I was asked to do an interview on the “Stand Up For The Truth” this morning. Here is the link to the recorded audio. You can listen straight from the website, download MP3, or download from Itunes! http://standupforthetruth.com/2012/05/matt-moores-story-breaking-the-bonds-of-homosexuality/
The Bible says, very implicitly, that Christ “has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son”- Colossians 1:13 and also that “ sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace”- Romans 6:14. I don’t know about the rest of you, but when I think about the reality of this truth and then line it up alongside the reality of my struggle with different sinful tendencies, I start to doubt that I have any part with Jesus Christ. My hope starts fading. My assurance is almost nonexistent. My sanity starts crumbling.
I posted the video below, but here is a snippet from it: “I figured a way to get rid of ole lesbians and queers … build a great big large fence… put all the lesbians in there… fly over there and drop some food…. do the same thing with the queers and homosexuals. And have that fence electrified so they can’t get out. In a few years they’ll die out..”
The following are the words of my friend, Chad Ahrendt. If you have not seen his movie, Reconciliation Movie http://www.reconciliationmovie.com , you must!
Question: Are People Born Gay?
This is taken from the Desiring God blog, author Jon Bloom. This really spoke to me, and I hope it does to you as well.
“All of us want to finish well. But so many of us do not. Why? Because we too easily cherish our roles in the Great Wedding more than the wedding itself. Which is why John the Baptist1 must become our mentor.
It was all a bit hard to comprehend.
John’s disciples had understood his mission. He had come to prepare the way for the Hope of Israel. It had been thrilling. The long-expected time was so close — that climactic day when Jesus appeared and John publicly proclaimed him the Messiah. The wonder could yield no words.
But they hadn’t expected to feel marginalized by it.
The past year had been a heady one. John had blazed across Judea like a shooting star, the first real prophet in Israel for four centuries. All eyes had been on him from king to peasant. And he called them all to account, including the self-righteous Pharisees. When John spoke God moved and people repented and were baptized. No one had spoken like this man. From all over Palestine people had flocked to hear him. The oppressed, weary people of God, living under Tiberius’s thumb and Antipas’s corruption, had hope again. These disciples had seen revival. And they had been in the middle of it.
Then abruptly they weren’t. The surge had moved past them toward Jesus. Of course, it was wrong to be envious of the Messiah. But still, how could their beloved rabbi — and they with him — suddenly be relegated to the periphery after all that God had done through them?
They couldn’t help but express their perplexity to him: “Rabbi, he who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you bore witness — look, he is baptizing, and all are going to him.”
John, who had been staring at the water, turned his intense eyes to them. They were filled with joy.
He said nothing for a moment. He felt compassion for them. He understood. He knew their inner conflict. He knew their sincere godly ambition for the kingdom. And he knew their selfish ambition to have prominent roles in it. He knew how the latter insidiously wove itself into the fabric of the former and how difficult it could be to discern one from the other. This was a moment of sifting for them, of heart-exposure.
He had spent a lifetime being prepared for his brief ministry of introduction. Those years in the wilderness God had worked him over, ruthlessly laying bare his deeply entrenched and multifaceted pride and training him to die to it. This discipline had brought about the peaceful fruit of the righteousness of faith. He had learned to anticipate his Replacement more than his own prophesied prophetic role. He had learned to love the Bridegroom’s appearing and not love the celebrity of being the Bridegroom’s best man. But that had not come easily.
Learning to love the Great Wedding more than their part in it would not come easily to them either. He knew they loved the Bridegroom. But they were just learning that when the blessed Lord grants one a role to play, one must perform it faithfully, but never grasp it. For the Lord also takes away. The role is not the reward. The Lord is the Reward.
With affectionate empathy John replied, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven.” He waved them to sit down beside him. “You yourselves bear me witness that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but have been sent before him. The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. He must increase, but I must decrease.”
We must remember that our role is not our reward. Jesus is our reward. Roles will begin and they will end. And the only way for us to end well is if in our heart Jesus has increased and we have decreased.
What rises in your heart at the thought of Jesus giving another a more prominent role in his wedding? How much do you long to have a more prominent one? How well are you prepared to end the role he has given you? What if he gives your role to someone else?
