Straight to failure: when holiness is not the goal

Meet Anthony Venn-Brown, who tried for 22 years to change his “sexual orientation” when he should have been asking God to change his heart.

Venn-Brown is self described ex-exgay who’s part of a move to “apologize” to people for believing and teaching others that homosexuality can be overcome by the power of Christ.

After reviewing Mr. Brown’s video snippet, I realized that he carries a lot of unresolved pain and is clearly still confused about what God requires to be in true relationship with Him. I’m not sure if Brown’s problem is a “I failed the Lord” Peteresque type of hurt or “the church lied to me” hurt. Whatever the case, he is a wounded man.

Its wrong for churches to tell people that overcoming homosexuality is about becoming straight. That, is a lie, but apparently Brown, like other homosexuals who tried to be an exgay believed it. In this case, the church is at fault for wrongly dividing the Word of truth (2 Tim 2:15). Throughout the video, Brown and the off camera interviewer refer to the word “straight” as if it were some prized spiritual goal.

But as we have explained before here, “being straight” is never a goal taught by scripture. Holiness is the goal. When one pursues the lie of being straight or heterosexually “normal” instead of being holy, they are headed straight for failure. Its all but garunteed.

The lie Brown accepted forced him into “aversion therapy”. Not only is aversion therapy (in any form) unbiblical, its quack psycho-science that’s been proven to harm an individual’s mental health. Brown also said he “believed that God would be the answer”. In other words, he wanted a miracle. It doesn’t take a miracle to be set free from homosexuality. Salvation and deliverance is the gift of God to all people, not a special case of divine charity. Such beliefs hyperspiritualize the issue to the point that some individuals are led to believe homosexuality is a “special needs” case for God. Brown himself says “it would take a miracle to become a heterosexual”.

Brown’s false beliefs took him to Bible college, an excorcism and exgay programming. None it worked and no wonder why. Of course, Brown believes the reason is that one “cant change the orientation on the inside.” Although he is perhaps unaware, he is still searching for truth having parked at gay christianity. Sexual orientation is a false construct being used to persuade people that such a thing is intrinsic or immutable to one’s being, therefore it cannot be changed.

Overcoming homosexuality is not about going to bible school, being a pentecostal, getting married, having children, preaching to lots of people or trying real hard to be straight. Those external, tangible efforts will result in external changes, but real change is an inside job. Thus, it is the intangibles of our faith that bring about holiness. Holiness is an ongoing learning and acceptance (discipleship) of discipline, trust, humility, faith, patience, repentance and much more as the Holy Spirit illuminates the logos in one’s journey. Adding these valuable intangibles to your life produces a confidence in God in such a way the Bible says you will “never fall”

Neither is holiness about perfectionism, better known in churchspeak as being “completely delivered”. The Bible defines perfection as ongoing maturity. Making right choices as right information is revealed and accepted in response to temptations to sin.

Brown believed he only had two choices: “be heterosexual and go to heaven or be homosexual and go to hell. Its not clear if this is what the Assemblies of God told him or something he came up with on his own, but both are false choices. There is no presumption in scripture that being heterosexual equals holy. Scripture says that anyone who continually commits sexual immorality of any type will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor 6:9-10). Being a heterosexual fornicator is no better than a homosexual fornicator. Lusting after women is the same as lusting after men.

If youre like Brown and have been told these lies by your church, or heard them from another source, you should rethink your thinking. Make every effort to live in peace with all men, the Bible says and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord Hebrew 12:14.

Related: Longer transcript interview with Anthony Venn-Brown

11 thoughts on “Straight to failure: when holiness is not the goal

  1. His story reminds me of Mel White’s autobiography in “Stranger at the Gate.” To be honest, I feel sorry for him and I have a lot of empathy for him. The church has been sold a bill of goods of worldly psychology and it has bought into it hook, line and sinker. So these men try shock therapy and a host of other non-Biblical methods from outside the church while the majority of pastors don’t even bother to learn how to help men such as these. It also reminds me of fat people who desperately want to lose weight and so they try Dexitrim, various miracle weight loss drugs, surgical bypass operations, starvation diets and so forth only to find themselves gaining all their weight back plus more. They are using a wrong means to obtain the wrong ends and so they just conclude, “I’m a fat person and I accept myself the way I am.” Then the expect the rest of the world to excuse their behavior and cater to them with free airline tickets for their obese body, they file discrimination law suits to businesses that won’t accommodate their enormous bodies and so forth as they cram another burger down their throat from McDonald’s.. Since last July I have been changing slowly but surely, using the right means to obtain the right goal. No quick and easy fix, no miracle cures. Just slow growth in sanctification, perseverance, and daily spiritual and physical exercise. It isn’t easy and I couldn’t get this far alone. Praise God for my brothers in Christ who are with me every step of the way!

