I want to address those of you who experience same
sex attraction. You may call yourself gay or you may not be comfortable
with that term. Whether you keep it to yourself – and just live with it
– or whether you have sought a same-sex relationship or sexual
encounter. Whether you are Christian – and have a high regard for
God’s Word – or even if you don’t. I am speaking to you – everyone else
here – you can just listen in.
I will be honest with you: this
message terrifies me. I know that some will be offended – and some will
even be hurt – and I hate to hurt other people even more than I hate to
be hurt myself. There are three things I want to say that may soften
your response to me:
1) I cannot imagine – and I have tried –
what it is like to experience same-sex attraction – and all the
confusion and pain and rejection and misunderstanding you may have gone
through in coming to terms with it. So, no matter how sensitive I try
be – I just can’t perfectly understand.
2) I love gay people – I
have family members and friends who are wonderful, inspiring people –
and who are gay. Really. I love them and enjoy them and love their
humour. And have them and their partners round for supper.
My life has been profoundly touched by homosexuality. My parents
divorced when I was five – because my dad had a homosexual affair – my
mom instantly divorced him. Then my dad went out with several men as
the years passed. But from ages 13-16 my brother and I lived with my
Dad and Warren – they were together for over five years – and I had the
most amazing life. But no one knew what I had figured out – Warren was
not just my dad’s friend – but my dad’s partner – my dad never spoke to
me of it – and it ate my up inside – and then sadly they died within a
year of each other – being the first 100 in our country to die of AIDS.
Six things to quickly clear up …
1) I am not going to refer to ‘gay people’, or ‘homosexual people’, but rather people with same-sex attraction.
Same-sex attraction is extremely common. Up to one in twenty people
experience it, and more than one in ten have consented to some kind of
homosexual sexual encounter in their lives.
3) There are degrees
of same-sex orientation. Some people have zero romantic or sexual
attraction to the opposite sex – never have had. Others have 70%
homosexual orientation, and 30% heterosexual orientation. We need to
realise that. And some people once had same-sex attraction but no
4) There is a difference between same-sex attraction
and homosexual behavour (which is the romantic and / or sexual pursuit
of someone). Many people in our church have same-sex attractions but do
not pursue same-sex relationships or sexual encounters.
never chose to be attracted to the same-sex, anymore than others chose
to be attracted to the opposite-sex. Same-sex attraction is not a
choice. Its a reality for some people.
6) God has not called
us as a church to go out there, and tell gay people they must turn
straight. Absurd. He has called us to take Jesus to all people out
there – and, if people believe our message about Jesus and put their
life in Jesus’ hands – he will work in their lives. So our message to
the our culture is not ultimately ‘this is wrong’, ‘that is wrong’ –
no, our message is ‘God is good. You can trust him. Jesus is Saviour.
You can trust him. The Spirit of God wants to release God’s life in
you. You can trust him. We started to trust him, and look at the
difference he's made in our lives.’ Said another way, Jesus did not come to make
immoral people moral. Not at all. Jesus came to make dead people live.
That’s our church's approach to this culture.
So let me start…
We have come to see what the Bible says about homosexuality.
The Bible has a message.
message is the best news ever. It has helped us make sense of all of
life. Without this message this world just doesn’t make sense. Without
this message we are blown around with the winds of the latest ideas.
Without this message, we have no real faith, we have no real hope, and
no real love.
We love this book. We love its message. It is
our compass for navigating through life’s complexities. It becomes the
lens through which we make sense of the world we live in.
respect your choice not to accept this message, but if you do accept
this message, then you need to work out its impact on and implications
in our lives.
I want to look at four aspects of this message of the Bible – and how it helps us to think about the issue of homosexuality.First part of the Bible's message: God created us wonderfully and intelligently.
are not the product of time and chance. We are not accidents. We find
the meaning of our lives in him. He created us with artistic brilliance
and with thoughtful purpose.
How this part of the message impacts our approach to homosexuality …1) God created us male and female.
created them in his image, male and female he created them’ says
Genesis 1:27. Our maleness and femaleness is an intricate part of what
it means to be made in God’s image. But it is interesting how he
creates the first female. First God creates Adam – who is a kind of
undifferentiated person – and out of Adam he creates Eve – he literally
takes some of Adam and makes her Eve. So that when Adam first sees her
he says, ‘Wow – bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh.’ He is basically
saying – ‘you are a reflection of me – you are the completion of me’.
an analogy: Hold your knuckles together and say, ‘God made Adam
undifferentiated.’ Pull knuckles apart and say, ‘God then made Eve out
of Adam – so that he saw in her a reflection of himself and a
completion of himself.’
This is important: The Scriptures
emphasize that our maleness would be complemented by and completed by
femaleness. And vica versa.
2) God has revealed the intended context for sexual intimacy.
2:24 then tells us of the first marriage: ‘They will leave their mother
and father. They will cleave to each other (this speaks of a permanent
covenant). And the two will become one flesh’.
This is the
fourth mention of the world ‘flesh’ in Genesis 2 – and what becomes
evident is that this sexual union is not just a union, it’s a kind of
re-union. Back to the analogy: put knuckles together again: and that is
one of the mysteries of marriage: two people are united as male and
female living in covenant, and expressing this oneness in their sexual
intercourse. The fitting together of genitals is the outward picture of
a far deeper mystery of union: the union of a male and a female. Or
should we say, the re-union of male and female.
That is God’s
picture of sexual intercourse and romantic relationship: A man and a
woman bound in the covenant of marriage, where they become one in soul
and body. And their union is really a kind of re-union, a completion of
our humanity. This is what is called God’s creation pattern. This is
the basis for determining the acceptable and unacceptable sexual
practices throughout the Bible.
3) Jesus lived and taught this same ethic.
is often said that Jesus never said anything about homosexuality. But
Jesus also never mentioned bestiality nor paediphilia nor rape. What he
did do was to teach again the creation pattern. In Matthew 19 he said,
‘A man will leave his parents, and be united to his wife, and the two
will become one flesh. And God will be involved in this union of two
persons – this union of marriage.’ The moment Jesus embraced this he
was saying that every other use of sexual union is out of place.
find Jesus telling his disciples in Mt. 19 that they have only two
legitimate options: 1) marital fidelity (with marriage being defined as
a relationship between one man and one woman joined together by God
which leads to a one flesh union), or 2) being a eunuch for the sake of
the Kingdom. The term 'eunuch' here whether taken literally (as in a
castrated person who is incapable of normal sexual intercourse), or
simply morally (as in a person who doesn’t engage in sexual
intercourse, remaining celibate in singleness, though he or she is
capable of such an act), makes very evident that for single persons,
any single persons, celibacy in singleness is the standard Jesus holds
up for the unmarried.
Jesus is not silent on such matters at
all-- fidelity in marriage and celibacy in singleness are his
standards, and indeed they are standards by which Jesus himself lived
when we are thinking about the celibacy in singleness issue. He is
likely talking about himself when he speaks of persons who have chosen
to be eunuchs for the Kingdom.
Listen to the ‘Sex in the City Series’ talk on ‘Designer Sex
’ for more on this.
said that the truth will set us free! When is a train most free – when
it is on its tracks? Or when it is free to go wherever it likes –
without tracks? In the same way, Jesus affirmed that although the truth
may seem narrow it is really the way of freedom, whereas the path that
seems free 9and without restrictions of any kind) – not based on the
truth – is really the way of bondage and destruction. The freeing
restriction that Christ gives to the expression of romance and sex is
clear: in the marriage between a man and a woman. All other expressions
of sexual intercourse are ‘off the tracks’. That is why, amongst many
other practices, homosexual sex is off bounds in the ethic of Jesus.Second part of the Bible's message: But we, all of us, are sinful people living in a fallen, broken world.
How this part of the message impacts our approach to homosexuality …This causes us to find our identity and affirmation in sources other than God.
created us to live for him and to live on him. We were created to find
our identity in him, our strength in him, our wisdom in him and
affirmation in him. What a joy to live like this – the Garden of Eden
describes Adam taking walks with God in the garden – loving him, living
for him, and living on him.
But the Bible tells us that all of
humanity, including you and me, have fallen from God. Romans 1
describes it like this: ‘For although they were made to know God, they
neither glorified God nor gave thanks to him – but their thinking
became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. They claimed to
be wise, but really they became fools. They exchanged the truth of God
for a lie, and worshipped and served created things rather than the
Creator – who so obviously deserved their deepest love and praise’
(excerpts from Romans 1:21-25).
Everyone of us has looked to
created things to find our identity and affirmation – money,
intelligence, love, adventurism, sex, religion, achievements, family,
the heterosexual community, the homosexual community – the list is
infinite! We have our sophisticated reasons for doing this – but
ultimately we all have failed to live for God and to live on God. In a
million different ways.This causes our lives and relationships to disintegrate, and it often leads to all kinds of enslavement.
section in Romans 1 carries on. It tells us that when we fail to find
our identity and affirmation in God, but look elsewhere – our lives
begin to disintegrate – our hearts and our relationships go into a
serious dysfunctionality. And we begin to be controlled by these
things. They enslave us. So although we may think we are free – we are
And then Paul lists some ways this disintegrations
surfaces in our lives and relationships in different ways (for
different people)…• Some of us dishonour our parents.
