Alan Chambers Accused of Antinomian Theology

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.

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.

Randy Thomas is the former Executive Vice President of Exodus International and Founding Partner of Speak. Love. You can learn more about Randy at his blog, public Facebook page and follow on Twitter.

I value your honesty and critical review. Please refrain from attacking others.

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12 thoughts on “Alan Chambers Accused of Antinomian Theology

  1. Dear Brother Alan,
    Thank you for taking a stand against legalism. None of us is to judge another; however, we are instructed in scripture to recognize, pray for, confront, attempt to help and ultimately, along with the church, avoid a person who remains in habitual sin, regardless of whether they call themself a Christian. We are commanded, and enables by the Holy Spirit to be growing in holiness as well as grace.

  2. It is not legalistic to lovingly confront others within the Body with the truth. I love Alan, but to say that supposed gay christians will spend eternity with Christ is not what scripture says. Alan’s views are feeling-based. He is unintentionally giving gay christians false security. I agree with Dr Gagnon.

    • Holly, will you also apply that to other sinning Christians whose sins are listed right alongside homosexuality in the Bible? The gluttonous Christian? The Christian whose feet are quick to rush into evil? The alcoholic Christian and so on? If not, why? What about the person who commits the same palatable sin every single day? If you can’t apply it across the board, which I think anyone is hard pressed to do, then how can you with this particular sin? My convictions have nothing to do with my “feelings” but everything to do with what I know scripture says about who we are in Christ when we come into a forever relationship with Him.

  3. MSNBC, NY Times and NPR? I am afraid I would not give these liberal media outlets the time of day let alone my views on gay issues. Their agenda is quite clear and I would not want to give them any additional ammo.

    • Ahh, but, John, what a wonderful place to share the message of God’s grace. MIllions heard what they rarely hear from those outlets. People who wouldn’t ever darken the door of a church got a message of Christ from a secular venue. Don’t put God in a box.

  4. Anyone who habitually commits any serious sin has reason to worry about his salvation until he repents in such a way that he is actually turning away from the sin.. That’s why they call it ‘mortal sin’. I agree that singling out Gay people in sexual sin while ignoring straight people living together, habitual thieves and so on is wrong.
    We have to be careful about giving people the impression that living in ongoing sexual sin is OK now. The Bible and the Church have never taught that God’s law changes with the times, but that is what the world is so eager to hear.
    I don’t believe that God has called me to somehow stop being a Lesbian in the sense of no longer having same-sex attractions. I am, however, called to chastity according to my state in life as are all Christians.
    I hope that the changes in Exodus International’s position will be properly understood, and not falsely seen as an abandonment of Biblical teaching.

    • So, you have just put sin into categories. Since lying is listed as an abomination and being a drunkard in the I Corinthians 6:9-10 alongside homosexuality, if a believer continually lies and or gets drunk would you consider those things relationship revoking sets of sins, too? Or, is it just homosexuality?

  5. Alan, when I look at Galatians 5:19-21 and 1 Cor. 6:9-10, I see specific sins listed that Paul has said anyone who participates in them and doesn’t repent will not inherit the Kingdom of God (yes, all of them will cost you eternal life). I’m not trying to “categorize” sins. But God Himself has separated these particular areas.

    Someone who claims to be a christian witch, for example, is greatly deceived. Someone who says, “I’m a hindu and worship hindu gods, but I’m also a christian and worship Jesus,” is also greatly deceived. Does God love them? Sure, He does. We know that the Bible says His love is unconditional, and He wants everybody to be saved. But they didn’t repent of their witchcraft and idolatry. They prayed a prayer. Are they covered under grace? No. Is God’s grace unconditional? No. Without repentence, there is no grace. It’s the same with all sexual immorality — including homosexuality. Someone who says, “I’m a gay christian, and God created me to be gay,” is equally deceived. They have created a god in their own image in order to justify their sin. I do not worship their god. Therefore, I love them too much to lie and give them false assurance — as you seem to be doing.

    Also, look at all the verses that talk about christians falling away in the last days (which we are in now, I believe). What are all the false teachers teaching? What are they themselves engaged in? They are fulfilling the desires of the flesh and teaching that it’s okay to do so. No, I’m not saying, Alan, that you’re a false teacher. But why would God warn us of such things if grace covers it all?

    All that being said, the Body of Christ these days needs to open their hearts to the conviction of the Holy Spirit. We all need to let Jesus be Lord over every area of our lives. I encourage pastors to address this to their congregations.
    If we’re trying to overcome, but struggling, we’re under God’s grace. He will lead us to freedom if we press in to Him every single day.

