ADvindicate's Gerry Wagoner interviews White Horse Media Director Steve Wohlberg on a new 13-part DVD on homosexuality.
STEVE, THANKS FOR TAKING TIME OUT OF YOUR BUSY SCHEDULE TO PARTICIPATE IN AN INTERVIEW ON THIS IMPORTANT TOPIC. FOR DECADES THE CHURCH HAS BEEN SILENT ON HOMOSEXUALITY, OR SIMPLY CONDEMNED IT. THAT SEEMS TO BE CHANGING, DOESN’T IT?
Yes, primarily because the controversy has gone mainstream and is now being hotly debated on radio and television, in the media, in courts, on campuses, and in homes worldwide. The issue has gone global. So the church must deal with it.
HOW IS OUR CHURCH DEALING WITH THE ISSUE OF HOMOSEXUALITY?
As can be expected, its response is mixed. Some still ignore it. Others do nothing but fight it. Scholars are writing about it. Parents are struggling with it. Growing numbers are affirming it. White Horse Media has chosen to address it kindly, respectfully, yet biblically, seeking to save souls.
THERE IS A GROWING TENDENCY AMONG LIBERAL THEOLOGIANS TO REINTERPRET THE SCRIPTURE PASSAGES THAT CONDEMN HOMOSEXUAL ACTIVITY AS MERELY FORBIDDING HOMOSEXUAL PROMISCUITY OR CONDEMNING IDOL WORSHIP. DO YOU SEE THIS REINTERPRETATION AS A MODERN FAD OR IS IT SYMPTOMATIC OF A DEEPER PROBLEM?
It’s not a fad. The controversy will rage until the end of time. For a variety of reasons, not all of which are understood, increasing numbers are “coming out of the closet” and affirming that, yes, they are attracted to their same sex. The homosexual community has become quite large, and its getting bigger every day. Theologians on all sides are wrestling with this reality, and as you stated, many scholars are seeking to reinterpret Bible verses to allow for same-sex activity. Yes, I see this as a problem, for a careful study of God’s Word doesn’t support such revisionism. Does this trend reflect a deeper problem? Yes, for it betrays a lack of complete honesty with Scripture and an underlying sympathy with what the Bible plainly identifies as wrong. When the Scripture warns men, “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman” (Leviticus 18:22), this is not describing homosexual promiscuity in contrast to homosexual monogamy, but rather the homosexual act itself. A close reading of Leviticus 20:13, Romans 1:26,27, and 1 Cor. 6:9,10 teaches the same thing. God’s plan is for “male and female” (see Gen. 1:27). Departing from God’s plan is so serious that Jesus had to die to redeem us.
I UNDERSTAND THAT YOUR MINISTRY JUST COMPLETED A VIDEO SERIES ON HOMOSEXUALITY. TELL US ABOUT THAT.
Yes, it’s a 13-part series called, “Coming Out: Former Gays Testify of God’s Saving Love.” My guests were Wayne Blakely, Mike Carducci, and Ron Woolsey--all former gays who have “come out” of that lifestyle. The series is fantastic! Each program is rooted in their own personal journeys, struggles, discoveries and victories. Filled with “aha” moments, it deals deeply with same-sex struggles, looks closely at Bible verses, brings clarity, and offers hope to the hopeless, rest for the restless, and salvation through the love and mercy of Jesus Christ.
WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS FOR THIS DVD PRESENTATION?
We hope it will be watched on television, in churches and in homes (on DVD), on campuses, and shared widely with anyone interested in the topic. Imagine a father whose daughter grew up in church but is now living with her lesbian lover. I have received emails from parents struggling with this exact issue. “What do I do?” they ask me. My response is, “Watch ‘Coming Out’ and share it with your daughter and her lover.” Honestly, “Coming Out” is not just some theologian coldly quoting Bible verses. Not at all. The first three programs are simply Wayne, Mike, and Ron telling their stories. Each is gripping, heartfelt, and engaging. Then, we delve deep into such issues as “homophobia,” the failures of the church (sometimes), how to cope with one’s own same-sex struggles, and where to go for sympathetic resources that can truly help. “Coming Out” is powerful. It offers hope. It can change lives. This is our goal in producing it -- to save souls for eternity!
