As one of the ‘Coming Out’ Ministries speaking team, there are two things that amaze me.
I am amazed at all the open doors given to us to speak. Both domestically and internationally, we are invited to share our messages of redemption from lives of self-destruction and degradation in the LGBT culture (twenty-seven years ago for myself).
We praise the Lord for the reception we receive from those who invite us and hear the marvelous workings of our Savior for the likes of us. After all, I was labeled in the past–even by theologians–as “unchangeable.” In defiance against God, the church, and those theologians I became “unreachable.” In those days, I did not realize the power of intercessory prayer ascending daily from my parents and others — who were not willing to let me go to the power and control of the enemy of souls.
However, I am also amazed at the doors that close with a bang to these same messages of victory, and salvation from sin through the grace (divine, omnipotent, transforming power) of God. Increasingly we find events that are being canceled. Invitations are being blocked, service requests being selectively required and then being denied as a means of censorship by some pastors and some up-line leaders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Here’s an example.
During a recent opportunity to speak in Europe, a service request was required to speak in our churches there. The conference president did not want our message in his territory and we were told that there was not enough time to process the request, and we were advised not to come into the country if the request was denied. It didn’t matter that I am a conference pastor with a recommendation from my conference president. What he opposed was our message, not just in the church, but in his country as well!
We were informed by constituents in that country that this Conference President is openly pro-gay, he rejects the seven days of Creation, he rejects the Spirit of Prophecy, and he forbids his pastors to preach the Three Angels Messages, etc. We met one pastor who was just fired for doing so.
In light of such antics, I cannot help but apply Acts 4:19,20 – “Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.”
Needless to say, we did not submit that service request.
On the other hand, we did submit all the information requested for a speaking engagement in a New Zealand church in conjunction with our Australian tour. We waited a long time for a response until we had no choice but to purchase our airline tickets. Then came the denial of permission! So, we had to find other venues for our meetings, or take a vacation in New Zealand…
Everywhere we go we find people hungry for our message, people who are dealing with the LGBT issue with no resources, no discussion, and no hope.
NAD LBGT+LO Resource
The North American Division has decided to fill this void by publishing and distributing an Adventist Edition of a non-Adventist book, even though they are very well aware of our SDA ministry and our Biblical SDA resources. The approach of this book is, basically, love and acceptance and open dialogue. It does not deal with homosexuality as a sin issue for which Jesus died and from which He offers salvation.
Our material is bypassed because we believe in conversion, change, and transformation by the renewing of the mind through the exceeding great and precious promises of God.
Revelation 12:11 tells us that we overcome [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb, and the by word of our testimony. One person came to me years ago saying, “Pastor Ron, if God can save you, He can save anybody!” He then asked for baptism as a Seventh-day Adventist.
So, I have to ask: “What is wrong with the Seventh-day Adventist message!? Are we exhibiting a form of godliness, denying the power thereof? Is our God impotent, or omnipotent?”
In my own desperate struggle to find answers for all my gay questions almost three decades ago, I finally turned to the word of God. With a margarita in one hand and a cigarette in the other I sat down with the book “Steps to Christ.” Yes, I know what you are thinking—there is something wrong with that picture. But, I had to relax in order to even read in those days. I had read nothing of substance for years, as I was a total TV addict instead.
On page one of that book, I had a talk with the Lord, for I knew this was not the proper way to launch into the study of His word. “Lord,” I said, “I did not leave you over margaritas. I did not leave you over cigarettes. If you will show me the answers to the real issues I am dealing with, then we will come back to the alcohol and tobacco issue, OK?”
I continued on reading that little book. It was in chapter 5, the one entitled “Consecration,” that I found myself snuffing out a perfectly good cigarette…! I could not continue drinking and smoking while reading the word of God. By beholding Him, I was slowly beginning to change. What was I reading?
“But what do we give up, when we give all? A sin-polluted heart, for Jesus to purify, to cleanse by His own blood, and to save by His matchless love. And yet men think it hard to give up all! I am ashamed to hear it spoken of, ashamed to write it.
“God does not require us to give up anything that it is for our best interest to retain. In all that He does, He has the well-being of His children in view. Would that all who have not chosen Christ might realize that He has something vastly better to offer them than they are seeking for themselves. Man is doing the greatest injury and injustice to his own soul when he thinks and acts contrary to the will of God. No real joy can be found in the path forbidden by Him who knows what is best and who plans for the good of His creatures. The path of transgression is the path of misery and destruction” (SC46).
