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Emily Thomes

For Pete’s Sake

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“My [homosexual] marriage to Chasten has made me a better man. And yes, Mr. Vice President, it has moved me closer to God… That’s the thing I wish the Mike Pences of the world would understand: That if you have a problem with who I am, your quarrel is not with me. Your quarrel, sir, is with my creator.”

These are the words of South Bend, Indiana mayor, and democratic presidential candidate, Pete Buttigieg at the LGBTQ Victory Fund National Campaign Brunch last weekend. Inaccurate and cringeworthy as his words are, that they’re being said aloud isn’t likely to shock us anymore. Skimming through popular news sites for only a few minutes this morning, I saw multiple and equally ridiculous statements in articles titled, “Buttigieg is a symbol for a rising Christian left” and “Christianity’s future looks more like Lady Gaga than Mike Pence.” I hopped offline after that last one.

The thinking behind these articles and behind all of those that have embraced the “progressive Christian” worldview is becoming more and more popular in our culture. It’s not uncommon at all to see someone profess to be a Christian while simultaneously holding on to beliefs and practices that contradict Christianity entirely, both in and outside of Hollywood. We treat religion like a salad bar; we pick and choose what we like and leave behind what we don’t care for. The problem with this type of religion is that it’s dead. That’s not a fundy opinion; that’s what the God of the Bible says about it. “For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.” (James 2:26) If we say that we know Him, but walk in darkness, we’re lying and we aren’t practicing the truth. That’s 1 John 1:6. Christianity isn’t a label that one can add on as an extra credential for marketing. To be a Christian is to love and obey God (John 14:15).

Although it may be more “in your face” today thanks to the internet and social media, this distorting of God’s truth isn’t new. From the very beginning, mankind has been guilty of twisting what God has said in favor of what we’d prefer He say. The very first sin man committed was because the serpent approached Eve with, “Did God really say..?” It’s eerie but also not surprising that the same tactics are being used by him today to deceive so many. That’s why the Bible is packed with exhortations to actually live out your faith and even to “examine yourselves to see if you are in the faith.” (2 Corinthians 13:5) We are so prone to attempt to make God into our own image to suit what we want. We allow our hearts and not Scripture to inform our beliefs and the consequences are deadly. God warns us against leaning on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5) and about how deceitful our hearts are (Jeremiah 17:9). All of these truths and more wisdom were given to us in the Bible; unfortunately many who claim Christianity aren’t actually reading it, so it’s not doing them any good.

It would appear that the authors of the articles mentioned above believe that the ‘older Christian ideas’ are being upheld by old school thinkers and not by any objective standard. They think that people like Pence or others who hold fast to traditional values as expressed in Scripture are standing in the way of a new and ‘better’ wave of Christianity.

The problem comes down to authority. Who determines what true Christianity is? Is it relative and ever evolving like our world is, or is it absolute and based on an unchanging, inerrant document from a perfect God? Christians have long been known as “people of the Book.” We see that Jesus esteemed Scripture very highly, and as in all other ways, we are to follow His example. When refuting Satan in the temptation in the desert and when answering the various objections of the Pharisees, He went straight to the best source given to us for truth: the Scriptures. He based His life and ministry on its teaching, and exhorted His followers to do so as well. After His ascension, His apostles wrote letters to the early churches, often citing passages from the Old Testament, instructing Christ’s people how to live. Scripture is intended to be “a lamp unto our feet, and a light unto our path.” When we forsake it, we will inevitably stray away from God, which is towards sin. We have no reason for assurance that we are in the faith when we abandon His Word and how He says we are to live.

So, let’s look at what Pete said a little more closely and compare it with the Scriptures written by the God he says he follows:

“My [homosexual] marriage to Chasten has made me a better man.”

Better in what way? Buttgieg is saying that there is something about his homosexual marriage that has improved him…but by what standard? Could he actually be growing in anything God calls good as a result of his sin? Scripture would say no. All sin hurts us; God addresses that truth regarding homosexuality specifically in Romans 1: “For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.” The Bible explicitly says that these sins are bad for us and will not do us good.

Many are deceived and believe themselves to be in the faith but would have to consider themselves outside of it after an honest reading of what the Bible says a Christian is. Buttigieg, based on the sin that he’s building his life upon, is one of the deceived. He’s not following the God of the Bible. He’s making choices to live in whatever way he desires to do so, and is claiming God’s approval and hand in his actions. It was Jesus who said that we’ll know someone by their fruit (Matthew 7:20); living in habitual sin is a fruit of unbelief.

Pete is in the same condition that all people live in apart from Christ. He’s a slave to sin and needs a new heart in order to love his Creator more than he loves his sin. God didn’t cause Buttigieg’s homosexuality; the fall of Adam and Eve corrupted all of us with sin. Buttigieg is embracing his sin rather than obeying Christ with his heart and body. Our sinful desires vary person to person, but the remedy is the same for all: Christ’s atonement and the new birth that brings about new life.

“And yes, Mr. Vice President, it has moved me closer to God…”

Wrong again, Mr. Buttigieg. We see, from Scripture, that our sin separates us from God. (Isaiah 59:2) Again, it’s clear that Pete doesn’t understand who God truly is, and what a huge problem our sin really is. Sin is something that God hates and it’s serious enough to warrant Christ coming and dying for any of us to be forgiven for it. It does the opposite of what Buttigieg says that it does for him.

 “That’s the thing I wish the Mike Pences of the world would understand: That if you have a problem with who I am, your quarrel is not with me. Your quarrel, sir, is with my creator.”

This may be the one part that he has almost right; we don’t quarrel with those that are lost and are trying to justify their sin. Ephesians 6:12 tells us that it’s not flesh and blood that we wrestle with but against rulers, authorities, and cosmic powers over this present darkness. We fight against the spiritual forces of evil, not those that are being held by them. I’m not writing to win any argument against Mr. Buttigieg or anyone else that’s still blinded by the ‘god of this world’ (2 Corinthians 4:4). My aim is to point us back to the only true source of authority we have. As Christians, our role is to stand firm and declare that God’s Word is truth, and that the meaning is plain: homosexuality is a sin, and by choosing to embrace that sin, or any sin, you are choosing to reject Jesus as Lord simultaneously. We cannot have both. Our God is a jealous God; He will not share us with that which He hates. Mr. Buttigieg needs a new heart that loves God more than the sins his flesh is drawn towards. Homosexuality isn’t what will ultimately keep Pete from God. His rejecting God’s Word and instead being his own god is his greatest problem. Pete claims to believe in God, but when God actually speaks, about homosexuality for example, we see that Pete believes firstly in himself and what he thinks is most right.

Those that are without Christ and are living in sin are hostile to God, even if they’re not aware that they are (Romans 8:7). When Christians cite His Word, lost people are offended. It’s not Pence or Christians that they’re at war with; their quarrel is with God. We can rest assured that if we’re faithful, God will use our words, and that if people hate us for them, we’re in good company. “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you” (John 15:18).

Christians, don’t let someone’s claim of righteousness be your standard for what is right. Open your Bible. Believe His word. That is your guide and your only truth. Pray for Pete Buttigieg. I write this for Pete’s sake and for all of those that are claiming Christ and living in ways that contradict Him. They’re doing harm not only to themselves but to those who are trusting what they’re hearing rather than looking at the Scriptures for themselves. Those who choose to ignore the Bible in favor of popular opinion will be without excuse. No one will be able to tell the Judge of all the universe that His Word was wrong, and that Lady Gaga or whoever else had more wisdom and goodness than the King of Kings. If you’ve found yourself guilty of leaning on the understanding of another sinner and not what God has said, repent today. Confess your sin, open the Bible, and obey your Creator. Cling to Christ, and believe that He is worthy. He is better than any sin or any person with whom you’re sinning. His love is greater than all of it.

