The current debate on homosexuality in our society, particularly within the Church, is a painful one. Two positions on homosexuality are tearing apart many church denominations and Christians. These two positions are basically irreconcilable:
1. Homosexuality is condemned by the Bible. God’s Word to the homosexual is, “Repent, and get your life in order.”
2. Homosexuality is a given in some people’s lives: “I can’t change; this is the way I am, and I can’t repent for that. Stop trying to heap shame on me! You are the one who should repent. If you were like Jesus, your compassion would lead you to accept homosexuals with open arms.”
But there is a third position which we believe is the best solution: simply, homosexuality can be healed. That is, a homosexual can become a heterosexual; the homosexual orientation can be changed through prayer for inner healing and the power of the Holy Spirit. This solution, too, we believe, accords well with what Scripture teaches.
Unfortunately, it becomes hard even to discuss this third possibility. Those who favor the gay agenda often react strongly against any mention of healing, because healing implies that the person being healed is “sick.” Consequently, it is hard to suggest this third view without stirring up a strong reaction. In fact, the only speaking engagements I have had canceled in the past 15 years were churches where the gay activists heard that our team believed in the healing of homosexuality.
This angry reaction can be expected and understood with empathy, because homosexuals have so often faced derision and condemnation. The reason for this anger is that many homosexuals have perhaps tried to change but couldn’t. After many years of secrecy and shame, they realized that the healthiest thing to do was to admit homosexuality and “come out of the closet.” We certainly can understand this anger at those of us who don’t really know what it is like to be homosexual. As he sees it, we want to put him back into the dungeon of self-hatred. It is no wonder that people with homosexual orientation seek churches where they are accepted as they are.
Many Christians, in their desire to show the love and mercy that is supposed to be evidence of the Christian walk, overlook God’s Word on the subject and accept homosexuals as they are, even seeking to support homosexual unions. This position, however, does disregard Biblical teaching on marriage and the many times the Bible directly addresses homosexuality and calls it sin - not any worse than other sins, but nonetheless, a sin.
So what is the answer? If we adhere to the traditional and Biblical belief that the acting out of homosexual desires is sinful, what should the Church’s response be? Perhaps a balanced approach can lead to a solution of the question that is tearing the Church apart.
The orientation itself - the longing for a man’s love - is not abnormal. At a certain age it is normal (in a non-sexualized way), but the longing remains until it is met, or is somehow repressed. As Elizabeth Moberly, who has written extensively on this subject, says: the need for same sex love is not the problem; instead it is part of the solution. We believe, with many others, that the homosexual’s need for love from someone of the same sex (ordinarily the parent) is a normal stage of development, which, unmet, has become sexualized. The Good News of the Gospel is that this normal need for the love and affection of a father or mother can be filled by God the Father when we pray for inner healing. Only when that need is filled do we move on to an attraction for the opposite sex.
The answer lies in prayer for healing. Without healing, we are demanding that homosexuals live as celibates; no doubt some can, with God’s grace, but the more normal solution for ordinary Christians is prayer for inner healing to transform their sexual attraction. Our experience in actually praying for homosexuals confirms this.