Formerly Gay Christian Discusses His ‘Exodus’

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Exodus International held its annual meeting Tuesday. Alan Chambers, head of the organization, describes his "choice to come out of homosexuality," and his life as a husband and father.

Listen to it all.



Filed under: * Culture-WatchSexuality

13 Comments
Posted June 29, 2007 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. BrianInDioSpfd wrote:

At this time, 7:40 a.m. Central June 29, the link on the NPR page won’t play.  Other programs on the NPR site play fine, just not this one.  Is that because this program is not politically correct, I wonder.

June 29, 8:41 am | [comment link]
2. RalphM wrote:

Brian,  Just tried the link at 11:15 AM EDT and it works fine.  Very short interview, but well articulated by Mr. Chambers.

June 29, 11:14 am | [comment link]
3. Deja Vu wrote:

It played for 9 minutes for me.

June 29, 12:24 pm | [comment link]
4. libraryjim wrote:

I wonder if Mr. Chambers was invited to the “listening process” meeting mentioned above.

June 29, 1:26 pm | [comment link]
5. stacyharp wrote:

I just listened to the interview Alan did twice, and I have a few thoughts.  My first thought is that there would be no way in the world I would ever refer anyone to Exodus International based on this interview with Chambers.  Here’s why…
Alan says that his organization isn’t about “curing” and that he does not advocate “curing” homosexuals.  But rather that Exodus exists to “give options” to those who struggle.  What other option would there be if it’s not “curing?”  Those who aren’t struggling with homosexuality aren’t going to Exodus.  Those who go to Exodus want to be cured.

Second, Chambers believes that you can be a practicing homosexual AND a Christian. That’s not biblical, and if he thinks it is, then he contradicts himself when he says near the end of the interview that the bible states that homosexuality is wrong.  He’s trying to have it both ways, by not being honest regarding whether or not you can be a practicing homosexual and a Christian.  When in fact, the biblical response is to not associate with a person who calls themselves a “brother” who is involved and lives in sexual immorality.

Chambers, also either misunderstood the interviewers question when she stated the truth, that “most of the world” is against homosexuality, or he’s ignorant of the truth that the NPR host stated.  Most people do not advocate or accept homosexuality worldwide.  Chambers answer indicates that he is ignorant of the world’s interest in homosexuality, despite the cultural movement in the United States.

Thanks for sharing the link.

June 29, 8:27 pm | [comment link]
6. Sarah1 wrote:

Hi StacyHarp . . . when you ask “what other option would there be if it’s not ‘curing’” I’m wondering how you are defining “curing”.

If it means “change a person who experiences same-sex attraction into a person who never experiences same-sex attraction” than I can see why they don’t claim to “cure”.

I would compare it to a person who desires to drink alchohol until drunk.  AA teaches that the alcoholic is always “in recovery” and never cured.  So the “options” that a recovery center for anything would refer to would be coping and health behaviors.  For instance, if someone is addicted to smoking, or clinically depressed, or a sexual addict to married women, then a therapy/recovery program would help such people discover the triggers for their behavior and create new “pathways” or “options” for responding to temptation.

I imagine that, as with most predilections towards sinful behavior, what the therapist works on is 1) somewhat lessening temptation [through the above actions and other means], 2) providing better skills at resisting temptation, and 3) adding positive behaviors and predilections that would eventually help to subsume the old temptation.

In response to whether a practicing homosexual could be a Christian, I also believe that that is possible.

I also believe that a practicing kleptomaniac could be a Christian.  Or a practicing alcoholic.  Or a practicing adulterer.

I just think Christians fall into sin—and we also constantly struggle with a few “favored” addictions and predilections.  I imagine that a person with same sex attraction who desired to be faithful to his wife, or chaste if unmarried, would be the same way.

I’m not trying to convince you of my viewpoint on these two issues, just explain how they might be believed.

June 29, 9:30 pm | [comment link]
7. stacyharp wrote:

Hi Sarah,
Thanks for responding to my comments.  Since I am a marriage and family therapist intern (still have 500 hours before I’m licensed) let me share my thoughts from a professional standpoint.
There is a difference between temptation and being a person who willingly practices their sin.  Scripture tells us that in the case of homosexuality, or any sexual sin, to not fellowship with the one who continually practices it.  Therefore, a homosexual cannot be a Christian - it’s just not possible, because someone who is activily involved in homosexuality is not resisting their temptation to sin.

The biblical mandate to resisting temptation is to FLEE.  In fact, one of the only places a person is commanded to FLEE is in regards to sexual temptation. You may remember that’s exactly what Joseph did.
I personally, do not agree with AA or the party line that says once you’re an alcoholic, you’re always an alcoholic.  I know too many people who have OVERCOME the temptation, practice and sin of getting drunk.  And I think it does a Christian a disservice when we say that we are simply “survivors” or that we are “in recovery”.  The truth is that we can OVERCOME anything by the blood of the lamb Jesus Christ.

