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Homosexuality: What Do You Say to a Gay Friend?

From the series Culture Shock

What exactly should you say to a gay friend about coming out? From his series, Culture Shock, Chip lays out the truth from scripture about homosexuality and how to respond with love, even in the face of controversy. Parents! In this message, Chip talks about homosexuality. It’s direct, straightforward, and at some points, perhaps even shocking. Depending on your children’s ages you may want to preview this message before letting them hear it.

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Message Transcript

An awful lot of Bible believing Christians who really, really love God, when it comes to homosexuality, and the homosexual community, are really afraid and a lot of people in the lifestyle are really afraid of Christians.

And that’s sad on both ends.

And so as we start, maybe a little bit differently than you think, I’d like to offer to the homosexual community an apology. I’ve been around this block for a while. I lived in Santa Cruz, I’ve lived in places where large segments of the population are lesbian or gay.

And here’s what you need to understand is that in the name of Christians, because they don’t know what our labels are, we have one group that have so emphasized what they feel is the truth that they have held signs, and called people names, and screamed at them, and told them, “You’re on your way to hell!”

And the only experience people in the homosexual community have had is with these very angry, crazy people, some who have been very violent, in fact. And the absolute love of God has been completely missing.

And I can understand why they’re afraid.

Under the banner of Christianity, as well, there are other groups who say to the homosexual community, “It’s not even sin. You’re not only welcome but we will ordain you as our priest, or our pastors, and don’t worry about it and, you know what? God…”  And they don’t tell them any of the truth. And to not tell them the truth about what that lifestyle does to them is not loving.

And so we have one group that pounds on the truth without love and another group that pounds on love without truth. Here’s what I want to do. I want to walk with you on a journey, first and foremost for us to understand and so that we can be a church, and individuals, who speak the truth in love. And to do that then, I think understanding is the key. If you’ll open your teaching notes, I want to walk through the two basic positions. You need to understand. So often we have emotions and there’s heat, and heat, and heat and very little light. And so what I want to do is I want to walk through the basic presuppositions of the homosexual community. And then I want to walk through the basic presuppositions of Bible believing Christians.

And then what I want to do is I want to take those things and look at seven premises and say, “Let’s look at what the Bible says, science says, research says.” Which of these most line up most accurately with the facts?

And so with that here are the presuppositions of the homosexual community. It’s a moral alternative sexual orientation. Why? I was born gay. Therefore, homosexuality is an identity. It’s who I am. And if it’s who I am, and I’m made this way, then it’s normal and it’s natural.

And if it’s normal and it’s natural, you may have a different idea about sexuality, but this is just an alternative way to live in your sexual practice.

And finally, if I’m made this way, if it’s normal, if it’s natural, it’s a civil rights issue. Genders, people of different races, they’re protected by civil rights so we, in the homosexual community, should be protected as well.

Now just lean back for just a second and ask yourself if you believe, with all your heart, that those presuppositions were true, can you see why you might be pretty angry at people who call you names, or say that everything about you is invalid, or even that you need to change?

See, what I want you to get is, let’s walk in their shoes just for a second here. That’s a way of thinking that produces certain attitudes and behaviors.

By contrast, the Bible would teach and Bible believing Christians would say homosexuality is an immoral, prohibited sexual lifestyle. That you’re not born that way but it’s learned or developed. And so what’s prohibited is homosexual, or same sex, behavior.

The Bible doesn’t declare that people may not be tempted; they can be tempted with same sex attraction. But the Bible says same sex behavior is prohibited. So it’s not something that you are, homosexuality is something that you do.

And if it’s something that you do, as a learned behavior that’s prohibited by God for your protection and for your good, then it’s abnormal and unnatural and, far from being an alternative lifestyle, it’s a destructive lifestyle. It’s destructive relationally, and physically, and emotionally, and spiritually.

And finally, then, it’s a moral issue. So turn the page with me and let’s go on a journey together. What does science say? What does the research say? What’s the Bible say?

I want to go through seven premises. Premise number one is: I was born this way. In 1991 and 1993 Newsweek came out with a big splash and the whole article was, Are You Born Gay? And the first study that made national prominence was by Simon LeVay. Simon LeVay was, actually 1993, the biological basis for homosexuality. And basically said that, we now know there’s a genetic link, which causes homosexuality.

