Roger Marsh: Hello and welcome to Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk. I'm Roger Marsh. Today on the program, you're going to hear the second half of an extremely powerful testimony of a life change by God's grace. It's the story of Christopher Yuan as told by Christopher and his parents, Leon and Angela Yuan. Now, if you missed part one of the Yuans presentation on yesterday's program, you can find it by visiting drjamesdobson.org/familytalk.
Dr. Christopher Yuan is an author, a speaker, and a Bible professor who taught at Moody Bible Institute for 12 years. His speaking ministry is centered on faith and sexuality and has grown to reach millions around the globe. Christopher graduated from Moody Bible Institute in 2005. He received his master's degree in biblical exegesis in 2007 and his doctorate of ministry in 2014. He currently resides in San Diego, California. But before coming to Christ, Christopher Yuan was running away from God any way he could. For several years of his adult life, Christopher practiced homosexuality and abused and sold drugs, too. During the day he went to dental school, but at night he spent his time at gay clubs going from one relationship to another. But as we heard on yesterday's program, God had other plans for Christopher Yuan. His time as a drug dealer ended abruptly when he was arrested and sentenced to six years in federal prison. And that is where we will pick up Christopher's story right now on today's edition of Family Talk.
Dr. Christopher Yuan: I was walking around the cell block and to be honest, I was trying to do my best to stay to myself. I didn't want to mingle too much with those really bad people, those criminals, because I didn't think I was a criminal. I passed by this garbage can. It was a mound of trash. And I looked at this trash and I thought to myself, "This represents my life right now." You see I'm from upper middle class suburbs of Chicago. My father has two doctorates. I was only three months away from receiving my own doctorate. I had it made, but now I found myself among common criminals.
I was about to pass by that garbage can, but something on top of the trash caught my eye. I picked it up and it was a Gideon's New Testament. I took that New Testament back to my cell and I opened up that good book for the first time. I read through the entire gospel of Mark that night. But can I just tell you, I was not thinking, this is the Word of God. I wasn't even thinking this will be the answer to some of my problems. Actually, I was just simply thinking I've got an enormous amount of time on my hands and I better pass it somehow.
But as many of you know, what we have in our Bibles is not just ink on paper, but what we have in our Bibles, beloved, is the very breath of God. And it is living and powerful and sharper than any double head sword able to cut through the hardest of hearts, exposing my sin, my rebelling, and it wasn't in pretty sight. I thought things couldn't get any worse. I was wrong. A couple weeks later, I was called into the nurse's office. They handcuffed me, chained my hands around my waist, shackled my feet together. I shuffled into the nurse's office. The nurse shut the door behind me, sat me down and I just knew something wasn't right. She was uncomfortably struggling with what it was, and she couldn't even give eye contact. So she resigned to writing something on a piece of paper and slowly slid it across the desk to me. I looked down and there's a piece of paper. And I saw three letters and a symbol. HIV positive.
Angela Yuan: A few days before Christmas, I received Christopher's phone call from jail. The noise in the background could not cover up his sad and hopeless words. "Mom, I am HIV positive." His silent and weak voice trailed off as my body went limp. I felt dizzy and the world around me seemed to stop. Ever since Christopher told us he was gay, I had lived with constant fear that Christopher may one day contract this deadly virus. My worst nightmare was now a reality. Christopher was sentenced to six years in federal prison. The news of his HIV status was like a death sentence. A verdict I could not accept. Hang up the phone, the pain so grieved torn at my broken heart like a knife, endlessly. I stumble up the steps and drag my heavy body into my prayer closet. This affliction was more than I could bear. In the silence of my sorrow a melody began to play in my heart, the soft and soothing streams of a hymn filled my ears and repeat over and over. It is well. It is well with my soul.
Dr. Christopher Yuan: (singing). When peace like a river, attendeth my way. When sorrows like sea billows roar. Whatever my lot has taught me to say, It is well, it is well with my soul.
Leon Yuan: Please sing with us.
Dr. Christopher Yuan: It is well (it is well) With my soul (with my soul). It is well, it is well with my soul.
A few days after receiving that devastating news, I was in my cell all to myself and I was just contemplating the mess that I made of my life. Someone had written something in the corner and it read, "If you're bored, read Jeremiah 29:11. For I know the plans that I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." You see, at the most hopeless point in my life, God was using the words penned by a prophet thousands of years ago to a rebellious nation, Israel, to tell me, to tell me that regardless of who I was and what I had done in the past, He still had a plan for me.
I had no idea where this plan was going to take me, but God gave me enough faith, enough strength to get through that one day and the next, and the next. My transformation was gradual. I wish I could tell you I got down on my knees, said the sinner's prayer and everything after that was just perfect. I didn't have any more problems. That's far from the truth. God was convicting me of the dependencies, the idols that I had in my life. The most obvious was drugs. I was in prison for drugs. No one had to convince me of that. That was the most obvious, but within a few months, God delivered me from the bondage of that addiction. However, the last thing that I was holding onto just felt like I couldn't let go was my sexual identity. I was reading through the Bible and it was so clear to me that God loved me unconditionally, but there were also some passages in the Bible, three in the Old, three in the New that seemed to condemn that core part of who I thought I was, my sexual identity.
