Dr. Stanton Jones, Provost of Wheaton College and author of Ex-gays: A Longitudinal Study of Religiously Mediated Change in Sexual Orientation
October 28, 2009, Cedarville University
3:00-4:00 p.m. - CBTS 104 - "Can homosexuals change? The current state of the debate"
7:00-8:30 p.m. - CBTS 104 - "Is homosexual conduct wrong? A Biblical response to contemporary challenges"
Knowing how to respond to the issues of same-sex attraction continues to be one of the most challenging ethical issues for today's generation of college students. During last year's Critical Concern Series, author Gabe Lyons (UnChristian) touched on this troubling topic. We will continue to struggle in this area, Lyons contended, as long as non-believers perceive evangelicals as hostile to homosexuals.
Efforts to help people change their sexual orientation or, at least, manage the temptation not only add to this perception, but stand as a particularly vexing issue for the gay community. While we, and most evangelicals, see it as living in a manner that is consistent with personal holiness and sanctification, many in the gay community see it as intolerant bullying.
For this reason, we've invited Dr. Stanton Jones, author (with Mark Yarhouse) of Ex-gays? A Longitudinal Study of Religiously Mediated Change in Sexual Orientation to discuss homosexuality during the next Critical Concern Series forum at Cedarville University on October 28. A solid evangelical and noted scholar, Jones has done groundbreaking research in this area for nearly 20 years. His presentation will include fresh data from a major study on efforts by Christian organizations to help individuals who experience same-sex attraction.
Dr. Merton Strommen, Founder of the Search Institute and Fellow of the American Psychological observed, "This study is a groundbreaking classic — scientifically erudite and clearly presented ... it invites an open forum where scientific evidence and rational thinking are allowed to dominate discussion of the subject."
Commenting on Jones' work, Dr. Warren Throckmorton, Cedarville University graduate and Professor of Psychology and Fellow for Public Policy and Psychology at Grove City College wrote, "Can some motivated people alter aspects of their sexuality through religious ministry? With the publication of Ex-Gays? Stanton Jones and Mark Yarhouse have produced the most rigorous study to date to address this question. Knowing their results would generate controversy, the authors have thoroughly described the rationale for their procedures. While the authors fully acknowledge that change in sexual attractions did not occur for some individuals, they offer cogent and compelling reasons to believe that participation in religious ministry resulted in durable changes for others. The Jones and Yarhouse study will set the standard for all future work in this field and demands a serious reading from social scientists. For anyone interested in the study of sexuality, values and human change, this book is a must-read."
Jones' lecture will include a conversation on what change tends to look like, the success rates of attempts to help people alter or control same-sex attraction, and practical suggestions for how we should respond as the body of Christ. Dr. Jones will also reflect on criticisms of his report, the experience of testifying before the American Psychological Association, and offer suggestions on how the Christian community should respond to this issue.