I APPRECIATE COMING OUT MINISTRIES. WHY AREN’T OUR SCHOOLS INVITING THESE MEN TO SHARE WHAT GOD HAS DONE FOR THEM?
Because, sad to say, there is often strong on-campus support for affirming same-sex attractions “as is.” The guys at “Coming Out” rock the boat. Some administrators may be afraid of offending their students. But believe me, the Coming Out Trio know how to address this controversial issue with finesse and godly charm, all the while being truthful with Scripture. Those who won’t invite them don’t know what they’re missing. Our schools are supposed to train Christian young people to serve Jesus. This topic is huge. These issues are real. These Coming Out guys have answers. Their voices should be heard.
THE FILM SEVENTH-GAY ADVENTISTS SUGGESTS THAT HOMOSEXUALS CANNOT CHANGE. WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE TO THAT NEGATIVE VIEW OF THE GOSPEL
Wayne Blakely, Mike Carducci and Ron Woolsey are proof positive that homosexuals CAN be changed by God. But let me make something quite clear. Our “Coming Out” series offers some surprising twists and turns. For instance, it clarifies that to “be saved” does NOT mean that a same-sex attracted young man must suddenly be attracted to young women in order to go to heaven. Nope. It also stresses that temptation itself is not sin. For instance. I’m happily married to my wife, Kristin Wohlberg, but that doesn’t mean that I may never be tempted by thoughts of another woman. But if so, Jesus can help me deal with that. I can resist, by His grace. To think that “salvation” means that I must NEVER have such struggles is unreasonable. Similarly, when a same-sex attracted person gives his or her life to Jesus, that doesn’t mean those attractions will vanish overnight, or that they will quickly be replaced with desires for the opposite sex. This is unreasonable. Jesus will deal with that in time. The main thing is to come to Jesus now and let Him work with that. He can do it. His power is great and must not be underestimated. Truthfully, while homosexuality is wrong, it is no worse than pride, hatred, hypocrisy, or a whole host of other addictions. Many misunderstandings exist. Gays are people too. Jesus loves us all. But unfortunately, the “Seventh-Gay Adventists” film ignores the plain biblical truth that homosexual activity is sin, and the power of Jesus to save from it. “They can’t change,” is its message, “it’s the way they are. If we don’t affirm them 100%, we misrepresent Jesus.” This is wrong. The REAL JESUS loves everyone, but He doesn’t affirm sin. He can change us, no matter how messed up we are. And we are all messed up somewhere. In addition to “Coming Out,” we also produced a special 1-hour “Seventh-day Adventist Biblical Response to the Seventh-Gay Adventists Film.” Both are available on DVD from White Horse Media.
I USED THE TERM “RESIST AND REACH OUT” IN A RECENT ARTICLE. WHAT ARE SOME WAYS THAT WE CAN RESIST THIS SIN?
The first place to start is by understanding what the Bible says about homosexuality, not just in one or two isolated texts, but in both the Old and New Testaments. Then we must realize that ALL sexual sin is SIN, whether homosexual, or heterosexual. God calls us all to moral purity. He can forgive, and make us pure, but we must do our part. We must be very clear about this.
HOW CAN WE REACH OUT TO THOSE TRAPPED IN HOMOSEXUALITY?
The same way we reach out to anyone lost in sin. By being kind, coming close, by being a friend, revealing Jesus, showing His love, and at the right time and way, pointing to Scripture and to the gospel. Jesus died for ALL of our sins, and then rose from the dead. We are all equal at the foot of His cross.
IF GOD DOESN’T APPROVE OF GAY BEHAVIOR, WHY DOESN’T GOD ANSWER THE PRAYERS OF MILLIONS OF GAYS THAT HAVE PRAYED FOR GOD TO MAKE THEM “STRAIGHT?”