The techniques therapists use do include things like you mention above, however, I believe that it can be fruitless if a person has the mindset that they will “always” be this way and “always” struggle with these temptations.  I don’t think that’s the case at all.  If a Christian practices what we are commanded to, according to the Scriptures - for example Phil 4 - setting our minds on what is true, lovely, etc…then that’s all they need to overcome their sin.

Now to struggle with a sin, is not the same as walking in the sin.  Alan said he believed that his friend who is living as a practicing homosexual is a Christian. I disagree wholeheartedly because he cannot be living in this sin and promoting this sin and seriously believe He’s saved.  The bible condemns it and actually says that those who do this are deceiving themselves and will not inherit eternal life.

And for Exodus to deny that you can’t “cure” a homosexual by whatever standard is denying the power of Jesus Christ who said we can overcome by the blood of the lamb.  Christians are overcomers, not simply survivors or those who “cope”.
At least that is what I believe, and I think Scripture speaks to that.  And since AA isn’t Scripture, I don’t hold their perspective.

June 29, 10:58 pm | [comment link]
8. Sarah1 wrote:

RE: “Scripture tells us that in the case of homosexuality, or any sexual sin, to not fellowship with the one who continually practices it.  Therefore, a homosexual cannot be a Christian - it’s just not possible, because someone who is activily involved in homosexuality is not resisting their temptation to sin.”

I don’t think those two sentences are consistent with one another. 

Scripture is just fine with our hanging out with non-Christians, who are necessarily often non-repentant sinners.  But scripture does tell the church to discipline those who claim to be Christians yet are in notorious sin—which I think would include homosexuals who are non-celibate.

So, when a Christian is not fellowshiping with another person who is in sin that the church has disciplined that is under the assumption that that other person is indeed a Christian believer in notorious sin; it is a Christian who is under church discipline, and it is in the hopes that the Christian will repent and return to the Lord and the church.  St. Paul makes this doubly clear when he states that we are not to separate from non-Christians, as that would require us to separate and leave the world entirely!

RE: “And I think it does a Christian a disservice when we say that we are simply “survivors” or that we are “in recovery”.  The truth is that we can OVERCOME anything by the blood of the lamb Jesus Christ.”

Yikes.  I believe that Christians can overcome anything through Christ—but sometimes that “overcoming” means survival, resisting consistent temptation, and being in recovery.  Sure, sometimes Christians recover even from the temptation to certain sins—but often not.

RE: “. . . however, I believe that it can be fruitless if a person has the mindset that they will “always” be this way and “always” struggle with these temptations.  I don’t think that’s the case at all.”

Well . . . it certainly was not fruitless for me, with my particular affliction!  ; > )

RE: “Alan said he believed that his friend who is living as a practicing homosexual is a Christian. I disagree wholeheartedly because he cannot be living in this sin and promoting this sin and seriously believe He’s saved.”

Well, I guess if one has a theology that a Christian cannot “live in sin” then I understand.  But I do believe that a Christian can be a “persistent” sinner and yet be redeemed by the atoning work of Christ.  I also believe that if the person is a Christian, that the Holy Spirit will not leave that person alone, and that a practicing homosexual Christian will certainly be far less comfortable and peaceful than a practicing homosexual non-Christian!!!  I believe the same thing for the practicing adulterer or heterosexual fornicator, or thief, or whatever other sin a Christian struggles with.

RE: ” Christians are overcomers, not simply survivors or those who “cope”.”

Well . . . I have a very different theology of suffering than you do, I suppose.  God has certainly allowed me to “overcome”—while at the same time I continue to suffer from temptation and sin and use all the coping strategies that God has provided me with!  ; > )

I do wonder something, if you don’t mind sharing.  Are you a practitioner of nouthetic counseling, perhaps after study with some of Jay Adams theology?

Thanks for the conversation.

June 29, 11:22 pm | [comment link]
9. stacyharp wrote:

Hi Again Sarah,
It’s late here, so I’ll try to be concise in my response.
RE: RE: “Scripture tells us that in the case of homosexuality, or any sexual sin, to not fellowship with the one who continually practices it.  Therefore, a homosexual cannot be a Christian - it’s just not possible, because someone who is activily involved in homosexuality is not resisting their temptation to sin.”

I don’t think those two sentences are consistent with one another.

