The Sy Rogers Story
Sy Rogers is known as a gifted communicator and has a dramatic story of redemption from a very troubled life. Our dialogue has been limited, but has always been gracious and respectful. I’d heard many negative things about Sy, but our meeting at Hillsong Sydney in September 2007 dispelled some of these.
When Sy was converted in 1980. Even though homosexuality had been removed from the list of psychological disorders and laws were changing that had classed gay men as criminals, there was still a great deal of ignorance and misinformation about sexual orientation. Nowhere is this more prevalent than in the Christian church.
I was converted in 1969, 11 years before Sy, when the concept of a gay Christian was inconceivable.
My life was understandably steered in a particular direction; to try to change who I was. Even when I resigned from the ministry in 1991, I was only aware of two options.
1. Try to be heterosexual and you’ll get to heaven (which hadn’t worked for the previous 22 years) or
2. Accept your homosexuality and you will go to hell.
Was I becoming a Christian today, I hope that my pastor would be well informed enough to help me see that morality is a choice but sexual orientation isn’t and that I could lead a life that honoured God as a gay young man. Today there are many fine gay Christians and a growing number of churches that welcome and affirm them.
You’ll find that many speak of Sy as an ‘ex-gay’ and that he preaches a re-orientation message. I don’t believe Sy would use the term ‘ex-gay’ to describe himself or believes that people need to be ‘healed’ of their homosexuality.
His message these days is healing for all, both gay and straight; a person’s sexual orientation is not the issue. I trust that these insights help dispel some of the confusion and bring a more balanced view of Sy’s journey and ministry.
The Complexities of the Sy Rogers Story
1. Homosexuality vs transgenderism
To listen, in length, to the Sy story is to realise that it is not a simple story of gay man becomes straight. Firstly, Sy is transgender and was preparing for gender reassignment surgery before he was converted (“I attempted to have a sex change, and I lived as a woman for eighteen months in preparation for an operation”).
Transgenderism occurs in the womb and remains with a person throughout life. If you are well informed about sexual orientation and what it means to be transgender, then you will be aware that sexual orientation and gender identity are two different wiring systems in the brain.
For example, some transgender men are sexually attracted to women and some to men. This is often confusing for heterosexuals to understand, as their brains are aligned harmoniously with their gender identity.
Sy lived as a woman for some time and was in the process of seeking gender re-assignment surgery when he became a Christian.
Throw into his story years of rejection, bullying, sexual abuse, a self-destructive lifestyle (not an exclusively homosexual experience), meaningless sexual encounters and a dysfunctional family upbringing (mother was an alcoholic) then it becomes a maze of issues.
The sexual abuse issues are the ones Sy has most recently had to resolve. Probably the miracle in Sy’s Rogers story is similar to mine: we are still alive to tell the story.
Problems develop when Sy speaks to church audiences who are relatively uneducated about sexuality and transgenderism and have preconceived ideas and prejudices about LGBT people and the community.
I’m sure there are still are a large number of people in churches who naively believe all homosexual men want to dress and live as a woman and all lesbians wish they could be men. This is far from reality for the average gay man or lesbian.
When uninformed Christians, with an already negative attitude towards homosexuality, hear Sy’s story, it’s easy for them to come up with false assumptions. 1+1=3.
Different terms appear in Sy’s story, homosexual, gay, transsexual, and transgender, all mixed together and are hard for the average person to separate.
One of the myths often presented in many church cultures is that ALL gay men and lesbians are highly immoral, drug-taking reprobates who live a ‘homosexual lifestyle’.
Sy’s story carries much of that stereotype which, for those of us who are a part of the LGBT community (as opposed to the ‘gay scene’), know is only reflective of a subculture and once again not exclusively homosexual.
Heterosexuals live the same ‘lifestyle’.
3. Does Marriage = Heterosexual?
My assumption is that Sy would not actually claim that he is totally heterosexual today, but, because he is married to a woman, many would try to tell us that this shows a change in sexual orientation. “Heterosexual functionality’ is not being heterosexual any many more than heterosexual men engaging in same-sex activity in prison makes them homosexual.
I’ve never met an ‘ex-gay’ who can honestly say their orientation, instincts, fantasies and desires are now completely heterosexual. In other words, they think and function as normal heterosexual men. I was also married to a woman for 16 years and fathered children, but it didn’t make me straight.
You can change behaviours, control thoughts, resist temptations, and lessen same-sex opportunities, but you can’t change inbuilt orientation. There is a substantial amount of scientific research that demonstrates this. Sy has chosen to be in a heterosexual marriage.
I have to respect Sy and his wife’s choice and anyone else who chooses to live that way.
Personally, at the age of 40, I could no longer live with the inconsistency of presenting one thing to those around me and being another person inside. It was unsustainable, and the disconnect created unhealthy behaviours and mental health issues.
For a detailed article on this, go to ‘Situational Heterosexuality’.
To assume that Sy is an ‘ex-gay’ and that he believes all gay men and lesbians must become heterosexual raises several ambiguities.
- Ambiguity No. 1. Sy has not been on the board of Exodus for quite some time. Possibly not actively involved at a board level for 15 years. He has spoken at some Exodus conferences though. He is last mentioned on the history page of their website in 1996.