For the same reason that God doesn’t remove temptation from anyone else. It is unreasonable to expect Him to suddenly make a “gay” person “straight.” This is a key misunderstanding that “Coming Out” clarifies. Our key point is: don’t let sexuality define you. Life is bigger than sex. For whatever reasons, increasing numbers of boys like boys, and girls like girls. Regardless, if a boy is attracted to boys, God can help him say no, just like He can help a boy say no to wrong desires for a girl. Yes, sexuality is important, but its not the end-all of life. We should be defined by our relationship with our Creator and our trust in His Word, not by our sexuality. When we surrender fully to Him, He will help us in that area, and in every area. Our greatest happiness comes from knowing HIM, not by having sex.
I NOTICE THAT SOME INDIVIDUAL CHRISTIAN CHURCHES AND PASTORS ARE SEARCHING FOR A “THIRD WAY” TO APPROACH THE ISSUE OF HOMOSEXUALITY. BOTH METHODISTS AND SOUTHERN BAPTISTS ARE DEALING WITH IT THIS MONTH. DOES A THIRD WAY EXIST?
Are the dead in heaven, or asleep in their graves? It can’t be both. Is God’s Sabbath on Saturday, or Sunday? His Word says, “the seventh day,” not the first day of the week. There is no “third way” of interpreting these topics, although there certainly are better ways to teach them than what we sometimes do. It’s the same with this issue. There is only “one way” to correctly interpret the Bible. His “way” always agrees with His Word.
IN OUR OWN CHURCH A “THIRD WAY” OPTION TO ALLOW WOMEN’S ORDINATION WAS INTRODUCED LAST WEEK. THE ARGUMENTS USED IN SUPPORT OF WO REQUIRE THE DISMISSAL OR REINTERPRETATION OF SPECIFIC TEXTS WHICH DISALLOW WOMEN IN THE PASTORAL/LEADERSHIP OFFICE. THE SAME IS TRUE OF THE ARGUMENTS FOR THE INCLUSION OF HOMOSEXUALS. BOTH ISSUES SHARE A COMMON CORE HERMENEUTIC: RELATIVIZING PROHIBITIVE BIBLICAL TEXTS IN THE NAME OF FAIRNESS AND LIBERATION. IF WE GO DOWN THIS ROAD WON’T WE HAVE ALREADY SURRENDERED A CRUCIAL BIBLICAL DEFENSE AGAINST ACCEPTING/ORDAINING HOMOSEXUALS?
Good point. Yes. Again, the only “way” we should follow is God’s way as revealed in His Word. This is what the Seventh-day Adventist Church is all about.
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO FAMILIES WHO HAVE A HOMOSEXUAL RELATIVE?
Watch “Coming Out.” It compassionately and insightfully explores these issues, offers hope, and reveals resources at the end.
SOME SAY “WE ARE ALL SINNERS”, THEREFORE WE SHOULDN’T JUDGE HOMOSEXUALITY. SPEAK TO THAT.
Yes, we are all sinners, and yes, we shouldn’t judge other hearts, or decide destinies. But we shouldn’t poke out our spiritual eyesight either. As politically incorrect as this may sound, right is right, and wrong is wrong. The Bible says that “a man” shall leave his “father and mother” and be joined to “his wife.” Gen. 2:24. “Honor your father and mother,” states the 5th commandment. Sin is sin. 1 John 3:4. If we become fuzzy here, we’re sitting ducks for satanic delusions.
AMEN. ANY FINAL THOUGHTS?
I have often thought of how Jesus would respond among a group of transgenders who had sex changes. Yes, He would be grieved over their rejection of the sexuality He gave them, but His heart would be full of love. Many would be drawn to Him, and changed, to become subjects for His kingdom. We need such love too. On my Facebook page, someone wrote:
As a recovering transgendered person, I couldn’t agree more. I hate the sin, but understand the struggle. Seeing The Truth via the Holy Spirit saved me. And He can do the same for all who really yearn for Him.
We at White Horse Media hope and pray that both “Coming Out” and our 1-hour “Biblical Response” to the “Seventh-Gay Adventists” film will lead to many “Coming In” to Bible truth and Jesus Christ’s eternal kingdom. Order from www.whitehorsemedia.com. 1-800-782-4253.