The BCC Author Interview Q & A with Ben Marshall
As part of our BCC vision, we want to help you to get to know gifted Christian authors and their books. This week we’re highlighting Ben Marshall as he shares about his book Help! My Teen Is Gay.
BCC: “Ben, the title of your booklet is a bold title. How was it that you came to write on the topic of teens and homosexuality?”
BM: “Honestly, this was something that was simply very close to home for me. I was a youth pastor in a fairly large church near Seattle, WA. While the homosexual movement was strong in the city of Seattle at that time, it was still relatively quiet in the area where I was pastoring. For the first 6 or 7 years of my youth ministry, the counseling issues I faced were more or less teens not getting along with parents, teens involved in premarital sex and issues of that nature. It was while I was in my final year of my Biblical Counseling degree that the issue of homosexuality arose in my youth ministry. It wasn’t that the issue simply popped up out of nowhere, but it popped up in the student leadership group that I had been working with. I had pinpointed these students as potential leaders in the church. I was totally caught off guard and I really didn’t know what to do.”
BCC: “Do you find that your situation is a fairly common occurrence in most churches today?”
BM: “It’s hard to say how often a situation like the one I mentioned happens. This is a topic that usually stays under wraps in most churches. Homosexuality is still a taboo subject in most evangelical churches today. Admitting to procrastination and gossip is usually not viewed on the same plane as admitting to homosexual behavior. The shame and guilt is just as real for the parents as it is for the homosexual teen.”
BCC: “So, is your booklet a culmination of the counsel that you gave to these young people and their parents?”
BM: “Great question. The booklet is actually a culmination of the counsel that I wish I would have given. I wrote the booklet in response to my own personal evaluation of how I handled that one situation. I spent weeks and months with the two young men trying to get them to stop thinking about and being involved in homosexual activity. It was an area of sin that I knew nothing about…how depraved it was, how consuming it was, how enslaving it was. As I looked back on the counsel I gave, I realized that I simply spent months and months scratching the surface of the issue with these two young men. They did not need counseling for an hour a week, they needed a complete transformation. This could only have happened by involving those who were around them 24/7….their parents. Additionally, my counseling was completely lopsided. I spend 99% of my time with the two young men and 1% or less with the parents of these two young men. There were so many issues and questions that the parents had that remained unaddressed because my focus was not on them. I was trying to do in one hour what I believe God had called their parents to do. I wrote on this topic because I wanted to help future parents and counselors to avoid my pitfalls.”
BCC: “How does your booklet help parents counsel their teens?”
BM: “This booklet helps in a couple of different ways. First of all the booklet brings biblical clarity to the subject of homosexuality which can be very convoluted and confusing. Both the world and liberal sections of Christianity have published large amounts of material seeking to paint the picture that homosexuality is in fact just as normal as heterosexuality. This message has taken root in the evangelical church. Parents need to be confident in both what Scripture says and does not say about this sin. Why did my teen get involved in this? Why is my teen attracted to the same sex? What did I do to contribute to this? Is this biological? Can my teen help this? Is my teen saved? The whirlwind of questions, if not given answers, can build and build into a storm that overwhelms and debilitates. I also hope to supply answers to the many questions that they have floating through their mind.
Additionally, this booklet provides parents with insight into the root cause of the problem, and this is where the hope is found. This is where true repentance happens and true lasting change takes place. The homework at the end of the booklet is very practical and very helpful for both the parent and the struggling teenager. Most books on this subject do not offer what this booklet does for the Christian parent.”
BCC: “It appears that you have packed at lot of info into a small booklet. Yet, as complex as this issue is, you wouldn’t say that this booklet is all that a parent would need?”
BM: “No, absolutely not. Parents who find themselves with a teen involved in homosexuality need the Word of God and the Body of Christ more than ever. However, it is my hope that this booklet will at least point them and those that are walking beside them in the right direction. I would have loved to have had something similar to this booklet years ago.”
BCC: “Ben, thank you for your ministry in this vital area, and thank you for introducing our readers to your work.”