And he had thirty-five men who had died, they thought that they were all, sixteen were heterosexual, nineteen were homosexual. And they found a different size in the hypothalamus. Now, as they did intensive research they found that they never verified whether the nineteen men were really heterosexual or not.

Both doctors who did this were homosexual scientists and they were, by admission, said, “We’re looking for a link to help people deal with all the guilt and the shame, and make a link of why people are homosexual.”

The study did not gain any scientific credibility. It was deeply flawed. They had exceptions in a very small group of three people in the homosexual group had larger hypothalamus and three people in the homosexual group had smaller.

And so this was a first link, and it’s not held up scientifically, but if you read the research what you’ll find is this is an often study that is quoted.

A second study was supported by Dr. Michael Bailey of Northwestern University, Dr. Richard Pillard of Boston University. And they reported in male twins when one is homosexual the other, there’s a three times more likelihood to be homosexual than fraternal twins.

And again this will be sited, this was in that big Newsweek article and it’s interesting, it says, “The flaws of the study where the sample size was small, forty-eight percent of the identical twins were not homosexual.” So the point is if it’s genetic, identical twins have exactly the same genes. So, it ought to be a hundred percent.

Here’s what I can say about the genetics. Other research has been done and in terms of all the literature that you read, although there’s a desire to make links, there is no correlation between genetic, absolute in any way, to homosexuality behavior or origin.

Studies by Johns Hopkins University, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, a pro-homosexual scientist, Evelyn Hooker, and Masters and Johnson all deny that there’s any genetic link. They agree that the connection between genetics and homosexuality is a myth.

Now what you need to understand, though, in the popular culture and if you’re a young person, is that if you say something long enough and loud enough, this is what most homosexual people are told.

Or this is what young people in a Bible teaching church who go to school and talk to a friend are told. You know what? Those feelings, that attraction you have. You’re a homosexual. You were born that way.

We’ll talk about this a little bit later because I want to look at the developmental factors. When you do all the research you find there are five or six developmental factors. If it’s not genetic then how do people have these alternative sexual attractions?

Sexual identity, the father’s role, is huge here. You find an absent father, abusive father, disengaged father, or smothering mother. Early sexual abuse. Last night I talked to a young man who just recently came out of the lifestyle and had a drug addiction and homosexuality and he just talked to me and we had a great conversation.

He said, “I never made the link between my early childhood abuse and my drug addiction and homosexuality.” And he said, “I thought God hated me. And I couldn’t understand what happened or why because of what I’d been through.”

That’s not the case in all family conflict issues. Low self-esteem, failure to bond with the same sex parent. As you do the studies, there are lots of developmental reasons. And, by the way, every little boy and every little girl, if you notice when kids are small, boys hate girls and girls hate boys.

Correct? Right? They have cooties. Agh! I hated girls. Until puberty sets in. And then we don’t understand what happens but those little girls you hated, something happens inside.

It’s during that time in those pre-teens, pre-puberty times and during puberty that when some of these developmental issues and there are needs or there’s not a bonding and there are different experiences that kids have, some kids don’t go through the whole developmental process and it’s not like they make some choice. They can be six, seven, eight years and have an attraction to the same sex and need to be nurtured and bonded.

When that happens if they’re told, “You’re born this way,” or if they are in a good Bible teaching church, or a not so good Bible teaching church, that just hammers people, hammers people and equates a same sex attraction with homosexuality, I’m telling you, there are thousands, and thousands, and thousands of people in churches who grow up with these kind of feelings and attractions and there is no safe place to tell anyone and there’s no place to get help. And they say, “Oh, you’ll get over it.” Or, “Date a girl.” Or, “Here, watch this movie.”

And we’re going to talk about how to solve that problem. But it’s developmental.

Third is beyond that, the environmental factors, the media has normalized. I mean we’ve gone to the media in terms of TV, reality shows, you know, programs now, new show coming up, The New Normal.

Or Modern Family have three different couples, one’s a gay couple. You have reality shows. You have music, culture, videos. We, everywhere what we see is this is just an alternative lifestyle and the blaring in the media is, “This is normal.”

Well pretty soon that gets to be accepted. Music, a comic book I just read last week, one of the star, Northstars, Marvel Comics is now marrying his male lover. Now think about who reads comic books.

Well, if people don’t hear the truth or if church people are uncomfortable with talking about these kind of things little boys and little girls, they just hear what they hear.