- Ambiguity No. 2. The Sy Rogers website makes no mention of homosexuality or ex-gay ministries. Surely if Sy was a leader in the ex-gay message his personal website would indicate that.
- Ambiguity No. 3. The Choices ex-gay ministry established by Sy , at the Singaporean Church of Our Saviour in 1991, still exists. Sy has not been involved for many years and his name rarely mentioned on records of its history.
- Ambiguity No. 4. Sitting in the Sense and Sexuality Seminar at Hillsong, Waterloo, in 2007, Sy spoke about purity of thought life, addictions, sexual abuse and wholeness without ever identifying heterosexuality as being more wholesome than homosexuality. I can’t really remember the word homosexual being used at the seminar. (Although he mentioned those words when he told his story at the Sunday services). At the Sense & Sexuality Seminar, he spoke only of living a life that is pleasing to God and healthy for the individual. Was that because I’d been sitting with him in the front row of the church and he was choosing to use generalist wording? I tend to think not.
What about Sy Roger’s books, tapes and videos?
There are still Sy Rogers videos and publications out there which tell a different story and people promote him as an ‘ex-gay’.
It’s been over two decades now since some of that original material was created and during that time there has been much scientific research on the subject of sexual orientation.
It’s unfortunate that these outdated resources are being used to promote a falsehood that God miraculously makes gay people straight and they will one day marry someone of the opposite sex.
Tragically some Pastors, Christian parents, friends and Christian ministries have used and continue to use these materials to push their own agenda and will make statements such as “if Sy Rogers can change then so can you, you just have to be willing and have faith”.
This has resulted in untold suffering, mental health issues, and even suicides.
© Anthony Venn-Brown
Author of A Life of Unlearning – a preacher’s struggle with his homosexuality, church and faith
Well that brings clarity. Thank you so much for posting this Anthony 🙂
thanks fyre……I think there is an enormous amount of confusion about Sy's story….and about time someone made things a bit clearer.
So many of my family members and pastor friends use Sy's testimony to "prove" that a GAY person needs to renounce his sin and if he does that he can be STRAIGHT! Thanks for posting this and putting the record straight Anthony! (forgive the pun) One day soon I will tell you of my own interesting developments on the path to "authenticity". Its exciting!
THank you too for the part you have played in that journey. Blessings! Denis
I hope you are able to direct them to this article Denny which hopefully will mean they are more intelligently informed
Listened to Sy speak this morning and your post here completely skews what he teaches. I would recommend you go back and read/listen to his materials again. Maybe sit down and have a talk with the man before misrepresenting him as a whole.
Yes, I agree that Mr Venn-Brown has misrepresented sy.
Hi Celeste. Thanks for your comment. I actually ran this article by Sy Rogers before i posted it and asked if he wanted to change anything. There was no reply.
I agree. You are leading a lot of people stray. I hope it’s not to validate your choices in life.
Theirs a reason why the media and society don’t talk about the people who faught the Devil face to face and got victory over this sin.
You not getting a response from Sy does not validate your stance.
This scary because you are truly giving people false hope. Scripture has very sound doctrine on it.
It appears that the reason Sy didn’t respond is that if he was open and honest is that it would undermine his story and ministry. This is the saddest thing. The real false hope that has existed for the last five decades is that one that has been preached…..”God changes people from gay to straight”. It was and always will be a cruel lie. We know this only too well.
John, I know from experience that you don’t cast pearls before swine. If I write a letter to the local newspaper, there is always a response attacking me from a certain member of the community. I used to reply to him, but I have learnt that you don’t cast pearls before swine because all it does is give them the opportunity to make more accusations which are totally unfounded so I ignore him.
It is perfectly clear why Sy did not respond to Anthony. His assessment of Sy shows that he has his take on anything and everything regardless of whether it is the truth or not. As I know Sy personally, I know that it is not the truth, it is only Anthony’s version of it.
I did write this after sitting down and speaking to Sy and after sitting through his sexuality seminar at Hillsong
I have sat down and had a talk with him actually Dennis. Maybe what he says privately behind closed doors and what he says from the pulpit are two different things. But only Sy can fix that. Our agreement was that the content of our conversation was confidential.
Read the Bible People!
What kind of Bible do you have?
To be gay is a sin you guys! The same as stealing and killing, etc….
1 Corinthians 6:9-11
Actually, you are wrong about that! I am a conservative evangelical and I don’t support Anthony Venn Brown’s view-at all! However, feelings and orientation are totally different to the act of homosexuality! Nowhere in the bible does it condemn feelings. Someone can be a porn addict, get free from it and make a choice not to practice it. They will probably be tempted, but that is not a sin. To give in is a sin! I can be a single heterosexual (as many are) and choose to live a life of celibacy, for whatever reason (maybe no suitable partners), but does that mean I will never have the temptation to satisfy my sexual desires?? of course not! Does that mean I am a sinner?? only in as far as we are all sinners, but not in the temptation itself! Please get your theology right before you make these comments, which aren’t at all helpful!!!!
hi Els…..which comment are you responding to here please
Hehe…..why is it always an anonymous person who leaves comments like this.
