The thorough research in the report link above: “This is The Way God Made Me” should be more than enough! However it is delightful to see gay activists themselves being honest enough to tell the truth, “No one is born gay, the idea is ridiculous!” – Camille Paglia.
One gay activist recently said: “We don’t care that we are not born gay! We love our gayness! Get over it Christian homophobes, deal with it and tolerate it already!”
I think it is time to tell the truth loudly! You have been lied to America!
Not only does Camille Paglia, speak the truth, but there is the recent work done by Dr. Lisa Diamond, another lesbian leader. My friend Karen Booth wrote an excellent article and posted on her blog, and I share it below the two excellent videos:
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Are People Born Gay? Genetic and Epigenetic Determinism in Homosexuality
Born Gay? Is Homosexuality Genetic/Biological? – Science Is In: The Short Answer is: NO! – No one is born gay!
Is homosexuality unchangeable? Are gays and lesbians exclusively attracted to their own genders? Does a person who experiences same-sex attraction always proceed developmentally to the acceptance of a homosexual orientation or the adoption of an LGB or “queer” identity?
Dr. Lisa Diamond
These are the kinds of questions that have intrigued sex researcherDr. Lisa Diamond, who teaches psychology and gender studies at the University of Utah. A self-identified lesbian and vocal supporter of same-sex marriage, she is considered by many in her field to be one of the nation’s foremost experts on female homosexuality. Her research since the mid-90s has primarily focused on the “fluidity” of women’s sexual behavior, attractions (orientation) and identity labeling; and when she published her findings in 2009 the shock waves were felt almost immediately throughout the LGBT community.
For example, the online introduction to one of her interviews on a local radio station put it this way: “The queer community has been obsessed with cultivating the idea that we all have fixed sexual identities. We’ve crafted terrific narratives and political platforms based on the notions that all gays are ‘born that way’. But what if sexuality is more complex? What if biology actually intersects with environment, time, culture and context? Could we possibly be more fluid than we’ve supposed?”
Now, her more recent discoveries about male and adolescent sexuality ― described in detail in this 45 minutevideo of a lecture she presented at Cornell University ― are poised to make a similar impact. Diamond is a very engaging speaker, and I encourage readers to watch the complete video. Otherwise, here are some of the highlights along with my commentary in italics. I also noted some of the minute markers in case anyone wants to fact check.
Those uninterested in the data are welcome to skip that section to get right to my conclusions and application to our current denominational situation.
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In an overview of her previous research, Diamond acknowledges that early studies of homosexuality focused mainly on the “coming out” models of young men, with the developmental sequence moving from an awareness of same-sex attraction at 9 or 10 years old, to a gradual sexual experimentation with other males, to a recognition and acknowledgement of a homosexual orientation, to an ultimate adoption and announcement of gay self-identity. This stereotypical model, with its subsequent conflation of attraction, orientation and identity, has become the accepted “conventional wisdom” of much of the culture and Church. Christian psychologist Dr. Mark Yarhouse dubs it “the gay script.”
Though her findings on women contradicted these patterns in many respects, Diamond still believed they were common for men. But she also acknowledged that it’s been almost impossible to accurately access male homosexuality because the samples have been small, non-random and self-selected, and the right kinds of questions haven’t been asked. (6:10)The same problem has plagued almost all sex researchers ever since the hopelessly flawed Kinsey studies in the late 40s and early 50s. And all of the studies are based on memory and self-report that may not be entirely accurate. (For more information on the Kinsey reports, see Chapter One of my bookForgetting How to Blush: United Methodism’s Compromise with the Sexual Revolution.)
So in her most recent research, Diamond has shifted her focus from women to men and adolescents in an attempt to confirm or disprove what she calls the three pillars of sexual fluidity ― non-exclusivity; inconsistency between identity, attraction and behavior; and, variability over time. (8:35) In doing so, she rigorously examined and plotted the findings of a dozen of the more recent large population studies from 1992-2010, including one in New Zealand that followed a group of young people from their late teens to early thirties.
Regarding the first “pillar” ― non-exclusivity ― she discovered that the majority of men who had experienced same-sex attraction (SSA) of any kind were PRIMARILY attracted to the opposite sex; those who were exclusively attracted to other men accounted for approximately 2.5 percent of the general population sample. Less than 1 percent of the women were exclusively SSA, and both of these results were consistent across all the studies. (14:36)
These statistics are far more accurate than the commonly heard claim that 10 percent of men and women are gay, usually thought of as exclusively so. That figure is based on a faulty interpretation of the Kinsey research, which actually reported that approximately 10 percent of the male population had engaged in homosexual behavior at some time during their life. Even this outcome was inflated well beyond Diamond’s findings (5-7 percent) because Kinsey used a disproportionate number of incarcerated “sex offenders” and urban-dwelling homosexuals in his sample.
To assess the inconsistencies among sexual identity, attraction and behavior ― the second “pillar” ― Diamond did her own sampling of 300+ Salt Lake City residents who were almost equally divided between those who self-identified as homosexual, bisexual or heterosexual. (20:48) The participants were asked questions about sexual attraction, romantic feelings (“falling in love”) and actual sexual partners. Stereotypically, one would expect to find neat divisions across the three identities. But this was not the case; for example, 42 percent of lesbian women and 40 percent of gay men reported some attraction to the opposite sex in the previous year, and 31 percent of gay men reported having had romantic feelings for women. (26:26) There was even more of what Diamond calls a “mish mash” between identity, attraction and behavior when the study participants had been 12-17 years old.
To track variability over time ― the third “pillar” ― Diamond analyzed the four stages of the New Zealand “National Attitudinal Study of Adolescent Health,” which tracked “gain” or “loss” of SSA among a group of young people at ages 16-17, 18-19, 24-27 and 29-31 years old. (29:00) During their late teens, more boys and girls were losing SSA than gaining, which was reversed by their mid-twenties with more of them gaining, and which was then reversed once more by their early thirties with more of them again losing SSA. This tendency toward fluidity was also evident in the measurements of gain or loss of opposite sex attraction (OSA), especially in their early twenties and early thirties. However, in contrast to the females, male attraction did tend to become more “fixed” over time, though not to the degree that Diamond expected. It would be interesting to see the results extended as the group continues to age.
Diamond concludes (37:27) that: 1. fluidity in identity, attraction and behavior is NOT specific to women but a general feature of human sexuality, one which is also confirmed by historical and cross-cultural literature; 2. the various sexual categories currently in use (LGBTQI, etc.) are usefulheuristics (mental shortcuts, rules of thumb, educated guesses or stereotypes), but though “they have meaning in our culture, … we have to be careful in presuming that they represent natural phenomena” (38:55); and 3. it is “tricky” to use these categories for advocating rights based on the concept of immutability “now that we know it is not true … As a community, the queers have to stop saying: ‘Please help us, we were born this way and we can’t change’ as an argument for legal standing.” (43:15)
My own major takeaways:
the majority of men and women who have experienced same-sex attraction to some degree either prefer opposite-sex attraction or have the potential to move in that direction; it’s unknown whether or not the small minority with a more fixed preference for SSA could also move in that direction under differing circumstances;
the majority of these men and women DO NOT follow the stereotypical “coming out” models of the “gay script;” and
patterns of sexual attraction, identity and behavior change profoundly over a young person’s lifetime, with most of the openness to “movement” toward heterosexuality occurring in the late teens and again in the late twenties.
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If you’ve followed my post this far, you may be wondering what all this fascinating (or not) information has to do with Christian faith or The United Methodist Church. John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, utilized the concept of “plundering the Egyptians” to express the idea that Christians should borrow from all the best that culture has to offer in order to grow in knowledge and faith and to effectively share the gospel. I think that some of Diamond’s work falls into that category. Her political commitments make her no particular friend to moral traditionalists. But nonetheless, her research is an example of honest and relatively impartial scientific inquiry that refutes several of the false notions about homosexuality that pervade our culture and Church ― including the belief that the inclination is immutable and cannot be changed.
