Andrea Williams comments on her time at the IFTCC fifth annual conference in Hungary.
The transforming power of the gospel is real. It is the power to bring real and lasting freedom to those trapped in homosexuality and transgenderism. And this is a message of hope and truth that we must boldly proclaim.
I have just returned from a three-day meeting in central Europe with some 200 people from around the world, including leading experts in medicine and counselling for men and women who choose to leave their homosexual and transgender lifestyles in the past.
This was the fifth annual conference of the IFTCC (International Federation for Therapeutic Counselling Choice). The group is set up to fight for the freedoms of people who want to walk away from the homosexual and transgender experiences and practices that they find so unfulfilling, and offer support and therapeutic counselling to help these people change. But, hosted outside of the big cities, the group has been forced underground by the aggressive LGBT agenda. Authorities don’t want to hear these stories; they want to erase such people from the public square.
Yet, while we were there, we published a new declaration, promising to declare to our governments that everyone should have the freedom to turn away from LGBT, the freedom to seek therapy and counselling, fighting to defy political attempts that deny people the right to choice in sexual expression and identity that are in line with their religious and philosophical beliefs. We promised that we would continue to help people move away from unwanted LGBT practices, and challenge the idea that sexual ‘orientation’ is inborn and unchangeable.
This is not a movement that seeks to remain underground. It is a movement that seeks to mobilise, to equip, to train, to speak out boldly. (In fact, all of the talks are already available to watch on Facebook.)
The reality is that in the UK, and increasingly more so in other nations across the world, the only approved ‘therapy’ is to affirm people as LGBT. There is no space to affirm people as being made in the image of God, male or female. The freedom to declare marriage as being between one man and one woman is being taken away. The name of Jesus is being destroyed through policies, laws and culture, and our freedom to speak about these things is being destroyed too.
As things get darker, the need to shine the light of truth becomes stronger.
But the overwhelming message at the IFTCC conference was not one of despair, but one of hope. There, the stories of transformation and gospel redemption are real. There, you will find dozens of individuals who have lived out homosexual relationships, who have been lured in by transgender ideology, who have been affected by gender confusion, where none of them have found satisfaction. Instead, they have found help with the IFTCC, they have moved out of those lifestyles and found compassion, healing and joy. They are stories of repentance. They are stories of transformation. They are stories of hope.
This is what can happen when we boldly proclaim that healing can be found in therapy, when we stand together as a global network. The reality is that we need to shout this message out; we need to make it known that we are here, not remain hidden and underground.
Pete Benjamin’s story of how he became trapped in a transgender lifestyle demonstrates how dangerous this ideology is: his transition to ‘become a woman’ ultimately tore his family apart. His surgery did nothing to curb his depression, alcoholism, suicidal thoughts. And despite the initial euphoria he felt immediately after his operation, just ten minutes later he realised he’d made a terrible mistake.
But Pete’s story doesn’t end there – having turned to help from his local church, not only is he now living free from depression, alcoholism and suicidal thoughts, but his relationship with his children is going from strength to strength. This is the power of the gospel.
Denise Shick, author of My Daddy’s Secret, shared her story of growing up with a father who suffered gender confusion. At just 9 years old, Denise’s father told her, in secret, that he wanted to be a woman. This proved to be a burden she would carry with her; it led to her questioning her own identity and threw her into such a state of confusion that by the time she was 14, she turned to alcohol to ‘help her cope’.
Yet this is the agenda that we are allowing our own children to be taught: that they get to decide who they want to be, that there are infinite genders, that being transgender is being ‘true to yourself’.
Who will stand and speak truth to our children?
Dr David Mackereth was told by an Employment Tribunal judge that his belief in Genesis 1:27 – that we are created male and female in the image of God – is “incompatible with human dignity.” But David is standing firm. He knows the transforming power of the gospel, the hope and the freedom it brings. His courage to stand up to the transgender agenda and declare the truth that humans are made male and female is a breath of fresh air. But if more doctors were courageous enough to follow in David’s footsteps, boldly declaring the truth, then people like Pete Benjamin and Denise Shick might not have had to suffer the trauma they did.
If more of us were willing to speak God’s truth about what it is to be male and female, about God’s pattern for marriage and family, we wouldn’t have so many people like Pete Benjamin being told a lie about their identity, and actively being encouraged to go down a dangerous path that only leads to regret.
LGBT does not offer good news. It can never fully satisfy. We – Christ’s light in a world of darkness – are the ones that offer sanity, we are the ones that offer the hope and the healing.
The influence of LGBT ideologies has taken root very quickly – so we can turn it back around quickly. But it will take a Church that stands firm and is visible and vocal for those who are being silenced. If we want to see change, we must be change-makers, taking the truth to our own spheres of influence, just like David Mackereth.
This is a message that needs to be heard. We must be bold, we must be visible, we must be vocal. When we each take the truth into our individual disciplines, we can influence our own spheres, and in turn, bring hope to a nation.
You can watch all the sessions from the Hungary event on the IFTCC website.