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Exodus International Shuts Down & Closes Its Doors

20130620-141254.jpgExodus International Shuts Down & Closes Its Doors

After 38 years of proclaiming “change is possible” to the gay community and the church, Exodus International announced last night that they are closing their doors. The news was released during the opening address given by Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International, at the 38th annual conference in Irvine, CA.

Christian Ministry Apologizes To LGBT Community And Halts Operations

I was sitting in the second row, aware that the news was about to break. Exodus leaders were informed well in advance, so this was not shocking.

There have been such radical shifts in Exodus’ direction over the last 18 months that I did not believe that the Exodus network could survive.

Alan’s heart had been pierced for those in the gay community and especially those that said, “This “therapy didn’t work.” Tuesday, an apology letter was released to the general public via a press release that was shown to the Exodus leadership some time ago, many of us in ministry including myself, found much disagreement with.

The Lisa Ling show will air tonight with a circle of “ex-gay survivors” surrounding Alan and Leslie Chambers, sharing their hurt and anger towards Exodus and saying it should be shut down. As an FYI, the apology letter was shared with the participants on the Lisa Ling show.

I told Alan about three weeks ago that I had the intention to create the Hope For Wholeness Network (HFW), to fill the need that I saw with all the falling out over messaging with organizations that are helping individuals wanting help, but feeling they could not agree with its direction. Today, the new network seems much more than an option for ministries and individuals seeking freedom from homosexuality to live according to God’s design.

Personally, as a participant over 20 years ago, I never had a negative experience with Exodus International or its affiliates, at least through my local ministry. I walked into the local Exodus ministry, not even knowing it was a part of Exodus. Truth Ministry, the organization I lead that HFW is now a part of, has for a number of years now, replaced the Exodus local outreach. I was never promised change in attraction and it was not a goal of mine or a goal even implied. I wanted to leave homosexuality behind and one day get married, as many of my clients do in the ministry I lead today. Growing as a man in Christ was my focus. This remains the guiding strength of the outreach of Truth Ministry and now, for the Hope For Wholeness Network.

I am at the conference, leading the prayer team, sharing my story, and teaching a class on having a successful marriage, based on absolute transparency and Godly service.

If you have not seen my video blog Exodus Closing, I would encourage you to watch as I share much of this and more. I encourage you to watch Alan’s address, if you haven’t already, and the Lisa Ling show tonight at 8:00pm on the OWN channel (Oprah’s Network). Exodus closing is not something I have a position for or against, but I see Alan’s points and those that are very angry at Exodus for its past history that promised an attraction change. I also understand those that feel hurt, abandoned by the closure and outraged over this and language shared at the Gay Christian Network and other venues.

The Hope For Wholeness Network was created as an outreach for those seeking to submit their entire lives to their Creator, for Him alone to define, and to work with ministries, churches, and counselors that are equipped to share and walk along side these hurting men, women, and families.

God’s word tells us in Isaiah, “Behold, I am doing a new thing” that “the people whom I formed for myself that they might declare my praise.” (Isaiah 43:21 ESV)

For more information, I encourage you to visit our website at And of course, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me personally.

Source: Interim DirectorBlog

By McKrae Game

  • Hope For Wholeness 2012 Conference Report

Hope For Wholeness 2012 Conference Report

This year’s conference beat expectations by far. The worship, teaching, drama, and testimonies were over-the-top good!  Acts of Renewal certainly stole the show.  You can see one of the performances in the video links provided.  Alan Chambers’ message at the conference was absolutely on target. I was again reminded of why I am proud that he’s my friend, why I’m still a part of Exodus, and why I’m glad that he’s the leader of Exodus.

As I organized the event, and focused on so many details, it was easy to forget the emotional impact the event would have on those attending.  However, this was not missed by those in attendance.  I have received many encouraging notes and comments from new clients that were spurred on by attending the event.

Testimonials sent in from conference attendees:

“I would just like to say how thankful I am that you pushed me to come to the conference on Saturday. It was a tremendous blessing in my life. God showed me things that I can not only use in other people’s lives, but also in my own life. God has basically just blown my mind honestly and by going to the conference this weekend I have found that living for God is so worth it, especially by seeing you and Alan and everyone else on that stage. Again, thank you so much!”

