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Case: Karen Swallow Prior – A Theological Argument Against the Affirmation of Sin.

News Division

Liberty University Professor, Karen Swallow Prior, has been under a lot of scrutiny on social media for the last several days regarding her stance on homosexuality. The argument is that she believes homosexuality to be sinful, therefore, she does not affirm it. But do her actions say otherwise?

First, let’s define the term affirm. While the Oxford American College Dictionary defines affirm in one way as “to state as a fact,” it offers a second definition, in which we will focus on here since it’s more applicable and equally valid in this case.

2 [WITH OBJECT] Offer (someone) emotional support or encouragement: there are five common ways parents fail to affirm their children good teachers know that students need to be both affirmed and challenged
2.1Give (life) a heightened sense of value, typically through the experience of something emotionally or spiritually uplifting: it is a rich and challenging motion picture that both affirms life and emphasizes its fragility

I think everyone involved in this argument can affirm (no pun intended) that Dr. Prior has both offered emotional support or encouragement to homosexuals, as well as given them a heightened sense of value emotionally, and spiritually.

There is no way out of the argument that Dr. Prior is affirming homosexuals, according to this definition. So this leaves us with the question; is affirming homosexuals in this way biblical? Let’s examine this from a scriptural perspective, as Christians must always do.

How did Jesus treat unrepentant sinners?

After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth. And he said to him, “Follow me.” And leaving everything, he rose and followed him.

And Levi made him a great feast in his house, and there was a large company of tax collectors and others reclining at table with them. And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at his disciples, saying, Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners? And Jesus answered them, Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance. Luke 5:27-32

Upon first reading this passage, one might think that this is no different than what Dr. Prior has been doing. After all, she “believes homosexuality is a sin,” right? But there are a few key phrases in this passage that should be looked at a little closer. First, Jesus said to the tax collector, “follow me.” When Jesus used this phrase, it was a call to repentance, not just the physical act of walking behind him. The next statement says that Levi “left everything,” and followed Jesus. This is an act of repentance. Further, Jesus tells the Pharisees that he is there for the purpose of calling them to repentance.

Is Dr. Prior asking her homosexual friends to drop everything, and follow Jesus? This is a question that should be answered.

I know Dr. Prior and her supporters have stated over and over that she “believes homosexuality to be a sin,” but does she call them to repentance? Do her friends know, without a shadow of a doubt, that if they don’t repent of their sin, they will perish, and have eternal conscious torment? Is she proclaiming this boldly and clearly?

Her writings, videos, pictures, and comments suggest otherwise.

Advocate of the grossly unbiblical idea of “Gay Christianity,” and gay activist, Rachel Held Evans came to defend Prior with the following comment:

John 15:18-19 says:

If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

Homosexuals love Karen Swallow Prior. Brandon Ambrosino, a gay student of Dr. Prior at Liberty University, has stated this. Pictures that Karen has taken with homosexuals, and homosexual advocates also suggest this (see here and here). And further, homosexual advocates like Rachel Held Evans have repeatedly come to her defense.

I want to be clear, anyone who thinks (like Rachel Held Evans) that one can continue to live in unrepentant sin is NOT a Christian.

So we can conclude one of the following from this:

1.) Either Karen Swallow Prior is loved by the world because she doesn’t proclaim the whole counsel of God.

2.) The Scriptures, according to John 14:18-19 are false.

The only logical conclusion for a bible-believing Christian to come to is number 1.

Prior’s supporters continue to defend her by leveling the accusation of hate against those who dissent from her manner of approach towards homosexuals. This is a grossly unbiblical position to take. 1 Corinthians 5:9-13 says:

I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people—not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

Now, one can argue that this is Paul directing this command specifically to the Corinthians because they had a problem with sexual immorality that was visible within their church. Short of being legalistic about it, this is true. However, there are practical and applicable truths here that must be considered. The reason “Purge the evil person from among you” is in quotations, is because this is a quote from Deuteronomy 17:17. The idea is that immoral people were defiling God’s people by pretending to be part of them.

This is exactly what is happening in our church today. There are homosexual activists, and “Gay Christian” propagandists running rampant throughout the Church, and they are being made to feel comfortable.

Matthew Vines is not a Christian, but he calls himself one–we must not eat with him.

Brandon Ambrosino is not a Christian, but he believes himself to be one–we must not eat with him.

Rachel Held Evans is not a Christian, but she calls herself one–we must not eat with her.

We must not allow these people to think that we believe them to be Christians. They must be purged from our churches and congregations unless they repent.

We must love them.

It is not loving to allow people to believe that they can be a Christian, participate in Christian sacraments and call themselves Christians while identifying themselves as homosexuals. We must not give them emotional support, or comfort, outside of the strict proclamation of the truth of the Gospel.

The truth is this:

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 1 Cor 6:9-10


I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. – Luke 13:3-5

I write this, not to further condemn Dr. Prior, or anyone else, but to simply proclaim the truth of the Gospel. If anyone is failing to proclaim our state of depravity, our deadness in sin and failing to call people to repentance and faith in Christ’s saving work through his death, burial, and resurrection, then that, people, is affirmation.