 

Originally posted as Emily Thomes: Buttigieg Is ‘Not Following the God of the Bible’ by Faithwire

Answers for Women 2019: Sacred

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A. Testimony:

1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Matthew 7:21-23

I remember understanding from a young age that I thought girls were very pretty. I also remember wondering if I thought about that more than my friends did. I kept those kinds of thoughts to myself for the most part. Looking back at myself as a young child, it was abundantly clear that my desires were already quite sinful. Apart from a physical attraction to my female friends, I displayed that nature in lying, disobeying, and bullying my little brother.

Although I was always the type of use kid to push boundaries and reject authority when I perceived it was unjust, it was at 15 that I started really acting out. I experimented with drugs and alcohol some. This is also when I first came out, publicly, as being gay. My understanding of my faith was very shallow at that time. I saw no contradiction in my actions and in my profession of faith. I believed with my head that Jesus was God, that He’d come to die for sin, that He was raised on the third day, etc. I would think to myself, “Everyone sins, so sin must not be a big deal.”

As my time in high school progressed, I continued getting in trouble. I was suspended more than once for alcohol and narcotics and began to act more boldly with the girls I was dating. While living at home, I was grounded if I ever displayed anything that even remotely suggested my homosexuality; whether that was a love letter from a girlfriend in the laundry or that time I organized the clothes in my closet by color to look like a rainbow just to give my stepmom a hard time. Just a couple of months into my senior year, I moved out. When I turned 18, I gave my dad an ultimatum: allow me to date my girlfriend, the girl I was altogether obsessed with at the time and I’ll continue to live under your roof, keep curfew, make good grades, and whatever else he wanted. He didn’t budge so I felt I had to leave. I lost everything I had, including the new car I’d gotten just a week before for my birthday.

I viewed it as my sacrifice as something honorable; that I would forsake it all for ‘love’. I was fully convinced that this was, in fact, a civil rights type of issue, and that the cause needed people like me willing to suffer to defend it. I believed I was facing a type of persecution and that only motivated me further.

The next couple of years I only went further into my sin with drug use and exploring more taboo behaviors privately. I partied constantly, hooked up with random women, tried ecstasy, you name it. I enjoyed my social life in the circle I was in. I had no shortage of people to talk to, to drink with, to have over for pizza and a movie, or whatever else I wanted.

I eventually met a woman in college who was in the middle of a divorce, and we started spending all of our time together. She had a son and a daughter, who were 5 and 3, when we started dating. Though we would drink some and I would occasionally smoke weed still, I slowed down a lot out of respect for her and the kids. After about a year, I asked her to marry me. I never once felt out of place with her or them or in that lifestyle. I felt like I’d found a family I fit nicely into. I had responsibilities and people who were depending on me; I felt I had a purpose for the first time. It felt good. My parents allowed her kids to acknowledge them as their grandparents; we were a real family. Just 6 months before I would come to know the Lord, we parted ways after being together for about 2 years. I was devastated when we split up, but all the more convinced that my role in this life would be to marry a woman, raise children with her, and help to provide for a household.

In March of 2014, I was invited to a Bible study that my coworkers were doing. My aunt and I worked together and she was participating in it so I felt I should go, too. Honestly, I expected my lifestyle to be brought up pretty early on and that I could use that as an excuse to stop coming to the study. The book we read was “The Real God” by Chip Ingram. It’s an ‘attributes of God’ book, so I was learning about things like the goodness of God, holiness of God, and sovereignty of God. These were things I had never considered before. My views about God began to grow, and the bigger He got in my mind, the smaller I was in comparison. Until that point, what felt right to me was probably right, whether that was sexual immorality or sleeping in on Sundays. I remember a few nights before I surrendered, I would lay in bed asking myself, “Is this really me?” And I was referring to my sexuality. The next morning I would wake up and scoff at myself for such a question. “Of course this is me! I’ve always been gay!”

I came across 1 Corinthians 6:9-11: “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

As I read the passage, I became heartbroken. I was in the “will not enter the Kingdom of God” line up and was terrified. In those three verses, I understood my need for Him to save me and His ability to do it. I noticed that it didn’t list those who “have been sexually immoral or who have been drunkards,” but instead was talking about people that used to be walking in those sins but that were no longer doing so.

The people being discussed there by Paul weren’t going to be in hell just because of they’d committed the specific sins listed; they would have been in hell if they’d never turned from them, and because they were actually washed, sanctified, and justified by Jesus. But these people were. This accounts for their new lives.

I’d read and come to understand that in scripture, phrases like “having believed” and “obeyed” were used almost interchangeably and that they’re used to describe people after they’ve been born again. Those that are believing and obeying do so because they have the new heart that God gives people when they’re born again.

The lost are those that do not obey Him because they still desire sin more than God. And I knew that good works, like obedience, don’t save; thankfully I’d always heard that growing up.

But what I didn’t understand is that good works, our fruit, do show that you’ve truly been saved. In Matthew 7, Jesus said, “On that day, many will say to me ‘Lord, Lord. Did we not prophesy in your name and cast out demons in your name and do many mighty works in your name? and I will declare to them, “Depart from me you workers of iniquity. I never knew you.” Jesus affirms that those who truly know Him have turned from their sins and are actually following Him with their lives. Those who have not repented don’t truly love Him. We know this because Jesus doesn’t lie. In John 14:23, Jesus said “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with them.”

I was grieved to realize that the whole thing was a sham. My whole life I’d been sinning against Him, not only in my dating life but in every other way, too, and calling myself a Christian. My drunkenness, my haughtiness, my refusal to submit to what the Bible so plainly said- all of the bad fruit I had evidenced that I was in fact still lost; I claimed faith but had no concern with what God actually said or wanted of me. In an instant, I was overwhelmed with the love and mercy He was showing me in letting me live long enough to repent and truly trust in Him. 

I didn’t know what my life would be like or what I was going to do, but I knew what I was not going to do anymore. For the first time, it was incredibly clear. That day was the day the Lord granted me eyes to see Him as holy and righteous and myself as a sinner desperately in need of His forgiveness and grace. Surrendering my life in that moment was no question. In the coming days, the Lord would make very clear to me that apart from my outward depravity and external sins, I had sins like pride and anger and those were even deeper ingrained in me than same sex attraction; I still battle those today as well, but I trust God to complete the work He’s begun in me.

I’ve been very fortunate to be able to share my story with believers and help the church understand homosexuality with a biblical worldview intact. Rather than viewing this sin as an identity that someone’s forever stuck with, we’ve got to see this sin as a just more bad fruit of unbelief and treat it and the sinner like we would any other lost person, for the most part. Those still in the LGBTQ lifestyle have yet to have their sin and their need for a new heart made clear to them. It is my hope that in sharing today, you guys can take away that I wasn’t saved any differently than anyone else who is saved, and that this group of sinners is in need of the same mercy and grace that we’ve all been shown if we are in Christ. I also hope to better equip you all so that you’re not lacking the knowledge and confidence to stand fast in a time where so many have wavered out of fear. We are the body of Christ. We must stand firm.

B. Biblical Worldview of Homosexuality

1. God’s design for sex and marriage:

a. In the Garden… (Genesis 2:24)

The church has to maintain a biblical worldview for homosexuality.

Almost as soon as we open the Bible, we can see God’s design for sex and marriage. We see from the very beginning of Genesis, with Adam and Eve that God intended unions bebetween man and woman, specifically one man and one woman. God gave full approval to such a union. It was good and it was honoring to Him. It took almost no time at all for man to distort that design with sin. We see constant sexual immorality in the scriptures, most often in the form of polygamy but not limited to just that.

b. Scripture regards all forms of sexual immorality… (1 Corinthians 6:18)

Scripture regards sexual immorality OF ANY KIND as a different nature than your average sin. Not only is sexual immorality a sin against God but it’s also a sin against one’s self. Sexual immorality is any kind of sexuality that is outside of God’s intent for it. Different forms of it have different consequences and effects and some are further away from God’s design, but all sexual immorality is high treason against God.

c. Jesus affirms Genesis account… (Matthew 19:4-5) / All scripture is from God (2 Timothy

Then we see Jesus affirm the creation account in Genesis that when He says “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?” (Matthew 19:4-5). We see Jesus affirm the need for sexual purity (“go and sin no more”, in John 8, to the woman caught in adultery). Plus, we’ve got to keep in mind that the Bible is supernaturally inspired (2 Tim

d. How biblical marriage should look… (Ephesians 5)

Ultimately, God’s design for marriage was intended to mirror to the world the gospel, as we see in Ephesians 5. That was His intent from the beginning, even before the fall. It wasn’t an after-thought He constructed to help us understand the relationship between Jesus and His bride. In His wisdom and sovereignty, God gave us a picture of His ultimate plan of redemption at the very beginning of creation. 

