A growing number of "gay Christians" recognize that homosexual practice is sinful but claim that they are homosexual by identity and orientation. They do not believe that God can (or wants to) change them, however, and choose to remain celibate.
In essence, they believe that they have been left by God to live with a homosexual orientation but are expected not to act on such attractions. Why is that? Are they suggesting that there is something that God cannot do?
Excusing the Sins of the Heart
There are some who use a "gay" identity as an excuse for embracing and acting on homosexual fantasies via pornography and/or masturbation, or for engaging in non-sexual but enmeshed same-sex relationships (Matt. 5:27-28). In doing so, they are continuing to practice the idolatry that is the foundation for homosexual lust and behavior (Rom. 1:18-25). Their contention that God made them homosexual or that He has decided not to progressively reduce or change their attractions allows them to justify lusting after people in their heart, or at best, harboring unhealthy friendships that fuel and perpetuate emotionally arrested impulses and behaviors.
The Unbelief That Underpins 'Gay Christians'
Unbelief is a big problem in this population. They either do not believe that they are a new creation in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17) or for some, they aren't yet in Christ. To be a "new creation" means that a transformation of the nature of our being has taken place (John 3:3-6,16). However, to see that new life manifest, they must believe that it has taken place, even before there is any evidence of it (Heb. 11:1; 2 Cor. 4:18, 5:7). They must be "sure of what they hope for and certain of what they do not (yet) see", simply because of God's promise (Ex. 15:26).
However, they want to see the evidence first. They want to see their attractions change before relinquishing a gay identity. They want the temptations to stop first. In that, they are still trapped in the "arrested emotional development" stage that created the ground for their sexual confusion. They are still bound by the "magical thinking" of the preadolescent that typifies homosexuality. It demands a quick, supernatural change of attractions—or else. It's almost as if their commitment to God is predicated upon an inner stopwatch. If God doesn't change them the way they want and in the time they expect, their unbelief increases and becomes self-justifying.
Some are afraid to get close to God out of fear that He will ask something of them that they don't want to do. They want to be in control and are trapped in idolatry—with the idol being their own will. In essence, they've not completely surrendered to the will of God.
Avoiding the Pain of Recovery
Some are subconsciously looking for an excuse to avoid a painful healing process that investigates and responds to the issues that caused their same-sex attractions. They are reticent to go after all that God has for them.
Pastors and counselors see this kind of resistance all the time, especially when the root issues (such as abandonment, rejection or abuse) are very painful. And so the "gay Christian" makes excuses for not "pres[sing] toward the goal to the prize of the high calling in Christ" (Phil. 3:14), which is Paul's exhortation for faith-induced, enthusiastic engagement in the sanctification process. His conclusion: "Let us live up to what we have already attained!" (see Phil. 3:14).
I well understand this fear of pain, having had to face it many times, so I mean no condemnation for those who have hesitated to go for it. It is so much easier, knowing you're saved and going to heaven, to surrender to what your feelings and experiences say you are, rather than working through the pain to get to the manifestation of who God says you are and can be. But it's worth every minute of the journey.
Missing the Point
The right focus is critical. If your goal is to experience the complete removal of homosexual temptations, you've missed the point. You will be disappointed because the memory of every pleasure that you've ever had is stored in your brain and can get triggered by any number of things no matter how healed you become.
Taking the journey with God the Father is the goal—that intimate relationship during which He reveals the causes and the remedies for the broken places within and empowers their healing to the degree that we seek and allow (and to the degree that we come to love Him more than the idols that we have been serving). The progress can be slow and imperfect, but it's the journey with Him that is the goal, and thus should remain the focus. As I point out in the Sexual Healing Reference Edition: "Sexual healing is a result of falling in love with Jesus at deeper and deeper levels."
It's not law, or duty or performance—it's in the love that is generated for God as He forgives us again and again and again—and in learning how to appropriate His power to overcome temptations with faith (Rom. 8:13-14; 2 Cor. 5:14; 10:4-5). And when we fail, it is His grace that puts us back on track (1 John 1:9).
Allowing Sinful Desires to Define Them
"Gay Christians" allow their temptations to define them. They will not listen to the thousands of former homosexuals who have experienced real and substantive change.
I urge such people not to ground their identity in what tempts them or in the brokenness that drives them. It is an insult to the God who said, "Lead us not into temptation" (Luke 11:4d), to believe that He would create them to commit acts that He condemns.
The truth is, we were never homosexual. We struggled with homosexual confusion, but were from conception, heterosexual in design. Neither the brokenness of our life, the slowness of our healing, nor the fallenness of everything around us can change that. The seed of heterosexuality may be damaged or un-nurtured, but it has always been there.
God has set us as signs and symbols—prefigurements of the marriage between Christ and the Church (Eph. 5:22-32). When we submit to Him by yielding to that anatomical and spiritual design, the glory of God becomes manifest in our bodies.
Evidence That Demands a Verdict
Our documentary (SuchWereSomeOfYou.org) features the stories of 26 people who once identified with and practiced homosexuality, but who now identify with and follow Jesus. An important part of their healing was that faith step in believing themselves to be broken heterosexuals rather than settling for the false identity of homosexual.
The most important statement in our film was made by a man who promised God that he was going to follow Him by forsaking homosexuality whether or not God healed him of his same-sex attractions. It was the linchpin moment that made all the difference in his relationship with God and a key component in the progress of his healing.
Missing the Target
God's pleasure is found not in our achieving perfect performance or in attaining an absence of temptation, but in our heartfelt pursuit of Him in the midst of the lying voices that haunt our fallenness. It is that love-inspired focus on Him that transforms us into His image (2 Cor. 3:18). It is also the thing that results in the most change in our identity and our behavior.
After coming to Christ, a great many people are still tempted to do things they once did. That's the reality of our fallen world and the spiritual warfare that goes on. But don't make that your identity! To do so is to deny who God says you are and His power to keep you from falling (Jude 24; 1 Pet. 1:5; Ps. 37:23, 55:22). He wants to rescue you from those false gods, false identities and destructive behaviors (Isa. 62:1-5). He wants you to believe, even in the midst of evidence to the contrary, that you are the new creation Jesus promised you would be if you followed Him. In that believing, your transformation will begin.
In that same documentary, we asked Dr. Neil T. Anderson if it was possible for homosexuals who had given their life to Jesus Christ to see change in their behavior, beliefs and identity. 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.
Dr. David Kyle Foster is the author of Love Hunger: A Harrowing Journey from Sexual Addiction to True Fulfillment, Sexual Healing Reference Edition and Transformed Into His Image. He is also the producer/director of three award-winning documentaries on homosexuality and transgenderism. You can get them at: purepassion.us/component/virtuemart/dvds/the-lgbt-for-christians-collection-detail?Itemid=213
Listen to his podcast at: charismapodcastnetwork.com/show/purepassion
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