Joel Osteen on Homosexuality

The full interview airs tomorrow night, but the video above has a preview. I may have more to say after the full interview, but here are a some of my initial thoughts.

1. The interviewer was clearly hostile to Osteen’s stated position. He simply cannot fathom the notion that someone would call homosexuality a sin and still claim to love homosexuals. In his worldview, it is impossible to love sinners while hating their sin. He was trying to shoehorn Osteen into a false alternative: you can love homosexuals by affirming their sin, or you can hate homosexuals by condemning their sin. From a biblical point of view, this is a false choice. Christ Jesus loves sinners. Throughout the New Testament, Jesus is straightforward in calling sin what it is–sin. Nevertheless, he loves sinners.

I think Christians have a unique message to share on this point, and Christians need to have a response to the false dilemma presented in this interview. It sounds trite, but it is nevertheless a truism. We are commanded to love sinners while hating sin. That is what Jesus did, and that is what his disciples are called to do as well. I think we Christians will get a lot of push back on this point in the coming years. We will not be able to dodge this one, and we need to be ready.

2. The interviewer did, however, land one punch. After Osteen said that homosexuality was a sin, the interviewer said that this was the first time he’d ever heard Osteen talk about sin. Osteen did not even attempt to refute the claim. In his sermons, Osteen in fact rarely address sin, the cross, God’s judgment, hell, and host of other biblical doctrines that people are offended by. That is why it is hard for people to understand why Osteen would take a biblical stand on homosexuality when he rarely if ever takes a biblical stand on the other issues. This inconsistency ruins his credibility to speak to the homosexual question.

3. I am grateful that Osteen at least cited scripture as his authority on this issue. This is a step up from other interviews on other issues in which he hedged on some central biblical doctrines. In this interview, I am glad to see that he did not step back from what he thinks the Bible says about the moral status of homosexuality.

4. Osteen says that homosexuality should not be singled out as the main or worst sin. He cites pride and various kinds of addictions as equally sinful as homosexuality is. The interviewer counters that homosexuality is not a choice and can’t be compared to those other kinds of sins. Osteen’s ability to engage the argument biblically ends here. He just says that it’s a tough issue and that he doesn’t have all the answers. I think it is precisely here that Christians need to be able to speak biblically about the human condition, but Osteen does not seem to have the resources to do that. He needed to be able to say that humans are sinners both by nature and by choice. The failure to account for this truth makes it very difficult for Osteen to speak biblically about those whose orientation does not feel like a choice at all.

Every person has a nature that is sinful from conception (Psalm 51:5). We are all, therefore, predisposed to sin in one way or another. It should not be surprising that some people would feel that they did not choose their homosexual orientation (e.g., Wesley Hill’s Washed and Waiting). The scripture teaches that we bear a moral accountability even for orientations that we do not choose. It is for this reason that Jesus said that the root of sin is not the deeds that we commit but our heart from which those deeds originate (Mark 7:20-23).

I am glad that Osteen cited the scripture as his authority. I think, however, that much more needs to be said. Let’s see what happens after the interview airs in its entirety tomorrow night.

(HT: Vitamin Z)


  • Donald Johnson

    I think that saying homosexuality is a sin is in the same category as saying heterosexuality is a sin; that is, it is a category error.

    The most one might claim from Scripture is that a homosexual act is a sin. So I wish people would distinguish between having a proclivity in desires and acting on those desires.

  • Freddy

    Wow. I’m with Piers when he says that’s the first time he’s heard Joel call something out as sin. I really appreciate his honesty, and was pleasantly surprised by his going back to the Scriptures. However, citing verses would make a better support.

    It’d be nice to see an interviewer ask questions like this and actually listen to the answer and ask questions to further develop the conversation. They don’t like what the Bible says but don’t want to be mature enough to hear why we believe it. Just seems like they want to ask the question to make Christians sound like buffoons on nat’l TV.

  • Freddy

    Donald, that’s like saying adultery is only a sin when one commits the act. Jesus clearly says even the thought is sin, namely lust. If the act of homosexuality is wrong, how is the mindset or even belief not either? That clearly shows that their mind has not been renewed. It is a desire of the flesh, which Paul says leads to death in Rom. 8. Paul also says to take every thought captive for Christ. And, the heart that is set on a sinful belief or action, though the act has not been committed, is in sin. I may be misunderstanding you and we’re really on the same page, but we can’t ignore the mind/heart of the matter, which is where it starts. Fruits reveal roots.