“Awesome! Thanks! Looking forward to it!! 🙂 can’t tell you how grateful I am that I got to come to the conference. Not only were the sessions incredible but I’ve made 3 or 4 new friends just from being there!!”

“I would like to give a big shout out to McKrae and his staff and cohorts who put the conference together last weekend. It was a fantastic conference for me, but was even more awesome for my husband! It has been a year since I revealed my struggles with my husband and he has handled it wonderfully, but definitely didn’t understand a lot about the struggle. This conference was an eye-opener for him. It really filled him with compassion for strugglers and the uphill battle we face. The Lord really dealt with Him all through the night last Saturday night after the conference and Helped him to see how judgmental and compassion-less he had been in years past for those who struggle. Thank you for all your hard work and dedication for the cause. God Bless you!”

“I can’t tell you enough how wonderful I think the conference was!  God’s wonderful character was glorified! The worship was uplifting, the Acts of Renewal was impactful, the speakers phenomenal, and the food was delicious!  It was amazing and I really am excited about it coming again! Thank you, thank you, thank you for your dedication to your calling of this ministry.  I’m very thankful God put this ministry into our area.”

My Statement on Alan Chambers

McKrae & AlanWhile an opposing group is calling for Exodus President’s resignation

At the first of this year, Alan Chambers told me and others that he was going to be participating in the GCN (Gay Christian Network) panel discussion, and I encouraged him to do so.   At the time, I believed it was a very brave and unconventional way to reach a hard-to-reach group.  Late that night, the audio recording was released.  I was frankly upset by what I heard as I sat and listened for the first time.  Many off color comments were made in an attempt to bring levity to what I know was a very tense situation for Alan.  Would I have said things differently?  I believe so, but I was not there and certainly do not have the level of intense scrutiny that Alan has. This caused me to experience a range of emotions for some time.

That was over eight months ago.  Then, in June, I published Alan’s keynote address at the Exodus national conference in which he explained his position.  I also took the time to read Alan’s pastor’s book “Pure Grace” to attempt to understand where Alan and his pastor were coming from, as this has become the subject of a very heated theological debate.  I also took time to transcribe and publish an abridged version of his remarks to the GCN.

Alan has been accused of heresy, of leading others to damnation through making light of sin, and has been demanded to resign by a group of men and women both in and out of Exodus.  Since this time, a group of about 15 ministries, including well known individuals and ministry leaders have rebuked Alan and started a new organization called Restoring Hope.  Some of the men and women on this list are my friends across the country, which makes this especially painful and difficult.  Also, there are many men and women that are a part of our Hope For Wholeness curriculum that are a part of this group.

I wanted to take the time to calm my emotions and really study where Alan was coming from and what Alan had actually said.  I have had several communications with Alan and really feel that I have heard his heart.  I have also studied the scriptures for myself.

I believe that this all comes down to approach and not actually a theological debate.  Alan sees things from a very different vantage point than I do.   For one, he runs a national and international organization that deals with a subject that has completely flip-flopped socially within the last ten years.  It wasn’t long ago that homosexuality was not considered acceptable.  Today, we live in not just a homosexual-accepting culture, but a pro-gay culture that often looks at the desires of the homosexual over the rights and opinions of the church or the culture at large.  The church that remains against homosexuality is portrayed as out of touch and antiquated.

One night a number of years ago, a retired pastor called my home.  We had 3 billboards up that promoted our message of ‘freedom from homosexuality’ and we were getting a lot of press coverage. Letters to the editor were being posted daily in our local newspaper referencing me and Hope for Wholeness.  I finally responded with my own letter to the editor by saying, “nowhere in scripture can a homosexual go to find direction on how to live in right standing before God…”  The retired pastor challenged me that I failed to say that scripture condemned the homosexual.  He said, “I’ve found that when I tell people that homosexuality is an abomination that they would say, “Pastor, what must I do to be saved?”  I asked the pastor how many years he had been retired, and told him that this approach no longer works in the culture in which we find ourselves.