The wedding is not about us. It’s about him. And we never want to compete with the Bridegroom for the bride’s attention and affection.
1This narrative is taken from John 3:25–36.”
Before you read this, if you aren’t familiar with me, you need to know that I am a Christian who struggles with homosexuality. The Lord pulled me out of the gay lifestyle a couple of years ago and has graciously granted me repentance every day since. I write on this subject as someone who understands the mindsets of both the gospel-rejecting, unrepentant gay person and also the regenerate, born again Christian. My goal in addressing this issue is to hopefully get a few people’s eyes fixed back on Jesus and the mission He has entrusted us with.
Homosexuality is a very complex and an often confusing subject, and most Christians really don’t have the slightest inclination on how to approach their admittedly gay friends. Most of us have some sort of idea how to help people like addicts or atheists, but when it comes to approaching a homosexual, we don’t even know where to start. Then all of a sudden something happens, like Obama’s proclaimed support of gay marriage yesterday, and everyone goes into a frenzy. My social media has been covered in comments on both sides of this issue. But is all the chatter really getting anyone anywhere?
Protesting gay marriage or gay parades does not advance the gospel in any way, shape or fashion. People picketing with their signs of “Homosexuality is an abomination!” or “Gays don’t go to heaven!” only communicates to the gay person that you believe their lifestyle is a sin. And this is true, the gay lifestyle is a sin and those who partake in it without ever turning away from it and to Jesus will not inherit the Kingdom of God. But what these people need more than our opposition is our answers. Because of the constant flow from the secular world through media and other means, the minds of most of the population are flooded with worldly ideology about homosexuality. The media is shaping the minds of people from a very young age to believe that homosexuality is identical in goodness to heterosexual behavior. We, as believers in Christ and believers in the truth, need to not merely announce to the gay community that they are in sin, but also provide answers to the questions they ask. Much of the Christian community that has taken a stance against homosexuality has done so more within a political mindset than an eternal, gospel mindset. They want to stop gay marriage, forbid gays from adopting, etc.; and I am not saying that those are bad things fight for. But let’s be realistic, the government in America is not a Christian government. We may be founded upon gospel truths and morals, but the 21st century US government is not centered in on Jesus nor does it strive to adhere to Biblical principals. A lot of people may disagree with me, but I believe that if a same sex couple wants to have the right to file their taxes together or be able to be in the hospital room with their partner before they die, we should give it to them. Does depriving them of these privileges show them the love of Jesus in any way? I do not think that it does. But the gay community also must realize that marriage is a Biblical concept and Christian Covenant, not a secular means of attaining rights. Therefore if the concept of marriage is solely based on the Scriptures, then the act of marriage should be in line with the Scriptures; one man and one woman. The government can give gay people the rights they seek without ordaining it as marriage, and I believe that is the avenue that they need to take and hopefully in doing so the Church can regain their focus and start really trying to help these people rather than just opposing them. By all means, the Church needs to take a stand against the darkness of this world… but I urge you all, let us do so with grace and truth.
Although I fully support biblical and spiritual counseling, I am not the biggest fan of the idea of conversion therapy. Nor am I a fan of programs that lead people to focus more on their desire to have heterosexual attractions than their to desire to know Jesus Christ (who, by the way, is the only One who holds the power to create such a transformation in sexual desires). I just can not bring myself to support the idea of putting someone through a systematic program solely in order to “re-orient” them. Now, with that said, there are many biblical, Christ centered programs out there who help sexually broken people find healing by pointing them toward the grace of God found in Jesus Christ. I would take a bullet for these kinds of ministries, being that I myself struggle with homosexuality and know how confusing and lonely it can be at times. These ministries do great, glorifying work in the Name of Jesus that help many people. They are far from perfect, but what ministry can claim perfection?