• Some of us feel envy for each other.
• Some of us gossip and slander and hate.
• Some of us feel superior to other people.
• Some of us find new ways of doing the wrong thing, and we develop sophisticated ways of justifying it.
• Some of us begin to desire to have sexual contact with people of the same sex.
Some of us dissatisfied with God’s plan for sex – ie in marriage – and
we pursue our longings for intimacy outside of marriage, and with
people of the same sex.
When we say that we are fallen, we
mean that every part of our lives has been corrupted in some way. There
is no person who has not in some way, perhaps in even a thought
entertained, been free from some sexual deviance. We are all sinners!
Sinfulness finds the grooves of brokenness in their lives…
every person with same-sex attraction there are a different combination
of factors contributing to their homosexuality: for some it is
biological, for others psychosocial, and for others combinations of
both. Every person is different. Most psychologists will agree with
this paragraph. But let me enhance this understanding by drawing on
insights that flow out seeing things through a biblical lens…
The primary (but not exclusive) cause of same-sex desires in every
person is neither biological nor psychosocial, but spiritual: the root
of sinfulness in all of our lives. We see this in the flow of Romans 1.
2) We are all unique sinners. Our sinfulness seems to flow
along the lines of our brokenness. We all sin differently, because our
sin finds different grooves of brokenness in our lives to flow through.
3) If someone were born predisposed to being gay, we, with a
Bible view of the world, would describe that as a kind of biological
brokenness. Some of us are born broken. For example, if someone is born
blind, or with both male and female genitals, we understand that this
person never did anything wrong but that their brokenness ultimately
stems from being born in a broken, fallen world that has been
devastated by humanity’s fall from God.
4) If someone through
their upbringing were to experience wounds or deficits that cause them
to be predisposed to same-sex attraction, we, with a Bible world-view,
would call that a kind of psychosocial brokenness. And all of us know
what it is to carry wounds that can negatively affect our lives.
Let me explore these two kinds of brokenness…1) Some gay people are homosexually orientated because of biological predisposition.
of the most commonly pointed to evidences for the biological basis of
homosexuality is Simon Levay’s study, published in the journal,
‘Science’ in 1993. He studied the brain structure of many dead gay and
straight people, comparing the results. He found some differences that
would more often exist in gay people than in straight people. And
wallah! The media and gay lobby grabbed it and publicised it as proof
that people are born gay.
But they overlooked something LeVay
said of his own work, "It's important to stress what I didn't find. I
did not prove that homosexuality is genetic, or find a genetic cause
for being gay. I didn't show that gay men are born that way, the most
common mistake people make in interpreting my work. Nor did I locate a
gay center in the brain. ... Since I look at adult brains, we don't
know if the differences I found were there at birth or if they appeared
Scientists are divided. Dr Trevor Hunter concludes, ‘At
the present time there is no definitive evidence to establish a
biological cause for homosexuality. No gay gene has been discovered,
and there are no posited biological pathways to explain how such a gene
would work even if it did exist.’
Francis Collins, who headed up
the human genome project, studied the research of the scientists who
claimed to find a biological basis for homosexuality. He said a few
• In every case, the media misrepresented the studies,
and wildly overstated the conclusions. Especially of the book,
‘Discovering the Gay gene.’ But he acknowledged one study when he said,
‘Based on Kirk and Bailey’s twin studies, we see that in some males
sexual orientation is genetically influenced but not hardwired by DNA.’
• He explained what he meant by ‘influenced but not hardwired’:
‘whatever genes are involved represent predispositions, not
predeterminations. We have all been dealt a particular set of cards,
and the cards will eventually be revealed. But how we play the hand is
up to us.’
• Another way of saying this is, ‘Our DNA is what we
are, but not who we are. Our DNA never changes, but who we are is
changing all the time.’ In other words even if we are predisposed with
a same-sex attraction it may or may not fully develop, and we are still
free to choose our own values. Your genes should not choose for you.
for more on Collin’s comments on the studies.2) Most people are homosexually orientated because of psychosocial wounding as they were growing up.
Gay Lobby will usually insist that their homosexuality is how they were
born. They will underplay the possibility that it is a result of some
kind of psychosocial problems while growing up, for the simple reason
that society is far more likely to encourage homosexual expression as
something normal, if they see it as natural and not as a result of
Yet, even if there could be a biophysical component
so many homosexuals have similar experiences growing up that you can’t
help believing that it has a strong psychosocial element.
