- Homosexuality: Hope or Dilemma?
- Barrington H. Brennen, August 7,
2003, Update March 2014, 2023
WRITER'S NOTE ADDED IN APRIL 2023: I do believe that some
individuals can cease having same sex attractions and/or cease having same
sex relationships. However, I am also aware that a percentage of
individuals who desire not to have same sex attraction, are not successful,
even with sincere prayer and a meaningful relationship with Jesus. I
sincerely belief is that these individuals are equally as normal and
spiritual as all the others. I also know that reparative therapy does not
work for everyone.
Homosexuality, is this
topic something Adventists need to deal with? Is it
occurring among us? Almost fifty years ago, when I was a college student, many
laughed and scorned, or sometimes publicly ridiculed any one they suspected
of being a homosexual. When it became certain that a person was a
homosexual, many turned their heads in disgust and joined in spreading
vicious rumors through the gossip lines of self-righteousness, hatred,
arrogance, and pride. We built many walls of separation between the hurting
one and those who should have been helping. We shot the wounded in their
feet and did not care. Our self-righteous attitude has actually driven many
out of the church, when all they were seeking was a listening ear,
understanding, and healing.
Why am I talking this way? Because the Adventist Church has come to the
painful realization that we cannot put our heads in the sand anymore. Many
of our Adventist youth, and even adults, are grappling with the issues of
homosexuality. They are asking themselves these questions: "Is it
okay to express my homosexual feelings as an Adventist?" "I felt
I was a homosexual from I was a child, why canít this be just accepted
as the norm." Others struggling Adventists are saying: "Iíve
personally struggled with this issue of homosexuality for years, and all I
want is relief and recovery. Could you please help me." Is there hope
for me?" In the West Indies, silently the Adventist Church is
deciding whether it is our Christian duty to bring hope to homosexuals or
to let them suffer the dilemma.
- WE HAVE THEM IN OUR CHURCHES
In Jamaica, it is illegal to practice homosexuality, and many, including
some Christians are openly intolerant to anyone exhibiting the slightest
form of effeminate behavior to the point of beating him publicly. In the
Bahamas, where there are no sodomy laws and two recently formed
pro-homosexual groups who are making their voices heard, many Christians are
even more intolerant, expressing their disgust and hatred towards
homosexuals in vocal and sometimes violent ways. Sadly, many homosexuals
feel reluctant to open up even to their friends and brothers and sisters in
the church because they feel they will not be understood and they will be
In June of 2003 the Adventist Counseling Services of the South Bahamas
Conference had a three-day video series on the homosexual lifestyle, roots,
and recovery. In response to my advertisement about the event, I got a few
emails and calls from persons who identified themselves as homosexual
Christians and a few who said they were Adventists, but who really were
hurting inside and were seeking help for years. Their only problem was that
they were afraid to come to the video showings because they did not want to
be ridiculed. I have published eight articles on homosexuality. Each time I
got responses from pro gay individuals who were disgusted with the article;
but more often responses were from people who identified themselves as
Christians who wanted help in dealing with the personal issues of
What should be the Adventist Christianís response? Before I answer this
question let me first deal with other issues about homosexuality.
Hereís a quote from the Seventh-day Adventist Church
Statement on Homosexuality. "Seventh-day Adventists believe that
sexual intimacy belongs only within the marital relationship of a man and
a woman. This was the design established by God at creation. The
Scriptures declare: "For this reason a man will leave his father and
mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh"
(Gen. 2:24, NIV). Throughout Scripture this heterosexual pattern is
affirmed. The Bible makes no accommodation for homosexual activity or
relationships. Sexual acts outside the circle of a heterosexual marriage
are forbidden (Lev. 20:7-21; Rom. 1:24-27; 1 Cor. 6:9-11). . . . Seventh-day
Adventists endeavor to follow the instruction and example of Jesus. He
affirmed the dignity of all human beings and reached out compassionately
to persons and families suffering the consequences of sin. He offered
caring ministry and words of solace to struggling people, while
differentiating His love for sinners from His clear teaching about sinful
BORN THAT WAY?
Can one overcome homosexuality. Yes, one can overcome homosexuality.
But I now believe that not everyone really can change
his or sexual orientation, but they can choose not to be sexually or
There seems to be a great controversy in the psychological and theological
arenas whether a person is born a homosexual or not. One of the latest
findings, according to a 1993 study at the University of Colorado and the
Whitehead Institute of Biomedical Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts,
suggests that there might a homosexual gene that predisposes a person
toward homosexuality. Wow! Wouldnít it be frightening to be controlled
by chemicals in our bodies without the possibility of making cognitive
decisions. On the other hand whether or not there is a homosexual gene is
not an issue for the Christian. Why not? Because the Bible does say that
we are "born in sin and shapen in iniquity." There are
"genes" that give us the tendency to do evil things, but they
donít control behavior. We now know that
whether it is a gene or not some do find it impossible to change. We have to
find away of accept that fact.
Dr. Peter Landless, Health Ministries director
of the Seventh-day Adventist world church made following remarks at the
Adventist world summit on Homosexuality (March 2014):
- OUR POSITION
"Homosexual men, he said, often have
anatomical differences in their brains. Post mortem studies of
homosexuals and heterosexuals have shown the differences, but itís
unclear whether the variation is causal or associated, Landless
said, because the populations studied have been small. The
differences show that many homosexual men have a larger
superchiasmatic nucleas, which is involved in determining circadian
rhythm, as well as larger anterior commissure, which communicates
between the brainís left and right hemispheres Some
researchers, Landless said are convinced there is a genetic
component to homosexuality, with some searching for a ďgay gene,Ē
but there is no consensus on causes for homosexuality in either the
medical literature or among professional psychologists. ďThe jury is
definitely not resolved,Ē he said."
