True Freedom Trust
True Freedom Trust (TFT) is an organization, based in Wirral, UK, supporting Christians who take a "traditional" view of Biblical teaching on same-sex relationships. It takes the view that homosexual activity is sinful, but being homosexual is not sinful in and of itself and, therefore, advocates celibacy for those of its gay and lesbian members who do not consider marriage to someone of the opposite sex to be a viable option. While this view is usually strongly rejected by LGBT organizations and individuals, there are some LGBT-identified Christians who emphatically support and practice it.
History & positions
True freedom Trust was founded in 1977 by Anglican clergyman Canon L. Roy Barker and Martin Hallett, a man who had been "involved in a homosexual lifestyle" for nine years. Canon Barker died in 2004, and the organisation was led by Martin Hallett until his retirement in 2009. In October 2009, Jonathan Berry, was appointed as the new Director. Berry says that he was converted out of homosexuality at the age of 24. In January 2018, Stuart Parker was appointed as the new Director.
TFT was a founding member of Exodus International, the international arm of the world's largest ex-gay organization, but resigned its membership in 2000 because of Exodus's rhetoric, which they believed tended to "set people up for disillusionment" by promising change of orientation. TFT does not generally encourage gay Christians to expect to be healed of their orientation, although it says that change is possible. Therefore, although because of its historical affiliations and its stance against homosexual behavior, it is often considered to be a part of the ex-gay movement, but this is actually not the case.
In 2001, when UK ex-gay ministry Courage UK announced it was now gay-affirming, TFT Director Martin Hallett told supporters that TFT would not be following suit, and that it retained the belief that homosexual "genital activity" was always wrong.
In 2018, True Freedom Trust had 1800 members and 14 local support groups for men and women and their families in the UK and Ireland.
TFT generally works on a referral basis, where Christians who are "struggling" with their sexuality are put in touch with the main office, assessed, and advised what to do next. Often this involves one-to-one support, referral to a Christian counsellor, or referral to a local "Barnabas" group for ongoing support. The Barnabas groups are informal meetings designed for Christians (in theory, both gay and straight) to offer one another support and encouragement. There are several nationwide.
TFT also has a list of counsellors to work with LGBT people. TFT does not offer counselling itself, but has a list of qualified counsellors for referral who agree to respect a client's orthodox biblical beliefs. TFT has made it clear that it does not advocate conversion therapy, but rather Christian discipleship, as the hope for same-sex attracted Christians.
- "Why TfT exists". True Freedom Trust. Archived from the original on 17 April 2009. Retrieved 14 August 2011.
- Director Martin Hallett, quoted in David L Rattigan, "Out and Cowed?" in Third Way (UK), May 2006
- "OUT AND COWED" (PDF). davidlrattigan.com.
- Day, Elizabeth (2004-05-15). "Rebel parish to fund 'cure' for homosexuals". The Daily Telegraph.
- "What TFT offers", TFT Website
- "Can sexual orientation be changed?", TFT Website
- True Freedom Trust, official website