It’s an unusual story. Successful, good-looking gay man walks into a coffee shop, speaks with some Christians, attends church the following Sunday and gives his life to Christ.
What’s even more unusual is that Becket Cook left his gay identity behind to follow Christ — and he doesn’t miss it. In the article, “From Gay to Gospel: The Fascinating Story of Becket Cook,” Cook elaborates on his story.
Although the Bible tells us homosexual relationships are a sin (and sin is bondage), the world preaches something very different. It says that acknowledging and being proud of your gay identity is liberating because it allows you to be who you truly are. Many times, Christians are called hateful (the opposite of our God-given calling) for adhering to a biblical perspective on the issue. As a result, the temptation for Christians is to stay quiet on the topic so that others don’t get the wrong impression about us. Or to choose to ignore what Scripture says and affirm the beliefs of the LGBT community out of “love.”
Cook is thankful that the believers he encountered that day in the coffee shop spoke up.
On a momentous day in September 2009, while drinking coffee with a friend at Intelligentsia in L.A.’s Silver Lake neighborhood, Cook started chatting with a group of young people sitting at a nearby table — physical Bibles opened in front of them (remember, this was 2009). They were from a church called Reality L.A. (where TGC Council member Jeremy Treat now serves as lead pastor), and they invited Cook to visit the church.
Cook took them up on the invitation and visited Reality L.A. the next Sunday, where he heard the gospel and gave his life to Jesus. He never looked back, trading his gay identity for a new identity in Christ. In the years since, Cook completed a degree at Talbot School of Theology and wrote a memoir of his conversion, A Change of Affection: A Gay Man’s Incredible Story of Redemption, which just released.
Beating the odds
The remarkable thing about Cook’s story is the way he gave up his old life cold turkey. Sexual identity is such a hot button topic that we may view Christ’s command to turn from that sin and follow Him as unreasonable. But Cook embraced a new identity in Christ, and 10 years later doesn’t question that decision.
Six months before Cook met those Christians, he experienced a soul-level low point. Living the dream at an exclusive party in Paris, he felt a deep, unsettling emptiness. Though he had been searching for more meaning in his life, he says, “I knew God was never an option, because I was gay. It was off the table.”
But when he met those young people in the coffee shop, he was ready. He attended church the next Sunday and describes his conversion that day as his “Road to Damascus moment.” Immediately, he knew he’d found what he was looking for and was “all in.” During the months that followed, Cook read his Bible for long periods of time, received discipleship from a pastor and church members, and joined a community group.
When asked if someone can identify as both homosexual and as a Christian, Cook’s answer is “no.” While many churches are trying to accommodate the homosexual lifestyle and gay marriage, Cook says Christianity and homosexuality are irreconcilable.
I flee from that term as far as I can. It’s not who I am at all. If people ask me how I identify, I’m just like, “I don’t identify by my sexuality. I’m a follower of Christ who has a lot of struggles, including same-sex attraction.”
The value of the gospel
Cook says that leaving the gay lifestyle was surprisingly easy for him. He was so overwhelmed with the joy of what he had gained in Christ — peace, security and freedom — that what he lost, including some lifelong friendships, felt minimal. He clung to the words of Paul in Philippians 3:8: “I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.”
To Cook, embracing life with Christ was worth giving up his sin. He still struggles with same-sex attraction but explains that God continues to overhaul that area of his mind and heart. “Who knows,” he says, “God may change my desires one day. We’ll see. But for now, I’m happy to just be single and celibate for the rest of my life. I’m happy to deny myself and take up my cross and follow Jesus.”
Cook’s is a story of surrendering to Jesus and leaving the results to Him. It is a story of God and His unrelenting love, pursuing and redeeming a sinner. It is a story of Christians who were unafraid to speak the truth in love and then offer tangible support to a new believer. It is an unusual story — one you don’t hear every day — but it is a powerful one. It is a story of hope and change that only God could bring about.
Editor’s note: If you or someone you know wants prayer, counseling and hope regarding unwanted same-sex attraction and/or would like more information on what it means to be a Christian, please contact us for a complimentary consultation with one of our licensed counselors.
Copyright 2019 Suzanne Hadley Gosselin.