Colin Nevin: ‘As someone who no longer practises a gay lifestyle, the poignant Christian conversion film struck a chord with me’

Colin Nevin, a Bangor Christian who has struggled with his sexuality
Colin Nevin, a Bangor Christian who has struggled with his sexuality

I attended the NI premiere showing of ‘Once Gay,’ the Christian testimony film of X Factor singer from Malta Matthew Grech, in Townsend Street Presbyterian Church in Belfast on Valentine’s Day.

As a Christian who no longer practises the ‘gay’ lifestyle I could identify with much of what Matthew presented that night.

Representatives from the LGBT community decided to picket the event with placards at the door of the church as people arrived to view the film, but Matthew and members of his music band magnanimously gave out red roses and chocolates to the protesters, which I thought was a lovely bridge-making gesture demonstrating not a shred of negativity or judgement towards any who were protesting..

For his part Matthew spoke and sang heartwarmingly at the event and the film was both challenging and poignant.

The main thread of the production was that the equality and respect sought so passionately by members of the LGBT community today should also be afforded to those who want to be free to choose seek a life other than the gay one, and if that includes some form of counselling or helpful therapy then each person should be free to make that choice, not to be reined in by increasing legalisation of government directives concerning such.

No such ‘therapy’ was at any point advocated by any of the representatives on the night, rather it was a celebration of the freedom and joy found in their Christian faith.

Matthew was friendly and engaging and full of positivity. It is a pity some of the protesters did not come in to see the film to get a sense of its real essence which was not targeting the LGBT community in any way, but rather supporting those who choose to follow Christianity.

At the moment we are still free to do so, but for how long? How can equality only be unchallenged for just one side whilst the other position is silenced? As it says in the Book of Revelation: “They overcame by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.”

Ultimately the same verse warns that all true believers in the last days will be called to “not love their lives to death”.

The devil is also mentioned as having “great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time”.

Most LGBT people are looking for love, and new life in Jesus (Yeshua) can provide the greatest love of all.

It may incur wrath, but it is true.

As Jesus said, “They hated me, they will also hate you” and “you will be hated by all for my Name’s sake.”

• Colin Nevin is a former chef at the Hilton Tel-Aviv, Israel

• Colin Nevin in 2018: ‘Faith and gay desire — My struggle’