Before I became a believer, I heard about Christians who had claimed to be “cured” of their homosexuality by means of conversion therapy, but then these people would later be found in gay bars or having sex with men they met on the internet. After becoming a believer, I have seen and heard this even more frequently. I think the title conversion therapy is often erroneously placed on organizations that are not trying to sexually “re-orient” people, but rather are helping people to find healing through the means of an intimate relationship with their Creator and Savior. Those who have a sound biblical persepective on homosexuality know that the issue of same sex attraction is really just a symptom of a much deeper problem stemming from the innate brokenness and sinfulness of the person’s heart. Sexual re-orientation is not the goal; holiness in Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit is the goal. Many Christian programs that help homosexuals know that they must start at the root of the problem, the heart. The new, living heart of a born again Christian needs to be saturated with the grace and truth of God, and through that pouring in of grace and truth God starts to bring renewal and healing in the “surface” areas of the person’s life; like sexuality. I believe this is what many programs, such as Exodus International, are striving to do and we as a Christian community need to come together and fully support them.
Should these programs be banned as some wish them to be? Absolutely not. But I also do not believe that anyone who is capable of cognitive decision making should be forced, against their will, to enter into programs that help the sexually broken. Although the parents of kids and teens that claim to be gay only have the best interest of their child at heart, they must realize they do not hold the power in their hands to give spiritual life to someone who is spiritually dead. If the young person is open to going to Christian counseling, by all means, get in the car and GO! But if they are completely resistant to the idea, the concerned parents would do them more good to just say “okay”, go into the other room and hit their knees to the floor in fervent prayer for their lost child. Only God can give someone the desire to want Him, to know truth, and to pursue Christ.
I can’t end this discussion without clarifying that even in pursuing healing solely through the grace of God in Jesus Christ, it is not promised that we will be fully delivered from all of our weaknesses in this present sinful age; which is why the focus of Christianity should never be on what Jesus can do for us, but on Jesus Christ Himself and what He already has done for us. Someone who was once an alcoholic will likely always have to fight the temptation to drink. A sex-addict will most likely always have to turn from his desire to have sex with every attractive woman he encounters. Likewise, a former partaker in homosexual behavior will perhaps always have to fight their attraction to the same sex. But I will tell you this; it does get a whole lot easier! I can, in truth, emphatically say that the longer I keep turning away from my homosexual desires, their intensity weakens. Have I gone through a program or ministry that helps homosexuals? No, I haven’t. But I know Jesus Christ <;;— and THAT is the solution. As we grow in the knowledge of who Jesus is and who we are in light of what He’s done for us, we also grow in strength and maturity and can fight our struggles more effectively. The Christian must understand that if they are in Christ, they are no longer defined by their weaknesses or temptations; they are defined by Jesus. They are holy, blameless, and pure in His sight. They must hold onto the hope that they will one day be free from sin and all of the effects it has had on them and this world, but until then, God is with them. And He is enough.
People in the Church, outside the Church, and opposing the Church are asking questions. Questions are good, regardless of the inquirer’s motive. Questions give followers of Jesus, holders of the truth, oppurtunities to provide real answers. In this blog I’m going to cover the four questions that I’m asked the most frequently and try my best to provide Biblical answers that make sense.
1) Why should I believe what Christianity has to say?
2) If I being gay am not hurting anybody, then why does God condmemn it?
3) Okay, if being gay is a sin, then why can’t I control it?
4) If God really didn’t want me to be gay, then why doesn’t He eliminate my feelings?
Why should I believe what Christianity has to say?
Defending God is like defending a lion; He doesn’t need it. He is who He is regardless of whoever does or does not believe in Him. But if you are skeptical, I would like to get your thought-wheels spinning. We all can agree that in and of ourselves, we do not know where we came from. We can also all agree that we do not have the power, in any degree, to spontaneously create ourselves or everything that we see around us. We had to have come from somewhere, more specifically from someone. This is where we get the idea of there being a “god”; an ultimate higher power that is responsible for our existence and the existence of the known universe. Most people would agree that the only logical explanation for all that we see and know is that there is a god, but the question is, is that god knowable? And if that god is knowable, how so? Does He care about what is going on the world or about us personally?
