Ex-gays respond to Andy Stanley’s claim that LGBT people have ‘more faith than a lot of you’
Christians who once identified as homosexual have mixed opinions about recent remarks made by Pastor Andy Stanley, in which the megachurch leader said that LGBT individuals who go to church have “more faith than a lot of you.”
Last month, a short clip of Stanley was posted on Twitter in which he said “a gay person who still wants to attend church after the way the church has treated the gay community, I'm telling you, they have more faith than I do. They have more faith than a lot of you.”
“A gay person who knows, 'You know what? I might not be accepted here, but I'm going to try it anyway,' have you ever done that as a straight person? Where do you go that you're not sure you're going to be accepted and you go over and over and over?” Stanley asked in the viral clip.
Stanley acknowledged that there were verses in the Bible that condemned homosexuality, but then added, “oh my goodness, a gay man or woman who wants to worship their heavenly Father, who did not answer the cry of their heart when they were 12 and 13 and 14 and 15. God said, 'No,' and they still love God?”
"We have some things to learn from a group of men and women who love Jesus that much and who want to worship with us," he continued. "I know the verses; I know the clobber passages, right? We got to figure this out. And you know what? I think you are.”
Christopher Doyle, a professional counselor and executive director of the Institute for Healthy Families, told The Christian Post that, because the full sermon is not easily accessible online, Stanley’s “words leave me with more questions than answers.”
“I appreciate Pastor Stanley's compassion for Christians struggling with sexual and gender identity. As a young man, I experienced unwanted same-sex attractions and having a safe place surrounded by loving, embracing Christians would have really helped me on my healing journey,” said Doyle.
“Stanley is also correct that LGBT-identified Christians have been unfairly marginalized in the Body of Christ, and, indeed, we certainly have a lot to learn from these sensitive souls. In my experience, they are creative, artistic, and mercy-driven individuals with amazing character qualities, and historically, the church has used Scripture [as Stanley said] to ‘clobber’ them instead of appreciating and loving the whole person.”
Nevertheless, Doyle also told CP that it's “important to recognize we are all sexually broken and in need of emotional, relational and spiritual healing,” adding that “the Gospel remains the same and calls us to pursue righteousness.”
“Is Pastor Stanley challenging his entire congregation to pursue holiness and righteousness or providing a seeker-friendly environment with a watered-down Gospel?” Doyle asked.
“In my personal experience as a sexually broken Christian man and my professional experience as a counselor walking with believers pursuing healing, holiness and righteousness can only come with a renewing of the mind and a sanctification of the heart.”
Stephen Black, an author and executive director of First Stone Ministries, told CP that he believed Stanley’s remarks showed that his church has “a terrible theology based in psychology rather than an actual biblical theology.”
“Stanley is filled with such corrupt theology that he believes ‘gay’ and other corrupt identities are legitimate,” said Black. “This is not a biblical worldview.”
“Andy Stanley repeatedly communicates ‘gay people’ as a legitimate identity given to this modern culture over the last 100 years from psychology and the American Psychological Association legitimizing corrupt human sexual desires as orientations.”
Black believed that it was “important for sincere Bible-believing Christians who have a saving faith to pay attention to what leaders like Stanley are really communicating in their nuanced words.”
“Simply said, people like Stanley are filled with unbelief concerning the transforming grace of God,” he continued. “They are telling on themselves that they have a terrible theology of easy-believism that does not require real change or repentant life that endures to the end.”
Black drew a parallel to the ministry known as Revoice, a Christian ministry that, while adhering to the belief that homosexuality is sinful, garnered controversy in theologically conservative circles for its embrace of ideas like Christians being able to identify as LGBT.
“Stanley and leaders like him in Revoice are communicating a psychological worldview,” Black added. “They believe more in the orientation narrative and belief structures of the APA than they do Holy Scriptures.”
“We need to pray that Andy Stanley and other Revoice leaders come into the full revelation of Jesus resulting in righteousness, a saving faith with a confessed life, and living out repentance. I know hundreds of ex-homosexuals who are living out a life without labels and are found in Jesus Christ alone.”