Happy ‘I Tolerate You Day’

question mark heartNothing says love more than telling gay sinners how much we ‘luuuuuuv’ them and how much we HATE their sin.  I think that is why there are so many Christians who have deep friendships with gay and lesbian people.  Tolerance is a compelling gift to the gay and lesbian community so anxious for Christians to half-heartedly embrace them with the limp, lukewarm hug of Jesus.

Can you just feel the love?

Before I go too far with the pretense that I am an expert on this subject, please know this pep talk is for me as well.  I am relatively new on the scene of wholeheartedly embracing all people, period.  Even typing that sentence was full of deep conflict for me.  I so badly want to qualify my own superiority in all of this by sharing the type of people I am embracing—compelled to make the comparison between my morality and theirs so that you will know how amazing it is that I, a good (a.k.a. morally superior) Christian, am embracing…well, them (a.k.a. poor things lost in sin).

Should Exodus International Fire Alan Chambers?

Written by Exodus International board member John Warren and cross-posted from the Exodus website:

Should Exodus International Fire Alan Chambers? by John Warren

Robert Gagnon made the unfortunate decision to attack a key ministry leader for unfounded reasons on June 30, 2012, in his article, “Time for a Change of Leadership at Exodus.”   He claims to know Alan Chambers, but then he attacks him for espousing doctrinal positions that aren’t those of Mr. Chambers at all.  Dr. Gagnon knows full well the difference between speaking extemporaneously as Mr. Chambers is called upon to do, and writing a scholarly work that is researched, edited and very carefully written.   Alan Chambers is President of Exodus International.  Exodus is the leading global outreach ministry to churches, individuals and families offering a biblical message about same-sex attraction.   Dr. Gagnon also knows that Mr. Chambers’ role places him in a position of constant scrutiny from parties on multi-faceted sides of issues which are complex and have diverse implications.  Mr. Chambers would be the first to acknowledge, as he has done a number of times of late; that a “mulligan” or the opportunity to expound on a particular response or comment would have certainly been preferred in some of the cases cited in Dr. Gagnon’s article.  However, Mr. Chambers, as well thought out and prepared as he is for each of his public speaking opportunities on these complex and sensitive matters, does not enjoy the luxury of writing 35 page articles which are researched, edited, and strategically circulated in an effort to discredit the subject.  Mr. Chambers is a minister of the Gospel of our Lord, and he is in the trenches day after day and week after week serving a diverse and complex constituency to that end.   Surely Dr. Gagnon must be able to see the heart of this man and this ministry.

What Hasn’t Changed – Letter from Alan Chambers for August 2012

Cross-posted from the Exodus International Blog.

What Hasn’t Changed – Letter from Alan Chambers for August 2012

There is a lot of talk these days about Exodus International’s drastic changes.  Some former Exodus leaders have relinquished their membership in our organization and have formed a new one around a set of beliefs and ideals that ironically represent a real drastic change in approach and belief – namely that homosexuality is a “more egregious sin” than any other.  That unbiblical myth is something that we, at Exodus, have long tried to dispel and correct.

In truth, Exodus International remains much the same at the core of who we have always been and focused on the same goals that were set up when I became the president of Exodus in 2001.  In many respects we have returned to the simple roots of gospel-focused, relational discipleship that led to the organization’s founding in 1976.  We are a community for people with same-sex attractions, or those that love them, that offers refuge, discipleship and encouragement to move into the authentic and transparent community known as the local church.

Life Orientation: An Open Letter to Alan Chambers

From Jenell Paris over at Patheos:

Dear Alan,

I’m writing to express personal support for you as you extend yourself in the public sphere, defending Exodus’ change of position, and explaining your personal journey. I watched you on MSNBC and read The Atlantic interview, expecting ignorant inquiries delivered with a mocking tone. I was pleased to see secular journalists engaged you with intelligent preparation and a tone of respect, at times tinged with incredulity.

The onslaught is coming, instead, from your fellow Christians. ChristianityTodaypublished four articles, all of which slam your point of view. These critiques deserve to be heard, but they should have been balanced with words from an Exodus board member, describing why Exodus keeps you in leadership, or perhaps a story from a same-sex attracted Christian who has found hope and spiritual growth from your teachings. Thankfully, they’ve printed your response, which is a simple and lovely reminder of God’s abundant grace.

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.

Defining Exodus – Letter from Alan Chambers for June 2012

Cross-posted from the Exodus International Website.

Dear Friends,

Exodus International is repeatedly accused of seeking to make gay people straight through conversion therapy and prayer. As the media and culture rage around us, drawing battle lines in the sand and seeking to fuel the debate about homosexuality, my team and I have been working diligently to clearly state the calling of this great ministry and focus solely on that work. We want to reiterate that our mission is, first and foremost, to serve, support and equip the Church in providing refuge to individuals or families impacted by same-sex attractions (SSA).  Quite simply, our goal is to make the Church famous for loving and serving people as Jesus would and pointing them to Him.

I realize this may not be new info for some of you.  Yet, I believe it is important for everyone to hear this from me, as “all sides” are seeking to define Exodus and quite frankly, no one is doing a great job.  It’s time we set the record straight.  Pun intended.

Exodus’ Official Position on Reparative or Conversion Therapy

Cross-posted from the Exodus International website.

The California House recently passed a bill outlawing reparative therapy for youth under the age of 18. The Senate is set to vote in coming days. With the media abuzz, we have had numerous calls from news reporters across the country, asking for our opinion and position. Many others have simply mischaracterized Exodus International as a reparative therapy organization. One such instance was a newscast on an ABC affiliate  in San Francisco. The reporter stated that our “members now live heterosexual lives—many with spouses and kids—because of reparative therapy”. We have written this statement to clarify our ministry objective which highlights the mission of Exodus International.

Exodus International supports an individual’s right to self-determine as they address their personal struggles related to faith, sexuality and sexual expression.  As an organization, we do not subscribe to therapies that make changing sexual orientation a main focus or goal. Our ministry’s objective is to equip the Church to become the primary place where people of faith seek support, refuge and discipleship as they make the decision to live according to Christian principles.

We believe in a “gospel-centric” view, meaning that all people, regardless of individual life struggles, can experience freedom over the power of sin through a daily relationship with Jesus Christ, a commitment to scripture, and by being a part of a vibrant, transparent and relational community of believers found in the local church.  Exodus is partnered with more than 260 churches and support-based ministries who serve individuals and families experiencing a conflict between their faith and sexuality.