Some say one cannot be "born" a homosexual because homosexuality is a
learned behavior, as are anger, fear, lust, prostitution, and even love.
Certainly, however, one can be born with the predisposition toward
homosexuality. A homosexual may be defined as a person who willingly engages
in homosexual acts. In other words, tendencies, genetic make-up, or
biological deficiencies, should not dictate to us. I am certain that if the
genetic scientists checked even further, they might find a gene for every
deviant behavior and attitude in the human race. Interestingly, the Times
Magazine, July 1995 issue, presented a cover story entitled "Infidelity, It
May Be in Our Genes." In the early 70s, a scientist supposedly discovered
that serial killers have an extra "y" chromosome, which is believed to make
them more violent. Recently researchers "discovered" that there is a gene
for alcoholism. Instead of deleting this paragraph I
decided to just add this point: If we can accept that one
chooses to be a heterosexual (according to some scientists), even though it
seems to be so natural for most of us, then only in that same context I say
that homosexuality is a choice.
If we are dictated to by our genetic structure, hormonal flow, and
impulses, we are no better than the animals. Many of us, heterosexuals and
homosexuals, do act like them. Some might say this is
not a fair statement to make. Humans were made with a special gift called
the power and freedom of choice. This freedom to choose, controlled by the
Holy Spirit, should help us conquer the natural, sinful inclinations of our
body cells and nerves. The brain cells are designed to function
independently of all cells in the body. We ultimately decide who we are,
what we want to be, and our destiny in life. Still, we must not judge
someone who indicates that he or she cannot change. I
now believe that one can be a genuine Adventist Christian with homosexual
orientation while choosing a life of celibacy.
It is difficult to identify most homosexuals. Some homosexuals get
married to cover up their orientation. Others keep their activities
discreetly limited to a select group of individuals. We canít always
tell whoís who. First impressions are not always true, and you canít
truly judge a book by its cover. Most homosexuals are not effeminate.
In fact, research tells us that about 85% of effeminate men are not homosexuals.
They are usually dedicated, committed, and loving husbands and fathers.
- WOULD SOMEONE PLEASE SHOW ME A HOMOSEXUAL?
The new term evolving today is "metrosexual
male." Who is he? Hereís how one author describes him: "He's
been defined as a straight, sensitive, well-educated, urban dweller who is
in touch with his feminine side. He may have a standing appointment for a
weekly manicure, and he probably has his hair cared for by a stylist rather
than a barber. He loves to shop, and his bathroom counter is most likely
filled with male-targeted grooming products, including moisturizers (and
perhaps even a little makeup). He may work on his physique at a fitness club
(not a gym) and his appearance probably gets him lots of attention -- and
he's delighted by every stare. He is not a homosexual.
It is a terrible mistake to attribute the soft voice, gentle walk, and
usually hand motions, to a homosexual. The homosexual can be that incredible
hulk-of-a-man you admire, the masculine boss, the most enjoyable person on
the job, the charming secretary, the committed father or mother, the
affectionate spouse, or the most beautiful, feminine nurse. Not all
homosexuals accost or flirt with other people. What then is my point? While
we speak out against homosexuality, we must find ways of keeping the lines
of communication open between us. Why change our attitude towards someone
simply because we learned something different about him, especially when he
has never caused harm to you or made you feel uncomfortable in his presence.
Sometimes it is wise to adjust our ways of relating to each other when
there are serious lifestyles differences we believe are not wholesome.
However, we need not ostracize or belittle someone just because we are sure
our lifestyle and sexual orientation is the right one.
Many homosexual and lesbians are afraid to come out of the closet and
seek help because they feel that will not be accepted and they will be
treated with disdain. "Coming of the closet" does
not always mean one want to be free to live in a homosexual
relationship (Although, yes it is in many cases).
Coming out for some is simply to have the freedom to let
others to know what they are dealing with and to still be
understood and respected.
Our responsibility as decent Christian citizens is
to respect and love everyone in spite of their sexual orientation. We need
not encourage their homosexual practices, but we can support the basic
human rights they are entitled to under the constitution. We all have
(including the homosexual) a right to life, liberty, and the security of
our person. Our churches should be a refuge and welcome center for all,
including the open or closet homosexuals. Martin Luther once said
"Those we want to change we must first love."
- LETíS HELP
Certainly, without a doubt, God loves the homosexual. God does not like
homosexual practices, but he did come to earth to die for all,
including the homosexual. John 3:16 says "For God so loved the world
that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should
not perish but have everlasting life." Godís love to us is
unconditional. However, we must accept his love and allow the transforming
power of his love to make a difference in our lives. I love the way God
deals with sinners and hurting people. He accepts us where we are, then
empowers us to transform our lives. In other words, Godís unconditional
love is not transforming until we open our hearts and minds to Him. God will
never force us to do or be anything. Yet, he still loves us.
The Christianís duty is to provide an avenue for healing to those
homosexuals who want a change in their lives, and to present a
compassionate, respectful attitude toward those who choose not to change.
Then also we must provide the support and love for
those who really cannot change. Many are having long lives of
depression and despair because of their long struggles to change, simple
because we are demanding that they do. This is wrong.
can love the homosexual and disagree with the homosexual lifestyle. We can
condemn the sin, but show compassion to the erring ones. Letís create a
balance between condemnation and compassion. Letís bring hope.
If you would like to find out more information about freedom over
homosexuality or for books and materials on homosexuality seek this website:
Barrington H. Brennen, counseling psychologist and marriage and family
therapist. You can reach me at
242-327 1980 or write to P.O. Box CB-11045, Nassau,