Another thing you need to understand is there are some people that… you know, the whole bisexual movement? This has nothing to do with how you grew up. It’s just, “I want to get off. And if I want to get off with a woman or with a man, it doesn’t matter.” There are people that are just sexually charged and want to have experiences.

I mean, it’s the Dennis Rodmans of the world. You know? It’s, “I’m a basketball player by day, and I put on a wedding dress by night, and I’ll have sex with anybody, anytime.”

There’s a part of this vile side that’s scary, that’s not just to do with people that have been through difficult times but people that are taking advantage and seducing.

I have a very close friend who lost his wife tragically. And he had a daughter in college who was very close to her mom. And there was an older woman, she was an athlete, and there was an older woman who happened to be a part of that athletic program who consoled her. And she was a lesbian. And she consoled her and nurtured her and met some very deep needs and introduced her to the lesbian lifestyle.

So there are lots of different ways but an awful lot of it has to do with the very legitimate, heart needs that we all have, and people wanting to get connected, and wanting to be loved.

Now the fact of the matter is this. Some of you, in this room, and some of us, when we wanted those needs met we got involved in drugs, or alcohol, or promiscuous heterosexual sex, or workaholism, right?

You know what we did? We just tried to solve those needs by different temptations.

Premise number two: ten percent of the population are homosexuals, or how could so many people be so wrong? That statistic comes from a 1948 Kinsey Report. It later became the Project 10. So throughout public schools when my kids were in school, in Soquel over in Santa Cruz, that the triangle speakers came in and told our elementary, junior high, and high school students that ten percent of you are homosexuals and said the only way to really find out is to do some experimentation. There’s nothing wrong with you.

So it’s in our educational system. But what you don’t understand is the Kinsey Report, which was quoted in that blockbuster, 1993 Newsweek Magazine, was a flawed study. It was done by volunteers out of a prison population.

Later on a little bit more careful research, 1991 University of Chicago did a nationwide survey and found that about 1.7% of the population are homosexuals. In the 1990 census only one percent of the people reported to be homosexual.

Now I think to be fair, I think a lot of people are not going to report that one. So I think that one’s a little skewed on the low side.

But the most exhaustive study done in the nation, American Survey, is that 2.7 males and 1.7 females are homosexual in America.

And so all I want to say is that this mantra of, “You’re born this way,” and that “Ten percent of the population, how could ten percent be wrong?” They simply don’t line up with the best scientific research, even done by those in the homosexual community, or the best research we know about what’s happening in the population.

But so some of those premises need to be gently and lovingly removed.

Third premise is that the homosexual lifestyle is a normal, healthy alternative lifestyle. Now key words: normal, healthy. The pictures that are portrayed is that, “I love this person very much and, you know, you can love your heterosexual partner and I’ll love my homosexual partner and it’s just a difference in how we express our love.”

How do I say to someone I really care about, and the premise is you really care, that, “Oh, whatever you want to do is okay.” Are there monogamous, loving, caring homosexual relationships, as purported on TV and other areas? Of course there are.

But the idea that that’s just the way it is isn’t the way it is. And there are a lot of young people that are taken advantage of. And if you believe that you’re born this way and ten percent of the population is this way and it’s just a normal alternative.

But I don’t know about you, but people need to be understood. And they need to be loved. And much of their behavior, and their acting out, isn’t any different than your behavior or my behavior in acting out.

As we’ll learn later such were some of us.

The sexual practice of homosexuals and I’ll be very brief on this but it’s really important because, again, it’s, we have these ethereal pictures and we’re not honest and clear about how homosexual practice works.

The high rate of disease among homosexual males is due to unhealthy sexual practice. Ninety-eight percent of homosexuals engage in oral sex, ninety percent practice sex with their partner in anal sex. This is biological suicide since the rectum was not designed to accommodate a thrusting penis or sex toys.

During such activities the anal wall is torn and bruised, giving sperm and germs direct access to the blood stream. Since the anal wall is only one cell thick, sperm quickly penetrates the wall, causing massive immunological damage to the body’s T and B cell defense mechanisms. This doesn’t happen during vaginal sex because of the multi-layered construction of the vagina.

Very graphic, very clear. But you just need to understand that when men have sex with men, or women have sex with women, it is destructive. It violates God’s design. And that’s that passage where it talks about terrible things happen to their body.

And those things aren’t often very talked about.

Logically it’s a lifestyle that has the inability to reproduce. And historically we are living in a time where there has never been, to date, a culture that has survived, a society that has survived, when homosexuality became mainstream and accepted by all.

