“Other men's sins are before our eyes; our own are behind our backs” Seneca
windblown sand in the desert- freefoto.com
My husband and I are long time members of Christian Medical Dental Associations. Link “Christian Medical and Dental Associations exist to glorify God–by motivating, educating and equipping Christian doctors and students:
- to serve with professional excellence as witnesses of Christ's love and compassion, and
- by advancing biblical principles of healthcare within the Church and to our culture.”
This group is nationally recognized for its research and positions on medical ethics and is routinely called to testify before Congress on issues as far reaching as stem cell research, abortion, right of conscience, and end of life decisions. Please visit their website for thoughtful analysis on a myriad of issues.
A few years ago, we received a tape from CMDA of a testimony by Sy Rogers. His words so moved me that I passed this tape on to many friends. Sy, a male homosexual, had decided to undergo a sex change operation at John Hopkins Hospital. He prepared for it by taking the usual does of female hormones which began to transform his body. However, he had met some Christians along the way who began to pray with, and for, him. If I remember correctly, the day before his operation was scheduled, Hopkins shut down their program. Thus began Sy’s journey into the faith.
Sy is dedicated to helping those who struggle with same sex attraction. He also reaches out to many Christian parents who have children who are gay. Here is a LINK to his website.
However, there is one thing he said on this particular recording that has stuck with me through the years. He claims that many Christians seem to be bent on converting the homosexual to heterosexuality when they should be focused on converting the non-Christian to Christianity. He believes that the Holy Spirit then works in the individual to transform him/her into a person who is pursuing the faith in all aspects of his/her life.
In other words, there are Christians who seem more concerned about changing one particular aspect of behavior instead of transforming the entire person by the renewing of the Holy Spirit. Without the power of the Holy Spirit in the life of a person, there is little hope for any change in behavior.
Such a change takes place over time and can be fraught with difficulties. Think about the overweight person who goes on a diet. How many persons do you know who lose weight only to gain it back again? We all sympathize with the struggle when it’s a sin that we share but are disgusted when it’s a sin that we personally find revolting.
A man, whom I will call Mark, who said he had been a member of a Sovereign Grace Ministries church in England wrote one of the saddest comments I have ever read here at TWW. He had been a celibate homosexual for a number of years. Although it had been difficult, he was maintaining the course.
However, a church member claimed that he saw Mark at a gay bar. (Why said member was at a gay bar did not appear to concern the pastor). The pastor told Mark he that he was being turned over to Satan and would not be allowed to come back to church. Mark protested and said that was not true and proceeded to provide evidence as to why it wasn’t true. Then, said pastor asked him if he had ever had any homosexual thoughts. Mark honestly said he had some struggles in that area. So, the pastor said he was guilty of the act since he had thought about it and threw him out. Far be it for a SGM pastor to admit his course of action is unwise!
I have one thing to say to said pastor. “I wish I could broadcast all of your thoughts to the members of your church. Bet you would need to be turned over to Satan as well.”
Pete Briscoe defines a Christian as one who sins, repents, brushes himself off and continues towards the goal only to stumble and fall and repeat the process over and over again until she goes to be with the Lord. A true Christian cares about the sin in his life. Mark cared and was honest and so exhibited his faith. I am not so sure that the pastor was honest about his own sin and may be deceiving himself about his own sin life.
Today I want to take a look at the potential causes of homosexuality and the Christian response to this particular issue. Here is a partial statement from CMDA. Go to the link for the entire statement. CMDA is not, in any way, associated with this blog.LINK
- “The causes of same-sex attraction appear to be multi-factorial and may include developmental, psychosocial, environmental and biological factors. There is no credible evidence at this time that same-sex attraction is genetically determined.
- Acting on homosexual attraction is voluntary. Claims of genetic or environmental determinism do not relieve individuals of moral responsibility for their sexual behavior.
- Homosexual behavior can be changed. There is valid evidence that many individuals who desired to abstain from homosexual acts have been able to do so.”