I found this website www.peoplecanchange.com
that did a survey with 205 men who battle with homosexual attraction,
asking them what factors they felt had caused their homosexual
attraction. Here is what the top three results were…1) Father-son relationship problems: 97 % said this.
seems very rare for a man who struggles with homosexuality to feel that
he was sufficiently loved, affirmed and mentored by his father growing
up, or that he identified with his father as a male role model.
Oftentimes the father-son relationship is marked by either actual or
perceived abandonment, extended absence, hostility or disinterest (a
form of abandonment).
It is a common experience for many of us
to have felt a deep longing to be held, to be loved by a father figure,
to be mentored into the world of men and to have our masculine natures
affirmed by other men.
2) Conflict with male peers while young: 97 % said this.
even as boys or young teenagers, we felt like we were never "man
enough." We felt like we didn't live up to the masculine ideal. We saw
ourselves as too fat or too skinny, too short or too awkward, not
athletic enough or tough or strong or good-looking enough - or whatever
other qualities we admired in other males but judged to be lacking in
ourselves. It was more than low self-esteem, it was low gender esteem
-- a deficiency in our core sense of gender upon which our whole self
image is built. Other males just seemed naturally masculine, but
masculinity never came naturally to us. We aspired to it but were
mystified by how to achieve it. Among other males, we felt different,
lonely and inadequate.
At the same time that we idolized certain
male traits or maleness generally, many of us came to fear other boys
and men. Born with unusually sensitive and gentle personalities, we
found it was easy for many of us to feel different from and rejected by
our more rough-and-tumble peers growing up. We came to fear their
taunts and felt like we could never belong. Many of us feared the
sports field and felt like we could never compete.
did this leave us, as males ourselves? It left us in a Neverland of
gender confusion, not fully masculine but not really feminine either.
We had disassociated not just from individual men we feared would hurt
us, but from the entire heterosexual male world. Some of us even
detached from our very masculinity as something shameful and inferior.
3. Mother-son relationships (and the "smothering mother" syndrome): 90% said this.
as we perceived our fathers as abandoning, ignoring or being hostile
toward us, it was a common experience for us to over-identify with or
become overly dependent on our mothers. Oftentimes, we never fully cut
the "apron strings" that attached our identity to hers. Mom often
became our confidant and mentor instead of Dad. But Mom could never
show us how to act and think like a man. So it was common for us to
view maleness from a woman's perspective instead of a man's. We
inadvertently adopted a woman's view of the world. The gulf between us
and the world of men was widened and reinforced.
48% of gay men were sexually molested, and of these 97% say they felt
it contributed greatly to the formation of their same-sex attraction.
for more the results of the survey.But what about lesbianism?
I read a summary of Anne Paulk (who is an ex-lesbian married to an
ex-gay man) book about Lesbianism called, ‘Restoring our sexual
identity’ in which she releases the results of an intense survey of 256
lesbian woman. This is what she found…Childhood trauma, poor
self-image, anger at men, poor relationships with either or both
parents, and pro-homosexual media propaganda are several key elements
in women developing an attraction to other women. Same-sex attraction
is seldom really driven by sexual needs; it is driven by an unconscious
desire to be loved and to trust another person. It is also frequently
driven by a desire to reconnect with the feminine but in the wrong way.
for a summary of her book.
• The exotic-erotic theory is a theory that explains both male and female same-sex attraction in some people…
Bem, a social psychologist at Cornell University, has theorized that
the influence of biological factors on sexual orientation may be
mediated by experiences in childhood. A child's temperament predisposes
the child to prefer certain activities over others. Because of their
temperament, which is influenced by biological variables such as
genetic factors, some children will be attracted to activities that are
commonly enjoyed by other children of the same gender. Others will
prefer activities that are typical of the other gender. This will make
a gender-conforming child feel different from opposite-gender children,
while gender-nonconforming children will feel different from children
of their own gender. According to Bem, this feeling of difference will
evoke physiological arousal when the child is near members of the
gender which it considers as being 'different'. Bem theorizes that this
physiological arousal will later be transformed into sexual arousal:
children will become sexually attracted to the gender which they see as
different ("exotic"). This theory is known as Exotic Becomes Erotic
The theory is based in part on the frequent
finding that a majority of gay men and lesbians report being
gender-nonconforming during their childhood years. A meta-analysis of
48 studies showed childhood gender nonconformity to be the strongest
predictor of a homosexual orientation for both men and women. For
example, in a study by the Kinsey Institute of approximately 1000 gay
men and lesbians (and a control group of 500 heterosexual men and
women), 63% of both gay men and lesbians reported that they were gender
nonconforming in childhood (i.e., did not like activities typical of
their sex), compared with only 10-15% of heterosexual men and women.
