In a series of public statements, the leading force in the ex-gay movement Exodus International has now declared that “reparative therapy” doesn’t work.
The leader of the ex-gay group Alan Chambers has announced Exodus will no longer be advocating for conversion therapies that offer false hope to gay practising Christians.
Open about his own same-sex attractions, Chambers is married to a woman (pictured above) and has two children.
“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.”
Even more controversial within this community, Chambers added that he believed those who persist in homosexual behaviour could still be saved by Christ and go to heaven, The New York Times reports.
But this view in particular has sparked outrage amongst ex-gay groups.
Robert Gagnon, associate professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary says: “The problem is, you can’t assure people that are engaged in serial, unrepentant sin of an egregious sort that they’re going to be in heaven,” NPR reports.
In a ‘Statement of apology by Former Exodus Leaders’ published a few years ago, Michael Bussee writes: “There were some real “changes” – but not one of the hundreds of people we counselled became straight.
“Instead, many of our clients began to fall apart – sinking deeper into patterns of guilt, anxiety and self-loathing… The message always seems to be: ‘You’re not good enough. You’re not trying hard enough. You don’t have enough faith.’”
Gay Christians face a lifelong spiritual struggle to avoid sin by resisting homosexual urges, and Chambers believes virtually every ex-gay he has ever met “still harbours homosexual cravings.”
A total of eleven churches have dropped out of the Exodus International community after this announcement, with many calling for charges of heresy.