  • Harrison

    Well written commentary Denny. I am pleased to see the Reverend defend his position based on scripture. Osteen is geniune if not anything else.

    From reading all the comments above, there is one truth that I am sure of: We are all sinners and we all miss the mark. That is why I am forever grateful for the blood of the lamb, Jesus Christ.

    Thanks for the Post Denny. It was a great message. It made me reflect on the gentleness that you preach the gospel as I remember even from the days at LaTech when you were my hall director. God bless you.

  • Donald Johnson

    I agree that a sin can be in thought, word or deed. But that is different from a temptation or proclivity to a sin.

    A temptation to do a sin is NOT a sin. We know this as Jesus was tempted, but did not sin.

  • Jhowe


    Maybe I’m too cynical about the media, but is it at all possible that they use Osteen as a mascot of evangelicalism that they KNOW will provide this soft theological stance?

    I think they know they’d get a different response from Dr. Mohler or yourself on the issue. That’s why they trot out Joel as the evangelical mouthpiece.

    Maybe my perception of the media is too subversive…or possibly dead on.

  • Rob


    Your comments regarding the nature and nurture issues involved in homo-erotic desires are helpful. I think it is important for Christians to acknowledge that for many individuals who struggle with a homosexual orientation did not choose this path. In fact, many who acknowledge this struggle admit that they wish this attraction was not there since so much of life would be much easier. On this point, “Freddy’s” comment that a homosexual orientation is, in itself, sinful is most unfortunate, and only serves to fuel much of the misconceptions both biblically and psychologically about such an orientation. No, temptation is not a sin. Acting on one’s temptation is. Rom 1 and 1 Cor 6 both refer to actions and not orientation. What is more, the concept of a “sexual orientation” is a foreign concept to the pages of the NT. Thus, to argue that the “bible says” homosexuality is a sin, is difficult and erroneous. Rather, I think it is important to indicate that homo-erotic acts are described as sinful within the pages of the NT.

    Nevertheless, I think your comment about the old adage “hating the sin and loving the sinner” is also unfortunate in this instance. Let me explain… Though I agree with you about the theological truth that God does love the sinner but hates his or her actions, I think when discussing this issue, particularly in a public sphere such as your blog more qualification is needed. This is because for those who self-identify as homosexual much of their identity is tied up in their sexual orientation. Thus, to say in one breath that homosexuality is a sin, and in the next say that God hates the sin, is in fact to say that God hates the homosexual. From a listeners point of view, the distinction between sin and sinner becomes mute. Much more could be said to this point; however, it is important to see that when Christians engage this topic we need to learn how to communicate in a redemptive manner that speaks to the people in a manner that they will understand our gospel. Again, there is truth to the adage; however, applied to this situation it fails to communicate the redemptive message intended.


  • Michael

    I wonder how a Puritan preacher might have answered that question….just kidding, I don’t have to wonder I know and I can promise you it would not have been some weak tap dance like Mr. Osteen. It is a sad day when we are “glad to see” a “preacher” use Scripture (the title preacher in this case is simply to make the point). Thank God for the faithful men of God who are still out there and take God’s Word seriously.

  • Todd Pruitt


    There is an enormous difference between being tempted “from within” and being tempted “from without.” We are tempted from both outside sources (not a sin) and from within because of the sinfulness of our own hearts. Jesus’ temptation was solely from without. His temptation did not come from sinful proclivities within his own heart.

  • Donald Johnson

    I do not see a proclivity as a sin.

    To me, a sin involves a choice, if there is no choice involved, then it simply cannot be a sin.

    I am a heterosexual male, this means I am attracted to women, what I DO with this attraction is up to me and is my choice, but the fact that I am attracted to women is not up to me.

  • David Rogers

    One thing to reflect upon is whether attraction is the same as lust. When a man or woman is attracted to a person of the opposite sex, is that specific attraction the same as lust?

    Or, is it a matter that the attraction can become lust, but not necessarily? Can the attraction remain chaste?

    Applying this to the homosexual issue raises the following questions.

    Can a homosexual person be attracted to a person of the same sex without it becoming lust?

    Does Scripture condemn even the attraction or is the condemnation focused on the lust and the sexual acts?

  • John

    The sad thing is that Osteen’s position on homosexuality will have more weight with some than his false gospel. I lived in Houston for a while, and his cult runs deep. This interview will cement him as a solid preacher in the minds of many.

  • Derek

    Donald said:

    To me, a sin involves a choice, if there is no choice involved, then it simply cannot be a sin.

