True freedom is possible for any sin or sickness that human beings have had to face since the third chapter of Genesis.

By Steve Prokopchak

My Story

I first started listening to stories of the sexually broken when I was serving in the United States Air Force in the early 1970s, a new Christian, in the midst of attempting to grasp it all myself. There I found a myriad of sexual addictions among young single men. When a roommate confessed homosexual tendencies, or the guy down the hall could not stop visiting the prostitutes downtown on a weekly basis, it put me on a quest to discover what God and His Word had to offer me and others.

I began to notice some similarities in many of their histories. I heard gut-wrenching confessions of self-hatred and emotional torment. What posed a particular issue for me was that some of these men claimed to be believers in Christ. Was I thinking that as believers we were fundamentally immune to such activities? Or, was it simply ignorance of the moral claims of Scripture?

In the early ’70s, there were few materials available on how to help persons wanting to recover from sexual brokenness. At the time, the only thing I knew to do was to befriend them, listen, and pray with them. We would also take time to read and study the Bible together. I knew I didn’t have the answers, but I had great faith that God did. We frequented different churches together and would hang out with friends on weekends. I discovered that the less idle time these persons had, the more they walked in freedom. I also discovered that being left alone with thoughts of depression about life circumstances made them vulnerable and more likely to ease that hurt with a sexual pain-reliever or some other form of medication.

Drug and alcohol use and abuse were rampant on our military base. I couldn’t help but connect the dots: taking drugs helped to reinforce how badly they felt about themselves and, of course, lowered their inhibitions. Initially, drugs and alcohol served as a numbing agent, but eventually they add a burden of guilt and remorse. I observed such self-destructive behaviors week after week. Life patterns actually what these persons were fighting to keep from feeling on a daily basis.

Another observation during those years was that the more time we spent together in God’s Word and prayer, the more these men expected a miraculous cure. They fully expected to wake up one morning and no longer desire sex or drugs. A miracle was what they needed, and they saw examples of the miraculous in God’s Word. Surely, they thought, one would come to them. Their thought patterns went something like this: If I was miraculously cured, my mind would no longer think the thoughts I don’t want to think, and my actions would change. Further, if my actions would somehow change, I would feel better about myself, and I could stop the destructive life patterns. Then I wouldn’t need drugs or sex to numb myself.

A Cultural Shift

I went on to work with sexual addictions and brokenness while as a social worker and then as a marriage/family counselor. This time frame spanned over twenty-five years. In those years, I sat with quite a few persons, including leaders (even several who have been featured on the cover of Charisma Magazine) who struggled with their sexual orientation and sexual temptations. I observed that the world has few answers for these persons. I have watched the laws of our land change drastically. The Air Force military staff sergeant whose case brought about the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy change was stationed on my base in Virginia. I have seen blatant homosexual characters slowly but purposefully introduced into movies and TV shows, always humorous and happy in their character and demeanor.

I have observed in my lifetime God’s gift of sex turned into something casual that does not involve commitment. The HIV virus and many other sexually transmitted diseases have spread because our culture has taken sex outside of marriage and pushed back God’s boundaries as unobtainable, prudish and old-fashioned. When I was a child, Ricky and Lucy, a married couple on the I Love Lucy show, slept in separate single beds. Now, we are hard-pressed to find any TV show or movie that our family can watch that depicts God’s covenant of marriage and honors His sexual boundaries. I doubt that we could find one TV sit-com that does not have singles sleeping together, heterosexual or homosexual. Even if the program rating does not allow sex to be explicitly shown, it is constantly implied.

The funny thing is that I have my own generation to blame for getting us to where we are. It was my generation from the ’60s and ’70s that pushed the envelope for sexual freedoms. We rebelled against laws, and drugs and sex were taken “out of the closet” and done openly at concerts in the name of peace and freedom. We said it was our right to disobey the law, and it would hurt no one. As teenagers and twenty-something’s, we spread our wings and rebelled against our parents. We broke the only commandment that ends with a promise, and we have been reaping the seeds we sowed ever since. We opened the door to sexual brokenness, legalized abortion, and allowed for the breakdown of the family as it has been known from the beginning. We said, “Anything goes.” And it did go, especially the good foundation on which our nation was built. We threw away biblical values, declared God was dead, and got on with building our self-help, self-esteem idol.

