EVANGELIZING HOMOSEXUALS Main Lesson Michael Mazzalongo INTRO – “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” Mk. 16:15 We often see this passage as a commission to reach out with the gospel to every “culture,” but this command also directs us to preach the Good News to those whose “culture” may be distasteful to most Christians. I.e. the homeless the imprisoned the sexually perverted, etc. Each of these lives within a cultural subgroup of a kind we rarely come into contact with or desire to approach. Perhaps the most vocal and aggressive of these groups are homosexuals that openly pursue this lifestyle and promote it as natural, challenging anyone who may disapprove or disagree with them. We need to evangelize this growing number of people but are usually hard-pressed to know where to begin. This lesson provides some information towards this end. I. UNDERSTANDING HOMOSEXUALITY To understand how we have arrived at a point where homosexuality has almost become mainstream in North America you must first realize that this has been the objective of the “Gay Agenda” for over 30 years. Evangelizing any culture requires one to understand their history and attitudes and it is the same for the homosexual subculture. 1. Let’s begin with a little history and review some of what is old and well established in homosexuals’ efforts at promoting their sexual practices and lifestyle as normal and acceptable. Remember, this is the final goal – normal and acceptable to all… A. SO, WHAT ARE SOME OF THE OLD THEMES AND STRATEGIES IN THIS MOVEMENT? 1. GAY SCIENCE Starting in 1973 when intense pressure by the Gay lobby was brought to bear on the American Psychiatric Association to remove homosexuality from their Diagnostic and Statistical Manual – homosexual scientists, people like Simon Levay and others have promoted their studies showing that homosexuality has a genetic basis. The problem with much of the research is that it has received a tremendous amount of publicity while opposing arguments which question the legitimacy of the research approach and conclusion by qualified researchers has largely been ignored or seen the light of day only in the back pages of medical journals. There is less of this today, but enough has been published so that the idea that homosexuality is largely caused by genetic factors has caught hold in the public consciousness. When you read all the material on the subject, however, you will find that the majority of research into the matter does not agree with this finding. i.e. In their Introduction to Psychology and Counseling, Meier, Minirth, Wichern & Ratcliff state that, “While our genetic makeup does have a powerful effect on us, we are not determined solely by our genes.” These professionals echo what the bulk of research has shown concerning homosexuality and its causes: - That along with some genetic predispositions, there are a variety of factors that come together to produce an environment where this sexual orientation is likely to occur. The Gay lobby would like to find a magic genetic bullet to explain away their action without any moral responsibility – but they haven’t done it yet. (Even now in 2006.) * What has developed is a cycle where a new “discovery” has been made, and it receives immediate main stream press – then it is questioned and debunked – but by then the damage is done. 2. GAY POLITICS The approach in the seventies and eighties was to lobby for rights as an oppressed minority. The goal was to obtain legal status as a minority and then sue anyone who would disagree (they called it discrimination) with their lifestyle. In winning this battle homosexuals could not be denied housing, jobs (i.e. teachers, ministers, counselors) based on their homosexuality. 3. GAY THEOLOGY There was a time when twisting Scripture and quite novel interpretations of certain passages in order to justify their homosexuality were quite popular. - Books and articles by gay theologians were in style in the eighties and early nineties… We heard of Protestant denominations having referendums on gay ministers, etc. with lots of publicity. This approach has rejected by most groups in the last several years – probably because these church groups are avoiding the splits and bad publicity these type of confrontations also generated. Since Bush’s election and 9/11, there has been a new wave of conservatism upon the American religious scene and gays see this as a losing battle. B. WHAT’S NEW IN THE GAY RIGHTS MOVEMENT. Well, enough about the old, let’s look at some of the new things coming from this group. 