Sharing his own story of becoming a Christian as a same-sex attracted man at the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission's National Conference Tuesday, Moody Bible Professor Christopher Yuan revealed how Christian parents can best love their lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transsexual children and guide them back to the Gospel.
"Parents, love your LGBT or same-sex attracted children and point them to a life of costly discipleship following Jesus," said Yuan. "The Gospel can best be communicated or can only be communicated while in relationship."
Gay marriage proponents following the conference online expressed that some Christian parents are not loving to their homosexual children. A statistic circulated on Twitter stating that about 40 percent of the homeless youth identify as LGBT and have been kicked out of their homes, seemingly pointed out that some Christian parents might be, in fact, rejecting their homosexual children.
Others also challenged Yuan's call to love LGBT children as trivial. LGBT advocate Carlos Maza tweeted "For the record, letting a gay relative stay in your house isn't some brave act of Christian love. It's basic human decency."
Yuan, however, showed the audience and naysayers through the example of his parents how the Christian faith teaches people to love their children in a meaningful way that pulls them into a closer relationship themselves and God.
He said when he first came out, his parents, who were not Christians at the time, rejected him. But when his mother, Angela, and later his father accepted Christ, his parents began reaching out to him.
The Moody professor explained: "God opened up the eyes of her heart to see that just as God could love her in spite of her sin, she could love me, her son."
Despite his mother's love, Yuan's life did not change overnight. Yuan increasingly engaged in risky sexual behavior and began to sell drugs to support his doctoral degree in dentistry. Later, he fully immersed himself in the drug culture after being expelled from dental school.
Yet his parents continued to reach out to him, giving Yuan a Bible and praying for him. Even after he threw away the Bible, his parents continued praying and enlisted their church to do the same. Angela also began fasting on Mondays for her son. She continued to do this for seven years.
"My parents committed not to focus upon the hopelessness but upon the promises of God," he told the crowd.
Yuan urged Christian parents with gay children not to play the blame game, but rather realize that "the job of Christian parents is not to produce godly children, but the job of Christian parents is to be godly parents."
God, he said, does not win over sinners with angry words but through kindness. "The apostle Paul says in Romans chapter 2, verse 4 that it is God's kindness that leads us to repentance. It's not God's anger, it's not God's wrath, but it's God's kindness that leads us to repentance."
After Yuan was arrested on federal drug charges and sent to prison, he said it was his mother's kindnesses that opened him up to the Bible message.
He recalled: "I tried calling home and I did not want to make that phone call as I imagined the earful I was going to get on the other line. But my mother's first words were 'son, are you OK?' No condemnation, no berating words, just words of unconditional love and grace." Yuan told conference goers that in that moment he felt God's love through his mother's words. "Even on that miserable day He (God) was pouring out His irresistible grace to draw me to Himself through the words of my mother."
Yuan eventually accepted Christ in prison and studied the Bible at Moody Bible Institute, Wheaton College Graduate and Bethel Seminary. He also wrote a book with his mother called Out of a far Country: A Gay Son's Journey to God, A Broken Mother's Search for Hope.
Yuan's testimony was one of several discussions about the gospel, homosexuality and the future of marriage hosted by the ERLC National Conference in Nashville, Tennessee, Oct. 27 - Oct. 29.