“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new (NKJV).”

For many individuals in our nation, this verse is the centerpiece of their escape from homosexuality. I have the privilege of knowing several people who have — through their relationship with Jesus Christ — been able to walk away from the dangerous homosexual lifestyle.

I think of my good friend Michael Johnston, a young man stricken with AIDS as a result of his previous behavior, who now boldly proclaims the message of God’s redemptive power. Michael faces constant persecution because his message blatantly counters that of the homosexual-rights movement. Michael is a great man of faith and an inspiration to many because of his unwavering walk with Christ through his leadership at Kerusso Ministries. He is living proof — along with thousands of others — that homosexuality does not have to be a permanent trap.

As Dr. Tim LaHaye, co-author of the popular “Left Behind” fiction series, has noted, “Michael’s story is a remarkable example of the breadth and depth of God’s grace.”

The science of change

Earlier this week, a Columbia University psychiatry professor, Dr. Robert Spitzer, released the findings of his study on “ex-gays,” to the American Psychiatric Association in New Orleans. And the results have suggested the unthinkable to homosexual-rights advocates who insist that they are born with a “gay gene” or some uncontrollable element that leads to their homosexuality.

Dr. Spitzer concluded that many homosexuals can change their sexual orientation through counseling. He reported that he interviewed 143 men and 57 women who underwent so-called “reparative” counseling and discovered that 66 percent of the men and 44 percent of the women reported “good heterosexual functioning.”

“Like most psychiatrists, I thought that homosexual behavior could only be resisted and that no one could really change their sexual orientation,” Dr. Spitzer said. “I now believe that to be false. Some people can and do change.” Homosexuals must be “highly motivated” for the counseling, which can be psychological or religious, noted Dr. Spitzer, to achieve the goal of changing their sexual orientation.

Of course, his recent findings counter the opinions of a variety of medical and psychological organizations, including the American Psychiatric Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association. In fact, the APA released a statement distancing itself from Dr. Spitzer’s findings, saying there was no “publishable scientific evidence” showing that therapy can change a person’s “sexual orientation.” And a related study, New York City psychologists Ariel Shidlo and Michael Schroeder reported that only six of 202 homosexual men and lesbians they interviewed reported changing their orientation to heterosexual after counseling.

Homosexual-rights groups have predictably ignored Dr. Spitzer’s findings and immediately launched attacks on the report, claiming that most of the patients were referred to him by groups that encourage homosexuals to become heterosexual.

Tim McFeeley, political director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force called the findings “snake oil packaged as science” and accused Dr. Spitzer of being in bed with the “religious right.”

“This study has little scientific value because the sample was largely drawn from organizations with strong anti-gay missions and appears to be a reflection of the researcher’s personal bias,” said Wayne Besen of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest homosexual political organization. “This study makes it clear that until society is free from anti-gay prejudice, people will feel compelled or can be coerced into attempting to change and claim success even if it has not occurred.”

Sadly, homosexual-rights advocates disregard faith as it relates to change. God calls us all to Him, but He also directs us to live as “new creatures” in our new lives with Him. Homosexuals must change. Adulterers must change. Sexually-active heterosexuals must change. We can not live for Him as long as we are slaves to our own desires.

Homosexuals typically charge that this type of language is motivated by hate. But the opposite is true. If I hated homosexuals, I would not lift my voice to urge them to halt their destructive life choice. (I say the lifestyle is dangerous because the “International Journal of Epidemiology,” has reported that the life expectancy, at age 20, for homosexual or bisexual men is eight to 20 years less than for all men.) My message is one of hope that comes solely through a relationship with Christ.

I thank God for Michael Johnston’s Kerusso Ministries and the ministries of other organizations such as Transformation Ministries, Living Hope Ministries and Exodus International. These groups have been providing much-needed hope for homosexuals who desire to change the psychological, physical and spiritual destruction that accompanies their behavior. These organizations proved long ago what Dr. Spitzer only recently discovered through science — men and women can and do change, especially when they choose to walk with Christ.

Individuals wishing to learn more about Michael Johnston’s remarkable life’s story may order his videotape biography, “On Wings Like Eagles,” by calling (800) 584-5630.

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