Greg Johnson, Still Time to Care, The Grace of Shame

Recently, I read Greg Johnson’s Still Time to Care (2021) for an NGA paper. Two things struck me:

  1. Johnson is incredibly deceptive with words (of course this is also the case with all his sermons, talks, and speeches); and
  2. The Grace of Shame (2017) is an invaluable resource for fighting against homosexuality/Side B. Every issue presented by Johnson is answered by GoS. Of course, Johnson must be aware of this but doesn’t care…

@mdperkinsworks are also very helpful, and he has shown Johnson’s mishandling of Richard Lovelace. Johnson mishandles others as well (see below).

Johnson and Revoice have been covered extensively on Warhorn. Well worth reading them old to new.

I’m posting about Johnson here to spur others on to read and share The Grace of Shame. I also want a little more of an ROI after reading his terrible book… I will give a couple quotes from it showing the heinous nature of Johnson’s heresy and deception.

Johnson’s premise is that the ex-gay movement (Exodus Intl) has already tried to cure homosexuality but failed miserably. We can’t cure gays, so instead we must learn to care for them. Here he quotes Calvin trying to prove homosexuality is incurable:

This deeply rooted sin is what theologians have variously called concupiscence, the sinful nature and its motions, indwelling sin, or internal corruption. The Protestant reformer John Calvin explained the relative permanence of indwelling sin in his discussion of Romans 6. “So long as you live, sin must needs be in your members,” he wrote. It must be. There is no cure. He continued, “At least let it be deprived of mastery." – Johnson STTC 136

Now here is the full Calvin quote (from his Institutes 3.3.13)

“Let not sin…reign in your mortal body to obey its lusts” (Rom. 6:12). He does not say: “Let it not be,” but “Let it not reign.” So long as you live, sin must needs be in your members. At least let it be deprived of mastery. Let not what it bids be done. Those who claim that inordinate desire is no sin commonly quote James’ saying by way of objection: “Desire after it has conceived, gives birth to sin” (James 1:15). But this can be refuted without trouble. For unless we understand that he is speaking solely concerning evil works or actual sins, not even evil intention will be considered sin. But from the fact that he calls shameful acts and evil deeds the “offspring of inordinate desire” and applies the name “sin” to them, it straightway follows that inordinately desiring is an evil thing and damnable before God. – Institutes 3.3.13

Does Johnson agree with Calvin or, more importantly, James that inordinate desire is damnable sin? No, he doesn’t:

“There is no cure for corrupted nature in this life. We remain inescapably children of Adam. There is only a charge to fight our corrupted nature’s temptations to sin.” – Johnson STTC 136

We are not to fight our sin, but our “nature’s temptations to sin,” meaning, we are not to mortify our inordinate desires, instead we are only to not give in to them. Don’t fight the sin in your members, just fight the temptation to sin. This is unbiblical: Col 3:5-6, Eph 4:20-24, 2 Cor 7:1, James 1:14-15 – see also Misconceptions About Desire and Temptation (James 1:14-15) – Purely Presbyterian.

In this same section he cherrypicks Charles Hodge, John Murray, and the Westminster Confession (quotes 6.5 as if ch 13 doesn’t exist).

Here’s one more quote from his terrible book. This one just about summarizes the whole issue. Read it out loud to hear exactly what he believes:

Alongside shame, the soul-crushing reality of loneliness is the largest challenge faced by many gay people. It’s a challenge that often becomes even more troubling after Christian conversion. As a celibate forty-eight-year-old virgin who’s never so much as held hands [he said this verbatim on the floor of GA 2019, in fact much of the book is the same rhetoric he has said elsewhere], I know loneliness well. I know what it’s like to sit alone at home on Christmas Day because I have no family of my own. Even before the fall, God said it was not good to be alone. Loneliness is brutal… Imagine what it’s like for the teenager who realizes she’s gay. The thought of being alone for an entire lifetime can be crippling. Think of the older woman in your church as it dawns slowly on her over the years that she will probably never marry. Think of all the pain, sorrow, and despair that might fill her heart at such a loss. And then take the couple in your church in their midforties who have tried for fifteen years to conceive a child, only to realize that every promise ends in failure and every new hope becomes a dead end. Think of how hard it is for them to watch the baptism of a child or a Christmas program or to pass by the nursery at church. Think of how hard it is for them to come to church on Mother’s Day. Think of the heartache they experience when they attempt genuinely to be happy every time another couple announces they’re expecting a baby. Enter into the pain of realizing God is denying you something for which your body was made. Now take all of that pain and all of that sorrow, heartache, and loss–both of that couple with infertility and that older woman in your church who will never marry. Combine all that pain. Then front-load all of it–all at once–onto a sixteen-year-old girl in your youth group. That is her reality. Weep with her. Make sure she is not alone in that. – Johnson STTC 224

This is just the tippy-top of the iceberg. Johnson is completely unlike the apostle Paul. His words bear no resemblance to the words of Scripture. He never ever talks about repentance, mortification, or sanctification in any plain Biblical or reformed way.