    Donald, do you believe that sin is “what we do” or “who we are”? I recently read an excellent essay at Tim Challies’ blog, which I recommend: Sin: What We Do or What We Are?. It seems that professing Christians are often at opposite ends on the answer to this question, just as they were in John Edwards’ day.

  • Donald Johnson

    Yikes! Sin and sinner is at least a whole teaching, but here is a brief summary of my understanding.

    1. At the time of the NT, many Jews categorized people into 2 categories, righteous and sinners. Of course, whatever group they were in was seen as being part of the righteous, the “winners” who deserved what they had. And some (others) were seen as sinners, the “losers” who deserved what they got.

    2. In this specific context, Jesus declared that he came to save sinners. The problem was that the “righteous” did not see themselves as “sinners” but needed to do so.

    3. So yes, everyone needs to see themselves as a sinner and not righteous.

    4. This is not to be confused with the thoughts, words or acts which are a specific sin. And these are ALWAYS choices.

    So both are true, it is not a versus thing, it is a both thing.

  • Derek

    I don’t disagree with what you said in #14, Donald. I am however uncomfortable with the notion that our proclivities can somehow be divorced from our sin nature and thus, from our basic depravity. I have little doubt that there are many instances (not all) where a person struggles with SSA and that they had no “choice” in the matter. In other words, SSA was “nature”, not “nurture”. But I believe that it can still be traced to our sin nature, which manifests in different ways in different individuals.

    Thus, I’m personally inclined to see Todd’s view (post #9) as the more accurate and Biblical perspective here.

  • MatthewS

    If we fail to accept the authority of God’s Word, we hurt ourselves and others in the end.

    A quibble about the “love the sinner, hate the sin” terminology:

    The unintended consequence is that it creates “us” and “them”. As a regular habit, I don’t tell a the gossiping organist at church that I love the sinner but hate her gossip, the passive dad that I love the sinner but hate his passivity, or the angry man that while I do love the sinner I happen to hate his anger.

    In practice, we tend to only use love the sinner and hate the sin in response to a certain subset of sins, which effectively pushes THOSE sinners who commit THOSE sins down beneath us. This is an unintentional side effect that we may not even realize is happening but those who are pushed aside can’t help but feel it.

    The statement is true enough but the unintended practical consequences of its common usage make it something to be wary of, in my opinion.

  • Donald Johnson

    On the sinner and sin aspects, all of us humans are broken and therefore sinners as Jesus used the term.

    What I want to hesitate to do is declare that that sinner over there is more broken or less broken than I am, we are all in the same sinner category together, at least if we want to accept Jesus’ offer of salvation.

  • kate

    As a counselor, when I hear people talk about homosexuality, my heart hurts. Mostly because we become so judgmental so often. What if I said that, by the GLBTQ communities own report, almost all people who identify as Gay were sexually abused as children? And anecdotally, I (and my husband who spent years ministering with those wanting out of homosexuality) have never worked with or spoken to a homosexual who was not sexually abused as a child. Not to say all who were sexually abused become homosexuals, but those who identify as homosexuals were sexually abused. Does that make a difference in how we view “them”? I would rather help them heal their wounds than judge them.

  • Derek

    There are lots of people who will absolutely rake you over the coals for suggesting that abuse has anything at all to do with homosexual inclinations. I happen to agree with you that it is more nurture than nature (I’m quite sure that the mix varies from person to person). My father is also a counselor and has told me that early sexual experiences are extremely powerful and even when they are uninvited, it can have lifelong effects and can create a lot of undesired impulses.

  • kate

    Yes, some would rake me over me coals. Does not make it any less true. I was once at a training by a well known homosexual agency and I asked them if any of the peope they helped had suffered from sexual abuse as a child… their numbers… their response was over 80% of both the men and women they saw had suffered sexual abuse as a child.

  • Nathan

    I won’t rake you over the coals, but I think you are treading on thin ice. Maybe those that hate themselves so much that they go to a “homosexual agency” are more likely to have been abused than those that don’t. I’m guessing that they don’t like their homosexuality and they have something to pin it on. And so, they go to an agency to be cured.

    IMO, it’s a sad state of affairs when the church farms out its responsibilities to external agencies. Shouldn’t the Bible give the church enough information to tackle this issue? If the church is struggling, what is it not doing that the Bible says to do?