I guess my response to this would be. Yes we have read the bible……but not just an English translation. We have also studied the historical and cultural contexts and also the original languages…….and that is why we have such a different understanding. No where……and I mean no where in the bible does it say to be gay is a sin. I think you need to do more research.
Well, if Mr. Rogers hasn't officially disavowed his former position re: the possibility and desirability of changing people from gay to straight, then there's no reason not to believe it's still one of his goals. Perhaps he's realized this angle doesn't sell as well as it once did…but I see no reason to believe he's actually changed his stance.
True Gal_friday. have you had any connection with Mr Rogers
Anthony Venn-Brown: Responding to the "I guess my response to this would be…." statement above, do you have a blog post about the cultural contexts and the original languages? This issue has been heavy on my heart, as I don't want to falsely say either way, "homosexual acts are a sin" or "homosexual acts are not a sin".
Currently, I do view it as a sin based on my reading of scripture- but I love and care for those who are gay – by not being judgmental, talking with them, and introducing them to the Word of God – the rest is up to God (I am not so ignorant as to think I'm able to save anyone). We don't get to Heaven by 'acting good', we get to Heaven by repenting of our sin and recognizing Christ has paid the ultimate price for our salvation – and follow Him and His plan for our life.
I look forward to your reply!
you might find some answers here Jeff http://thegreatheresy.wordpress.com/
or just google cay christian and you will find sites that talk about the bible verses
hello anthony venn brown. i know all about sy rogers. i knew exodus helpers in melbourne. and i over looked some of sy rogers material a long while ago. yet it can be very destructive if people think it is possible to change. from gay to straight. i really was a fool living a unrealistic dream. that would never be. diversity is where i am now. thankyou anthony from m
Hi there….if you want to tell me more of your story then you can email me directly to firstname.lastname@example.org
I attend a pentecostal church in Australia. I have been open and honest with my church with what I'm going through, they reword things to suit themselves, they say you're not gay you just struggle with "homosexual attraction" when I try to explain the things that I'm going through and my orientation (the idea of being with a woman is unnatural for me) as unnatural as their viewpoint of me only wanting to be with a man. I'm not very eloquent against their arguing with scripture. So I've reverted to accepting the things they say, and burying my head in the sand. But they have been getting me to watch DVDS from Sy Rogers and telling me God can use me like their using him to bring hope and freedom from homosexuality. It's all so overwhelming. I feel like my life is on a downward spiral, I feel depressed, persecuted and suppressed from who I truly am. I know my spiritual identity and my sexual identity are inseparable. I don't really know what to do? I'm not living or adopting an explicit gay lifestyle but I feel so hindered that I could never have a normal happy relationship.
Sy I hope you are reading about the impact your message is having "I feel like my life is on a downward spiral, I feel depressed, persecuted and suppressed from who I truly am. I know my spiritual identity and my sexual identity are inseparable. I don't really know what to do?"
In John 14 it say, Whatever you ask in my Name I will do it for you. "In the name of Jesus Christ, I hate this desire for homosexual attraction – I hate it Lord. Please in the name of Jesus Christ, take it away. – Note: homosexuality is a sin there is no doubt about that, the same as stealing, lying or whatever. You can come against the stronghold in the mighty name of Jesus Christ – get to the root of your issues by the name and blood of Jesus Christ and you will overcome. The enemy will try and bring back desires, but you will see tremendous results by coming every day until you know it is gone and crying out to our great and mighty God – remember, apply the blood of Jesus Christ, ask for His Holy warring angels to be dispatched around you – underneath, below, above and on all sides, come to the Father through the name of Jesus Christ and you will find the burdens lifted at Calvary. AMEN. We don't have to argue about this issue of homosexuality or lesbianism – they come from unnatural desires and are certainly not of God. Adam and Steve cannot be married and have any babies and family together.
you have a lot of religious cliches (christianese) in your comment anonymous. It's not unnatural, a preference, an abomination, sin etc it's an orientation. Not sure what country you are from but in many parts of the world Adam and Steve are getting married, having children and raising wonderful loving, caring, supportive families together……as are Emma and Eve
Sy truly is one of the best communicators I have ever listened to and one of my favourite words he uses often is “Hellavision” Sadly I have not heard him speak about the television in much depth. Is there a sermon on that subject and if no then why not. I am raising 3 Grandchildren and would love some input so as to bring them up more in the way that God would have it done.
Sorry Rob you’ll have to ask Sy that question
“Then one weekend, my church invited Sy Rogers, an ex-gay pastor, to talk to us about “sexual brokenness.” Rogers shared his personal story of how God helped him abandon his homosexual ways. He even got married and had a kid. It was the perfect story of redemption. As an impressionable teen, I was entranced by his life-altering story.
When Rogers called for those who needed to be prayed for, I went forth. Come to think of it, that moment was essentially my first coming out experience. Sure I felt exposed, but at the same time, relieved too. Like homosexuality was a disease, and my desperate confession to God was the cure.
But after a week or so, I slipped back to feeling those sinful urges. My same-sex attraction didn’t just go away in the name of God. There ain’t no miracle.
In secret, I continued my prayers to be healed.”
G’day Anthony. I’m enjoying your perspective on this debate, despite my discomfort with it. Probably because I don’t know your story.
Part of my story is that my first wife left me for another woman. Consequently, I have no qualms about ‘judging’ the homosexual lifestyle. But that’s my problem.