My “Left behind” series
Over the years, after visits to my home in California, my parents from Arkansas had left behind a number of books and an EGW Study Bible, which I now refer to as my “Left Behind Series.” “Steps to Christ” was the first one I was able to read. That little book stirred within me a hunger and desire for more. I began reading the Bible and all the Spirit of Prophecy commentary in it. My hunger grew. I then read the entire 9-volume set of the Testimonies to the Church, …left behind. From there I read the 5-volume set of the Conflict of the Ages series, …left behind. Then there was that beautiful book called “The Story of Redemption,” …also left behind.
In reading all those books, the Bible and its EGW commentary, I found strait answers to all my gay questions. From there I decided to visit some Seventh-day Adventist churches, seeking confirmation in the wonderful truths I was discovering. Imagine my disappointment when sharing in Sabbath School some of the beautiful quotes from the Seventh-day Adventist books and message, receiving negative reactions.
“Well, I really don’t think…,” and, “I believe that doesn’t apply to us today…,” and “Of course, we all know that we will be sinning until Jesus comes…”
My reaction was, “But I am reading your books…!” The Great Controversy page 489 says, “Satan is constantly seeking to deceive the people of God with his fatal sophistry that it is impossible to overcome!”
I was amazed at the opposition to the very message I was reading in the Seventh-day Adventist books and the Bible itself. So, I determined to keep studying for myself and to accept the word of God over the opinions expressed in those churches. Eventually, I chose to end my gay relationship and walk away into newness of life in Christ and into the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Jesus once said, “Salvation is of the Jews.” But the Jews crucified their Savior, even though they were the repositories of God’s truth. I began to realize through my study that today “Salvation is of the Seventh-day Adventists.”
Is it possible that today some Seventh-day Adventist leaders might be crucifying present truth even though we are presently the repositories of that truth today?
In Luke 17:28-30, Jesus tells us, “As it was in the days of Lot; …even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.”
The Solution to Moral Sin
The world today is even as Sodom and Gomorrah of old, as we witness a global epidemic of the normalization of homosexuality and gay marriage. From my own experience, I am convinced that the Seventh-day Adventist message of righteousness by faith is the answer to the gay question.
The faith of Jesus, His justification AND sanctification, His salvation FROM sin not IN sin, His transformation of character, us becoming new creatures in Christ, of His grace being sufficient for all my struggles, is the answer to the gay question.
We who recognize sin to be the transgression of the Law are the ones God has appointed to give the message of “Come out of her, my people” (Revelation 18:4).
Our message is not to be an inclusive, ecumenical, milky message, but rather a weighty biblical Message, a call to come out from the world and to separate ourselves from every unclean thought and unholy practice. This has been the message through all ages and in every nation by those who believe that Jesus can and will save them personally from their sins. They are the elect and chosen of God, His peculiar treasure (see RH 08/01/1893).
This is what ‘Coming Out’ Ministries is all about. This is the message we present. We are simply presenting the same Seventh-day Adventist message that worked for ourselves, that brought us out of our darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9). We are simply presenting the Seventh-day Adventist message that brought us into the Seventh-day Adventist Church itself.
What is wrong with our own Seventh-day Adventist Message that we find so much increasing opposition to it within our own Seventh-day Adventist Church!? Why should “the church” censor, oppose, and reject the very message that brought us into it…?!
From the Spirit of Prophecy, which I love and quote unashamedly, we are counseled that “there are many precious truths...but it is ‘present truth’ that the flock needs now.”
In Hosea 4:6 we read, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me....” I pray that we as Seventh-day Adventists will cease rejecting the knowledge of salvation from sin — that the Lord will not reject us as His people.
However, in all my study, I have read the last chapters of the Bible and of the Seventh-day Adventist books. I know how it all ends. And I choose to embrace the knowledge with which God has blessed us, for there really is nothing wrong with the Seventh-day Adventist Message at all. It is the Message for the time of the end. And we are to give that Message with a sound of certainty, without wavering.
“While men have slept, Satan has stolen a march on us. Let us now take up the work appointed us, and proclaim the message that is to arouse men and women to a sense of their danger” (9T29).
Yes, God does have his messengers that will awake to His call and faithfully give that message: “Come out of her, my people!” This is the mission and message of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. And it is the same message in ‘Coming Out’ Ministries.
Ron Woolsey is pastor of the Marshall & Clinton, Arkansas Seventh-day Adventist Churches and speaker/director of The Narrow Way Ministry, a ministry of missions, message, and music. Ron is also a speaker and co-founder of Coming Out Ministries.