Source: ‘sexual orientation and biology’ on www.wikipedia.orgConclusion:
what makes some people gay?
The Scripture highlights that the main cause for same-sex attraction
is our sinfulness – we have failed to find our identity and affirmation
in God, and this sinfulness surfaces in our lives and relationships in
all kinds of moral disintegration, which also leads to enslavement.
Homosexual attraction is the way some people evidence this moral
disintegration in their life.
• But we are all unique sinners
– and our sinfulness finds the grooves of ‘brokenness’ unique to our
lives – after all we are born into a broken, fallen world. For some
people with same sex attraction the primary ‘brokenness’ is that they
have been biologically predisposed to homosexual attraction. But for
most people with same sex attraction their ‘brokenness’ is that they
have been psychosocially inclined toward homosexual attraction.
Third part of the Bible's message: Jesus, the Son of God, was and is full of grace and truth.
lived the most interesting life. He was sent hear from heaven as the
Son of God. He came to show us what God is like, and came to show us
the kind of people we need to be. One verse summarizes what Jesus was
like. He was ‘full of grace and truth’ – John 1.
How this part of the message impacts our approach to homosexuality …1) Jesus was called ‘the friend of sinners’.
separated a person’s sin from the person. He loved and even liked
people whose morality was contradictory to his own. He used to
socialize with wealthy men who slept around and with prostitutes even.
The religious community kept on attacking him around this. They
suggested, ‘If you hang out with people like that, it is a sign that
you endorse their immorality.’
Jesus clearly didn’t endorse
their moral decisions, but he still loved them and liked them. And he
made an effort to let them know that they were within reach of God’s
grace, even though he disagreed with their lifestyles. Amazingly, they
seem to like him even though he was not like them!
That is why
it is sad of Christians are homophobic – and don’t build friendships
with gay people. Jesus clearly wouldn’t be homophobic – and neither
2) Jesus confronted graceless, self-righteous people.
Notice how he attacked self-righteousness in religious people in Luke 18:9-14…
some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on
everybody else, Jesus told this parable: 10"Two men went up to the
temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11The
Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: 'God, I thank you that I am
not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax
collector. 12I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.'
13"But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up
to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a
sinner.' 14"I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home
justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled,
and he who humbles himself will be exalted."
breaks God’s heart. He judges those who judge others. Christians, we
need to be so careful that we don’t look down on people who we think we
are better than. We are not better than anyone! The cross is the
levelling ground of all humanity. We are all sinners. We have all
fallen in different ways. If anything, the sin of pride could be even
worse than the sin of sexual compromise. After all, pride was Satan’s
It’s so sad but so many people in our world think that
Christians are anti-homosexual people, all because of the way some
Christians have come across when speaking out against homosexuality.
But not us. You may have heard of a church in the USA that keeps on
holding up signs saying, ‘God hates fags.’ I can’t be sure of this, but
I wouldn’t be surprised if Jesus would punch their lights out if he
were still here.3) Jesus tenderly but firmly told people to stop looking for love in the wrong places.
the last many decades the Gay Christian Movement and the liberal
Christian movement has risen up saying that homosexual promiscuity is
obviously wrong, but if two gay people love each other – and then make
a long-term commitment to be with each other, then it is fine.
say, ‘Yes the Bible may speak about homosexual behaviour – but it does
not speak about the possibility of love-based homosexual partnerships.’
We have seen in the media how this has divided the church. It has been
sad to see. Let me say two things about this ‘gay Christian movement’
1) Love is not enough to legitimize any sexual relationship.
Jesus taught that just because two people love each other does not
justify doing wrong – and stepping outside of God’s will for their
lives. We have already seen in Matthew 19 that Jesus repeated that the
only appropriate context for sex between two people is in the context
of a marriage between a man and a woman. For example, on two occasions
he encountered women who were in an adulterous relationship. And
obviously they loved their men – why else would they do something that
crazy in their culture. And in both situations (John 4 and John 8:1-11)
he is incredibly gracious, and kind – and yet tells them to stop
looking for love in illegitimate places – that they should turn from
their sin. ‘Go and sin no more,’ says Jesus (John 8:11).
2) Let us not twist the truth to suit the culture.
In 2006, a self-proclaimed gay journalist ‘Matthew Paris’, wrote an
article for the London Times. It was in response to the way the church
was changing it’s doctrines to include practicing homosexual priests
and same-sex marriage …‘It is wrong for people to modify
their faith and moral beliefs from a fear of becoming isolated. It is
time that convinced Christians stop trying to reconcile their spiritual
beliefs with the modern age and understand that if one thing comes
across clearly through every account we have of Jesus’ teaching it is
that his followers are not urged to accommodate themselves to their
age, but rather to align their mind to God. Christianity is not
supposed to feel comfortable, or feel natural, or inclusive, or
moderate or even sensible. Christianity is itching itself up a
philosophical cul-de-sac. The church stands for revealed truth and
divine inspiration or it stands for nothing.’
