On July 5, 2010 I had the opportunity to share at the 2010 Presbyterian U.S.A. General Assembly in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I was initially asked to share because of my involvement with a non- denominational "ex-gay" ministry called Outpost Ministries in Minneapolis, where I live. I would have to say that when I was first asked to participate, I was against the idea of sharing in this forum, not because I was opposed to engaging in a workshop put on by another denomination, but rather out of fear of possible persecution considering the extremely liberal view that the Presbyterian Church in the United States has held on the issue of homosexuality in recent years. However, with the encouragement of several friends and my girlfriend, I chose to attend the event and use the opportunity to explain my convictions on same sex attractions and what the Bible teaches on this subject.
Although I have spoken in front of several audiences on this topic, I found this to be one of the most hostile environments that I have ever addressed. While there were no overt threats of violence or name calling; the atmosphere of the room was quite unreceptive to my views and Biblical beliefs. Many of the delegates were wearing rainbow colored shawls that had been provided by a pro-gay group that had attended the General Assembly in larage numbers. So "pro-gay" was this audience in fact, that the deputies who were to be voting on the Presbyterian’s official stance on gay marriage with a supposedly unbiased stance were also wearing these same rainbow coloured shawls, making thier statement loud and clear. As one who came to speak on behalf of Biblical truth in this regards; a message that is largely not accepted in much of the denominational world, and certainly not in the Presbyterian Church, it was quite obvious that no matter what I said, I would not be appreciated or even heard.
There were two issues at stake for the Presbyterian U.S.A. Church. The first was whether or not they would allow for the ordination of gay clergy who are not celibate. The second was whether or not they would change their churches definition of marriage to allow for gay marriage. I was asked to speak about the first concern. Being one who is a disciple of Jesus, yet who also lives with unwanted same sex attractions, I wanted to share about my life and how following Christ has changed it for the better. I wanted to show the Presbyterian Church that there is still transformational power in the gospel of Christ. I wanted to give hope of the possibility of change where there was none before. I based my argument off of my own changed life since becoming a disciple. The counter argument was interesting. The argument for supporting gay ordination was that the Presbyterian Church was losing leadership and membership because they were not supportive of homosexuality. The other argument was based on the lives of gay members of the Presbyterian Church who wanted to be in ministry but could not because of the churches stance on their lifestyles.
While addressing the convention I clearly saw that sadly, many on the voting board were clearly uninterested in my plea for a desire to turn to the Bible and seek out the truths found there. Undeterred, I shared what I believed the Biblical viewpoint was on these issues. In the end, I know that I failed to persuade the Presbyterian U.S.A. Church, however, the experience was still well worth it. The importance of standing up to darkness and proclaiming the truth of scripture and the power of God to change lives is needed now, more than ever. The hope and freedom that we are called to as Disciples of Christ is something that the world cannot offer, and certainly something that the denominational world cannot offer without a clinging to the truth. I believe that we must stay vigilant in our own family of churches or else we too could easily stray from the Biblical ethos and will also deprive others of that same hope and freedom that we can only have in Christ, through God, by the working of the Holy Spirit.
by Kris Boyer
Kris Boyer is the Associate Director of Strength in Weakness Ministries and oversees the Singles and Campus Ministries of this organization. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Religious Studies and Social Studies, with a minor in Education from Hamline University in St. Paul Minnesota in 2003. He received his Master of Arts degree in Christian Theology, and a Master of Arts degree in Islamic Studies, from Luther Seminary in St. Paul Minnesota in 2006. Having come from a homosexual past and experiencing much victory over this area in his life since his conversion, Kris has taught extensively on the subjects of Homosexuality, and Same Gender Attraction, in various settings to Christians across the United States. He lives in the greater Minneapolis-St. Paul area, Minnesota (United States of America) and is a faithful member of the Minneapolis-St. Paul Church of Christ.