  • kate

    Nathan, the agency was not to “cure” them and they dpo not go because they hate themselves, but to provide social services, like support and advocacy, HIV/AIDS resources, etc. It is a GLBTQ agency, not a Christian one. So I am sorry if it was confusing. And as far as if that is the case for all, I said what my experiences are and that of my husband. Valid scientific research in this area is scarce.

    As one who deals with Domestic violence and tries to educate the church on this issue, I would agree about how we “farm out” our responsibilities. But, as Donald has said, it is a wise pastor when he realizes he is not equipped to handle such issues and searches for others who are.

  • Nathan

    You know, Don, I’ve heard that claim before. I’m not sure if it’s such a difficult case because of the homosexual or because of those around the homosexual. For most people this situation IS bigger than a breadbox, but I can’t accept that it’s too big for the local church to handle unless the church itself has its own hang-ups. This is a very personal issue for me; it’s where the rubber meets the road. Either the church is a place for people of whatever stripe of sin to change and thrive or it’s a sham. I realize there’s some give and take and that no one is perfect and therefore no church is perfect. From my experience, the crux of the problem is Christians unwilling to go the miles it takes to help their brothers and sisters in this predicament. Pastors should be the professionals when it comes to spiritual matters and should be wise enough to know what needs a spiritual remedy and what doesn’t.

  • Derek

    Every single sexual contact that a person initiates with another person that is outside God’s plan is by definition, a sacred breach.

    It damages the conscience and soul of the person taking advantage and the person being taken advantage of. This is true of all fornication, incest and homosexual relationship. Christians make a serious error when they make up their own classifications and especially when we declare that this or that sexual contact outside of marriage is neutral or even good. It is all damaging to one degree or another unless it happens within the specific paramaters He designed for us.

  • David Rogers

    “Every single sexual contact that a person initiates with another person that is outside God’s plan is by definition, a sacred breach.”

    What I would like to see discussed is what I asked above. I will make one more attempt to see if anyone wants to address the issue.

    Is attraction the same as lust? When a man or woman is attracted to a person of the opposite sex, is that specific attraction the same as lust?

    Or, is it a matter that the attraction can become lust, but not necessarily? Can the attraction remain chaste?

    Applying this to the homosexual issue raises the following questions.

    Can a homosexual person be attracted to a person of the same sex without it becoming lust?

    Does Scripture condemn even the attraction or is the condemnation focused on the lust and the sexual acts?

    Does the telos of the lust and sexual act taint the attraction?

  • Donald Johnson

    There are professional Christian counselors and they exist for a reason. A pastor might specialize but tends to be a generalist. If you need detailed financial guidance, it can be best to go to a financial planner. A pastor can pray for healing, but one should normally also go to a medical doctor. The same for other things.

    Also, there is a huge difference between someone (A) trying and perhaps failing and (B) pretending and gaming the system. And pastors can tend to want to believe the best, when professionals have seen the worst and are better able to recognize it.

  • Derek

    The difference between attraction and lust is primarily that when attraction isn’t restrained by conscience or guided by respect/love for the person we are attracted to.

    It is the difference between a driver who obeys traffic laws and one who speeds through red lights. The more we condition ourselves to run through red lights and disobey traffic signs, the more difficult it becomes to slow down and become law abiding again. At that point, the only thing that is going to slow us down is fear and/or love.

    Any one of us can identify with this, and not just in the area of sexuality. When we begin to make healthy choices, it takes time and the first steps are the most difficult, but our habits and desires can be tamed and yes, even changed with God’s power and help. Maybe not always to the degree that we would desire on this side of heaven, but in this respect we are all in the same boat.

    II Peter 1 teaches us that “self control” is one of at least 8 things that we will never have complete mastery over, but must be “progressing in”, so that we “will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

  • David Rogers

    Derek, thanks for the exposition on attraction and lust.

    Now, how do we evaluate homosexual attraction and homosexual lust? Does the disallowed telos of the homosexual act taint the initial homosexual attraction and thus make the attraction sinful?

    How do we deal with the development of the attraction in a young person who comes up to us and says they have these feelings?

  • Derek

    What I was saying in #30 is that we have to give the same answers we would give to any one of us who has impulses that are illicit or that will lead us to sin. What would you say to a 17 yr old heterosexual dating couple whose hormones are raging? Or a 40 year old single person? That they need to make healthy decisions and establish God honoring habits/boundaries and they need to exercise self-control. They need to stay far away from behaviors and thought patterns that are going to move them down the path to illicit behavior. A person who has an *overwhelming* lust, either SST or heterosexual, has been feeding that desire and entertaining it in the imagination and in actions.