And even more to the point, Diamond’s research unwittingly confirms the potential for sexual transformation that is alluded to in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. If the verse “such were some of you” accurately describes the men and women whose sexuality changes naturally through the course of their lives, doesn’t it apply even more ― and bring additional hope ― to those who submit their fallen and sinful sexuality to the redeeming, sanctifying supernatural grace of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit?
We’re living in a time when more and more people, especially youngsters, are buying into the “gay script.” And we’re also living in a time when LGBT political activists are doing everything in their power tolegally prohibit and criminalize Sexual Orientation Change Efforts or SOCE. A solid understanding and clear communication of the “good news” of Dr. Diamond’s work gives believers one more tool for countering these ungodly trends.
And maybe someday, with God’s help, the rest of the secular therapeutic community ― along with politicians, academics, media elites and the culturally conditioned folk in our pulpits and pews ― will catch up to her.
Yes, I said it! I’ll say it again, “It is child abuse to withhold counseling, therapy and pastoral care from a child or teenager struggling with unwanted same-sex attraction or homosexual behavior when he or she desires change and is seeking help! It is tragic to withhold or prevent counseling from a sexually abused child confused in his or her teenage years when they are seeking help to overcome their unwanted same-sex attraction.”
This is what we are up against today all over the country!
It seems “gay is the only way” in California, New Jersey and the District of Columbia for our youth where they have passed laws preventing therapy and counseling for those under the age of 18. There is a shift taking place in the Church and in our country. The shift is a growing apostasy concerning the normalization of homosexuality among evangelicals. It is just like the proverbial frog in the pan of water set to boil. We cannot even discern just how close we are to the boiling point of death in heretical teachings that allow for “gay Christianity.” It seems few in the Church are concerned. This was revealed recently by the lack of support for HB 1598 – “The Parental and Family Rights in Counseling Protection Act.” Very few Christians are involved in these moral and family policy issues; they are failing to be salt in light in our world.
Many have embraced “Christian Political Correctness” (CPC) with Christian leaders who communicate a seductive kindness and ‘accepting’ tone about homosexuality. Otherwise you will be considered “unkind,” “unloving,” “intolerant,” “homophobic,” “bigoted,” and, of course, “hateful” if speaking in disagreement. It is a tragedy when leaders in the Church and our legislative bodies at the state and federal levels embrace a belief that young people who struggle with unwanted same-sex attraction should embrace only a gay identity, that “gay is the only way.” Some leaders actually believe it is unloving by getting our teens help; they believe that getting them counseling and therapy is harmful. Ridiculous! Some of these leaders have adopted an idea it is okay to be a “gay Christian”. Many lawmakers have bought into a lie that young people who struggle with same-sex attraction, even if they have been sexually abused as children, should embrace homosexuality. They believe people are born gay, even when the all the science is against such beliefs. These “leaders” are believing lies from the gay political agenda and Hollywood. Therefore these “leaders” are knowingly and unknowingly aligned with the gay political agenda in furthering the recruitment of young people into homosexuality. They have become “leaders” who are propagating more child abuse.
Representatives and Christian Leaders – What Do Your Really Believe?
What kind of a leader who says he believes in the family would align himself with such a diabolical plan to recruit more young people into homosexuality? What kind of leader who calls himself or herself a Christian could align with such laws in California, New Jersey, and DC to ban counseling? What kind of leader would vote for such proposed laws in more than 15 other states preventing help for teens with unwanted same-sex attraction? What kind of leader would vote down HB 1598 in Oklahoma knowing it would protect our children? Wouldn’t it be a very deceived leader, who is at the very least naïve or a leader who is not paying close attention to what is going on in our country? Wouldn’t this be a leader who is afraid of gay activists, instead of doing the right thing? Is it possible that these leaders actually know what they are doing and they just don’t care? Men and women who don’t care MUST be replaced with those who do care, who love righteousness, and who love families and children.
Why I support HB 1598 and Representative Sally Kern
Oklahoma House Bill 1598 is preemptive and forward thinking. Representative Sally Kern sees what is happening in other states where gay activists are busy trying to pass laws to stop young people from getting needed and desired counseling. These activists put forward stories of those who are “victims” of therapy and counseling. They focus on the failures of those who were not successful in limiting their unwanted same-sex attractions or homosexual addictive behavior. Much like a drug addict or sex addict, these people who fail, blame the therapists, counselors or ministries instead of taking responsibility for their own desires and behavior. They want to embrace homosexuality and they are free to do so in this country. There is more freedom than ever before in our country to embrace homosexuality. They are completely free to make a choice to embrace homosexuality. However, it is an attack on civil and religious liberties to undermine and stop others from getting help. I am so grateful I was able to find help and lasting freedom from homosexuality in 1983. Anyone who would prevent people from getting help to overcome homosexuality is abusive!
Rep. Sally Kern has more courage than most men in all 50 states legislatures. In 2008, Rep. Kern was excoriated in the national press by gay activists and mocked by many in the media like Ellen DeGeneres. Many Republicans continue to distance themselves from Rep. Kern because they are cowards; they are afraid they will be politically incorrect. They are fearful to be ‘controversial’ and they are afraid to be called down by activists. They communicate in terms of being wise in their political correctness, yet in reality they’re cowards or they embrace homosexuality themselves. Now in 2015, we see the family being redefined in such a way that marriage will mean nothing in a few short years in America. These same lawmakers who believe themselves so wise will find themselves on the wrong side of history, especially on Judgment Day, but that’s for another message.
We will all look back at this time in history and see the reason Representative Sally Kern was under attack. It is a spiritual attack, a diabolical plot to keep homosexuality moving forward in our society. Sally Kern is a woman of courage who had the foresight to see that the political homosexual movement is, in fact, more dangerous in eroding Christian values and destroying the natural family from the inside out, than the threat of terrorism in America. History will show that Representative Kern – a civics and history teacher – a humble grandmother was on the right side of history, even while comedians and colleagues made fun and many so-called ‘Christians’ laughed. A woman who will outshine all her colleagues who are too cowardly to stand with her, unless they hear from us. We must empower these legislators to regroup and to stand in courage with Sally Kern. However, we must all unite in courage to stand with Representative Kern as well. Will you?
Some Very Unpopular Questions No One Wants to Ask or Answer; perhaps you might want to ask Oklahoma Representatives some of these questions. Representatives, What Are You Really Supporting?
I would like to ask all lawmakers and leaders individually, face to face some very unpopular questions, who are unwilling to vote for HB 1598 or other preemptive types of legislation concerning “gay” interests:
Do you really believe that homosexual behavior is healthy and natural?
Do you still believe that homosexuality is inborn when all the science points to environmental issues?
Do you honestly believe the practices of homosexuals are something you can embrace yourself? If not, then why would you prevent a teenager, who is in his or her most formative years of sexual development to get the help they need and want?
Are you actually are in league with the gay activists in recruiting our youth?
Why would any leader limit freedom from teenagers from getting counseling they want?
Things you should ask Oklahoma Representatives who are unwilling to vote for HB 1598:
Are you really for limiting parental rights?
Are you really for limiting civil liberties and religious liberties for counselors, therapists, and parents?
Are you paying attention to the political landscape of gay political activists who are trying to pass laws all over the country to suppress counseling for youth and attack businesses and churches that embrace a Biblical worldview on homosexuality as sin?
Are you willing to go on record for limiting helping and freedom for teenagers?
Are you willing to go on record by voting against HB 1598 in disregard of self-determination?
Are you willing to go on record by voting against HB 1598 in complete disregard of civil and religious liberties?
