Ex-Gay Group Head Now Says Practicing Gays Go to Heaven
Alan Chambers, the president of Exodus International, which recently stopped supporting conversion therapy, told the Christian Post that gay men and lesbians will go to heaven as long as they "have security in Christ."
Chambers’ dramatic change in his position that gay men and lesbians basically cannot reverse their sexual orientation through prayer or therapy has a number of Christian organizations upset. Several leaders of the Religious Right are urging the 40-year-old to resign as president of the nation’s most prominent (notorious, some would say) ex-gay organization.
"The issue is that Alan assures even self-professed believers who are unrepentant and self-affirming in their sin that no sinning of any magnitude or degree will keep them from going to heaven," Dr. Robert A. J. Gagon, associate professor of New Testament at Pittsburg Theological Seminary, told the website. Gagon is worried that Chambers’ statements will allow gays to "engage in homosexual behavior" with the belief "that their salvation is guaranteed."
Gagon’s disagreement with Alan is over his belief that "no immoral behavior of any magnitude carried out in an unrepentant and self-affirming manner over the course of one’s life is even an indication of a nonexistent faith."
Earlier this month Chambers told the New York Times that almost
every "ex-gay" person he has met still harbors same-sex attraction, including himself. He went on to say that Exodus International no longer supports reparative therapy, which is a controversial type of therapy that some believe can "cure" homosexuality.
"I believe that any sexual expression outside of heterosexual, monogamous marriage is sinful according to the Bible," Chambers said. "But we’ve been asking people with same-sex attractions to overcome something in a way that we don’t ask of anyone else," he said.
Chambers also insists that "anyone who has given his or her heart to Christ, the gift of salvation is irrevocable," the Christian Post notes. Despite his admission, he remains married to a woman, who continues to support him. They are together the parents of two children.
"You know my issue isn’t whether gay people go to heaven or straight people go to heaven. The point that I’m trying to make is that we as believers can have security in Christ when we are believers," he told the website. "I’m not saying that sin isn’t sin. I’m not saying that people should live in unrepentant sin. I’m not saying that that’s a mark of a mature believer at all," he added.
He went on to say that he has "surrendered my heart, my life to Jesus Christ" but that everyone is a victim of sin. Chambers told the website he is frustrated with Christians who put more on being gay than other issues. He believes all sins are equal.
"For other people who are involved in unrepentant sin whether it’s the sin of homosexual sexual expression or gluttony or pride or heterosexual sexual expression outside of a monogamous heterosexual marriage or any other -- are those people in danger of losing their salvation over those issues?" Chambers asked. "Would Rob Gagnon and other people make as big a deal about that as they are with this? I don’t think so."
Chambers’ views have caused a major rift in Exodus Twelve ministries have already left the organization over the last six weeks. His stance also angered Linda Harvey of the anti-gay group Mission America, Right Wing Watch points out.
Harvey attacked Chambers on her radio show, where she also criticized him for dropping a "Day of Truth" back in 2010 to oppose the "Day of Silence" among students to oppose bullying. Focus on the Family took over the program and renamed it "Day of Dialogue" as an event meant encourage "honest and respectful conversation among students about God’s design for sexuality."
When Exodus initially got rid of the event, officials from the organization said it was because "all the recent attention to bullying helped us realize that we need to equip kids to live out biblical tolerance and grace while treating their neighbors as they’d like to be treated, whether they agree with them or not."
Although Exodus stopped supporting the event two years ago, Harvey has yet to forgive Chambers for his decision to "pull the plug on kids and just abandon them" (apparently to the horrors of opposing bullying). Harvey accused Chambers of surrendering to political correctness, which she termed "the stereotype of men who are not being men," her own definition of a gay man.
"Well, the people running over you are the homosexuals," she said on her radio show. "How ironic is this that the ones with the real guts are the ones who are the more effeminized or non-masculine males who aren’t embracing their real, God-given masculine identity?"