The husband is to represent Christ and the wife, the Church. He is to love her and lead her and nurture her. She is to trust in his leadership, honor him, and follow him as he leads her in love. It’s a beautiful picture that models for us what Paul called the “profound mystery” between Jesus and His bride. It shouldn’t surprise us that God doesn’t take lightly the defacement of marriage when we understand all it stands for.

2. Scripture addresses homosexuality specifically:

a. What is homosexuality? (Romans 1)

In addition to putting forth a right view of sexuality and marriage for us, scripture actually addresses homosexuality specifically for us, too.

So What is homosexuality?

Romans 1 gives us the best description of it; it’s turning from God’s intent for sexuality, which are male and female unions, to a union between two people of the same sex. In the same chapter, we see that it comes from idolatry. In our sin, we suppress the truth and we stop worshipping God and instead start worshipping creation. It goes as far as to say that the Lord in a sense gives us over to our desires, and that those desires inevitably harm us.

 

b. Is homosexuality unforgivable? (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)

Now… What does Scripture NOT tell us about homosexuality? That may sound like a silly question, but we need to make sure we are clear here, too. Scripture does not say that homosexuality is unforgiveable. 1 Cor 6:9-11 shows us that people are saved and made new after living in all sorts of sins when they trust in Christ. It also doesn’t tell us anywhere that it’s the worst sin one can commit. Often the church has so much confusion and fear regarding this one that we act as if that’s the case. It’s not. It’s not new. Mankind began distorting sexuality almost immediately; we see homosexuality as early as in the days of Lot. This isn’t something that God didn’t know would happen and that He’s not equipped us to understand and biblically combat. He has. His word is sufficient for it.

c. How is homosexuality unique from other sin? (Romans 1)

So, how is homosexuality unique from other forms of sin?

It goes against the design of our natural bodies. There is an aspect of perversion to what we are created to physically do as men and women, regarding sex. Scripture is our owner’s manual. And He gets to decide what is good and what is right. Look again at the creation mandate: be fruitful and multiply. Homosexual unions cannot create offspring. The union is purely for the fleshly or earthly pleasure of those involved. God cannot sanction it because there’s no redeeming value there. For the lost heterosexual couple sleeping together outside of marriage, they can marry. Their souls are not closer to being saved because they do marry, but they can discontinue that particular sin once in the confines of marriage. Of course, a license given by the state doesn’t wipe away sin that’s already been committed. Only Jesus can do that. Should God later save that couple, they’ll still have to repent and confess their immorality as sin, too, but at least are able to continue in their union together with God’s approval.

That’s not so for the homosexual relationship. It’s like idol worship. There’s no way to make it good and honoring to God. You’ve got to turn from it entirely. As a people, in more ways than this one, we’ve distorted sex and its purposes for our own purposes. It’s as Romans 1 describes “inventing ways to do evil”.

3. Where does same sex attraction come from?

a. “Born that way”? (John 3:18, Ephesians 2:1-2)

So… Where does same sex attraction come from?

Are people ‘born that way?’

To put it very shortly, it comes from original sin. Innately, through and through, we are sinners. We ARE born set up to sin in ALL KINDS of ways thanks to Adam.  So, are people “born this way”? Sure. Does that make it okay? NOPE. You must be born again because it is not okay for us to continue in the state that we were born. Jesus said in John 3:18 that the one who doesn’t believe is condemned already if he doesn’t believe. We all need be born again and believe in Christ.

Recently, I got the question at a church, asking whether there are other factors that could contribute to this sin. I know people in the gay community who have moms and dads and nearly perfect childhoods… I know people in the lifestyle that had horrible upbringings and experiences. We have enough sin in our hearts that we don’t have to be set up to sin in a certain way. I have no doubt that our experiences shape us, but we don’t require “anything extra” to sin horrendously. And we are not excused because of that. Our inability to keep the law should drive us to the Savior because we recognize that without Him, we are in serious trouble. We really are that bad apart from Christ.

b. Idolatry (Romans 1)

Like I said earlier, in addition to original sin, homosexuality specifically stems from idolatry. Romans 1 says that when we refuse to worship God, we will necessarily worship creation instead which leads to all sorts of sin from gossiping, to murder, and also to practicing homosexuality.

4. How then should one live?

a. Repent and believe the gospel.

So, how then should we live in light of all of this information? Firstly, we must repent and believe the gospel.

Those who naturally have these unnatural affections have the same gospel call that the rest of the world has. We’re commanded by Christ to repent of our sins and to believe the truth: that Christ came to set us free from the penalty and power of sin and that we must submit to Him as Lord.

b. Be holy. (1 Peter 1:15)

We must be holy.

This applies to all of us and our sinful proclivities: 1 Peter 1:15 says to be holy as He is holy. If you love Him you will obey His commands; you will fight like every single sincere Christians has to fight to kill your sin and live unto the Lord. And His grace is enough for you to do that and to have JOY in that. It’s not a life of misery. You ARE more than your desires. In Christ we have a LOT MORE value than whatever sin we’re inclined towards. It really is that simple… and also that hard.

It’s a struggle and it’s REAL. All of us, when we submit to Christ in our lives, have to set aside our sin. For many of us, that won’t cause the end of all the friendships and relationships and community we have built. But it will for those who are in the LGBTQ community.

There is a REAL cost, and we shouldn’t minimize that. But we shouldn’t distort the cost either. We don’t do anyone any favors when we water down the truth. Telling someone they can keep their sin and just add Jesus is to give them a different gospel. It’s telling this group of people they don’t have to repent. That’s incredibly serious when scripture tells us that God commands all people everywhere to repent.

C. Practical Applications for the Church

1. It’s helpful to group this sin with others like it.

So what are some practical applications?

It’s helpful to group this sin in with others like it, like other forms of sexual immorality, when studying reading the text to understand where to go from here.

a. Profession without repentance? (1 Corinthians 5:9-11)

If someone does profess faith but they refuse to turn from this sin, we must refuse to regard them as brethren but instead exhort them to repentance and belief in the God of the scriptures. In 1 Corinthians, Paul tells us to not to even eat with one that calls himself a Christian but lives in sexual immorality.

b. Walk alongside the true brother in his fight. (Hebrews 3:13)

For those that are actually battling this sin, meaning fighting and striving daily to honor God in their bodies, we shouldregard them as brothers. The Church must come alongside them and walk that repentance out with them. The church has gotten better it seems at dealing with those outside the church in regarding this sin, but we still discuss this like it’s far off and removed from the true Christians. In a room this size, we assume people there battling porn and other things like it but not same sex attraction. Over and over again, I speak and have people come to me after, sincere contrite believers, who battle this sin and have a clear understanding of it biblically but feel unable to reach out to others for accountability and encouragement in their fight. And I am not saying we need specific support groups for this or any other sin because I believe that’s probably incredibly dangerous, but we shouldn’t be naive. We should speak with compassion regarding this sin and others like it because there are brethren among us that are fighting and they’re going to do a lot better if they’ve got support. The church should be such a support to one another as we all fight our sin.

How each person wages war against this particular sin in Christ is going to vary. Some are going to need a lot of personal boundaries and more consistent accountability where others won’t require as much. I know some believers that were drunks before they were saved and can’t touch alcohol anymore where others can; kind of the ‘weaker brother’ situation. I know I’ve had seasons where if I had I not had others around me in the know of my struggle, I would’ve fallen into really serious sin even as a Christian. The Church has to hold one another up in this fight. We’ve got to be willing and prepared to be what our brother or sister needs as they fight their sin.      

c. What about the lost?

