Jerry Newcombe of Truth In Action Ministries is upset that ex-gay leader John Paulk has renounced the movement and announced that his marriage to his wife is ending. While Newcombe didn’t explicitly name Paulk, the former poster boy of the ex-gay movement made news recently for recanting his past activism.
Newcombe said that Paulk is like an “ex-ex-smoker” who “for whatever reason, they lit up again, and they no longer try to fight these urges,” adding that the rejection of the ex-gay movement is nothing short of “blasphemy.”
Well, it’s happened again. Another prominent person in ministry has apparently fallen away from the faith, and he renounces what he once was a part of.
This isn’t a story like the supposed apostasy of Joel Osteen. That was a false story foisted on the world through computer hacking. What a strange time we live in, where such hackers could invade the Associated Press’ website and plant a false story about the president getting injured—causing the stock market to temporarily drop, until the truth came out.
The moral of the story is: Don’t believe everything you read or hear in the news, until firmly established by two or three witnesses, to use the biblical standard.
But this story about a prominent man in ministry falling away is verified from multiple sources. His particular sin happened to be homosexuality, to which he has now returned.
As Christians, how are we to understand it when people seem to get converted but fall away, presumably for good? Like they say, the Bible will keep us from sin or vice versa.
Perhaps this man will eventually get back right with the Lord. Perhaps not. When people say, “Once saved, always saved,” I prefer to add two qualifiers: “Once truly saved, always truly saved.” Obviously, temporary setbacks are on a different level than permanent ones.
What’s interesting about this fallen away man who is currently in the news is that he claims he never was changed. Fair enough, because only he and God know his own heart. But what he now says is that you can’t change—that is, no one with such a struggle can change. Excuse me?
As the wife of an ex-gay once told me in an interview, “To say that people can’t be transformed is to say that God cannot transform people, and that’s blasphemy. Nothing less.”
Granted, some sinful backgrounds may be harder to work through than others. But God can and will transform those willing to submit to His will. He wants us to be free more than we do.
I actually know some ex-ex-smokers. They gave up smoking—for a while. In some cases they became fanatical against smoking. But eventually, for whatever reason, they lit up again, and they no longer try to fight these urges. Does that mean that no one can quit for good? Of course not. Yet that’s sort of implied in some of the media stories about our fallen away friend. …
Every Christian is described by Paul as a “living sacrifice.” The problem is that sometimes we living sacrifices can crawl off the altar. We should pray for such people to crawl back. When they do, they’ll see that God waits for them with open arms, like the father of the Prodigal Son.