Wednesday, April 3, 2013

"Gay Christians, Born This Way, and Other Things We Need to Understand. . . "

Over the course of the last few months I've from time to time thought-out-loud and weighed in on the timely high-profile topic of homosexuality as it has taken center stage as an issue in our culture. I've had conversations with young people who have assimilated and adopted now-widely-held viewpoints and assumptions thoughtlessly, simply as a result of swimming in the soup of today's youth culture. I've also had conversations with people on the polar opposite side of the issue. Because these folks tend to be older, they assume they've been much more thoughtful about their conclusions. Many of their viewpoints and assumptions have - in all honesty - been assimilated with an equal lack of thought as a result of swimming in the soup of today's fundamentalist church culture. To be honest, I have to humbly confess that some of my leanings have been toward the latter.

Because we need to address this issue with conviction and clarity. . . and because we are followers of the Christ who created us with minds, we need to be thinking, praying, and discussing with greater determination, care and depth. My meager attempts to do so at the best levels I can are resulting in some blog posts. . . including today's.

Once again, I want to make clear that I have a high view of the Scriptures that I am unwilling to compromise that foundation. I want to submit my life, thoughts, and opinions to the Lordship of the One who has revealed Himself in the Bible. I am unwilling to adjust or shift this foundation to accommodate cultural attitudes. I believe that homosexuality and same-sex attraction are not what God has intended for our sexuality. Homosexual behavior is wrong. Beyond what I believe, I also want to submit my actions and my interactions on these issues - with those who may agree or disagree with me - to those same Biblical convictions. I want to honor Christ in my doing. That's one reason why I'm valuing the dialogue I'm having as result of thinking out loud on this blog.

Yesterday morning, I was sitting at my computer answering a question from a woman who wanted to know about the use of the term "Gay Christian." I had used that term in the title and body of my blog on Wesley Hill's book, Washed and Waiting. She spoke of a young teenage boy she knows who is struggling with these very same issues as a Christian. His fear, she says, is that if he would admit to others that he is gay then he would be expecting the fact that he was born to be gay, and would live the life style. I understand how that's such an easy conclusion for a kid to come to. . . after all, Lady Gaga both maps and mirrors this cultural attitude in her song "Born This Way." It's a foundational naturalistic assumption. . . you were born gay, God (or whoever) made you this way, so go ahead and celebrate and indulge your homosexuality.

I encountered this type of thinking in a book I'm currently reading. It's Rosaria Champagne Butterfield's, The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert: An English Professor's Journey into Christian Faith.  It's a book worth reading. Butterfield is a pastor's wife and a woman of deep convictions and faith. Her deep convictions were formerly directed towards her outspoken defense of radical feminism as a lesbian and professor at Syracuse University. (Perhaps you've seen the little article on Butterfield that appeared recently in Christianity Today). In her book, Butterfield relates this encounter as she was beginning to wrestle with the Christian faith and the claims of the Gospel: "During this time of struggle, others tried to help. A Methodist pastor and Dean of the Chapel at Syracuse University believed that I did not have to give up everything to honor God. Indeed, he told me, since God made me a lesbian, I gave God honor by living an honorable lesbian life. He told me that I could have Jesus and my lesbian lover. This was a very appealing prospect. But I had been reading and rereading scripture and there are no such marks of postmodern 'both/and' in the Bible."

Without diligence and a willingness to be nurtured in the faith, it's easy for so many to default to a cultural foundation that reshapes Biblical truth to the point where it's no longer true and no longer anything close to Biblical. It's especially easy for our kids.

In my answer to the woman's question I passed on these words: "Have you read Washed and Waiting by Wesley Hill? He is a young Christian who is gay and who loves Christ and the Gospel. He is choosing to live in obedience to Christ knowing full well that his homosexuality may never be miraculously lifted off. . . he says it may be something he will struggle to deal with obediently for the rest of his life. I highly recommend his book. He actually addresses the issue which you are asking about - Here's what he writes: 'I've taken care always to make 'gay' or 'homosexual' the adjective. , and never the noun, in a longer phrase, such as 'gay Christian' or 'homosexual person.' In this way, I hope to send a subtle linguistic signal that being gay isn't the most important thing about my or any other gay person's identity. I am a Christian before I am anything else. My homosexuality is a part of my makeup, a facet of my personality. One day, I believe, whether in this life or in the resurrection  it will fade away. But my identity as a Christian - someone incorporated into Christ's body by his Spirit - will remain.'"

