January 27th, 2014
January 27th, 2014
This article by Eddie Kaufholz is from RELEVEANT Magazine Issue 65: SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2013 as well as their podcast. Here is the intro:
“Change is possible!”
That was Exodus International’s slogan, an unapologetic answer to the dicey “are people born gay?” question. Often described as the largest “ex-gay” ministry in the U.S., Exodus worked with Christians who dealt with same-sex attraction for 37 years. That all changed in June, when Exodus International’s president Alan Chambers stunned the world by apologizing for his ministry and shutting its doors for good.
Chambers sat down with RELEVANT Podcast castmember Eddie Kaufholz (who happens to also be a pastor) to discuss that apology, tell his stories and give his vision for the future.
From the article “The Man Behind The Historic Implosion Of The Ex-Gay Movement” by David Peisner:
… Chambers not only closed Exodus in sudden and dramatic fashion, but acknowledged the ineffectiveness of gay-to-straight reparative therapy and offered a remarkable mea culpa that apologized for his organization’s many missteps. He’s now founding a new organization focused on bringing Christians and homosexuals together, called Speak. Love. Many in the LGBT community hailed Exodus’ demise as a victory in the culture wars but were disappointed Chambers hadn’t gone further in his support of gay rights or his renouncement of the religious underpinnings of the ex-gay theology. To many evangelicals, the man who had not only been a leader of the ex-gay movement but also a living example of its successes was now a lost sheep, or worse, a heretic.
“There are times when I feel like I don’t have a country,” Chambers says, not far from a wall of photos that include shots of him with his wife, with his kids, and with Mike Huckabee. “There are people who have been invested in this fight for years on both sides. It’s the vocal minority on either side that gets the microphone. What I believe is there are far more people in the middle.”
It’s this middle group that he’s hoping to represent and talk to. The question is, will he have the chance? At the moment, he’s working on defining specific plans for the new organization and raising money to keep the lights on. But in order to succeed, he’ll need to convince people that his divisive past has indeed passed, and that his own personal struggle won’t get in the way of his public mission.
This article is worth the read. Please check it out. If inclined, come and let us know what you think after reading the article.
This has been a busy summer for Alan in many ways, including media. Here is a list of some of the highlights over the past few months:
Special Report: God & Gays – Lisa Ling, Our America
‘Ex-gay’ group Exodus International shuts down – BBC World News
Exclusive: ‘Gay cure’ advocate apologizes - Anderson Cooper 360 (Three part video interview available online at link)
Some Christians shift on gays: Column – by Tom Krattenmaker, USA Today
Exodus International: Let the Recycling Begin! - by Brandan Robertson, Revangelical Blog
Homosexuality & The Question of Christian Unity - by Brandan Robertson, Revangelical Blog
Why I’ll Accept Your Imperfect Apology – by Laura Ortberg Turner, Christianity Today
Exodus international: bending history’s arc - by Christian Piatt, Red Letter Christians
My Response to the Closing of Exodus International - by Tony Campolo, Red Letter Christians
Can Christianity Learn to Say, “I’m Sorry”? - by Stephen Mattson, Red Letter Christians
Watermark interviews former Exodus figurehead Alan Chambers - by Susan Clary, Watermark
Alan Chambers, Exodus International’s Former President, On Sexual Labels, ‘Ex-Gay’ Therapy – by Michelangelo Signorile (Includes audio of Alan’s interview on Signorile’s Sirius OutQ Radio program The Gist.)
Exodus to Speak Love – article by Erik Guzman and audio is included of Alan’s interview on Steve Brown Etc.
Everyone is clamoring for the No. 1 spot in the great gay Christian debate. For some, it isn’t enough that people hold to a traditional, conservative, and biblical sexual ethic; they also want to emphasize that homosexual sexual expression is more egregious than other sexual sins and deserves greater judgment and eternal consequence. Others insist that there are no scriptural mandates limiting homosexual sexual expression for believers. While most of us would never even question heterosexual sexual ethics, some seem fine with making special exceptions for the gay or lesbian person.
The arguments are never-ending, one-dimensional, and secondary, at best, in the grand scheme of things. None of this is rocket science. I am not a Bible scholar (though I greatly appreciate them and their role in my life and in this discussion), but I am a believer in the one true Christ and nothing gets more attention or time in my life than He does. While “theologian” isn’t in my title, I do take studying God’s Word seriously and read it more than anything else. So, as others identify as Wesleyan Arminian Christians, Calvinist Christians, Anabaptist Christians, gay or ex-gay Christians, I have to admit I am just, simply, irrevocably, a Christian.
Cross-posted from the Exodus Blog. Excellent article!
Making Room: A Shift Toward Compassion
by Julie Rodgers
As a passionate follower of Jesus Christ, I’ve spent the past decade of my life trying to change my homosexual orientation. When I attended my first Exodus conference ten years ago, I heard story after story of people who had experienced substantial shifts in their sexual attractions. Countless men and women, who had previously been involved in intimate homosexual relationships, were sharing compelling testimonies about their transformation from homosexual to heterosexual.
Thrilled with the prospect that I too would experience a similar transformation in my attractions, I committed myself whole-heartedly to the process. About seven years into that season—the non-stop support groups, ongoing counseling, healthy friendships with heterosexual women, abstaining from homosexual behavior, and praying with all my heart for the Lord to change my desires—I realized I was as passionately attracted to women as I had ever been. I felt more alive, with a more vibrant relationship with Christ and His people, but I was still almost exclusively attracted to other women. When I watched a romantic comedy, I dreamed of snuggling with a girl rather than a man holding me tight.
