Tom Buck, pastor of First Baptist Church (FBC) in Lindale, Texas, says Ed Shaw, pastor of Downtown Emmanuel in Bristol, England, is guilty of “heretical teaching”. Buck takes issue with how Shaw explains how to navigate same-sex attraction and called Sam Allberry and The Gospel Coalition (TGC) to no longer support Shaw.
Shaw says that when he sees a man who is attractive to him, “I don’t necessarily need to repent of this recognition of beauty because what I have recognized is something that I, as a being. human, I was designed to recognize.” Shaw shared these thoughts in a 2019 interview with Dominic Steele of The Pastor’s Heart. In addition to being a pastor, Shaw is the director of live outsidea ministry whose purpose is “to encourage Christians, equip churches, and engage the world with God’s plan for sexuality and identity.”
Shaw explains, “I was designed to recognize beauty; I was designed to recognize the image of God in someone else. Attraction in itself is not a sin. What is sinful is what we do with the attractions that we have. Shaw says that the moment he recognizes another person’s beauty, he has a choice to either sin or respond in gratitude to God for the beauty he has created.
“Nothing new on Ed Shaw’s claims,” Buck said in a Feb. 15 Tweeter from an excerpt from Shaw’s interview. “I exposed this heretical teaching three years ago… What also hasn’t changed is Sam Allberry’s reluctance to condemn this as it still remains on the Living Out website, and [TGC] continue to cover Shaw. Allberry is the founder of Living Out, and he and Shaw have articles posted on the TGC website.
Ed Shaw: Let’s Stop the “Journey to Ungodliness”
“I continue to call on @SamAllberry to renounce the teachings of Ed Shaw and Living Out”, Buck noted later Tuesday. “Sam needs to get out of them rather than ‘keep supporting them’.” Buck also gave Shaw a Example “wolves ravaging the church today.”
The FBC pastor linked to a article he wrote in 2019 where he addressed similar comments that Shaw made in a Publish on the Living Out website. Buck thinks Shaw’s views are inconsistent with Jesus’ instructions in Matthew 5:29 seriously dealing with lust or instructing believers in Colossians 3:2 fix our minds “on things above”.
“No faithful pastor would give this advice to a heterosexual man who goes through with his desires,” Buck says. “I could never imagine a pastor saying, ‘It’s just your natural response to beauty as you were created to respond to it. You should appreciate beauty, but don’t let it drift into sexual fantasy.
Ed Shaw and Dominic Steele, however, made that exact point in The Pastor’s Heart interview. At one point, Steele reflected on his own thought process noticing someone who is “pretty”, thinking that person is attractive, and then “switching to ungodliness in my thought patterns”.
“We’ve become so used to taking this journey into godlessness that it’s really hard to change,” Shaw said. “What I try to do and what I encourage others to do is actually to try to break that habit and see that noticing beauty is an opportunity to recognize where that beauty comes from, to acknowledge God and to worship and praise Him for the beauty that passes right in front of us in the street. It’s the decision of the moment, but I think it’s something that we can more and more train ourselves to do.
This posture of gratitude helps Shaw not live in “horrible fear of falling into sin” because of his attractions. And that helps him recognize the depth of God’s love for him. “My sexuality is there to help me appreciate God’s love for me,” he said. Church leaders in an interview last April. “When I feel the strength of sexual desire, I actually get a tiny glimpse of the strength of God’s love for me.”