In a recent conference on homosexuality put on by the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission in Nashville, I was shocked and deeply saddened at the absence of those who could speak on the topic of "change" for the homosexual. Where were they? They were all sitting in the audience, ministry leaders who have been on the front lines of helping the homosexual for decades, uninvited to share about the power of Jesus Christ to heal the brokenness that causes homosexual confusion.
The message was loud and clear: "Dude, if you come to Christ, there's no hope that you can change, so get ready for a life of celibacy, 'cause it's your only option." Meanwhile, dozens of former homosexuals, many now married with children, sat in the audience unable to share the truth about the power of Christ to transform lives. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, Baptist leaders were spending hours "dialoguing" with leaders of the so-called "gay Christian" movement. It broke my heart.
In the recent documentary, Such Were Some of You, Dr. Neil T. Anderson was asked if change was possible for the homosexual who has given his or her life to Jesus Christ. His reply: "God has only one plan. It's that we conform to His image. And so: Is change possible? That's what it's all about! That's what Christianity is—it's the process of becoming somebody we already are. We're children of God, now we are becoming like Christ."
That is a description of the sanctification process where, throughout the rest of our lives, we who have been made holy by the sacrifice of Christ progress in the outworking of that holiness as we grow and mature (1 Cor. 6:11). As we fall more deeply in love with our Savior in the course of an ongoing pursuit of Him (Phil. 3:8-16), we are transformed into His image (2 Cor. 3:18) and we are conformed to His image (Rom. 8:29).
Biblically, change is no less an expectation for the homosexual than it is for the porn addict, the liar, the murderer or anyone else who has been under the power of sin.
So the question is not "Can a homosexual change?" but "What might change look like for the one who has been trapped in homosexual confusion but has now decided to follow Jesus Christ?"
Briefly stated, substantive change is the fruit of a deepening relationship with God. It is not the result of self-engineered grasping for the ring of holiness but is a natural result of the life-changing revelation of His glory (Jer. 29:11-14; Heb. 11:6) and the transformation of the will that occurs in His presence (Phil. 2:13). The more often we encounter Him and the more deeply, the more transformed we become in our inner man.
Change for those struggling with same-sex attraction occurs on the level of: 1) behavior, 2) belief, 3) identity and 4) desire. It may also involve deliverance from demonic strongholds and family-line curses, the unmasking of hidden roots of idolatry, fear, unbelief, unforgiveness, the renouncing of ungodly judgments and vows, the healing of emotional wounds, as well as the impartation of missing developmental pieces, such as affirmation and love.
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