Cross-posted from the Exodus Blog
Twenty-one years ago this month I walked into a local Exodus Member Ministry for help. I was 19 years old and a church kid—a believer in the one, true Christ. I was also 8 or 9 years into my struggle with same-sex attraction. SSA was, at that time, all consuming; likely because I was 19 and my young body raged with hormones I constantly gave into my sexual thoughts. In my teenage years, I gave into a few sexual relationships with guys my age. My daily life was full of fearing God, praying for relief and giving in to overwhelming temptations that I thought I had no power over.
So, when I found out about Exodus I knew I had to check it out. I’ll never forget that fall-like day on September 12, 1991. I remember what I was wearing as I walked through the parking lot of that ministry–a building I’d driven by numerous times in my life with no clue that inside was an answer to a nearly decade old prayer.
The big and burly director of the ministry eventually came out into the lobby and greeted me. A good ole boy of sorts. Corduroy pants, flannel type shirt, suspenders. Certainly no connection to “the issue”, I concluded. Never judge a book by its cover. Sitting in his office a few minutes later, I was scared. However, that day was pivotal for me. I began a real healing journey that wasn’t at all what I’d hoped for or considered.
Brilliantly simple Op-Ed in Christianity Today by Alan. Here is a quote from the introduction of the two page article:
Everyone is clamoring for the No. 1 spot in the great gay Christian debate. For some, it isn’t enough that people hold to a traditional, conservative, and biblical sexual ethic; they also want to emphasize that homosexual sexual expression is more egregious than other sexual sins and deserves greater judgment and eternal consequence.
Others demand that there are no scriptural mandates limiting homosexual sexual expression for believers. While most of us would never even question heterosexual sexual ethics, some seem fine with making special exceptions for the gay or lesbian person.
I find the arguments above exhausting. They are never-ending, one-dimensional, and somewhat pointless in the grand scheme of things. In the words of my 7-year-old, “That argument is so last year.” Out of the mouths of babes.
From Christianity Today‘s article, Exodus International’s Alan Chambers Accused of Antinomian Theology
Exodus International president Alan Chambers has, in the past week, explained the Orlando-based ministry’s recent U-turn on reparative therapy to everyone from The New York Times to NPR to MSNBC’s Hardball.
And while the organization’s stance remains acceptable to most evangelicals, some scholars fear that Chambers’s theological convictions—sprinkled throughout those interviews—have not.
“It’s not that he is simply not saying the warnings [against homosexual activity] in Scripture. I could live with that,” Pittsburgh Theological Seminary professor Robert Gagnon said of Chambers’s recent comments. “It’s that he is saying the exact opposite of what Scripture clearly teaches … . He’s preaching an anti-gospel.”
The theological heresy in question is antinomianism. The term was coined by Martin Luther to refer to those who believe that since faith is sufficient for salvation, Christians are not obligated to keep God’s moral law.
Gagnon, author of The Bible and Homosexual Practice and a plenary speaker at Exodus’s 2009 Freedom Conference, said that a June interview in The Atlantic shows that Chambers’s views have veered. “Some of us choose very different lives than others,” Chambers said of gay Christians in same-sex marriages. “But whatever we choose, it doesn’t remove our relationship with God.”
When asked to clarify whether or not that meant “a person living a gay lifestyle won’t go to hell, as long as he or she accepts Jesus Christ as personal savior,” he replied, “My personal belief is … while behavior matters, those things don’t interrupt someone’s relationship with Christ.” In the course of the interview, Chambers made it clear that he believes that homosexual acts are sinful.
A 35-page response written by Gagnon called into question not only Chambers’s soteriology, but also his ability to continue his 11-plus years of leading Exodus, which boasts some 260 affiliates domestically and internationally.
Defending his public remarks, Chambers told Christianity Today, “If someone tells me that they have a saving relationship with Jesus Christ—in the way I understand it and have experienced it—they still know Jesus regardless of what types of behavior they’ve chosen to be involved in.”
“I don’t know how anyone could call grace cheap when it cost Jesus everything,” said Chambers. “I find it disheartening that we [evangelicals] are so inconsistent and over-focused on one group of people over another. We aren’t talking about this in any other subculture of people except this one [the LGBTQ community].”
Click here to read the full article. More to come I am sure.
Please note that if it doesn’t have “quotation marks” around it then Alan didn’t actually say it the way they report he did. His actual quotes are the ones with “quotation marks” around them. Please also listen to Alan’s opening session at this year’s Exodus Freedom “Made for More” conference. His message that night is the most accurate context of his beliefs.
From The New York Times (linkage theirs):
For more than three decades, Exodus International has been the leading force in the so-called ex-gay movement, which holds that homosexuals can be “cured” through Christian prayer and psychotherapy.
Exodus leaders claimed its network of ministries had helped tens of thousands rid themselves of unwanted homosexual urges. The notion that homosexuality is not inborn but a choice was seized on by conservative Christian groups who oppose legal protections for gay men and lesbians and same-sex marriage.
But the ex-gay movement has been convulsed as the leader of Exodus, in a series of public statements and a speech to the group’s annual meeting last week, renounced some of the movement’s core beliefs. Alan Chambers, 40, the president, declared that there was no cure for homosexuality and that “reparative therapy” offered false hopes to gays and could even be harmful. His statements have led to charges of heresy and a growing schism within the network.