I believe that Alan Chambers desires to reach this gay identified world with a more friendly and less confrontational approach that would draw them in rather than repel them. Alan, being an international communicator, does not speak only to those that agree with what he’s saying, he’s speaking to those that are against him, and he’s trying to reach them.

I have a very different vantage point:  I’m in the Bible belt.  However, even in the Bible belt, our culture has become more pro-gay than ever before.  Certainly we still have our brand of bullies that tell gay jokes and pick on effeminate boys and less effeminate girls, but this too is changing as the media promotes a gay affirming culture.

Alan does not condone homosexuality nor does he promote a cheap grace as accused.  He states, “if you want to know my opinion on the subject, look how I live my life.”  Alan, a former homosexual, on the GCN panel admitted that he continues to struggle and has spoken and written more on this over the years.  I know Alan, and he deeply loves his wife and children and is committed to them and to promoting the gospel of Christ.

Alan chooses to not question the salvation of those who tell him that they are Christians and that they love and believe in Jesus.  He does believe that, as in Matthew 7:21, many on that day will say that they did all these things in Jesus’ name, and He will say “Away from Me, for I never knew you.”

Alan, a non-denominational evangelical, believes that believers cannot lose their salvation, but walk in the grace of God covering their sin and refining them into maturity and that their salvation and sanctification are provided for them through the work of the Cross, as a free gift and not of works.

After much prayer, study, reading and listening, I report that I give my full support to Alan.  He does not speak perfectly and often speaks in ways that are much different than I would. However, I do not argue with his theology and especially not with his honesty or his desire to reach out to a gay-identified or pro-gay culture in a way that may reach them with the gospel.  Alan, and all of us that are choosing to remain with Exodus, are ever attempting to refine our message to a hurting, confused and condoning world.

I pray for calm and reconciliation between all parties as we attempt to reach a hurting world with a message of freedom through Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior.




Alan Chamber’s addresses recent controversy surrounding Exodus

June 27th, 2012; 2012 Exodus Freedom Conference opening night, Minneapolis MN; Northwestern College.

Conference title —’Made For More.’  There were over 600 in attendance from all over the world.

There are a lot of things that are written and said about Exodus on a regular basis.  And if you’ve been following along lately, within the last six months or so, we’ve shared a lot of things.  Some of that has been misinterpreted, some of it hasn’t.  God has been changing and honing in who we are at Exodus, helping us to realize what it is that we should be in this next season.  We’ve had ten years of trying to equip the church.  Ten years of trying to partner with the church to help them understand how to better relate to people who struggle with the issues that we struggle with; how to minister to people who are dealing with same-sex attractions; how to reach out to the gay community, and it’s been an amazing 11 years.  It’s been an amazing 36 years, but I think God’s sharing with us that there is something beyond this that I feel it is important to share with you all tonight and I felt it was important to share with people who are watching us and listening to us who have been a part of us and some who have left us, a gay community who wants to understand us and doesn’t.  A church culture, the body of Christ who wants to understand us and doesn’t, looks to us for how it is that they should minister to people with same-sex attractions, or people who are gay or lesbian or family members who are impacted by this issue.  Has anybody been reading the newspaper or listening to the media or hearing things that have been going on?  If you have, it’s been a really crazy year for us.  Our messaging isn’t perfect, but our desire is to be so focused and so centered on the Gospel, so focused and so centered on who God is and who He has called us to be. Our greatest desire is to be present and to offer hope, not confusion, help, love, compassion, grace, and mercy, truth, and understanding.

What do we believe about the issue of homosexuality?  Hopefully you know what we believe what the Bible says about it. We believe what the Bible says about every single thing that the Bible speaks about.  What is it we’re to do about the issue of homosexuality or with our same-sex attractions?  What’s the answer concerning, is homosexuality a sin or isn’t it a sin – is it a bigger sin – is it a greater sin – is it more important than this sin or that sin.  I think we in the church have made it into something bigger than it actually is.  It is a sin, but it’s one of many. It’s not the only one.  Jesus didn’t hang on the cross a little longer for people who are involved or have been involved with same-sex attractions or who have been gay or lesbian.  And yet I think sometimes we’ve treated the issue like that.  That it was bigger.  Here we have this ministry that is dedicated to helping people with same-sex attractions and we don’t put the same kind of emphasis on other issues that are happening in people’s lives. We’ve put a greater emphasis on healing people from same-sex attractions, or healing people who have struggles with homosexuality, or who are gay or lesbian, when we don’t talk about healing always with regards to other sin struggles that are prominent in the Body of Christ.

