By David W. Virtue in Cape Town

International evangelical ex-gay leaders at a global congress seeking to reach the world for Jesus Christ say that 155 million homosexuals around the world need to hear the love and grace of God, not condemnation or rejection by Christians.

They believe that the church should lovingly accept homosexuals, let them know that God loves them and that He wants to pour “living waters” of His love into them to cleanse and change them with His love.

“Grace drew me home and truth set me free,” cried one speaker. “Stifling behavior is not our goal; our goal in the church is to speak first to the soul as we reach into the gay community. Our goal is not to silence or stop homosexuals but to reach into the gay community with God’s love, grace and forgiveness.

“It is not just about behavior, you can cut off my hands and gauge out my eyes but the internal struggle would continue. This is not just about the gay culture. What we face is not rocket science, it is reaching lost persons and letting Christ do his redemptive work in their hearts.

“Homosexuals are not lost or missing, they are hurting. Most people who come into our ministries come from churches,” they said.

One speaker, EXODUS International president Alan Chambers told more than a 1,000 participants that Christ died for all of us or he died for none of us. “We need to care about gays and lesbians who deserve our love and acceptance. We are not being called to accept sin but to accept people. Christ died for us when were yet sinners. The church is the best place to hear about God’s redemption and His sacrifice for lost sinners.

“Look at the gay community. God wants those people in our churches. God has message for all of us. Whatever sin you are tempted with, the message is you are accepted. God says I want a relationship with you and I have the grace, ability and power to redeem you. Bring your struggles to me and together we will struggle towards wholeness and sanctification and we will struggle towards the cross together.

“What one of us does not do wrong? We all do wrong. There are people who need to be reached. We should not be in the business of politically defeating them but reaching them with the heart of Christ and let them know that there is only One who can redeem them and love them more than anyone else.

“We are the most uneducated about compassion and reaching out. We are people in the world who have the real answer. I lived in a gay community and found it to be one of the best counterfeits I have ever been in. When a church finally reached out to me I saw a greater love. The real tragedy is when the church doesn’t reach out with the greatest love in the universe.”

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