Exodus International, the prominent Christian ministry which for the past 37 years has helped men and women leave the homosexual lifestyle, announced June 19 that it is closing its doors. The organization's president, Alan Chambers (shown), also issued an apology to the homosexual community, telling the Associated Press that the organization had inflicted “years of undue suffering” on homosexuals it had reached out to. “The church has waged the culture war, and it's time to put the weapons down,” Chambers said after announcing at the annual conference of Exodus that the group would cease operation. “While there has been so much good at Exodus, there has also been bad. We've hurt people.”
Chambers also appeared June 20 on a special edition of the Oprah Winfrey Network show Our America With Lisa Ling, where he apologized to homosexual men and women who claimed they had been harmed by Exodus International's ministry.
In announcing the decision to close Exodus, which the organization said in a press release had been under consideration over the past year, Chamber insisted that he still holds “to a biblical view that the original intent for sexuality was designed for heterosexual marriage. Yet I realize there are a lot of people who fall outside of that, gay and straight.... It's time to find out how we can pursue the common good.”
Chambers said he and others from Exodus would form a new “ministry,” called Reduce Fear, which, he told AP, would seek to dialogue with those who embrace the homosexual lifestyle, and partner with churches to provide “welcoming, and mutually transforming” communities. “We want to see bridges built, we want peace to be at the forefront of anything we do in the future,” Chambers said.
In Exodus International's official statement, Chambers said that over the years the group had “ceased to be a living, breathing organism. For quite some time we’ve been imprisoned in a worldview that’s neither honoring toward our fellow human beings, nor biblical.” In justifying the group's decision to stop its original mission of helping people overcome homosexuality, Chamber said that from “a Judeo-Christian perspective, gay, straight or otherwise, we’re all prodigal sons and daughters. Exodus International is the prodigal’s older brother, trying to impose its will on God’s promises, and make judgments on who’s worthy of His Kingdom. God is calling us to … welcome everyone, to love unhindered.”
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Photo of Alan Chambers: AP Images