    By the way, if the 17 year old heterosexual dating couple is *entertaining* sexual thoughts about their partner, that is a disallowed telos. It isn’t wrong to be attracted to each other obviously, but a line is crossed when we begin imagining and fantasizing about engaging in illicit and God dishonoring behavior, whether it is sexual in nature or stealing, lying, etc.

  • David Rogers

    Thanks for the replies, but I still don’t see the answer to my question.

    In the case of a heterosexual person I don’t think that you would say that the heart skipping, thinking someone is pretty stage of attraction is illicit, but you would warn them not to focus thoughts on moving toward more explicit graphic bodily matters. This of course changes when one enters into a marital covenant.

    What would you say to a male who comes to you and says that his heart skips a beat and he thinks another male is really handsome. Is that level of attraction illicit in itself since its telos in lust and action is clearly condemned in Scripture.

    Or, since the “attraction” issue isn’t clearly addressed in Scripture, the person should be carefully counseled that such attractions cannot righteously move forward toward any actual relationship. The issue of the sinfulness of the attraction isn’t addressed in Scripture. What needs to be said is that the same sex attraction should be constantly sacrificed to Christ as an act of discipleship. Some people struggle with different “natural-to-themself” inclinations that do not mesh with God’s revealed righteousness. These inclinations rather than being acted upon need to be offered to him as an act of obedience.

    Or, do you have another way of looking at the matter?


  • David Rogers

    Please alter the last sentence of the last paragraph to:

    “These inclinations, rather than being acted upon, need to be offered to him as an act of submission to his not our own lordship of the self.”

  • Kelly

    Kate, stop putting out bad and unsubstantiated second hand “data” about gay people being gay because of sexual abuse.

    You deserve to be raked over the coals for this false witness.

    have the decency to name this “homosexual agency” that says this nonsense. Somehow, I suspect the name will not be forthcoming. There is no valid scientif research, by REAL scientists, not NARTH or that discredited lot, who back up your claims.

    You bring shame to yourself and your faith.

  • Kelly

    the coal raking being, as referred to by another poster and yourself, figurate of course. Not literal.

    That said, find another career…you have no business being a counselor.

  • Kelly

    Stop lying Darius.

    SCIENTIFIC data back me…

    a fact yo may not like, but CANNOT refust..which is why EVERY psychological, medical and sociological organization in America backs me up, and contradicts you.

    Ignore Darius Kate…he refuses to see any thing he does not already agree with.

  • Kelly

    Dr Burk…every word I have said is factual, and the fact that the medical, sociological, psychiatric and psychological organizations state what I say they state is the truth. I hope you will leave a truthful statement up, even when it points out, as do many Christians and whole denominations (Lutheran, most Presbyterians, Episcopalians, United Chruch of Christ and othes) who would say such ‘Christian’ counseling in an doomed to fail attempt to be other than the person God made one to be is unnecessary at best, and damaging at worst.

    Thank you

  • Darius

    Lol… whatever. As Kate (someone who actually works with homosexuals because she loves them) said, valid scientific studies are really rare because of the bias involved. Clearly, your bias is too strong to even consider contradictory evidence.

    I would say that homosexual men would seem more likely to have abuse in their past than homosexual women… probably because a man’s sexuality is generally more important to who they are than women. You see that everywhere in our culture. Girls get abused, they find abusive men as their partner. Men get abused as kids, they question their sexuality. Girls and boys respond very differently to abuse… probably partly because girls usually get abused by the opposite gender while boys get abused by their own gender.

  • Kelly

    (pardon the bad tying and poor sentence structure. I am just livid with the memory of spending hours and hours trying to comfort someonw who endured such “therapy” and who could not, for the life of him, cinvince his “therapist” he had not been abused as a child, and was happy as a gay man…aside from the loathing he felt from his “loving religious family”. It is enough to really upset a person, as I would hope you would agree.


  • Kelly


    Darius….get a mirror…

    and the next time someone brings up a discussion of why the young people are leaving the church..remember what you saw when you shaved this morning.

  • Darius

    Kelly, Kate never said that ALL homosexuals were abused. Just that most were. Your friend should have been treated differently… his sinful lifestyle came from his own choices rather than an abusive past.

  • Darius

    Young people (such as myself) aren’t leaving my church… we have TONS of 20-somethings; probably the most of any age-group. They ARE leaving mainline churches like the one you attend. They’re smart enough to figure out that liberal theology is inherently self-refuting.