CMDA explores some of the research being done in this area. Their statement reflect these findings. Please refer to the actual article for the footnotes on the studies. LINK
“The Genetic/Biologic Theories
A. CLAIM: There is a causal link between brain structure and sexual preference. In 1991, Simon LeVay, a former Salk Institute researcher, examined the brains in cadavers from over 30 people, 18 of whom were reportedly homosexual. He found the following:
"INAH 3 was more than twice as large in the heterosexual men as in the women. It was also, however, more than twice as large in the heterosexual men as in the homosexual men. This finding indicates that INAH is dimorphic with sexual orientation [i.e. shows a difference in structure between homosexuals and heterosexuals], at least in men, and suggests that sexual orientation has a biological substrate."2
Inconsistencies with LeVay's study include:3
- Six out of ten of the "heterosexual" cadavers had died from AIDS, which is far more common in homosexual men than heterosexual men. "There is the possibility," said LeVay, "that the small size of INAH3 in the homosexual men is the result of AIDS or its complications and is not related to the men's sexual orientation." Brain size of both homosexual and heterosexual men varied, forcing LeVay to admit, "sexual orientation, although an important variable, may not be the sole determinant of INAH 3 size."
- Brain size may have been affected by sexual behavior. Repetitive activity (concert piano player, professional tennis player) can affect areas of the brain making some areas smaller or other areas larger.
- "It is important to stress what I didn't find. I did not prove that homosexuality is genetic, or find a genetic cause for being gay. I didn't show that gay men are born that way, the most common mistake people make in interpreting my work. Nor did I locate a gay center in the brain. INAH 3 is less likely to be the sole gay nucleus of the brain than a part of a chain of nuclei engaged in men and women's sexual behavior…. Since I looked at adult brains, we don't know if the differences I found were there at birth, or if they appeared later."4
B. CLAIM: There is a genetic link, as demonstrated in twins that causes homosexuality. The Archives of General Psychiatry published in 1991 a study by J. Michael Bailey and Richard C. Pillard that postulated the following:
"The pattern of rates of homosexuality by type of relative was generally consistent with substantial genetic influence."5
Inconsistencies of the Bailey and Pillard study include:6
- "Subjects…were recruited through advertisements placed in homosexual-oriented periodicals and, therefore, may not be typical of the homosexual population at large."7
- "Although identical twins have the same genetic code, non-identical twins and regular siblings share the same proportion of genetic material. Therefore, the genetic theories should show a similar amount of homosexual concordance between non-identical twins and regular siblings… There was no way to separate the intermingling of environmental and genetic effects, since all sets of twins in the study had been raised together and presumably subject to most, if not all, of the same environmental effects…If there is something in the genetic code that makes a person homosexual, why did not all of the identical twins become homosexual, since they have the exact same genetic code?"8 Only 50 percent of homosexual twins are homosexual.
C. CLAIM: Homosexuals have a "gay gene". Dean Hamer, a geneticist with the National Cancer Institute, incited a media frenzy in 1993, when he concluded the following:
"We have now produced evidence that one form of male homosexuality is preferentially transmitted through the maternal side and is genetically linked to chromosomal region Xq28…It appears that Xq28 contains a gene that contributes to homosexual orientation in males."9
Inconsistencies with Hamer's study include:10
- "(Dean) Hamer's genetic sequences have been calculated to affect about five percent of the homosexual population, so even if he is correct, there must be some other explanation for what causes the vast majority of homosexuality."11
- No other study has been able to duplicate Hamer's findings. A team of researchers reported in Science in 1999 that, "because our study was larger than that of Hamer et al., we certainly had adequate power to detect a genetic effect as large as was reported in that study. Nonetheless, our data do not support the presence of a gene of large effect influencing sexual orientation at position Xq28."12
2. The Hormone Theory: Hormones in the womb cause a person to be homosexual.
Researchers Byne and Parsons describe it as follows:
"The prenatal hormonal hypothesis of human sexual orientation holds that male heterosexuality and female homosexuality result from prenatal exposure to high levels of testicular hormones, while homosexual males and heterosexual females are exposed to lower levels and thus retain a female pattern of brain organization."13
Inconsistencies with this theory include:
- "If a hormonal imbalance was responsible for homosexuality, then perhaps a simple dose of hormones to an adult would cure homosexuality. This is not the case, as has been demonstrated several times."14
- "If the prenatal hormonal hypothesis is correct, then one might expect to find homosexuality in a large proportion of males with syndromes involving prenatal androgen deficiency or insensitivity, and also in females with syndromes involving androgen excess. However, extensive reviews of the literature suggest that this is not the case…Currently, data pertaining to possible neurochemical differences between homosexual and heterosexual individuals are lacking."15
3. The Developmental Theories: Homosexuality is caused by instances from early childhood. Many studies from the last century have asserted that parental influence can make a difference in the sexuality of children.
