A Former Lesbian’s Message to the UMC & LGBTQIA+ Community

on March 11, 2019

Rev. Cliff Wall is an elder in the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church and serves as the pastor of Clarksbury UMC in Harmony, NC.  He also preaches several revivals at other churches each year.  Rev. Wall and his wife, Christi, have been blessed with six children. This article originally appeared on his blog, Wall to Wall Faith, Hope, and Love. Reposted with permission. 

UM Voices is a forum for different voices within the United Methodist Church on pressing issues of denominational concern. UM Voices contributors represent only themselves and not IRD/UMAction.

In my last article, I mentioned my friend, Angy, who was a lesbian. I first met Angy a few years ago at a non-denominational charismatic church. We were both there for a special lecture. She was sitting behind me when she overheard someone asking me about being clergy in the United Methodist Church. The person asked me about the controversy over sexuality in our denomination. I briefly explained and also shared that I am conservative. That’s when Angy graciously entered into the conversation.

She said she was once a passionate member of the LGBTQIA+ community, who thought the traditional Christian view was pure hate. She said she eventually realized that it wasn’t really preachers like me who were condemning her; it was actually those who were affirming her in her sin.

Angy said she would like to share a word about the controversy in the Church. Below is her succinct and poignant message to the UMC and LGBTQIA+ people.

By Angy Calvert

As a former member of the LGBTQIA community, I would strongly urge you to understand this one thing in light of the recent United Methodist General Conference.

Our acceptance by God is not dependent on whether the church accepts people in the doors. It almost seems like some people actually think that if a church welcomes someone in, God is then bound to accept that person into the Kingdom. Almost like a “majority rules” concept. We HAVE to understand that GOD IS HOLY and welcomes people into the Kingdom on HIS terms alone, not on any terms or standards we fallen humans deem adequate, and He has made those terms very clear.

The church can welcome people in with open arms all day long and they will still end up in hell for not believing and acknowledging His truth as perfectly expressed in His word! If we choose to suppress that truth, as Romans 1 clearly lays out, no amount of human acceptance will save us.

“On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’”
Matthew 7:22‭-‬23 ESV

Rev. Wall’s last article very correctly states that though we are made in God’s image, we are a fallen race, slaves of sin and hostile to God. One of the ways this plays out most evidently is in same sex desires, as it goes against God’s original created order. We can kick and scream, suppress and refuse it and swear up and down that the Bible doesn’t say it’s wrong, but in the end, we alone will be responsible for our hostility to God’s truth.

If we would stop being hostile to God and accept His judgement on such things, this whole topic of practicing LGBTQIA in the church wouldn’t even exist because we would accept and respect what God said through Paul:

“But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. Purge the evil person from among you.”
1 Corinthians 5:11‭-‬13 ESV

If you want the extended list of those we are to have nothing to do with if they are professing to be a “brother”, Paul gives it to us here:

“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”
1 Corinthians 6:9‭-‬10 ESV

So Paul is certainly not advocating for singing kumbaya and giving the right hand of fellowship to folks who are defiantly living for their own desires.

I say if someone is honestly searching for the truth, open doors and arms and speak God’s truth to them in love.
If someone claims to know Christ yet sees nothing wrong with practicing sexual immorality, close the doors, and as Paul says:

“Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning. For some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame.”
1 Corinthians 15:34 ESV

I know this is a sensitive topic for a lot of people. I have a great deal of compassion for anyone who is struggling with same sex attraction because I was once that person. But letting someone think God is pleased with the lifestyle they’re living, when God himself has stated that is NOT the case, is the most unloving thing we could possibly do…

Please hear me on this… eternity is at stake!

I have learned over the years that people like Angy receive no special sympathy from the radical Left. I have witnessed some of my progressive UM colleagues react with intense vitriol to Angy herself specifically when she has shared her testimony. But for anyone who is truly wrestling with these things, voices like Angy’s should also be heard.

Angy no longer struggles with same sex attraction. She has been transformed by the power of God’s grace. At the same time we are being told by some that gender has no biological basis and is an absolute choice, some of the same people are telling us that sexual orientation is absolutely fixed and people should not have the choice to try to change. Our society seems hell-bent to encourage young children to go through gender reassignment, while preventing any discussion of the possibility that sexual orientation can change. Children are being told it’s fine to question their gender and transform their bodies to confirm to their psychological state. They’re also being told that sexual orientation is absolutely fixed, and seeking change for sexual orientation is harmful. It is absurd and it is a lie. (See how APA researcher has acknowledged that sexual orientation can and does change.)

