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Evangelicals on Closure of Exodus International: 'A Sad Day for the Christian Church'

( [email protected] ) Jun 24, 2013 03:05 AM EDT
Last week Exodus International made headlines when it announced to close its doors and issue an apology to the gay community. Shortly after Alan Chambers, president of Exodus, released his apology letter, Exodus' board of directors unanimously agreed to close the ministry.
Alan Chambers at the opening address of the annual Exodus Freedom Conference on June 19. Exodus International

Last week Exodus International made headlines when it announced to close its doors and issue an apology to the gay community.

Shortly after Alan Chambers, president of Exodus, released his apology letter, Exodus' board of directors unanimously agreed to close the ministry.

"I am sorry we promoted sexual orientation change efforts and reparative theories about sexual orientation that stigmatized parents." Chambers wrote.

"More than anything, I am sorry that so many have interpreted this religious rejection by Christians as God's rejection," said Chambers. "I am profoundly sorry that many have walked away from their faith and that some have chosen to end their lives."

Some evangelical leaders responded upon hearing the news of Exodus International's shut down.

R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in his comments to Baptist Press, "The news of Exodus International's closing makes for a sad day for the Christian church, because the collapse of any ministry that had once served the cause of the Gospel is a tragedy. He noted that this collapse was progressive, not instantaneous."

"The greatest tragedy is that persons experiencing same-sex attractions or involved in same-sex sexuality will be further confused by the capitulation of Exodus International," Mohler said.

Focus on the Family President Jim Daly issued a statement on June 21, he stated, "Exodus' closing is being hailed by some as a victory and indication that Christians are abandoning long-held convictions that living with God's design for sexuality is possible through the power of Jesus Christ – that change is possible.

"The reality is that while Exodus will no longer exist, there are numerous Christian ministries that continue to provide excellent help to those struggling with unwanted same-sex attraction, including the Restored Hope Network, Desert Stream Ministries, and Katharos Integrity Alliance."

Russell D. Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, told Baptist Press "the folding of Exodus International doesn't mean the folding of an evangelical sexual ethic, though it does mean a move away from a therapeutic model of sexual sanctification."

"Increasingly churches are addressing persons with same-sex attractions the same way they address everyone else: in terms of the Gospel and a lifelong call to take up one's cross and follow Christ," Moore said. "This means the Christian grappling with same-sex attractions needs to hear that the Gospel addresses him or her, and that this person needs the whole body of Christ, in community, not just an accountability group of those who are defined by the same temptations."

Christopher Yuan, author of Out of A Far Country, "I do appreciate that Exodus no longer promotes orientation change. Although God does not bless homosexual sex or same-sex romantic relations, heterosexuality should not be the goal. … I think one weakness of Exodus (whether intentional or unintentional) had been a lack of emphasis upon biblical singleness, resulting in an over emphasis upon heterosexual marriage."

Chambers, who has served as president of Exodus International for 11 years, plans to open a new ministry that will seek to make churches become "safe, welcoming, and mutually transforming communities."