Christopher Yuan, a “former homosexual” is slated for a tour of Minnesota Christian colleges and churches starting in October.
Yuan’s story is similar to others who claim to have left homosexuality: He says he was “living promiscuously” and doing drugs. He got kicked out of college, went to jail for what he says was the “equivalent to the street value of 9.1 tons of marijuana.” He found out he was HIV-positive in prison.
In prison, he found a Bible in a trash can, converted to Christianity, and left the “gay lifestyle.”
A similar story can be heard from a number of Minnesota’s “former homosexuals.” Janet Boynes, for instance, says she lived a life of sin: lesbian sex, drug abuse, and trouble with the law until she decided to become a Christian.
Brad Baar, the CFO of the ex-gay Outpost Ministries shares a similar story. “Five years down the road I had managed to acquire innumerable experiences – all in pursuit of happiness and love. I went from relationship to relationship looking for someone who would provide for, care for, and support me… Drugs, promiscuity and neglect became the voice I used to interact with the world. I had attained everything I had ever wanted, yet here I was unsatisfied… God brought me into the healing light of healthy, intimate, non-sexual relationships with other men.”
Yuan tours the country teaching other Christians how to reach LGBT people and convince them to stop being LGBT. Instead, they should be “holy sexual.”
“The goal for Christians should not be homosexuality or even heterosexuality, but instead holy sexuality,“ Yuan said at a recent talk.
Yuan takes a slightly different track on the issue of the “ex-gay” movement. The goal isn’t to become straight, but it is to no longer be homosexual.
“God has clearly set out what holy sexuality means. God gives us two options for holy sexuality: if we are single, then abstinence and if we are married, then faithfulness (and God has very clearly proscribed marriage to be with a man and a woman).
Therefore, my goal has never been to become straight. Because if I become straight, then I would begin lusting after women (which is a sin) and I would still have to focus on holy sexuality. My goal is holiness,” he wrote on his blog.
Yuan will be bringing that message to Minnesota at the beginning of October. He’s be at the University of Northwestern in St. Paul on October 1 and 2, at Crown College on October 3, and at Lakewood Evangelical Free Church on October 4, and 5. His message will be “A Christian Response to Homosexuality.” He’ll be back in Minnesota on Nov. 13 to talk at the National Association of Evangelicals Conference at the University of Northwestern.
It’s a speech he’s given around the country.
At a speech in late 2013 at the First Baptist Church of Orange Park, Yuan asked, “How do we respond to homsoexuality? How do we respond to people in the gay community?”
Yuan has laid out six ways to work with Christians who disclose that they are LGBT:
First: Thank them. Can you imagine if someone came up to you out of the blue and shared that they experience same-sex attention? I mean, how hard that is for them to get up enough courage to open up to you, of all people they chose you to open up to, thank them that they trusted you with this.”
Second: Tell them that they are not alone… if you simply tell them I want to walk with you together on this journey that can be the difference between life and death for someone.
Third: Help remind them that their identity needs to be in Christ. yes our sexuality can be very overwhelming sometimes…those should not define us, Christ should define us.
Fourth: Be realistic. Don’t just give these false promises, that you could just pray the gay away, of course not. Often times I think it’s when you are coming to Christ and turning to God that’s when things get harder.
Fifth: Don’t focus so much on the externals. God’s change goes from the inside out not the outside in.
Sixth: Encourage God-honoring same-sex friendships… Men, we need men. Women you need women. I think at the core God put into all of us the desire for intimacy with both sexes and specifically with the same-sex. Men we are called to love other men in God-honored, non sexual ways. Women were created to to love other women in God-honoring, non-codependent ways.
He then talked about how to reach those in the LGBT community who are not Christians. Much of his strategy relies on not offending LGBT people until they are trusting enough to accept the gospel.
“Do not compare sexual orientation to an addiction,” Yuan said. Also, “Sometimes I hear people say it’s a sin like any other sin, you know, gossiping, lying, cheating, murder. That’s not a good way to win someone to Christ.”
“Don’t use these two words lifestyle and choice…Don’t say that word when you are interacting with your gay friend or people who don’t know Christ because that word often times is offensive to people in the gay community. Why? Because the lifestyle — it isn’t something that they chose. This is who they are I truly believe… If I’m just able to change a few words that I use to try to win someone to Christ, I’m willing to do that.”
Yuan says Christians seeking to convince LGBT people to leave homosexuality should not say “love the sinner hate the sin.”
“Yes, that is how we should reach out to others, but don’t tell them that because often times the one word they hear is ‘hate.’
Christians know “the truth” so they shouldn’t debate “the truth” until they’ve successfully worn down their LGBT friends. “Don’t feel that you have to debate with people, you know defend the truth. There is a time for truth, but that’s when God is softening their heart.”
Yuan says that Christians should pray for LGBT people.
“There are some people in the gay community where no one is praying for them. I sometimes wonder what would happen if we mobilized the body of Christ to pray and fast for the gay community. We might have a revival that would break out! Wouldn’t that be amazing?”
Yuan’s advice is to listen to LGBT people. “Don’t be quick to speak. Be quick to listen. Often times people won’t care what you know unless they know you care.”
Christians shouldn’t care what others think about them when they dine with sinners.
“Be intentional. Don’t be afraid to take [gay people] out for lunch or dinner or ask them out for coffee. Yes, it’s true. People might say, ‘What are you doing eating with that sinner?” But, Yuan says, Jesus hung out with sinners.
“Be patient and persistent,” Yuan says because it can take years to convert a gay person. He says not to make them a “pet project” and that some people may take “decades.”
“It’s not easy to share the gospel with someone who wants nothing to do with God, but you know what you can do, share what God has done in your life lately.”
Yuan said he left homosexuality “because I found something better, and his name is Jesus.”
As Yuan has been making the rounds across the country, he’s encountered criticism.
Truth Wins Out, an organization that confronts the “ex-gay” movement, criticized a 2012 talk by Yuan.
According to the headline, ex-gay “Christopher Yuan urges students to reach out with humility to those suffering from same-sex attraction.”
Of course, the result of this story will be more depression, more teen suicides, more broken families, more ruined lives.
Perhaps, the saddest part is that Evangelicals know this to be the case. They have had decades to realize that their embrace of the “ex-gay” myth has been a terrible experiment that has badly failed. Yet, like robots without feelings, brains, or emotions, they continue to destroy their own children because they are not brave enough to face up to a glaring shortcoming in their ideology.
I’ve met Yuan, and he seems like a nice guy. Truth Wins Out is here for him when he wants to grow up, become an adult, and stop living his life to please others. Although he is no longer selling nine tons of weed, it’s clear that his current view of gay life is one giant hallucination. We can only hope he will shed the charade and elect to live openly and responsibly.
When Yuan drops the religious baggage, he’ll finally see his horizons are boundless.
While Yuan promotes a less offensive attempt to convince LGBT people to become “ex-gay,” he has teamed up with some of the religious right’s most anti-LGBT forces. In late October, Yuan will speak at an event called, “The Gospel, Homosexuality, and the Future of Marriage.” It’s sponsored by Focus on the Family, Alliance Defending Freedom, the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Manhattan Declaration, and Concerned Women for America, among others.