It’s been all over the news the last few days: Exodus International, a “global outreach to churches, individuals and families offering a biblical message about same-sex attraction”, has announced its closure. Furthermore, Alan Chambers, Exodus International’s President, issued an apology for the “shame” and “trauma” that the organization had caused.
Chambers stopped short of renouncing his views on Scripture regarding sexuality: “I cannot apologize for my deeply held biblical beliefs about the boundaries I see in scripture surrounding sex, but I will exercise my beliefs with great care and respect for those who do not share them. I cannot apologize for my beliefs about marriage”‘ he said.
Chambers continued: “More than anything, I am sorry that so many have interpreted this religious rejection by Christians as God’s rejection. I am profoundly sorry that many have walked away from their faith and that some have chosen to end their lives. For the rest of my life I will proclaim nothing but the whole truth of the Gospel, one of grace, mercy and open invitation to all to enter into an inseverable relationship with almighty God.”
I don’t know enough about Chambers or his organization to comment in any detail about his apology, but a few observations are in order.
First, from what I’ve read, Exodus International was part of the “gay cure” movement, offering what has been called “gay therapy” with the goal of changing one’s sexual orientation from homosexual to heterosexual. I personally believe it’s a big mistake to use words like therapy and cure in this context because they clearly imply homosexuality is a disorder or disease. More about this in a moment.
Second, although I can’t speak to the “religious rejection” Chambers cites (since I don’t know what he’s specifically referring to), I certainly hope it isn’t merely the political activity of Christians to defeat legalization of same-sex marriage. I am concerned that may indeed be what he means at least in part. Chambers offers this clue: “…I do not have any desire to fight you on your beliefs or the rights that you seek. My beliefs about these things will never again interfere with God’s command to love my neighbor as I love myself.”
This last statement appears to be a near total surrender to the gay agenda, and also suggests that to love one’s neighbor you must support or agree with everything they do or want to do. As Rick Warren recently observed, this is nonsense: “You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.” I would add that compassion is not by necessity obviated even when we engage in political activity that someone else is unhappy with.
I won’t spend time here trying to prove to the reader that the Bible condemns homosexuality. Anyone who gives the Scriptures a fair reading will see that it is an undeniable fact. You will find, I think, that most Evangelicals will respect you more if you just say that you don’t believe in or agree with the Bible than if you resort to Liberal reinterpretations of it. Evangelicals tend to roll their eyes at those who constantly tell them that the Bible doesn’t really mean what it clearly says. But, in any case, here are a few passages to consider: Leviticus 18:22, 20:13, Romans 1:26-27, I Corinthians 6:9, Jude 1:6-7.
Homosexuality is not a mental illness. It is not a disease or disorder. It is sin. It is wrong in the sight of God. That’s it. Period.
When we consider that seriously for a moment, a lot of things go by the wayside. For example, the endless debate about whether homosexuality is genetic or natural as opposed to learned, developed, or chosen: Who cares whether something seems to be “natural” in this fallen world? I would contend that creatures with the fallen natures we possess find lots of evil to be quite natural. Does it seem “natural” to always tell the truth? Does it seem “natural” to always be completely faithful in thought, word, and deed to one’s spouse? Does it seem “natural” not to covet? The answer is obvious.
Kant observed that all morality presupposes the existence of God. And God has revealed in His word what His moral standards are, even in a fallen world filled with creatures possessing fallen natures. This is what we need to concern ourselves with. Not therapy. Not cures. But, rather, doing that which is well pleasing in the sight of God even in the face of powerful desires one may have to the contrary. No one says this is easy. It’s a terrible struggle that even the Apostle Paul had as he mentions in Romans chapter 7.
Moreover, I am convinced that capitulation to the notion that homosexuality is acceptable and same-sex marriage should be legalized is only a first step. The next step will be to ensure that anyone speaking publicly against homosexuality will be charged with a hate crime. The First Amendment may one day not provide protection for Christians or anyone else in this connection. I wonder if Mr. Chambers has considered all this.