No Longer Hiding Under a Church Pew: Breaking the Silence about Homosexuality in the Church

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No Longer Hiding Under a Church Pew: Breaking the Silence about Homosexuality in the Church

“They robbed God of His glory, and defrauded the world by a counterfeit of the gospel. They had refused to surrender themselves to God for the salvation of the world, and they became agents of Satan for its destruction.” (Ellen White, The Desire of Ages, p. 36)

I am privileged and honored to have come from a strong Bible and Adventist heritage. My childhood was influenced by dedicated Christian parents who took God at His Word and who planted in me the importance of loving, honoring, and obeying Him. Our friends consisted of other Adventists who diligently studied God’s Word and His great promises to us. We recognized that we were heading toward a time when unbelievable dishonor and distrust of God would reveal itself—even among fellow Christians. I couldn’t conceive it, as I was surrounded by so many loving, dedicated believers.

Little did I recognize how same-sex attraction and the practice of homosexuality would steal my focus away from God and His Word. I was only thirteen. I began to become obsessed with my “feelings.” This was nothing short of doubt. Satan’s temptations implied pleasure as was offered to Eve in the Garden. Satan begins in our infancy, trying to win us over to his counterfeit plan. Just as Jesus knows us and woos us to His special plan for us, Satan strives to capture our “desperately wicked” hearts (Jeremiah 17:9).[1]

So what happened? Why did I stray off course? Perhaps you might be asking that question of yourself right now as you contemplate the controversy in the church over homosexuality. How did we get here? What kind of mess have we gotten ourselves into?

In the dead-silent world of same-sex attraction, Jesus allowed me to explore and experience life in the “gay culture”—an experience that I need not have entertained. In Christianity I was told that homosexuality is sin, but there was no mention of the attractions and what to do about them. If only I had received an education about homosexuality that separated temptation from the pursuit of sinful behavior as outlined in God’s love letter to us.

I never anticipated being in a place of witness, addressing the division in the church that I encounter today. Is it real or perceived? “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before” (Matthew 24:24, 25).

No one likes to write about negative observations. However, I think we need to wake up to current delusions and recognize the influence Satan is imposing on God’s precious children. Just as spiritual formation, women’s ordination, and the emergent church have created great controversy and division in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the much-needed redemptive conversation about homosexuality is poised to do the same. The final battlefront involves God’s twin institutions: marriage and the Sabbath. The recent Supreme Court ruling that normalizes homosexuality through the institution of marriage ushers in this final chapter. Will we agree with God’s Supreme Court or an earthly one?

Breaking the Silence—In the Wrong Way

For decades pastors of our faith haven’t known how to speak about sexual sin. Historically, the discussion was considered taboo. And you can be sure that well-intentioned believers often sought to squelch the slightest hint of addressing such sensitive concerns. But our silence has allowed permissiveness, confusion, and self-knowledge, rather than godly interpretation, to gain momentum.

When God’s people refused to reach out to assist in the salvation of “gays,” Jesus had to accomplish the work rejected by His people. He sent the Holy Spirit to people such as my colleagues in ‘Coming Out’ Ministries and a few others, bringing conviction on our hearts by conveying His “love in truth” through His written Word. His promises are sure. His love endures forever, and if we recognize and accept it, He possesses the power to change our lives to live in agreement with His will for us.

In this end-time revelation, however, it seems to be difficult for many at all levels to recognize exactly what God’s intention is at such a time as this for those who have hurt and suffered greatly due to their experience of same-sex attraction.

Whenever a vital biblical topic surfaces, there seems to be a stream of inexperienced and unqualified voices promoting their theology. No one needs to experience sin to talk about it. But our positions should be led by God and be in agreement with the teachings of His Word to us. Today, not everything that is being said or heard relating to the strongholds of homosexuality is lining up with God’s eternal Word. Truth mixed with error is making its way to those hungry for an “itching ear” message (see 2 Timothy 4:3). This promotes Satan’s confusion for those who are trying to decipher God’s light to us.

All this is being done in the name of “love.” Let’s explore this for a minute. My life and the lives of many others I know were plagued with rejection, alienation, teasing, and harassment in our childhood. We wanted to “fit in.” We wanted to be considered as normal as anyone else. But our mannerisms and eventual same-sex attractions made us the target of undue ridicule. Since the Bible speaks out against homosexuality, pastors and church members stereotyped us and ostracized us and eventually helped push us into the accepting world of the gay community.

It has taken years and years to bring a congregational focus to this topic. In the enduring silence, Satan has been at work with a message for such a time as this also. Today, desperate sinners want a love that is permissive, not restrictive or disciplinary. Interestingly, many in clergy and church membership have lost sight of being called to self-denial. They too have adopted the complacency surrounding sinful behaviors. There is a numbness as it relates to the power to overcome as promised by God and documented in His Word.

Some of God’s chosen are embarrassed by their longtime silence. And in their embarrassment, many have exchanged God’s truth for lies of adaptation and accommodation. Gays who have endured the painful hurt through deceptive “feelings” as well through intended slights and unintended ignorance are set up to respond to a false love with a holy disguise. Having waited so long for any hope or demonstration of love from the church, they are welcoming half-truths or even blatant lies. It’s a candy coating over a self-destructive deception from Satan.

Satan has long prepared for this battle. He sees God’s people as unsuspecting and unprepared. And largely . . . he has perceived correctly.

