Do you know anyone who has died of the flu? I guess
I do now, and it came as a shock. I received an email telling me that on March 8, we lost Dr. Joe Nicolosi. After a brief hospitalization for the flu and dehydration, “[his illness] progressed into kidney failure and finally cardiac arrest,” wrote David Clarke Pruden, MS, Executive Director of The Alliance for Therapeutic Choice and Scientific Integrity, an organization co-founded by Dr. Joe.
I had the privilege of working with Joe Nicolosi on an online lecture he gave in 2014, as The Salt & Light Council hosted a series of workshops addressing Biblical Sexual Ethics.
Joe’s turn came on Week Three. His topic was reparative therapy, a term he coined. I asked how his practice was going, given the push against possibilities of change for those experiencing same-sex attractions. “It’s going great,” Joe said, enthused. “We had four walk-ins just today. When people want out, they don’t care what the newspapers or others are saying.”
In time, reparative therapy morphed into what the Alliance now calls “Sexual Attraction Fluidity Exploration in Therapy,” or “SAFE-T,” to better describe what actually happens in such efforts:
“The Alliance [focuses]…on the right of persons to deal with unwanted sexual behavior and attractions as well as the right of therapists to offer psychological care to those who wish to deal with these concerns by managing, diminishing or eliminating them rather than just identifying with and acting upon them. We acknowledge and respect the right of individuals to claim a gay identity. People have various personal, interpersonal, health, religious, and other reasons for wanting to pursue change in their unwanted same-sex attractions and behaviors. They have every right to have their values respected.”
Though gender confusion may presently abound in the culture, Joe did not bend.
“Joe was certainly a larger-than-life, one-of-a-kind guy,” Linda, Joe’s wife, explains on his memorial page. “Never worried about political correctness, he was happy to swim against the cultural tide when he was sure the culture was going in the wrong direction. That got him into trouble quite a few times.
“Gay-activist web sites, for example, are still fond of quoting the occasional risqué jokes he made during his life in the public eye, and of showing and re-showing him tossing a mic back at a rude TV interviewer.
“But, Joe had ardent convictions about the truth of male and female design, and because of his conviction and courage, his awareness that he would face biased reporters didn’t stop him from appearing on Oprah Winfrey, Larry King Live, Hannity and Colmes, O’Reilly Factor, 20/20, Dr. Phil, BBC News, etc.”
Isn’t it interesting that Joe’s decision to pursue a politically inconvenient path automatically transferred him onto a Biblical one? While the Alliance says it respects religion, but is not itself a religious organization, the choice should be clear for those of us who say we are born again.
The Bible lists homosexuality among the many sins that have befallen the creation since Adam and Eve succumbed to temptation. If we are to be Biblical, it remains our duty as believers to actually live what the Word of God professes. As society increasingly invited political correctness to dictate culture, however, followers of Jesus Christ placed ourselves at a distinct disadvantage that shut us up and out of the public discourse. Why did we silence ourselves?
The Bible begins, “In the beginning, God created…” God, as Creator, is the administrator of life. He governs; we submit. Right from the start, though, God deeded governmental authority to man. The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it (Gen. 2:15). His choice.
Do you know the Founders followed the Biblical model? One example: Isaiah 33:22 defines our three branches of government: For the Lord is our Judge (our Judicial Branch). The Lord is our Lawgiver (our legislative Branch). The Lord is our King (our Executive Branch). That’s awesome!
Politics, in itself, isn’t bad. The word defines “the activities associated with the governance of a country or other area.” No problem there. However, corruption enters when we separate from the Creator and strive to govern ourselves. Led by imperfect people, all Hell breaks loose. Scripture says it all: They (we) exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator, who is forever worthy of praise! Amen. (Romans 1:25).
It is distinctly un-Christian to leave creation to its own devices. God raised prophets who confronted kings when they did evil. The New Testament describes Peter and the other apostles making their position clear: We must obey God rather than men.”
In our present autonomous condition, government is swallowing up God’s grace. It has become not only unfashionable, but illegal to help someone leave sin. But, that didn’t stop Joe. His door remained open to whosoever would dare find his way back to his God-defined sexual birthright. Joe practiced what he preached to the end of his life in the most politically incorrect area imaginable, and his love never ran cold.
That’s our choice, too. I believe that when we understand we are to exercise governmental authority—deeded to us by God, Himself—we sprint towards, not from, the public square. We fight the good fight not as ideologues, but as those personally snatched from the fire. Believers have great testimonies.
It comes down to two choices from two competing systems. One is an un-Biblical governmental alignment of political avoidance where we abdicate our God-given authority. We remain hostile to the political arena, refusing involvement. Vote or run for office? No way! Deal with hot-topic social issues such as homosexuality, the definition of marriage, evolution vs. creation and being pro-life? Too thorny! Tell Biblical truth to those snagged by sin? We call that “unloving” as we tickle people’s ears, and offer them words of comfort and peace—but it’s a false peace.
Our other choice is to intentionally exercise the joy and privilege of Biblical citizenship. We dust off the Scriptural model and declare, “No King but Jesus!” This road begins with our personal prayers of repentance. We have to first gain the mind and heart of Christ.
Following that, the choices become endless. Spiritual life from the pulpit to the pews.Education. Activation centered on Biblical issues. Evangelism infused wtih apologetics—we call it “Evangeletics.”
Unshackled by whims of people’s ideologies, we are free. We take that witness to the world. How about mentoring youth in the benefits of God-inspired governmental authority, or joining school boards to oversee what is taught in schoolrooms? Honor and virtue return, God’s love proceeding from His truth infuses our words with His power. Conviction from sin burns to kiss redemption. It’s a Scriptural concept!
“If Joe’s sticking his neck out for us, we better be…there with him.”
Retaking lost ground is a battle requiring time and devotion—it includes much spiritual warfare. God seeks His Nehemiahs building with one hand and with the other defending against “spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12).
Let’s call all the therapists at the Alliance “Joe.” You and I are the first line of defense for Joe. If Joe’s sticking his neck out for us, we better be right there with him. Our children are worth it. We are worth it, and God is certainly worth it. I know Joe would agree.