Sy Rogers will be known for his ministry, for addressing the messy topic of our day: human sexuality. He passed away Monday after a battle with cancer.
The 63-year-old minister came to trust in Jesus after living for years as a homosexual man and as transexual for a year and a half, when he identified as a woman, according to a report from Charisma News.
But in the 1980s, Rogers abandoned the life he knew, moving past the sexual abuse he had endured as a child, and became a Christian. In 2019, speaking at Substance Church in Minneapolis, Rogers said his conversion happened when “my church valued me in such a potent way that all the other options lost their power.”
“I got something better,” he continued, referring to genuine love. “You need it and you can give it, because everybody hungers for it.”
Rogers, a pastor based in New Zealand, went on to spend his career discussing his biblical understanding of homosexuality, gender identity, and sexual purity.
He was eulogized this week by numerous Christian leaders.
Jentezen Franklin, pastor of Free Chapel in Gainesville, Georgia, wrote in an Instagram post that Rogers “lived a life of truth, sharing the hope and grace found in Jesus with everyone he could.”
In a comment on Franklin’s post, preacher and author Priscilla Shirer wrote: “This is a huge loss for the church and for any of us who knew him.”
Shirer went on to describe Rogers’ ministry as “incredibly unique” and lauded the late pastor for his “brilliance.” She went on to say she will be praying for Rogers’ wife, Karen.
Hillsong Church co-founder Bobbie Houston said she and her husband, Brian, were “deeply saddened” to hear about Rogers’ death, calling him “truly one of the kindest people you could ever meet.”
“He exemplified grace and freedom and a passion to always bless others,” she continued. “We will miss you, Sy. You ran your race perfectly, always giving honor to your Savior King. Our sincere love and prayers are with Karen and family. Heaven truly welcomed home a treasure today who will light up that landscape with his warmth, humor and goodness.”
Minister and author John Bevere likewise celebrated Rogers, calling him “a great general in the kingdom” who has “impacted so many lives and have been so faithful to our Lord Jesus.”
Greg Laurie, founder of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California, described the 63-year-old pastor as “a wonderful guy.”
In all of his teaching, Rogers, who formerly served as president of Exodus International, a since-shuttered ministry that specialized in the controversial practice of conversion therapy, was less concerned about eliminating the temptations and inclinations and more focused on encouraging people to draw closer to Jesus.
After turning away from his homosexual lifestyle, Rogers married his wife Karen in 1982, when they started a family together.
Rogers reportedly suffered from kidney cancer, but had been in remission for five years. In the fall of 2019, the cancer apparently returned, leading Rogers to cancel his planned speaking events and shutter his social media accounts.
Please be in prayer for Rogers’ wife and their family in this time.