Human Wisdom or God’s Revelation?

God has tried to prepare us for this imminent battle. But as history testifies, we seem to be about as unprepared and stubborn as the Israelites way back in Bible history. Sadly, as predicted, many are refusing any help God has provided us through His messenger in her writings through the Spirit of Prophecy. At times, only passages that don’t prick the flesh are welcomed.

As Christians, some have the idea that their “God association” saves them. This type of Christian uses a rationale of surmising, making unqualified statements that sound good and contain partial truths. Yet often these statements are without substantial grounding, protecting the sin they are defending. Statements like, “God loves us just the way we are.” And, “God certainly wouldn’t want anyone to be alone.” Or, “I didn’t ask to be this way.” Or, “God created me this way.” Seemingly saving us in sin, rather than from sin.

Today, through lack of understanding and sometimes willful blindness of Biblical clarity, many are promoting a permissive view on homosexuality. There is a pervasive contentment being promoted to remain the way you are. No change is being called for, let alone considered possible.

My colleagues in ministry, as well as others, are calling for God’s children to contemplate His change solutions. We want to share how His tremendous love invites us to agree with Him. We are anxious to point to our God who loves us so much that He sacrificed His life for us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8).

While it is not comfortable and is so sad to share, the truth remains:

Thus many err from the faith and are seduced by the devil. Men have endeavored to be wiser than their Creator; human philosophy has attempted to search out and explain mysteries which will never be revealed through eternal ages. If men would but search and understand what God had made known of Himself and His purposes, they would obtain such a view of the glory, majesty, and power of Jehovah that they would realize their own littleness and would be content with that which has been revealed for themselves and their children.

It is a masterpiece of Satan’s deceptions to keep the minds of men searching and conjecturing in regard to that which God has not made known and which He does not intend that we shall understand. …

Those who are unwilling to accept the plain, cutting truths of the Bible are continually seeking for pleasing fables that will quiet the conscience. The less spiritual, self-denying, and humiliating the doctrines presented, the greater the favor with which they are received. These persons degrade the intellectual powers to serve their carnal desires. (The Great Controversy, p. 522, 523)

The progression of current-day knowledge has indulged many who risk seeking to equate man’s knowledge with God’s. Today there seems to be a dissatisfaction with a “thus saith the Lord.”

Need it be this dark and grim? Not at all, my brothers and sisters. Regardless of our personal cost for heaven, it will never come close to the price Jesus paid for us. How amazing He is to provide us His Word and anoint His messenger with thousands of pages of counsel and explanation that agree with God. A huge gift to us today that will see us through the modern age. We can be confident that such heartfelt, sometimes disciplinary counsel will keep us on the “narrow path.”

Claiming Your New Identity

It is time for our church to break the silence on the subject of homosexuality. But we must fill that silence with the hope that Christ offers, not with futile human speculations.

For decades, I didn’t believe that there was hope. I believed I must become “straight,” “heterosexual.” I placed all my focus on a “sexual orientation,” only to eventually discover that Jesus never intended for sex or the desire for it to be our compass. Jesus wants to be the orientation for every one of us. He demonstrates His love for us and calls us to abide in Him, living in surrender. By securing ourselves in His Word, we come to know that “all things are possible” that please God (Philippians 4:13).

Who are you? Who can you be? Are you defined by your past? Are you anchored in your temptations? Do you know your identity in Jesus Christ? Is what you believe grounded solely in the Holy Word of God, or is it being shaped by the language of others? These are difficult times with important questions. Prophecy confirms that we are headed for persecution—the worst known to man in the history of the world. Are you prepared? Do you want to be prepared? I do.

The power of prayer is amazing. Jesus is there. He’s always available! What is so beautiful is that He is so patient and forgiving. He won’t give up on you. He invites us to agree with Him. Never again will He allow rebellion to destroy the atmosphere of heaven. You and I can choose Him and acknowledge that His perfect ways are our desire, instead of the carnal, sin-damaged ways that have controlled us.

We are in great need of a Redeemer. Alone . . . we are nothing. Align yourself with Jesus. He wants the very best for you. Believe Him. Don’t let doubt destroy your present life or your destiny.

I’m so overjoyed to share with you the great promise of 2 Corinthians 5:17. If we will surrender and concede to Jesus, He miraculously forgets our past and washes us clean. Then He provides us with a new identity. I am a “new creature” in Jesus Christ. You can be too. In repentance and humility, invite Him in and experience all that is possible because of His undying love for you.

You need not lay claim to an identity based on temptation. If you’re tempted with same-sex attraction, you’re not “gay.” If you’re tempted to be an adulterer, but you are abiding in Christ instead, you’re not an adulterer. If you’re tempted by pride, but in humility you come before Christ and seek to be meek because of what He teaches you, you’re not prideful. In our mind, we know where those attractions and temptations can lead if we are not fully surrendered to Christ. But none of us have to engage in our temptations.

Live in the Word. There is tremendous freedom from the traps and delusions of this world. He draws us out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9). When I witness people humbly coming out of adultery, pride, gossip, idolatry, and even homosexuality, they are living proof of the power contained in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

______

[1] Bible texts are from the King James Version.

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Wayne Blakely and the team of ‘Coming Out’ Ministries speak to audiences around the world, sharing their testimonies about coming out of the gay lifestyle and discovering the freedom Jesus Christ offers. Contact Wayne at [email protected]