So, what about those that are obviously lost?

If they do not profess faith, we share the gospel and plead with them to repent of their sin, which would be unbelief primarily. Our first objective isn’t behavior modification for those that are unregenerate. When the person is truly saved, a change in action will follow the new heart.

2. Question I get most often:

I wrote down some questions I get most often to go over briefly-

a. Can I be friends with someone who’s in the LGBTQ lifestyle without condoning their sin?

I hope so. Apply that question to other sinners and other types of sin. Can you befriend the woman living with her boyfriend? Of course you can. And you should do so mindful of her need for the Lord so you can be intentional with her. The same goes for the one practicing homosexuality. There are of course general guidelines I will give; I wouldn’t attend a gay pride event with your friend, just as you shouldn’t go to the strip club with your unbelieving friend simply to “show your friendship” to them. We’ve got to be wise but also willing to be uncomfortable. It seems like the reason a lot of believers refrain from entering into deep friendships with those in the LGBTQ is primarily because it’s not easy. It may make us feel weird or icky. I’m sure Christ felt that way when He was here with sinners, too. We’ve got to be willing to be close to those who are without Christ that they may come to know Him.

b. Should I attend a gay wedding?

I could not. Be mindful that you’re attending a ceremony where two people are vowing before God to continue to sin and reject God. We have no good reason to celebrate that. That should break our hearts and cause us to do nothing but mourn during the entire thing if we were to go. I can absolutely sympathize with why one would want to; oftentimes Christian parents or siblings are backed into a corner with this one and you may feel your only way to maintain the relationship is to attend. But I have to encourage you to consider whether we’re to please God or man first. Marriage ceremonies are for the purpose of celebrating a union between two people. Even if we were to tell someone that we were not in support of their relationship, by going, I believe we’re inevitably giving some credence to what’s being celebrated. Would you attend a ceremony where an adult was marrying a child or a sibling? I think that culturally we’ve given way too much here. Also, not going can have a lasting impact on how they understand your beliefs and may even be a source of conviction later. Although I know that many sincere Christians have done so, I wouldn’t risk the appearance giving of approval.

c. Are people born gay?

People are born sinners; for some, that looks like homosexuality. I don’t think it’s worth it to fight the culture on the terminology when we can see that we’re born sinners from the womb. Original sin looks different on different people but Adam marked us all up pretty good. We all need new hearts and right desires in place of the bad ones we’re born with.

d. Can’t you just leave people alone to love whom they want to love?

Not if you believe the Bible. To leave someone in their sin is to leave them without forgiveness for it knowing that they need it. That may look like love externally but it’s actually incredibly hateful if you know the truth.

e. Does same sex attraction go away when one becomes a Christian?

Does any sinful desire go away immediately upon conversion? It can. It does. But that’s not promised in scripture and oftentimes that is not the experience of the new believer. We have a new hate for sin and love for God, but this flesh continually pulls us astray and has to be called back in by the Spirit who is faithful to sanctify us. Praise God.

f. If I’m one who struggles with same sex attraction, what counsel would you give me regarding this sin, transparency, friendships, etc?

The first thing I’d want to do for the person who’s struggling with this sin is to encourage you to be gracious with those in the church that may not know how to handle this topic. It’s touchy for us and often confusing for others who can’t personally relate to this sin, but I believe that Christ is constantly growing and maturing His church and that most of our brothers and sisters are willing to be the support but are just unsure of where to begin. One of my biggest goals with today’s talk was to help those that don’t experience it to sympathize with those who do and to give all of us some biblical backing for how to see and go about this.

Second, Christ is worthy. He is worthy of your life and your obedience in this regard and in every other.

I want to encourage you to fight this sin, and believe wholeheartedly that if you are in Christ, you will, however imperfectly.

Get with people you can trust. Talk regularly with believers that are much older in the faith than you and ask for accountability. I’d recommend acquiring more than one person for this just for the sake of wisdom and care and give them full permission to ask you where your heart is, how you’re doing, and if there are any new struggles that you’re facing. If they don’t ask, force yourself to tell them anyway.

Don’t think too much about your struggle. Trust me. It’ll become a whole other kind of issue if you dwell on it too much. You’ll either become really discouraged or you’ll think you deserve a special badge because of the particular sin struggle the Lord ordained for you. Neither of these are helpful for your walk with Jesus.

Be careful in your friendships; keep accountability with them but don’t feel like you’ve got to isolate yourself and keep anyone from getting close. I’ve found that it’s not been a lack of female attention but instead a healthy amount of the right kind of attention that’s most helped my heart with feeling as it should. Alienating yourself from friendships, in my own experience, has been the most damaging thing for my walk. Friends are a GOOD gift from God.

Thank you all for your time. I pray that God would be glorified today and as we move forward bearing His image and name.

Conversion Therapy vs. Conversion to Christ

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What Are the Headlines?

Following Anchored North’s release of my video testimony last week, Newsweek’s headline was: “Christian ‘Ex-Lesbian’ Claims she Prayed the Gay Away in Controversial Viral Video“. Huffington Post reacted with, “Viral Video Claims People Can Stop Being Gay If They Pray Hard Enough.” TeenVogue’s lie was: “This Video Falsely Claims Praying Will Turn LGBTQ People Straight“. Sensational writing has an appeal. It allows people to work an agenda into their journalism, often at the expense of the truth. The articles that circulated made claims that were not only absent from my testimony, but that actually contradict both Anchored North’s and my own beliefs about conversion. “Solutions” such as reparative therapy and ‘praying the gay away’ were claimed to be my message when I said no such thing; I never actually mentioned prayer once. The common theme in almost all of these articles was that the Bible study “made me straight,” despite the video’s subtitle: “It’s not gay to straight. It’s lost to saved.” I say all this so you understand why I am compelled to respond sooner rather than later. The truth is, I’m not writing this for Newsweek or any of the other magazines who demonstrated their inability to distinguish between my testimony and what gets social media shares. I’m writing this to clarify what they, as people who do not know God, cannot understand; namely, the difference between manmade attempts to alter behavior, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ that saves.

What is “Reparative Therapy”?

Reparative or conversion therapy refers to counseling or psychotherapy that attempts to eliminate individuals’ sexual desires for members of their own sex. The American Psychological Association states that “such efforts have serious potential to harm young people” because “they often frame the inability to change one’s sexual orientation as a personal and moral failure.” In his article, “What’s Wrong with Reparative Therapy?”, Heath Lambert, the Executive Director at the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, states, “…we should reject it as an approach to change” because it “misunderstands the problems homosexuals confront, misunderstands the goals they should pursue, and misunderstands the need to lay hold of God’s grace in Christ through repentant faith.” It seems both believers and unbelievers are in agreement that this is a practice that should be rejected. The methods used in conversion therapy range from basic behavioral modification, psychoanalysis (“therapeutic” techniques related to the study of the unconscious mind), and even sex therapy. I cringed as I studied the subject further for the sake of this article. In my early teens growing up in one of Texas’s smallest towns, I had a season of trying really hard to suppress my feelings and pretend they weren’t there out of fear for how my family and friends would respond. I chose not to deal with my desires and it made me absolutely miserable. It was after years of remaining silent that finally, at the ripe old age of fifteen, I opened up about my feelings and embraced them as my “truest self.” In contrast to my earlier attempts, I felt liberated and was thrilled to no longer attempt to make my behavior one way externally while my heart raced towards the exact opposite. Devoid of the grace, love, and hope found in Christ, there is no reason to believe that any of these approaches would help anyone at all. In fact, it makes sense that they would only lead to severe depression and self-loathing. In my video, I stated that I looked at Scripture, believed what it said for the first time, and repented of my sins (practicing homosexuality, drunkenness, and others – see 1 Corinthians 6:9-11). There was no therapy. The Bible study I attended was about the attributes of God, and not homosexuality. When I went to this study, as I mentioned in the video, I expected them to bring up my lifestyle immediately, and that I would then use that as an excuse to stop attending; but they never did. They shared with me their love for God and His work in their own lives. The Spirit and His Word took it from there.