  6. I would never have thought I would have entered into such a conversation coming from such a conservative background. When I was younger most of my time/energy was aimed at “God said it that settles it”. While simple and perhaps true now I’m spending more time and energy discovering the essence and character of God and asking what does God really say on these issues?
    Things I have discovered and am still pondering. Ponder with me.
    Holly said “without repentance there is no grace” – Yet we read that
    1 Jn 4:19 – We love Him because He first loved us.
    Rom 2:4 – His kindness leads us to repentance.
    Col 2:13 – while we were dead in our sins God made us alive and forgave our sins.
    God does not say ” clean up you act then you will be worthy of my grace.”
    These and many other verses tell me that grace come to the sinner in His/Her sin.
    Repentance is the fruit of Gods grace not the root of it.
    While our salvation is not conditional upon our repentance: repentance will always follow God grace in the heart. Christians welcome and pray with great anticipation that His will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
    Repentance ( by the way) is also Gods Grace granted to the believer. like in Acts:11:18
    Understanding the definition of repentance is key to this discussion-
    To repent means to change – more specifically though to have a change of mind that becomes in agreement with God. In other words to agree with God regarding all things.
    This is both instant and progressive and will lead to life change
    * Instant at salvation – The christian bows the knee to God in all things( without reservation) He does not say “No Lord” though he may say” I don’t know Lord”
    * Progressive for life – As the Christian sins (which he will) or as he learns more of his sin over time he always will have the need to Repent. (Agree with God) We are a sinners.

    I have much more to say but will wait for now.

  7. #4
    Martyn Lloyd-Jones was right when he said that “if your preaching of the gospel of God’s free grace in Jesus Christ does not provoke the charge from some of antinomianism you’re not preaching the gospel of the free grace of God in Jesus Christ.”

    Yes! I think the Gospel is really that good! Its absolutely free which is foreign to us.

    Those who struggle with a sin/desire they hate (even their whole life) -when they stand at last before God and plead the mercy of the blood of Christ I hardly think God will say “you trusted me for too much forgiveness”.

    The question I think for Alan as for each of us, is – Do we really hate our sins because God hates sin ?
    This may (in sort) be a measure of our love/devotion to God.- (Bringing Glory to God by hating sin) but not a measure of how much God loves us.
    Has He not clearly demonstrated His love for the sinner? Is it not truly free?

  8. jesus told the woman caught in sin, go and sin no more. be it adultary, lying, fornacation, homosexuality, no matter the sin, go and sin no more. he also said be holy as i am holy. the difference with homosexuality is that God states it is a sin against your own body. It is not natural. the parts don’t work, don’t fit…God states they exchaged the natural for the unnatural. there is a difference here between other sexual sin. do not deceive yourselves if you claim to be homosexual. there is no ‘out’. sin is sin but God states this sin is different becuase is is un-natural. “they excanged the truth for a lie” Romans is clear. when we are made aware of our sin we are to confess it and go and sin no more. this means we have the ability to have self control and ask God for the strength to not continue in that sin. God gives us that self control when we surrender to Him. We have to surrender repeatedly. Satan is roaming like a lion seeking whom he may DEVOUR. The beauty of surrendering to God is that once you realize what Christ did on the cross for YOU, you don’t want to continue in sin. It repulses you. My sin put Jesus on the cross. I don’t want to continue in sin. This is the mind set of anyone who truly knows Jesus. Grace is clear and assured for anyone who has a repentent heart. Paul asked, should we go on sinning? NO because we put Christ back on the cross each time we knowingly continue in our sin that the Holy Spirit has now opened our eyes to. If we say we are with out sin we are liers and we are deceiving ourselves. Gods word is clear. there is no room for your interpretation or mine. God is clear. If there is any gray…it is from the enemy saying what he did from the start…Did God really say that…? Do not be deceived. homosexuals along with anyone who practices evil/sin will not inherit the kingdom of God. Bless you and pray you surrender to the LORD OF LORDS AND KING OF KINGS, HE LOVES YOU.

  9. I was under the impression that the only obedience God accepts and is pleased with is perfect obedience – which Christ has fulfilled on our behalf. We tell unbelievers that “trying really hard to be good” will not bring them heaven but as soon as they profess to believe we send them right back to ‘trying really hard to be good”. Doesn’t sound like good news to me.