  • Kelly

    the fact is Darius, NO respectable medical/psychological/psychiatric or psychologcial organization give this ANY credit at ALL.

    It is a typical conservative ruse used to imply what is not true, that MOST gay people are gay because of abuse, followed by “well…. NOT ALL are”.

    It is bad science, cannot be backed up, and I called her, and you, out on it

    and remember, better churches than yours ( you are just a fundamentalist ) DONT think all gay relationships are sinful.
    Stop pretending you and your opinion speaks for the whole Church (capital C).

    You dont

  • Kelly

    Darius, the southern baptists have lost membership for the last three years….you statement jsut shows how out of touch you are.

    Unless you are a Mormon (not really Christian I know), your conservative denomination is losing the young also.

    dont believe be? Ask Barna

    You just showed how out of touch you are….

  • Kelly

    Who has been studying the Bible longer…and better…the fundamentalist who run off anyone whose scholarship they are frightened of, or those who both love God and still have open minds?

  • Kelly

    In any case, the days when folks like you could pretend you spoke for the Church, and Kate could make statements not backed up by the medical establishment, and those of us with gay family members, friends and clergy would silently not go “wait, you can’t back that up”, and then prove our point, are OVER

  • Darius

    Uhh, I’m not a Southern Baptist. I attend an EFCA church, and maybe the denomination as a whole has lost some youth (I have no idea), but the churches here in Minnesota in the EFCA are thriving and growing… and will be long after your church has closed its doors.

    As for who has been studying the Bible longer… seriously? Someone who actually believes it to be God’s Word or someone who thinks it is full of misguided advice, racism, and homophobia? I think common sense should tell you the answer pretty quickly.

  • Derek

    I know someone who ministers to sexually exploited boys in Cambodia and it is pervasive throughout the culture, probably 80-90% of the boys have been exploited before puberty. How does this happen? Is it genetic? I don’t think so. Abuse begets abuse and creates sexual confusion. Period. I’m not saying that genetics doesn’t play a role, but Kelly and her crowd would have us believe that genetics alone dictate sexual identity. Which is total and complete balderdash.

  • Chris

    Actually in my church we have more 20 somethings than anything else and we don’t try to distort Gods word to tell them what they want to hear. They know that homosexuality is not Gods best or Gods intention. They want God’s truth! We accept them and love them right where they are but our goal is to lead them to God’s best which is a heterosexual marriage covenant or celibacy.

    Some interesting research on cause of homoseuality:

    The nature versus nurture debate just took an unexpected turn — thanks to pollution.

    Increased exposure to the toxic chemical mercury can affect sexual preference in certain species of birds — inducing homosexuality, a new study has revealed.

    The research has never revealed that people are born gay. In fact, the research indicates that there are many factors, including possible biological and environmental factors, which contribute to a homosexual orientation (LeVay, 1996; Whitehead & Whitehead, 1999).

    Italian geneticists may have explained how genes apparently linked to male homosexuality survive, despite gay men seldom having children. Their findings also undermine the theory of a single “gay gene”.

    While scientists have found intriguing biological differences between gay and straight people, the evidence so far stops well short of proving that we are born with a sexual orientation that we will have for life. Even more important, some research shows that sexual orientation is more fluid than we have come to think, that people, especially women, can and do move across customary sexual orientation boundaries, that there are ex-straights as well as ex-gays.

    While environmental factors may include experiences of sexual abuse or other traumatic events, a common contributor to same-sex attractions is a disruption in the development of gender identity. Gender identity refers to a person’s view of his or her own gender; that is, his or her sense of masculinity or femininity. Gender identity is formed through the relationships that a child has with the same-sex parent and same-sex peers.