What does it mean to “Pray the Gay Away”? 

I staunchly reject the “pray the gay away” narrative, despite what the news outlets are reporting. This concept says that if you pray hard enough, or have enough faith, God will remove your desire for the same sex; essentially, you’ll be “cured” of your sin. It’s easy to see that this way of thinking is also dangerous and unhelpful, as God never talks like that regarding our sin. As a matter of fact, identifying a person by one’s sexual desires, whether sinful or godly, is an unhelpful and unbiblical way for believers to discuss these matters all together. See Rosaria Butterfield’s answer for “Is sexual orientation a concept that Christians ought to use?” Biblically, we have no reason to expect God to totally take away our want for sin upon being born again. Can He remove your sinful desires? Of course! I believe at times that He does. We ought to be pleading with Him to do so, knowing that if His will is to remove it entirely, He’ll do it. Generally, though, that is not what we see in Scripture or what we should be relying on. Although HuffPo quoted chunks of a Facebook status from my page to state that I’d equated homosexuality with murder, they conveniently left out the paragraph directly prior, because it would have ruined their entire premise. What they chose to leave out was: “Nowhere are we told to pray to stop liking our sin in order to turn from it. We are commanded to stop the sin. Period. He gives us something greater in return, but the command to repent is still a command to repent. Apply that logic to another sin…” We’re not told that He’ll remove our want for sin. Instead, we’re told to “abstain from fleshly lusts” (1 Peter 2:11) and not to “gratify the desires of the flesh” (Galatians 5:6). There’s definitely a fight that Christians are to have against sinful desires. We couldn’t do so if, upon conversion, those desires were immediately eradicated. Believers who promote this view are misinformed and are harming others by making claims and promises that God has not given.

What Is the Solution?

Homosexuality is a sin. See Romans 1:18-32, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, 1 Timothy 1:8-11, etc. I’m not going to spend a lot of time here making this case. Any honest reading of the text leaves one with the conclusion that God’s design for sex and marriage is for one man and one woman, for life, and that any variation of that (homosexuality, sexual immorality in opposite sex couples, adultery, etc) are deemed sinful time and time again. They contradict His moral law and for that reason alone, they are transgressions not only against the other participant but against God Himself. God is perfect, holy, and without any kind of sin or failing. He’s all knowing, all powerful, and unchanging. The big problem with sin is that it separates us from Him because it’s so contradictory to who He is and what He esteems. Every human being is made in the image of God and because of that we all have intrinsic value and worth, but that image is distorted because of the fall of Adam and Eve in the garden. God said that everything He had made was good, but that was before sin entered the world. Scripture tells us that now, because of sin, “no one is good; no not one” (Romans 3:10). God’s holiness and man’s sinfulness create a divide between the two. This is why God sent His Son, Jesus, to reconcile us back to Himself. He lived the kind of life we’re commanded to live but have all failed to do. He then took the punishment we ought to get, the entire wrath of God, on behalf of those who would repent, turn from sin, and put their trust in Him. This is a concept that those both inside and outside of evangelicalism are guilty of distorting and the consequences are lethal. People end up hearing that either repentance is not necessary and one can stay in their sin while holding fast to Christ, or that you should attempt change yourself via these worldly and unbiblical means. If they don’t work, God has failed you or has changed His mind on sin. Neither of these approaches are biblical, and both are condemning. Jesus came to save us from sin because He hates it and because it leads to destruction. The human heart cannot change itself (Jeremiah 13:23), so attempts made at that without God are in vain.

This is biblical conversion: that we have our eyes opened to see our sin as sin and see Him as the good and worthy Creator; because of that new sight, we joyfully forsake our sin and turn to Him by grace through faith. Scripture tells us this happens to all people when they’re ‘born again’ (John 3, Ezekiel 36:26), regardless of the kind of life they lived before knowing Christ. We’re all living in unrepentant sin until that moment. We need God to intervene and create in us a desire to obey out of a right kind of ‘fear’ that comes from reverence and love for Him, not confusion or self-hate or any other reason that is not centered on Him. It isn’t always easy, but He is worthy.

What Does it Look Like?

So what does all of this mean for believers in Christ who struggle with same-sex attraction? According to what we see in scripture, it means that one must ‘walk by the Spirit’ (Galatians 5:16) and ‘make no provision for the flesh’ (Romans 13:14). Those battling desires for the same sex must, like Jesus said, “deny themselves, take up their cross daily, and follow” Him (Luke 9:23). The instructions given to Christians battling this sin are not different from those given to every other believer. All of us “were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind” (Ephesians 2:1-3). We must now obey God rather than these desires. Each of us are marked by sin, but because of Christ, have the will and ability to follow Jesus instead of our feelings. This doesn’t mean a perfect walk without trials and sin on our part, but as we grow in Him, we will have greater and greater victory over sin and will slowly, but surely, be conformed to the image of His Son who was without sin.

Does the Christian coming from this particular background have his or her own specific difficulties? You bet. We all vary in how sin and its consequences effect us once we’ve been born again, but our journey towards holiness and knowing Him deeper should look very similar to those who were saved out of other lifestyles of sin. The church should not be surprised at my conversion to Christ out of a life of sin that included practicing homosexuality. The fact that it has reacted so is indicative that we too lack faith and a rich understanding of the doctrine of sin. It’s my prayer that He uses stories like mine, His Spirit, and His word to grow His church in that understanding. In the mean time, believers must be patient with one another. A misinformed or shallow understanding of regeneration can lead to odd questions and harmful statements. We must demonstrate grace in those instances, for we’ve received far greater grace for our offenses against our Creator.

Speaking of such questions: Is the new believer bound to remain single or should they run fast towards marriage, or something in between? We, like all Christians, should seek first His kingdom. Some will marry because the Lord has given them desires and a spouse to do so. Some will remain single and focus their hearts wholly to the Lord. In either case, we are to strive for holiness. The believer who remains single is no less ‘new’ than the one who marries and has eight children. In either case, we should be aiming to glorify God in our bodies with a ‘holy sexuality,’ a term coined by Christopher Yuan in his book, “Out of a Far Country: A Gay Son’s Journey to God.” The body of Christ, consisting of various stories and experiences and gifts is what enables us to edify and encourage one another so well. Had He desired we all be the same, we would be.

I sincerely hope my testimony will be a blessing to many and something that points others to the true gospel. The misinformation that is out there on this topic is easy to find, but the truth is a precious find. Your best source for truth in conjunction with scripture is a church that is faithful to preach the word of God. If you have any questions regarding my position, or any other topic, you can find out more at emilythomes.com or send your questions to emily@emilythomes.com.

Love Is Love

"It's not gay to straight. It's lost to saved."

Posted by Anchored North on Wednesday, December 27, 2017

LOVE IS LOVE

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Powerful Coming Out Story – Love Is Love

Emily spent 7 years living out her same-sex attractions while being outspoken about God’s acceptance of her lifestyle. After her engagement with her female partner ended, she was invited to a Bible study. This weekly examination of the holiness of God challenged her day after day until her life completely changed. It is a powerful testimony that calls the homosexual community not to heterosexuality but to holiness.

Emily’s story lovingly addresses the heart of the matter: that homosexuality is only one sin among many that manifests itself within a sinful heart. Only by the grace and mercy of God can we be transformed. HOW DO I BREAK FREE FROM THE SIN I LOVE?

Sign up to watch this bonus interview here: https://anchorednorth.org/love-is-lov…

Regardless of what you have done in your life, redemption is provided to you through Jesus Christ. Just like Emily, even if you have sinful desires and affections, God died for you. He can make you a new creation and save you from a terrible fate. God is rich in mercy and full of great love, and He provided a way out. The narrow road to salvation requires that you call sin what it is, repent of it, and trust that Christ’s death and resurrection is sufficient to atone for the punishment you deserve.

