Exodus International And The Opportunity to Look Ourselves In The Mirror

“Heterosexuality will not get you into heaven.” – Pastor Tim Keller (HT Katelyn Beaty)

Yesterday’s apology from Alan Chambers, the president of Exodus International, followed by the announcement that the organization would shut down, has sparked emotional reaction from many quarters. Google the story if you’re looking for a sampling of what people are saying today.

I don’t want to add lots more words to this conversation, but I do want to make a few quick observations for those of us “average” Joes and Josephines who make up 99.9% of the body of Christ:

  • Exodus International was rooted in the soil of a generation of culture warfare. As with so many other conservative, family-focused organizations that grew like beanstalks over the last 40 years, Exodus often conflated the Gospel with a set of behavioral rules or expectations in ways that turned Good News into very bad news for those who didn’t conform to those expectations*, and made some of us behave like bullies in the process.  
  • We in the Church need to shut up for a while and take a good, long look at the wreckage this battle has left in its wake. And this doesn’t mean “someone else”.  That “we” means “you and me”. Is there someone I need to seek out in order to ask forgiveness for running roughshod over them with my convictions? 
  • I’ve known a few Christian parents who’ve sought out Exodus or a similar ministry after one of their kids came out to them. They needed to hear and learn from other parents who’d been there. Local networks of churches have a great opportunity now to work together to serve these family members by helping them get connected with one another.  
  • When we talk about sin, we’d better begin and end by staring ourselves down in the mirror when we do.  
What lessons do you believe the Exodus International announcements have to teach the Church? 


*Note: God has rules and they’re impossible for any of us to keep them perfectly, so he sent his son to fulfill them perfectly. By the power of his indwelling Spirit, he empowers us to “hunger and thirst for righteousness”, living the intent of the rules from the inside out. That’s good news, isn’t it?  


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  • Tim

    His apology included these lines: “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.”
    That seems to be good advice no matter what doctrine we’re talking about. Exercising care for the people God has put in our lives is one of the ways the Father calls us to follow Christ.

    • Michelle Van Loon

      I liked that line, too. A lot.