Pastor Bob Perdue, of Virginia’s Old Dominion Baptist Church, is a proud affiliate of Exodus International’s Exodus Church Association, a network of churches bound together in warding off homosexuality. Perdue is married, has five children, and acknowledges he struggles with wanting to sex up other dudes every day. But allow him to explain why he’s so supportive of the ex-gay movement, and why you should be too.
Exodus’ own Jeff Buchanan reached out to Perdue after seeing him on last month’s PBS special Churches & Gay Youth, where he told viewers homosexuality “violates the way God has set it up, and so while I understand that you have that attraction and that it developed maybe by no fault of your own, you’re not free to act upon that.”
And how did he arrive here?
I grew up in church and I grew up struggling with same sex attraction. While the problem was not spoken about specifically, the concept of homosexuality was condemned as an “abomination” and those who considered themselves homosexuals were on the list of those who were going to hell. I never spoke of my struggle out loud until I was 35. The attitude of the church was a key factor in driving my struggle deep within which resulted in living a double life, guilt, shame, depression and finally a suicide attempt.
Today I Pastor a large growing church in the suburbs of Washington DC. My passion is that our church be a place where it is safe to discuss any struggle and where someone will walk along side of you to work through that struggle in accordance with the truth of God’s Word. The act of homosexuality (it is a behavior NOT an identity) is still an abomination to God (Leviticus 18:22). As is pride, deceit, gossip and divisiveness (Proverbs 6:16-19). We are all born with a bent toward sinning (Psalm 51:5) and develop tendencies toward sinful behaviors as we grow and develop. Whether pride, deceit or same sex attraction, the grace and forgiveness that flows from the cross forgives it all and provides us with a new identity that does not come from our sin. We are the children of God. Living out of this new desire requires me to deny myself (my sinful desires which don’t disappear when God’s grace enters) and follow Christ into a whole new way of life (Luke 9:23).
This is the message of the church. You have a desire or tendency to be deceitful, to boast about yourself, to engage in sex outside of marriage, to have a sexual relationship with the same sex? The grace of God forgives us for these desires and the grace of God teaches us to deny these desires in order to live out of our true identity as children of God (Titus 2:11-12).
Unfortunately the church is, for the most part, polarized on this issue. Either we lean in the direction of tolerance and deny the truth of Scripture to embrace homosexual behavior as part of God’s plan or we put homosexual behavior in a class of sin that is worse than all others and identify those who participate in that sin as gay or homosexuals living outside of the will of God.
I am a 52 year old man, married with 5 children, who struggles with a same sex attraction and Pastors a growing church. My struggle is no worse than the struggle of others who desire alcohol, pornography, a dozen donuts or another woman. It in no way defines me or my maturity in Christ. I choose not to give in to that desire and enjoy a life lived out of my true identity.
There’s Alcoholics Anonymous. Weight Watchers. And soon, 12-Steps to Stay Away From The Gay. We want in on that franchise business, yo.