If any man is in Christ, he is a NEW creation. Unless this happens for you, your sinful desires will always drive your actions and shape your interpretation of Scripture. As culture influences the church, even Christians are deceived on this topic. However, for the person who claims to be gay and a Christian, understand that it is not possible for Christians to remain in willful, unrepentant sin. 1 John 3:9 says, “No one who is born of God makes a practice of sin, for God’s seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God.” God’s message has always and will always involve crucifying the flesh with its passions and desires and living for Christ. For more information about receiving Christ’s redemption in your life, visit

Posted Originally as Powerful coming out story!!! LOVE IS LOVE by Anchored North

Ex–Lesbian Discusses Her Transformed Life in Christ

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Emily Thomes is a wife and speaker. Prior to meeting Benjamin “Ben” Thomes, Emily would mock Christians, dabble with drugs and lived a life of promiscuity. She was also a staunch lesbian and would use male washrooms. In 2014, Thomes started to attend her aunt’s Bible studies. Emily was never pressured to change her lifestyle but was personally convicted after learning about the different attributes of God and reading Scripture. Thomes decided she need to change her life and left the lesbian lifestyle and drugs. A couple of years after getting saved, Emily met the love of her life, Ben. In this interview, Thomes goes in-depth to discuss single – hood, marriage and tragedy. In the midst of it all, Thomes sought to keep Christ in the center.

Habiba Abudu (HA) : The life you live now is a stark contrast to your life a couple of years ago. Can you discuss the change that occurred in your life?

Emily Thomes (ET) : In short, God saved me. I was granted to see myself as a wretched sinner in need of a new heart and a new life and He gave me that. My life had been marked by various sin : practicing homosexuality, smoking marijuana, and drunkenness to name a few. Today, it’s marked by imperfect but sincere obedience, by His grace.

HA : Did you ever deal with loneliness when your were single ?

ET : I did. He used that season to glorify Himself all the more. He showed Himself sufficient for me when I didn’t have a significant other.

HA : In your season of singleness, how did you prepare to be a wife ?

ET : I spent time with married women, usually wives who were also moms, and learned from them.

HA : You met Ben via Facebook ? How did you navigate a long distance relationship ?

ET : I did! His mom introduced us actually. We weren’t long distance for long. The first few months, we started each day with a phone call where he’d read the devotional book Morning and Evening, by Charles Spurgeon with me. We’d also text and FaceTime each other throughout the day. We both desired marriage in one another, so he moved to North East Texas pretty quickly.

HA : Was it awkward sharing your past with Ben ?

ET : Thanks to Facebook, I actually didn’t have to tell him much about  it. Once we became friends on Facebook, Ben came across my testimony video. We discussed it, and to my surprise Ben never once made me feel like the greater sinner, though our pre-conversion lives were nearly opposite. Ben understood his own depravity and need for grace. That caused Ben to see us as equal recipients of His grace. It made conversation with Ben easy and safe for me.

HA : What has your first year of marriage taught you ?

ET : Marriage has taught me that although I’ve been made new, I’m still often plagued with fallen flesh and a desire to have my own way and not the Lord’s. This is also true for Ben. As wise as I had believed I’d become and as perfect, dreamy and intelligent my husband is, we’re both still in need of grace daily. The Lord has humbled us both and we needed it. He’s given us a partner to walk the gospel out with and for that I’m forever grateful. I pray that in the coming years we grow in our love, patience, wisdom and trust God to continue the good work that He started in us.

HA : Last year, you shared the tragic news of suffering a miscarriage. How did Ben and yourself handle this difficult period of your life ?

ET : Ben was incredible. He was devastated, when I first contacted him at work to tell him I was going to the hospital. He wept and expressed sorrow for our child and me. By the time he got to my side, he had put aside his own grieving and gave me the floor to hurt for the next few weeks while he patiently loved and served me. I saw two sides of Ben : a dad who was mourning the loss of a child and a husband willing to put his feelings on the ” back burner ” for some of my darkest moments. He provided a shoulder to lean on and comfort. I loved him even more because of the miscarriage. 

 

HA : Finally, what advice would you share with those aspiring to be married ?

ET : To those desiring marriage, knowing the spiritual condition of the person you’re considering is the highest priority. I don’t say this because I learned the hard way. It’s something I believe Ben and I did rightly. Before we allowed ourselves to develop incredibly strong feelings for one another, we discussed doctrine, theology and the fruit in our lives. We talked about literally every topic we could think of for weeks. Once I was convinced that Ben could lead me spiritually and Ben was convinced that I love the Lord and was seeking to honor Him, did we move beyond that. Romantic feelings alone cannot be what a relationship is based on.

Desiring God has an article called “When the Not-Yet Married Meet.” In it, the author says, “Intimacy is safest in the context of marriage, and marriage is safest in the context of clarity.” That’s the best advice that I could give to a couple considering marriage. Take the time to investigate the other person before your heart jumps in and distorts what you’re seeing. Once you know that person is someone that you desire to marry and that, most importantly, the marriage would honor God, go for it.

Marriage is a wonderful and godly commitment. Being married is challenging, sanctifying and beautiful because He created it for man. Paul encouraged marriage for those that desire it. Ben and I were married within six months of knowing each, (Ben was 20 and Emily was 24 when they got married). While neither of us are perfectly mature or holy, we wouldn’t be in ten more years either, especially as single people. Marriage has been the sharpest tool that he Lord’s given me for growth yet. 

Originally posted as Ex–Lesbian Discusses Her Transformed Life in Christ by Married and Young

Conversion Fallout and Advice for Parents of LGBT Kids

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Back in June, Emily Thomes took over our news feeds as countless friends began sharing her conversion story written for The Gospel Coalition. She raised a much needed credible voice of someone saved out of an LGBT lifestyle. Like so many others, I sent her a Facebook friend request to hear more and to stay connected. (It’s time for a fan page, Emily, as you’ve reached the magic 5K friends mark!)

Her unwavering commitment to a biblical response to same sex attraction and practicing homosexuality among professing Christians is refreshing. Unfortunately, it’s also counter-cultural with so many popular Christians ignoring the biblical record in favor of their feelings. I reached out to Emily to ask some questions I had not heard asked.


>j: Since your conversion in April of 2014, and even since the TGC article, can you share how you have been received by the LGBT community—both the good and the bad?

Emily: When I got saved, even on my first night as a believer, changes started to occur between me and the people I did life with. The night of my conversion I was being massively convicted of my sin and attempted to talk to my best friend about it. We’d smoked weed like we did most nights, and even while high I could not shake the fear that my understanding of God and homosexuality could be wrong and that the effects of such a misunderstanding would be catastrophic. When I brought up my concerns to my friend, she told me I was killing her high and left. That was only a glimpse of what was to come! In the coming weeks, I would sit down with many of my friends and ex-girlfriends with an open Bible to explain that our sin put us all in grave danger and that we need forgiveness. Most of those I talked to believed in a god; some even professed faith in the God of the Bible, but all of them rejected that God would require someone to abstain from “loving who they love.” Through tears, I flipped through the pages I had marked with post-it notes about sin, repentance and the new birth. It didn’t take long for most of my friends to remove themselves from me entirely.

The group of people I regularly interacted with on Facebook responded similarly but with more zeal; it’s easier to cuss someone out behind a keyboard than it is in person. I remember one night I had posted a status begging those whom I loved who were in various sins, that I listed explicitly, to repent and believe the gospel, lest they be damned. Within a couple of hours I had over 300 very hostile comments. My mom and stepdad showed up at my doorstep with a milkshake and offered to sit with me for a while. Watching everyone I knew and loved reject Christ, and knowing that it meant that they were choosing to die in their sins instead, absolutely killed me. That night my mom put various notes in my room and on my bathroom mirror reminding me that she loved me. I wasn’t suicidal, but I think she thought I could’ve been. That initial wave of pushback lasted about 6 months, and really was the worst of it. Since then, I’ve gotten a lot of hate mail and had people say really awful things to me and to the others that have remained in my life, but it was nothing like it was at first. God used that down time for me to stay home and to study, to grow in my understanding of His word and of myself, and to learn how to stand alone, if need be.

