10/7/12 Josh, 20
A student named Josh, out for a smoke outside his college dorm, agreed to answer my questions about his beliefs, calling himself an agnostic. He had grown up in a small-town Baptist church, believes himself to be gay, and doesn't believe he can be a Christian as a result. I asked if we could see what the Bible would say about him and his standing with God outside of the issue of homosexuality. Josh agreed, and afterward he could see that according to the Ten Commandments he would be a sinner deserving of condemnation just like everyone else. By setting aside the issue of homosexuality and using the law to help him see his sin and need for forgiveness, it was easy to help him see God's love in Jesus. At this point he asked what I thought about homosexuality and whether he might be accepted at my church. Chicago's gay community is centered on the north side, so this has not been too much of an issue for us, but I told him, "We believe that acting on the desire, not the desire itself, is sinful, so we would treat it like any other sin" "Do you believe gays can be changed?" he asked. "I think some people become gay as a result of their own personal choices or life experiences, and might be able to change. Others have a natural tendency toward homosexuality as a result of man's sin and condemnation in general, and they can live out a right relationship with God through a celibate lifestyle, just as Paul chose to do". Josh feels he has been born gay and had no choice about it, but was very positive about all I told him because I had first laid down the foundational truth that all are under condemnation because of our sin and that we all need forgiveness. He said he doesn't feel bitter toward God for giving him homosexual desires nor because the Bible teaches that homosexuality is sinful, because he knows God doesn't owe us anything, that we are just fortunate to be alive. "You've given me a lot to think about - thanks for having the courage to come up and talk to me about all this." I'm glad I did. Will you pray for Josh?