The power of God can certainly change our corrupted desires. Angy’s is a case in point. But there will also be cases where corrupted desires won’t be completely healed until the resurrection. I have some corrupt desires of my own that I still wrestle with, as do we all. There are Christians who still experience same-sex attraction, but choose, for the sake of Christ and the Gospel, to take up their cross and deny themselves daily when it comes to those desires.

Of course, the Church should not make any particular class of unrepentant sinners feel hopeless. The Gospel, however, is not only about God’s acceptance and affirmation of our dignity as humans created in his image; it is also a call to repentance and transformation with regards to the way sin has distorted God’s image in us through corrupted desires. There is plenty of hope in the gospel for all people.

The unconditional love of God is not that God will save everyone regardless of repentance and faith. God’s love is unconditional in the sense that no one who turns away from sin and turns back to him will be turned away–no matter what we have done or left undone. All people are truly invited to repent and enter into the kingdom of God. Again, there is no special condemnation for some; neither are there special exemptions. God’s grace, which includes forgiveness and new birth, is for all people.

As it turns out, the progressive message of inclusion is really the most exclusive because it excludes the most people from the kingdom of God, even as it purports to welcome more people into the visible Church. That’s Angy’s message above in a nutshell. Let the one who has ears to hear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.

  1. Comment by April User on March 11, 2019 at 2:00 pm

    Thank you for this rarely heard perspective. This article reminds me of the excellent life changing testimony of Rosario Butterfield. God bless you, Angy, and we pray that you have opportunities to share your story over and over!

  2. Comment by Andrew Hughes on March 11, 2019 at 3:29 pm

    Great words Angy

  3. Comment by Monica on March 11, 2019 at 8:56 pm

    Thank you, Angy! Wonderful! Your perspective is needed so much these days.

  4. Comment by David on March 11, 2019 at 9:17 pm

    As far as anyone can tell, about half of men who have sex with men are also attracted to women and are often married. Perhaps the same is true for women. Many are uncertain of their orientation early in life. Then there are cases of men married for years deciding they would rather be in a male relationship. Things can be complicated.

  5. Comment by Mike on March 11, 2019 at 10:41 pm

    Congratulations, David! You have just made Angy’s point: sexual orientation is not inborn, it is a combination of factors, and we can choose how we will be stewards of God’s good gift of human sexuality and sexual activity.

  6. Comment by David on March 12, 2019 at 9:04 am

    I suppose if a person was “born” bisexual, then changing objects of attraction during life would just be part of that.

  7. Comment by Patrick98 on March 12, 2019 at 11:12 am

    Ah, the human heart: always looking for a loophole.

  8. Comment by Rev. Paul Crone on March 12, 2019 at 9:01 am

    I have a close association with Steven Black of First Stone Ministires in Oklahoma City; are you familiar with Steven. I am a former United Methodist clergy, MDiv from Asbury, and I am now on staff of an Indepedent Baptist Church. The weekend of General Conference, we hosted the first “God’s Voice” Conference, in response to the “Revoice” Conference in St. Louis 9 months ago. It will be a growing trend and hope you all can attend next year. It is led by Steven.

    I fought long since the 1980’s against homosexuality among clergy in the United Methodist Church, and I get tears in my eyes to see that the UMC General Conference to a 2nd and now final stand against this apostasy. I pray for your continued stand and growth from this…revival is sweeping our land…don’t you think?

  9. Comment by Gary Bebop on March 12, 2019 at 3:37 pm

    As C. S. Lewis said, doing whatever pleases me is not Christianity.

  10. Comment by William on March 12, 2019 at 8:00 pm

    An incredible witness. The real transforming power of Jesus. Thank you for sharing. God bless you, Angy. May your witness touch the lives of others.

    To deny or marginalize the transforming power of Jesus is tantamount to denying Jesus as the Messiah.


  11. Comment by Todd S. on March 13, 2019 at 12:58 am

    Rev. Wall and Ms. Calvert, if you are going to refer to APA researcher Dr. Lisa Diamond’s research and analysis, please do so with integrity.

    Dr. Diamond states the following:
    “The women who I’ve studied who’ve experienced changes in the way that they characterize and experience their sexuality over time are quite clear about the fact that they don’t experience those changes as willful. And, if anything, sometimes they actively resist them. So, the notion that they are chosen simply because there is variability is simply not consistent with what I find.”

    In other words, while gender attraction may change, it does not do so based on will or choice.

    Dr. Diamond also states:
    “Every single society that has ever been studied scientifically by anthropologists and scientists do find evidence of same-sex sexuality. Every single animal species that has ever been studied finds evidence of same-sex sexuality.”

    And finally, Dr. Diamond says the following about reparative therapies and “ex-gay” programs:
    “There have been a number of studies that looked very rigorously and very scientifically at reorientation therapies, reparative therapies, and they have found a number of serious flaws. First of all they tend to misrepresent themselves to clients. The American Psychological Association has some pretty strict rules about ethics. And you cannot sort of market a therapy to a client under false pretenses. You have to be, in order to be a member in good standing of the American Psychological Association, you have to be accurate and honest with your clients about what they can experience as a result of the therapy. And the APA has found that the majority of these therapies are being misrepresented. The therapists are saying, we can change your orientation, when in fact all of the data — all of the data — suggests that that’s not the case.

    Sometimes they are successful on helping people to change their behavior, just like any of us can alter our behavior at will. But they say that the same-sex attractions will disappear, they don’t. So, that’s problematic in that it’s unethical, because they are leading people to think that they may experience something that they will not experience.

    And, the methods that they use to achieve this aim that they can’t achieve, tend to be very aversive. They use techniques sometimes involving the administration of drugs to induce nausea, aversion therapy, they tend to leave individuals feeling worse about themselves. Having the same feelings that they had before, but having a whole bunch of extra bad feelings along with them. And so they really violate this notion of ‘first do not harm.’ So, these therapies are marketed inaccurately, they don’t actually have the effect that the therapist claims that they will have, and they do additional damage by using these sort of aversive techniques that leave people feeling greater shame, greater guilt, feeling worse about themselves as a result. So, they do, do harm.”

  12. Comment by p. on March 13, 2019 at 4:24 am

    Thank you to Rev. Wall and Angy! This is one of the most graciously and truthfully worded articles I’ve read.

  13. Comment by Eric on March 13, 2019 at 3:58 pm

    Current thinking on the topic of gender and sexual preference is that both are considered fluid. The main point here is not that these identifiers are fixed or fluid. The point is that everyone should have the right to decide their own personal definition of love while still enjoying God’s love. I don’t think any of us are in a position to decide, as Angy has done in her statement, who will be going to hell.
    Open hearts!

  14. Comment by Diane on March 13, 2019 at 6:57 pm

    If sexuality is a choice, we’re all bisexual. Really? You might want to read up on the facial recognition study that accurately predicted 91% percent of the time the faces of gay men. That gives credence to the theory that what happens to a developing fetus in terms of hormones plays out in certain discernible characteristics that we humans have yet to understand or identify. Artificial intelligence is superior in this respect and seems to indicate that we are not all created heterosexual.

    Furthermore, there’s no shortage of evangelical stories of people who’re quite certain they’ve changed from gay to straight. A few years later they’re confessing they’re no longer “ex-gay”. John Paulk, poster boy for ex-gay ministries is now divorced and married to a man. What’s more, the leaders of every major ex-gay ministry have revealed the claims of “change is possible” are bogus.

    You might also want to read up on the tragic stories on the Straight Spouse Network site to learn of the thousands of broken marriages that resulted when one spouse, believing they’d changed from gay to straight, finally revealed marriage didn’tmake them straight after all. One gay man I know remained married to a woman for two decades before he admitted to himself and his wife that he was gay and had always known it. He was brainwashed to believe God would help him overcome homosexuality. He and his wife were devout Christians and decided not to divorce. Devastated, traumatized, depressed and isolated, his wife took her life within a month.

    Your theology is exceptionally destructive to innocent peoples’ lives. Bet you won’t print this.

  15. Comment by Angeles on December 26, 2019 at 10:47 pm

    It’s an impossibility to be a homosexual Christian
    The LGBTQ community need to read the word of GOD from beginning to end every day forever, then they will know the truth
    The problem is that they do not want to change their lifestyle and pleasing themselves is more important than pleasing their FATHER in heaven
    Let me ask you this, “ have you ever went to GOD and asked HIM, “ FATHER, should I become a homosexual or should I be straight, tell me GOD, what should I do” go to GOD everyone and see what HE says

  16. Comment by Becky on January 30, 2020 at 4:23 pm

    Kudos to Angy!
    As a ‘retired lesbian’, I couldn’t have stated it any better. God made Adam and Eve. Not Adam and Steve. Nor did He make Madam’ and Eve. Our Intelligent Designer did so with a perfect purpose in mind. But, we sinful humans are driven to get our needs met in ways that sometimes hurt ourselves, others and our Maker. We must continue to speak the truth in love (relationally) to help those hurting individuals be healed and find their true identity in Christ.

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