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Talk about a one-man culture war.
The president of Exodus International, Alan Chambers, issued a series of apologies and explanations this week about plans to shut down the organization, which for 37 years has worked with Christians dealing with same-sex attraction.
Chambers has been under fire from both Christians who say he has not been vocal enough about their belief that homosexual behavior is unacceptable sin, as well as from gay rights activists who point to stories of deep harm done by so-called Exodus’ ‘reparative therapies’ said to turn gay people straight. He says the mission of the organization no longer fits what he says he now knows about God, and the demands of a “messy,” changing culture.
In an apology to the gay community, Chambers noted that he “cannot apologize for my deeply held biblical beliefs about the boundaries I see in scripture surrounding sex” and marriage but added that he will no longer “fight you on your beliefs or the rights that you seek.”
Chambers, who says he and his wife Leslie “are more in love than we’ve ever have been” but admits to still being attracted to men, said in a nearly hour-long talk Wednesday at the organization’s 38th annual conference that he and Exodus leaders came to the conclusion that God was calling them to shut down the ministry.
“We’re not going to control people anymore,” he said. “We’re not going to tell them how they should live. We’re not going to be responsible for what they’re doing. It’s not our job. You are not the Holy Spirit. I am not the Holy Spirit. The church is not the Holy Spirit. We are called to proclaim the truth of who God is, the riches of his grace and his mercy.”
Below is an excerpt from an open letter Chambers posted to the LGBT community.
( Jamie Cary / ) — Lisa Ling
Exodus’ announcement coincides with a television episode on Lisa Ling’s “Our America” show, which features Chambers. Called ‘God and Gays,’ the episode airs Thursday night on the Oprah Winfrey Network. We’ll post clips from the video when they’re live.