As I closed out the window after sending my response, another message simultaneously came in from a trusted and respected Christian friend who has been and is thinking deeply about this issue. He says that homosexuality and the same-sex issue is "the most tender, the most complex and the most volatile conversation that we have in the years of the early 21st-century." Wise words. . . which means that we have to foster wisdom and choose our words and the way we say them wisely.

Last evening, another trusted and respected Pastor-friend posted this comment in response to my last blog: "There is one thing that needs to be learned within the Christian community....and it is this. There is no such thing as a Gay Christian. There are Gay-identified Christians but not Gay Christians. God doesn't create people who are gay or lesbian. That means there are no ex-gays....only people who have had same-sex attraction, identified themselves as being gay and then chose to lead more toward heterosexuality (how they were born) or celibacy. When we say someone is a Gay Christian it gives the idea that is how someone was born."

While I appreciate that perspective and continue to weigh it, I'm wondering if a healthy biblical doctrine of sin and the fall allows for the brokenness of shalom to extend to the development of sexuality from the time of conception through development in the womb? I believe that we have to consider this seriously. There are certainly all matters of biological/physiological types of defects which occur in the womb. Could homosexual orientation/disposition be one? And, if that's the case, could Wesley Hill's description of his personal reality and choice of descriptive terms be legitimate? And if so, can we offer careful clarification of term "Gay Christian" in ways that clearly distinguish between usage of the term that justifies indulgence and usage of the term that recognizes human fallenness and a call to Godly flourishing? While we must recognize that many in our culture - maybe even the majority - consciously choose a homosexual identity and engagement in homosexual behavior, is it at all possible that there are some who are indeed, born this way? And if so, what does that mean for the Christian who desperately desires and prays for change, but the change never comes?




Anonymous said...

Thoughtful post, Walt. I would like to raise one brief point. I believe one of the many problems with this issue is the rhetoric of the cultural dialogue, which in itself has many issues. I find it noteworthy that in essence, being gay is about sexual preference. To belabor the issue in order to make my point, it is about how you prefer to fulfill your sexual desire. With this as the backdrop, I find it so interesting that this has become a primary label, or identifier. And so Wesley Hill (whom I do not know but am only using as an example) is not Wesley a Christian, who also likes to hike and bike (or whatever a primary interest might be) , and is involved with "fill in the blank" organization . . . But is instead Wesley a homosexual Christian. To me, this primary notifier, this main label seems to be another side effect of our hypersexualized culture. So that for many, their chief identifier is how the prefer to engage in sexual fulfillment. I believe that this is the most tragic side effect of this discussion, that men and women have allowed themselves to believe culture's lies that their sexual preference is the main identifier of who they are as individuals. Even as I type this, I know that detractors woud say that to do otherwise would be to repress who they really are, only adding to my point that we are a a product of a culture that identifies first and foremost with sex and sexuality. Maybe this is too muddy of a point. But I was struck by the label Wesley used, and the power of BEING labeled in such a way. Thanks for what you do.

Walt Mueller said...

Anonymous. . . great comment. . A thought in response. . . in all fairness, I'm not sure that the designation gets thrown around in normal everyday conversation. The book Wesley Hill chose to write warrants the use of that term (whether we think it's a good one or not) in the setting of his book. If you go to the website for Trinity School of Ministry where Wes Hill teaches and look at his faculty page (, you will see no reference to a "Gay Professor". I think Wesley, in his book, says that "Christian" is his primary notifier.

Joel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John B. said...

I've been wondering if our efforts to direct the conversation to "converting" gay people to our way of thinking is misplaced. I think we give the impression that people must be sanctified in order to come to faith - and this includes the sexual part of our being. I think we do better to preach the gospel, let the Spirit work and let God do the sanctifying.

Joel said...

Great thoughts, Walt. I've been thinking a lot about some conversations with a gay (trying-to-be?) Christian friend. One of the painful things that I think makes me want to say "it's okay!" is a statement he makes (not unique to him, I'm sure) that his sexuality is wrapped up with his identity; this is who he *is*; that to reject his sexuality is to reject him. I've been thinking about what role his baptismal identity (ala Gal. 3) could/should play and I think Hill's comments are a very helpful and hopeful in this regard.
Thanks for tackling a tough topic and helping some of us think through it!

Adam Kohlstrom said...


