Discussing Homosexuality with Gentleness, Respect, and Clarity


Give us if you will a state of the union. From your perspective, where are we?

We are on the deep end. When the culture shifts to a different viewpoint, those holding a traditional viewpoint are now required to explain and even defend their refusal to shift with the culture. Peter said, “Always be prepared to give an answer” (1 Peter 3:15, NIV), and that word “answer” to my thinking is a key word in this discussion. We are making our apologia our defense.

That is what the book Speaking of Homosexuality: Discussing the Issues with Kindness & Clarity is about because more than ever, the church is required to make a defense for our claim that God indeed defined what He created as existing between a man and a woman exclusively. Because we believe that marriage has a specific definition, which our culture has now varied from, we’re called on to defend that position.

Here’s where it gets dicey, though. We are being called on to defend something we know but largely have not examined because we never thought we would have to defend it. It seems so self-evident. Our very anatomy testifies to the normalness of a heterosexual union and the abnormalness of a male mating with a male or a female with a female. What we seem to know intuitively and by observation we are still being challenged to defend. Sometimes I think defending the obvious can be tough because the thing is so self-evident we wonder why we have to defend it, and for that reason I think many people haven’t bothered to think it through.

Let’s start with your own life story. You were a gay-activist., yourself?

I was. I was like many people. I realized early in life that I was attracted to the same sex. I acted on those attractions at a young age, and then heard the Gospel and responded. I was born again in 1971 under the ministry of Pastor Chuck Smith at Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, California, during what we often call the Jesus Movement. I served the Lord very fervently for years, while silently wrestling with homosexual temptations.

I reached a point of giving myself permission when I was in my early 20s to give into those temptations, and then I had a dilemma. I did not want to abandon Christianity. I also didn’t want to abandon homosexual practices, and I heard about a church where I would be given permission, sanction if you will, to express both parts of myself—my spiritual life and my homosexuality. I thought for years, when I say thought, I debated on college campuses and I promoted the idea that homosexuality and Christianity were compatible until 1984, when the conviction of the Holy Spirit combined with the knowledge that I had with sound teaching in my earlier years just became too much for me, and I had to admit I had been kidding myself.

You say that you knew what you believed, but at first you didn’t know how to state it. Then you knew how to state it, but you didn’t know how to defend it. And then you came to the place where you knew how to defend it, but you didn’t do it with the right attitude. I think a lot of people can relate.

I think so. Yes. So often we know what we believe, but we’ve never known how to explain it. Often times, as I point out in the introduction to my book, when I first tried to explain my beliefs, I sputtered through it because the subject can be so emotional that when you try to finesse it too much you make a fool out of yourself. I’ll give you a good example; it’s the one I gave in the introduction to the book. When I repented of homosexuality in January of 1984, I needed to tell my gay friends about the decision I had made. I sat down with some of them and I started trying to explain. Now I made one of many mistakes that I have made over the years. The first one I made was trying so hard to put it nicely that I got too vague, too hypersensitive, and I lost all verity. I said vague things like, “I’ve had kind of a spiritual awakening” and “I’m not sure that this is right anymore” and “I’m seeking God’s will;” rather than simply saying, “I repented of homosexuality because I have come to believe it is a sin.”

What I have found, when people sense you are trying too hard to finesse your words, you come across as phony, you come across as apologetic and not really convinced of what you’re saying. I bring this up because I think many believers today are so concerned about not giving offense, that they are actually dancing pirouettes, when they should be speaking plainly, always respectfully, and with gentleness, but with clarity. I find many people who are either non-Christian or pro-gay appreciate it much more when we are honest and direct and respectful with them; rather than trying to finesse our words so much that we wind up saying virtually nothing.

—Joe Dallas

This blog adapted from the October 3, 2016 Bible Answer Man broadcast.


Is the Current Transgender Bathroom Bills Debate a Primary Issue?

Dallas, Joe-TransgenderBathroomPrimarySecondary

Hank Hanegraaff: This is a special edition of the Bible Answer Man broadcast. My special guest is Joe Dallas. We’re going to be talking about a cover story in the Christian Research Journal titled “Of Bathroom Bills and Basic Beliefs,” transgenderism, homosexuality, and things related. I want to start out by talking about an the April 21, 2016 article from USA Today entitled “NBA Should Move All-Star Game from North Carolina Now” by Nancy Armour.

