A person who is a practicing homosexual cannot be a true follower of Jesus, according to the director of a network of church and ministry leaders in the Greater Charlotte area.
The two lifestyles "are mutually incompatible," said Dr. Michael Brown, head of Coalition of Conscience in Charlotte, N.C., in an interview with The Christian Post. "God's order is always male and female union. That's how He blesses us."
Brown said he believes "no one is born gay" and although one may experience homosexual feelings as part of man's fallen nature and personal life experiences, change is possible.
"According to Scripture, all of us are born with a fallen nature. The fact that something is natural does not mean it's moral," he said.
Brown tackled the controversial issues of whether the Bible sanctions anti-homosexual prejudice, if ex-gays were possible, and whether Jesus would tolerate homosexuals this past week in a lecture series on the question: "Can you be Gay and Christian?"
The lectures were held at the Booth Playhouse in the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center in Charlotte.
On Tuesday, Brown presented scriptural and scientific evidence to debunk the argument by gay activists that changes in sexual orientation are not possible.
Among the many scientific studies highlighted by Brown during the lecture were "Ex-Gays? A Longitudinal Study of Religiously Mediated Change in Sexual Orientation," by Stanton L. Jones and Mark A. Yarhouse.
"Even psychologists who strongly support same-sex 'marriage' agree that for some homosexuals change is possible," added Brown.
While Brown has worked extensively with groups that minister to homosexuals, he has seen the highly contentious issue get a little closer to home than he'd like.
On Saturday, Human Rights Campaign (HRC) – the world's largest homosexual advocacy organization – is giving a special "award" to Meyers Park Baptist Church in Charlotte for their decision to receive gays and lesbians into full church membership and leadership.
In response, Brown and a group of pastors from the Coalition of Conscience, held a news conference on Monday denouncing the church's stance on homosexuality.
Brown is going head to head with Harry Knox, director of Faith and Religion for the Human Rights Campaign and also a professing gay minister, in a dialogue Thursday night.
Brown said his group set up the dialogue in response to a challenge made last February by the HRC president at the annual HRC fundraising dinner in Charlotte. Following a week-long lecture series on "Homosexuality, the Church, and Society" delivered by Brown, HRC president Joe Solmonese said at the dinner that the organization was not afraid to "take on" Brown and "take back the conversation about religion and faith in America."
While opposed to churches affirming homosexuality, Brown urges them to reach out to those struggling with homosexuality with love and compassion. He also says the church should help them strive for holiness instead of heterosexuality.
"The church really needs to understand the struggles that homosexuals go through" in order to help them, said Brown. "It's not as easy as snapping your fingers."
But no matter how serious the "broken nature" is, "God can change you. That's the power of the Gospel," he concluded.
In his final lecture in the weeklong series on Friday, Brown will speak on how churches can minister to the gay and lesbian community.