  • Kate

    First, let me say my response will be in parts as it is lengthy. However, because I was out all day and unable to respond, I feel the need to do so in detail. After all, my integrity has been brought into question.
    Wow, Kelly, where to begin. First, when we disagree on a point it is helpful to address the issue and not attack the person or their integrity. It defeats your point before you even make it. Just a word of advice. That said, let me address of few of your points.
    Since you know nothing about me or my counseling abilities, I would suggest that you also know nothing about what I do or do not do. As a licensed therapist, it would be very unethical for me to suggest to anyone that they have been sexually abused f they never bring up the subject or disclose. (and by the way, I teach ethics at a Christian University so I know of which I speak). That would be something that someone could report to the Board and for which I might lose my license, something I am not willing to do. If and when a client decides to disclose, my job is never to persuade them to my way of thinking. Any therapist who presumes to know someone’s history without them saying so is not doing their client any service, but rather a disservice. That being said, there are times when symptomology suggests a certain history, but that would be something I would keep to myself. It is the client who must discover themselves, and God in His mercy and wisdom decides when that history is to be revealed (I am speaking of clients who have no memories of blocks of years in their childhood. God reveals in His time). As far as convincing a client to change their sexual orientation, again, it is unethical and something against all ethical codes of conduct, including the ACA of under which I practice. Before you paint with a broad brush what is acceptable and what the psychological community, of which I am a part, thinks or does, you should do more research… and as you have pointed out… have an open mind, not one biased and judgmental. If a client came to me struggling with ANY sexual sin, including sexual intimacy outside of marriage, it is that struggle we address. That is totally ethical because it is the issue the client is bringing into the session and it would be unethical not to address it.

  • Kate

    Now, as far as how I treat someone who self-identifies as homosexual, I too have friends, family and colleagues who are in this group. They receive nothing but love from me, not judgment or condemnation. (Something you might practice when trying to persuade someone to your point of view.) And, by the way, every one of them was sexually abused as a child – their report, not mine.
    Now, to the information I referenced. I was very clear as to where that information came from. The organization that I was referring to was not Narth, it was a GLBTQ social service agency, Pride Institute. I am not afraid to name names as my information came from the gentleman who led the professional training, and he self-identified as gay himself. You can believe it or not, I really do not care. But my integrity remains intact and your opinion is of no import. I am not ashamed of my information, as you suggest I should be. And it is first-hand, not second hand so you might check your facts.
    One last thing about what the psych and medical community believes. In 1973 when the APA declassified homosexuality as a disorder in the DSM, it was by a vote of 60% for declassification and 40% against. While it is a majority, it is by no means inclusive of the entire psych community. In addition, one of the doctors that led the charge to declassify did later research to prove what he had lobbied for, that homosexuality was innate. What he found, however, was that people could change. He spoke to many who came out of the lifestyle and concluded that if they could change, then what they had decided about having no choice had to be in error and faulty research. An acquaintance of mine was part of that research study. And before you ask, the doctor’s name eludes me at this moment.
    Lastly, I think I will keep my career despite your admonition and judgmental comment that I should find another one. I am good at what I do, and my clients that I help (often for no payment by the way) would agree. They have said as much. So thanks, but no thanks for your condescending advice.

    Kelly, might I suggest you see a counselor to deal with your anger issues? (she says tongue in cheek).

  • Kelly

    When you reduce yourself to comments like that, it lets me know I have won the arguement


    “I know someone”
    “I don’t THINK” (so true on so many levels)

    Not one iota of scientific/accepted medical/psychological/Psychiatric evidence…just

    Hearsay, Hearsay, Hearsay..

    There is a reason fewer and fewer people agree with the likes of you Derek. They see paragraphs like this, and compare it to what they see in their homes, churches and offices, and then speak to their doctors, psychologists and heath professionals, and ask their gay friends if they were molested, and get overwhelmingly high “No…were you?” answers…and people who sound like you just look foolish and mean.

    And you make the church look the same.

    Don’t shoot the messenger.

    please, for you own sake, read Barna. He is a right winger, but his research is very good…and I think you will find it…enlightening.

    By the way Derek, and earlier Darius…I love how you assume so much, just from a name, and just (I assume, because I can actually relate to people different than me, and offer comfort)…but SHE (me) is actually a 40 year old, 215 pound Rugby playing dad/ businessman. 🙂

  • Darius

    Well, honestly, it’s a girl’s name (no offense) and your arguments have been long on emotion and short on logic, so… that said, sorry for the gender misunderstanding.

    You still haven’t actually given any of those “so easy to find” statistics about abuse… hearsay, hearsay, hearsay. Pot, kettle. And on goes the merry-go-round…

  • Derek

    Barna is not “right wing”. He is at his best when he reports the facts and leaves others to recommend solutions, like a professional researcher should do. I have read his studies and parts of “unChristian”. Barna is a primarily a researcher and is very good at detailing what is happening in the culture and presenting a good picture of what the culture thinks about Christianity and especially evangelicalism. However, his opinion is no better or more informed than anyone else’s when it comes to recommending how the Church ought to respond to the culture. Sometimes I think he is correct, but sometimes his focus shifts to how we can make Christianity more compatible with the changing culture, which can be a very dangerous and slippery slope. The reason that the mainline churches are in severe decline and even worse, don’t stand for anything (especially not the Gospel) is largely due to an over-eagerness to please the culture and especially cultural elites. The particulars are always changing, but the Gospel will always be offensive to the world, and especially to the powerful and well heeled elites.

