A Look Inside the Restored Hope Network

In the Spring, a group of ministries once affiliated with Exodus International broke away and formed the Restored Hope Network. The first conference of the network will be held September 21-22 in Sacramento, CA. At that conference, the current group of leaders will more formally organize into an Exodus-like entity. Recently, the group released more information about they will conduct business.  In many ways, the RHN sounds like Exodus.

What is RHN’s mission statement?

Restored Hope is a membership governed network dedicated to restoring hope to those broken by sexual and relational sin especially those impacted by homosexuality. We proclaim that Jesus Christ has life changing power for all who submit to Christ as Lord; we also seek to equip the church to impart that transformation.

As Exodus used to do, RHN brings together the idea of sexual orientation change with spiritual beliefs and change. In other words, really good Christians will experience sexual reorientation as a consequence of submission to the teachings of Jesus.

You can join the group as an individual but only ministries will have a vote. It sounds a lot like how Exodus is organized.

Who can join Restored Hope Network?

The membership of RHN is composed primarily of member ministries. Member ministries must sub-mit an application to be considered for membership. The application will be available after August 15, 2012. Member ministries must be approved by unanimous vote by the Board of Directors. Membership must be renewed every year.

Most of the current leadership team are former long time Exodus leaders:

Who will lead Restored Hope Network?

The initial leadership of RHN are individuals who are part of the group of people who have come together under the banner Restored Hope Network. The forming committee was chosen by popular vote by the larger group. The Forming Committee is Stephen Black (First Stone Ministries,) Andrew & Annette Comiskey (Desert Stream Ministries), Joe Dallas (Genesis Counseling), David Kyle Foster (Mastering Life Min-istries), Dr. Robert Gagnon (Pittsburgh Seminary), Michael Newman (Christian Collation Reconciliation Ministries), Anne Paulk and Frank Worthen (New Hope Ministries).

This board will serve until a Board of Directors will be elected at RHN Ministry Leader’s Meeting in September, 2012.

While I disagree with the change paradigm (and won’t recommend RHN for anyone), I think it will be helpful to have a way to identify organizations who hold to it. Traditional evangelicals who want that approach can find it, whereas those who affirm the congruence paradigm within conservative circles will move more toward Exodus. Folks who aren’t sure where they heading or who don’t want to be affiliated with a non-affirming group might move toward Andrew Marin’s Living in the Tension groups.

 

  • http://www.journeychristianministries.org Andria Sigler-Smalz

    Author,

    What is a “congruence paradigm”?

    Thanks,

    Andria

  • Steve

    Another recommendation for those who don’t know where they are headed: Wendy Gritter’s New Direction ministry Canada, which does similar work to Andrew Marin’s Living in the Tensions gatherings.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

      Steve – Thanks for that. I did not mean to exclude but I was thinking narrowly about the US. I should have mentioned Wendy’s work.

  • http://www.comingout4christians.net Dave

    Andira,

    I’m not Warren and I am sure he can answer this himself but a congruence paradigm would mean helping people to live a life that is in agreement (congruence) with their faith values. It is particular useful in the professional psychology world which does recognize that a person’s emotional well being is enhanced and enriched when they live in accordance to their religous beliefs. This gives professional counselors who may not be religous themselves some guidance on how to accomodate a client’s religous beliefs.

    A quick peruse of your website reveals that while you use ‘congruence’ as a word to descibe your ministry.. it is obvious that you go far beyond that with assumptions about gay relationships and why people are gay. Based on the one article I looked over it appears that you use these assumed causalities to help people not have certain feelings and develop into heterosexuals.

    This is not the same thing that Dr. Throckmorton means when he talks about congruence. I would suggest you check the links on the right side of the page and look for SITF therapy. See also this link: http://sitframework.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/sexualidentitytherapyframeworkfinal.pdf

    This would give you a better look at what congruence means.

    Dave

  • Michael Bussee

    testing for webmaster

  • http://gayambassador.com/ Anthony Venn-Brown

    it worked Michael

  • Teresa

    Warren, thank you for posting the following:

    Restored Hope is a membership governed network dedicated to restoring hope to those broken by sexual and relational sin especially those impacted by homosexuality.

    I’ve asked a number of questions on RHN (FB), and specifically asked the question will homosexuality be their main focus for ‘sexual brokenness’. They never answered with the passage you’ve posted; but, simply pointed me to their Doctrinal Position, which never clearly stated that homosexuality was their main focus.

    Thanks for clearing this up for me.

  • Michael Bussee

    I keep wondering how Joe Dallas can reconcile being part of Exodus and Restored Hope Network — considering the fact that leaders of RHN think Alan is a poor leader and is guilty of doctrinal heresy. Perhaps he is hoping that that both groups will send him clients and sell his books.

  • DAVE G

    I think we need to recognize that effective “congruence” includes a change of identity perception as “a child of God and follower of Christ Jesus; never born to be gay.” Also a recognition that attraction to another person is not necessarily sexual, but if an emotional experience of sexual encounter was with another of the same sex, the brain retains that association –and sex is inherently addictive. Faith gives the person the tools to deal with this same-sex sexual attraction while maintaining person-to-person relationships with others of either sex. Many have claimed to have eventually extinguished the psychologically-conditioned association of sex-drive with same-sex individuals, especially by developing primary relationships with “straight” individuals, associating with a supportive community, and avoiding the “gay community” with all its peer-pressuring to reject the “change.”