So it’s a death-style. And we, but we need to say that in the same way, with the same kind of compassion we would with someone who has cancer. I mean, when you think of the massive amount of money and research that goes into people that are dying. You need to care about people that are dying. You need to look at what they do, and why they do it, and understand where they’re coming from.

But we need to let them know that, you know what? The best research is there may be a predisposition. I read at least one study, there may be a predisposition. The evidence is far, far smaller than alcoholism. We know that almost sixty-seven to seventy-some percent of alcoholics, there’s at least a genetic predisposition toward becoming an alcoholic.

But what we tell them is, “Well, then just get drunk all your life,” right? There’s a predisposition for some people for stealing or lying. Even if there’s a genetic predisposition it’s a fallen world. What people need is loved, understood, and it means they’ll have temptations in areas that maybe you don’t.

But some of you have areas of temptation in other areas. And the same grace is available. But we need to get this on the table, and care deeply about people, so the truth and the love come in the same package.
Premise number four is that the Bible may condemn lustful, indiscriminate homosexuality but not loving, committed homosexual practice. This has been the position of a lot of mainline churches and is moving in to more evangelical circles.

And what I want to do is just go through some very clear, direct, what’s the Bible actually say?

You see from creation the intent of God, “Let us make man in our own image,” “male and female.” The inferred, clear design is heterosexuality. When God wants to solve the aloneness problem of mankind, those deep needs that everyone has to be connected, and loved, and affirmed, and understood, Chapter 2 verse 18 says He creates Eve – a heterosexual relationship.

There are certain things that only a woman can bring out of a man and there are certain things that only a man can bring to a woman. And that’s by God’s design.

In Genesis 19, we have the first experience of homosexuality being endorsed in a whole culture. And you have the judgment of Sodom. In the literature by people who say, “I’m gay and Christian” and there’s a movement to revamp some biblical views they would say, “No, that’s not homosexuality. That’s an issue of inhospitality.”

But as you study the passage very clearly you see Jesus quoting this passage. The issue there is wickedness as evidenced, in one way, not exclusively but in one way by sodomy or homosexual practice.

When you get to the Old Testament you have the Levitical Law. But the Levitical Law is more than just ceremonies. In the Old Testament, in Leviticus, you have ceremonial law, you have dietary law, you have laws for the priests, and then you have just moral laws.

God says certain things. He took this people who were living in Egypt, with all these vile practices, and He takes them into this place called Canaan and in Canaan these people are worshipping in ways that are just unbelievable with all kind of sexual practice, offering their kids to idols.

And so in Leviticus God’s going to lay down some laws about, “I don’t want you to be like these nations that I’m going to kick out.” And He goes through a number of very specific things that has to do with a violation of character. Not just ceremonial law, but it’s moral law, that’s taken into the New Testament.

And I’m going to read through Leviticus 18:21 to 25 because often when I hear Christians quote this they just pull out one verse. And what I want you to get is the context. I want you to hear, “Homosexuality is egregious sin that’s very serious but it’s not just because it’s in the Old Testament.”

It says, “Do not give,” verse 21, “do not give any of your children to be sacrificed to Molech, for you must not profane the name of the Lord your God. I am the Lord. Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable. Do not have sexual relations with an animal and defile yourself. A woman must not present herself to an animal to have sexual relations with it; that is a perversion.

“Do not defile yourself in any of these ways because this is how the nations that I’m going to drive out before you became defiled. Even the land was defiled; so I punished it for its sin and the land vomited out its inhabitants.”

All I want you to see is that God’s really strong on this because of what it does. It’s detestable. Leviticus is about, “I want you to be holy. I want you to be pure the way I am.”

In chapter 20, He’ll list yet another consequence of these kind of behaviors and all I want you to see is adultery is in there. God is saying to the people, “I don’t want you living the way these other nations are. It is unholy. It’s destructive.”

“If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife, with the wife of his neighbor, both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death.” That’s pretty strong. “If a man sleeps with his father’s wife he has dishonored his father, both the man and the woman must be put to death. Their blood will be on their own heads.

“If a man sleeps with his daughter-in-law, both of them must be put to death. What they have done is a perversion. Their blood is on their own heads. If a man lies with another man as one would lie with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable, they must be put to death, their blood will be on their own heads.

