Healing Line

Healing Line

Why I Wrote a Book on Homosexuality

by Francis MacNutt
Sep/Oct 2006

Like most of you, Judith and I share the pain of many friends who are members of churches that are being torn apart by the issue of homosexuality. We have dear friends on both sides of the divide. We also think we have learned something about healing that could lead to solving the conflicting opinions about homosexuality. We also believe that we haven’t as yet had a real opportunity to share what we have learned and experienced.

That’s the reason I wrote a short, easy to read, book entitled Can Homosexuality Be Healed? (Chosen Books). In it I share several key ideas which some Christians have not yet heard. The basic key we want to share with you, naturally, in relation to the healing ministry, is that homosexuality can be healed. By this we mean that someone whose sexual orientation is directed to the same sex, can become a heterosexual through Jesus’ saving power when we pray. We believe this, not only theoretically but we have seen it happen over a period of many years.

Again, in our experience, most church leaders are not aware that such a change is even possible!

The common belief, reinforced by gay activists, is that their orientation is 1) genetic, and 2) unchangeable.

Therefore, they propose that the true Christian response is for the church to accept the homosexual community and also to accept their homosexual lifestyle. “Inclusivity” is the key word. To those churches who disagree with them and teach that sexual activity directed to the same sex is forbidden by Scripture (e.g. Leviticus 20:13 and Romans 1:26–27), the homosexual activists respond by saying, “I was born this way, and this orientation just doesn’t change. I was born as a sexual human being, and my emotional drive to union with the person I love needs to be expressed. I am not a celibate, and it’s wrong for you to demand that I live without a sexual companion.” Otherwise, as one older homosexual wrote to me, “The loneliness that I feel in my life is overwhelming.” This man is living a single life but “the discouragement and loneliness at times are unbearable.”

For traditionalists who support the stand that same–sex intercourse is wrong, it seems harsh to insist on living out this norm with only the help of willpower. A few homosexuals, like the elderly man I just quoted, can sustain a sexless lifestyle, but most cannot sustain such a lonely life.

In our experience, the homosexual orientation can be changed, but most church leaders have never heard of this possibility, so they face a dilemma: they either have to accept an active homosexual lifestyle, or they simply condemn homosexual actions without offering the help that most homosexuals need to change. Where are the church leaders who can say, “We understand your pain. We also know that you probably didn’t choose the homosexual lifestyle. We understand why you are angry with us because we simply condemn your lifestyle without reaching out to help you. But now we are here to help you if only you will give us a chance to pray with you for healing.”

This is the great secret that we would like to share with the church in a way that makes sense — spiritual, scriptural and human. Unfortunately, only a few Christians know that homosexuals who wish to change their orientation can actually change and become heterosexual.

Consequently, when we speak to homosexual audiences about the possibility of healing, they often become angry — understandably so, because by speaking about their healing you are implying that they are sick. They reject the label of being considered sick because they have so often been condemned by Christians; they naturally react strongly to one more condemnation.

The evangelist Tony Campolo, who struggles between the desire to be faithful to Scripture and, at the same time, to be loving to homosexuals, writes about his interior conflict:

  During a particular research project, I interviewed more than 300 gay men and found not one who had chosen to be homosexual…. For the 300 men I interviewed, the imprinting of the orientation occurred so early in their psychosocial development that none could remember ever making a choice. Yet I often hear Christian preachers say that homosexuals have decided to be other than God intended them to be.1  

No wonder most homosexuals believe their orientation was given by nature, and thereby God–given, rather than something they purposely chose. Since they usually have had to face a painful struggle to accept their orientation — and to accept themselves — we can understand why they fight to keep their hard–earned sexual identity and eagerly join the homosexual community, who will understand and love them.

Understandable as these strong feelings are, we also know that homosexuality can be changed. In order, however, for church leaders to come to realize that change is possible, several misunderstandings have to be directly confronted, the most obvious being the misconception that homosexuality is a condition that cannot be changed.

What most people don’t realize is that even secular psychotherapy has a considerable success rate in re–directing the homosexual’s lifestyle. For example, a summary of scientific studies from 1930 to 1986 reveals a composite success rate of more than 50% — success meaning anywhere from “considerable” to complete success. Even so, the American Psychiatric Association (in 1973) struck homosexuality from its list of illnesses. This dramatic change was largely due to gay activists exerting extreme pressure on the Association, even at a time when 69% of psychiatrists disagreed with the vote and still considered homosexuality a disorder.2 The same kind of pressure is now inside the churches, and anyone who states that the homosexual lifestyle is wrong will risk being labeled homophobic and is likely to be asked, “If scientists and the APA consider homosexuality normal, why do you stubbornly remain in your prejudiced ignorance?”

Prayer for Healing

Well beyond what counseling can do, what we want to add to the issue of homosexuality is the possibility of Jesus changing the homosexual’s sexual orientation and re–directing it to the opposite sex. Except for a few strong Christian organizations like Exodus and Regeneration, and authors such as Leanne Payne and David Kyle Foster, few prominent Christians speak of the very real possibility of homosexuals receiving inner healing to help them become heterosexual.

To us, healing prayer seems to be the only viable option for those Christians who believe that living a homosexual lifestyle is wrong. Without a real belief in healing, a Christian traditionalist can only offer homosexuals a command to repent, which will lead the homosexual to respond in anger or despair. Our belief and experience leads us to proclaim that healing does take place when we pray for inner healing and, occasionally, deliverance. We personally believe that the success rate of this approach is close to 100%.

The one caution, and it is a big one, is that this usually takes time. Rarely have we seen a homosexual healed with only one prayer or one session; the ordinary process takes perhaps six months, with an hour’s session once a week. The basic issue does not usually stay in the physical, sexual level but goes much deeper. For example, the male homosexual may not have received the love he needed from his father, and his homosexual activities are an attempt to fill up that void in his life.

But where do we find Christians who do not condemn homosexuals themselves but do not agree with them that homosexual activities (some 80% engage in anal intercourse) are morally acceptable? In addition, where do we find mature Christians who understand how to pray for inner healing and are willing to spend the time to pray the homosexual into the fullness of life?

And that’s why I wrote the book, Can Homosexuality Be Healed? I wanted to offer hope to those churches who believe that Jesus can change the homosexual’s orientation and, beyond that, will raise up a whole generation of wise prayer ministers who will see the homosexual through to his or her complete transformation.

Unless we really believe in prayer for healing, we are condemning the homosexual community into accepting their condition and the churches into being tempted into accepting their lifestyle.

1"Holding it Together," Sojourners, May–June 1999, p. 28,30.
2Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth, p. 218. This is an excellent book by a Jewish psychiatrist, it gives much of the background of the inner struggles of the psychiatrists in the face of the gay activism.

Francis MacNutt Francis MacNutt is a Founding Director and Executive Committee member of CHM. Sep/Oct 2006 Issue