This week, theologian Dr. Preston Sprinkle publicly responded to the claim that he is a heretic. That claim was made by author Dr. Rosaria Butterfield during a convocation speech at Liberty University earlier this month.
Butterfield, who is well known for her personal journey from being a gay activist working as a tenured professor of English and women’s studies at Syracuse University to becoming a Christian leader and pastor’s wife, has recently taken aim at a number of public theologians and Christian organizations that hold to what she believes is errant doctrine with regard to human sexuality.
During her convocation address at Liberty on Nov. 10, Butterfield specifically singled out Sprinkle alongside the Revoice conference and Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ), alleging that he promotes “lies.” She also referred to The Center for Faith, Sexuality & Gender, which Sprinkle co-founded and leads, as “heretical.”
The “lies” Butterfield accused Sprinkle and others of promoting included the claims that “same-sex attraction is a sinless temptation and only a sin if you act on it,” “people who experience same-sex attraction are actually gay Christians called to lifelong celibacy,” “people who experience same-sex attraction rarely if ever change and therefore should never pursue heterosexual marriage,” and “God doesn’t care about whether men live as men and women live as women.”
This was not the first time Butterfield has expressed her belief that Sprinkle is a heretic. In an appearance on “The Great Awokening” podcast in October, she referred to Sprinkle’s ministry and others like it as “all of that heresy” and “false teaching.”
In June, she criticized Sprinkle’s book, “Embodied,” saying of the work, “This is not a Christian book, and this is not Christian theology.”
On Wednesday (Nov. 29), Sprinkle published an article-length response on the website of The Center for Faith, Sexuality & Gender in which he clarified that he doesn’t actually affirm the beliefs that Butterfield has accused him of affirming.
In the introduction of the article, Sprinkle praised Butterfield’s work and indicated that he would have preferred to speak to her directly, whether privately or publicly, but that she had rebuffed his request for a personal conversation.
Sprinkle said that he reached out to Butterfield via email, but that “her husband, Kent, who is also one of her pastors, responded with an email he and his co-pastor had written, declining on her behalf.”
“When I asked for permission to quote publicly from their reply, Kent requested that I not do so and provided me with this public statement: ‘Rosaria’s pastors stated there is a difference in understanding of the gospel and therefore see no basis for discussion,’” Sprinkle added.
Sprinkle then went on to explain where he shares agreement with Butterfield’s views of human sexuality, where he disagrees, and where he felt he has been misrepresented.