Thank you for another thoughtful reflection. I posted your reflection "Why Gay Marriage is Good For the Church" on my FB page and it started quite a dialogue. And I thought you would appreciate that the first two people to like the article were one of my very conservative friends AND my homosexual uncle long married to his husband in CA.

The "born that way" argument opens some interesting doors when you consider this LA Times article that posits: "Pedophilia once was thought to stem from psychological influences early in life. Now, many experts view it as a deep-rooted predisposition that does not change."

It seems that our predispositions tell us who we are but not necessarily who we should be. Is desire destiny?

Culture tells us if it is "who you are/what you desire" then it is unquestionably who you "should" be. However, Scripture tells me who I am is not who I should be. The Bible says I am broken and my desires have been warped by sin. I need not submit to them but must be saved from them.

My desires cannot tell me who I am supposed to be. So it seems dangerous to include adjectives with our Christianity: Heterosexual Christians; Pornography-addicted Christians; Alcoholic Christians; etc. My desires and predispositions cannot tell me who I should be. Only God can do that. My identity must be found in Christ alone.

Walt Mueller said...

Adam. . . I love the way you are processing this.

Walt Mueller said...

Joel. . . perhaps your question on baptismal identity won't be understood or seen as relevant by many (ie - those who don't hold to paedobaptism, however, I suggest you read Butterfield's book that I mentioned in this post. She had someone ask her some pretty direct questions about her own baptism as a Catholic as she was investigating the faith, growing in her faith, and working through these issues.

Kerry said...

Thanks for your postings, Walt. Count me as one who believes it's possible to be both "gay" and "Christian". I understand the argument that same-sex attraction may not be God's original ideal, and I wonder then about the myriad of alternate genetic conditions within humankind (for example having an extra chromosome... did God make those people that way? Is it God's original ideal?)

I have ordered "Washed and Waiting", as well as a few others (Tim Kurek's "The Cross in the Closet" and "Does Jesus Really Love Me" by Jeff Chu). I also appreciate what our neighbor Greg Carey has to say on the biblical texts (, and how Adam Hamilton processes the issue in books such as "When Christians Get It Wrong."

Thanks again for thinking out loud on this.

Tony said...

I have a lot of "friends" on Facebook who are either proclaimed homosexuals or defend the homosexual lifestyle in the context of Christianity. I've had long debates with a few of them and honestly grow tired of the back and forth nature of our conversations that never go anywhere.

My stance on the issue is that homosexuality is sin. It says in the Bible that we are all born sinners. So, I would tend to agree that people may be "born that way," although I would never have agreed to that line of thought a few years ago.

In my last blog post (which was actually quite some time ago), I shared my struggles with pornography. I've prayed for God to remove all desires to look at pornography and release me from that foothold that Satan has on my life. Unfortunately, it is still a daily struggle and I have to consciously decide to avoid pornography every day.

There were times that I reasoned away the shame and made myself believe that there was nothing wrong with looking at porn. I think homosexuality is a sin that takes hold much like that. With the current cultural waves in our country and around the world, it is becoming much easier for Christians to reason away the fact that homosexuality is wrong.

Just because we are born sinners does not make it ok to live a life of sin.

I don't tell people that I am a perverted Christian or porn-addicted Christian. I am a Christian with struggles just like everyone else. I haven't read either of the books you mentioned, but I assume that's the way that Wesley Hill would describe himself as well outside of his book.

I've decided to stop arguing with my gay and gay-supporting friends and just serve them whenever and however I can. I don't remember reading any stories of Jesus arguing with anyone. Instead, He served them and talked to them in ways that provoked deep thought and questions.

Keith said...

I agree with Wesley Hill in that when addressing gay identity, we need to depoliticize by removing labels. We need to describe more and label less. I believe Mark Yarhouse’s book ‘Homosexuality and the Christian’ does the best job addressing reasons (biblical and scientific) why one becomes and how to respond as a Christian to those claiming a Christian gay identity.

One theological question that I struggle with is, can a person who adopts a gay identity still be cover by saving grace while still holding that identity? When I look at places like the church in Corinth, it was full of questionable morals which Paul addresses, but were they still cover by saving grace?

The other issue that stands out to me is the issue of 'born this way'. I have come to a position that I no problem agreeing with this idea even though the science is still working this out. I believe that people who have same-sex attractions do not choose to have them. They have this experience and then struggle with what to do with it. I wonder if our view of 'born as a sinner' has been too limited. Does the scientific evidence here help prove that we are physically born as sinners (all creation has been marred by sin)?

Lindsey said...

Hi Mr. Mueller,

I've been following your blog for a little less than a year now (I think, I'm not exactly sure) but I've never commented. I follow and read many christian/religion-focused blogs but am not an active commenter.

I am really glad you are tackling the issue of homosexuality on your blog because it is discussed frequently on other blogs I follow, but you are one of the more conservative ones so I really appreciate your perspective. I really like the way you are going about the issue as well. You are making the effort to do thorough research, facilitate productive dialogue, and maintain a Christ-driven (instead of culture-driven) perspective.

I am commenting to let you know of another source you should look into. I strongly encourage you to look into Justin Lee's blog "Crumbs from the Communion Table" and his organization "GCN - Gay Christian Network". He also just published a book (I have yet to read it though) called "Torn - Rescuing the Gospel from the Gay vs Christian Debate". Justin Lee, like Wesley Hill, identifies as a Gay Christian. He has some different views than you and Wesley Hill, but his main goal is simply dialogue between Christians, the gay community, and those (like him) who fall in both.

Rachel Held Evans is also doing a chapter by chapter review/discussion of Wesley Hill's book on her blog. They recently finished doing the same with Justin Lee's book.

I really hope you take the time to look into Justin Lee's efforts!

Thank you,


Anonymous said...

I am not going to say anything that's not already been said really. We are all born with certain propensities to sin. So it does make sense to me that some would be born with a sexual attraction to the same sex that the Bible says is unnatural. I think where some Christians(and I am one of them) get uncomfortable is with saying I am a gay Christian because it does seem to soften the blow that homosexuality is a sin. I am a drunk Christian, obese Christian, angry Christian, pediophile Christian....we don't say things like that because we associate those with sins the Bible say gay Christian could give false idea. Better to say I am a Christian that struggles with the sin of homosexuality. We are talking about semantics here but just food for thought.

Walt Mueller said...

Lindsey - thanks! I have Justin Lee's book on my pile to read.

Brian Pengelly said...

Hey Walt! I've been reading your posts and the comments with a lot of trepidation. I'm a bit scared to jump in an offer my thoughts. After 5 years in the public eye sharing my journey through this I learned how really ugly it can be to speak out on this issue...and I don't know if I have it in me to keep putting myself out there.

For those who don't know me my story is here:

But the short version is I am a gay Christian youth pastor who decided that being in a relationship with another man didn't fit into my understanding of scripture and has been trying to follow Jesus as best I can.

Keith said "I agree with Wesley Hill in that when addressing gay identity, we need to depoliticize by removing labels"

I guess the problem here is that we are simply creating new labels, and ones that are even less understood. The problem is not so much the labels, but the assumption we have attached the the language already being used.

What if we instead assumed that when someone said they were gay they weren't making political statement, or indicating that they had sinned, but were instead telling us something important about the complex realities of their lives.

Words are relational. There is not platonic dictionary in Heaven that we can check meanings against. So it is important to actually listen to what is being communicated by the individual.

When I tell people that I am gay I am communicating a number of things. Included in that is the fact that I am attracted to the opposite sex, and indeed I do "struggle with the sin of homosexuality". But that only gives you a picture of one element of being gay. I think what most straight people miss out on is that being gay also communicates that I also do not experience an number of realities that are assumed. Being gay means I don't struggle with lusting after the opposite sex for example. Being gay for me means that I interact with both males and females in totally different ways that go completely beyond whether I am sinning or not.

Also I would point out that descriptors all always more important when you are in the minority. I never talk about being Canadian at home because everyone else is too. When I went to college in the states I constantly talked about it because everyone assumed I was American otherwise. It didn't mean that being Canadian was the most important thing in my fact I am Anabaptist and was taught that Nationalism is a form of idolatry to be handled with extreme caution. My primary identity is that as a citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven.

But strangely enough when I cross the border I don't and they ask me my citizenship I don't tell people "I am a citizen of Heaven under the Kingship of Christ" even though that is the deepest reality of who I am. Instead I simply say "I'm Canadian" and move on.

I hope that help you understand. Language has to be lived in and listened to. It is always abstract. That is why it is important to listen carefully ESPECIALLY to people we disagree with.

Brian Pengelly said...

The other question I have to ask you Walt is how does experience play into how we develop our theology.

In ten or more years I have been working with those who are same sex attracted I have had dozens of friends who like me found the sacrificial road of moving against their orientation to be a hard but meaningful act of their faith.

But I have also met many many more who have found it do be life and soul destroying. My friend Jon who went through the same programs, and I know shared as deep a faith as I did was driven to attempt suicide in despair on the same journey. Things that gave meaning and life to me as I pressed into them crushed Jon. I remember him coming to my wedding and showing me where he carved the words "I hate me" into his arms. All of my words and my theologies were powerless before those scars. Jon still loves Jesus, but he is married to a man now. He doesn't hate himself, self harm, or struggle with crippling depression.

How do I look Jon in the eyes and tell him that God's plan is for him to leave his husband and go back to that place that almost killed him?

As someone who has shared my story very publicly and been deeply involved in this area for years I have to honestly face the reality that for every story like mine I have probably 10 like Jon's.

What haunts me is church history. Chrisitians at one time honestly believed that slavery was justified. Scripture laid out boundaries on it but never condemned it. And yet as Christians encountered the results of slavery they came to understand that it was creating evil and fought to have it abolished.

I know many of the people you have been posting about personally. My own story resonates with them. I read their posts and part of me goes "See! See! We are right."

But I also know how sin subtle it is. I know we prefer to listen to the stories of people who already agree with us. And I am scared that people will take my story, and Wesley's and others and take them as excuse to ignore Jon, and Burke, and Paul and Darren and so many more of my friends who look me in the eye and say "I tried to walk your path and it led me to suicide. So I walked another, and Jesus still walks with me."

Alex said...

I am an 18 year old college student studying to become a pastor. I have also had homosexual attractions my entire life. Before even the age of kindergarten I was attracted to the guys of my day care and enjoyed playing with the girls' toys. But I have kept it hidden for 18 years. Only a select few of my friends know that side of my life. I have had girlfriends as part of a cover-up for years, but was recently convicted that that was unfair to the wonderful girls I had dated.
My parents divorced when I was young. As it turns out, the reason my father left us was his homosexuality: that which was naturally passed down to me.
Homosexuality is never condemned in the Bible, while homosexual acts often are. An orientation is not controllable. That's why I hate when people say someone chose to have same-sex attractions. My response is "When did you chose to be straight?"
Although people have found reasons to disprove each specific instance in the Bible that deals with homosexuality, the biblical narrative as a whole has a negative view on the practices of homosexuality.
I have often asked why the God of love would only want certain orientations to show love, as I feel love between any two persons is love nonetheless, regardless of gender.
Our orientation should not define us. It is not something we can choose. I could choose to play baseball, be in the marching band, or join the math club. All of those things could shape and define who I am. But just like having a nose, two lungs, and emotions, I cannot chose an orientation, so it should not define me, whether I am attracted to one gender or the other.
All-in-all, I feel we must learn to accept the things that cannot be changed, to love others, and to continue to seek God's wisdom.

Nate said...


I've just stumbled across your blog, as well as the ministry of CPYU, and I really, REALLY like the way you are processing these issues. Honestly, I haven't seen very many seasoned ministry leaders in established organizations such as CPYU take the initiative to openly wrestle with these issues, and do so in such a nuanced and winsome way. I've read each of your three posts about this topic, and have been encouraged by everything you've said. Thank you!

Full disclosure: I am a married, seminary-educated, Christian man with who experiences same-sex attraction, and even though I don't use the label "gay Christian" to describe myself, I understand why some Christians do... "identity" labels can often be a source of comfort for people who don't feel like they belong in a particular community. People in the Church who struggle with same-sex attraction typically experience a lot of shame because of the enormous stigma that is associated with the struggle itself. They want to know that it's "OK" (not in the sense of "condoning," but definitely in the sense of "accepting, and not rejecting") to be a Christian and still struggle with this. They often know that we are more than our desires, but they haven't heard a compelling Christian vision for how their particular desires can be redeemed and transformed into a positive expression of who they are in Christ.

Are you familiar with the ministry of Exodus International? They would be a great resource to reach out to if you want to learn more about ministering to people affected by same-sex attraction (and I can put you in touch with their leadership, if you like). There are several ministry leaders associated with Exodus who have decades of experience in youth ministry, and their annual conference has several parent/youth-related workshops and breakout sessions.

Again, I just wanted to say thank you for addressing this issue so sensitively and boldly. It is very encouraging!


