Christianity, Homosexuality, and “Gay Therapy”





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.

alan chambersChambers 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.same sex marriage

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.

 

 

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Comments

  1. GulliverUK says

    Secular laws, governing all peoples, of whatever faith and none, cannot reasonably take account of any theological beliefs, there are many and lots of them conflict with each other, but must be based on sound reasoning, empirical evidence, rationality and have due regardless to fairness and equality for all section of society, unless there is some rational reasoned understanding of why one group should not be afforded equal rights. Most modern countries are based on democracy and these secular rules – if you want a theocracy move to Iran.

    The evidence is clear, gay couples relationships are very little different than those of heterosexual couples, most people do now know someone who is gay, many know gay couples, most people don’t think religious arguments against equal marriage have that rational evidence-based approach — how could they? Gay couples may have children from previous marriages, or adopt, and evidence there shows their children do just as well as heterosexual families.

    Heterosexual couples being told that gay marriage will ruin marriage are, understandably, flummoxed, wondering just how! It will be great for the economy because they will want to have weddings just like anyone else – it’s also bad when a state doesn’t have equal marriage rights, because personnel who are gay can’t be transferred there easily as their marriage won’t be recognized. If a state outlawed Christian worship and you were a Christian, would you want to move there? Think about it.

    Churches have not been sued, anywhere, in whatever country, they have all the legal protections needed, and many churches and other faiths are affirming, many want to engage with followers who are gay, and want the right to marry gay couples if they choose, that is religious freedom – do it if you want, don’t if you don’t want to. And for those people who are gay and don’t follow your faith, what right have you to impede their happiness and opportunities in life – that seems truly selfish. Jesus taught to consider others, to help others, … have people forgotten the Good Samaritan? That is how you should live your life every day, doing to you best to care about others and help them have a wonderful life – we only get one chance at life.

    I won’t make you roll your eyes by stripping down each verse you’ve quoted and taking them apart, but I would say that the Bible has four accounts of the resurrection, with different details in each – don’t read you Bible from one chapter to the next, take the four Gospels and read them side by side, so you notice these discrepancies – hardly the work of a supreme being, but just the words of men. If you watch some of the analysis by Bart Erhman on Youtube you’d appreciate that what you say the Bible says isn’t quite accurate, and he was a fundamentalist Evangelical, who originally believed every single word in the Bible to be the true word of God.

    It is sad that “some”, and I stress the “some” Christians just get in to a very narrow mindset where they cannot get along with anybody else on the planet except other narrow mindset Christians, and make no mistake their, at times, vitriolic outburst and lack of self-control and dignity damages the reputation of all Christians. Please remember that survey after survey have shown that a majority of Christians don’t believe being gay is wrong, and a majority support equal rights, full equal rights … because that IS the Christian way, and that IS what Jesus was trying to teach.

    • C Paul says

      Sir, I think in many ways you have hit the nail on the head in terms of how many Christians think about the issue of same sex marriage (especially young people). I believe that part of the reason why same-sex marriage has grown in acceptance in the USA and around the world is that our view of marriage has changed. Marriage is no longer seen as a life-long covenant that inherently contains the hope for the bearing and raising of children. Marriage has now come to be seen as simply a “loving emotional bond, one distinguished by its intensity–a bond that needn’t point beyond the partners, in which fidelity is ultimately subject to one’s own desires” (Girgis et al 2012).

      The reality is that Genesis 1-2 is clear that God created male and female in his image and that marriage was to consist of a relationship between a man and a woman that was based on a covenant. This covenant was that the two would no longer be separate, but one flesh. This is the way it is supposed to be. This is the way that we were designed to live. Homosexual marriage, however loving and supportive, will always fall short of what God originally intended. A man and a man can have sex together and have a deep friendship and they can live together faithfully for years. But their union will always be “barren”. They will not be able to have children in the natural sense. I believe that living a homosexual lifestyle is a sin because it goes against God’s created and ordained order.