Although most of the feedback I get from the LGBT is oppositional, I’ve still had many peaceful conversations with people who genuinely desire to understand what’s occurred in my life and how the Bible speaks to them in their particular circumstances. I’ve even had people message me and say that they, too, understand their guilt and need for forgiveness, and now desire to obey Christ. Those are some of my favorite conversations! I’ve made many friends that I still talk to regularly who experience same sex attraction and are choosing to deny themselves and follow Him instead. I’ve been so encouraged when talking to others who were also once dead in their sins, particularly sins I relate to dealing with, and seeing them pursue Him wholeheartedly. There have been seasons when I’ve felt like an absolute alien, and often God would have someone message me, reminding me that I’m not alone in the fight. They have encouraged me to know that a public fight for faith isn’t in vain, because He’s using it to admonish and exhort others.

>j: You mentioned your parents support after your conversion. How should Christian parents think about and respond to their same-sex attracted children still under their authority? I recognize there would be a scale here—from the child they suspect may be struggling all the way up to a child openly practicing homosexuality.

Emily: This is where that biblical worldview comes in. Parents should be helping their children understand, at an early age, that all people are born sinful and that each of us has a flesh that sincerely desires what God hates. If the framework for the gospel is laid, as sinful desires and behaviors arise, parents are then able to point their children to Christ. Rather than panic when a “perfect” child suddenly desires something totally foreign, parents should be expecting children to indeed be sinful and, be it homosexuality or pride, explain to the child their need for a new heart that desires God and not sin. Parents are in a perfect place to prime their children for the gospel by making it clear, when confronting each act of disobedience that the human heart is the problem and that it only evidences their need for grace.

>j: How should Christian parents think about and respond to their practicing homosexual child outside of their authority? I’m thinking first of family gatherings (holidays), interactions with their child’s partner, and having Gospel clarity while still being “family.”

Emily: The way to answer this question completely hinges upon whether or not that family member professes to know Christ, whether we’re talking about children, their partners, or siblings. If someone claims to be a part of the body of Christ, the right and loving thing to do is to attempt to pull them back from their sin, which consists of being direct with them about it (Matthew 18, James 5). Being direct doesn’t require that we are harsh or unkind, but it does require clarity. We tell those who claim the name of brother that they’re walking in rebellion in order for them to repent. They may very well turn away from their sin, should the Lord grant them. However, what often happens is that they recognize the need for repentance in order to be sincere and simply stop calling themselves “Christian”. If they do retract the profession, you’re free to treat them as an unbeliever. Being transparent with professing Christians, be the profession sincere or not, is the only way to go about it. As the church, we often give people false assurance of right standing with God when we pretend that things are okay when they’re not. 1 Corinthians 5 is quite frank regarding how we ought to interact with those that profess faith versus those that don’t.

If someone does not claim to be a Christian, we have no charge to abstain from interacting with them; we ought to engage them and point them to Him with our words and actions. I’m intentionally meeting with people weekly that aren’t saved, sometimes discussing the Lord, but often just the day to day events we’re both taking part in. They allow me to pray before we eat and about various struggles they’re facing, and I get to tell them about the things God is doing in my life, all the while making His character and attributes known to them. I discuss sin with them, but not usually the sin that they most closely cherish, in order to keep the conversation open.

Parents who have grown children who don’t claim the title of Christian ought to be intentional towards them and not refrain from spending time with or talking to them. Instead, they should desire all the more to be examples of unwavering love and patience. Rosaria Butterfield makes a great point when she says that those in the LGBT are great at love, support, and hospitality. We, as believers, should be better. We have the source of true love within us.

>j: What resources would you recommend to parents of LGBT children to help them understand their struggles and know how to respond to them biblically?

Emily: Desiring God and The Gospel Coalition both have really great articles regarding same sex attraction and homosexuality. Rosaria Butterfield’s articles and videos through those ministries are some of my favorites and some that have benefited me the most. Matt Moore is also an excellent resource for insight into what it feels like to be same sex attracted and to count the cost. His ability to articulate and be completely transparent in his struggle is something that could benefit every believer who does not themselves experience same sex attraction. For those looking to understand exactly how scripture addresses homosexuality, Kevin DeYoung has a great book called What Does the Bible Say About Homosexuality?

Tweetable Thoughts from the Interview:

  • Expect your children to sin and be ready to point them to Christ.Tweet This!
  • The loving thing to do for a professing Christian in sin is to show them their sin and call them to repent.Tweet This!
  • Being direct about sin doesn’t require being harsh or unkind, but it does require clarity.Tweet This!
  • Parents of adult unbelievers, love your children by being patient and spending time with them.Tweet This!
  • Believers should be the best at love, support and hospitality because we have the source of true love within us.Tweet This!

Originally posted as Emily Thomes’ Conversion Fallout and Advice for Parents of LGBT Kids by > jonah

A Conversation with Emily Thomes

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Today, I’m publishing an interview with Emily Thomes (@Emilysatt19), a young Christian lady who once identified as a homosexual.  I initially met Emily at a recent G3 Conference, and since then she has been actively speaking out about her former sin struggles and her new life as a Christian.  Since her conversion and over the past year, Emily has become Mrs. Benjamin Thomes.


Hi Emily.  Thank you for joining me for this conversation.  We first met at the 2016 G3 Conference. Since then, you’ve had a busy year. You’ve recently married your husband Benjamin Thomes and you’ve written some articles (see: “Girl in the Picture“) that have become rather controversial. In this interview, I’d like to talk through your conversion to Christianity and your views regarding marriage, headship, and the sin of homosexuality.

In recent days, you have spoken out about your life before you were converted by Christ. Can you briefly walk us through what that looked like?

Sure thing. I grew up in a relatively moral home and family. I attended church occasionally and even church camp some during the summertime. I made a profession of faith and was baptized pretty early in life. While believing I was saved, fully trusting in that sinner’s prayer and the water, I grew into being a really rebellious individual. Before graduating high school, I was smoking weed regularly, drinking, and sleeping with girls. In my young adult life before coming to know the Lord, I’d slowed down slightly. I was working full time so I wasn’t able to really party as often but was still smoking marijuana daily and was still dating and sleeping with various women. That was my life up until the day I was born again.

As you well know, our nation has recently faced a decision to legalize same-sex marriage. What do you think about this decision?

It breaks my heart. I know how easy it is for our own flesh and heart to deceive us and provide us comfort and assurance in sin. It makes it all the more easy when the world around us not only affirms but encourages our sin, too. When I first realized I was attracted to girls as a child, I kept it to myself for years because it wasn’t accepted like it is today. I can’t imagine growing up with same-sex marriage being legal and celebrated. I’ve got a few friends that are now legally married to their partners, and it’s even harder to try and point them to truth. With it legalized, the message I’m attempting to share daily is even more ridiculous.

It’s becoming increasingly popular to hear people toss around the category of “gay Christian.” Is it possible to be a gay Christian?

I hear that expression far too often. It’s really important to be clear with our terms when discussing things like this, and it’s why I try and use phrases like “practicing homosexuality” and “same sex attracted” in order to maintain clarity because “gay” means different things to different crowds. It is absolutely possible for one to be battling same sex attraction as a believer. I’m in that camp currently. Even as believers, our flesh will always pull us towards various types of sins. Now, can one practice homosexuality unrepentantly, meaning without contrition, conviction, and without a daily desire and attempt to abstain, and be a Christian? No. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 makes that very clear, regarding homosexuality specifically. In a general sense, we see throughout the epistles and the gospels that those who are saved don’t continue in unrepentant sin and that a good tree cannot bear bad fruit. Though our flesh desires sin, believers will deny themselves and follow Jesus instead. We won’t make any provision for the flesh and we will flee sexual immorality rather than leap into it. This isn’t to say that believers won’t ever fall into sin. Undoubtedly they will; it’s why we so eagerly await the glorification and removal of these bodies of death we currently carry around. When believers stray, the Lord convicts and disciplines those whom He loves and they will repent and be restored or else they were not of us.