Christianity believes that there is one God who created humanity and the entire universe. We believe that this God has communicated Himself throughout the generations in many different ways. Firstly, through our visualization of everything around us; His creation draws us to the conclusion that He exists. Secondly, God communicates Himself through our own consciousness and moral compass. We all know right from wrong, good from evil, and that wasn’t something that we learned; our knowledge of good and evil is intrinsic. Thirdly, God communicates Himself personally. We believe He communicated Himself through Moses, the Prophets and at these last times through His Son. Christianity believes beyond the shadow of a doubt that the Spirit of God inspired these men to record His communication with them in written words in order that they would be available forevermore to future generations. Now, there is much speculation over how truthful the recorded words of the Bible are and this is where a good study of apologetics would be advantageous. But I beg to ask this question, if the Bible is not true, then why are we still “speculating” over it thousands of years later in this technologically and intellectually advanced age? If it could be disproven and thrown out as trash, why hasn’t it been? Jesus Himself confirmed the authority and inerrancy of the Scriptures. Now, if Jesus were dead I may doubt His claims. But due to the fact that no one has ever been able to find the crucified body of the most famous person to ever exist, I’m going to believe whatever He has to say.
The eyes of the enlightened, born-again Christian are for the first time able to really read and understand the Scriptures. I think that many people have a negative preconceived attitude toward the Scriptures because they have seen so many people worship the bible and use the knowledge contained in it to cut down and destroy those around them. On behalf of those people, I want to apologize. The Word of God is a weapon, but it is not a weapon to be used against fellow man. It is a weapon meant to destroy strongholds and to crush our own personal sins. But please, do not let these people’s misuse of God’s Word keep you from coming to it to find the truth. The Bible is a means to an end, not an end in itself. The ultimate purpose of God inspiring the recording of His Words, and ensuring their preservation, is that we would come to know Jesus Christ through our encounter with the Scriptures. The Lord has revealed His Word to us in order that we would know Him. And in knowing Him, we would realize the error of our fallen thoughts and feelings and see our need for divine rescuing.
If I being gay am not hurting anybody, then why does God condemn it?
God, the true God, does not do or command anything without a purpose. God designed sex, therefore He knows exactly how it’s supposed to be carried out and enjoyed. When we operate within God’s standards for sexual behavior, it is a very good and pleasurable thing to experience. But when we go outside of the specific guidelines that God has communicated to us, we belittle Him by assuming that our own sinful, broken sexual desires are superior to what He says. Just from experience and common knowledge we can all admit that sex is best when had between one married man and woman. Many guys and girls who have sex with each other before marriage (which is the norm now) personally know the consequences of their promiscuity. The consequences vary in degree, they can be something as minute as a curable STD or they can be something as drastic as an unplanned pregnancy resulting in abortion. And it’s all too clear that sexual behavior between two men has very, very dangerous repercussions. Along with the massively higher chance of getting AIDS through homosexual intercourse, there are many other things that can be harmful that I will not go into right now because of their explicit nature. Homosexual behavior, along with adultery, incest, fornication and bestiality are all outside of the God’s design for sex and we can see the obvious repercussions of sinning against God and from sinning against our own bodies.
Okay, if being gay is a sin, then why can’t I control it?
This is a very legitimate and yet often ignored question, although the answer is very simple. The world, along with some of modern “Christianity”, tells us that God does not want us to choose between our heart and our faith. Somehow we have come upon this reasoning that every feeling we have is good and godly, therefore we can’t possibly be sinning if we are acting out on our feelings. Countless times I have been told that it is God who has given me these homosexual feelings and that He in no way desires for me to try and deny or turn away from them. This kind of thinking sounds so nice. It makes us feel good about ourselves to think that we have a pure heart and that all of our feelings flow directly from the heart of God, but this simply is not true. God is infinitely good, and so are his desires and purposes and thoughts. Man is inherently evil, and so are his desires and purposes and thoughts; every person in the world has desires inside of them that the Bible says are sinful. This universal grouping just adds even more validity to the inerrancy of Scripture for me, because no one can escape the condemnation of sin. There are things that all of us feel that are in violation of God’s holiness and standard of righteousness, which makes all of us in need of the Savior, Jesus Christ. Every human to ever exist since Adam and Eve has been born not only into a sinful world, but with a sinful nature. The broken nature that none of us can escape without Jesus Christ perverts the way that we view God, the world and yes, even sex. Many people want to argue that they were born gay, and I don’t waste too much energy arguing that assumption because the Bible says we were all born into sin and need to be born-again in order to have eternal life. People have sinful feelings, because sin is who we are outside of a relationship with Christ. You may say to yourself, “Well, that’s not fair that I couldn’t help having a sinful nature and all the things that come with it.” Take a look at the Cross of Jesus Christ, was that fair? Jesus did every good, righteous thing you couldn’t and wouldn’t do and then went on to suffer for every evil thing that you did do. That is in no way fair, but God’s plan goes beyond fairness. God’s own Son was crushed under His Father’s wrath for your sin, and in turn He offers you the reward of His finished work; the free gift of righteousness and eternal life. Rather than condemning all of us to Hell, God has decided to use the inescapable darkness of our sin as backdrop to demonstrate his magnificent and inexpressible grace showed in the Cross of Christ, all in order to glorify His Name in capturing your heart with His great love.
