Can God heal the homosexual? What does the Bible have to say about homosexuality? Are gays “born that way”? What can gay men and women do who want to get out of the lifestyle? Questions regarding God, the Bible and the homosexual lifestyle are a hot topic and the subject has remained a popular one since the Ex-Gay Movement started over 30 years ago. Anthony Falzarano, Executive Director of Parents and Friends Life, is considered an expert on the topic by many and has been featured by CBS, The BBC, CNBC, The Washington Post, The Sally Jesse Raphael Show, The 700 Club and many other media venues. If you mention his name in certain circles, you will be met with an earful of opinions.
As one of the main leaders of the Ex-Gay Movement, Falzarano has been the subject of much critique and judgment for what he believes and proclaims – that gays are not born that way and can heal and move beyond a homosexual identity.
Though Falzarano has experienced much judgment and personal attack over the years, there is one trait about him that is obvious- he stands strong in his commitment to speak openly about a subject that many avoid, mock or are intolerant of.
And, Falzarano doesn’t present his case flippantly; he is well-versed in the gay lifestyle, having in fact lived as a gay man for nine years. He has openly declared that he was a promiscuous gay man having had hundreds of lovers, was active in the gay subculture, was involved in the gay activist movement and even at times was a “kept man” for high-profile professionals who were living double lifestyles.
If you had come across Falzarano in his younger days as a homosexual, you may have thought that he “had it all”… an upscale gay lifestyle in New York City that included money, friends, an active social life, a successful career and eight vacations a year. Appearances, however, can be deceiving. Falzarano describes that season of his life as “hollow”, stating, “Even though I had an incredible lifestyle, I was extremely unhappy in my soul about what I was doing with my life.” It was during this time that Falzarano met a Christian man who pointed out for the very first time what the Bible says regarding homosexuality. “This man was the first person to show me what the scriptures specifically say regarding the lifestyle and that there are seven areas in the Bible that cover the subject. We went through each verse, with the key scripture being 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, which states, ‘Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, sanctified and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.'”
Needless to say, Falzarano was stunned. “It truly was shocking. When I saw the Word of God in print right before my eyes, and learned that in seven areas the Bible speaks about homosexuality being an abomination to Him, I was immediately convicted by the Holy Spirit.” From that night on, he began to seek the Lord and learn more about the Bible. “The gay community had told me for years that I was born this way – but I began to see that this was in conflict with what the scriptures were telling me. I thought, ‘Why would God make someone homosexual and then tell us in His Word that they will not go to heaven? What kind of God would do this and already condemn us to hell? I began to realize that God wouldn’t do this, because He is a loving God,” tells Falzarano.
Continuing on his quest, he sought out a “Gay Christian group” to learn more about the Bible. “Looking back now, I can see that these meetings were pathetic. There would be a pseudo gay church service and then the entire group would go out to a gay bar and all have sex with one another. I realized that you couldn’t have it both ways.” At this point, he left the group and decided that abstinence might be the way to go. “Abstinence was the best I could hope for at this point. I had just lost 40 of my friends over a four year time span to AIDS. I knew if I continued living that lifestyle that I was going to be infected and die from the AIDS virus.” Eventually, Falzarano found a Bible Study that led him in the right direction. Shortly after, he left NYC in order to get away from the familiarity of the lifestyle that he was involved in.
After moving to Boston, Falzarano received what he says was a specific message from God, after his attempts to completely remove himself from the gay lifestyle were futile. “The Holy Spirit told me, ‘Anthony, I have been patient with you long enough. You either leave the gay lifestyle or you will die of AIDS,” he recalls. “I was still playing with that life. God was telling me to leave it totally behind and when He makes a statement like that, it gets your attention. I never knew that God still spoke to people today, but when I heard His voice, it ‘scared the hell out of me’. It was at this moment that I told God, ‘Okay, I give this up.'”
Falzarano states that it was at this point in time that he began a journey that would eventually lead him to being “sold out for the Lord”. He soon reconnected with a female college friend and received another startling message from God – that they would soon marry. “It was a shocking message because I had been highly promiscuous and could never keep a relationship for more than 6 months. But I can tell you today, that we did marry and have been married for 28 years, with two grown children. I have never returned to the gay lifestyle and have remained faithful to both God and my wife,” he shares.
