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December 5, 2013

A different view on homosexuality

DOERUN — Doerun, Ga., population 368, nestled in a conservative county in one of the most conservative states in the country, is not a place one would expect to produce a new viewpoint in America’s homosexual debate.

But two Doerun pastors have written a book that they think will bring a new perspective to that divisive issue.

Born That Way After All came off the presses in early November, written by the Rev. David J. “Johnny” Nixon and the Rev. Glenn Hamm, copastors of First Love Baptist Church.

Hamm said several people have told them, “This book will blow the lid off America.”

Many people, as the book explains, say homosexuals are “born that way” — to seek relations with others of their gender instead of the opposite sex. Traditional Christians have rejected that perspective, often going to the opposite extreme and declaring homosexuals beyond — or nearly beyond — the reach of salvation.

Nixon, the primary author of the book, said both are wrong and the truth is contained in a misunderstood scripture, Matthew 19:11-12:

“But he [Jesus] said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given. For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.” (King James Version)

Nixon’s belief — and the theme of the book — is that the people who claim to be gay are actually the first kind of eunuch. They are “born that way,” the book says, but “that way” refers to a lack of sexual desire, not a desire for the same sex. Some men and women are born to be celibate, he said.

Nixon said he came to this realization during Bible study, when a part of the verse he had read dozens of times jumped out at him. He shared his revelation with Hamm, his father-in-law, who immediately agreed with it.

But what happens, Nixon said in an interview this week, is that our culture — especially in the church — forces the person to choose: If they don’t like the opposite sex, then they must be gay. People who feel they don’t fit in either group are left with questions when puberty hits.

“When the church he goes to for answers doesn’t have the answers, he’s going to search for a group that welcomes him,” Nixon said. “That’s the gay community.”

Instead, he said, the church should be welcoming and accepting because God did make those individuals special. The primary definition of the word “eunuch,” he said in the book, is “guardian,” meaning “one who is meant to remain single.”

“God made these people to focus on him,” he said.

Nixon and Hamm have been taking this message to individuals in the area for a couple of years. They said they’ve seen results, including people leaving the gay lifestyle for one of “Christ-centered celibacy.”

“They found identity for the first time,” Nixon said.

They wrote the book primarily as an educational tool for individuals and for churches, they said, but they’re convinced it’s grounded in traditional scriptures.

“We belive this is not a new message,” Hamm said. “It just got lost for a while.”

He said the theory of born eunuchs was common teaching of the early church and figured into the writings of churchmen as recent as John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, in the late 1700s. How it got “lost” is the subject of a whole chapter in their book, but in a nutshell it involved conflict between American Protestants whose ministers had wives and Irish Catholic immigrants whose priests were celibate. Tolerance for men who weren’t out having families was “collateral damage,” Nixon said.

The two said they do not support the homosexual lifestyle.

“We do not believe God created anyone gay,” Hamm said. “The Bible is very clear about how God feels about homosexuality.”

Nor do they support groups that try to change someone from gay to straight. Nixon said that’s rejecting the person’s feelings and trying to make them something they’re not. “That’s ridiculous,” he said.

Hamm and Nixon will be signing copies of the book 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday at Christian Books and More, 1612 First Ave. S.E. Copies are available there as well as through amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.

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