I heard overnight of the decision by Exodus International to wind up its operations and cease ministering to people wishing to be rid of same sex attraction (see, for example, here and here). The spiritual and pastoral needs of the LGBTI community have never been greater. People of same sex attraction are often misunderstood and at times unjustly treated by Christians, and they deserve better. Those who take a hard line on a complex and controversial issue, especially one relating to human sexuality, without careful consideration of developments in science and psychology, as well as the clinical and pastoral implications for individuals and groups, can expect trouble sooner or later.
On the other hand, the demise of Exodus International should have no direct impact on the good work done by similar organisations here, such as Living Waters, and by countless pastors, ministers and priests who deal with these issues in the course of their professional duties. The church needs such organisations, and such specialised ministry, in order to fully manifest the grace of Christ and to ensure the effective discipleship and mentoring of people who experience same sex attraction and desire sexual purity.
Exodus International President Alan Chambers claims he was part of a “system of ignorance.” Such sentiments should not be transferred to others who seek to reach out in genuine Christian love and compassion to same sex attracted women and men while remaining fully convinced of the authoritative biblical teaching on sexual purity, marriage and family. Further, news of the demise of Exodus International should not be used by Christians who support gay rights to shame or ridicule their more conservative brothers and sisters seeking to do gospel ministry with people battling sexual addictions, spiritual oppression and other issues relating to sexuality.
Theologian, researcher, teacher, writer, foodie, husband, dad. Works at Moore Theological College.