Cheated by the Affirming Church
I feel cheated. Cheated by those who say that they love me and are trying to help me. Yet, if things were left up to them, I would still be in a prison of my own making—enslaved by homosexuality and without hope.
Like many other Christians, I have struggled for years with same-sex attraction. By God's grace I know freedom from a way of life that still holds too many others captive. Yet many within the so-called affirming church would deny us that freedom. They say homosexuality is God's plan for our lives, even though the Bible clearly says that homosexual behavior is a sin. It is not my intention to prove it; many conservative theologians have already done so. Instead, let me highlight, on a practical level, the negative effects of affirming this sin.
Does God gain some mysterious personal benefit by prohibiting homosexual practice? My exposure to homosexuality convinces me of a far more basic rationale for the biblical prohibition: Homosexuality is bad for me.
First, there is the all-too-common problem of sexually transmitted diseases. As I pondered the recent deaths from aids of
a member of my extended family and his domestic partner, I couldn't help an involuntary shudder over the obvious implications. When I entered college, I had already decided that I would withhold no homosexual pleasure from myself. God, in his great mercy, acted before I could carry out my plan. Had Jesus not changed my life one fall Sunday in 1971, I would have likely become another STD statistic by now.
But the area where the affirming church cheats people the most is not health. It is relationships. You don't hear the affirming church discuss the lasting damage this sin inflicts on homosexuals and their loved ones.
Twenty-five years ago, God blessed me with the gift of being attracted to the wonderful woman who is now my wife. Because of fear and lack of faith, I hid my struggle from her for 23 of those years. I am told by many of my ex-gay friends that I am "lucky." While I had two boyfriends in my teen years, God, in his grace—not to mention my fear of discovery—kept me from engaging in explicit homosexual activity. My experience was limited to simple physical affection and the indulgence in homosexual pornography.
But I don't feel lucky. I wanted to believe the message of the affirming church—that I was born this way, that I couldn't be happy without accepting my homosexuality, and that I couldn't change. I had the occasional fall to gay porn bought at an "adult" shop on business trips. Then I discovered online pornography. Suddenly, I could indulge myself whenever I wanted. Unlike many of the "straight" porn sites that charge fees, many gay sites operate at no charge. I was quickly hooked.
I spent several years in bondage to lust. Over and over, I would quit, shamed beyond measure. But the message that I should embrace my identity as a "gay Christian" continued to entice me, and I would return to my self-made prison. My sin separated me from God, and I lost the joy of my salvation. My conscience didn't side with the affirming church.
After so many years of stimulation, my senses became dulled. I no longer could get the rush I needed so badly. Encouraged by the message of the affirming church, I was "embracing" my homosexuality. But as I fell deeper into sin, my marriage grew increasingly boring, and my wife's love seemed more and more distant.
The affirming church had a bigger lie for me: I had been "guilted" into a heterosexual marriage by a church that lied to me about my orientation. I listened to the lie and decided to call a gay friend for sex.