  • Darius

    “The particulars are always changing, but the Gospel will always be offensive to the world, and especially to the powerful and well heeled elites.”

    Well said. Many times the best way to see if you’re interpreting Scripture accurately is to see how the secular elites respond to it.

  • Ryan K.

    Have a debate/discussion with Kelly is seemingly impossible.

    I have tried to engage with her previously on issues such as homosexuality, gender roles and such, and each time it is just met with insults and name-calling. Personally I am perplexed to if she actually thinks insults are valid substitutions for actual evidence and arguments.

    For the most part Kelly you are quite exclusivistic in your view of God and people, the only problem though is that your narrow way of viewing these topics is grounded in your own subjective opinions and whims rather than in the revelation of God’s Word.

  • Derek

    Intelligence (as determined by the author of the guardian article) can be a very subjective thing to measure. There are a few rare souls like C.S. Lewis who have book smarts and common sense, as well as common decency to fellow man. I doubt that Richard Dawkins would meter out too well if we were to compare his emotional intelligence or ability to relate to people or street smarts. My money would be on his plumber on those playing fields.

    Some of the Bible’s best writers came from an elite and/or influential backgrounds and testified, in various degrees, to the emptiness of it – Moses, Daniel, Solomon, Isaiah, Paul. What I love about those characters is that they were whip smart, but they also had real “salt of the earth” qualities that cause their writing to resonate in the hearts and minds of educated people and children alike.

  • Nathan


    A negative reaction from the secular elite (or the world, in general) doesn’t necessarily mean a proper application of Scripture. Sin also begets bad reactions.

    For example, if someone gets offended about you saying that girls are long on emotion and short on logic, it has nothing to do with your interpretation of Scripture. And you shouldn’t let their reaction give you confidence about what you are saying…

  • Derek

    Thanks for posting that information, Chris. I wanted to report some of that, but didn’t have time.

    lets see your best and strongest research or proof that homosexuality is purely or primarily a genetic and/or immutable trait? Yes, there have been several, widely heralded studies on the gay gene that have not aged well, due to poor study methods and inability to reproduce results [that initially gave hope to those looking for a gay gene]. 2 years ago that the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality quietly stopped referring to the gay gene and essentially admitted that there really isn’t such a thing [as a gay gene].
    We’re quite aware that in the circles you travel, no inquiry can be made into the “nurture” aspect of one’s sexuality, but this strident and narrow minded orthodoxy is not based in hard science or intellectual freedom – ironically it is born of a very narrow mindset, one that will not tolerate dissent. How ironic.

  • Derek

    David Rogers,
    I think your reply must have been stuck in the queue for a long time because I’m seeing it now for the first time.

    I did stipulate that a person could have non-illicit attraction/thoughts about either the same sex or opposite sex. My point regarding that subject is that we would be wisest to address “thought patterns that are going to move them down the path to illicit behavior” rather than to outline some kind of mechanical list of thoughts and feelings that we ought/ought-not feel or think.

    Since we know that God does not desire for us to establish sexual relationships with those we cannot be married to, if we are entertaining thoughts of romance with a person who cannot become our spouse, we can confidently say that those thoughts are not from God, nor does He want us to entertain them. This is actually a very common issue for married couples. I daresay all married couples experience attraction to someone else’s wife or husband at one time or another. Normally, the attraction starts out very innocuously and non-sexual. Most of us know people who never actually cheated physically, but did so emotionally.

    So when we discover that our desires – be they illicit or seemingly harmless – contradict God’s will for our lives, we do need to ask God where the actual root of these contrary desires is coming from. In some cases, there may be a root cause that can be repented of and the desire will go away – in other cases, yes, I agree that the desire or impulse may be a lifelong issue and this calls for obedience and self-control, exactly as you suggest. And I think every single one of us have sinful impulses and desires that we will struggle with for the rest of our lives.

  • David Rogers


    Thanks for the input. Your phrasing of the issue has been helpful.



    P.S. Yes I do believe I was stuck in the queue for awhile. Either I’m hitting a random moderation check or my posts are too long or paragraphed in a way that triggers moderation or Denny doesn’t trust me and has tagged my posts to be automatically moderated. It’s his blog, so I guess if I want to post I’ll have to submit to whatever he decides.

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