Psychological and Theological Dead End

Although there is a need for distinguishing between homosexual orientation

and homosexual behaviour, the well-meaning Christian authors and

psychologists who do so lay a subtle trap which perpetuates the

individual's struggle for freedom by affirming that "homosexual

orientation" is a given, relatively unchangeable factor in one's life.

Defining Terms

Homosexual behaviour is the acting out of sexual desires through various

forms of physical intimacy: cuddling, necking, petting, anal and oral sex

with members of one's own gender. Individuals who are not normally

disposed to homosexual behaviour have been known to engage in it.

Conversely, some individuals have only been familiar with homosexual desire

yet have never engaged in overt sexual expression with other members of his

or her own gender.

The accepted definition of homosexual orientation is the condition of

having a preference, emotionally and sexually, towards members of the same

gender. As an orientation, homosexuality becomes the core characteristic

of the individual, colouring human relationships. All of life is then

understood and interpreted through this "orientation."

Although I disagree with the use of the term "orientation," making this

distinction between homosexual behaviour and orientation is important

because the first steps in finding freedom from sin is by controlling

sinful behaviour. For the person who is just beginning to deal with his

homosexuality, we must break down the sin problem into smaller, more

manageable parts. Dealing with the entire condition of homosexuality is

too overwhelming a place to begin.

The Problem

The distinction made implies, however, that only homosexual behaviour can

be overcome. This is false. The desire or drive to engage in such

behaviour or emotional relationships, which equally manifests the fallen

state of mankind, can also be overcome.

Secondly, the term orientation suggests a "state of being." "that is just

the way things are," or, more simply, "an unchangeable condition." When

applied to the person struggling with homosexual actions and desires, well-

meaning authors and counsellors are telling the individual, "You may be

able to stop the behaviour, but you must accept the fact that you are a

homosexual, and you will always be a homosexual."

In David Field's book, The Homosexual Way: A Christian Option? 1/, the

author states that it is sometimes not God's will for change to occur in a

particular person. While not completely dismissing the possibility of

change, Field errs in suggesting that it is not God's will to always change

the person. It seems unreasonable to me that God would condemn a behaviour

and not provide a means of escape. He surely knows that behaviour is not

the only issue to be dealt with regarding this particular sin.

My search for freedom from homosexuality was actually hindered by my

acceptance of my denomination's statement on homosexuality. It was good

that I was told to stop the behaviour. It was a major stumbling block for

me to accept their teaching that I would have to live with a homosexual

orientation throughout my life, "due to conditions to a large extent, if

not entirely, beyond [my] responsibility".2/ and because "to expect the

means of grace and power and prayer to redirect a firmly fixed homosexual

is to expect a miracle." 3/

The result was that I did stop the behaviour, but I was stuck with the

homosexual orientation. Homosexual: That is the way I am. My

understanding of homosexual orientation determined the course of all my

interpersonal relationships for the next seven years.

Professional opinion placed me in a box wherein I had to interpret my

experience in terms of the homosexual label. As strange as it sounds, I

needed to live up to the label -- not for my sake, but for the sake of

societal expectations. "Homosexual", even though I stopped the behaviour,

continued to define my identity.

It was not possible to take on the label, "new creature in Christ". How

could I be? I was a homosexual. "Forgiven and washed in the blood of

Jesus?" How could I be? I was a homosexual. I sank into despair. Maybe

God would forgive me of my homosexual sin, but he could never totally

freely love me and accept me as His child -- my former sin still dominated

my life in that I was homosexual by orientation. That was an undeniable

and unchangeable fact.

After an attempted suicide, the doctors agreed that "he is strongly

homosexually oriented." They prescribed therapy: "Help him adjust to his

homosexual orientation." Again I was trapped. I had to continue wearing

the homosexual label. Even the Christian psychologists said that the

orientation was unchangeable.

A Solution in Sight

Labels are dangerous things. They have the power to determine behaviour

and identity. They lock people into invalid states of being. They block

the radical, transforming power of God's new labels and identity.

Kent Paris at the EXODUS International conference in Baltimore in June

1984, taught about labels. 4/ He pointed out that the Scriptures began

with "And God saw all that He had made and, behold, it was very good."

(Genesis 1:31) The Bible didn't begin with "You're a sinner!" he went on

to say. The Scriptures don't even begin with "Jesus saves." God's very

first words about mankind are very good. We are valuable because God made

us that way. We don't become valuable when we enter right relationships

with God. We are valuable.

That is why God desires all to come to Him: the homosexual, the prostitute,

the affluent suburbanite, the criminal, the Ph.D., the high school drop-

out. We are valuable by purpose and origin, created good and in the image

of God. Our world has been distorted by evil, but God became Emmanuel --

God with us -- to redeem, to restore us back to that original state.

Homosexual orientation is a label with the power to destroy. By definition

that means the unchangeable state of being homosexual. It denies the

created order -- "God made them male and female." (Genesis 1:26) It

denies that heterosexuality is implicit in the make-up of being male and

female and capable of complementing each other. It denies the act of

redemption -- "Behold, I make all things new." (Revelation 21:5) (See

also I Corinthians 6:11, II Corinthians 1:10)

The homosexual orientation is not a label that must be worn. Rather, we

need to see ourselves as our heavenly Father sees us: very good.

In counseling individuals struggling with homosexuality, let us rather

speak about the components of homosexuality: behaviour and fantasy,

lifestyle, false identity, and psychic response. 5/ We can teach

individuals to find freedom from all of them. Let us teach them about the

nature of temptation and how to gain victory over that instead of

sentencing them to carry a cross that doesn't exist.

-- Douglas A Houck


1/ The Homosexual Way: A Christian Option?, David Field; InterVarsity

Press, Downers Grove, IL; 1979, pg 46.

2/ Report 42, Acts of Synod 1973; Board of Publications of the Christian

Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, MI; 1973, pg 630.

3/ Ibid, pg 627

4/ "Communicating God's Good News," Kent Paris; recorded at EXODUS IX,

Baltimore, 1984, cost: $4.50. Write to: Business Products, Inc., 11

Federal Blvd., #1, Denver, CO 80219.

5/ Exodus policy statement; EXODUS International, P O Box 2121, San

Rafael, CA 94912.


For further information about homosexuality or about other areas of sexual

brokenness, please contact:


G.P.O. Box 1115


Phone (08) 371 0446


This article is reprinted by permission from

Metanoia Ministries

P O Box 33039

Seattle WA 98133-0039



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