It is of course to be expected that in any conflict, there will be various wins and losses, and sometimes even defections to the other side. Some traitors will arise, and some will sell out and effectively side with the enemy. This is just as true in the spiritual realm as it is in the physical.
From cover to cover the Bible informs us that we are in a war, with God and his truth under steady attack. Christians can apostasise, sell-out, and give in to the other side. It happens all the time regrettably. So it should not come as a surprise that in the hot potato issue of homosexuality we see this occurring as well.
Exodus International under the leadership of Alan Chambers has been going off the rails for some time now. Many former homosexuals have been greatly concerned about the way the organisation has been heading under his rule. And now it is closing shop. It has just released this press statement:
“Exodus International, the oldest and largest Christian ministry dealing with faith and homosexuality announced tonight that it’s closing its doors after three-plus decades of ministry. The Board of Directors reached a decision after a year of dialogue and prayer about the organization’s place in a changing culture. ‘We’re not negating the ways God used Exodus to positively affect thousands of people, but a new generation of Christians is looking for change – and they want to be heard,’ said Tony Moore, Board member of Exodus.”
Of course the pro-homosexual mainstream media has been ecstatic about this, and want you to think this was the only ex-homosexual ministry around, and that this spells the end of hope and healing for homosexuals who want out. Of course this is not the case. Plenty of ex-homosexual groups exist, and plenty of ex-homosexuals have been speaking out about this sad turn of events at Exodus. Let me cite just some of them here.
Australian-based Haydn Sennitt said this: “While Exodus International (North America) dies, alternative ministries like Restored Hope Network and Exodus Australia Pacific (Global Alliance) will pick things up, providing hope and light to those seeking escape from the darkness of homosexuality.”
The Board of Restored Hope Network put out this statement: “We, the Board of Restored Hope Network, grieve the decision of Alan Chambers and the board of Exodus to close down this venerable organization. It feels like the unnecessary death of a dear friend. It would have been better for them to have stepped aside and allowed others to carry on the message of hope for transformed lives. Although the timing of the news was a surprise to many, the shutting down of Exodus is the not-unexpected outcome of a cheap grace theology that severs the confession of Christ as Savior from the confession of Christ as Lord.
“While some falsely proclaim that a transformed life is optional for Christians, the united witness of Jesus and the writers of Scripture are clear: In God’s grace true saving faith results in a life of holiness and sexual purity. Thankfully God does not leave his people without a witness to the transforming power of Jesus Christ. The Restored Hope Network was formed in 2012 to provide just such a witness. We welcome all those cast adrift by recent events to know that God is still faithful.”
Frank Worthen, one of the founders of Exodus (1976) and of the Restored Hope Network (2012) said this: “I am so thankful that Restored Hope Network exists at this time to continue the message of transformation and new life in Christ.”
Joe Dallas who served as president of Exodus International from 1991 to 1993, and now leads a ministry called Genesis Counseling in California, was an active member of the homosexual community in the 1970s and 1980s. When he repented in 1984, he said he was able to “feel the capacity to have attractions to women.” Not too long after that, he dated then married his wife, Renee. They have two sons. “When we come to Christ we can overcome these (temptations). I do think if people repent, they have the ability to resist the temptation to homosexuality and have the capacity for heterosexual response.”
Andy Comiskey, who worked with Exodus in the 1980s, said it “has undergone significant change. [Chambers] became unusually sensitive to those critical of Exodus. He began to take up their case as more important than transformation.”
He founded Desert Stream Ministries in Missouri in the 1980s after his own journey out of homosexuality. He and his wife Annette run the biblically-based group to help those struggling with sexual and relational issues. He said, “God has enabled people to develop whole relationships — and understand whole relationships with the opposite gender.”
Regina Griggs, Executive Director of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX), said the timing of Chambers’s announcement was suspicious: “I think it’s deliberate. Why couldn’t you wait until the first of July? Why couldn’t you wait a week or two? If Alan’s unhappy, if he thinks reparative therapy is dangerous, and he chose not to do it, that’s fine. But there are thousands of people out there who do go to therapists, who do want to change. Why would you release a statement that could impact a ruling out of our Supreme Court?”