A few things are clear to me:-
– Homosexuality is not biological. If it was, then ‘natural selection’ would have made the ‘gay gene’ extinct thousands of years ago (children only come from heterosexual relationships)
– My observation is that a dominant causal pattern for homosexuality or gender confusion usually involves some childhood environment conditions and/or trauma. So devastating is this that the effects are life altering (something to do with brain wiring and the like, details of which are outside by area of expertise). The observed end result are behaviours that are almost impossible to let go of.
– We are saved by grace through faith alone. And even our faith is a gift, so none may boast. Christ did it all. How much of our sin was yet future when Christ died on the cross? All of it.
– Does a sinner continue to sin after they have been saved? Of course. What begins the moment we are saved is that the Holy Spirit takes up residence in us and starts to change us. One thing is certain;- we cannot change ourselves. The big things in our lives (homosexuality, pornography, promiscuity, adultery, whatever) will continue to reign so long as we try to ‘fix’ them ourselves. And even then, healing can take a long time. At least that is my experience.
– Acts15:29 says that if we abstain from sexual immorality, we will do well. Thank God our salvation doesn’t depend on it.
Hi Greg…I can appreciate how difficult it is having your wife leave you for another woman. I don’t know the specifics of your situations but I do know it is hard for us all. For the gay or lesbian person they know that being honest with themselves and others will mean they will hurt the people they love the most. Often after coming out the gay person is praised for their courage and honesty but the straight spouse is left alone. Some close by feed their anger….others remain silent as they dont know what to say. The straight spouse is also often left with lots of questions, a sense of betrayal and doubts about their own sense of self. One day hopefully gay and lesbian people will marry their own kind and not feel pressure to conform or feel that a heterosexual marriage will solve their ‘problem’.
I”d like to respond to a few of your statements if I may. I hope this helps.
Homosexuality has many biological components as research has shown. It appears to be prenatal. A combination of genetics and hormones. that is why you get more gay children being born down the mothers line of the family (genetics play a part in that). There is a higher rate of left-handedness amongst the gay population than heterosexual(genetics play a part in that). With identical twins the is a higher rate of them both being gay than happens with non-identical twins (genetics play a part in that). But not all identical twins will both be gay. They will also have different fingerprints and other variations which demonstrates the complexities with genetics.
“My observation is that a dominant causal pattern for homosexuality or gender confusion usually involves some childhood environment conditions and/or trauma” This was the theory for many decades 50’s and 60’s it was most popular and was taken up by the religious world after mental health professionals discovered it was not the case. Hence the creation of ex-gay organisations, reparative/conversion theory etc. It took them another 4 decades to realise they were wrong about that and the research was right. There are a few people who still hold on to the concept however.
To respond to other comments you’ve made I think I’d like to simply say “My faith and morality are choices, my sexual orientation however isn’t.”
Thanks so much, Anthony for your courage in finding a life that is true to yourself and your immense bravery in sharing your story. I am so grateful that there are people like you that young men and women can turn to and find out that they are okay, exactly the way they are. One of the reason I walked away from the church many ears ago was because of the attitudes towards homosexuality. I am primarily straight but I just knew the prevailing attitudes were wrong and completely inconsistent with how Jesus asked us to be with other people. You know, its a good thing too because turns out my 18 year old son is gay and I am so pleased he was not brought up in an environment which condemns him for this. It breaks my heart that he is too scared to come out to his dad and my mother because of their Christianity. I know his Dad will love him no matter what but he is still scared to tell him and ethically I don’t feel free to tell my son about his father’s struggles with sexual identity (cos we’re not married any more and its not my story). I guess it must be hard for someone like Sy to change some of his core statements as he is still married and is a Dad but it does sadden me that he is choosing to live a life of incongruence while not being accountable for the damage his words (no matter how long ago he spoke them) are doing to young people who are so vulnerable and at risk.
That’s so true. Lovely to hear your story
Hi Anthony, as a christian heterosexual I struggle with giving up the belief that it is possible to change. If we give up on our belief in the possibility of change are we not denying the ressurection power that is available to us to enable us to live according to His plan for us? Does that not nullify the Power and Purpose of the Cross? Sy Rogers never said his journey was easy. He talks about choosing daily to ‘die to self’ in order to align himself with God’s standards. That like Laban, he (and all of us sinners) have to dunk ourselves in the river of grace over and over again and will need to do so until our death. We choose to engage in a battle when we become a christian. The battle to find our true authentic self according to God’s design. I don’t believe homosexual activity is any more sinful than other willful acts of disobedience against God’s known Will. I do think we all have feet of clay, are desperate in our humanity for a Saviour but, salvation does come at a cost. It cost Jesus everything-why not us? How much are we willing to pay the price of obedience? Jesus said ” I only do what my Father tells me to do” Are we willing to ‘rid ourselves of sin’ to get to that place of intimacy and obedience? To die to our base needs and desires (whatever they may be), to ourselves, in order that He be honored, for HIS Glory? Because at the end of the day it is not about us!!! That is when we will experience his resurrection power. That is when we are changed.
Hi Ann…..thanks for reading the article on Sy Rogers and sharing your thoughts.
