Janet Boynes, a former lesbian turned Christian author and public speaker is set to address a crowd of Hispanic evangelical pastors at the Una Voz (One Voice) convention in San Diego later this month where she will discuss the church's response to LGBT issues.
After living as a lesbian for 14 years, Boynes knows how potentially encouraging the process of leaving the homosexual lifestyle can be with the help of a supportive church. It has been over a decade since Boynes began to walk in faith, leaving behind her former habits and sexual preference. Now, she leads Called Out Ministries where she helps minister to LGBT individuals seeking to leave homosexuality.
Below is an edited transcript of Janet Boynes' interview with The Christian Post:
CP: What is your message to Hispanic pastors about LGBT issues at the NHCLC conference?
Boynes: My message to Hispanic Pastors is to have compassion without compromise. We are to be compassionate towards someone who is living a homosexual lifestyle. It's important to love them where they're at without caving into their beliefs and philosophies. The Bible says, "God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance," Romans 2:4 (RSV). We are to teach those that struggle with same-sex attraction the word of God and also exercise grace and become knowledgeable about the issue because homosexuality is the elephant in the room we can no longer ignore.
CP: How can churches embrace LGBT individuals who are seeking a genuine change without having them feel ostracized within the congregation?
Boynes: I would say the first thing is to teach churches that we all fall short. Their sin (homosexuality) might be more visible but we all struggle with one thing or another. It is our responsibility as the body of Christ to surround them with support because when they have cut out those connected with the homosexual lifestyle from their life, they are left with a tremendous void. We need to be constant reminders of God's unconditional love, and be willing to put in the time to help those who are walking out of this lifestyle, be available to them and hold them accountable so they can grow to be mature in their walk with God.
CP: How should pastors address the topic of homosexuality within church?
Boynes: Pastors should consult with the experts working in this area, in other words, get informed. It would be wise to prepare your congregations on how to work with those who are struggling in your church. Be transparent and compassionate about this issue from the pulpit, but don't sway from what the Bible says. We don't want people to change from gay to heterosexual, but to become whole. If someone who is living a homosexual life is sitting in church under the power of the word his or her life will not remain the same.
CP: What is your take on individuals who consider themselves Christian yet lead a homosexual lifestyle such as openly gay clergy members?
Boynes: There are many "voices" today in our culture. The media, movies, political and educational systems, and even some churches try to influence our beliefs and attitudes regarding homosexuality with views that are not based on a sound Biblical understanding. Even well intentioned people such as family and friends can give advice lacking Bible truth. Without a foundation based on scripture, we become "tossed to and from by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by the craftiness in deceitful scheming" (Ephesians 4:14). This has never been as evident as it is in answering the question, "can a Christian also be gay?"
Can there be a gay Christian? Yes, a true born-again believer can struggle with homosexuality. Yes, true born-again believers can fall into momentary rebellion in a homosexual relationship the same way one can fall into momentary rebellion in a heterosexual relationship. But repentance, an evidence of the Holy Spirit, will be ever present with a true believer for the Holy Spirit's role is to convict and purify believers, and complete His good work.
However, to honestly believe oneself to be gay and to be living in or presumptuously practicing a homosexual lifestyle, the answer is no, a true born again believer cannot be a gay Christian. To claim to be a gay Christian as opposed to one who struggles, would be equivalent to someone claiming to be a Christian Muslim or a Christian Satanist, it's oxymoronic. Two conflicting identities cannot cohabit as one agreeable identity; that is schizophrenia. It is God's will that His born-again children be pure from sexual sin, and anyone who rejects this truth rejects God.
CP: What do you say to someone who doubts that change can occur in a person living as a gay individual?
Boynes: I would say look at my life, I have walked in freedom for sixteen years. I, along with many others, have experienced the redemptive power of Jesus. We are no longer slaves to sin, we are free to live in the fullness of all that He has for us. I'm not claiming that it is an easy process, however it is worth it. Grace empowers us to serve God acceptably; it empowers us to purify ourselves from what we could not purify ourselves from in our own ability. When we set our eyes on Jesus everything else falls short in light of all that He offers us. I am no longer searching for my identity because everything I need is found in Him, and everything I am is because of Him!