Our non-negotiable view regarding homosexuality, promoted the belief that ‘the answer’ was either to be found through the possibility of change-’to become heterosexual as God intended’, if this was the heart’s desire of the person seeking help, or at the very least to live a celibate life. We believed such objectives could be realised through a lifestyle of ongoing repentance, devotion to Christ and a willingness ‘to deal with the deeper issues’ (e.g. abuse, rejection, lack of bonding to the same-sex parent, etc.). [...]As a psychotherapist and as a person of faith, one of the things that keeps me from despair is my belief that change is always possible - that no matter how hopeless a situation appears to be, the people within it can change. Some days it's easy to believe that. Some days it's harder.
After ten years, however, six spent running residential discipleship courses, followed by years of weekly group meetings, it was increasingly clear that however repentant people were, and however much dedication and effort they put into seeking change, none were really ‘successful’ in the long term in ‘dealing with the deeper issues’. This is not to say that people gained no benefit! Many matured greatly. A few married (though their same-sex attractions remain an ongoing issue for them). But the kind of change everyone really hoped for – to re-orientate and reach a point where their struggle with being gay was over – remained elusive. We never saw the fruit we longed for. [...]
Clearly the sense of alienation from God (and from themselves) that many lesbian and gay people have experienced, also the guilt and shame, has contributed nothing to godly living, never mind healing. So how can we, with any integrity, proclaim a message of ‘healing’ from homosexuality if God is not supporting it? Moreover, I do not see what scriptural basis we have for doggedly insisting that any and every form of erotic expression outside monogamous heterosexual marriage is sinful.
Everyone needs to know the unconditional love of Christ; gay people are no exception. While it may be argued that pursuit of ‘casual sex’ calls for repentance, from years of persistent prayer and Bible study, I’ve concluded that there is scope in scripture for acceptance of committed, intimate same-sex relationships. This is not an ‘anything goes’ approach-anyone seeking to be Christ-centred will naturally yearn to find a basic moral framework and ethos for gay and lesbian relationships.
By the year 2000, it had become clear that God was requiring of our ministry a marked change of attitude, outlook and policy.
These folks prayed for a healing change, and it came to them in a form that was utterly unexpected. They had the courage to embrace it anyway - even knowing that it would separate them from some of their strongest supporters. Good for them! They restore my faith in human possibility.