Possibly there is a confusion here about sexual orientation and morality. I don’t have any battle with my homosexual orientation as you don’t battle with your heterosexual orientation. It’s not something I need to change as you don’t yours.Asking God to change our orientation would be like asking him to change the colour of eyes or our hair from curly to straight.Considering the enormous suffering in the world I really don’t think that God would be concerned with such trivial matters. Do you?
As far as I’m aware Sy doesn’t say he has changed from gay to straight. A lot of people have assumed that because he is married and has had children. But for those of us who are same-sex-oriented those types of relationships fit into the category of situational heterosexuality. You can read about that here https://www.abbi.org.au/2010/04/situational-heterosexuality/
I love your wisdom and balance Anthony. The trials and turmoil you have endured have given you an abundance of grace and mercy which you are generous with.
May the coming year bring you more joy than you ever thought possible.
Thanks Ella. Such lovely words of encouragement
Why didn’t mention St Rogers has been married to A lady for over 30 years and is a Grandfather? His sermons is about focusing on his faith and walk with the Lord which allows the healing from all sins. (Homosexuality) Its even part of his testimony. He has help a lot of people who struggle with this sin and other sin. He doesn’t try to sweep it under the rug and understand its an everyday battle. No different than other battles human have like AA……
Homosexuality is an orientation not a sin or an addiction
Hi, since reading your article and email replies, i am left wondering, what is the christian gospel?
i am listening now to Sy Rogers Myth Busters part 4 – God and sexuality . God is love -i had to re learn what is love.
and you say Sy is speaking what…?
he says i will need to give an accountability to god. i will have to answer to him
paul in romans 3 v 8 implies some are saying this about us… but what they said was not correct.
what do you understand jesus spoke ? and what is the gospel the church should be declaring, if Sy is mixed up?
Hi Anthony, I found it interesting that you only want to hear from people who have been negatively influenced in the past by Sy Rogers, tapes, video’s or published materials.
Seems my story may be the opposite of what you want to hear.
I grew up in a Christian home & one of my parents was watching a video of Sy Rogers testimony around 20years ago. I was transfixed by his story! I was suffering with severe gender identity issues & wanting to have a sex change. I had grown up in the church & at Christian schools but I had never heard anyone talk so candidly about their sexuality & gender issues. I thought I was the only one that had a gender issue & I was dying of shame. I had been suicidal since the age of 6. Hearing his story gave me hope! There were other ppl like me & God didn’t hate me & there was hope that God could heal me. It took another 7years of choosing to live as my born gender until God miraculously healed me! It wasn’t a simple fix & it took a lot of time. But I no longer suffer with any gender dysphoria (been free since 2007) & I am happy to live the way God made me.
I’m sorry you were hurt by the ex-gay movement but I don’t think Sy should have to apologise for his past teachings or renounce them. It took amazing courage for him to share his testimony back in that cultural climate. He was obedient to what God asked of him.
God is in the restoration business… maybe He has more to say to you about this but you no longer want to listen? Healing is not an easy journey, nor for the faint hearted.
“For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” Matt 7:14
Hi Jay…..I’m happy to post your story here. Thanks for sharing it. I’m glad that this has worked out well for you. Reading through your story I remember a conversation I had with Alan Chambers. Alan was talking about the people who had been helped through Exodus and that had actually saved some people from suicide. And that is true but the other side of the story is what Alan actually apologised for in 2013……the countless lives that got destroyed because of a lie and Exodus had preached…..that gays turn straight. Have you read Alan’s apology https://www.abbi.org.au/2013/06/alan-chambers-says-sorry/
The problem I have with Sy is that he has made no effort to correct misconceptions people have about his story. He’s told people privately that he no longer preaches a reorientation message but never acknowledged that publicly. The only reason I can see why he would do that and indicated to me the last time we communicated is the impact the truth would have on his ‘story’, preaching, ministry, income. For that I no longer have any respect for him.
Hi again Jay……I wonder did you also get to read the follow up to this article https://www.abbi.org.au/2017/03/sy-rogers-2-2/
I met sy 29 years ago and sat thru a weekend off him preaching change. I left confused part off me wanted change I hated who I was I left my partner the same weekend thinking I could do it. within a week I was a mees. I grew up in the church being told it was wrong and I was not allowed to see my mother.
It took many years to love who I am.
I also meet you over thirty years ago in Melbourne and sat thru your testimony.
I have been with the same partner I left for 28 years ago together we worked thru things
Hi Derek…..how lovely to hear from you. So glad to hear that you pushed through the manufactured self hatred and learnt to love yourself. 28 Years eh…..and they told us gay relationships didn’t last. What church did you go to? have you read A Life of Unlearning yet
Hi Anthony nice to here back I went to Northside Christian center in Bundoora Victoria it wAs under Dennis Smith. When the church found our they wanted to send me to Perth. My partner has been a rock for me he just wanted what was best for me. I watched boy erased , it bought up allot off feelings about going to exodus and there meetings. It made me look into it after all these years and your name came up .
I remember Dennis Smith. I preached for him when he was pastoring South of Brisbane.
