Are people born with a homosexual orientation? Or is such orientation acquired through socialization? In society at large, the debate over homosexuality revolves largely around this issue. And so does a smaller debate on the merits of chapter 9 of sociologist Tony Campolo’s book 20 Hot Potatoes Christians Are Afraid to Touch (Word, 1988).

In the July newsletter of the New York City-based ministry LIFE (Living in Freedom Eternally), which counsels people trying to overcome homosexual orientation, ministry directors Ron and Joanne Highley maintain that Campolo’s ideas on homosexuality are unbiblical and harmful. In the four-page newsletter article, they allege that Campolo “has given ‘aid and comfort to the enemy’ by distorting and avoiding the truth.”

Throughout the disputed chapter, Campolo affirms that homosexual behavior is sinful. He states that all were “meant to be heterosexual,” but that some are homosexual because “all nature is fallen.”

Campolo claims, however, that more and more research “suggests that in a great number of cases, if not in an overwhelming majority, homosexual orientation is inborn.”

In challenging this statement, the Highleys wrote that four “ ‘gay’ activists” who appeared on the “Donahue” show earlier this year admitted there is no proof that homosexuality is biologically based.

The implication of Campolo’s position on the cause of homosexuality is that counseling to overcome it is useless to many, perhaps most, homosexuals.

In contrast, LIFE, along with several other organizations that make up the umbrella group known as Exodus (see CT, Aug. 18, 1989, p. 16ff.), maintains that nurture—not ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.

Issue: