REVISED: October 8, 2008 to reflect more accurate wording from “The Language of God” by Dr. Francis Collins.EDITOR'S NOTE: This monthly column about the issue of homosexuality by various authors is a partnership between Baptist Press and the SBC Task Force on Ministry to Homosexuals.
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SOUTHLAKE, Texas (BP)--"If this is the way God made me, then this is the way I'm going to live," Christian singer Ray Boltz said in a recent article disclosing his decision to divorce his wife and live as a homosexual.
But did God really create Ray Boltz as a homosexual? The media certainly would have us think so.
Time recently ran an article ("What the Gay Brain Looks Like," Jun. 17, 2008) attempting to demonstrate the "science" supporting a "gay gene." Interestingly, the article referenced a study done by Simon LeVay in 1991. The study had major gaps in its methodology, and even LeVay, a homosexual neuroscientist, has said that it didn't prove what he hoped it would.
An article such as this demonstrates the difficulty of speaking truth into our culture today. Studies attempting to normalize homosexual behavior are introduced with much fanfare, and we hear about "important" new discoveries that are accepted as facts. We don't hear, however, about the studies which don’t pan out or which could lead to a different conclusion.
Dean Hamer also came out with a study in 1993 which trumpeted the likelihood of a gay gene. Most major media outlets reported on this. But in February of 1999 the Boston Globe said, "Six years later, however, the gene still has not been found.”
In his book “The Language of God” Dr. Francis Collins, head of the Human Genome project, made the following comments:
"An area of particularly strong public interest is the genetic basis of homosexuality. Evidence from twin studies does in fact support the conclusion that heritable factors play a role in male homosexuality. However, the likelihood that the identical twin of a homosexual male will also be gay is about 20% (compared with 2-4 percent of males in the general population), indicating that sexual orientation is genetically influenced but not hardwired by DNA, and that whatever genes are involved represent predispositions, not predeterminations" (p. 260, "The Language of God").
Dr. Collins has since stated that this should not be taken out of context. He further stated: “That certainly doesn’t imply, however, that those other undefined factors are inherently alterable “I would urge anyone who is concerned about the meaning to refer back to the original text.”
I would certainly encourage readers to do that, paying particular attention to pages 257-263.
The need for Christians to be prepared to deal with this issue is shown in another comment by Boltz: "I guess I felt that the church, that they had it wrong about how I felt with being gay all these years, so maybe they had it wrong about a lot of other things."
Notice the emphasis on "how I felt." Far too often we allow "feelings" and the validity of each person's "story" to trump the authority of Scripture. In Boltz's case, his struggle with homosexuality apparently caused him to doubt other tenets of the faith. Beliefs to which he had held all his life were reconsidered. This is not uncommon among strugglers from Christian backgrounds. When we fail to help them deal with this issue, other fundamental beliefs are questioned.
Another sad byproduct is that his former wife has joined a pro-gay advocacy group. I've often thought that many people turn to various pro-gay groups because the church was not there at the time of their crisis. The end result is that not only is the struggler lost, but family members as well. Tragically, they often become very effective instruments in the hands of homosexual activists.
I grieve for the loss of the testimony of Ray Boltz. I grieve for those who will follow his example. I grieve for his family. I pray that one day Ray will realize that God did not create him a homosexual and that there is a way out.
We are in desperate need of children of Issachar, who understand the times and know what to do (1 Chronicles 12:32). Far too many in Southern Baptist churches are struggling with a temptation they neither seek nor understand, but they are terrified to ask for help. Ray Boltz said, "I read every book, I read all the scriptures they use, I did everything to try and change." Scripture (1 Corinthians 6:9-11) tells us that people can leave homosexuality.
Those with long experience in this ministry will tell you that very few people have left homosexuality without the support and involvement of others. But the fear of being found out keeps many in bondage, and that bondage is intensified when the world continually trumpets, "You're born that way. Just accept it."
I pray for the day when all of our churches take seriously the need to train their leadership to redemptively provide the tools needed for the people like Ray Boltz in their midst. I long for the day when every community has Christians who are prepared to present a positive, joy-filled alternative to the lifelong struggle he has endured.
Are your church and your community prepared? Are you?
Bob Stith is the SBC's National Strategist for Gender Issues. He is available for speaking engagements and interviews and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.