Scripture is just fine with our hanging out with non-Christians, who are necessarily often non-repentant sinners.  But scripture does tell the church to discipline those who claim to be Christians yet are in notorious sin—which I think would include homosexuals who are non-celibate.*****

My comment is referring specifically to a Christian who is a practicing homosexual.  And I see your point concerning the unbeliever, however, I don’t really see in Scripture where it tells us that we can “hang out” with them.  What I see is that we are to go out to them and share Christ with the lost and dying world…and to make disciples.  And in pretty much every instance where we see Christ interacting with the unbelievers - including the legalistic Jews and religious leaders of the day - He is sharing about Himself and the way of life.  Then again, there is a lot we’re not told, so I won’t rule it out.
Anyway, my commentary, was directed at the homosexual who thinks he’s really saved.  I hold to the belief that it’s not biblical.
And the whole problem with the church these days, especially concerning the issue of homosexuality in the church, is that instead of disciplining the person who is a practicing homosexual, they make special churches for them to affirm them and say it’s okay and you can be a Christian too - because “afterall God loves all His children.” smile

RE: Yikes.  I believe that Christians can overcome anything through Christ—but sometimes that “overcoming” means survival, resisting consistent temptation, and being in recovery.  Sure, sometimes Christians recover even from the temptation to certain sins—but often not.

I agree with you wholeheartedly.  Recovery is not a bad thing and resisting temptation is a great thing.  It’s when the person finds their identity in those things that concerns me.  You can overcome your alcohol addiction by doingi the 12 steps and all the other things you need to do, however, if you’ve been clean and sober for years and years and are still calling yourself an alcoholic, to me, that’s ridiculous.  You’re an overcomer and I think it’s healthier to focus on what you ARE rather than what you aren’t.

RE: Well, I guess if one has a theology that a Christian cannot “live in sin” then I understand.  But I do believe that a Christian can be a “persistent” sinner and yet be redeemed by the atoning work of Christ.  I also believe that if the person is a Christian, that the Holy Spirit will not leave that person alone, and that a practicing homosexual Christian will certainly be far less comfortable and peaceful than a practicing homosexual non-Christian!!!  I believe the same thing for the practicing adulterer or heterosexual fornicator, or thief, or whatever other sin a Christian struggles with.

Let me be clear when I say that I am not a person who believes that we will live sin free in this world.  Jesus did it, but most of us won’t even though He’s given us the power.  The person who says they are a Christian and they continually practice the sin of homosexuality and they say it’s okay because that’s the way God made them, are lying to themselves and are not genuinely saved.  That’s who I"m talking about.  I’m not talking about a person who struggles with same sex attraction and isn’t living the lifestyle…I think that’s where you may be misunderstanding me.

I’m speaking specifically of the one who is in a persistent state of sin and practice and does not feel guilty about it, and is denying the influence of the Holy Spirit.

I’m not sure you can “suffer from temptation” as you said.. smile and I’m not sure that my theology of suffering is different than yours, but maybe my understanding of the Greek is in the passages I’m thinking of when it comes to continually sinning.

You can’t “suffer” from temptation either…temptation is just that, temptation.

As for your question, I have had absolutely no training in nouthetic counseling and I don’t desire to.  As for Jay Adams, well, dare I say I find his writing dull, what little I’ve been able to read and him legalistic.  And why can I guess that might surprise you. smile

June 30, 1:31 am | [comment link]
10. Sarah1 wrote:

RE: “I’m speaking specifically of the one who is in a persistent state of sin and practice and does not feel guilty about it, and is denying the influence of the Holy Spirit.”

Ah—okay. 

That’s a bit different from a practicing homosexual who is repentant and struggling desperately to overcome his practice of it, and when he sins, repents and returns to the Lord, and tries again to resist temptation.

I think another category might be a new, unchurched Christian who is *unaware* of all of his sins.  For instance, I’m in my 30s, and I am an “old” Christian who was churched—but I have no doubt at all that in my 40s I will be made aware of another category of sin that I had missed and experience further conviction.

So I think it is possible for a new Christian struggling with a variety of sins to not have revealed to him all of his immediate sins right away.

So perhaps we agree a bit more than I had thought.

RE: “You can’t “suffer” from temptation either…temptation is just that, temptation.”

Really?  ; > )  Well *you* may not “suffer” from temptation, but I certainly do.  I think temptation can be quite full of suffering—and perhaps that is where we still disagree.

I think that the evidence and research of reparative therapy for homosexuals reveals that most recovered homosexuals [that is, those who no longer practice same-gender sex], even the ones who are married with children, continue to experience weakness and temptation towards homosexual behavior.  The two specific ones with whom I have spoken—mature men now in their fifties with children and long-time wives, say that their recovery involved them moving more towards the “heterosexual” end of the pole, but that struggles with homosexual attraction, though greatly lessened, still continued.

Both are leaders within the reparative therapy ministry, and are open and matter of fact about how hard the struggle is for healing—but thankfully both point out that all sinners who are Christians have struggles with recovery from various temptations to sin.

So I think that that is what leaders in the reparative therapy ministries mean when they say they don’t try to “cure” homosexuals.  They acknowledge that for most, but not all, homosexuals, it’s a life-long journey and hard work, and usually does not include the total cessation of all same gender attraction.