My generation was wrong – dead wrong. Hundreds of thousands of lives have been destroyed by drugs and disease. Families have been decimated. Our world is so sexualized today that we now have young children experimenting with sex in elementary school. It has cost billions of dollars for resulting increases in health care and law enforcement. Drugs are at the core of crime all over the world because a generation wanted its freedom. How prideful; how self-centered. And, at its core is what Daniel Juster describes as an ultimate rebellion against God. He says that, ”…even if culture is driven by atheism or relativism…the root is a loss of the fear of God.”

In the book, The American Sex Revolution, Sorokin wrote that “both men and society are degraded” as a culture becomes sexually obsessed. “The members of such a society are habituated to look at the opposite sex as a mere instrument for pleasure… to these individuals, talk of human dignity, religious and moral commandments, and rules of decency is just bosh [nonsense]… the society degrades the values of womanhood and manhood, of motherhood and fatherhood, of childhood and… of marriage and family…” He then said, “Divorce, desertion and deviance become commonplace, when what used to be considered morally reprehensible is now recommended as a positive value… and is now styled moral progress and a new freedom.” Sorokin describes this condition as “moral schizophrenia.”

For example, is it moral schizophrenia to say, “I am a Christian homosexual?” These are the words we are hearing spoken today. At the same time, what I am not hearing is, “I am a Christian adulterer” or “I am a Christian drug addict.” Our culture is so desperately attempting to take the morality out of our own sinful actions. We tend to see ourselves as intrinsically good (some of us we even incorporated that view before we were a Christian), when in fact Paul the apostle wrote, “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh” (Romans 7:18).

Looking for an Answer

In all the years I have counseled the sexually broken, I never met one person who was happy with or fulfilled by sexual addiction. I have never worked with a homosexual or a heterosexual who wasn’t scared of his or her own potential for destructive behavior and, at the same time, feared the consequences of that behavior. I have been told repeatedly by those persons that struggle with homosexuality, even while the laws around us are changing, that it is anything but normal to them.

However, at the same time, I was not finding people who had been successfully rehabilitated or had miraculous reversals of sexual attraction until I heard about Desert Streams Ministry. I observed Desert Streams for years, read their material, and listened to their tapes. I was amazed that they were writing about so many of the behaviors and feelings that I had heard expressed. I went to a meeting and was impressed with their Christ-centered group therapy sessions. I met with some of the leaders of that group and discovered that they had all walked through some form of sexual brokenness from their past. I decided to travel to southern California to enroll in their one-week training course.

That week was amazing. I even had the opportunity to meet the director. I had never before heard such wisdom and principles of healing so well communicated with such sensitivity. The director himself had been in a committed gay relationship for years and had lived with the belief that he was gay from early childhood. When I met him he was, and is to this day, walking in freedom from the gay lifestyle. There were numerous similar testimonies given that week.

Through this organization I was introduced to Leanne Payne and her superior work with men in what she wrote about as “the present crisis in masculinity.” Her years of study of men and sex in Europe and the U.S. were invaluable learning tools. Her scientific studies presented answers where there were huge holes in my understanding. It was her work that helped to provide a profile of the dysfunctional home environments and parental disconnects found within the sexually broken. It was her work that helped to identify male confusion in sexuality from sexual abuse and violation as a child, sometimes found within infancy, where there is no memory recall.