Heresies have a double effect: destruction and purification of the Church. Perhaps seeing these quotes will spur more people on to read and share The Grace of Shame which offers real hope to sinners.


The last quote summoning “all of that pain and heartache” etc etc really shows, contra its intention, that homosexual identity is an exceedingly heavy yoke to place on someone’s neck. Weep for her is right.

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He’s not wrong in mentioning the loneliness etc of long-term (straight) singles, and the couples in our churches who for whatever reason will never have children. The grief in these situations is real, and the loss is real; and one cannot always assume that people in those situations will come to terms with them. But to then ‘hijack’ that to promote an agenda of accepting gay identities in the church? That rankles.

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He is categorically wrong to claim the loneliness of infertile marriages and unchosen singleness for those who are unrepentant in their sexual sin and unwilling to forsake it to pursue biblical marriage. And make no mistake, Johnson and Shaw are unrepentant in their sexual identity.

They boast in the ‘cross’ of an orientation (their word not mine) they claim they didn’t choose - that their natural struggle forbids them marriage - then they lord it over others than their orientation makes them more able to understand Christian sacrifice than those without this orientation.

Like an angry man boasting that those who know victory in patience are inferior to his natural struggle. Like a bitter woman boasting that she has it so much harder than those who labour to control their tongues.


I want to push this one step further, and @MattShiff can tell us how @tbbayly addresses this in the Grace of Shame.

What is it Greg Johnson and Ed Shaw really want that they lack? Is it intimate male friendship? No, David and Jonathan had that. Is it family? No, single Christians can find that in the church. Is it sex? No, they could choose to pursue Christian marriage. What is it they lust after and complain they are denied? Sodomy. Greg Johnson and Ed Shaw are angry that they want gay sex and God won’t let them have it. That’s the end, the goal, the purpose, the telos of their ‘same-sex attracted’ desires. That’s what sets their temptations apart from others.

Think about that.

It’s not about cuddling. It’s not about holding hands. It’s not about intimacy. It’s not about family. It’s about aching for sodomy. That’s what these men are judging Christians for not approving.

Now that’s not what I’d say to every Christian who struggles with some aspect of homosexuality, though that may be an appropriate response in some situations. There’s a need to apply these truths pastorally and to the person in front of us. But these men are public teachers, self-professed leaders of the church, those who really have the answers for these sins and struggles. So, let’s call their self-identified sins what scripture does.

We must understand that this is at the core of the discussions. Greg Johnson and Ed Shaw are preaching liberalism not Christianity. Their ‘same-sex attracted’ gospel is a false gospel; it leads not to salvation but to damnation. We must call these sins and desires what they really are. And here’s the bitter irony: these two men have never tasted the defiling fruit of their desires. They’re both, by their own public admission, virgins. They’ve never engaged in the actual acts they so desire. They don’t understand what they’re talking about. They don’t personally get the sense of shame and defilement that accompany these actions. Like the Pharisees, they are leading their converts to be more sons of hell than they are and tying heavy burdens on them that they themselves refuse to help them lift.

This is pastorally incompetent, and it is cruel counsel. Do we have no compassion for those who desperately desire to be freed and cleansed from these sins? Men and women in the grip of these life-dominating sins need the hope of the gospel that cleanses and the promise of genuine transformation, even while acknowledging that that transformation may never fully remove their desires. They need the hope that they too may say, as did the believers in Corinth, ‘that is what I was, but praise God am no longer.’ That is worlds away from the counsel Johnson and Shaw give. And what other sins are Christians so insistently defensive of? What other patterns of clearly godless thoughts, desires, and behaviours do Christians so publicly justify?

Have we no compassion for Christ’s sheep who ache not for sin but for cleansing?


That’s very helpful, Aaron.

GoS focuses on the halfway covenant of Side B: sodomy is bad, but effeminacy isn’t. Side Bers want the outside of the cup clean, but not the inside.

But effeminacy is damnable sin, because sex is more than intercourse. It is ontological, it is who we are. A man must be manly, woman womanly (Deut 22:5).

You’re dead on, they want sodomy and are angry they can’t have it, but they set it up to still have their effeminacy. Of course, this setup is doomed for failure. It’s like telling a teenage boy to simply not look at porn but never help him to mortify his lust.

Also, I think it was you who said this in one of Tim’s classes: “people today think sodomy is two men cuddling on a couch.”

We must recover the disgust and shame of sodomy and effeminacy. Johnson’s own pictures are effete. Revoice speaker line ups are full of butch women and gay men. They’re perverse. They’re gross. They’re gay.

May God have mercy,

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Maybe what they want is an end to their shame. As time has gone by, I’ve concluded this is their deepest demand of the Church.

One other thought: until we understand that the Scripture command to marry given those not having self-control applies especially to those of us suffering under sexual dysphoria, we don’t begin to minister to the LGBTQ crowd storming the church with their anger and alienation. If I were to single out one Biblical doctrine that is most avoided by pastors, elders, and Titus 2 women working with those in love with sexual perversities, this is it. I’ve often thought the absence of the “it’s better to marry than to burn” command is the best indicator of our lack of loving understanding and faith for repentance of these souls in our midst. Love,