  2. bro, this was excellent and so very necessary to be spoken! Thank you.

    Neither is holiness about perfectionism, better known in churchspeak as being “completely delivered”. The Bible defines perfection as ongoing maturity. Making right choices as right information is revealed and accepted in response to temptations to sin.

    How often in the church we forget sanctification is life long – Faith is living, hope is our gift. Keep preaching man.

  3. I am a member of an Assemblies of God church in MN. As with any church, they do not teach or preach about sexual issues on a regular basis. I’ve been very open about my past, & my occasional struggles with ssa. My pastors and their wives have been very supportive of me. However, there are women in my church who refuse to hug me at greeting time. My husband, daughter, and I rarely, if ever, get invited to someone’s house. (My pastors being the exception.) Problems with churches are more often problems with some people in the church. I am so thankful for my pastors and their committment to God’s Word.

    Here is a link to the Assemblies of God official position on Homosexuality.

  4. Lisa I have to agree with you 95% of churches do not teach a consistent, healthy biblical view of sexuality. They dont do it for heterosexual issues and homosexual issues have a double taboo.
    Im not talking about affirming anyone’s sinful inclinations, but teaching about sexual issues which affect emotional, relational and spiritual maturity is literally nonexistent.
    If there are any out there, hey stand up and be counted!

    Also, Lisa people/women who shy away from you even though you have been saved …well I dont know what word to use to describe their behavior. Sinfully ignorant perhaps. I do know how you feel, been there.
    But you be an example of love and kindness anyway.

    Dont let folks run you out of God’s house because of their ignorance and pride.

  5. The emphasis in scripture is sexual purity. It is not about gay or straight. I can recall the great emphasis on virginity in the 90’s with the purity ceremonies and the rings that siginfied the young women’s chasity, etc. It was the wrong emphasis. Virginity is a by-product of a commitment to sexual purity. I know of a lot of young people who wanted to know how far they could go sexually and still remain a “technical” virgin. THey were breaking their chastity vows left and right while wearing their rings! I was a Youth Minister for my denomination and I counseled and ministered to many Technical Virgins who were not sexually pure. Oral and anal sex , mutual masturbation, etc., were substituting for vaginal penetration. Another flaw in that movement was that the women were held accountable for their virginty and the men were basically ignored. They were trying to avoid pregnancy and STD’s not trying to instill the need for a pure heart.
    One of the sad problems with the church is that we fail to teach about the Biblical principles for human sexuality, PERIOD. We tend to focus on sexual sins, homosex, lesbianism, masturbation, etc. A pure heart will produce a pure life. Sexual purity is a by-product of a commitment to obey the Holy Scriptures.

  6. Elder Jimmy I agree holiness and sexual purity is not a technical check off list. If from the heart flows the issues of life, then the purity of the heart as you said produces purity in body and mind.

    Again, the kingdom perspective on sexuality is sadly nonexistent in today’s church.

  7. Oh, how I hate to hear/read of such stories. What is it about the Word that people get confused as it pertains to their relationship with Christ, our Savior! I don’t understand! I didn’t even watch the video cuz I know it will just upset me to see that he bought into the lie.

  8. Amazing! In the video there was no mention of salvation. Mr. Brown stated right from the get go that his intentions were to be straight rather than to be saved. When I was saved I repented and cried and at that moment since then the Holy Ghost has been with me ever since. God continually renews my mind and in time is creating me to be more and more Christ like.

    As for Mr. Brown by his own admission Jesus Christ was NOT the foundation and his salvation was NOT the emphasis. we should not be surprised then that he was not set free. More than likely he was never saved. All of us here who have been truly saved know and understand that our sin nature will still plague us until death or rapture. However, after being saved we can look back since that moment of salvation and see how God has changed us. We are works in process. Mr. Brown on the other hand probably has never even been on the potters wheel yet.


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