Payne discovered that many men find themselves “split off from their masculinity” due to a lack of male affirmation. She states, “The masculine within is called forth and blessed by the masculine without. An automatic and serious consequence of a man’s failure to be affirmed in his masculinity is that he will suffer…he will be unable to accept himself.” She believes that all the masculine qualities and gifts are innate; they simply have not been affirmed into life. Payne explains, “We cannot pass on to the next generation what we do not ourselves possess. Un-affirmed men are unable to adequately affirm their own sons…there is, in short, an overwhelming amount of gender confusion in great numbers of men today.”[1]

Chad Thompson in his book, Loving Homosexuals as Jesus Would, discussed his own same sex attraction and stated, “Men who experience homosexual attraction are, unconsciously, trying to recover their father’s love in the arms of another man, and women with homosexual attractions are looking for their mother’s love…in another woman.” This is why he states that so many people who experience homosexual attractions report poor relationships with their same-sex parents or peers. Thompson says that his fantasy was that a man would just wrap his arms around him, look him in the eye and tell him that he was of worth. Clearly it was not a desire for sex, but for genuine love and affirmation from someone of his gender.

So, what Thompson and Payne and other social scientists are saying is that anything that creates a sense of disconnection between a child and his or her gender can cause homosexuality. “This can manifest itself as rejection, real or perceived, from same-sex parents or peers, or as some form of sexual molestation.” Thompson then says, “I’ve found that anything that creates a sense of reconciliation between a person and his or her gender can eliminate homosexuality.”

Therapist and author, as well as ex-gay, Andy Comisky who I heard teach when I was in California with Desert Streams ministry said, “In joining with the same sex erotically, the needy child within seeks in adult form the affirmation and emotional intimacy from the same sex that was never properly attained in childhood.” He is saying that it is a legitimate emotional need as opposed to an erotic one.

The Old Makes a Way for the New

True freedom is possible for any sin or sickness that human beings have had to face since the third chapter of Genesis. While the Old Testament exposes the sin, the New Testament provides the truth of the Incarnate One, the Redeemer of this sin. The Old Testament is vital to understanding the New Covenant. It is the old that makes a way for the new.

Far too many Christians believe that there is no need to read the books of the law or the major and Minor Prophets. “This was the Old Covenant,” they repeat, “and we are under a New Covenant.” But this statement is only partially true. You cannot have a new without the old. Jesus Himself walked on this earth under the Old Covenant, and He addressed the need for the Law of Moses. He taught this law, and He walked in obedience to it.

Romans 7:7 tells us, “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not. Indeed I would not have known what sin was except through the law.” Romans 3:20 reveals that through the law we become conscious of our sin. Galatians 3:24 states, “So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith.” I Timothy 1:8-10 reads, “We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for the lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious…for those who kill…for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders…and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine.”

Jesus and the Law

Jesus never erased the law; rather, He fulfilled it. Remember, He lived under the Old Covenant. “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:17-20).

The law of the Old Covenant teaches us about sin. The Ten Commandments were given to identify sin in our lives and in society. While the law did not lead us to salvation, it made us aware of our wrongdoing. The law was good in that it showed us our sin and identified our need of a Savior. Without the law and the writings of the Old Covenant, how would we know what is offensive to our heavenly Father?

An expert in the law once asked Jesus, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus responded by asking him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” The man said that one was to love God with all of his heart and love one’s neighbor as oneself. Jesus then told him, “You have answered correctly…do this and you will live” (Luke 10:25-28). Was Jesus actually affirming the teaching of the law? Yes, He was, not as a means of gaining God’s approval or love, but as a means of identifying our sinfulness.

The sins of the Old Testament are the sins in the New Testament: we are not to have or worship any other gods; we are not to worship any type of idol; we are not to use the Name of our God in any unholy way; we are to remember the Sabbath and keep it a holy day; we are to honor our parents, not murder, not commit adultery, not steal, not lie and not covet what others have. While there were many Jewish traditions (related to food, for example), we are in this discussion looking at the Ten Commandments rather than the intricacies of rituals, dress, food, or ceremonial washings. That is, we are concentrating on the moral law of the Old Testament. Most Bible scholars would teach that Judaic law is divided into three parts: moral, ceremonial (related to cleanliness, the temple), and civil (including the judicial, the running of a nation.)

Is murder still wrong? Is stealing still wrong? Is adultery still wrong? We can still go to jail for most of these sins in our society. We must identify and accept our sinfulness in order to be healed from it.

The law cannot save us; it is by faith and through grace that we are saved (Ephesians 2:5, 8). However, what we must understand and what is rarely taught today is that “where there is no law there is no transgression” (Romans 4:15).

No Law; No Transgression

When the teachers of the law brought the woman who was caught in adultery (and it is interesting to note that they did not bring the man as well, because under the moral code of the law, both had committed a crime punishable by death), they wanted to know (as a test) what Jesus would do with her. Both they and Jesus were aware that adultery was a sin that required death according to the law. Jesus responded that whichever one of them was without sin could cast the first stone, and as they walked away one by one, He turned to the woman and forgave her. But He did more than forgive her; He told her, “Go now and leave your life of sin” (John 8:7-11). Jesus was saying that adultery is still sin, but that He had the power to forgive the sin and cleanse the sinner.

For too many, Jesus has become convenient, no more than a means to escape eternal separation from God. Meanwhile, they believe they can live according to how they personally interpret the Scriptures (if they are even reading the Scriptures). We cannot say we love Jesus only to the point where His words inconvenience us, and then rewrite the Scriptures to match our personal beliefs. Jesus was a reformer, a revolutionary who taught an inconvenient reality. Even in our culture today, if you or I believe what He taught, it will be inconvenient. In fact, Jesus warned us that as He was persecuted for what He exposed and taught, we would be as well (see John 15:18-19). Further, He said that if we stand with Him and live a life honoring to Him, without compromise, there will be those who think that they do God a service by killing us (see John 16:1-4).

Rosaria Champagne Butterfield found Christ in 1999 when she was a tenured English professor at Syracuse University, also a lesbian. Today she is happily married and is a pastor’s wife in North Carolina and the mother of four adopted children. She said, “I didn’t really want to understand why homosexuality was a sin from God’s point of view. I just wanted to argue with Him and that led me to ask, ‘Why do I want to do that?’” A local church pastor was reaching out to her and dialoging with her. She attempted to approach everything intellectually, but he kept loving her, as well as giving her God’s Word. Further she wrote, “So these intellectual problems led me to realize that if a Holy God made me, and if I was born in Adam’s sin, it was no wonder I couldn’t think myself out of it. It wasn’t a thinking problem! Repentance is a strange idea… the fruit of the Christian life. But it struck me that maybe there wasn’t shame in sin – maybe it just proved that God was right all along. [But] of course there is shame in sin, Jesus paid for it in the most painful …ways, but the initial place is that sin means God… is right…”

God’s Moral Code

The New Testament was written in the Greek language. It is important to look at some specific words. The Greek word porneia is a biblical term that means illicit sexual intercourse, including adultery (intercourse between a married person and someone who is not his or her spouse); fornication (intercourse between two unmarried persons, or two persons not married to each other); homosexuality (intercourse between persons of the same sex); bestiality (intercourse with animals); and incest (intercourse with close relatives). Jesus used this term in Mark 10:11 when He said, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her.” As you can see from the definition, the word had multiple sexual connotations and meanings. There is a different Greek word for just the act of adultery, moicheia, and it was not used. Why is this important? It is important because it includes all, a broader range of, offenses and not just “adultery.”

Throughout the Old Testament, a sodomite was one who initiated licentious wickedness, the wickedness that was found within Sodom and Gomorrah. In particular, a sodomite was a person guilty of unnatural sexual relations. Where in the Bible do we find sexual boundaries and moral guidelines when it comes to sex? How do we biblically define the word “unnatural”?

Leviticus 18 thoroughly discusses unlawful and unnatural sexual relations. Why is this so important, and why was God so explicit? When man is left to decide for himself in his fallen state, he decides what is right in his own eyes, regardless of whether it is good for him or good for society as a whole (see Psalm 36:2 and Proverbs 14:12). God left no questions with His written moral