I would like to respond to something you said on July 13 2011 in response to someone who said read your Bible. And you said and I repeat, you have read your Bible in its original language and no where does it say being Gay is a sin. Why should I believe anything the Bible says then???? Cause 1 Corinthians 6 is pretty straight forward. Do I believe my sexual orientation keeps me out of heaven, absolutely not, do I have compassion on all people groups absolutely, do I believe Jesus paid the penalty for all sin, absolutely. My issue right now is how can I trust anything the Bible say’s. Hell at this point I am ready to give up reading the Bible if I am not going to trust what I am reading. How can you say homosexual behavior is not a sin when the Bible says in plain black and white it is. Does that mean I disregard John 3:16. I am confused. I love everybody and want everyone to make heaven and be happy on this earth. But I don’t know what to believe anymore, the Bible I read or men and women far smarter then me.
Hi Jeff……I lot of us have had to tackle these questions on our journey to come to a place of peace about the place of the authority of scripture and it’s place in our lives. You can either read or listen here to get a better understanding of my approach. https://www.abbi.org.au/audio-resources/what-does-the-bible-really-say-about-homosexuality/
Sy has helped far more than he has hurt. His testimony and ministry are an enormous blessing that will not be undone from men, since it is from God.
Hi Patrick. I’m not sure any of us will be able to actually ever gauge that. We can’t talk to those who committed suicide trying to change from gay to straight as Sy has portrayed and others have proclaimed constantly that this is his message.
Where do you get that definition of homosexuality?
Now their was a huge research done last summer with over 500k DNA and homosexuality is more of an environmental thing. If I’m not mistaken Sy would say the same thing. He even says he lived the gay Lifestyle for so many years.
Money in science has pushed so hard for a DNA Gene. You can look it up and see where they were 75% sure they had found the gene but couldn’t explain the other 25%.
It’s a hard battle and it can be beat. Walking with the Lord. Now if you know of Homosexual relationships that don’t fit into the scriptures like Leviticus, 1 Corinthians, Romans then more power to you but I don’t see a way around sound doctrine. Scripture says laying with the same sex is a sin no matter how we categorized it.
I think you need to read more about that study and also a better understanding of genetics.
This has Been a helpful piece. My change of view on sexuality has only been since reading after our daughter revealed she was dating a girl a couple of years ago. And a very liberating experience that has been. However, I’d been trying to figure out the testimonies of those who claimed to have been “healed” of their gay-ness. The above helps a bit. I put it down to whether a person is living a life true to the life God has given, whether that be as same sex attracted, gender fluid, straight, celibate etc. But to claim “healing” implies a sickness of some sort. Healing of the soul yes; but healing of sexuality? It seems to me that healing happened because the person was unsure about their sexuality in the first place.
It is true, straight people don’t understand the differences between, sexual orientation and gender identity. Thanks for explaining.
I’m so glad to hear this Christine. Goal achieved
That sounds like an opinion for you. What are you basing that off?
I would say he probably didn’t reply to you because you two are preaching the total opposite. I personally would be worry about you editing thing to fit your agenda because I’m pretty sure you’re maming money off this.
The biggest problem I see about your argument besides you’re making money. Is that Sy is going around preaching about the difficulty about it how a pure realationship with Christ is a game changer.
Why would a man try to roll a 2000 lb boulder up hill when he can take the easy way out like you by rolling downhill by telling people the Bible doesn’t say anything about being gay?
It would make no sense. Path of lease resistance is definitely the road you are traveling right now and tryimg to take others with you..
Sy not the only person who has jad this victory. I find out people I known for a long time at my church co.e outand tell their victory with that lifestyle in their testimony. I’m blowing away when I hear those testimonies of people I know.
One of my best friends actually leads a class at church for that very situation and I know he had struggles in his past but he has overcame them. You are actually downgrading these individuals and their personal victory by preaching this.
Hi, I’d like to add to comments posted other day. We are told in Genesis that Creator God became disappointed mankind had be made.. The behaviour of mankind so upset Creator, we are told a flood was created to destroy all. I read this as ‘sin’ as this word is describing the state of our ‘heart’ ie our thoughts, not a particular behaviour. The Bible also adds to further by saying “all have sinned and have falling short”
We like to find ways to short circuit Creators state of holiness/perfection for mankind by not referring to all our conduct, behaviour, words, thoughts, imaginations etc. as ‘sin’
The Bible especially the Gospels in the New Testament, tells us Creator God, eventually chose to right the original failure not by destroying mankind again but by love. In the bold act of identifing with his created through a Son, who then shed the final blood sacrifice for the remission of the rottenness ‘sin’ of mankind.
Jesus on the cross, blood spilt, and risen in a new body, for the remission of ‘sin’ is the gospel – good news.
There is no ‘short cut’ to the holiness Creator desires all mankind to know
21/04/20 Hi, since reading your article and email replies, i am left wondering, what is the christian gospel?
i am listening now to Sy Rogers Myth Busters part 4 – God and sexuality . God is love -i had to re learn what is love.
and you say Sy is speaking what…?
he says i will need to give an accountability to God. i will have to answer to him
Paul in romans 3 v 8 implies some are saying this about us… but what they said was not correct.
what do you understand jesus spoke ? and what is the gospel the church should be declaring, if Sy is mixed up?