Armour states,

NBA commissioner Adam Silver reiterated Thursday that the All-Star Game won’t be played in Charlotte next February if hatred, bigotry and discrimination continue to be the law of the land in North Carolina…

…North Carolina lawmakers have shown no signs of budging from their hateful stance.

It is also pointed out by Armour that,

Bruce Springsteen, Boston and Pearl Jam have all canceled concerts in North Carolina in protest of the law. PayPal dropped plans for a global operations center in Charlotte, costing the state 400 new jobs.

If those public shamings weren’t enough to prompt a change of heart, no amount of “pretty pleases” by Silver and the NBA will, either.

In Armour’s opinion,

The best way to deal with bullies – there’s no other way to describe North Carolina’s small-minded lawmakers—is to stand up to them. With as popular as basketball is in North Carolina, home to both Steph Curry and Michael Jordan, the NBA pulling the All-Star Game would be the strongest statement yet that intolerance has no place in today’s world.

Armour’s bottom line is this: “North Carolina’s discriminatory law [HB2] is both hurtful and hateful.”

Think of all those words she used in one article: “hateful,” “hurtful,” “bigotry,” “discrimination,” “bullies,” “small minded lawmakers,” and “intolerance.” The rhetoric has ratcheted up on this subject, and I can tell you that there is not a day that has gone by in the last month wherein I did not read two or three front page news articles on this subject. All of that led me to ask Joe Dallas to write a cover story for the current edition of the Christian Research Journal, which is entitled “Of Bathroom Bills and Basic Beliefs.”

Joe Dallas has been on the Bible Answer Man broadcast many times. He is the Program Director of Genesis Counseling in Tustin, California. It’s a Christian counseling service to men dealing with sexual addiction, homosexuality, and other sexual relational problems. He is a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He’s author of some incredible books on human sexuality, including A Strong Delusion and the forthcoming Speaking of Homosexuality. Along with “Of Bathroom Bills and Basic Beliefs,” he also contributed to the same issue of the Journal another article that just fantastic: “Is Gay Christian an Acceptable Identity?” This is must reading for every Christian on the planet. As always Joe, it’s great to have you on the broadcast.

Joe Dallas: Hey, Good being here, Hank.

Hank: I want to start out with a very simple question. Is the issue at hand, the issue which I tried to set forth in the opening of the broadcast; is this a primary issue or a secondary issue?

Joe: That’s an important question because, Hank, if it is a secondary issue, why are we bothering?

I think that if we cannot be persuaded to change our position, as believers, the next tactic will get us to see that position as a secondary issue, which we don’t really need to stand firm upon. We would not break fellowship over say when we may or may not believe the Rapture of the church is going to happen, or over which gifts of the Spirit are available today. We would not call those primary issues.

I would argue that this is a primary issue for a number of reasons, the first being the very account of creation. Hank, we can’t get around this simple fact. To be human is to be sexual. To be sexual is to be male or female. To be male or female is to have an assigned sex given to us with our Creator’s foreknowledge. Those are foundational truths, when we try to alter them, we create madness, and candidly, just listening to you now describing the current scene, what other word could you use other than “madness”?

Hank: Joe, I kind of set this up at the opening of the show, but give us some kind of idea of what you’re driving at, what the subject matter is that we are underscoring in the broadcast, when you talk about “Bathroom Bills and Basic Beliefs.”

Joe: Yes. We’re taking about a couple of things simultaneously. We’re talking about transgenderism, Hank, which is a broad common term covering primarily the more technical term, transsexual. A transsexual is an individual we feels that he or she was born with the wrong body and is in fact a member of the opposite sex. A transsexual male will say, “I know I have the body parts of a male, but all my life, I have felt I am a woman.” That is a condition commonly called gender dysphoria. When a transsexual realizes he or she has that condition a decision has to be made. Either I am going to treat this condition as though it is a problem, which I need to manage and deal with, or I’m going to give into to it, and say the problem is my body not the condition.

