UPPER MARLBORO, Md. — Personal testimonies possess Holy Spirit-backed power to set people free from all kinds of sexual sin, said a former lesbian who is now the board chair of the Restored Hope Network.
Dee Barnes, founder of the Atlanta area-based ministry His Wonderful Works Inc. and the board chair of the Restored Hope Network, has a background of sexual abuse, promiscuity, abortion, and porn addiction. At age 21, she entered into an adulterous, lesbian relationship with another woman who was married to a man. Today, Barnes is married to a man and has three children.
During a 2-day conference at First Baptist Church Worship Center with ministry leaders from around the world, Barnes and others who had similar backgrounds shared their stories of how God met them, led them out of sexual sin, and brought restoration and healing to their lives.
She expounded on Revelation 19:10 where John the Revelator says: “For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”
The root word in the Hebrew for “testimony” means “to do again, to repeat,” Barnes, 52, explained on Friday.
“That which God has done He will do again. He’s the same yesterday, today, and forever.”
When stories testifying to what Jesus has done go forth, whether from the written Word or in the life of a believer, the Holy Spirit breathes on it and power is released, inspiring hope in others, she said. This principle is illustrated earlier in the book of Revelation in chapter 12 verse 11 when John writes that the faithful defeated the Accuser of the brethren “by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.”
By definition, prophecy is “divine inspiration declaring the purposes of God,” she said.
“So when we talk about Jesus, when we tell a story about Him, when we speak about Him, the breath of divine inspiration in us, which is Jesus, goes out into the atmosphere for us to do something with. We can hear it and not believe it or we can receive it by faith and all kinds of things happen in our lives.”
“Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word, we know that. We read the written Word of God, which is all the testimony of Jesus. And our faith builds in us for that which God said about us to become true from the very beginning,” Barnes elaborated in an interview with The Christian Post following her presentation.
And the same can be said about the testimony of Jesus, she continued, explaining how such stories prophesy life, and “when I’m testifying about how Jesus, of how God transformed my life, it sets a stage and an atmosphere for those who hear it to receive it by faith.”
She recounted her past when she felt she was homosexual.
“It felt so right to me. It feels like you’re born that way. Those who struggled since they were young, perhaps since age 5, and thought they were homosexual … it’s because there are great deficits in our hearts, like any other psychosocial issues, really,” she said.
“We would say today, that if we are addicted to drugs, we are covering up the pain of our psychosocial issues, usually. All other issues we would agree, but with homosexuality and transgenderism society says ‘oh, that’s not the case.'”
Testimonies of freedom from these issues are not unlike the Gospel in Jesus’ day, she said; some wanted to hear it, some did not.
“But testimony defies everything,” she went on to explain. “You can argue the Scripture all day long, if you don’t want to believe it, you don’t have to believe it.
“But you can’t argue with someone’s testimony. I mean, you can, but it’s like the blind man who could see again [in John 9:25]. Jesus healed him, and [the teachers of the law] didn’t like Jesus at all, but he healed the blind man and they couldn’t deny it. They knew the guy was blind.”
She stressed that what is sometimes referred to derisively as “conversion therapy” is a ruse, a phrase coined by outside groups. What she does is “transformational ministry,” she said.
“Jesus transforms our lives out of homosexuality, addiction to pornography, heterosexual sin, no matter what it is. He has transformed our lives. And we can’t help but testify of Him. Unfortunately, that makes some people unhappy that we testify. You would think that it would be a message of hope and it is a message of hope for many people that are longing for hope.”
Later this year, Barnes’ ministry is putting on an event in Atlanta called Amazing Love, the third of its kind, which is an entire day of worship and the proclamation of testimonies about what Jesus has done in the lives of dozens of people. Participants will recount how the Lord has brought them out of all kinds of sexual sin.
“It’s a gathering to proclaim the goodness of the Lord. And that atmosphere of freedom brings others into more freedom as they come and hear and see the testimonies and receive by faith what God has done.”
Follow Brandon Showalter on Twitter: @BrandonMShow