville, echoes her sentiments. “Here at Cedarville, the major issue we face in counseling is that our students define themselves by their faith and they can’t just set it aside because of same-sex attraction,” he said. “At the same time, a student’s sexuality is also central to his or her sense of identity. While we don’t subscribe to a particular form of therapy, our heart is to help students wrestle through that dilemma in order to pursue godly behavior, which we believe excludes homosexual practices. For some students, counseling eventually results in a change in sexual orientation, and for others it may lead to a commitment to celibacy. ”

Ruby emphasizes that this event is not just for psychologists, counselors or struggling students. The topics addressed have large cultural, political and religious ramifications for everyone. He says, “In an age that loves disparaging attacks and sound bites, Cedarville University wants to provide a forum for civil, gracious and honest discussions about tough topics.”

The Critical Concern Series brings in noted scholars to biblically analyze contemporary issues. It is a free event hosted by Cedarville University. Located in Cedarville, Ohio, the University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist university of arts, sciences, professional and graduate programs. Offering 100 areas of study to 3,000 students, the University features a worldwide Christian ministries program. Visit the University Web site at www.cedarville.edu.

More Information

Lecture 1: “Can homosexuals change? The current state of the debate” at 3 p.m. in the Center for Biblical and Theological Studies
Lecture 2: “Is homosexual conduct wrong? A biblical response to contemporary challenges” at 7 p.m. in the Dixon Ministry Center
Date: Wednesday, October 28
Address: Cedarville University, 251 N. Main St., Cedarville, Ohio
Cost: Free
Learn More: www.cedarville.edu/criticalconcern