Now, traditionally, Hank, we have believed that if someone believes they are in the wrong body the problem is their beliefs. Only recently have we come to begin believing as a culture that the problem is actually the body, and not the beliefs. There’s the rub, because as more people come forward and say “I demand the right to determine for myself what my sex is regardless of what my anatomy testifies,” there is concurrent with that a demand that the culture come into agreement with that assessment. So, more and more people who are saying, “I am female,” even though they have male parts, are also demanding that we refer to them as female and that reverence needs to extend it self even to which bathroom and shower facilities they use.

That is the crux of the controversy we’re facing, really on a national level, but, as you have said, specifically now in North Carolina. However, as you know Hank, President Barack Obama has sent out a letter from a federal position basically saying that schools will need to comply with Title IX, which prohibits sex discrimination, and he is interpreting sex discrimination as discrimination against students who identify as transgender. What we are seeing a resistance to is the federal based move to force women and girls to allow males, anatomical males, into their showers or their bathroom facilities or vice versa, simply based on the male saying “I am a female, and that’s all I need to say.”

Hank: You point this out in the article, but there are people who are in very significant positions in our culture, like Governor Nicky Haley (South Carolina) and Charles Krauthammer (Fox News) who both contented that HB2 represents a fabricated problem?

Joe: Well, I wish they were right. I wish that I was overreacting. I wish that the millions of us who are concerned about this were overreacting. But, Hank, the problem has already shown itself, it’s not fabricated, it’s now historical. There are already a number of cases—which I’ve cited in the article we’re talking about, in this special edition of the Journal—cases which men have seized on this new opportunity to enter into women’s restrooms and changing rooms, and they are not transsexual men, they are simply males, because you really do not—in order to take advantage of these new laws—you don’t have to really be transsexual, all you have to do is say, “I am a woman,” and that gives you access into the women’s facility.

So, there are two reasons we’re concerned about this: One is the very real problem of sexual predators. We know they exist. We know that to some extent they will always prey on victims, but this gives them a “green light” like they never had before.

The second problem is the violation of a girl. The violation she will feel having to share toilet facilities or shower facilities with an anatomical male, whether that male is in any way physically violating her or not, she will feel violated by his presence because of what we would call “natural modesty.” We’re trying to rip natural modesty away from women and force them to accept communal showing and toilet use with anatomical males all for the sake of catering to a very minuscule percentage of the population which is making this demand.

For further related study, please see the following equip.org resources:

The Transsexual Dilemma: A Dialogue about the Ethics of Sex Change (Joe Dallas)

How Do Biblical Ethics Apply to Hermaphrodites? (Hank Hanegraaff)

(Blog adapted from the June 8, 2016 Bible Answer Man broadcast.)

Apologetics, In the News, Journal Topics

Last Dance-Chaz Bono and Dancing with the Stars

I’ll miss Dancing with the Stars. Watching it was a weekly family ritual everyone in our home looked forward to, so our decision to stop leaves a void. It’s not a decision made out of moral piety because, after all, plenty of performers on that show have behaved in less than saintly ways, and don’t even get me started on some of the costumes! Nor am I afraid that, as a noted psychiatrist recently warned, young people will become gender confused by viewing a transsexual. (After all, the transsexual in question saw plenty of non-transsexuals as a child, which tells me gender identity isn’t seen then mimicked) And it’s not, as some have stupidly said, an act of prejudice or hatred to stop watching DWTS because of Chaz Bono’s participation. For the last time, disagreement and hatred are two hugely different experiences that ought never to be confused.

No, it’s more than that. I feel that I, along with the rest of the country, am being asked to celebrate a female in a specifically male role. If Chaz was simply a guest on a cooking show, or talk show, then no big deal. But Bono is assuming an officially male role in Dancing, which I as a viewer am asked to applaud. Strike that – I as a Christian am being asked to applaud it. And that I cannot do.

My Creator looked on the His newly formed man and made His first critical remark about humanity – that it wasn’t good for man to be unbonded, unattached, alone. (Genesis chapters 1 and 2) The Female was then specifically and deliberately made for completion of the male, and the contrast between the two was as intentional as their very creation. And if, as God noted to Jeremiah, we are known from the womb (Jeremiah 1:5) then the sex we’re born with is assigned, not optional. Our subjective experience cannot overrule created intent, and I can’t in good conscience applaud, however well intended, attempts to change what was divinely decreed.