It is sad that
someone outside the church would clarify the issue for us. Something
interesting is happening in those churches that are changing their
doctrines: on the whole, they are shrinking in size. One reason is
this: when a church fails to stand for revealed truth and divine
inspiration it loses it’s power to make a difference in people’s lives.
more on what the Bible actually says, directly and indirectly about
homosexuality, a good summary is found in John Stott’s ‘New Issues
facing Christians today.’ He brilliantly counters the incorrect
interpretations of the gay Christian movement regarding homosexuality.
a brief summary of the texts that speak directly about homosexuality
see www.apostolic.net/biblicalstudies/homosexualbible.htm. Homosexual
sex is clearly and consistently condemned.
There are many
theologians who argue for homosexual partnerships. They classically use
the same angle: ‘The Bible promoted slavery, but now all Christians now
that slavery is wrong. Similarly the Bible may speak against homosexual
promiscuity, but we now know that homosexual partnerships, based on
love, are acceptable.’ For a brilliant response to this argument read
‘Slaves, Women & Homosexuals: Exploring the Hermeneutics of
Cultural Analysis’ by William Webb.Fourth part of the Bible's message: Jesus, the Saviour, died and rose again to forgive and change us.
How this part of the message impacts our approach to homosexuality …Jesus is ready to forgive us.
the sinless Saviour died on the cross to take our sins on himself. He
took all the sins we have committed in thought, and word and deed – and
for the heart sin underneath them all – the sin of turning to created
things rather than to the Creator for our identity and affirmation.
has made it possible for sinful, broken people like ourselves to have
the guilt of our sin removed, and to be accepted into a relationship
with a Holy God, now and forever.
This surely is the best news
we could ever have. And this community is full of people who once were
far from God, but now, having had their sins forgiven and having
received the gift of eternal, new life, are learning to live for God
and to live on God. We are learning to find our identity and
affirmation in our relationship to him – and this is the most profound
thing that has ever happened in our lives. We are touched by a grace we
certainly haven’t deserved.
For those here who have given in to
same-sex temptations either in your thoughts or in your deeds – there
is great news. Jesus can and will forgive you if you put your trust in
him. Really, the bigger your sin – the bigger his forgiveness! ‘Where
sin increases, God’s grace increases all the more.’ (Romans 5).
if you refuse Christ and his forgiveness, then you carry your guilt.
The Bible says that you stand before God at Judgment Day, and if you
have not had your sins removed, then you will face the Judgment of God,
and be banished from God’s holy presence forever. Only a crazy person
would refuse his blood-bought forgiveness.
And its more than a
removal of guilt, its also a removal of shame. All sexual sins bring
shame into our lives. Yet Jesus promises to ‘wash away’ that shame,
replacing it with a renewed sense of innocence and cleansedness. What a
good Saviour he is. No one else, but Jesus, is able to do this in our
lives.Jesus is ready to change us.
not only ‘washes away our sins’ but helps us to overcome those sins. He
comes and inhabits our lives, and releases a flow of new life and
spiritual power in us.
If we refuse Christ’s grace to forgive
us and to help us change, even though change comes slowly, we are
warned that we forfeit life in God’s kingdom. Hectic. In the long run,
the pain of trusting in and obeying to Christ is tiny compared to the
pain of not trusting and not obeying Christ.
We must realize
that everyone is welcome to come to Christ and come into the church as
they are without pre-conditions. But no one is welcome to stay as they
are - no one. They all must change, repent of their sins as needed, and
strive to live in newness of life whether or not they deal with
Christ loves you so much he takes you – and
me - just as we are, but then his loves goes to work in your life and
my life – and begins to deal with that which is contrary to his
character and which damages your and my relationship with him. He
jealously refuses to share us with sin. He wants all of us. And the
sooner we surrender to his consuming love, the more joyful and truly
free we will be.
One of the earliest churches consisted of some
people who, clearly having same-sex desire, had given themselves to
same-sex sexual intercourse…1 Cor 6: 9 Do not be deceived:
Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male
prostitutes (malakoi = soft and effeminate) nor practicing homosexuals
(arsekanoi = homosexual pursuers) 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor
drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were
sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and
by the Spirit of our God.