Hi Anthony, listen to your recommended recording suggested to Jeff (above) .. I don’t have a change to scripture after this. Your application of how to read these passages is too simplistic . And at the end you are suggesting the word ‘gentile’ is meaning a ‘tribe’ . Even if Paul was writing his letter to Rome while at Corinth, is he condoning the temple worship behaviour? Message translation , makes for an interesting ‘in context’ reading. Romans 1 verse 18 ….as people try to put a shroud over truth.
All teachers of scripture will be held responsible for much
This articles reads as an agenda that uses Sy to push something that isnt really relating to Sy Rodger’s material or his focus. His focus was pastoral ministry, and his understanding of accepted psychological principals as it relates to recovery is better than most.
It’s a shame this article mischaracterizes him, and im not surprised he didnt reply to your invitation to edit it. When someone is dedicated to a certain approach its not usually worth it to try and redirect them. In other words, it seems you have pre-conclusions and looked for how you could say them while using Sy and his ministry as a vehicle for being suggestively critical or progressing your own opinions. You would know quite well the political environment in the west is very much persecutory towards people who have changed their life. A perfect example is when Adam Hood was prevented from speaking about his own experience of changing his life.
Letting people speak for themselves is far better than postulating conclusions based on your own thoughts about a persons motives. Why didnt you just write your article, why did you have to include speculation about what YOU think about Sy Rodgers’ motivations or intentions.
Hey Joshua. Can I ask a question? What years did you sit under Sy’s ministry?
BTW his surname is spelt Rogers not Rodgers.
Well blessings to all. I wonder why you only asked for negative responses to Sy’s ministry ?
because there were positive ones available on various sites but we know that is not the full story
Anthony you are doing to Sy what you say happens to you; you are not believe
d.The heart is more deceitful than anything else, and incurable — who can understand it? I, Yahweh, examine the mind, I test the heart to give to each according to his way, according to what his actions deserve. JER 17 V 9
I don’t understand what you mean Stephen “you are doing to Sy what you say happens to you”
You are not believing Sy – and this is what you would say about yourself – you are not believed. Sy spoke and shared his testimony. You speak and share your testimony. Why put Sy’s testimony in the spotlight? He lived and shared about this life and people got help. You speak about your life and say you are helping people.
My scripture quote; through Jeremiah, Yahweh (Biblical creator/God) is telling us that the heart of a man is basically deceitful and the heart will be tested. (heart – mind/soul/conscious) give what the heart deserves as Jeremiah’s following example speaks too.
Sy spoke from his heart; you speak from your heart; Why discredit Sy’s testimony?
Humility is what is required.
ah….I see what you are saying now.
I have no problem challenging the validity of Sy Rogers’ story. It’s our behind the scenes communication others were not privy to that inform my understanding.
I think if you had recieved the number of emails or heard the number of stories I’ve heard from people who followed Sy’s distorted teaching, your eyes would be open to the harm and personal devastation it caused including suicides. I challenged him on this.
Re the Jeremiah scripture that “my heart is decietful and desparately wicked”. It contributed to my many years of self-hatred and loathing. It might be true for some individuals but not for me. I reject it utterly.
Thank you, Anthony. Sy was a conflicted person. Through his testimony, as heartfelt as it was, Sy’s influence was dangerous and damaging. I was involved with Exodus from it’s inception through the time it became Exodus International. Sy’s magnetism drew many of us in through fear and promoted self condemnation. It has taken years of love, support and therapy to sift these teachings. Through kismet, serendipity, God’s province, I came in contact with Anthony’s work and story.
I had been struggling all these decades later and was looking info up about Sy. This is where I began to connect with Anthony’s work. I have never sensed Anthony maligning Sy Rogers. Again, I have never sensed Anthony maligning Sy Rogers.
Rather it has been another avenue to understand just how subtle and harmful religious ideology can be.
In my own desperation to “change who I am”, it was easier for me to fall into condemnation and fear then to rest in divine love.
Unfortunately, Sy had passed by the time I went on my quest to turn self loathing into loving self acceptance. I have come not to pity Sy, but to understand, he too was searching. He was sincere, he had good intentions. He carried great weight upon his shoulders. Sy was evolving as we all are.
So the message for me is, does my story promote condemnation through fear and control or can my story be grace filled and healing? Mr. Venn-Brown might not ever know the magnitude that his story, his work has helped to turn soul sucking condemnation into life giving freedom. It came to me during an illness that could lead to my death. I wanted to find some kind of peace and reconciliation from the damage that the church has promoted and Sy championed.
It has been two years since I found Anthony’s story and work. I don’t have any answers, however for me, healing has begun. I still struggle with the physical illness. The difference is now peace prevails and my hope is that at the end of Sy’s life, he too found peace.
thanks for your contribution Bodhi…….beautifully said
Here’s the deal. For 34 years, I was stuck in the meelee of this person’s persuasion. Having been involved in an intimate reparative week in the early ‘80’d along with a dozen others altered my life in the most negative way. In my opinion, this is not about Sy Rogers as a person. It is about the harmful affects of self loathing that Exodus promoted through people like Sy which was supported by the church. When Pray Away was aired in 2021, (a year after my pulmonary embolism which led me to seek out Sy), much of my struggle became quite apparent.