HB 1599 Preservation of Sovereignty and Marriage Act
This makes it illegal for the state of Oklahoma to recognize same-sex marriages and requires the removal of any judge who violates the act.
Bill must be scheduled by Wednesday, March 11 to be heard on the House floor by the deadline for bills to be heard. (Deadline is Thursday, March 12.)
WHO TO CALL:
Calls should be made to the speaker of the house as well as to the three legislators (floor leaders) who organize the floor agenda for the speaker. The floor leaders are legislators who were appointed by the speaker and for the most part make the decisions as to which bills get heard and organize the agenda. The Speaker is consulted, but will only weigh in if there are bills he insists get heard. Each of the four needs to be called and emailed.
TO VISIT THEM FACE TO FACE:
A visit to the Capitol would be required to actually speak to any of these people face to face. You may drop by their offices of go to the floor when they are in session and call them out. Calling them out of session is not an irritation to them and a regular part of their day. To do this, you will fill out a request card which the lobby attendant will deliver to the house member. He will come out when he has a moment.
Apostle Peter warned us that scoffers and mockers would come on the scene with louder and louder voices in the last days. Ruled by their own fleshly desires, appetites and seduced by demonic powers, Peter warned that the scoffers and mockers would raise a ruckus against those who desire to live godly, leaving behind their true devotion to God’s word for lifestyles of sin and pleasure. “Where is the promise of Jesus’ deliverance and freedom?” they will mock. “HE made us this way!” “Where is the promise of His coming?” they will say, “It has always been this way! You can’t change!” (2 Peter 3:3-4, 1 Tim. 4:12, 2 Tim. 3:1-7, 2 Tim. 4:14, Matt. 5:11-12, Mark 13:9-13, Matt. 24:9-13).
I am very burdened for those who go back to homosexuality. I long for everyone to love God, know His truth and experience His amazing grace that changed my life 28 years ago. My greater burden is for His Church to be holy and ready to answer the questions raised by scoffers and those who proclaim “gay Christianity”. Why DO some who start with a repentant life to leave homosexuality behind, and then return to their former lifestyles? Is it not making for themselves a god in their own image as “gay” Christians? We need to know some answers.
Different Goals Those of us who leave homosexuality and stay repentant share a vision and a goal that differs from those who embrace a “Christian” gay identity. Our Fundamental belief – the foundation that drives lasting change – is not the same as those who relapse. The consistent “ex-gay” – former-homosexual and repentant believer – embraces a process. This new way of living enables overcoming through a mature understanding of sanctification. This process requires a lifelong conformity to live like Christ. Our heart must long for a spiritual intimacy in a love relationship with God based upon belief in God’s word. We are, in effect, in love with Jesus Christ as our God. We have faith in the Word of God, even as we “struggle,” committed unto death to embrace a lifetime process of conformity that comes from a love relationship with God and a true Biblical world-view. As we understand and embrace grace (the power of God) in weakness and temptation, we know that homosexuality is not compatible with our faith in God. The result? A victor-mentality which fuels the ability to live in repentance (2 Cor. 12:7-10).
The mockers – the “beyond ex-gay” or “gay-Christians” – initially communicate a desire to change. Exasperated, they cry out, “CHANGE ME! Oh God, I want to be CHANGED!” They look at their desires and truly wish to be “fixed.” They demand that a local ministry or God Himself change their attractions. Not keeping their eyes totally fixed on Jesus Christ, they become fixated on the problem, their attractions. “Jesus Christ alone is not enough,” they proclaim. “We need more. We want to be delivered from the ‘sufferings’ of being tempted with homosexuality.” Delivered from suffering? Christ never promised we would not suffer in the flesh. In fact, He promised us we would suffer and need to deny ourselves. Unfortunately, this resonates as victimization. In the face of suffering, some rebel against the Biblical world-view and celebrate and embrace a gay identity. Many who are mockers become completely intolerant of those who desire, by faith in God’s word, to leave homosexuality. Ironically, the very people who scream for tolerance are extremely intolerant of those who turn away from homosexual behavior and live by faith. Let’s look at the Biblical foundations for freedom, which enable us to separate ourselves from the world’s values and our own appetites.
Foundations for Freedom ~ How do we receive anything from God? How are we saved, delivered or freed? It is by grace through FAITH! The secular human mind struggles to grasp the truth of faith, which is “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Still, it is impossible to please God without living by faith, which comes by hearing, listening and believing the Word of God. We must obey His Word and hear God in prayer. We can’t “see” faith! The “ex-gay” former-homosexual lives by this consistent faith. The “beyond ex-gay” lives by his or her appetites and attractions. It’s a startling difference. Jesus, reflecting on His second coming, asks, “Will I find faith on Earth?” (Luke 18:8). Living by faith transforms our lives. “Beyond ex-gay” or “gay-Christians” do not believe a faith with suffering.
~Living by Faith “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:13-14). Jesus clearly knew the statistics of those who live by faith. In the parable of the sower of the seed in Mark 4, Jesus tells us that 75% of those who hear the word of God will not experience lasting transformation by the planting of the Truth in their hearts. They will not conform to His image of self-denial. When gay activists mock ministries like First Stone for a less than 60% success rate, and claim programs like Exodus have a 30%1 success rate, I am reminded of Jesus’ statistics of the parable of the sower of the seed. Only 25% choose the narrow way. Gay “theology” ignores this foundational teaching. When Jesus explained Mark 4:1-20, He was telling us that it was important to understand this parable in order to understand all the other parables. According to this parable, only 25% really learned and desired to overcome and bear good fruit. In light of that truth as expressed by Christ, I am very grateful that many more than 50% of the people at First Stone Ministries actually embrace discipleship and find lasting freedom, yet I continue to have sorrow in my heart for those who teach another gospel (Rom. 9:2, Gal. 1:6-9).
~The Word of God The foundation for freedom can never go any further than the bedrock of where our faith begins. The “gay-Christian” movement and those who discredit ministries like First Stone can only do so by discrediting Biblical truth and skewing Scripture. What does the Bible say is the greatest enemy of the Christian life? It’s unbelief. Hebrews 3:7-19 tells us that “unbelief” means we do not believe what God has clearly written within the pages of the Bible. Unable to believe the Scriptures from the heart, scoffers must explain away the verses that condemn homosexual behavior. This unbelief is based upon the oldest lie in the Bible, a questioning of God and His character. Just like Satan in the Garden of Eden, scoffers with their doubts ask, “has God really said?” (Genesis 3:1). According to James 1:21-22 and 1 Peter 1:22-25, we must receive the truth of God’s Word implanted into our hearts for our salvation.
~The Beginning of Wisdom Wisdom from God is certainly the foundation of freedom to live a godly life. What is the beginning of walking in God’s wisdom? Where do we find the answer to the starting place of having wisdom from God? Rest assured that when the Scriptures repeat something only a couple of times it is because it is very important. How important is a subject if repeated over and over, dozens of times? I would say extremely important!
Unfortunately today’s Church sends conflicting messages. One message offers a Jesus who will make you happy and blessed, a better you. The other message tells us we should be grateful that a holy God frees us from destruction. A God who loved us enough to die for our sins even though we deserve hell. In a “gay-Christian” environment, hell is not preached accurately (Rev. 21:7-8). The beginning of wisdom is to teach how Christ died to deliver us from hell, but not necessarily suffering in our flesh in this life. The teaching of hell is mocked and certainly not appreciated in many circles of ministry in the Church, yet Christ mentioned hell more than heaven in His own teachings. These truths are not taught or believed by gay-affirming “Christian” unbelievers. Sincere love of God compels us to deliver souls from eternal destruction (James 5:20).
~A.B.S. The core strength for a human being is strong abs. Our spiritual body must also have core strength – A.B.S. – as a foundation for freedom.