“If a man marries both a woman and her mother, it’s wicked. Both he and they must be burned in the fire so wickedness should not be among you. If a man has sexual relations with an animal he must be put to death and you must also kill the animal.”

Now you need to understand, God sets up a nation, it’s a theocracy, these laws and these punishments are for the nation of Israel during that time, and there is a New Testament era that is different. But what I want you to get is how serious this is, in terms of the moral standard, for God.

By the way, that’s how serious adultery is. That’s how serious other sins are.

Finally, the unequivocal and clear passage in Romans chapter 1, and as I read this, what I want you to notice is that homosexuality is one of the issues.

What I’d like you to do, to be fair, is to read this and as I read it think about the sins that you used to be most guilty of. He writes to this church giving them hope but laying this bar of righteousness. That’s the apostle Paul does, that’s what the Bible does. There is a bar of righteousness for our good, and for our welfare, that’s out of the love of God to provide for us and protect for us.

But that bar of righteousness is covered in the velvet kindness of His love and compassion. And so the apostle Paul would write, “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither sexually immoral, nor idolaters, or adulterers, or male prostitutes, nor homosexual offenders, nor thieves, nor the greedy or drunkards, nor slanderers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”

So he’s just saying, “Look. The bar doesn’t change.” But you know, I wondered what would happen if instead of homosexuality being, like, “Oh, the most terrible sin someone could ever get involved in.” And Christians are super uptight and really afraid. What if we just made it fornicators?

Or people that have been divorced? Or, how about, some of us, idolaters. If you worship work, or worship money, or worship your kids, God says that’s idolatry. What about people that are sex offenders? What about people who log onto internet sites? Heterosexual sites?

The apostle Paul is saying those things. Guess what? Those are in the same category. Those things will harm you, bring death to you. They will crush your soul, alienate you from God, alienate you from yourself, bring death into your relationships and into your body.

And what he says is all those, as well as homosexuality, are things that He can’t condone. That’s the bar of righteousness. Notice the next premise.

Emotional feelings and attractions to the same sex must mean that I’m a homosexual. Nothing could be farther from the truth. As you study developmental psychology, as you study how little boys and little girls grow up and how there’s this period of time when we don’t like the opposite sex and then puberty kicks in.

There’s a developmental period where we have this attachment to the same sex and there are role models and when certain things happen and whether it’s abuse or whether it’s an absent father, or dad’s away at war, or mother is afraid, or someone else has been abused, there are all kind of reasons.

But for some little boys and some little girls, during that season, they have a same sex attraction. They didn’t sign up for it. They don’t know why. But for most of them, in the Church, they’re scared to death. And they don’t know what to do with it.

And especially if they’ve been in a church where, “Homosexuals! You want to talk about a big sin, that’s the big one!” Of course, we don’t talk about a lot of the other ones.

We’ve gotta create a place where boys and girls, not so old and not so young, can say, “I know different people are tempted and struggle with different things.” Some young men are tempted with pornography. Others with same sex attraction.

Some young people in their twenties have struggled in lots of different areas and met someone who has been nice and kind and nurturing and began to introduce them to thoughts they’d never had. And then pretty soon they reframe their background and where will people get help and get loved if they don’t get it at the church?

The sixth premise is: once a homosexual, always a homosexual. You can just write, “Not true.” Not true. Remember the I Corinthians passage? I want to read it one more time. I just want to get some ramp. Because I love this passage.

I love this passage for me, and I love this passage for people that are struggling, and I love this passage for brothers and sisters in Christ who have come out of homosexuality.

“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?” Paul, I got that one. “Do not be deceived: neither fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, effeminate, or homosexuals, nor thieves, nor coveters, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”

I got it. You can’t habitually practice that. I love the next line: “Such were some of you.” Such were some of you. Such were some of me. “But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of God.”

Once a homosexual, always a homosexual simply isn’t true anymore than once a sex addict or once an alcoholic, or once a workaholic you always stay there. It’s a sin. It’s a serious sin, like all the others in this list.

And such were some of us, right?

A young man who was with us last night, his name was Tim, he said I could use his name and I was just walking up and down the aisles before the service and saying hi to people and I said, “Hi, how are you doing?” He goes, “Hey!” And he just stood right up and he took the notes and he goes, “See this?”  It was “The Truth About Homosexuality.”

