A Christian speaker and blogger behind a viral Facebook video, detailing how she left behind homosexuality, is expecting a baby with her husband. The ministry behind the video has, meanwhile, been responding to death threats as well as media accusations that the churchgoer has been "brainwashed."
Anchored North's video about Emily Thomes has now been viewed over 2.1 million times since it was posted late in December, prompting significant controversy and disturbing death threats.
One Facebook user wrote last week to the ministry that he wishes he could "come there and kill every last one of you," wishing a "slow painful death" to the staff's families.
Greg Sukert of Anchored North, which uses "media and evangelism to reach the lost with the gospel," told The Christian Post in an email on Monday that the death threats are "unsettling."
"However, they ultimately serve to advance the glory of God because: 1) They serve as living proof of Jesus' words, 'If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you' (John 15:18). 2) They validate the fall of mankind as outlined in Genesis 3: that humans have sin natures capable of murderous anger," Sukert said.
"3) They direct us to trust in God's sovereign plan. We believe that we will live the exact amount of days God always intended us to (Psalm 139:13). 4) It gives us an opportunity to respond with kindness and prayer for the threatening individuals who need their life transformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ."
Many publications (look here, here, and here) from the mainstream news media argue that Thomes was "brainwashed" into thinking she is no longer gay, and that her testimony causes harm to LGBT people through the suggestion that they can change their sexuality.
In the viral video, Thomes details how she was "super wild" and in "serial relationships with women" during her young adult years. She was even engaged to a woman. But after being invited to a Bible study at 22 and then searching through the Bible, she realized homosexuality was a sin and then turned to God.
"I'd twisted those Scriptures before, I'd argued them down, I'd say 'judge not' to them like that mattered, and then that day it was like my eyes were really opened. I was amazed at the grace He'd shown me," she said. "It's not gay to straight. It's lost to saved. God calls us not to heterosexuality but holiness."
Sukert told CP that it is "incredibly dishonest and childish to dismiss someone's story and personal account as 'brainwashed' just because they disagree with the position of the individual."
Sukert, a video producer who has been preaching the Gospel through creative media and evangelistic campaigns, noted that critics like to argue that Thomes is either lying to herself, or was never gay to begin with, or is bisexual.
He argued that evangelicals hold that salvation is a miracle, however.
"Miracles by definition cannot be explained by natural or scientific law. Instead, salvation is God's incredible act that brings a person's heart from spiritual death to spiritual life. It's a movement that draws upon the same great power that resurrected Christ from the dead; only God Himself holds this power," he said.
"If God can speak the world into existence ex nihilo (out of nothing) and raise people from the dead, it should come as no surprise that He can change the sinful desires of mankind, including sexual immorality and homosexuality."
The producer said that Thomes "is an intelligent, thoughtful, funny, and bold woman. She has a genuine story of a life transformed by the gospel. Anyone who dismisses her account to 'brainwashing' should be ashamed by their attempts to wrongfully silence the validity of her life experiences."
What is more, he said that Anchored North does not believe in conversion therapy, contrary to what many are suggesting.
"Conversion therapy is defined as the pseudoscientific practice of trying to change an individual's sexual orientation using psychological or spiritual interventions," he noted, and argued that same-sex desire is no more of a choice than the spots on a leopard's back, pointing to Jeremiah 13:23 in the Bible.
He said that it is through God that people are able to "turn from evil."
"When God Himself brings the spirit from death to life, the individual will respond by repenting of sin, turning to Christ, and becoming born-again. Because if any man is in Christ, he is a NEW creation," Sukert continued.
"We believe in God miraculously changing hearts and desires – not in humans modifying the sexual orientation of others through conversion therapy."
"God's ultimate will is not to make humanity heterosexual. God's ultimate will is to demonstrate His glory through the salvation of the unrighteous, including those with same-sex attraction," he stressed.
Thomes held her baby shower over the weekend, and said that God has blessed her.
"We're getting ready for my baby shower and Mom is over the top emotional... She's playing all of 'our songs' (I Saw God Today, When You Say Nothing At All, Life's a Dance, etc) and tearing up and nodding her head at the significant parts of each song," she wrote on Facebook Saturday.
"She's a bit much, but this is a really special day. She never thought we'd be here, but she always hoped we would be. The Lord has blessed me with a little girl and her with a grand-daughter. His kindness is overwhelming."