A – Accountability. Accountability is a core strength essential to lasting and consistent freedom. Accountability is found by living in community with other believers and enjoying life together, confessing our sins to each other and receiving healing prayer. If we confess and forsake our sin we find great mercy. Godly accountability is more than a confession session; it is living in community where accountability becomes natural in a safe environment of holy relating. Healthy accountability becomes a haven of safety, and not of condemnation. (James 5:16 and Proverbs 28:13).
B – Boundaries. We all need boundaries set in place to separate us from temptation. We must appropriately distance ourselves from people, places, things and activities that draw us into sin. If we view boundaries as “restrictions” rather than “protections” we enter into defeat; we allow “bad thinking.” If we truly want freedom, we must view boundaries as protection and embrace them. We all need boundaries on our computers and from all bad influences in order to walk in integrity, truly a foundation for freedom.
S – Spiritually-Devoted Life. We must practice spiritual warfare as a core principle for freedom. A spiritually-devoted life must be practiced in the full range of Christian disciplines to renew the mind, will and emotions. If we are spiritually-devoted, we will read God’s word daily, meditate on His truths daily, pray and fast, journal, maintain consistent fellowship, and daily worship the Creator of the Universe – Jesus Christ. We are then ready to tell others of our faith as witnesses of Christ’s great love to save. As believers, we also need to practice the sacramental institutions of communion and baptism. Those who do not succeed, but instead fall back and embrace a gay identity, do not have ABS. If you live openly, honestly and transparently, you will find freedom. If you cover up and live in darkness, unbelief and lies will find a lodging place in your soul. Secrecy empowers sin and corrupts.
~Mentorship Those who overcome homosexuality and find lasting freedom repair right relating with the same sex. Men and women who repair broken relationships with parents to the best of their ability, receive a blessing on their lives (Mal. 4:6, Ex. 20:12). Men and women who develop healthy relationships within the Church -men with men and women with women -embrace the restoration of Biblical gender identity and find freedom. This can be a difficult process, but is necessary for freedom.
~Complete Inner Healing “The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, because He has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD” (Luke 4:18-19). Unfortunately many merely start the process of allowing the Lord to heal their histories of brokenness. Our western mind-set of drive-by-Christianity gives us the expectation that change will happen quickly. However, for many people, inner-healing and transformation of the soul, the mind, the memories, the will and the emotions, can take years. Those who are open to the power of the Holy Spirit in His timing find this healing. This process brings us to the cross of Jesus Christ.
~The CROSS “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the POWER OF GOD” (1 Cor. 1:18). The crucifixion is a place of death. In His wisdom and sovereignty, the God of the Universe chose the space in time of Roman crucifixion to send His son to die a terrible death in our place and redeem mankind. God’s wisdom, to choose a horrible death through great suffering, transcends human understanding. But He understands suffering, and the power of God rests upon those who trust in God in their own suffering. Those who understand this foundational teaching will walk in freedom through the knowledge that God did not promise to deliver us from suffering, but to grace us, to empower us to rise above the suffering of our temptations and broken histories. We must come to the cross daily, bring our pain and our temptations, and by faith release our grief, our shame and sin into the Body of Jesus at the cross. There we must release our hopes, dreams, desires, and attractions. Suffering is God’s unexpected pathway to great joy if endured to the end. The cross is LIFE to those who believe and put their faith in what Jesus Christ accomplished there, enduring to the end as we deny ourselves and live for His glory.
~Prayer Life I believe it was Leonard Ravenhill who said, “let me spend an hour with a man in prayer and I will tell you about his true spiritual condition.” I don’t advocate judging people based upon an hour of prayer, but a man’s prayer life will determine his level of spiritual maturity. Men and women who walk in consistent freedom are intent on knowing God in prayer. Experiencing God in prayer is a consistent and diligent discipline. Jesus asked his disciples, “Could you not tarry with me just one hour?” I believe the Lord is asking that same question today.One of several reasons people don’t succeed in exiting sexual brokenness: they do not have a diligent prayer life to support the need to practice victorious spiritual warfare. Worship in prayer with a very grateful heart, for gratefulness is the will of God for the believer in Christ (1 Thess. 5:18). Many use prayer to complain or present a laundry-list of needs. These things can be a start in prayer, but the prayer life must mature far beyond that. Our fight is not against flesh and blood.
“For we are not fighting (IT IS A FIGHT) against people made of flesh and blood, but against persons without bodies – the evil rulers of the unseen world, those mighty satanic beings and great evil princes of darkness who rule this world; and against huge numbers of wicked spirits in the spirit world” (Eph. 6:12). People become weary in the battle because of prayerlessness and the spiritual battle we are in.
~Unforgiveness and Shame Never be unaware of the deliberate schemes of Satan. He always comes with offense. When we are angry, we provide the opportunity for Satan to set up an offense and cause us to be critical and defiled (Eph. 4:26-27). He causes the heart to be divided with bitterness so the very strongholds of sexual sin will storm back like a flood. Satan then brings his condemnation and paralyzes the solider with shame to retreat into darkness (Matt. 6:12, Matt. 18, 2 Cor. 2:10-11, Rev. 12:10-11, Romans 8:1).
IN CONCLUSION The foundation for freedom and healing for all of us is to long for heaven and hear the Father say, “Well done thy good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of heaven.” Those who overcome will be clothed in white raiment, given authority to rule with God and live eternally. The “beyond ex-gay” say “It doesn’t work” because they have not thoroughly given an entire life process in commitment to the Lord to deny self and live to God only. The truth is clear from the Bible. Life is but a vapor, and we must live by this faith in God, believing and trusting in Him: “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold of eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession” (1 Timothy 6:12, Colossians 1:23).
“For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect. For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.’ Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe” (1 Cor. 1:17-21).
God gives his power, His grace, to the humble (James 4:4-10, 1 Peter 5:5-10), yet many demand God do a work of freedom from suffering and temptation which He is not obligated to give.
GOD IS LOVE God is love and His ways are so much higher than ours. His plan for us is to love in such a way that we would be like the Apostle Paul in Romans 9:1-3, with great sorrow to be perfected in love, and a deeper willingness to be accursed from Christ so others would have eternal life. This is godly and mature Christian living. The Church surrendered continues to grow in this extravagant love. Unfortunately, this kind of love is not demonstrated in much power in the Church at large yet. That’s why so many are without hope. May the Lord grant us His power to represent this manifestation of His love, give hope to those who are falling away, and see many restored who have gone back.
1 – URVASHI VAID on Good Morning America, August 5, 1998:“…what we have a problem with these advertising campaign is that it’s sending out the wrong message. Homosexuality is not an illness. And I think as — the other problem we have is that as people pursue a healthy relationship with their own sexual lives and their own sexual selves, that they need to be aware of snake oil salesmen. I mean, the cure rate for this so-called therapy is about 30 percent, you know.”
Church Leaders, Please Truly Love the Same-Sex Attracted Person
“He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8.
God commands us to love one another, yet only through the divine influence of the Holy Spirit living in us and moving us to love as the Lord Jesus Christ loves are we able to fulfill that command and walk out love. The Holy Spirit creates this kind of love within God’s diligent surrendered repentant people, enabling them to walk out true love without denying true justice. Only in His love can we avoid the great compromise of our age.
God is looking all over the Earth to find a people whose hearts are completely His to pour out His love and mercy. (2 Chron. 16:9) As God pours out His love and mercy on people whose hearts are completely His, this love manifests in Spirit-filled believers who, by striving to embrace a lifestyle without compromise for themselves, are then free to love others fully, yet without compromising the holy justice our Lord requires. As His divine influence works in us, we are able to walk out a Heaven-birthed love that reflects the real grace of God. Lest we forget, God gives His grace to the humble (James 4:6), not to the proud or compromising. His grace, and therefore His power, is given to those who put their faith in Christ alone. (Eph. 2:8-9).
