Reflecting on the End of Exodus

Many Christians have raised concerns about Exodus International during the past several months.  I defended the ministry.  Ruth and I had long read their newsletters and followed their work.  We gave Alan Chambers the benefit of the doubt.  I think we were wrong.  He has gone on the Oprah Winfrey Network to offer an apology for the work they have done.  I understand the subtlety of the point he is making about wrongly emphasizing a solution in the form of changing sexual orientation (rather than simply pointing to holiness), but the broader culture will only hear a surrender.

At the same time, I see young friends celebrating Chambers’ simultaneous announcement of the end of Exodus.  Goodbye to a ministry that has “hurt people in the name of Jesus.”  I don’t share those sentiments.  I thank God that Exodus has been there.  How many families have stayed together because of their work?  How many families have begun because of it?  We hear about all the failures.  What about the unheralded successes?  These aren’t people who magically had their sexual orientation changed.  They are people who wanted to be obedient to what they believe is true in the Bible.  And they render that obedience with love and respect to God and to those who love them in return.  

I am sorry to see this work (so much of it good-hearted and righteous) come to an end.  I hope that a new ministry will emerge.  Let us remember that this entire effort has been a free one.  The laborers have freely given of themselves.  And those who sought help came of their own free will.  This is how the work of the church should operate.  In freedom.