He says, “That used to be me.” I said, “Really?” “Yeah,” he goes, “I’m glad I’m here. This is my sponsor and, you know, I came out of a drug situation as well. That used to be me but I’ve been washed and freed by the blood of Christ.”

And then listen very carefully. He said, “But I’m on a journey.” And he said, “You know where it says, ‘Take up your cross and follow Jesus,’” he goes, “I take up my cross and I follow Him, and my cross is the homosexual temptations and thoughts, that still come to my mind. I’m not acting on them. But it doesn’t mean I still don’t struggle.”

I’m a workaholic. Okay? I’ve been there, done that. I mean, I’ve done crazy work. And I had to realize something deeply was broken inside of me from my alcoholic dad and my family. You know what? I’ve overcome that. Under pressure I’m tempted to be a workaholic. I’ve seen that in my family. I’m afraid to go to any of those places. I run from those places.

But those thoughts, now, if you’re honest don’t some of you have some of those? Does anybody here struggle with what you used to struggle with? Don’t we all?

Well, would someone who has come out of a homosexual lifestyle be safe to tell you, “Hey, I just want you to know, I’ve been washed like you. But I’m still struggling with some same sex attraction.”

And you know what all the research says? You know what brings deliverance? Same sex, non-sexual, deep, loving relationships where that nurture, where that broken part gets healed and loved.

But you know what average people in the Church do? You hear something like that and your body language, whoo. What if that happened to us idolaters, and us fornicators, before we came to Christ? And swindlers?

God is calling us, as a church, to a new day.

The Masters and Johnson study talks about a remarkable success rate among homosexuals. 79.1% have immediate success. 71% stay celibate out of their homosexual lifestyle.

The research and the Bible both say, “This is not a life sentence that cannot change.” Interestingly enough, my experience with the homosexual community and most of my research comes from people coming out of the lifestyle.

I mean, in Santa Cruz, that wasn’t hard to find. We had a church full of people that used to be in the lifestyle. And it’s interesting, here’s what they say, “You know what? When you’re in the lifestyle, when you say, ‘I don’t want to be this anymore.’” You talk about non-tolerance. Other gays come down, whoo.

And you know what? What do you do, if you come, if God speaks to you and you say, “You know what? This is wrong. This is the bar. It’s true.” But it’s out of love. And you want to step out of that and you come to a church and now you’re alienating yourself from the community and the people that did care about you.

And you come to a church. Here’s what I want to ask you, are you willing to love the people that God will bring? In fact, are you willing to love the people that are already in our church, that are already in this service, that either struggle, or have come out of, or presently in, the homosexual lifestyle?

Because what I’m telling you is that we will never be God’s Church until we address this one, first, with our own sexual purity and secondly, with a heart that says, “You know what? We’re not changing the bar of righteousness.” God’s Word says it’s a sin just like all these other things are a sin and we’re going to hold ourselves accountable.

But this will be a safe, loving place not just for adulterers, and fornicators, and liars, and swindlers. This will be a safe place for people coming out of the homosexual lifestyle.

And my question is: are you willing to go there? Because we’re going there. We’re going to love everybody here. We’re going to love everybody here. And will that make you uncomfortable? Of course. Of course. Duh. Makes me uncomfortable. It makes you uncomfortable until you get those stereotypes out of your head, until you see God’s grace, until you see people grow. I can’t tell you the most delightful conversation I had with Tim last night afterwards.

In fact, when he did that before the service and I told him when I got done, I said, “Tim, when you, when I get done I’m going to preach on this and I’m hoping it’s going to go well. I’m trying to balance this truth and love and I know I can’t do it but I think God can. So I’m going to give it my best shot. When I’m done, will you come right down afterwards and would you tell me, because this is so recent, would you tell me what was clear, what was honest, what was helpful, what did I miss, what should I change?”

And I took notes. He said, “The turning point for me was a man looked at me and said, ‘God doesn’t hate you, He loves you. And don’t you think, if this was something He would want for you, that somewhere in Genesis when He talked about how relationships work, this would be there? And it’s not there. He hates the sin but He really loves you.’ And a light came on. And I quit fighting it. And I began to investigate what it means to follow Christ.”

The final premise is one that I’ve touched on. It’s that all Christians are homophobic and could never fully accept me if they knew I struggled with homosexual feelings, fantasies, or practice. And what I can tell you is that we have a very poor track record here but it’s going to change. It’s going to change in one church and, by God’s grace, we pray it will change in many churches as He allows us to partner with them.