How do we walk humbly? The Lord showed us how in the example of His own life as he truly and justly and consistently loved people with His great mercy. It is proven that only this long-suffering love, lived out through discipleship care and inner-healing ministry can bring real transformation for people seeking to be free from homosexuality. A distorted and compromising love being embraced by many Church leaders across America will not bring freedom. Some leaders may believe it is kind and loving to empower the idea of “gay Christians” or to proclaim “same-sex attracted” or “gay” as legitimate titles, labels and identities, but they are separating justice and mercy from love. This is tragic. Encouraging people to embrace a distorted image is not loving and is certainly not just. It is actually unloving, spiritually wounding, and could eventually be eternally harmful to souls. (Rom. 1:18-28, 1 Cor. 6:9-11, Gal. 5:19-21, Eph. 5:5-6, 2 Thess. 2:10-12).
Same-Sex Attraction: Temptation, Lust or an Identity?
“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape (freedom), that you may be able to bear it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13
The mercies of God in His extravagant grace are deposited into the humble heart. God gives a way of escape to those tempted; however, He resists the proud. (1 Peter 5:5-10) Many today in the Church, rather than wrestle with the issue of same-sex temptation and same-sex lust, argue instead that same-sex attraction must be recognized as a legitimate identity. There is no biblical basis for this surrender.
“We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.” 2 Cor. 10:3-5.
A loving and just leader will help a person overcome lust by teaching them to take every thought captive. A discerning and spiritual father will teach spiritual warfare to a same-sex attracted person so he or she can walk in freedom over tormenting temptations. A Christ-led leader will not embrace temptation as an identity, misleading people in slavery to further sin and lust. No one in the Body of Christ should have to live a life overwhelmed by attractions that keep lust operating in the soul. Love empowers the soul to overcome temptation; anything less is evil. Unfortunately, instead of teaching the truth—that same-sex attraction is a condition of the soul as a result of fallen humanity and is typically a result of a distorted and painful history which needs Godly care—many today promote the idea that same-sex attraction is a legitimate identity. This is wrong.
There is a great need for ministry, love and understanding for the homosexual and the person who is attracted to their same-sex. Most same-sex attracted people, with the longing-hearts of broken-souls, become consumed by lust as they deal with a wounded history, trying to repair a broken image. This attraction and its fulfillment through lust can never be the identity of anyone who is completely surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Still, many well-meaning Church leaders promote the idea that being “gay” or a “gay Christian”, or being attracted to one’s same-sex is a legitimate ‘orientation’ and/or an identity based on modern psychology and their own appetites. This promotes a false-self in fallen humanity as something to be acknowledged as a personality or as a part of the identity. This deceptive teaching promotes distortion in the Church and leads many astray with a false compassion. Coining new and comforting terms, such as “mixed orientation marriages” and other forms of sexual “orientation” only further strengthen the strongholds in souls.
Gay-activists have browbeaten the Church with words like homophobic, bigoted, intolerant, unloving and unkind, making anyone who desires to be uncompromising in Biblical orthodoxy subject to scrutiny and a demonic pressure to be swayed into a man-pleasing spirit. After-all, what sincere Christian is willing to wear the unloving labels cast on them by gay activists? No one! Reactionary leaders introduce deception, subtly legitimizing same-sex attractions and lust under the ever-growing cheap-grace teachings. Well-meaning compassionate people are being seduced by false teachings about grace and mercy, thus promoting a distortion of Christianity—the ‘kind-license’ to sin—which actually makes an allowance for sins of the heart and mind to remain. We should show great compassion to all sexual sinners in the Church, but these cheap-grace teachers align themselves with demons to turn the grace of God into lasciviousness. Some of them even joke outrageously about lasciviousness and mock grace.“For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness (lasciviousness) and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.” Jude 1:4
The Grace of God is Transformational
Flee from sexual lust and fornication for every other sin is committed outside the body, but sexual immorality is a sin against your soul, your identity and body. 1 Cor. 6:18.
The Apostle Paul used the word “flee” for a reason. Sexual sin is very dangerous and very damaging to the soul and humans should flee as fast as humanly possible. Teaching acceptance of gay Christianity is equally dangerous. Gay-Christian advocates teach lies; they are blind and deceptive guides keeping the souls of many in bondage to same-sex lust. And from these teachers we should flee. Jesus’ way is to submit the soul through faith to His amazing sacrifice on the cross, resulting in righteousness. (Rom. 10:10). A true faith in God embraces inward holiness of thoughts. His divine call for salvation is to a new lifestyle of turning (repenting) to Him for the joy of a deep intimate relationship with Christ as Creator. This requires us to die to all self-promotion of the fallen Adamic nature of the flesh (orientations) and its desires, which includes same-sex attraction, homosexuality and all forms of sexual sin and brokenness. The grace of God is transformational. He always makes a way of escape from temptation for those who are completely His. This is a very good test to see if in fact you are truly born again: do you desire to live purely in your thought life every day? Do you desire transformation?
We Are Created in the Image of God—Imago Dei!
As I have oft-written, we are created in the image of God—Imago Dei! Using a “sexual orientation” for a person’s identity—such as “same-sex attracted” or “homosexual”—indicates viability for behavior outside of God’s original intent for human sexuality. I have never agreed with the notion that “sexual orientation”—our sexual direction or desires—is equivalent to how we are sexually created to be. Using terms like “sexual orientation” and “mixed orientation marriages” communicates a distorted truth based solely on human attractions and feelings, not on God’s creation and intent. Modern psychology has provided these terms. The only intent for human sexuality or orientation is from God. That is “heterosexuality,” a term also given to us by modern psychology. What we call heterosexuality, God calls holy relating between one man and one woman in a covenant marriage relationship with the potential to create life in His image through human sexual intercourse. God calls this relationship holy—two becoming one—a holy relationship that can be only between one man and one woman. We are never more like God in His creativity as humans than when we are in concert with God in creating life.
One cannot create life through homosexuality. We are most like God in His creation when as ‘heterosexual’ married couples, we produce children, also created in God’s image (Imago Dei). All other “orientations” are, at the very least, distorted emotional wounds from psychological (soulish) problems with accompanying desires. Modern psychology, at its very worst, gives us “sexual orientation” as a way to legitimize sinful behavior. Under this diabolical plot, the “orientation” message can culminate with the potential for mutilation of the body as we see in gender-reassignment surgery. This evil is very deceptive and tormenting for people.
Humans are created male and female. Heterosexuality is an innate created biological fact and therefore cannot change. It is simple biology 101, and an orientation idea given to us by modern psychology does not change the truth that we are created human beings, male and female at every level (Imago Dei). Being human and under the curse of original sin, however, we are able to have distorted attractions and very sinful behaviors. Humanity is fallen and, as fallen human beings, the orientation we have is a “sinful orientation,” not a “sexual orientation.” Very simply, homosexual behavior and other“sexual orientations”outside of God’s divine intent for human sexuality are sinful. However, there is hope!
Jesus Christ came into the world to save us from all our distorted thinking. He gave us the Word of God, so our minds could be renewed by His Spirit and so transformation can occur to the surrendered soul. The Holy Spirit abides in those who put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Isn’t it good news to know we do not have to be defined by modern psychology or our feelings, attractions, appetites or lust? We are defined by the Creator, Who created us in His image, to be like Him in a holy identity as man and woman; and we are created as His children. Yes! In fact, one can “change” from a ‘homosexual’ existence and live a holy and healthy life created in the image of God as ‘heterosexual’ men and women. Imago Dei!