A church full of people, some of
whom were male prostitutes and some who were practicing homosexuals –
and then they heard about Jesus – and had their sins washed away,
experienced the freedom of belonging to God, and the life of the Spirit
in them – and no longer pursued homosexual relationships or sex.
experienced something of this in the church where I became a Christian.
I became a Christian at Cape Town Baptist church, where several men and
women had come out of a homosexual background. Some were single, some
were even married – in particular one who had been a practicing
homosexual for 20 years had committed his life to Christ, and got
married, had children and was leading the church for some time. A
ministry called ‘Total Transformation’ was birthed out of these stories
of people whose lives had been transformed.
Friends First, let
us not look down on anyone. Let us make space for all kinds of broken
and sinful people. Let Christ’s grace flow through you in the most
tender and strong and enduring ways. Let people know that they are safe
But is deep change really possible?
gay lobby are quick to say it is impossible. And many people who
describe themselves as ‘ex-ex-gays’ say they tried to get rid of their
same-sex attraction but it never worked. www.gaysouthafrica.com says,
‘The only choice gay or lesbian people have is whether or not to live
their lives honestly, or according to societies unrealistic
expectations.’ Is that true? Just be honest about your same-sex
attraction and then just live it out. Act on your attractions. Is that
all that is available to you? Or to pretend and try hide it away and
suffer in silence – while you try be what you are not? Does Jesus offer
another option? Yes he does.
If Jesus promises to change us what can we expect? Here are six ways he changes you – and there are more…
The biggest change that can happen in anyone is that they can begin to
live for God and live on God. We can begin to find our security, our
identity and our affirmation from him. This is possible through
2) If there is any pain deep in your life that
feeds same-sex attraction, Christ goes to work at bringing freedom
there. He is called ‘the Wonderful Counsellor’ for a reason.
Same-sex behaviour can be eliminated immediately and totally (and God’s
grace is ready to help us). If you are in a same-sex sexual
relationship and you want to grow in your faith in Christ, then you
must choose to end it.
4) Sexual addiction (which is very
common among many male’s who pursued homosexual sex) is totally
break-able. Christ’s Spirit is amazingly helpful in the overcoming of
deep entanglements in sexual sin.
5) But same-sex desire, which
are experienced as ‘unwanted same-sex temptations’ don’t always go
quickly, or even totally. Some people, over time, are restored to a
place of opposite-sex attraction – and they often get married – while
others do not arrive there – and yet achieve a joyful life as a single.
But, despite the gay (and ex ex gay) lobby insistence that
change is impossible, there is lots of statistical evidence that
positive change is very possible…
a) NARTH (National Association for the Research and Treatment of Homosexuality) – see their website (www.narth.com
- did a survey of 860 people through 200 psychologists who did not want
their same-sex attraction and sought change. Here are the results:
treatment 68% of them perceived themselves as exclusively or almost
entirely homosexual. After two years, only 13% perceived themselves
like that. 63% said their same-sex attractions were frequent and
intense, but after two years, only 3%. Before 42% delved into
homosexual porn, and 2% afterwards. 82% of the therapists said they
believed that therapy had changed their client’s orientation. They
believed that on average they had helped one third to a half of their
client’s adopt a primarily heterosexual orientation. (I drew these
results from the book, ‘What some of you were’ by Christopher Keene,
published by Matthias Media.)
b) In the www.peoplecanchange.com
survey previously mentioned of 205 men who sought change 84% reported
that they had already experienced significant decrease in the degree or
intensity of their same sex feelings or interests over time, while 68%
reported that they had already experienced some increase in the degree
or intensity of their sexual attractions to women over time.
c) Anne Paulk’s survey of 256 women who sought change was as follows…
survey provides quantitative support for the encouraging themes of the
book. Among the revelations of data from Paulk’s eight-page
questionnaire were that "Most of the women (85%) were able to
transition from a lesbian or bisexual identity to a heterosexual or
ex-lesbian identity (81%) in an average of two and a half years and
commonly with the assistance of an ex-gay ministry and/or professional
therapy". By far the factor that helped them overcome same-sex
attraction most was the grace of God. "After all, the top reason to
pursue change almost unanimously cited was 'relationship with God.'"
(Restoring Sexual Identity, p.256).
These findings undoubtedly
resonated with Paulk’s own experience. In telling her story she related
how God was at work in her life long before she acknowledged the need
to change. “I was pursuing the homosexual life as best I could, seeing
that as the answer for the deep need for love in my life, the void that
was there. And then, it was like a light came down from heaven and
whispered in my ear, ‘Um, homosexuality is not the answer. It will not
fill that need in your heart.’ And I was angry but I knew it was true,”
she says. Anne Paulk said, ‘Leaving homosexuality was the hardest thing
I ever had to do’. Anne Paulk said, ‘Leaving homosexuality was the
hardest thing I ever had to do, but the pathway of holiness, though it
hurts, will never hurt us as much as the pathway of sinfulness
Yes, deep change is
possible! We can receive a new identity and affirmation in God. And we
can begin to experience the freedom of living for God and living on
God. We can be healed of emotional pains that feed same-sex attraction.