  • http://www.journeychristianministries.org Andria Sigler-Smalz

    Dave, I appreciated your clear response. On another note, your evaluation of our ministry is partially correct. By your definition, some of our clients who experience SSA prefer the “congruence paradigm”, some aren’t concerned at all about their SSA and want to work on other life issues, and some want to work toward an orientation change and attempt to develop heterosexual potential. We don’t believe that helping people is a “one size fits all” process, and our work is individualized.

    Thanks for taking the time to answer my question,

    Andria

  • David M.

    Warren, thank you for keeping us apprised of what’s going on with Restored Hope Ministries, and other shifts happening right now. Does this shuffling of the deck represent a meaningful change, or is this like the chairs on the Titanic being rearranged?

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  • http://www.journeychristianministries.org Andria Sigler-Smalz

    I just read the recommended article on “Sexual Identity Therapy” by Throckmorton. Now, in reference to his comment in the above article that Exodus is utilizing the “Congruence Paradigm”: Maybe an Exodus leader can weigh in on this. But my understanding is that an Exodus ministry would not be assisting a person who deals with SSA to align their faith beliefs to their sexuality. The “Congruence Paradigm” that would be promoted would be to align behavior (in regards to sexualtiy) to traditional Christian values and beliefes AS OPPOSED TO now promoting the “change mentaility”. Using ambigious terminology (terminolgy that doesn’t mean the same to all) causes confusion and rumors to proliferate.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

      Andria – The congruence paradigm in psychology values congruence involving faith and sexuality in whatever way the client believes is best. In Exodus, given their traditional theology, congruence would be bring behavior in line with traditional theology, but without the objective of changing orientation. None of this is set in stone as many people are still finding their way through this conceptually.

  • Jerome Reiter

    The “Restored” Hope Network goes against all the evidence, so it really should be called The False Hope Network.

  • Pingback: Sacramento LGBT Community to Protest Exodus Breakaway Conference Promoting Conversion Therapy | Gay U.S.A.

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  • Craig Wilson

    This was a little odd to write Dr. Throckmorton: “As Exodus used to do, RHN brings together the idea of sexual orientation change with spiritual beliefs and change. In other words, really good Christians will experience sexual reorientation as a consequence of submission to the teachings of Jesus.”

    Sarcasm meant here when you say “really good Christians”? I don’t think that is what RHN is about as if being “really good” you get real sex attraction change. I am not well read in most of your writings but I do see in what I have read a decided lack of emphasis on the new creation of the gospel, the hope of the gospel of Christ. In a word I don’t get a sense of hope from your positions and maybe that is the cause of your sarcasm toward RHN. Odd from a Christian.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

      Craig – The hope in the gospel is not an end to earthly struggles. The hope is in the victory over death through the redeeming work of Jesus. RHN and the change paradigm makes the gospel an instrumental means to self-improvement. There are no promises that embrace of the gospel will change orientation, make me thin, or help me grow hair. People often experience strength and support to live in alignment with their beliefs but that does not in itself constitute orientation change.

  • Jim L.

    Dr. Throckmorton

    Well I’m now completely confused!

    I came up for air after about a 10 years my local church without much contact with current SSA conversations, only to find that I am completely lost with the new gay Christian issues/terminology/counseling conflicts, etc. This whole Exodus/RHN conflict, not to mention all the blurring of the lines with Justin Lee (almost through with his book).

    I am a married man with children in his 40′s, and I am also a physician. I did counseling with Joe Nicolosi 15 years ago for a year (I was already married with children then). I did not expect to become completely heterosexual, nor did I find the counseling troublesome. On the contrary, I made much progress in just general areas common to some SSA men: passivity, passive/agressive communication; being pee-shy, pornographic addiction, marriage issues.

    I went to exodus conferences around 1999 and 2000. I didn’t become ex-gay, because I was never gay, nor lived in the lifestyle. I don’t know all the recent controversy with Alan Chambers either. But apparently I missed the memo that said Christians were cool with assuming there is now this thing called a “gay orientation” that is trumping any sense of Biblical authority. Prior to recently, I thought only secularists believed that.

    I looked at the beliefs of this RHN on their website, and I can give it two thumbs up! I don’t get what so awful about it? Is there some bait and switch I don’t see? I’m not even reformed and I like it.

    I recall that you had even interviewed me yourself, I thought for some publication which was to come out 6-7 years ago, but I wasn’t sure what happened with that.

    I’m just not getting the new use of the word gay either. Suddenly all Christians with SSA are gay. In my day, gay was a choice. I still feel that way. I didn’t choose my SSA, God will heal me or not, but I do not embrace “my gayness” as if that is a higher identity than being a Christ-follower.

    I don’t buy that reparative therapy is to be condemned in its entirety. There are amazing things in my journal from my sessions with Dr. Nicolosi that were breakthroughs for me. And my parents don’t really even fit the stereotype very well.

    So a bunch of rambling thoughts that have maybe little to do with your post, but I am not sure how to freak out appropriately!


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