Having had been immersed so deeply in the gay subculture and seeing for himself how his life was changed through Christ, Falzarano declares that God put it on his heart to begin Parents and Friends Christian Life . This organization counsels and supports gay men and women, who through their own choice, have decided to leave the lifestyle. “I can empathize with these men and women. The process is difficult – I personally had to deal with losing many friends, and had to stop engaging in certain unhealthy ‘behaviors’ that were not in agreement with scripture. The gay community loves when you ‘come out of the closet’, but when you tell them that you are thinking of leaving that lifestyle you are met with intolerance,” he explains. “Men and women who have decided to leave the lifestyle for either religious reasons, medical reasons, having the desire to get married or are just tired of living that life are welcome at Parents and Friends. We are a non-denominational Christian outreach and many of our leaders are ex-gays. We never condemn anyone who comes to speak with us, and people see that we are approachable and that they can trust us with the details of their life.” Parents and Friends Christian Life was based out of Washington D.C. for 16 years and Falzarano explains that he has successfully counseled over 600 men and women who wanted to leave the gay lifestyle behind. He and his wife have now established the Life in South Florida in hopes of “offering help to the repentant homosexual community of Broward and Palm Beach Counties.”
In regards to those who have attacked him through the years and who don’t believe that a homosexual’s sexual orientation can be changed through Jesus Christ, Falzarano says this: “First of all, the devil loves to keep people in ignorance. The Lord tells us that they hated Him and they will hate us too. The gay activists who truly have no desire to know the Lord are always going to hate me and what my organization stands for. The Ex-Gay Movement is a monkey wrench in the very sophisticated Rolls Royce engine that is called the political gay movement. God doesn’t like the political gay movement, but He does love the homosexual person. My goal is to reach out to those who want to get out of that life and to tell them about the redemptive blood of Jesus Christ. I want them to know that Jesus came to save the lost and He will transform and redeem those who are ready to get out of the darkness, out of that lifestyle.”
In addition to the political gay movement, the church is another area in which Falzarano has publicly expressed strong opinions and beliefs. In his opinion, now is the time for many churches to address this problem and offer an outreach to the homosexual or those with unwanted same-sex attraction that may be in their congregation or community. “For many years, churches didn’t get involved with young women who were in a pregnancy crisis…now we see many have stepped up to the plate regarding that need. But, for a very long time, homosexuals have been misunderstood or mistreated by churches and by Christians. I believe right now, in this day and age, the Holy Spirit is reaching out to the homosexual person. Many homosexuals were raised as Christians and they are struggling with their desire to be a Christian while still involved in the lifestyle. The church must be there for these men and women and they can accomplish this by being aware of specific areas that need attention,” he shares. These areas, according to Falzarano, are, “Properly training the church staff on how to minister to a homosexual or sexually broken individual (Parents and Friends Life conducts church training); the church needs to be willing to financially support their own local ex-gay outreach; the church needs to be patient and understanding and not condemn the individual the first time they might backslide; and that mature and strong Christian men and women need to be willing to mentor and counsel those who want to come out of the lifestyle, without judging them.”
“To summarize, the church needs to be properly educated on how to minister to the homosexual community. These men and women need emotional support, and the leaders and those in the congregation who feel led to reach out to a homosexual should offer true friendship with patience,” adds Falzarano.
For those who want to reach out to the sexually broken person or to the gay man or woman who may want to learn more about Falzarano’s full testimony, his recent book, And Such Were Some of You, is available on Amazon and also through his website, www.parentsandfriends.20m.com.
The book is broken up into several parts – Falzarano’s personal journey, case studies of men and women whom he has helped counsel and who have successfully left the gay lifestyle, and a section which he describes as “a reproof and challenge to the Christian Churches who have been less than welcoming to the repentant homosexual. The book also contains a message to parents.”
Parents and Friends new bi-weekly support group, called Transformation, begins this month and takes place in West Palm Beach. According to Falzarano, the group will reach out to “those involved in homosexual behavior, those who experience unwanted homosexual attractions and those having struggles with pornography or sexual addiction – whether heterosexual or homosexual.”
“We named the group Transformation after Romans 12:1-2, which states, ‘Be transformed by the renewing of your mind and the old will fade away and the new will come,'” he shares. “I want to encourage others with my testimony and help them understand that the closer I got to God and shut the door on that lifestyle, the old life began to fade away and the devil has now lost his grip on me. The evil one doesn’t have the power over me any longer – I now have the Holy Spirit fighting with me.”
To learn more about Anthony Falzarano and the Transformation Support Group, please visit ParentsandFriends.20m.com.