This question has been burning in me for a while and has currently been re-kindled by a recent current event. I do not know if you have ever heard of a Christian ministry known as “Exodus International,” but they were a group of Christians dedicated to “helping” homosexuals rid themselves of their desires through therapy. I have never heard of them until recently when I read on my home page news that they apologized for harm they have caused in trying to “cure” gays of homosexuality by means of therapy and prayer and are shutting down the ministry and are now seeking peaceful acceptance of gays. I do not deny for a second the Bible’s teaching on homosexuality as a sin, but how should honest and well-meaning Christians reach out to gays? I have heard several stories before this one that attempting to convert gays through therapy have always ended up in disaster. Current psychologists and psychiatrists (even those from the APA) concurr that forcing heterosexuality on homosexuals is not healthy for them and usually causes more harm than good. Again, I do not deny the Bible’s teachings on homosexuality, but do you think Christians may need to change our “policy” on witnessing, discipling, and helping the gay community, given the apparent harm of forcing heterosexuality on them? I’m sorry this was so long, but I would really appreciate anything you can give me.
I had heard about what Exodus International has done to change their policy. I believe that their policy change is a wise one as repeated study as well as much personal experience has led to the conclusion that repentance for homosexual activities does not necessarily lead to a change in who one is attracted to. In fact, it generally does NOT lead to a complete change in who one is attracted to. If that is the case, then promising people somethign which cannot be delivered is not wise.
Rather than give an unexpert response to your question, I want to send you to an expert. A friend and fellow-worker of mine in the gospel is Guy Hammond. He is the leading force behind Strength in Weakness, a ministry to believers who are same-sex-attracted but who do not want to live the homosexual lifestyle. We just had him here in San Diego this weekend for a conference on Christianity and Culture. He gave three lessons on same-sex attraction, as well as a sermon on temptation which mostly covered the same topic. All four lessons will be available on CD at www.ipibooks.com. I strongly encourage you to get a copy of the conference classes as it will provide a much more expert view on this than I am capable of. The three lessons he gave were:
Guy Hammond Beyond Rhetoric and Political Battles: The Church’s Response to Homosexuality.
Guy Hammond “The Myths and Realities of Same-Sex Attractions”
Guy Hammond Sexual Orientation and Families.
All I will say as a personal comment from me is that you seem to be on the right track in thinking about this controversial issue within Christianity. The way Guy put it in his sermon on Sunday, “It is not homosexuality versus hetersexuality. It is homosexuality vs holiness.”