1. A GREAT EFFORT AT RECRUITING YOUTH… I have to wonder at their great hypocrisy - They make so much noise about the genetic source of their sexual orientation but research shows that more than 80% of homosexuals were molested or exposed to pornography as children. - For a group that claims that they were just “born” that way they sure are making a great effort to influence young people to accept and experiment with homosexual practice. We do not realize the concerted effort these people are making to connect with kids on the internet and in chat rooms for example. - This has become the #1 way to reach kids with homoerotic communication and potential meetings. - It is easy, fairly safe, and an inexpensive way to make contact with young people who are looking for adventure. TV programs, movies, and books are now portraying homosexuals as - acceptable, warm, well adjusted people. - Will & Grace/Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, all talk shows, etc. love to promote the careers and personalities of gay guests. - We even have the first “Gay” cowboy movie up for an Academy Award. Among high school kids it has become cool to be bisexual. There is even a slogan, “gay until graduation” - forbidden sex without the danger of pregnancy, without the hassle of marriage. Let’s face it, the danger of a middle-age man or woman to be seduced into experimenting with homosexuality is pretty limited. * But now that our government and our movie stars have promoted the normalcy and acceptability of this sexual practice – there are less reasons than ever in the minds of young people to “experiment” with gay porn, gay internet pals, and eventually gay sex. II. WHY HOMOSEXUALITY IS WRONG Despite their great progress, the homosexuals will fail because they are wrong. That is not popular to say these days but it is the truth. They are going to fail because they are wrong and I want to provide you with three ways that they are wrong: 1. WRONG SOCIALLY Homosexuality is harmful to society and so therefore wrong socially. The whole point of homosexuality is sex and their particular kind of sex creates social problems. A. Gay sex produces no children and is ultimately antisocial. Aside from highly publicized adoption cases, homosexuals are just interested in sex, not family. B. Gay sex is responsible for AIDS. - Homosexuals average over 100 partners per year. - It is not lack of research that is the problem; it is their promiscuity that is the problem. - AIDS costs society a lot of money and suffering – and it doesn’t have to be! * From a social perspective homosexuality is wrong because it causes avoidable human suffering and undermines the basic unit of society which is the family. 2. WRONG PSYCHOLOGICALLY Gays are in the highest risk group for suicide, substance abuse and early death. The majority have been molested as children. When they come for help, the #1 problem is self-hatred and fear. Until 1973 it was seen as a pathology in the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual but this was changed, not because of research, but because of threats from the Gay lobby. The Media (controlled largely by homosexuals and their sympathizers) paint pictures of healthy happy, balanced homosexuals. i.e. Newest shows all have well-balanced gay characters. Talk to counselors and groups who work with homosexuals and they will tell you that their life is filled with - insecurity - substance abuse - self-hatred - premature death - depression … all related to their sexuality. * Surveys, statistics, research show that homosexuality is wrong because it is the cause of psychological problems. 3. WRONG BIBLICALLY Most of us here are familiar with this aspect of why homosexuality is wrong. - That something is wrong socially or psychologically may give me a reason to avoid it for myself personally but not necessarily the right to impose it on others. - That something is wrong Biblically gives me the right to stand up against it and denounce it publicly as wrong. But the Old and New Testament explicitly and universally condemn homosexuality in the strongest terms. - Leviticus 18:22 refers to it as detestable. - Romans 1:26-27 calls it unnatural and indecent. - Paul says that those who practice this will not inherit the kingdom and are doing ungodly and unholy things. – I Corinthians 6:9-10; I Timothy 1:10. Many in the religious world today are changing their views on homosexuality (Gay marriages/Gay ministers). They can only do this by either - Twisting the Scriptures to say what they don’t say ( ie.David and Jonathan were gay). - Denying that Scripture is inspired. - Arguing that the Bible’s condemnation of this practice is based solely on Jewish “cultural” bias of the 1st century. Paul says that the church is the “… pillar and support of the truth.” I Timothy 3:15 - This means that the responsibility to point out what is wrong, what is a lie is divinely given to the church. We, as Christians, have the right and responsibility to tell the world that homosexuality is wrong despite the political incorrectness or unpopularity of that stand. * We will never be able to successfully evangelize homosexuals if we can’t first show them their sin. SUMMARY The Gay Rights people are trying to convince our society that homosexuality is normal. - They try to establish that it is genetically based using shaky science that is not even credible to other scientists who have no moral position one way or another about it. - They have seized the political agenda with smooth manipulation of the media and have established themselves as an abused