June 30, 9:00 am | [comment link]
11. Karen B. wrote:

This has turned into a fascinating and helpful discussion between Stacy, Sarah & Matt.

I agree with Sarah & Matt… and unfortunately have some personal experience in the matter of battling besetting sin.  Maybe my own testimony will be helpful for some.  I’ve hinted at this story on a few comments from time to time.  But with Kendall and the Elves’ indulgence, I’ll share it here in a fuller version.

For me my besetting sin is a complex pattern of overcommitment / perfectionism / procrastination / deceit.  Specifically telling lies and making excuses about missed deadlines or inability to fulfill some commitment because I’ve over-extended myself.

I’ve been a committed Christian for over 30 years.  And I did experience some quick and dramatic transformation in other areas of sin (anger, selfishness, jealousy being 3 I’m very aware of, and others have testified to the change they’ve seen in my life.)

But it wasn’t until about 10 years ago that I first began to realize the degree to which I was deceitful.  Truly didn’t even recognize it as sin.  Weakness, yes.  But sin?  (It won’t surprise many to learn that I grew up in the home of parents with drinking problems.  I covered for them countless times.  Lying became a habit a way of protecting others, and/or to avoid hurting someone or damaging a relationship by keeping an ugly reality from them.)

The scary point is, I’d begun to believe my own lies and excuses.  And my conscience was getting very seared. (See 1 Tim 4:2) I took Communion countless times together with folks to whom I’d lied but hadn’t confessed my lies.  I was in a very very dangerous spot.  It took a very definite work of the Holy Spirit to bring me to a point of brokenness and repentance and public confession of this sin.  And all of that took place here on the mission field.  I’d already been overseas for 6 years at that point, and been seeing fruit in ministry.  Pretty shocking, eh?  Even missionaries sin.

Fortunately my mission agency is committed to encouraging spiritual transformation and helping its members in recognizing and overcoming sin, and has good member care.  I had excellent counseling and support, and I have a team that is committed to supporting one another and helping hold one another accountable in our areas of weakness and sin. 

Back in 1997, after my public confession, I stayed on the field for about 6 months and during this time worked intensively with my teammates and an outside mentor to recognize patterns that caused me to stumble, and in learning to overcome them, and also in being humble and honest enough to confess quickly when I fell.  Then, during a home leave in 1998 (scheduled quite awhile before any of this emerged), I spent 4 months in counseling and mentoring at our mission’s US office.  And all of this was done in consultation with leaders at my primary sending church (one of the CANA parishes), with whom I had also been sharing regularly by e-mail throughout this whole process.

I’ve grown MUCH in the ten years since I first began to consciously battle this area of sin.  But I still struggle with it.  I still fall from time to time and I’m not sure I’ll ever fully be “cured” of it this side of heaven.  It had such deep and wide roots in so many areas of my life and personality… 

The good side of it is, is that sin causes me to DESPERATELY NEED God in a way nothing else has.  It has forced me to learn how to renew my mind in Scripture, how to truly use Scripture for what it is:  TRUTH, and a sharp two-edged sword capable of helping us to cut through and discern and judge the thoughts and attitudes of our hearts.  I’ve found incredible freedom in accountability, in being able to be vulnerable and honest about sin with teammates, friends and colleagues, and find that they still love and accept me.  They’ve modelled Christ to me in ways that help me more appreciate and accept HIS love and forgiveness.

And, as best I can tell, I’m much more effective in ministry now than I ever was before.  My ongoing experience in battling this pattern of sin has helped me to learn how to encourage and counsel others I’m discipling in helping them to mature in Christ and find victory over sin.

Thanks be to God for His amazing grace.  It is truly astounding.  He can transform even the ugly and broken areas of our hearts and lives into something for His glory.

June 30, 9:56 am | [comment link]
12. Sarah1 wrote:

That is very moving, Karen.  Thank you for sharing that story—it is very hard to be that vulnerable about a specific area of sin in one’s life.

I have several areas of my life in which I expect to struggle for the rest of my life.  As a friend of mine who was a recovering alcoholic said once to me, “I think that I can recover, but I also think that this is an area of my life that, under stress, I will be very tempted to return to.  When things are going well, I’m okay.  But in a time of extreme stress, I think it more likely that a person will return to an old sin, then begin all new sins—it’s just easier and more of an entrenched pattern.”  She wasn’t in despair over this, she was just understandably wary and on guard.

I won’t turn this into a “confession” thread—one of the things I really struggle with might make us all into the Oprah Winfrey show!—but I’ve written a bit about one of my “besetting sins” in this article:
http://www.standfirminfaith.com/index.php/site/article/3029/

June 30, 10:33 am | [comment link]
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