As a former homosexual, what advice would you provide to the church today (in general) regarding methods and strategies of reaching people with the gospel?

We’re called to love God and love our neighbors. In order to do both of those, we must be reaching out to those that are lost in order to bring them into the fold. We’re all sovereignly placed in our communities and workplaces and families in order that we be ambassadors for Christ in those roles. Charles Spurgeon said that every Christian is either a missionary or an imposter; that’s because those who are regenerate have a burden to see the lost saved. In our congregations, we ought to be being equipped and exhorted to be faithful witnesses when we’re outside of the assembly. It’s crucial that we be uncompromising but also gracious and humble in our evangelism. We’re to be Jesus to those who are still in darkness and that cannot exclude truth or love.

Would you encourage churches to develop homosexual support groups that reach out to those who struggle with the sin of homosexuality and seek to provide support for former homosexuals within the church?

Hmm. That’s a good question. My initial instinct is to say “No” though I’d be open to persuasion. It’s not been of much benefit for me to discuss, regularly anyway, my battle with same sex attraction with those who battle it also. It’s actually been most helpful for me to discuss the differing struggles that myself and others face in order to see that though the specific sin struggle varies, the human condition does not. It’s also helped others to better understand homosexuality and see it through the lens of scripture and as another sin that one can fall into rather than something completely foreign. Too much of an emphasis on same sex attraction, in my experience, can nearly glorify the sin and make the struggler feel like more of an alien than what comes with it anyway. It’s also an easy way to continue holding on to the identity that’s rooted in sin rather than in Christ for those that are prone to that type of thing.

What advice would you provide for people who are dealing with sexual identity problems and are thinking about pursuing a homosexual lifestyle?

I would say that if someone is seriously considering entering into an unrepentant state, they need to be questioning if they do in fact belong to the Lord or if they’re actually already unrepentant. It’s very normal, because of the fall, for believers to think on sin and to wrestle with the thoughts that can entice us, but deliberately choosing to walk in and remain in rebellion to God is a very serious matter and is not the fruit of a regenerate person. Experiencing an inclination towards sin proves you’re human; it doesn’t give one a license to sin and the believer won’t take it as one.

Other than the Bible, what resource (book, article, or sermon) has helped you think biblically about the homosexual agenda in our nation?

Rosaria Butterfield has probably been my greatest influence regarding understanding sexuality and identity thus far. Her books, articles, and videos have been very helpful to me personally. I’ve actually recently been hearing and reading Kevin DeYoung regarding homosexuality and our culture, and he articulates it wonderfully. Listening to Al Mohler on The Briefing daily has also been instrumental in helping me to understanding the sexual revolution and how our world is moving forward into it in both blatant and more subtle ways.

How prevalent is pornography in the homosexual community and what would be your advice for people who find themselves trapped by the pornography industry?

I can only answer this one from my own experience in my life and that of those whom I’ve spoken with in the LGBT. From what I can discern, porn is unfortunately rampant across all groups of people presently. I used to watch it and knew many others that did also. I also know that it, like heterosexual porn, is available in ridiculous quantities. For those struggling with porn, like those battling any sin, it’s important not to elevate or diminish it. Yes, it is a deplorable sin that God will not overlook. He’s either dealt with it at the cross or will do so in eternity. But no, it is not a sin or a sin struggle that the Lord cannot enable the believer to overcome and even use it for His glory and the good of the user. Accountability with this sin is a huge benefit to the one wrestling it whether that be believing friends, Covenant Eyes, a browser that filters through explicit content, or all of the above. As with all sin, the fight is real and though we will fall, He will sustain and keep His people to the end.

Often times you hear people who are former alcoholics consistently referring to themselves as former alcoholics as their mark or identity. Is it helpful to consider yourself a former homosexual as your true identity in life?

I can see no reason that one would label themselves by any sin struggle, past or present. If I’m speaking to someone about sin and specific struggles, I’ll be open about my battle with same sex attraction, but I’m not going to use it as a modifier for my place in Christ. Biblically, in Corinthians specifically, we see that Paul while carried along by the Holy Spirit said “As were some of you” regarding those who were practicing homosexuality. He also tells us that we’re new creations in Christ, that the old has passed away, etc. Part of growth and sanctification is that we’re no longer fixating on our sin but on the finished work of Christ. We will see our shortcomings daily and everyday, we’ll look to Jesus instead of ourselves. We’ll fight and mourn our flesh but cling tightly to the promises of God and put off the old self in exchange for the new one.

If you could speak to all evangelical preachers, what advice would you give to them regarding their preaching ministry and the need to reach out to people struggling with sexual identity and the sin of homosexuality?

It sounds simple but I’d encourage pastors to holdfast to a biblical worldview when dealing with the sin of homosexuality from the pulpit and personally with those who are battling it. Faithful pastors will discuss homosexuality in the same way that they discuss sexual immorality among heterosexual couples. They won’t cower back from it, but they won’t elevate it to being so heinous and unknown that those who are in it are beyond the hand of God should He draw them. In the same way that pastors and those they’re shepherding should reach out to the lost battling alcoholism or pride, we must attempt to reconcile those practicing homosexuality to Christ knowing He gives the growth if He chooses to. Remembering that if not for the grace of God we would all be practicing every single kind of wickedness ought to drive us to push past our discomfort and into loving our neighbors with truth. As bothered as we are by the sins we don’t understand, the sins that we coddle are far more grotesque to God, yet He loves us still.

If you could talk to law makers and politicians, what advice would you give to them as they continue to embrace and further the homosexual agenda in our nation?

I would proclaim the gospel to them firstly and explain that like all those who have yet to be born again, they stand in rebellion to a holy God who will not overlook their sin. I’d plead with them to reason within themselves concerning creation, the clearly intended design, given our anatomy if nothing else, and the unignorable Creator who will hold all of humanity accountable for every word and deed.

Apart from the Lord opening their eyes to see His glory though, they’re unlikely to view the “homosexual agenda” as a bad thing. Without a biblical worldview, this is another civil rights matter and we would truly be on the wrong side of history. I remember believing that in standing up for the LGBT I was standing for the underdogs, and I saw that as noble. Apart from the God of the Bible and a right understanding of sin and sexuality, telling people that their desires are wrong and that they must stop doing them, especially because they don’t cause physical harm to another person, would make us actually bigoted. Remembering the ideals I held for so long allow me to pity those who are under this strong delusion rather than to be angry with them. Their hearts are darkened. They truly do believe that sexual orientation is as much of one’s personhood as race or gender and unless He grants them sight for spiritual matters, they’ll continue in that understanding. I pray for those who are blinded by all sin but this sin in particular because so many believers view them, and not the spirit that leads them, as the enemies. May we look at those propagating the homosexual agenda as broken, fallen people who are in need of a Savior and are attempting to find peace and happiness apart from Him like we all once were.

Is submission to Christ and submission to your husband (the idea of complementarianism) belittling or oppressive to women?

Submission to one’s husband is God’s design for wives as it’s His design for husbands to love their wives like Christ loves the church and gave Himself up for her. Scripture makes it very clear that wives are coheirs with their husband of His grace and that both bear His image and are therefore equal in value and in worth. Contrary to my previously held ideals and those held by so many today, gender has significance. Gender is assigned by God and the roles prescribed to each are as well. As the Creator, God knows how His creations best function and has lovingly provided a system for us in which we can best operate (and be sanctified if you’re like me and meekness doesn’t come at all natural to you) and model His gospel to the world. Like Jesus to His Father, wives are to humbly submit in all things to their husbands. Like Christ to His bride, the church, husbands are to sacrificially love, pursue, and nourish their wives. Before becoming a believer, complementarianism was preposterous. I didn’t understand that it wasn’t because I lacked worth but was instead because I had worth that God intended me as a helpmate to a husband who was to love and provide for me. I feel not belittled but made much of understanding that I’ve been given protection, security, and unconditional love from both the Lord who saved me and the husband He ordained for me.

Will you pass this on to your friends?