minority in the eyes of the public. - They are trying to gain legitimacy by twisting the Scriptures so that God will give approval to their sins. But public opinion and legislation doesn’t make something which is basically wrong, right. The answer for homosexuals is the same as it is for all those who violate God’s will and are suffering from guilt, shame and fear. - Homosexuals do not need God’s approval, they need God’s forgiveness. Homosexuals don’t need to come out of the closet, they need to come out of prison because that is where they are – imprisoned by their lust, passion, weakness, ignorance and failures. God opens that door through faith in Jesus Christ: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus understands the burden of guilt and fear and shame because of sin – He carried this burden for us to His death on the cross so that God could now offer to guilty sinners forgiveness! - The way to freedom is not by justifying the behavior, forcing society to accept the behavior, twisting God’s Word to approve of the behavior – the way to deal with it is to acknowledge it for what it really is, what the Bible says that it is – sin and allowing God to forgive us of this sin as we acknowledge our faith in Christ by being baptized in His name. Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38. God provides not only the homosexual but every sinner that comes to Him, the power to overcome sin – 2 ways: 1. Romans 8:1 – Forgiveness so that our conscience is clear and that we are free from fear. 2. Romans 8:12-15 – Power to resist the attraction (orientation) to sin. In His kindness God ministers to the homosexual in a variety of ways in addition to forgiveness and empowerment through the Spirit: 1. The comfort of the Scriptures – Ps. 32:1-7. God’s Word directs, encourages, comforts my heart. 2. The encouragement of the saints – I Thess. 5:14-22 Paul describes the church’s role in motivating and supporting each other. 3. The ministry of counseling as it is practiced in a variety of ways to help people struggling with this problem. There are encouraging results reported that are not widely publicized for obvious reasons. For example: a. Journal of Christian Healing printed the results of a survey of those who had been through counseling and support groups. The group surveyed responded that: - most had been able to stop their homosexual activity completely or substantially with counseling. - Most reported that they never felt better spiritually. - Most reported psychological improvement. 77% of women felt more feminine, 55% reported exclusively heterosexual activity. 47% reported homosexual interest but that it was rarely carried out. b. Kenneth McAll, British psychiatrist reports that he has helped fifteen patients leave homosexual orientation through a combination of psychotherapy and prayer. c. Elizabeth Morberly, in her book reports that homosexuality is a psychosexual development arrest that can be successfully treated through psychotherapy, inner healing, non sexualized relations with same sex persons. (Encourages male bonding without sexual connotation) d. Support groups like Exodus International provide counseling, sharing groups, research, resources and assistance that is effective in helping homosexuals understand their problems, get help in dealing with them and ultimately breaking free from the gay lifestyle. * First Stone Ministry in Oklahoma City. The lie that is perpetuated is that this behavior is natural and ok because it cannot be changed. The truth is that this behavior is destructive physically, emotionally, spiritually and socially and can be changed with the help of God and those who are willing to minister to these men and women. INVITATION My encouragement is directed to two people. 1. Those who struggle with homosexual orientation, whether it is only an inner struggle or an overt lifestyle. These people need to know that regardless of what man says, homosexuality is a sin and will be condemned by God. However, like any sin, God is eager to forgive and to restore to a happy and fulfilling life. * You need to believe, against your feeling, that God is greater than your sin and can forgive and heal you. ** If you don’t write or do something then if the Gays make progress, don’t complain. 2. Christians need to demonstrate a strong stand against this sin but a greater love for those who have to deal with this problem. Perhaps there would be more Gays turning to Christ if they saw more Christians eager to minister to Gays with friendship and encouragement and to Gays with Aids. We are impressed by Jesus’ compassion as He dealt with the outcasts of His society (the lepers). AIDS victims are the new lepers of the 21st century and Christians should be in the forefront of the battle to minister to these people – whatever reason for their illness. * Perhaps if homosexuals were more convinced of our genuine love for them in Christ, they would abandon their counterfeit homosexual love and come to Jesus for the healing they so desperately need and for which I am sure they are constantly searching.