Griggs, a former member of Exodus, said Chambers should have left the organisation if he disagreed with reparative therapy. She said he drove away the group’s original board of directors and replaced them with people who shared his views. This resulted in the transformation of Exodus that eventually led to its closing. “Here you have a director who decided, and a brand new board that he appointed … who made a decision to apologize to the gay community for hurt that Exodus may have imposed.”
Theologian and expert on the subject, Robert A. J. Gagnon, took Chambers to task for his faulty understanding of grace and forgiveness: “Chambers makes a poor use of the prodigal son parable in Luke 15. He claims: ‘Exodus International is the prodigal’s older brother, trying to impose its will on God’s promises, and make judgments on who’s worthy of His Kingdom. God is calling us to be the Father – to welcome everyone, to love unhindered.’
“The Father calls his prodigal son ‘found’ and ‘alive’ because the latter comes back truly penitent. He’s not coming back asking for the other half of the inheritance so that he can continue to squander it on such things as prostitutes. He rather acknowledges that because of his bad behavior he is not worthy to be called a son and should be treated only as a hired hand. Had he continued in gross sexual immorality (and homosexual practice, like sex with prostitutes, incest, and adultery, is viewed as such in Scripture) he would have remained lost and dead.
“Because Chambers considers all sin as equal in all respects (immoral sexual intercourse is no worse than eating an overly big meal) Chambers wants to assure those who continue in gross immorality that they are found and alive. The older brother’s failing is not that he refused to welcome his brother back while he was unrepentantly continuing in a dissolute life but rather for refusing to give him a full welcome after he had repented and left such a life. Apparently Chambers believes (since he thinks all sin is alike) that the younger brother could have returned to kill his older brother, get his half of the inheritance, and still be welcomed back by the Father as sufficiently penitent.”
And Sam Storms echoes the views of many: “My reaction is three-fold. First, it is a tragic end to a ministry that once stood on firm biblical grounds and offered hope to those struggling with same-sex attraction. I’m deeply saddened that Chambers and the leaders of Exodus have capitulated to the prevailing winds of our culture and have apparently lost confidence in the redemptive power of Christ and the indwelling Holy Spirit. Second, if Exodus has indeed abandoned their original mandate, I’m glad they are shutting down. They have lost their capacity to bring hope and change to those broken by sexual sin.
“Third, and most important of all, I’m excited about the emergence of the Restored Hope Network that is devoted to a biblical stance on human sexuality and relational brokenness. Comprised of many who were formerly affiliated with Exodus, this new ministry is hosting its first national conference this weekend (June 21-22) here in Oklahoma City. I encourage you to visit their website (www.restoredhopenetwork.com) and give serious consideration to directing your financial support to their efforts.”
Yes exactly right. Homosexuals will continue to find liberation and restoration by the mighty power of the risen Christ. Forget what the MSM and the militants are saying: Christ came to set the captives free, and he is in the business of turning lives around. He has been doing it for 2000 years now.
I know many of these people. They were once deep into the homosexual lifestyle, but by repentance, faith, and the grace of God, they have been made new creations in Christ. Their very existence puts lie to the claims of the activists that change is impossible.
Change is indeed possible, and it happens all the time. God bless all the ex-homosexual ministries that have remained true to Christ, to God’s Word, and the power of the Holy Spirit to radically change lives. They are doing tremendous work, as countless former homosexuals can attest to.
As Scott Lively has just posted elsewhere: “For many years Exodus International was an organization true to the Bible, adopting as its theme the Hebrew exodus from bondage in Egypt to freedom in the wilderness. In that story, the hero is Moses who stayed true to God while the people often grumbled and wanted to go back to Egypt where life in slavery seemed less difficult than their struggles under freedom. Ironically, in the Exodus International story, it is Moses Alan Chambers who has turned back to Egypt, while the people keep pressing on toward the Promised Land. I pray these strugglers will not be overly discouraged by Alan’s failure. After all, here, just as in the Bible story, the true leader wasn’t really Moses, it was and is God. And He never fails.”