Guilt and shame can be removed. Same-sex sexual relationships and
encounters can come to an end. Sexual addictions can be broken. And
same-sex desires can be greatly reduced in their intensity and
frequency, and sometimes even completely eliminated.
Some advice for dealing with unwanted same-sex temptations:
1) Open up to a trusted Christian friend who is mature.
If you can find the courage, speak to your small group leader or one of
the eldership team. They will start to pray for you. And when things
are tough you can let them know, and they can intensify their prayer
for you. A life of holiness is impossible outside of community. When we
isolate from community we will experience our worst spiritual defeats.
But in community there is a grace to deal with the temptations. James
5:16 says that as we confess our sins and struggles to each other,
healing grace comes upon us. So much of our sinfulness is powered by
secrecy, but when we tell the right person / people it helps so much. 2) Do not be too quick to tell too many people about your struggle.
Rather tell just a few people who you know have got your best interests at heart. 3) Visit www.exodus.to and just read and read
Read stories of people who have overcome. Read advice about what works
and about what doesn’t work. Subscribe to them. If you are a guy read
Mike Ensley’s story of of overcoming on www.grace4gays.com. And read
www.peoplecanchange.com for more real stories and great advice from
people who have overcome.4) Speak to one of the pastors in your church about going for extra help.
Most people who have real freedom from same-sex attraction say this
helps. We will recommend you to a Christian Counsellor or maybe a
short-term course with a Christian ministry that deals with same-sex
attraction in our city, such as Total Transformation, or Trailblazers,
or Living Waters.
5) Learn to cope with and overcome the unwanted same-sex attractions.
I recommend the reading of two helpful articles on the subject of how a
Christian person can cope with and deal with these unwanted same-sex
temptations. Go to www.exodus.to/content/blogcategory/18/55/
and look for the two articles giving pastoral advice for dealing with
same-sex attraction. You may feel alone in your temptation until you
remember that every Christian deals with temptations at times – strong
urges to fantasize about or do what is wrong. Remember that ‘No
temptation has seized you that should isolate you from other people –
they are also being tempted. But God is faithful. He will not allow you
to be tempted beyond what you can bear. He will provide a way out, so
that you can stand up under it.’ (1 Cor 10:13). All Christians battle
with ‘the desires of the sinful nature’ – and all Christians, including
ones with same-sex attraction, can learn to overcome them, so that our
lives are not full of agony and torment, but full of joy and peace.
Also remember the difference between temptation (ie the desire to do
something) and sin (feeding that desire or acting on the desire).
Martin Luther said, ‘We can’t stop a bird flying over our heads, but we
can stop it from nesting on our heads.’ That is the difference between
temptation (which even sinless Jesus experienced) and sin. 6) Don’t ever stop clinging to God’s grace.
life God offers you is within your reach. And there will never be a day
so good that you are beyond the need of God’s grace – and there will
never be a day so bad that you are beyond the reach of God’s grace. It
will come at the cost of a fight – but the fight is worth it, when you
consider what is at stake. Paul speaks about the unwanted thorn in his
flesh, that God hasn’t taken away, but that is used by Satan to
discourage and tempt him. But then Paul realises that this weakness,
this struggle against the temptation and weakness is exactly what God
is putting in his life to make him grow spiritually, and grow in
spiritual power, and intimacy with Christ, and deep joy. See 2
Corinthians 12:9-12 for this story. If you want an inspiring story of
someone who never fully overcome same-sex attraction, but whom God used
powerfully and deeply his whole life through, then read anything Henry
Nouwen wrote. Henry is one of the most influential Christians of the
last century.7) Rejoice in the promise of heaven.
Right now all creation groans in a sense of pain and incompleteness
(Romans 8:22). We all have weaknesses and temptations that cause us to
groan too. But the promise – o what a glorious promise – for those who
put their faith in Christ, is that our present trials cannot compare
with the glory that will be ours in heaven (Romans 8:18). It will be a
glory free from brokenness and free from sinfulness. I can hardly wait.
And to think this will be ours forever! Until then, we let the power
and the joy of heaven splash into our lives with the ministry of the
Holy Spirit – as we give ourselves to doing the will of God in the
depth of our being, and in every detail of our lives.