A Christian Response to a Christian Critic

Christine and I receive many e-mails and messages via Beyond Ex-Gay. Most of them are from fellow ex-gay survivors sharing some of their story, giving a word of affirmation and support, or offering to help in some way. We also get a handful of letters from people who believe our work is misguided. Recently I received such a message from a visitor to the site, a woman who used to live as a lesbian but now is ex-gay. In her message she shared some of her story and concluded with the exhortation, “Please don’t give up!! Pursue Jesus and He will heal you!!”

Below is my response. As with all such responses, I copied Christine, who after reading it, asked me to post it at bXg. I am a Christian, but bXg is not a Christian site. We seek to be faith-friendly, and we realize that ex-gay survivors represent a wide diversity of backgrounds.

My response is written by a Christian to a Christian.

Thank you for taking the time to write to us. From your writing I do not sense that you wish to be disrespectful or abusive. Sadly some people writing us take that approach. Although you do not mean to be disrespectful or abusive, some of what you say is filled with false assumptions.

I hear in your words the assumption that some of us are not Christians, and that we have not spent many years seeking with much sincerity to understand God’s will for our lives. You assume that since you do not see yourself being a Christian and lesbian, that this is the only way to approach the situation. The scriptures are not that clear, especially when it comes to lesbianism.

Romans One is usually misinterpreted by people who take one or two verses out of context and overlook Paul’s other possible purpose in writing his letter to the Jewish Christians in Rome. Some fail to read Romans 2:1 which is the concluding verse for the several verses that proceed it. Some also overlook the fact that early Church teaching NEVER considered Romans One a passage about homosexuality. That interpretation came later.

But you did not write to discuss scripture. You wrote to lead us to Jesus. You wrote to tell us how wonderful life is with Jesus and the joy we will find in being in relationship with him. I know this joy and live it daily. My “gay lifestyle” includes worshiping with other believers every week as well as sweet times of fellowship on my own with God. My “gay lifestyle” includes listening to God and following God’s leading, which has affected nearly every part of my life including my diet, my friendships, my career, my sexuality and how I view and use my body.

At bXg we do not in any way seek to invalidate people like you who say they are happy as ex-lesbians (or whichever term you prefer to use). The reality is that such a life is not possible for the vast majority of people who have earnestly sought after it. Alan Chambers himself admits that Exodus has at least a 70% failure rate. For most of us, not only was it not possible, but we did great harm to ourselves and the people we love.

We don’t blame the ex-gay programs for all the hurt we suffered. Much of it was self-induced, spurred on by a society, an ungodly world, that along with some portions of the Church, believes that one must be heterosexual to be acceptable. In this belief the “unsaved” world and the Church live in unison, much like the church and the world both supported slavery for centuries. There is too much of worldly values in the Church of Jesus, and it is time that the church no longer conform to the pattern of this world but experience a renewing of the mind.

I understand that you cannot see yourself living as a Christian and a lesbian. Some early Christians felt it was sinful to eat certain meats. In fact major conflicts arose over that issue. But others felt peace and clarity in eating those very meats. I believe when it comes to many issues of sexuality, it is like this too. Looking at the scriptures, we see many patterns, not all in accordance to our comfort or calling. But we need to be careful not to judge; this is the very message of Romans 1 and 2. We need to trust each other that we have done the work and continue to listen closely to God.

Blessings on your journey,

This post has 7 Comments

  1. nonsequitur on January 4, 2008 at 8:39 pm


  2. seithman on January 4, 2008 at 11:05 pm

    Beautifully stated.

    — Jarred.

  3. Carol on January 5, 2008 at 1:28 am

    Same response as the two above. You speak well, Peterson.

  4. Pete on January 5, 2008 at 8:33 pm

    That was a great letter, Peterson. I think that, for many in the ex-gay world, their view of the singular “lifestyle” is stuck in a time warp, circa 1975 when the only outlet for many gay men was a sexual one.

  5. Joe G. on January 6, 2008 at 1:46 pm

    “Please don’t give up!! Pursue Jesus and He will heal you!!”

    Actually, I don’t see the problem with this plea. Perhaps it’s misdirected toward your sexuality. However, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said the very same thing to you, Peterson, about being a media whore.

  6. Peterson Toscano on January 6, 2008 at 4:40 pm

    Joe, Joe, Joe, you have the patience of a saint, and the wardrobe of a sinner–but not nearly has tarty as me. I shall learn from you one day.

  7. Jim Johnson on January 10, 2008 at 10:56 pm


    This is such a wonderful, loving response. By allowing the light of Christ to shine through you like this, you have a greater chance to effect real change in our society than a dozen politicians. I posted an excerpt and linked back to this on my blog because I think as many people as possible need to see this.

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