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The Divided Kingdom


By Carman Bradley

Many former homosexuals tell us that there is only one genuine reason that they have been successful: they have abandoned homosexuality in obedience to God’s Word.  They see changing their homosexuality as a side effect of an even bigger goal: being conformed to the image of Jesus Christ.  One former homosexual said, ‘My prayer since the day I entered ex-gay ministry has been the same: ‘Lord, make me into the man of God that you created me to be.’  This man, now married for fifteen years, did not come into counseling with the primary goal of becoming straight.  He wanted to experience life in all its richness, as Jesus promised in Scriptures: ‘I have come that you might have life, and have it to the full.’ (John 10:10)[i]

                                                            Bob Davies with Lela Gilbert, ‘Portraits of Freedom’

I worked with Jay for over a year.  In that time I witnessed a miracle.  He ended all homosexual behavior.  But even more, he had experienced tremendous inner healing and renewal.  He had grown in his self-esteem and self-image.  Most amazingly, his heterosexuality had stirred in him.  He became interested in women.  ‘Lord,’ I hesitantly prayed, ‘You are wonderful.  How glorious are Your ways.  Now, Lord, I have a little request; would You just send me one more person to see if You and I can do it again?’  That was ten years ago.  Almost 100 clients later I have seen the Lord continue to perform the miracle of transformed lives.  That’s what this book is about.[ii]

          Dr. William Consiglio, ‘Homosexual No More’

Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand (Matthew 12:25).

Christ can not be both liberating oppressed gays and lesbians into a “blessed” gay, bisexual, lesbian, transsexual, or queer (GBLTQ) lifestyle - sanctifying gay ordination, consecrating gay marriage, approving of non-marital sex before, during and after union, codifying oral and anal sex as divine design, and permitting experimental sex to find God’s sexual calling for each of His children; while He is also clearly delivering gays and lesbians from what God has declared in scripture as an “abomination” in His eyes.  Logic, whether secular or Scriptural-based, tells us that one group of Christians is blind to the truth.  Pro-gay and gay Christians can no longer deny the “scientific” facts and “spiritual” testimonial realities of reorientation.  Bailey’s invert theory and the gay gene theory, used to disregard orthodox Christian theology, have been discredited.  Moreover, in an open, democratic and pluralistic society, the publicizing of reorientation cannot be labeled a hate crime or homophobic.

Exodus International, typical of many ex-gay ministries, began as a sovereign move of God.  In the early to mid-1970s, Christian ministries to men and women struggling with unwanted homosexual feelings sprang up spontaneously all over North America and overseas.  In 1967, Roberta Laurila had a spiritual vision that one day there would be a worldwide network of ministries to help homosexuals come out of that lifestyle.  She sensed God speaking to her: “If you’ll leave your situation, I’ll use you mightily.”  Roberta was living with her lover, but three weeks later she left.  She began praying daily for God to raise up counselors throughout the world.  Nine years later, Exodus began.

The general consensus among Exodus leaders is that temptation is not sin (Hebrews 4:15), but the homosexual orientation is an expression of humanity’s sinfulness – and cannot comfortably co-exist within the context of a total commitment to Jesus Christ.  In 1987, Alan Medinger described the calling:

’We are in a spiritual battle of staggering proportions,’ he told over 200 delegates from 45 different Exodus ministries.  ‘Until now, widespread church support for redemptive ministry to homosexuals has been lacking, but AIDS is changing that.  Voices in the church previously speaking out in defence of the homosexual lifestyle are now strangely silent.’  During the early 1980s, Exodus ministries had noticed a growing disinterest in the church over the issue of homosexuality.  Multiple books on the subject had poured off the evangelical presses in the late ‘70s, then there was silence.  During that same time period, the theology of homosexual behavior had been fervently debated in mainline denominations, then most of the committees had turned their attention to other ‘urgent’ issues of the day.  Then came AIDS.  Suddenly, the topic of homosexuality was of crucial concern again.  Pastors around the nation were shocked to discover that members of their church had been infected with the AIDS virus, mostly through homosexual activities.  The problem of homosexuality – even in conservative churches – could no longer be ignored.[iii]

