osaria Butterfield is the author of The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert, and The Gospel Comes With a House Key. She’s one of the main go-to people for Christian leaders to point to as an example of the power of the gospel on account of being a lesbian Women’s Studies professor who was saved and having her sexuality redeemed. She ultimately married a man, had a family and turned aside from her wayward ways- being a shining success story in an ocean littered with failures.
We’ve scrapped with her over the years primarily because of ancillary perspectives on homosexual habits. While Butterfield’s LGBTQ theology is not as sub-biblical and theologically schizophrenic as Jackie Hill Perry, Rebecca McLaughlin or Sam Allberry; three other mainstays in this space, she’s had several blind spots over which we’ve taken her to task, and for which we’ve been roundly criticized.
One is her suggestion that Christians should practice ‘Pronoun Hospitality‘ and use personal pronouns of LGBTQIA&%$#@!HYGJZX folk if requested. The second is her claim that reparative therapy is a heresy and a modern version of the prosperity gospel, saying in a TGC interview:
I do not believe sexual orientation changes are a gospel imperative. I’m on record for saying Reparative therapy is the prosperity gospel. Reparative therapy is a heresy… on this earth God will give one person 10 crosses to bear and another person one.
And I think the prosperity gospel is to say ‘No, no give your life to Jesus and all will be well’… what the gospel promises is that if God gives you a heavy cross to bear, the Lord himself will uphold the heavier part, but God forbid Christians weigh on that cross and I think that when we look at orientation change as proof of the gospel we’re actually weighing on that cross… There is a vital need for single, celibate Christians in our churches, in our families, in our world.”
Despite taking heat for years over our criticism of this perspective, taking verbal beatings over our insistence that the gospel demands a change in “such were some of you”, we’ve been immovable, impassible and resolute in our conviction. We’ve now been vindicated for sending her some heat. In a retraction published on her website, Butterfield has thankfully repudiated her former position, writing:
In 2014, I wrote this in an article published by The Gospel Coalition: “[Reparative Therapy], a heresy, [is] a modern version of the prosperity gospel. Name it. Claim it. Pray the gay away”.
This ranks among the most misguided words I have written as a Christian.
I falsely believed that Reparative Therapy and Conversion Therapy were the same things and that they harmed people by making undeliverable promises and blaming parents for their children’s problems. I falsely believed that the darkest days of mental health-think “electroshock therapy”-fell under the umbrella term “conversion therapy. When I dismissed Reparative Therapy as harmful, I was running roughshod with overgeneralizations and failing to distinguish “hurt” from “harm. “
Butterfield notes that some countries like Canada have already passed laws against any conversion counseling, which they wield “against the proclamation of the Gospel by denying as harmful the biblical witness that homosexuality and transgenderism are sins and that in Jesus Christ there is forgiveness, hope, and transformation.” She concludes:
So, what do I believe? I believe homosexuality and transgenderism are sins, which means their root cause is sin. God’s remedy? The atoning blood of Christ is applied to those who repent and believe in Christ alone for our salvation (Mark 1:15). The Gospel compels us to love God (John 14:15) and live in the power of our new nature in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). Our new nature in Christ empowers us to die to sin (Romans 6:2) and fight remaining sin (Gal. 5:16-17).
Pastoral teaching is crucial for the Christian, but Christian medical care comes to our aid when our bodies groan with illness and Christian counselling when our minds ail with trauma and abuse. Christians may work together to help a struggler be victorious in Christ over homosexuality and gender dysphoria. God does not leave His people defeated by sin and discouraged by facing trauma and illness alone. Seeking Christian care for mind, body, and soul is a good and godly approach.
Why, that sounds like something we would say. Now all she has to do is repudiate her perspective on personal pronouns and about five or six other very troubling statements (Enumerated here and here), and we’ll be able to endorse and commend her. For now, we’re glad she’s taken this step.