The movie caused me to be thrown back into that week with Sy. My sweet gay best friend (who later committed suicide) and I changed for the worse after that conference. Remember, my experience was at the beginning of Exodus before these conferences grew to encompass hundreds of people.
To go back to that moment in time, experiencing the message of a hateful and wrathful God who would send me to hell for being queer, was profoundly painful. The damage comes from a message of self loathing. Sitting in a room only a few feet away from this man, mesmerized by his eyes,listening to a negative message, yet feeling incapable of walking out, took my breath away.
I remember walking out of that fist session with my friend. We were clinging to one another trembling. We knew we shouldn’t go back the next day. But we did. I will never truly understand why I went back that week. Perhaps it was easier to promote self loathing and condemnation then rest in the arms of grace and love.
I do not think it coincidental that after my PE, the fist person I sought out was Sy. If I only had a short time to live, I wanted to figure out where I had become stuck. I asked God to help me get to the root of when all of this self loathing began. The name Sy Rogers popped into my spirit. What in the world? After all these years? My quest began. That is when I was introduced to Anthony Venn-Brown’s story and work.
What I gleaned is that I am not alone in this experience. Perhaps God doesn’t hate me like I had come to hate myself.
How easy it is to become deceived by well meaning people who insist that their experience should be yours. That they have the secret, they have the way, the truth and the life. When what they had was a shroud of darkness that negatively impacted my life and thousands of others.
As a pastor/chaplain who has the privilege of walking along side of hundreds of people in their time of great need or quest for “the truth”, I have learned to encourage them not to look to me, to people or others for the answer. My experience will never will be their experience. However, the fruit of love and peace will be familiar. Wholeness and restoration will be evident. I don’t know what needs to be changed in their life. That is between them and God.
What I do know is that I am a beloved child of God. This unconditional love has had a more profound effect on my life then condemnation and fear. People don’t need me to interpret scripture for them. Nor do they need me to control them or clobber them with “the Bible says—“. I didn’t need that either.
In all due respect, not understanding orientation but understanding sin, what part of deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me have you not understood? Or flee from sexual immorality? Or Romans 1 or keep our mind on heavenly things? I just discovered Sy and he struck me as one of the realest preachers I’ve ever seen! He describes struggling with SSA throughout most of his sermons! If said he doesn’t force gays who want to stay in that lifestyle to stay in it. I’ll call out what I’m seeing sir, I’m seeing you bash an individual who preached and lived the word of God, crucified his flesh daily and adhered to the Bible! Because you want you’re sexual desires satisfied! That’s what it is mate! The Christian life isn’t for sissies or ppl who can’t persevere. What does it profit you do gain these desires in this life, and lose your soul? Did sy’s message harm some ppl? I’m sure it did! Who wants to give up our lustful pleasures? Now I’m thinking that “ orientation “ is akin to say, skin color. Something you can’t change, or it miraculously turns the “ right” color. But I can tell you that his preaching was full of Gods power and left me sobbing in tears. I truly think this is an assault on his character to make you feel okay to disobey the Father! I mean no disrespect, but I must defend Christ and his messenger. Sy struck me as so authentic! So raw! He gave us all he desired for Christ and Christ blessed him!
What a shame that you are so convinced that Sy Rogers was correct. I met him a few times and worked alongside him, he was a nice person but was delusional.
Your message here is somewhat confusing. Are you seriously saying that God requires gay people to deny a huge part of who they are at core in order to be whole. That premise does not make sense.
God created all people, including gay ones. To suggest that God created Gay people in order to deny them an authentic expression of love is monstrous. God becomes barbarous.
I am glad you enjoyed Sy’s preaching. He was a great communicator but he allowed his internalised homophobia to rule his life. In the end it must have been lonely at best.
thanks for taking the time to respond from your own personal experience.
I gave the opportunity for Sy to give feedback and to comment on this post before it went up. He chose not to respond. He didn’t feel this was “an assault on his character ” as you say.
PS……there is a lot of personal judgement in your post. Maybe if you’d read https://alifeofunlearning.com/ you wouldn’t have made so many assumptions.
Dean, I’m sure it seems barbaric that a God would want you to deny your own sexuality. Perhaps you’ve struggled greatly! Perhaps, depression fear and hopelessness have graced your life. Trust me, I’ve had extreme struggles! Including 45 years of chronic sickness and immense loneliness and social stigma! I don’t fit in. But that’s exactly sys message! I cried because he spoke up about Christs love for the outcast! I do not want to leave you feeling defeated or hurt! But my surrendering all my desires, and hopes and sins to Jesus brought me joy! We’re more than our sexuality! I’ve had to deny very important aspects of myself to follow the Lord. I do not have SSA so I guess I cannot comment much further on that. It just pains me that an anointed preacher— not just a great, comedic speaker— but I could feel God on his preaching, could be put down by ppl as I googled last night and came here. And I disagree about his loneliness. His wife stood by him as well as his child and friends.
I will end here: Jesus does love you! For this I am certain. But I clung tightly to my fornication, rebellion, party lifestyle and when I relinquished my will, I FINALLY received joy in exchange!
And to the blog owner. I don’t feel I judged but perhaps observed someone wanting to justify sin. Just like I used too! I turned my back on God and if I died in that state— God forbid! Sy is dead now! And soon so will we…