An unlikely journey from agnostic gay man in prison to evangelical Bible professor

Christopher Yuan teaches "Theology of Sexuality" at Moody Bible Institute -- but his journey of faith started in a prison cell.

When Yuan came out as gay to his Chinese parents at 23, they gave him an ultimatum: choose us or them. So, he moved out.

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He started selling drugs while he was in dental school – was arrested and put in prison.

During that time, his mother, Angela, was going to commit suicide, but instead of ending her life, she found new life as a born-again Christian. Her husband, Leon, also became a Christian.

Christopher Yuan and his mother, Angela, who prayed and fasted for him for many years after she became a Christian.

Christopher Yuan and his mother, Angela, who prayed and fasted for him for many years after she became a Christian. (Courtesy of Christopher Yuan)

Angela prayed and fasted every Monday for seven years, and, at one point, she prayed and fasted 39 days straight for Christopher in her prayer closet. The faith-based novel, "War Room," was dedicated to her for her bold prayer: "Lord, do whatever it takes to bring this prodigal son to you."

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The parable of the prodigal son comes from the gospel of Luke, in which Jesus tells the story of a father with two sons, one who wasted his inheritance in a distant land and upon arrival back, instead of being cast away, the father embraced him and celebrated his coming home.

Christopher Yuan speaks around the world about his unlikely journey from an agnostic gay man in prison to an evangelical Bible professor.

Christopher Yuan speaks around the world about his unlikely journey from an agnostic gay man in prison to an evangelical Bible professor. (Courtesy of Christopher Yuan)

Much to Yuan’s surprise, his parents didn’t reject him but loved him unconditionally. After being diagnosed with HIV, he found a Bible verse that changed his life. He started reading the Bible in prison and applied to Bible college. Again, to his surprise, he was accepted.

He co-wrote his story with his mother, Angela, in the book: “Out of a Far Country: A Gay Son’s Journey to God. A Broken Mother’s Search for Hope.”

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In it, he wrote about a term he coined called “holy sexuality,” and he decided to expand on it because he got so many questions and had so many people reach out to him about it.

In his new book, “Holy Sexuality and the Gospel: Sex, Desire, and Relationships Shaped by God’s Grand Story” Yuan tackles the tough questions on the intersection of the church and LGBTQ individuals.

Rosaria Butterfield called it “the most important humanly composed book about biblical sexuality and godly living for our times.” Eric Metaxas and Randy Alcorn both praised the book.

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Today, Yuan, a professor-at-large continues to teach biblical studies at Moody Bible Institute, where he has taught for over 11 years and speaks at churches, colleges, and conferences around the world on faith and sexuality.

Yuan said he doesn't identify as gay, ex-gay, or even straight.

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"My true identity," he adds, "is in Jesus Christ alone."