At the start of the gay rights movement in 1969, C.S. Lewis, Billy Graham, Francis Schaeffer and John Stott modeled a positive pastoral approach toward gay people, who needed care more than cure.
But with the birth and rise of the ex-gay movement, the focus shifted from care to cure, diminishing the beauty of the gospel. An estimated 700,000 people alive today who underwent conversion therapy in the United States alone, with very troubling results. Despite the closure of ex-gay umbrella organization Exodus International in 2013, the ex-gay script continues to walk about as the undead among us, pressuring people like me to say, "I used to be gay, but I'm not anymore."
For orthodox Christians, the way forward is a path back to where we were 40 years ago. It is time again to focus with our Neo-Evangelical fathers on care – not cure – for our non-straight sisters and brothers who are living lives of costly obedience to Jesus.
Greg Johnson is Lead Pastor of historic Memorial Presbyterian Church (PCA) in St. Louis, where he has served on pastoral staff since 2003. He holds a Ph.D. in Historical Theology with a concentration in American religion from Saint Louis University and an M.Div. from Covenant Theological Seminary. He is the author of The World According to God: A Biblical View of Culture, Work, Science, Sex & Everything Else (Intervarsity Press, 2002), and Still Time To Care: What We Can Learn from the Church’s Failed Attempt to Cure Homosexuality (Zondervan, 2021).