So, I went to a chaplain and I asked him his opinion on this issue. I'm a new Christian. So I don't know that much about the Bible. I wanted to go ask someone who should know more about the Bible, the chaplain. To my surprise, this chaplain actually told me that the Bible does not condemn homosexuality. And he gave me a book from a shelf and he said, "Here, this book explains that view." So with much curiosity, I took that book in the hopes of finding biblical justification for homosexuality. I wanted my cake and eat it too. Don't we all? So I had that book in one hand and the Bible in the other. And can I just tell you from a purely human perspective, I had every reason in the world, every single reason in the world, to accept what that book is claiming to justify the way I had been living.
But God's indwelling Holy Spirit convicted me that those assertions from that book were a clear distortion of God, His word, and His unmistakable condemnations against gay sex and relationships. I couldn't even finish that book and I gave it back to the chaplain, which meant I turned to the Bible alone. I went through every verse, every chapter, every page of scripture, looking for justification for homosexuality. I wanted to look for any type of a positive affirmation or a blessing of a monogamous gay relationship. I went cover to cover several times. I had time. I looked and I looked and I looked and I couldn't find any. And the decision had to be made either abandoned God and His word, live as a gay man pursuing monogamous, gay relationship by allowing my attractions to not only dictate who I was, but also how I lived. Or abandon pursuing a monogamous gay relationship by liberating myself from my attractions and live as a follower of Jesus Christ. My decision was clear and obvious. Jesus.
As the days and the weeks and the months of abstinence passed, I realized a few things. First of all, abstaining from sex is actually possible. I know, I know, but it's actually possible. Who knew? Second, sexual abstinence is not going to make me go crazy no matter what Freud and Oprah say. Third, I realize that from abstaining from sex, that my sexuality should not be the core of who I am. I told myself before, God loves me unconditionally and that is true. But then I added, so therefore he doesn't want me to change. We hear that all the time. "God loves me just the way I am. So, leave me alone." But now after reading the Bible, I learned something very important, that unconditional love is not the same thing as unconditional approval of my behavior. Did you catch that? Unconditional love is not the same thing as unconditional approval of my behavior.
You see, my identity should not be defined just by my attractions. My identity should not be defined just by my desires, as deep rooted as they might be. My identity isn't gay, isn't ex gay, isn't even heterosexual for that matter, because my identity as a child of the living God must be in Jesus Christ alone. God says, "Be holy for I am holy." I used to think that if I were to be become a Christian and if I wanted to please God, I had to become a heterosexual. That the more heterosexual I was, the more Christian I would be. But in actuality, people who have heterosexual feelings also struggle with sin, so that shouldn't be my goal. God never said "Be heterosexual for I am heterosexual," but neither did he say, "Be homosexual for I homosexual." Rather God said, "Be holy for I am holy." So the opposite of homosexuality is not heterosexuality. That is not and should never be the goal. But the opposite of homosexuality is holiness. As a matter of fact, the opposite of any struggle with sin is holiness.
I should not focus upon my attractions, my temptations, my desires. The ultimate issue is that I yearn after God in total surrender and complete obedience. As I began to live this life of surrender and obedience, God began reveal His plan for my life. And He called me to full-time ministry while I was in prison of all places. And I realized that it didn't matter where I was, whether in prison or out of prison, because my calling on life would remain the same regardless of the location. And with that change of heart, God did another miracle and He shortened my sentence from six years to three years, which is almost unheard of in the federal system. So I called home collect to my parents told them, "I think God's calling me to ministry." And I asked them to mail me an application to the only Bible college I had ever heard of in our hometown Chicago called Moody Bible Institute.
But there was silence on the other line, because I think they both dropped their phones. They mailed the application in to me in to prison. I was so excited when I got it, I tore it open, began filling out the questions and the essays until I got to the end, where they asked me for references, not from anybody but specifically people who knew me as a Christian for at least one year. I had some slim pickings in prison, but I was able to persuade a prison chaplain, a prison guard, and another prison inmate to write my references to Moody. So one of the greatest miracles of the story is that Moody actually accepted me. I was released from prison July of 2001 and I started the very next month in August of 2001. So, imagine the surprise of my classmates when I answered their question, "What did you do this summer?"
I graduated from Moody in 2005, went on to my master's of arts in biblical exegesis from Wheaton College graduate schools. I received my doctorate of ministry from Bethel Seminary, hallelujah, a miracle, a miracle. And in 2011, I had the honor, the immense honor, to co-author a book with my mother called Out Of A Far Country, A Gay Son's Journey To God, A Broken Mother's Search For Hope. She wrote chapter one, I wrote chapter two, she wrote chapter three. She actually wrote all the odd chapters. I wrote the even chapters because we wanted to tell you from our own first person voice, how you can have the same situation told from two totally different perspectives, and yet God in His power and His grace brought us all back together.