  2. says

    Fortunately the United States is not a theocracy. It is not the job of our government and/or our courts to uphold what you consider to “God’s Word” or to crack down on what you consider to be “sin.” It IS the job of government and the courts to uphold the Constitution. And unless the Constitution, specifically the 14th Amendment, applies only to people who are Straight (i.e. heterosexual), there is no justification for denying law-abiding, taxpaying Gay couples the same legal benefits and protections that Straight couples have always taken for granted.

    As for your fear that “anyone speaking publicly against homosexuality will be charged with a hate crime,” previous experience has told us that that won’t happen in the United States. Evangelists have routinely been speaking publicly against Muslims and other non-Christians for a very long time, and they’ve always had the right to do so. Jerry Falwell blamed 9/11 on Gay people. Pat Robertson suggested that “God” might hurl a big meteor at Florida because of “Gay Day” at Disney World. As far as I’m concerned, they’re perfectly entitled to their own silliness. If anything it simply illustrates their own fears and prejudices, and it says nothing about the worth of Gay people as human beings.

  3. Craig Clark says

    Hi Brian, I’ve followed Exodus for years. The recent news stories are very misleading. Exodus as far as I can tell, stayed away from the type of therapy approach. The books I’ve read gave me the impression of more of a 12-step approach i.e. small groups, studies, sponsors, etc.

    The news reports are also misleading because they fail to mention that the organization split a while back. Check for Restored Hope Network. Alan Chambers controlled a majority of the board, So many of the leaders left to form the new organization.
    I really think this story is all about Chambers and his ego.

    • Brian Myers says

      Hi Craig: Yeah I don’t know much about Chambers or his organization. Shane Vander Hart sent me a post that mentioned RHN, so I’ll have to look into that a bit. I thought a couple of the things that Chambers said were rather alarming and certainly sent the wrong message. If the Evangelical church surrenders on this issue and somehow attempts to merge the Christian faith with homosexuality it will be a monumental disaster.

  4. SJ says

    First off, I agree with much of this article. But I did want to comment on this:

    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.

    It’s extremely important to differentiate between the homosexual neurosis and homosexuality activity. The latter (i.e., sex) is sinful, as the Bible clearly states. But the former is a malady of the soul that needs healing. All of us (both men and women) have both masculine and feminine sides that need proper balance. In the homosexual, his or her primary gender identity is completely out of balance. That is, a homosexual male doesn’t feel like a man at all, nor a lesbian like a woman. As a result, homosexuals crave what is missing inside them. When they attempt to make up for their emotional deficits sexually, then the behavior becomes sin. However, the simple fact that they are attracted to members of the same sex is not in itself sin. They need healing that only God can provide. For instance, a kleptomaniac has an insatiable desire to steal things. Now, is that sin? Well, it certainly becomes sin when he yields to the temptation, but the compulsions themselves are not sin per se. Rather, they are a sickness/disease that needs healing.

    Anyway, it sounds like Exodus International has degenerated to the point where it has little if any integrity left. Fortunately, it seems there are still many other legit organizations out there who can offer hope to those who need it. Perhaps it’s a good thing that EI has shown its true colors.

  5. SJ says

    It never ceases to amaze me how naive some folks can be when it comes to capitulating to the radical homosexual agenda. They are just as naive as Neville Chamberlain was when he capitulated to Hitler. A few months ago, lesbian journalist Masha Gessen actually spilled the beans in a radio interview on what the homosexual movement is really after:

    It’s a no-brainer that (homosexual activists) should have the right
    to marry, but I also think equally that it’s a no-brainer that the
    institution of marriage should not exist. …(F)ighting for gay marriage
    generally involves lying about what we are going to do with marriage
    when we get there — because we lie that the institution of marriage is
    not going to change, and that is a lie.

    The institution of marriage is going to change, and it should change.
    And again, I don’t think it should exist.

    As many Christians have long realized, the goal of the homosexual activists is not marriage equality, but rather the complete dissolution of marriage and traditional values. At least Gessen admits that deception is indeed their game plan. If folks won’t believe it from her, then I guess they simply enjoy living in fantasy land.