So the AIDS issue created a new wave of interest in ex-gay ministry.  According to Bob Davies, attendance at the annual Exodus conference climbed to 200, then 300; by 1989, over 400 delegates were present.  In response the gay Christian movement did not take long to develop its own hostile offensive.  Fundamental to its identity were two beliefs.  First, homosexuality is not unbiblical and therefore, the movement could claim legitimacy.  Second, homosexuals can’t change, even if they want to.  The necessity for the second belief was less obvious, but crucial.  An unwavering belief among orthodox Christians is that homosexuals, like all sinners, need to repent.  Having repented of their sin, Christ will enable them by His grace to lead Godly lives without indulging in homosexual practices.  It was - and is – vital to the GBLTQ Christian movement’s success that it convince everyone, especially its critics, that homosexuality simply cannot be repented of, any more than skin color or gender can be abandoned.[iv]

Exodus International, a coalition of ministries dedicated to helping people overcome homosexuality, had for almost two decades been proclaiming a message in direct opposition to the gay Christian movement: that homosexuality was a sin, and that Christ could free the homosexual.  No message could be more intolerable to the gay Christian movement, and in the mid-1980s they determined it had to be silenced. In 1989 Reverend Sylvia Pennington, whose career was devoted to assuring gay Christians that their behavior was acceptable to God, released her scorching analysis of the “ex-gay movement” titled Ex-Gays? “There Are None!”  By compiling stories of women and men who had tried to change from homosexuals to heterosexuals (through Exodus and similar ministries), Pennington argued that anyone attempting to “go straight” was doomed to failure.  Her book, the first published broadside against Exodus ministries, threw down the gauntlet from the gay Christian movement to any Christians who claimed to have overcome homosexuality.  Debates between “Christian gays” and “ex-gays” were soon commonplace on talk shows and in print.[v]  However, the paradox for pro-gay and gay Christians is captured in this letter:

Dear Sirs:

I understand that you are considering the ordination of professing homosexuals.  Please would you consider my testimony before deciding.

I grew up in the United Presbyterian Church.  It was there that I came to know and to love the Lord Jesus Christ.  At age 12 I asked God to fill me with His Holy Spirit.  I am sure that He did.  Still, while in college I was drawn into relationship with another woman.  I felt great about it at first; my sexual desires were being met, and I was still very much into filling the desires of the flesh.

It was six years before the Holy Spirit began convicting me, slowly, gently at first, then more and more powerfully until I could live with myself no longer.  I went to my minister and confessed the whole thing….The Lord gave me a Scripture at the time.  It was Revelation 21:5, ‘Behold I make all things new.’  He continues to renew our lives daily, and therefore I recognize in this other person a ‘new creature in Christ Jesus.’  Praise God!  I cannot thank Him enough for lifting me out of the mire and setting me once again on solid ground.

Homosexuality is a dead end.  While I was so busy gratifying the desires of my flesh it was impossible for God to give me the desires of my heart.  Now He is free to do so.  I have dated several young men in the past year, and have enjoyed each date.  There has been fellowship and sharing about the Lord Jesus Christ.  In addition I have a joy I could not experience before.  I can once again look forward to getting married.

God wants the best for us.  Let’s not settle for second best.  God bless you in your decision.

Sincerely in Christ[vi]


Copyright © 2008 StandForGod.Org

[i] Bob Davies with Lela Gilbert, Portraits of Freedom (Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 2001), p.17.

[ii] William Consiglio, Homosexual No More (Wheaton, Illinois: Victor Books, 1991), p.13.

[iii] Bob Davies, History of Exodus International (Resource Series: Homosexuality & Society), Exodus International, p.6.

[iv] Joe Dallas, A Strong Delusion: Confronting the “Gay Christian” Movement (Eugene Oregon: Harvest House, 1996), p.92.

[v] Ibid., p.93.

[vi] Jerry R. Kirk, The Homosexual Crisis in the Maineline Church (New York: Thomas Nelson, 1978), p.27.