Realigning with the Words of Jesus Christ and the Holy Scriptures
The Church is in need of a great revival. A revival to give justice and mercy to the same-sex-attracted person and all sexual sinners. A revival where souls are truly transformed! We must base our message upon the sound words of the Lord Jesus Christ in giving a genuine message of salvation, a gospel message that conforms the soul to godliness. The new ideas of outreach coming from Church leaders are heartbreaking. They use the methodology of the world, through cute slogans and clever sayings to convince same-sex-attracted people they are invited and welcomed, offering no help in redemption, thus allowing the Church to become an unholy place without change. They proclaim a message of grace where repentance is not ‘really’ necessary, where you merely pray a prayer and have your ticket punched for Heaven. This is not the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
“If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglingsof men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is ameans ofgain. From such withdraw yourself.”1 Tim. 6:3-5.
Jesus said, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female’” – Jesus also said, “from the beginning it has always been this way.” (See Matthew 19:1-10).
There is a better way, expressed through the very words of Christ in Matthew’s gospel account, and on The Sermon on the Mount. His words are very clear about confronting the motivations of the heart, especially in regard to sexual attraction and lust. The clarion call from our Savior is to present the beautiful truths of the Gospel for a genuine salvation and a Biblical hope that brings transformation in these last days. His grace is transformative, not leaving people with an out-of-control lust for their identity. If we compromise these truths, we do an injustice to the very people we say we want to help. Don’t fall into the psychological trap of placing the labels of fallen humanity onto people concerning their sexuality. It is not mercy, justice or love!
We should at least embrace an intercession of sincere love with great sorrow and tears as the Apostle Paul told the church in Rome. Read his words: “I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow, weeping and continual grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymenaccording to the flesh…” Yet the Apostle Paul’s love—so profound—is willing to be accursed from Christ; willing to go to hell so others would be saved! Most in the Church are not weeping and praying, never mind being willing to be accursed from Christ on behalf of another’s potential for salvation. Rather, they are too afraid to call out how destructive homosexuality is to our society.
A clarion call and warning from the Lord concerning this day is found in Jeremiah 6:14-15 – “The Shepherds (Church leaders) have healed the hurt (deep wounding) of My people slightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace!’ When there is no peace. Were they ashamed when they had committed abominations (homosexuality)? No! They were not at all ashamed; nor did they know how to blush (blush or show shame over abominations or sexual sins). Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; at the time I punish them, they shall be cast down,’ says the LORD. Thus says the LORD: ‘Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls.’ But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’”
Beware of believing that the old ways of preaching the Gospel are not relevant. You may find yourself as a false shepherd, not really calling for holy repentance and a sincere healing of your own soul or the soul of the person who struggles with same-sex attraction or homosexuality. The Lord requires that we do justly, love mercy, and to walk humbly with Him in bringing souls sincerely to Christ in complete abandonment. “No greater love than this, for a man to lay down his own life for his friends.” John 15:13. In this, is true justice, love, mercy and a humble walk.
A Message to Pastoral Care Leaders Processing The Gospel and “Gay Christianity.”
by Stephen Black, Executive Director, First Stone Ministries
The Gospel according to Jesus Christ is the same message for a gay-identified person, an idolater, an adulterer, a fornicator, a pornographer, a liar, a thief, a gossip, a slanderer or a murderer. The message of good news–redemption into a love relationship with God–is the same for all sinners. Many “Christian” leaders [see note 40 ] communicate a message that is not Biblical, but instead is deceptive and eternally dangerous. It is certainly not a message of love to lead a person into a false hope. Unfortunately, this misleading message of “gay Christianity” is spread by perhaps well-meaning but Biblically-illiterate leaders who present a message based not on the truth of the Bible, but on a man-made theology. Other leaders purposefully and deceptively spread this message, which is a much graver offense. Deception–which leads people astray–is not love; it’s evil. I share this concern with the same grief-filled compassion as expressed by the Apostle Paul to the Romans in Romans 9:1-3 when he wrote “with a great heavy heart and many tears.” Sincerely I write this article after much heart-ache and many tears. Paul reminded us that many will fall away from the faith in the last days. This perversion of The Gospel is an example of the message of ease, love of pleasure and living unrepentantly with which many will go astray. This article is equipped with many end-notes of Biblical references to back up the emphatic statements and is a Bible study with over 150 verses. Please read the Scripture references with this article and let God’s word be your guide.
GOOD NEWS or BAD?
The Gospel is Good News from Creator God, the Father in Heaven revealed to us through Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It is an amazing message of love given to fallen humanity. By truly believing in and being in Christ, believers’ relationship with Holy God is restored to the way it was before “the fall.” The Good News is that God the Father has made a way for all mankind to be restored to His original divine intent of an intimate loving relationship that is greater than any we will experience in this fallen world. His desire is for this relationship to be forever with Him. Many proclaim a message that totally contradicts the Gospel of Jesus Christ: that you can be a practicing sexually-immoral person or a practicing homosexual and go to heaven. The Bible speaks directly to this, with uncompromised clarity.The truth expressed in Ephesians 5:5 is clear: you can know with certainty that no one who practices sexual immorality will go to heaven. Interestingly, the Bible often follows these types of passages with the reminder that we should NOT be deceived by people giving us empty promises or words that contradict the truth. Jesus came to save us from and out of our sins, not leave us in them. A person who struggles with and against sin differs from a person who embraces and freely practices sin. The Good News is Jesus died for the sins of the world and rose victoriously over death, hell and the devil. When Christ rose from the dead, He gave us the promise of the Holy Spirit of Grace, assuring us that the Holy Spirit would come and live in those truly born of God unto eternal life. The Holy Spirit of Grace empowers true believers to live holy repentant lives in a devout relationship to Jesus Christ as Lord. However, the Spirit does notlive in people who are hostile towards God and disobedient, walking in and embracing and practicing sexual immorality. The Bible tells us He–the Holy Spirit–is given to those who obey God. The Bible also tells us that all sexual immorality grieves God. Holy God revealed in the person of the Holy Spirit will neverabide with, or approve of any immoral behavior. God opposes the proud and gives His grace, the Spirit of Grace, to those who humble themselves and see their need for Christ.Anyone who says otherwise is not teaching the Whole Gospel of Jesus Christ and would be giving bad news instead of the good news.
The Son of God’s Beginning Message: “Repent for the Kingdom of God is at Hand,” Should also be Our First Message God’s message, revealed to us in human form through His Son, Jesus the Holy One, is very simple: turn from your ways and turn to Me. Biblically we know that turning or repenting is the evidence of true faith and a belief in God that ultimately produces obedience to God in a loving relationship. Through repentance, we replace our belief systems, our worldly thoughts, the flesh and the devil’s ways, and our minds are renewed by God’s word and by His Spirit. This “believing” in the mind and heart turns the behavior away from the way of the flesh to the way of the Holy Spirit. This is what it means to BELIEVE in Christ for salvation. Believing and repentance may unfold differently in each person, depending on his or her history, but God’s grace is truly amazing as it will produce a life becoming more and more like Christ. His grace always convicts the real believer of sin, and reminds the believer of the righteousness of God and the judgment to come. If this heart-change does not happen, self-examination is in order to see whether or not you are truly born again. True faith in God is believing the Word of God and believing in Jesus Christ; such beliefs will result in a changed and righteous life. Paul’s letter to Timothy makes it clear that the Gospel Message must be based upon the sound words of the Lord Jesus Christ, which conforms the soul to godliness. The goal of this message is to mature the hearer into having pure love, an undefiled clear conscience and a sincere and devoted faith. I rely on Jesus’ words for leadership and filter all teachings through His words. Jesus said, “Narrow is the way that leads to life and FEW find it. Broad is the way of destruction and MANY will go on its path.” I also rely on Jesus’ statistics. In the parable of the sower, Jesus’ statistic is only 25% would actually bear good fruit after hearing the word of God. Shouldn’t we teach the same narrow way that leads to eternal life? If anyone–and I mean anyone–teaches otherwise, they are NOT teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We should never teach people that they are justified to live in sin and an unrepentant life, a belief that is completely contrary to the teachings of Jesus Christ. Yet, many leaders today teach contradictions. John, Jesus’ beloved disciple, warns of this danger in his epistle, 1 John. “This is the message we have heard from Him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with Him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light,as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned,we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.” “Whoever says “I know Him” but does not keep His commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps His word, in him truly the love of God is perfected.By this we may know that we are in Him: whoever says he abides in Him ought to walk in the same way in which He (Jesus) walked.” (1 John 1:5-10, 1 John 2:4-6). John also reminds us of the importance of obedience in his Gospel, in the very words of Jesus: “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. This is the judgment, that the Light (Jesus) has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light (Jesus), for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil (practices) hates the Light (hates Jesus), and does not come to the Light (Jesus) for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light (Jesus), so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” “He who believes in the Son of God, Jesus Christ, has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” (John 3:17-21 v. 36)
Follow Me to the End My story of true conversion began in February 1983. After praying with people that were completely surrendered to Christ, I was confronted with the Word of God in many ways, two of which I’ll share here.
