In 2004, after reading Anthony Venn-Brown’s recently published autobiography, A Life of Unlearning, Dr Shane Clifton from Southern Cross College, the Australian Assemblies of God Bible College of the time (now Alphacrucis College), met with the author. As the college leadership refused to have Anthony speak on campus, Dr Clifton arranged to interview both Anthony Venn-Brown and Ron Brookman, the leader of Living Waters Australia for his students. This video was created to give students in Dr Clifton’s ethics class a balanced understanding of sexuality by hearing personal stories from different perspectives. This interview continued to be used as a teaching aid on the topic for over a decade. In 2006, a group of students produced “Homosexuality and the Pentecostal Church” as their class project.
In 2014 Ron Brookman resigned and closed Living Waters down.
Anthony Venn-Brown went on to found Freedom2b, a national support network for LGBTQ people from Christian backgrounds, and later Ambassadors & Bridge Builders International. His autobiography became a bestseller and sold out twice. The revised and updated third edition was released in 2015. In 2020, Anthony received the Medal of the Order of Australia for his service to the LGBTQI+ community.
Shane Clifton taught theology and ethics at Alphacrucis College from 1999. In 2010 Shane had an accident that left him with a C5 spinal cord injury (quadriplegia). He spent seven months in hospital and had some challenging years adjusting to his disability. He was promoted to Professor in 2016. Shane resigned in 2018 after a dispute over academic freedom and his support for LGBTQI+ inclusion in the church. He has continued to research, write, publish, create change, and inspire others. Find out more on his website HERE
UPDATE: Since the recent publication of this interview, it seems it was used not only for the ethics class that year but for a number of years following. Quite a number of people have contacted me to let me know this interview was the catalyst that changed their understanding of homosexuality. They are now LGBTQ affirming. Amazing!!!
As a student of Shane’s ethics class in 2013, this video and other material looking at all sides of the LGBTQIA+/church debate had a huge impact on my. I had already been questioning the exclusionary response of the church, thinking it unloving, but until I watched this interview I had no idea of the personal trauma induced by the church and, in particular, the trauma of conversion (or reparative, ex-gay) therapies. I have since read Anthony’s biography and many other biographies and books regarding the intersection of faith and LGBTQIA+ people and am now an active ally supporting full inclusion in the church. Recently, my daughter came out, and I am so thankful that God had already led my husband and I through this journey of understanding how we as Christians can truly love, support, include and celebrate our LGBTQIA+ community. Thank you so much Shane and Anthony!
thanks Emma. I’m so glad we have connected, I was thrilled to learn that the interview was stil having an impact nearly a decade after.
I watched this video in Shane’s class in 2010 and it had a massive impact on my faith and life. I remember feeling like it gave me permission to question what I’d been taught my whole life about sexuality and other topics as well. It wasn’t even the theological discussion that did it for me. It was the integrity with which Anthony spoke and carried himself that sparked the now quite obvious realisation that someone can be gay and still love Jesus and who are any of us to question that?
Not long after this, several of my church friends that I grew up with came out and I had to reach out and make some apologies for comments I’m sure I made in my younger years. I know for a fact that there were others in my class who came to similar conclusions. Thank you for this video and for your witness.
How wonderufl Joe. You made my day sharing this.