Yes, a person must indeed feel an enormous pull towards becoming the opposite sex if such a person goes through the time, effort and financial sacrifice to attempt a sex change operation. Some accept the outcomes of these operations as valid, but some, myself included, see them only as cosmetic attempts that disfigure (without changing) the original. So I can respect how strongly Chaz must have felt the need to be male, else why go through so much to achieve the goal? But herein lies the problem: If someone says they feel are one thing, yet their physical, verifiable state testifies to something else, are we really so wrong in assuming that the problem is not their physical status, but rather their feeling? To put it crudely, if I say I feel like Napoleon Bonaparte, yet my physical status clearly says I’m not, is it really fair to expect you to go along with my feelings and ignore what’s plain to both sight and common sense?

I don’t think so. And that’s why this season is the last dance for me and my house. I wish Bono the best, who I’m sure doesn’t share my worldview and therefore shouldn’t be expected to conform to it. But nor can I conform to Chaz’s, so I politely and respectfully withdraw.

I’ll sure miss Bruno’s rants, though. Nobody can do enthusiasm like that guy.

Joe Dallas is the program director of Genesis Counseling in Tustin, California, a Christian counseling service to men dealing with sexual addiction, homosexuality, and other sexual/relational problems. He is a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors and is the author of books on human sexuality, including Desires in Conflict (Harvest House, 1991) and A Strong Delusion (Harvest House, 1996). For a more detailed article by Joe Dallas on transsexualsim, see his article “The Transsexual Dilemma” from the Christian Research Journal at http://www.equip.org/articles/the-transsexual-dilemma. The Christian Research Journal is a must-have tool in your apologetics library so please subscribe to the Journal (6 issues for $39.50).

Journal Topics

Gay Teens, Bullying, and Suicide

One of the most emotionally draining aspects of modern Christian living has to do with truth. Because the more our culture drifts away from being guided by Biblical truths, the harder it becomes to speak those truths without being viewed as judgmental, mean spirited, or just plain dumb. Talk about Jesus being the only way to God, and you’ll hear howls of “intolerant and “narrow minded.” Talk about the reality of hell, and you’ll be made out to be a sadistic fanatic. And if you dare talk about God’s created intention for sex and family life, then buckle up, because you’re in for one very bumpy ride.

Nowhere does this ride become more bumpy than when the talk turns to homosexuality. To a point, that’s probably a good thing, because it at least means people are far more caring of homosexual people then they were forty years ago, when it seemed perfectly kosher to call them names and insult their very humanity. But the growing respect for homosexual people has been accompanied by less and less tolerance for anyone who simply holds to the traditional view that marriage is for one man and one woman; sex for complimentary, not similar, genders.

Recently, that intolerance was given a boost when a number of young homosexuals committed suicide after they’d been repeatedly bullied for schoolmates and peers. The grief we all felt somehow morphed into finger pointed, with many cultural elites indicting traditional Christians as the villains. Their reasoning? If you preach homosexuality is a sin, you encourage violence against gays and lesbians.

So those of us still believing the traditional view have a choice: Cower in submission, or love enough (and boldly enough) to give the full counsel of God. Of course, it’s a counsel that’s often unwanted, and the price can be high. But in the eternal sense, can it be higher than the price of unfaithfulness to truth, and poor stewardship of the Word? Think not; I hope you agree. God grant us the love to stand firm when our stance is un popular, and the gentleness to always consider the needs and sensitivities of our hearers.

  1. If gay teenagers are being bullied, what can Christian students and friends do to help?
  2. If we say we love homosexuals, is that love evident in the way we speak about them when they’re not present?
  3. Where can we find common ground with those who genuinely want to protect homosexuals from mistreatment, yet feel that our position as Christians is harmful to homosexuals?

Joe Dallas is the program director of Genesis Counseling in Tustin, California, a Christian counseling service to men dealing with sexual addiction, homosexuality, and other sexual/relational problems. He is a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors and is the author of three books on human sexuality, including Desires in Conflict (Harvest House, 1991) and A Strong Delusion (Harvest House, 1996). Joe Dallas will appear on the Bible Answer Man Broadcast on May 24, 2011 (to listen to the show live at 6PM ET please go to www.equip.org) to discuss his cover article on the topic above in the new issue of the Christian Research Journal. To read the full article by Dallas, please subscribe to the Journal (6 issues for $39.50).