At the world’s largest ministry for homosexual Christians, there’s no more talk of “curing” same-sex attraction.
Thirty years ago, Alan Chambers was a Christ-loving 10-year-old with a terrible secret. He knew he was attracted to other boys. He also knew that the Bible called homosexuality an “abomination.” After nearly a decade of hiding his feelings (and his love of shopping and decorating) from family and pastors, he discovered a ministry called Exodus International. Today, Chambers is the president of Exodus and the author of the book Leaving Homosexuality. He oversees more than 260 ministries, spearheads large annual conferences, and is married to a woman.
More recently, Chambers publicly rejected reparative therapy — a school of counseling that aims to make gay people straight. At the Gay Christian Network Conference in January of this year, Chambers told the audience that “99.9 percent of [Exodus participants] have not experienced a change in their orientation.” Around the same time, he pulled all reparative therapy books from the Exodus bookstore. His actions irked a number of therapists, including one marriage counselor, improbably named David Pickup, who argued that Exodus had “failed to understand and effectively deal with the actual root causes of homosexuality.”
The question is whether Chambers’s changes will filter down through the rest of his organization. One of Exodus’s policy statements promises that the group will “stand with the LGBT community both in spirit, and when necessary, legally and physically, when violence rears its head in Uganda, Jamaica, or anywhere else in the world.” It’s no coincidence that those particular countries are mentioned. Just last month, Exodus board member Dennis Jernigan traveled to Jamaica, where homosexuality is a crime, and urged the country not to change its laws. In 2009, another board member gave a speech in Uganda that inspired a Christian campaign to make homosexuality punishable by death.
” (On Friday, the day after we spoke, Exodus sent out a press release distancing itself from Jernigan’s statements and announcing his resignation from the board.)
-full report at Atlantic
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.
While my office seeks to serve the Church, the 260 churches, ministries and counselors here in North America and our alliance of partner ministries across the world are there to serve individuals who freely come to them for support. People seeking this encouragement and guidance do so because they have decided to pursue an identity or life based on their relationship with Christ over their same-sex attractions. In most cases these are Christian men and women who desire to live in accordance to God’s design for sexuality, clearly defined in scripture. Exodus also has an extensive support system for family members or friends of those who are same-sex attracted and/or gay identified.
We believe that in Christ we have been given completely new hearts and the ability to have power over the sin that remains confined to our earthly flesh. While believers absolutely can fall to temptation, the mark of a maturing believer is finding increased victory in areas that have, at times, overwhelmed us. Exodus does not believe in a punishing or demanding God, but One who loves us as a perfect Father and desires the very best for us. For our benefit He has given us boundaries in scripture on a host of matters relating to life, including human sexuality.
We respect everyone’s right to pursue their own course as it relates to seeking resolution for struggles. No one is ever coerced, forced into therapy, nor do we seek to ‘pray away the gay’ as many have suggested. In fact we are no longer an organization that associates with or promotes therapeutic practices that focus on changing one’s attraction. I found the greatest amount of freedom when I stopped focusing on my sin and struggles and started focusing on the grace and peace found only in Christ and the man He created me to be. This life isn’t most about sin management but about living daily as the sons and daughters of God. In part, it is the peace and rest found in that identity alone that transforms us daily.
-full letter at Exodus International
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.