Exodus in name only?

Rik at Journal of a Battling Christian succintly analyzes the major problem with Exodus International, the nation’s largest organization focusing on homosexuality from a Christian perspective. But has Exodus become a “name only” organization?

The word exodus, biblically evokes imagery of millions of slaves being led out of bondage into freedom by Moses. But after a series of ,media appearances, books and magazine articles, one wonders whether Exodus is just another Christian oriented psychology club or is it one truly leading people out of homosexuality to a balanced life of pursuing holiness. Given its public presentations, its hard to distinguish.

After reading Rik’s post The weakness of Exodus International, I couldn’t help but wholeheartedly agree. Exodus is theologically deficient, if not starving altogether.

I left Exodus International because its foundation is flawed as it blends Freudian psychology with the Christian worldview. This is especially so in their avocation of Reparative Therapy. But the church in general offers little or no alternative and so many uneducated struggling Christians are running to the MCC for a false gospel.

Exodus’ theology is muddy in part because of its association with Christian socio-political groups like Focus on the Family and non Christian mental health groups like the National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH). It fails to assert clear, biblical theology because of a growing sentiment to be more “tolerant” of homosexual critics of the organization without fully comprehending the demonic undercurrent. Compromise is a killer of truth. While the organization has a brief doctrinal statement, it rarely is communicated effectively to the doubtful public it often engages.

Internally, the failure to define itself and its goals biblically is resulting in a type of theological wind drift. In February, a ministry leader, Wendy Gritter did a guest column on the website of Exgaywatch, one of Exodus’ chief critics. The column followed her address to the Exodus conference where she seeded the same confusing ideology. The column was largely applauded, but only because it contained language palatable to homosexual activists who refuse to accept any idea that homosexuality is a sin which one needs to repent of.

Exodus President Alan Chambers acknowleged that he was “processing” Gritter’s ideas.

In the second post, she ventures out more at the urging of gay activists to admit “she could be wrong” about the Exodus message. While some balked at her assertions, she seems to be more inclined to give up her/Exodus’ beliefs in exchange for “common ground”.

Is gaining “common ground” with gay activists really worth selling out biblical truths about sin and sexuality? What would one get in exchange? A vicarious relationship held together only by muzzling truth? Gritter’s stance (and Exodus’ failure to publicly repudiate it) is more evidence of its theological immaturity. It is a serious doctrinal error to call someone who embraces, teaches others and publicly proclaims a sexually immoral lifestyle as a “brother or sister” in Christ.

“Truth be told”, she wrote, “I have had my ambivalence about maintaining an affiliation with Exodus because there can be such negative perceptions about them. There is a part of me that would want to take distance from that. On the other hand, I have sensed God leading me to stay and seek to engage positively and offer input towards a more “bridge building Exodus”. It will be interesting to see how things develop over the next year or so. I have made it clear that the time may come when New Direction may move beyond a formal relationship with Exodus.”

What is disturbing about the Gritter affair with Exodus is the voiced sentiment that her proposed new direction is shared by many in Exodus field ministries.

Regrettably, we no longer endorse nor support Exodus until it can grow up theologically and be the leader it claims to be in its name. We encourage other pastors and churches not to refer people to this network until it can heal itself.

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5 thoughts on “Exodus in name only?

  1. Thanks for a well thought out analysis. I think both sides can be guilty of always assuming that anyone on their side is right. But we all have blind spots and need accountability to hone in on the truly Biblical approach.

  2. Thanks for positive comments about my blog post. But here are some ethical, theological, procedural and tactical questions that I am wrestling with:

    (1) Is it possible to work within the umbrella organization of Exodus International (E.I) to bring about a theological Reformation? In other words, should we begin our own E.I. affiliate that is more Biblically sound and then seek to have a positive influence on the higher levels of the organization through teaching, writing and modeling a better way?

    If not…

    (2) Are we and our local church willing and able to create a more biblically sound alternative? It is not enough to merely expose the error, we must be willing to show them a better way and provide an alternative to those who need help. Is is not enough to say what is wrong, we need to get the log out of our own eye and then help them get the splinter out of their eye.

    (3) If we are not willing or able to provide a more Biblical alternative, is not E.I’s flawed attempt better than our refusal or inability to offer hope to men struggling with the sexuality and enslavement to sin? There are things that E.I. does right as well as do wrong and until we provide a better alternative what do men have to go to but the MCC?

    I am hoping to start a organization (hopefully with the support of my church) but I am not sure if I want to work independently or affiliate with E.I..

    I think Nouthetic Counseling is a more Biblical model. (Read Richard Ganz’ books “Psychobabble,” “Free Indeed” and “The Secret of Self-Control” as well as Jay Adams’ books and John Macarthurs’ “Counseling: How to Counsel Biblically.”)

    But, here is the killer – it takes a lot of time, money and volunteers to get organized to actually help people.

    Theological think-tanks are great, but they DO nothing.

  3. I think that Exodus has said that if the church did its job of offering hope and salvation to homosexuals, they would cease to exist as an organization. I dont know where that quote is but I can agree with it. Parachurch organizations (even mine) are the result of the church at large’s failure to address homosexuality in a balanced way.

    That being said Rik, there is no reason EI has to continue in a flawed state. We all are evolving and growing to spiritual maturity and EI should likewise. I think that the MCC attraction is not only because of a flawed theological perspective, but due in part to sinful rebellion. Let’s face it: we can offer 100% nonjudgmental grace, love, acceptance and support and some will still spit in your face and refuse Jesus Christ.

    I would support any effort whether a local church function or a parachurch function as long as they held true to biblical innerancy. Once we stray from that, the cause is all but lost. We must keep that as “home base”.

    I believe strongly that the local church function is the best environment for such ministry. It shouldnt be a step child ministry, but as “common” as the usher board and choir.

    The solutions arent easy. You mentioned the main ones: time, money, personnel and personal commitment to ministry is a must.

  4. Pastor Foster, amen brother! It’s about time someone spoke the truth about Exodus. Ever since Alan Chambers took the helm, Exodus has become a national P.R. nightmare. I am no longer involved with Exodus.

    I am familiar with several fantastic, biblically-based ministries all around this country which are not Exodus affiliates. In fact, they make it clear they are not, nor will they ever be.

    God’s Word on the sin of homosexuality has never been confusing. Exodus has made God’s Word on homosexuality extremely confusing to the unsaved, and even those who are Christ’s.

    While we are all sinners, the leadership of Exodus all seem to be struggling with homosexuality like wounded animals. I feel embarrassed for Chambers, Thomas, Ensley when they are in the news. One really wonders if Exodus has caused more damage to the truth of complete deliverance from homosexuality, than helping promote it.

    Many Christians and churches in America will never support Exodus, because of its muddy-water message, as you have said. It is such a shame.

    Thank you and all of your fellow ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ who stand alone on God’s Word, and preach the truth about the good news of deliverance and salvation for the homosexual through Christ. Never stop preaching the truth and winning souls bound for hell because of their immoral sexual lust. You are a wonderful example and trophy of grace in what Jesus Christ can do for those once trapped in sexual unrighteousness.

    Thomas D.

    I found your website through a link at Talk Wisdom, another fantastic website. Thank you.

  5. Seems as though you gentlemen have it all figured out despite never having had one conversation with the president or senior staff of the organization that you are demeaning. I think you should check in with us before you report things that you do not know to be true, which the vast majority of your posts are not.

    I’d be happy to talk.

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