The back of every book, every book we have Spanish, English, Chinese, but that back of every book has a study guide that many small groups are using to continue the conversation on healthy, biblical holy sexuality. And we've even found out that some youth groups are using it as a curriculum and even some Christian high schools are using it as a textbook. And it makes sense. This younger generation are being flooded, intentionally inundated with resources on sexuality starting from kindergarten. And they're all from a non-Christian perspective. And yet where are our resources that we can give to our youth, our young adults that not just communicate, but show what biblical sexuality look like? So sometimes people go back to our table ... One time we had this old lady, she came back and she wanted 12 books. We're like, "12 books? You only need one book." And she said, "I have 12 grandchildren and they all must learn biblical sexuality."
Silence is no longer an option. Silence is no longer an option. We have to talk openly and frankly about sex and sexuality, about holy sexuality. But God has been so amazing. And given us back that the years that the locusts have taken away. My parents and I, we travel around the nation, around the world, talking about God's grace and God's truth on this issue of sexuality. And then as if that wasn't amazing and enough, God has a great sense of humor. How many of you guys know God has a sense of humor? God has an amazing sense of humor, because He's brought me back to Moody full circle. So now I'm teaching in the Bible department. So, I went from prisoner to professor. How about that for a resume?
But God has done far more abundantly, beyond all that we have asked or thought. As I look back upon my life, most of which were far, far apart from Christ, I see a lot of bad decisions which have resulted in some big consequences. But you know, I realized something. I'm no different than any of you. All of our days are numbered, are they not? And yet we take today and tomorrow for granted. It took getting HIV for me to realize a profound truth, that as a child of God, I must live with the sense of urgency. When I look at this world today, I know this world doesn't need another good Christian, a good Christian who might go to church every Sunday. And they're good people in the eyes of man, but in the eyes of God, doing little for the kingdom of Heaven.
What this world needs, what this world demands are great Christians. Christians who won't settle for mediocrity, Christians who don't care what the person on the left says or the person on their right says, but living for an audience of one. Christians who know that they've been crucified with Christ and they no longer live, but Christ lives in them. Christians who are living with a sense of urgency. You know you've been created for greatness, not in the eyes of man to say, "Oh, look at how great I am," but in the eyes of God, which means being the least of these, which means not coming to be served, but coming to serve. Because I don't know whether you realize this or not, but every one of us will one day stand before our God, our Creator, and my hope is that He will look at you in the eyes and say, "Well done, good and faithful servant." Let's pray.
God of wonders, you are the great I AM. Everything that was is, was, and will be has come from you, oh, God. Lord, we praise you. Not because we ought to, but because that is what we are created to do. Father, help our hearts to break for those things around us that break yours. Lord, help our hearts to break for the LGBT community. Lord, might we be a people that gets down on our knees to pray for our gay loved ones and friends in the gay community. Lord, I pray that we would be a community that welcomes and walk with our HIV positive sisters and brothers, not shunning them as if they had leprosy, but loving them just as they are. Father, give us opportunities to share the good news of Jesus Christ to those who need to hear it. We love you. We praise you, and we ask this in the powerful, matchless name of Jesus, the Messiah and the people of God said, amen.
Roger Marsh: Amen. You've been listening to Family Talk. And that was Dr. Christopher Yuan. For the past couple of days here on the program, Christopher and his parents, Leon and Angela Yuan, have shared Christopher's gripping testimony of coming out of homosexuality. The presentation that you just heard was actually given back in 2015, but when Dr. Dobson recently heard it, he knew it was too important not to share with his listeners. If you missed any portion of today's or yesterday's broadcast, remember you can hear both of them in their entirety by visiting drjamesdobson.org/familytalk. And while you're there, you can also request a CD copy to keep or to share with someone who might find the Yuans testimony to be encouraging. If you'd like to learn more about biblical sexuality, be sure to check out Dr. Christopher Yuan's most recent book, it's called Holy Sexuality And The Gospel. We'll have a link for that book on our website as well. Again, that address is drjamesdobson.org/familytalk. Or call us anytime at (877) 732-6825.
Now, before we go for the day, I'd like to tell you about a very special Facebook premiere we are hosting tomorrow with a live Q&A immediately afterward. This special Facebook premiere we are hosting is Wednesday, May the 25th on the Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk Facebook page. It begins at 7:00 PM Eastern Time with a compelling video presentation given by Dr. William Lile, the pro-life doc on the science behind life. He will then be joined by our radio co-host, Dr. Tim Clinton for a live question and answer session. They'll be taking your questions about the miracle of life, the tragedy of abortion, pre-born babies, Roe versus Wade, the evil abortion pill, and the hope of abortion pill reversal among other topics. So come prepared to join the conversation on our Facebook page at 7:00 PM Eastern Time tomorrow, May 25th. Just go to facebook.com and search for Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk. You can ask your questions by posting them right there in the comments section. Again, that's Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk, search for our Facebook page when you go to facebook.com and we'll see you there.
Now for all of us here at the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute, I'm Roger Marsh, God's richest blessings to you and your family as you continue to grow in your relationship with Him.
Announcer: This has been a presentation of the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute.