Other "Thinking Drafts" and writing by Keith Drury -- http://www.indwes.edu/tuesday .

 From: Money Sex and Spiritual Power by Keith Drury
(c) 1992 Wesley Press

Chapter 8

Can a homosexual be "Cured?"

A guide to thinking the issue through

Christians can not ignore the rising number of lesbian and gay men and women who insist "we were born this way" and thus God never intended for them to be any other way. They argue, "God made us the way we are." So, for the Church to insist they get "cured" is inappropriate.

What do you think? Have you thought through the homosexual issue from a Biblical and theological perspective? If you've already made up your mind, this chapter won't help much -- it will merely reinforce what you already believe or do not believe. However, if you've never thought through the issue theologically for yourself, the following questions may help.

1. Why should we try to "cure" homosexual behavior?

The first question is whether on not homosexual actions even need curing. If you believe homosexual actions are normal, or at least acceptable, then there is no need for you to think much further. If they are normal or acceptable sexual expressions, then they do not need to be changed or abandoned. Do you think this behavior is normal?

If you do, then you've got some pretty fancy footwork to do with the Bible. The teachings of the Bible take a pretty definite stand on homosexual practices. If you are going to be honest in your stand, you will need to develop an adequate explanation for numerous Bible passages which are hard to explain away.1

It is difficult for an honest Christian to study the Scriptures and accept homosexual behavior as normal or ordinary. The Old Testament penalties are severe, and the New Testament Scriptures consider the practice perversion even keeping the practitioners from even entering God's Kingdom. If you intend to accept homosexual behavior as anything other than sin, you will have to turn somewhere else besides the Bible to prove it. And when you have done that, you have made the Bible a secondary source on the definition of sin, and you have departed from answering the question from a Christian perspective.

Sure, as a nice agnostic-humanist you might be able to accept homosexual behavior. If you get standards of right and wrong from your own "gut feelings" or from a poll on what the average person thinks, then you might accept this behavior as normal and natural. But if you believe the Bible is the source for a definition of sin, you will have a difficult task accepting homosexual behavior. If you stick with the Bible, you'll probably have to call homosexual behavior sin.

2. Do homosexuals have to act on their urges?

Since the Bible condemns homosexual behavior as sin, it is difficult for a Christian to dismiss it. But, if you are wishing to accept homosexual behavior among Christians you may have another option if you are wanting a loophole.

You could adopt a forgiven-sin theology as some homosexuals have done. They say, "We are all sinners... every day in word, thought, and deed; the only difference between an unsaved sinner and a saved sinner is that the saved sinner has already had all his sins forgiven -- past present and future. I'm only human, and when I fall into homosexual sin, It is a joy to know that God can't see that sin-- for all my sins were forgiven past, present, and future -- when I became a Christian."

This tack of theology is accepted among some Christian circles, though it is more often applied to more "acceptable" sins than to homosexual activity. If this approach is applied to homosexuality it allows for homosexuals to become Christians, stay Christians, and practice homosexual behaviors occasionally, but since when they are a saved homosexual, the sin was forgiven in advance by God. This doctrine says the Christian Homosexual can rejoice that "there is therefore now no condemnation" for their homosexual sin -- past, present, and future -- was forgiven when they became a Christian.

If you choose this forgiven-sin approach, you will want to honestly examine what it does to the rest of your theology. Will you accept any sin in the life of a Christian? How about a life full of sin? How about a person who regularly practices sin -- can he or she still be a Christian? Is sin that inconsequential? Are you willing to say there can be minimal or no difference between a believer and an unbeliever's life -- only a change of status before God?

If you honestly choose this forgiven-sin option, your theology might permit homosexual behavior among believers -- but can you honestly accept this theory, given the Bible's frequent calls to abandon sin and live a holy life? Can you honestly allow for a Christian to sin purposefully and regularly -- even every day?2. Most sensible Christians believe that Christians can't take that light a view of sin and sinning.

Where does this leave you? If you are, (1) not able to dismiss homosexual behavior as normal, since the Bible calls it sin, and (2) You are not able to accept homosexual sin as something God overlooks along with all the other sins we do every day as the normal part of the Christian life, what are you left with?

You are probably left with a theology of victory. Many sensible Christians are not comfortable with either excusing or overlooking sin. Most assume there is victory available for any Christian struggling with any kind of temptation. For the homosexual, it means "You don't have to do it." A victory theology says "You may have homosexual urges, but you don't have to act on them." In other words, through God's transforming power a Christian with homosexual urges can live victoriously -- be a non-practicing homosexual.

This is such a sensible approach because it is consistent with our treatment of all other sins. Many Christian men are plagued with impure thoughts -- they have a sexual drive toward other women. But we teach "you don't have to do it." We teach these heterosexual men that even though they were "born with these strong urges" they don't have to act on them -- by God's grace they can be faithful all of their lives. To have an urge does not mean you are destined to act on it.

A sensible victory theology treats homosexuality the same way. Sure, the homosexual may be born or raised in such a way so that they posses powerful urges for same-sex relationships. But, with God's grace, they do not have to act on the urge just because they have it. God grace is greater than that. The simple quote representing this victory theology is: "If the Bible calls it sin, you don't have to do it." If you end up following this track of thinking you will expect any Christian who has homosexual urges to keep from acting on them -- to be non-practicing.

But there's a third question you ought to face.

3. Can a homosexual be "cured" of their urge?

This is the deeper question. Can a Christian with homosexual desires be delivered from wanting to commit homosexual sin? Is a homosexual Christian stuck with these sinful urges as long as he or she lives on this earth? Is it possible for a homosexual to be "delivered" -- not just from the practice or behavior -- but from the inclination toward homosexual sin?

Some Christians answer with a loud "No." They argue that the inclination toward homosexuality is deeply rooted in the psyche of a person by birth and/or rearing. They argue that it is so much a part of the person that they can no more be delivered from homosexual desires than you can be delivered from your basic desire for food. These people argue, "I have never heard of a single homosexual cured of the basic nature toward homosexuality," and those who claim to be are lying. These Christians stay with the victory option outlined above, and nothing more. To the homosexual they say, "You can't be blamed for what you are -- these desires are a part of who you are -- but you don't have to act on them."

But there is a another group of Christian who go one step further. They ask "Is that all there is -- just victory over wanting to sin?" They wonder "Is a Christian with homosexual urges destined to want to commit homosexual acts all his or her life?" Can't God go a step further? Why couldn't God provide a correction for the bent in a person's nature toward a specific sin? Is it possible that a homosexual could quit wanting to commit homosexual sin? Could a homosexual be cured of his homosexual inclination? 3.

Some Christians take this bold "second step" in their theology of victory. They believe that a Christian can become more than a non-practicing homosexual. They think God can actually deliver or cure the homosexual's sinful urges. They claim that a homosexual can receive a work from God which changes the homosexual's nature, delivering them from all sinful homosexual desires.

Basing their belief on their interpretation of Scripture and just plain sanctified logic, these Christians proclaim that God is at work in every believer not only to act according to His purposes, but also to will -- to decide or want to obey Christ. This group promises, "You don't have to sin; and you don't have to want to either."

Using rational thinking along with the Scriptures they argue that homosexual sin is not so radically different than other sins. They believe each of us is born or raised in such a way as to result in a personal "propensity" for selected sins. Some are more inclined to anger and rage, others to drunkenness, others to resentment, bitterness, or an unforgiving spirit, while still others to heterosexual lust and the urge to be unfaithful to their spouses. They lump homosexual sin right in with these kinds of biological or environmental "besetting sins."

These "Second touch" folk believe that God can do more than help us gain victory over a sin -- He can even cure our inclination to commit that sin. Take a person who has a powerful sinful heterosexual urge -- someone who is constantly plagued with lustful thoughts and fantasies about cheating on his wife. These people say that not only can that man keep from cheating on his wife -- i.e. "live victoriously"... but there is a "second touch" available from God which can correct his abnormally strong desire to have sex outside marriage. In other words, a man is not stuck with wanting to cheat on his wife as long as he lives. God can perform both a gradual and complete work in his heart so that he no longer wants to cheat.

These people are not shocked by a person's confession to homosexual urges. They happily point out that he or she can not only have victory over the practice of this sin, but can also be delivered from the urge to do this sin, or any other sin.

Such seekers should be cautioned against any sort of "slot machine cure" where they expect a fast and easy instantaneous cure. This kind of cleansing often takes time. It may come only after many months or even years of seeking. But these people argue it can come. God's grace can do more than make us "non-practicing sinners" -- people who don't do it, but really want to. They believe He can go a step further -- actually correcting our unhealthy desire to sin, enabling us to obey Him because we want to.

This "second touch" approach to homosexuality is worth examining. Has the modern evangelical church sold short on God's transforming power? Can God give total victory over the practice of any sin? And can God give a second touch to a believer which can make him not even want to sin? Is there a "double cure" for sin? These second touch Christians believe there is. I guess I should say, I believe them. Do you?


For a start, study: Genesis 19:5; Leviticus 18:22; Leviticus 20:18; Deuteronomy 23:18; Judges 19:22; and in the New Testament Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9

2. The Bible's treatment of purposeful sin in a believer's life is too extensive to list here, but consider one small book's treatment: 1 John 2:1; 2:5-6; 3:6-9; 3:24; 5:18. Few Christians can read these passages without concluding that anyone who is habitually practicing purposeful sin isn't really a Christian at all, and if they claim to be they are lying.

3. I am not talking here of the capacity toward homosexual behavior, but the inclination. Every human being has the capacity for every sin ever invented, including homosexuality. If we had no capacity we could never even be tempted. A capacity to sin is a neutral potential for sin; the inclination to sin is a inside driven-ness and urge to sin which become an inner ally to the Tempter. We can never escape the capacity to commit any sin. But certain Christians believe it is possible to escape the inclination to commit this sin.

 From: Money, Sex, and Spiritual Power by Keith Drury
(c) 1992 Wesley Press
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 To contribute to the thinking on this issue, or to contact the writer e-mail Tuesday@indwes.edu