The natural heart which we all are born with is a heart of stone. God’s desire is not that you would listen to that hardened heart, but that you would receive a new heart, a heart of flesh! Genuine faith in the Son of God is always accompanied by the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit. Actually, genuine faith in the Son of God is the result of the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God enters into a child of God and replaces the God-hating, stony heart they have been living their life according to with a new heart of flesh. Unlike the old heart, this heart of flesh loves God, desires His will, and submits to His truth. This is why a born-again Christian is changed completely, from the inside out. We now see sin for what it is and what it does to us. We are for the first time aware of our own sinfulness and the havoc it has wrecked upon our lives. And we finally see that God has provided our escape through the substituting sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ.
If God really didn’t want me to be gay, then why doesn’t He eliminate my feelings?
God could eliminate homosexual feelings if He wanted to. He most certainly holds the power and He would have to exert nearly no effort to do so. Yet, in many cases such as mine, He has chosen not to completely deliver me from my homosexual thoughts and temptations. Why? I can’t answer that specifically for me; that knowledge belongs to God and God alone. But I do know that if we look at the broader picture, every person who has trusted in Christ still struggles with some kind of temptation. Could God eliminate their desires? Sure, but He doesn’t always. God does deliver certain people in certain areas, for example, I had a very strong addiction to alcohol before I became a Christian and God pretty much instantaneously delivered me from that. But there are people out there who still struggle with that same temptation, so why did he choose to deliver me from it and not them? Because it was His will. God’s will for everyone is to repent from their sin and turn to Jesus Christ for forgiveness, but we must remember that God’s will for each individual differs. Of course even His differing plans for each of us personally will always be within the confines of Scriptural teaching. Many try to say that God’s will is for them to be gay… no, it’s not. God does have different plans for people’s lives, but He does not go against Himself or what He has spoken. His will for you is not to remain in the sin that He hates.
The Bible says that as Christ suffered, we will also share in His sufferings. One of God’s primary goals is to shape us into the likeness of His Son, and He even uses our evil temptations to do so. God often even allows Satan and demons to torment us for a season. Take it from the Apostle Paul:
“So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”- 2 Corinthians 12:7-9
Some people are taken aback and offended by the truth that God allows and even ordains us to be tempted and have to fight nail and tooth with sinful thoughts, but I find so much hope in this truth! The fact that God has to permit or allow every thought, every sinful thought, to enter and manifest in my mind shows me that when I am battling with temptation, it is for a purpose. My struggles are not in vain! When I am at my wit’s end with wrestling these desires I know I shouldn’t act out on, I can always remember that God has allowed me to wage this war for a purpose.
For example, through enduring temptation and abstaining from lustful desires, I have learned to be so much more patient with others. Rather than brushing them off and considering myself better than they, as it’s in our nature to make a practice of, I can deeply empathize with the struggles they have in their hearts, extend love toward them and offer them advice from my own personal experiences. Because of my own battle with sin, which God has allowed (not just for me, but us all), I have been able to exercise compassion and patience with others, which in turn gives me a greater understanding of God’s compassion and patience toward me. Through my struggles and weaknesses I have personally experienced His grace, and know that I will continue to.
And please remember, salvation is in three different tenses. We were saved when we believed in Christ, we are being saved currently, and we will be saved at the day of Jesus Christ. In this current state of being saved, we live in a temporary world that will be full or hardships, temptations and trials; but this life we live now is but a vapor, and in the eternal world to come all of God’s children will be free from sin and temptation completely and for good. Until that time, His grace is sufficient.