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This past weekend in Lynchburg, Va., my ministry hosted an
anti-violence summit with about 200 homosexual-rights advocates and 200
conservative Christians in attendance. The purpose of this assembly was
to design a dual strategy, within both constituencies, calling for an
end to the epidemic of violence in our nation. The Rev. Mel White,
co-chair of Soulforce and my friend for more than 15 years, organized
the assemblage of religious homosexuals, while I directed the
During the press conference that followed the anti-violence forum, I
shared a personal story with more than 100 media persons from around the
country. I told how I was once asked by a reporter, “Rev. Falwell, what
would you do if one of your sons told you, ‘Dad, I’m gay’?” (My
children were still at home when I was asked this question. They are
now parents themselves.)
I responded, “There is absolutely nothing one of my three children
could say or do that would cause me to expel them from my love or from
my home. If my son told me he was gay, I would tell him, “While I do
not approve of the lifestyle you have chosen, I love you
unconditionally; this is still your home. And while I pray that I can
lead you back to normalcy, nothing has changed in our relationship.”
As most people know, my position on homosexuality is founded in the
Bible. I believe the Bible — God’s infallible Word — prohibits all
sexual activity outside the traditional bonds of marriage between a man
and woman. I Thessalonians 4:3 tells us to “abstain from fornication.”
I Peter 2:11 further teaches us to “abstain from fleshly lusts, which
war against the soul.”
Romans 1:26-27 informs us of an earlier time when sexual immorality
and self-worship brought great consequence to those involved. “For this
cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did
change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise
also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust
one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and
receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.”
Other similar verses abound.
With 200 homosexuals staring me in the face last Saturday, I
accentuated the biblical position that homosexuality is sin. I also
cautioned everyone attending that meeting that my position would never
falter. I will never presume to counter God’s Law.
However, I believe that the Bible also calls me (and all Christians,
for that matter) to be a minister of God’s Truth. That means that I am
to love all people — no matter how much I may disagree with them. The
anti-violence forum was therefore designed to not only join forces with
the homosexual community in reducing the strident rhetoric, on both
sides of this debate, but to build a bridge of love and communication to
the millions of gays and lesbians in our culture.
Can We Love God and Not Our Brother?
Nevertheless, while Christians cannot condone homosexuality, there is
no biblical mandate that we must viciously rebuke those who embrace that
lifestyle. The Rev. Fred Phelps of Topeka, Kan., who protested our
summit along with a handful of supporters, takes a radically different
Phelps and his entourage spat out venomous taunts at homosexuals
attending the summit, as well as thousands of my church members on
Sunday morning. I believe Phelps and his ilk are dangerous because
their noxious words are motivated by hatred. I believe there is a
distinct likelihood that their words can coerce violence. That is not
how my Bible tells me we are to conduct our lives.
Matthew 5:44 instructs us to, “Love your enemies, bless them that
curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which
despitefully use you, and persecute you.” By loving those who oppose
us, we stand on the high ground and gain an ability to clearly
communicate the gospel of Christ. No one pays any heed to the message
of Fred Phelps because it offers no hope of redemption — only
I challenge Rev. Phelps to explain how he can justify his actions
when the Bible cautions against such endeavors. “Beloved, if God so
loved us, we ought also to love one another” (I John 4:11). I remind
Rev. Phelps of another verse, I John 4:20: “If a man say, I love God,
and hateth his brother, he is a liar; for he that loveth not his brother
whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?”
I truly believe that the Bible compels Christians to humbly reach out
with the message of the gospel. God saved me out of a life of sin, and
He can do it for anyone. Anyone! Carrying signs that reflect alarming
messages such as “Fags Burn In Hell,” strikingly contrasts the biblical
command to “preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).
That is one of the verses that prompted me to agree to host the
anti-violence summit. My hope is that many more people will now openly
listen to my message because I have clarified that my impetus for
preaching the gospel of Christ is His perfect love. There is no hate
motivating my message and I am going to be ever cautious to ensure that
my position is always motivated in this regard.
‘New Creatures’ in Christ
One need look no further than the electrifying testimony of Michael
Johnston to see how God is not limited in whom He can reach. Michael,
who joined us in Lynchburg over the weekend, was consumed by the
homosexual lifestyle for many years. As a tragic result, he now carries
the AIDS virus.
But God is gloriously using Michael as he courageously shares
Christ’s love and redemptive power with many people that may otherwise
never hear the gospel message. Of course, he is paying a price for this
effort as the homosexual community bitterly attacks his labors.
Michael’s full reward will not come in this world; but in a greater
world that lies ahead.
It is important to note that when Michael fully gave his life to
Christ, he became a “new creature” in Him. God accepts us where we are,
but He immediately draws us to Him and calls us to a life of
transformation in Him. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new
creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new”
(II Corinthians 5:17). To disregard this verse is to be blinded by
one’s own desires.
Great Christian theologian A.W. Tozer described salvation as “the
restoration of a right relation between man and his Creator.” He
continued by saying that “a satisfactory spiritual life will begin with
a complete change in relation between God and the sinner; not a judicial
change merely, but a conscious and experienced change affecting the
sinner’s whole nature.”
I am committed to helping Michael Johnston and thousands of other
“ex-gays” declare their message of godly deliverance because I continue
to believe that many homosexuals are hungering for an escape from their
lifestyle. Furthermore, I agree with Robert Knight of the Family
Research Council who said last week, “Pretending darkness is light does
not turn sin into virtue.”
There would be no value to my message if I ignored the transformation
of the Christian that is mandated by Christ.
Opposition to the Summit
I realize that many will continue to stridently oppose my message.
Bob Kunst, leader of the homosexual-rights group known as the Oral
Majority, is one such person. Bob also protested our anti-violence
summit, saying that I should stay out of homosexuals’ business. He also
believes that my insistence in calling homosexuality sin is, in itself,
a precarious insult to homosexuals.
Nevertheless, I cannot turn a blind eye to Romans, Chapter 1, and
several other biblical passages simply because Bob Kunst doesn’t like
the message that his actions are sinful and dangerous. My objective is
not to challenge Bob’s right to conduct his life as he pleases — within
the bounds of law that we all must observe. My intent is rather to
challenge the homosexual agenda which, I believe, not only counters the
Bible, but also contradicts the Judeo-Christian values set forth by our
nation’s Founding Fathers.
I not only have a right to challenge him, I believe I have a biblical
mandate to confront the culture — as did the Apostle Paul — with the
Truth of Christ.
Our Age of Violence
Will this summit thwart the death of a homosexual young person at the
hand of a brutal attacker? Will this summit avert Christian young
people from being slaughtered in their schools and churches by crazed
gunmen? I can only hope that it will have a positive impact in saving
lives or averting assaults.
All people in our nation deserve the right to pursue their lives in a
safe environment. Any Christian who lifts a hand against a homosexual
does so without the approval of God. While I will preach homosexuality
as sin until the day I die, I will also condemn the bitter anger that
occasionally rears its head by those claiming to be Christians. In
addition, the homosexual community must stop their assaults on
I repeat that I am committed to upholding the biblical message of
Christ’s redemptive power. It is my sincere hope that, through this
meeting, we will positively affect this violent culture in which we
live. It is also my fervent hope that we can affect eternity. I pray
that, through the high visibility of this summit, many individuals will
soon come to know the peace “which passeth all understanding” that Paul
described in Philippians 4:7.
If you would like a position paper on same-sex marriage, please
visit my website for information.