Anonymous said...

I have cousins and friends whom I love that are gay, so I am not on the attack by any means, just thinking through the thoughts presented in the blog and posts. Why is same-sex attraction handled with "kid-gloves" like it is somehow a special human desire and deserves preferential treatment? (radical homosexuals call it a 'civil right'). Our cultural's sexual frenzy could also qualify labels like adulterous Christian, fornicating Christian, pedifile Christian, or pornographic Christian. These are all sexual tendencies that some people truly struggle with. Are they/we 'born' with these-and other-sinful tendencies? (according to the Scriptures, we are certainly born with sin) And why label sexual sin and not liar, thief, gossip, etc? Aren't beleivers simply Christians, lovers of Jesus, that struggle with the sins of this world? Christ overcomes the world and that is what we rely on to deal with sin and walk in righteousness. All the more reason to be thankful for counselors, friends, pastors, and others who, being truly grounded in The Word, are there to help us through, and in the midst of, the sturggles.

Will Cunningham said...

The Traducian View of Sin would agree with your comments, Walt, about homosexuality being with a person even from the womb-- and helps to remove some of the power (or defensiveness) from the "Born This Way" movement so popular today. In short the view claims that since God rested from creation on the seventh day, He, doesn't create a new soul with each new child that emerges from the womb. Rather, souls (and soulish sins) are passed down from generation to generation in the same way that brown hair and blue eyes are passed down. Since Christians typically believe that original sin tainted Mankind through and through, leaving us all in a thoroughly shabby state, all of us receive our penchants toward certain sins from our parents, and they from their grandparents, and so forth, all the way back to Eden. I, for instance, was originally a serial adulterer (at least in my mind), and I've heard some very wild stories about my grandfather on my father's side, who could hardly go to a townhall meeting without going home with someone else's wife. Does anyone in their right mind believe for an instant that my wife, the beautiful Mrs. Cindy Cunningham would accept this penchant in me if I were to blame it on my genetics? I can imagine myself saying to Cindy, "I was born this way, honey. You'll just have to get used to my philandering." After my 5'2" wife flung her 100 lb. frame at me like a heat-seeking missile, I can imagine I'd be spending a few nights on the couch, followed by lengthy discussions with someone from the legal profession. The important thing for all humans to remember is that, in a very real sense, we are all "BORN THIS WAY"--shot full of all kinds of sin, including homosexuality. Once we admit this in our discussions with homosexuals, all the power and vigor of excuse vanishes away, and we are standing on the same humble island together-- floating in a sea of shame, at the mercy of the only One capable of saving or destroying. God, I am grateful for Your Son.

Tracy L said...

As I read these blog posts concerning this very sensitive topic, I am left wondering how everyone seems to be missing a very important part of the "biblical puzzle"...Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places... There are spirits operating everywhere in this dark and evil world. These spirits cause us to be at war within ourselves, the flesh against the spirit man. Spirits will and do operate in us...even in a blood washed Christian. If we give the enemy even the slightest crack to enter into our lives this can and will leave an open door to all types of sin. Also, spirits are to another. This is what makes it possible that even a small child can show indications of a certain sinful nature. Now, there is also the topic of generational curses. The Bible addresses this as well. As you read the posts stating an individual's father or grandfather or uncle having the same affliction, it is a clear indicator of the strong possibility of a generational curse. This is what could lead someone to believe they are "born this way". We are all born with a sin nature, it is Christ who must come in to wash away those sins, to cleanse and purify us from all unrighteousness, to transform us into a new nature. Ephesians 4:22-24 states...You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness...and 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us... Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. We cannot do these things on our own, it is certainly the power of Christ coupled with full knowledge and understanding of the scripture that will lead us away from sin and into our "new nature". The devil comes to steal, kill and destroy as stated in John 10:10. We need to understand and teach that this is where these afflictions come from, whether it's drug addiction, pornography, adultery, or homosexuality. Although we are all born with a sinful nature, we are certainly not "born this way". It was not the plan and purpose of God when He created us that we would become the opposite of what His Word states. It is those powers and principalities of darkness that are ruling the earth that have so many deceived. It does not matter what the sin is...sin is sin in the eyes of God. He hates the sin but loves the sinner. I think that once we really have a clear understanding of where the sin of homosexuality comes from, it will be then that we are enabled to effectively guide those that are deceived. May God bless us all with the wisdom to do so.