From By God's Design: Overcoming Same-Sex Attractions -- A True Story
Chapter 1: The Story of a Man
Every age has its own outlook. It is specially good at seeing certain truths and specially liable to make certain mistakes. We all, therefore, need the books that will correct the characteristic mistakes of our own period. And that means the old books.
~ C.S. Lewis
If a child entering puberty experiences unwanted same-sex attractions, is this a life sentence? Must he or she endure that same temptation and emotional torture forever or else give in to it?
Many—perhaps most—people today think it impossible to change sexual attractions, and therefore they say to same-sex-attracted (SSA) persons, “accept who you are.” From Alan Medinger’s perspective, these people are wrong. Our true identity is in Christ, he believed, and Christ created our sexuality for use as He intends. He is able to change His children. As they are discipled in His Word, He wille wil help them live abundant lives as the men and women He designed them to be.
Who is Alan Medinger, and why should his opinions matter to Bible-believing Christians? He is a man born in 1936, before the Christian worldview became obsolete in American culture and even before the word gay came into use. Because he was born with a male body, he believed, as a child, that God intended him to grow up to be a heterosexual man, and when in puberty he experienced unwanted same-sex attractions, he didn’t change his mind. They were aberrations, he thought, so he stepped into the world he wished to inhabit. He graduated from Johns Hopkins University, married his best friend (Willa), and became a successful accountant with a large corporation. But after five years of marriage, impelled by various stresses, he sought release through homosexual fantasy and, eventually, acts.
Alan’s opinions would be inconsequential had his life ended then, which it nearly did. Instead, he encountered Christ at a prayer meeting, surrendered his life to Him, was born again, and experienced miracles. Christ took away his same-sex attractions and set him free to love. In profound gratitude, Alan stepped into another life. He dedicated himself to Jesus. Empowered by prayer, he restored his marriage and with his wife reared three godly children. In 1979 Alan established a ministry, Regeneration, and he led it more than thirty years. It remains one of the oldest and most successful redemptive ministries to SSA people in the world. Through Alan’s life and writings, thousands have learned to follow Christ. In so doing, they have gone on to either happy marriages with persons of the opposite gender or fulfilled single lives.
For thirty-five years, Alan studied same-sex attraction. For twenty-five years, he wrote about it. When he said choosing a homosexual identity is choosing a lesser life than the one Jesus designs for a person, he knew what he was talking about.
Do Alan’s ideas have anything to say to us in this moral climate? Should we read them? Yes, if we follow C. S. Lewis’s advice about how to find truth. Lewis considered it essential for people to balance their reading of new ideas with reading old ones. He warns against “the dangers of an exclusive contemporary diet,” which, he wrote, “has to be tested against the great body of Christian thought down the ages.”
Today our culture shares certain assumptions about sexuality. One “truth” many of us accept is the idea that persons experiencing same-sex attraction deserve special civil rights protection because of their orientation. Another is the belief that sexual activity is necessary for a full and happy life, and that the concept of family does not require both a mother and a father. Many of us believe that marriage can take place between persons of the same gender. These ideas are relatively new. Will they endure the scrutiny of future generations?
Lewis advises wisdom-seekers to consider different perspectives. “None of us can fully escape this blindness [of contemporary thought],” he says, “but we shall certainly increase it, and weaken our guard against it, if we read only modern books. Where they are true, they will give us truths that we half knew already. Where they are false, they will aggravate the error with which we are already dangerously ill. The only palliative is to keep the clean sea breeze of the centuries blowing through our minds, and this can be done only by reading old books.”
Can someone born in 1936 be considered the author of an old book? Yes, if the subject is human homosexuality. We live today in a different age from the 1950s, when Alan reached adulthood. Since the 1960s, when a sexual revolution began, and especially since the 1970s, when gay rights for the first time were vigorously advanced in this country, the pace of cultural change has been rapid and relentless. Are we drawing closer to a true perspective on sexuality than ever before? Before concluding, let us look at the life and teachings of a wise man from an earlier age.
This book presents Alan’s discoveries about sexuality, showing how life events affected his philosophy and writings. We follow him from his lowest point—sunk in a whirlpool of SSA activity that soon would have destroyed his marriage, his prestigious and profitable career, and even his life—to a supremely content old age. What he learned along the way about homosexuality, how it occurs and how it changes in a person’s life, can teach us a truer view of this phenomenon. He observed late in life that everything he learned as a novice Regeneration leader proved to be true. His beliefs were based on the Bible, unlike shifting worldly beliefs, and so they were “the same yesterday, today, and forever.”