"Freud (1916) described the mothers of homosexuals as excessively loving and their fathers as retiring or absent. Stekel (1930) noted strong, dominant mothers and weak fathers. In 1936, Terman and Miles found the mothers of homosexuals to be especially demonstrative, affectionate, and emotional, while the fathers were typically unsympathetic, autocratic, or frequently away from home."16
"The 'classical' homosexual triangular pattern is one where the mother is CBI [close-binding-intimate] with the son and is dominant and minimizing toward a husband who is a detached father, particularly a hostile-detached one. From our statistical analysis, the chances appear to be high that any son exposed to this parental combination will become homosexual or develop severe homosexual problems."17
Other researchers have confirmed this theory:
- "The results strongly suggested poor parental relationships during childhood for the homosexual men, at least in retrospect."18
- "The homosexuals, in contrast to the heterosexuals, reported their fathers to be more rejecting and less loving. The homosexuals also described their mothers as less rejecting and more loving…the homosexuals indicated less closeness to their fathers than the heterosexuals."19
- Byne and Parson, 30 years later, confirmed the research on parental influence, when they said, "The literature suggests that many, perhaps a majority, of homosexual men report family constellations similar to those suggested by Bieber et al. to be causally associated with the development of homosexuality (e.g., overly involved, anxiously over-controlling mothers, poor father-son relationship). This association has been observed in nonclinical as well as clinical samples."20
4. The Child Abuse Theory: Children who are homosexually molested are more likely to be homosexual as adults.
Homosexually assaulted males identified themselves as subsequently becoming practicing homosexuals almost seven times as often as bisexuals and almost six times as often as the non-assaulted control group. Fifty-eight percent of adolescents reporting sexual abuse by a man prior to puberty revealed either homosexual or bisexual orientation (control group 90 percent heterosexual).
“Nearly half of men who have reported a childhood experience with an older man were currently involved in homosexual activity.” A disproportionately high number of male homosexuals were incestuously molested by a homosexual parent. Conclusion was that the experience led the boy to perceive himself as homosexual based on his having been found sexually attractive by an older man.21
Other researchers have also validated this theory:
- "This evidence may suggest that abuse and early sexual experiences can contribute to homosexuality, perhaps because of familiarity with sexual acts, and in some cases because of an initial sexual experience with someone of the same gender."22
- Fifty-nine percent of male child sex offenders had been “victim of contact sexual abuse as a child.”23
- Nine hundred forty-two nonclinical adult participants, gay men and lesbian women reported a significantly higher rate of childhood molestation that did heterosexual men and women. Forty-six percent of the homosexual men in contrast to seven percent of the heterosexual men reported homosexual molestation. Twenty-two percent of lesbian women in contrast to one percent of heterosexual women reported homosexual molestation. 24
- Boys who were sexually molested have subsequently “a higher incidence of homosexuality.”25”
What are the implications of some of these studies? Frankly, the issue is not fully resolved and appears to be complex with multiple variables. On Friday, I want to deal with a better Christian response to the possibility that there is some biological determinant. I addressed this issue in a question that was answered by SoulForce a few years ago at Wheaton College. I would also like to address the pain that families experience when a child enters the gay lifestyle. The Christian community, in some instances, has not been supportive, causing pain by blaming the parents for the sexual orientation of their child.
Finally, in addressing the comment by Al Mohler, I want to say that I agree with many that not ALL Christians have lied or exhibited homophobia. In my own limited experience, however, I have found that many Christians have overemphasized the sin of the act of homosexuality and turned a blind eye toward divorce, domestic abuse, and sexual abuse. The majority of those who comment on this blog show a deep understanding of many of the issues involved and I only wish that Al Mohler could talk to some of you on this matter.