First, Jesus spoke to me in the power of His Spirit. I didn’t understand what was happening to me; my heart was pounding and I felt very strange. I heard in my mind a voice I know now as the Holy Spirit, telling me that if I did not surrender to Christ, I was going to die. The fear of the Lord gripped my heart. I knew in my soul that I did not know Jesus Christ like these people. They spoke in terms of a relationship with God that I thought was crazy. They told me that Jesus was answering their prayers, speaking to their hearts, that He was consistently known and felt in their home. I had never experienced Christ in that way, but I wanted to. They prayed with me to receive Jesus Christ as Lord.
Later that evening in the car going home, my friend who had been with me and witnessed my surrender to Christ, asked me; “Does this mean you will stop being gay?” I told her I didn’t know for sure, that I wanted to follow whatever Jesus had for me. At home that night I got out the big table-Bible, our only family Bible. Holding it my lap, I prayed and asked God to show me in His Word whether homosexuality was a sin. After all, the gay Catholic priest from my parent’s parish had told me God loved me just the way I was as a gay man; and he stated all the more reason to visit him at mass. God heard my prayer for truth and revealed it to me through His Word found in the Holy Scriptures.
Secondly, Jesus spoke to me through the Bible. As I opened the Bible, it fell directly upon Leviticus with the heading, “Laws on Sexual Immorality.” There it was right before my eyes: chapter 18, verse 22. It was undeniable that God detests homosexual behavior. Initially, I was angry. I could clearly see that I was worthy of death. However, I also understood now that Jesus Christ paid for all my sins in His death on the cross and that He loved me. He saved me from destruction and death.
In the summer of 1983, we began to hear of a strange disease being reported by the news in Oklahoma City hospitals. At that time, the doctors were calling it G.R.I.D.–Gay-Related Immune Deficiency (syndrome)–or G.R.I.D.s. Many of my friends, people who had seemed so vibrant and healthy, were now dying. In fact, more than half the people I knew in the Oklahoma City gay community died within the next few years. In the midst of this tragedy, the fear of God instructed me and gave me life. God spared me and revealed His mercy.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Anyone claiming to declare the Gospel, but excluding the fear of the Lord–the very beginning of wisdom–is immediately suspect to me. I look first to see if a messenger/teacher knows and demonstrates the fear of God, as this is how the Gospel was presented to me by the Holy Spirit. Does the messenger teach that God is holy? Does the teacher instruct that we must turn to God in intimate relationship to become holy because God commands it? These questions must be answered with an emphatic “Yes!” We must respect the word of God. Yes, we must know the kindness, but we also must know the severity of God, for no immoral person or idolater will be in Heaven.
Many times I have been asked if I ever considered returning to the gay lifestyle. I decided in 1983 that I would rather live celibately than return to a life that clearly is not God’s divine intent. However, I am married now with three adult children, and grandchildren. I truly believe God’s word concerning homosexuality. I know He is holy, and I tremble when I think of the fate of people who choose to continue to live in immorality. The Scripture is very clear. No one who practices sexual immorality will go to Heaven. Yet, false teachers, under the guise of hope and kindness, persist in spreading a message that is contrary to God’s Word. Therefore I embrace the words of Jesus Christ for clarity: “And manyfalse (pastors) teachers will arise, and lead many astray (they will tell you can be a gay Christian), and because lawlessness (the practice of sin) will be increased,the love (real love) of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” Matt. 24:11-14.
Will you endure to the end with me and the many others who will never go back to sexual immorality? We must endure to the end in a love relationship with Jesus Christ, who is the pearl of great price. Even if we live to be 100, this life is a mere vapor. I will never be sorry I embraced Christ, His word and repentance from all immorality. Even if I am wrong, even if there is a remote possibility that a Christian could be gay, I have merely denied myself in pursuit of obedience. But, if the gay Christian or teacher of gay Christianity is wrong, the consequence may be eternal death. That’s not a gamble I am willing to take. Are you? Even if you struggle with homosexual temptation to the end, if you deny the fleshly desires out of love for Christ, isn’t eternal life better than hell? Isn’t loving Christ instead of the world or our pleasure the better choice?
Assurance of Salvation and Answers to Prayer
You can have assurance of salvation. The Bible is clear we can have security IN Christ. If you repent of your sins and put your faith completely in Jesus Christ for your salvation and you continue in this faith in Him, you WILL have eternal life. The promise is found in 1 John 5:13-15: “…to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. And this is the confidence that we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of Him.” Unfortunately there are doctrines and traditions of men and churches that communicate a relationship with Christ by praying a prayer, or being a member, or being present in an organization. Jesus never taught praying prayers to receive Him as Savior; He taught discipleship and Lordship. Although we should pray to receive Christ, it is not merely praying a prayer that gives us an assurance of salvation. A devoted relationship, a sincere faith in Christ resulting in righteous repentant living and becoming His disciple are the Biblical truths for an assurance of salvation. Assurance of salvation to a sexually immoral person may begin by praying a prayer, but if not accompanied with a sincere faith producing the fruit of repentance, giving an assurance of eternal life would be a very dangerous teaching in leading people into a false hope. Would you like to be prepared on judgment day to give an account of leading people into a false hope of salvation based upon the traditions and doctrines of men? Would you like to give an answer to God for giving a message that actually sent people to hell?
What Will Be The Message? A Biblical Message or Man’s Theologies? Several church leaders embrace the emergent message of gay Christianity and present a gay Gospel. Their teachings are not based upon the sound doctrine of the Gospel of Jesus Christ or New Testament Biblical instruction. They choose to embrace a false social gospel of a more palatable feel-good-God, a man-made theology, yet they do ‘good things’ under the banner of Christianity. Unfortunately, rather than embracing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, a gospel of self-denial that produces a Spirit-filled life that really does do good, they are embracing a man-made theology promoting gay Christianity. Which gospel message will you embrace? Will you follow a Biblical message that allows the human heart and soul to be transformed by the Word of God or a man-made theology that allows men to live in self-centeredness and indulgence? Shall we teach people that just praying a prayer and being a part of a community saves them eternally? Or shall we teach a true belief, that accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and following Him in discipleship will result in a life of righteousness? Which Gospel will you teach or follow? The true gospel of Jesus Christ, which leads to life, or a gay gospel according to man’s words, which leads to death? “There is a way that seems right to man, but the end leads to death.”
–Note: Stephen Black, Executive Director of First Stone Ministries, attended the Oklahoma City Gay Pride Celebration June 26, 2011 raising a few eyebrows and provoking a few questions.
This is Stephen’s report.
“Why on Earth would you be out at the gay pride celebration Stephen? You have no business being at a gay pride parade!” At first, it may seem reasonable to rebuke a minister of the Gospel and the director of an “ex-gay” ministry for attending a gay pride event. As an ex-gay myself, it sounds reasonable even to me that I had “no business being at a gay pride parade.” After all, I am Biblically charged to resist even the appearance of evil. The thought was that I might myself be tempted or, at the least, that my appearance there might lead some to believe I have compromised my personal and biblical beliefs, thus compromising the work of ministry and diminishing the effectiveness of those ministering alongside me at First Stone. I assure anyone who questions my presence there that I was under authority, surrounded by powerful accountability and had the necessary boundaries in place to keep me safe enough. Through preparation and prayer, we embraced this opportunity to serve people with the love of God, and plant seeds of truth to make a difference in the eternal kingdom of God.
– Why was I there?
Those who know me well know that I didn’t want to be at a gay pride celebration. I grieve when I see the craziness in all its fractured variety. . . to put it mildly. Jeremiah Herrian of Forgotten Ministries and Jeff Jackson, 40th Street Baptist Church’s interim pastor, asked me to join them in an outreach ministry. God had placed in and on their hearts to make a difference for the Gospel’s sake by being kind to the pride participants by providing free food and water, contrasting the unkindness the local church often demonstrates towards people who declare themselves gay. 40th Street Baptist Church committed itself to overcome evil by doing good. By making themselves available to pray and witness to people, church members believed the Lord would open doors. Being present to see the Lord work truly blessed and challenged me. My heart needed to know and experience HIS love in a much deeper and profound way for the lost, and I was sincerely overwhelmed by the love of God, yes, at a Gay Pride Parade.
Before the parade began, Stephen Black was able to teach the Christian volunteers how to minister to the homosexual with compassion and truth. Here, Stephen grills hot-dogs to give away to those at the parade.
How did the blessings unfold?
Jeff and Jeremiah’s plan was to be present at the celebration and parade, and to give out barbequed hotdogs and ice cold water along with all the fixin’s, chips, candy, watermelon and cantaloupe. Jeff asked First Stone staff and volunteers to come on Sunday morning to talk about the do’s and don’ts of ministering; and to share from our experience what truly is effective. It was a wonderful opportunity to teach “Homosexuality 101” and present to people the love of God. Forgotten Ministries’ bus includes a pop-out stage and sound system. Jeremiah brought a huge grill and we began cooking. We set up tents, and Jeff’s volunteers graciously provided food and water to anyone who wanted it. A colorful tract attached to the bottles of water expressed the genuine love of God for all people. We went from tent to tent, tail-gate to tail-gate to invite people to receive free food and water. “What’s the catch?” several asked us. Our response? “No catch, we just a want you to know God loves you.” NW 39th St. was lined with thousands of people stretching over a mile long. By being courageous enough to answer God’s call, the 15 workers in our outreach tent were able to talk to hundreds of people.
God Even Uses the God Hates Fags spirit.
The crowd pressed in on the GHF Preacher, it was a circus like atmosphere.
The gay pride event attracted thousands, including the “God Hates Fags” (GHF) people. While these demonstrators were not from Westboro — the original GHF people – they were very close in spirit and boldness, quickly turning their presence at the event into a circus show. “Disgusting sinners! Sodomites! You are corrupting the Earth, destroying families and you are all going to hell unless you repent,” screamed the GHF preacher through his megaphone, surrounded by GHF members carrying signs condemning the gay community. “God’s wrath is upon you!” He screamed repeatedly, proclaiming the law of God in a seemingly endless rant that merely infuriated the crowd. The police stood by in concerned amusement. Whatever message the GHF may have thought they were communicating was ineffective, as the gay community heard nothing but hateful judgment, something all-too-familiar to them. Grieved to the point of feeling ill – and not because of the 100 degree heat — I was also convicted at my own internal judgments at the brokenness I witnessed all around me. In a tent next to ours, a leather-clad transsexual with whips and chains was beating another lesbian friend for “fun.” All around me I could see and hear the damaged ones “celebrating” their pride. It was a very bizarre scene, and I found myself dealing with my own judgment. The sin of the people was obvious, to be sure, but it caused me less pain than to see the Church as represented by the rants of the GHF preacher and the condescending judgment of the four other quiet, yet very conspicuous sign-holding condemning Pentecostals with the Leviticus 18:22 signs, reading “ABOMINATION!” My Pentecostal brethren were very conservative in their white shirts, ties and long jean skirts, contrasted in the unbearable heat by the flamboyant and scantily-dressed partiers, melding together into a very bizarre picture. The display of self-righteousness was over the top. Unable to contain myself as the heart-break of the Lord consumed me, I confronted the GHF Preacher, only to find his resolve strong and his ears deaf. First Stone Intern Chris Johnson, quietly weeping and praying, offered the GHF preacher a bottle of water, as I turned my attention to the squad of four with their signs of condemnation, including an older gentleman who was pastor of a local church. I spoke to him about how to effectively reach out to the lost, but my bottom line question was this: “Can we reach a condemned people by standing in self-righteous judgment holding signs condemning them even more?”
The GHF Preacher continued on all day.
He hesitated and I sensed that the question seemed to make sense to him. I gave him my card and told him if he really wanted to make a difference by ministering to the gay community he could contact me and we would talk. The GHF preacher, on the other hand, would hear nothing. I could only pray that his eyes would be opened and his self-righteous hatred would be minimized.
As we continued to minister from our tent, a lady stopped and asked, “Are you all like those Christians?” Because if you are, I don’t want anything from you! My father committed suicide last year because of people like these hateful, so called Christians!” The pain in her words pierced me and I was struck with more broken-heartedness. I told the woman who we are and what we were about. I apologized for the Church. I cried and told her how sorry I was for her loss. She let me pray with her and I hugged her. She told me that we restored some hope in her life, that maybe there are real Christians. Even in this quiet moment of ministry, I was overwhelmed by the GHF preacher’s continued ranting. Predictably, the lesbians and gays mocked him, mooned him and returned his screams. At this point, the Spirit of God came upon me! Positioning myself in the middle of the street, I started screaming at the entire block, pleading for everyone’s attention. For just a second it was almost silent. Even the GHF preaching stopped, and I took advantage of the pause to proclaim at the top of my lungs: “We are real Christians and we are NOT like this!” “God loves you! GOD LOVES YOU!” I screamed at the top of my lungs as I began to cry. “JESUS DIED FOR YOU! AND WE LOVE YOU TOO! We are here to give you FREE food and ice cold water just because we love you and God loves you!” Yes . . . they heard me. The crowd erupted in to screams of gratefulness and applause! By the end of the day, we had given out 800 hotdogs and hundreds of bottles of water. Was our effort to show God’s love effective? Yes, it was, as demonstrated by the response of a small group of lesbians: “We don’t necessarily agree with you leaving homosexuality, but we think you are really cool; can we hug you?” “Of course,” I exclaimed, giving them all a big hug. Their response, in the midst of a chaotic day, broke my heart. I hugged many broken people that day and prayed with a couple more. God was able to turn the GHF preaching into a wonderful opportunity for us to make a difference, a difference that would have been impossible if we had drawn our shutters and waited for the day to pass into history. Pastor Jeff Jackson used the loudspeaker to ask the entire community to forgive the Church of Oklahoma City. His humble request was met with screams, cheers and clapping. Several of us were able to pray with more people and witness a little. We did not confront the sin of homosexuality, leaving that task to the Holy Spirit. That same Holy Spirit that first confronted me with my need for Jesus over ALL my sins, later confronted my homosexuality. There is a right way to witness and there is clearly a wrong way. Hopefully, my critics will understand now why I was at the OKC Gay Pride Celebration on June 26, 2011. I will never be the same!
“Preach the Gospel all day long and if necessary use words.” St. Augustine
And yes, we must communicate in words the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.