I’m thankful for the ministry of Exodus and I’m thankful for the fact that this was a big deal in my life.  I’m thankful that it was a big deal in the church and that I was able to go to a ministry that was so specific and so helpful.  I believe that my relationship with Christ wouldn’t be what it is today if I hadn’t dealt with same-sex attractions — if I didn’t have same-sex attractions.  And I’m thankful for them quite frankly.  But I think it’s time in the Body of Christ that we stop elevating this issue to the degree that we’ve elevated it.  I think it’s time that we stop putting an emphasis on people resolving these issues in a way that we don’t ask other people to resolve other issues.  I think it’s time we look at this struggle and these temptations and this sin in the same way that we look at every other one.  Sometimes that might just mean actually looking at something else.  We miss so much!  We don’t address this or that.  I don’t find this bigger or greater than and yet we’ve made it that way. And even some of us in our own lives – I don’t know whether it’s because we all feel like we’re terminally unique or not.  But even those of us who deal with this issue or have it somehow impacting our families, we’ve treated it as if it is bigger – more in need of healing or help.  We’ve carried greater amounts of shame and condemnation because of this issue than we have about other issues that we might struggle with in our lives.  That’s got to stop.

We’ve created programs and therapies and all sorts of stuff related to this issue and we’ve said things about going through those therapies and those programs that we don’t say about people who go through other therapies and other programs for whatever issue it is that they might struggle with.  And I’m not knocking counseling because I pretty much think everyone in the world could benefit from an hour a week from somebody’s psychological couch.  But I think we’ve treated this issue differently.  Someone commented on my blog this week, that in recent weeks we have distanced ourselves from what’s called ‘Reparative Therapy’ which is a very small, niched, focused therapeutic practice.  We haven’t distanced ourselves to hurt the feelings of our friends who are counselors in that field.  But quite frankly I feel like so often in that line of work or in that field of work, we have said this is what causes homosexuality. This is how you deal with it, and this is what your outcome will be if you do everything right.  And I don’t think that’s fair.  Someone commented on my blog who said, “I don’t understand why you’re distancing yourself from Reparative Therapy or talking about that issue or creating a controversy over that issue.” And then they said, “because I have had a 90% reduction in my own struggles permanently.”  And I think to myself how can you say that?  I’m thankful that he has experienced some change in his life.  I don’t doubt it.  I don’t doubt that people who go to counseling experience resolution in the feelings and the desires and the dilemmas that they find themselves in with regards to the behaviors that they’ve been involved in or the addictions that they’ve struggled with.  I don’t doubt that at all.

But I want us to be very, very clear at Exodus that I can’t tell you that your attractions will be reduced by 90% permanently.  I don’t think any human being can tell you that. I don’t think that helps us with having healthy and realistic expectations.  I think when our attractions come back strongly or our temptations get the better of us in a weak moment it only serves to make us wonder where we have failed. And I don’t think that’s fair.

At Exodus we have promoted and been closely linked to all sorts of methods and things that we’re reconsidering – not because we don’t believe change is possible.  People say all the time that you don’t think change is possible.  Well let me tell you what I think about change. I think it is possible for anybody who has a relationship with Jesus Christ, change is possible.

But what does that change look like?  Does that mean you’ll never be tempted again?  Does that mean you won’t ever struggle again? Does that mean you’re all guaranteed heterosexual attractions?  Does that mean you’re guaranteed a spouse? Does that mean the marriage that you’re in will be miraculously transformed and you won’t ever have to deal with these things again? No. Of course it doesn’t.  Change isn’t the absence of struggle.  It’s the freedom in the midst of that struggle to make a different decision.

God’s given us the power to make different decisions.  He’s given us the power to overcome the temptations that we face every day.  It doesn’t mean that we will do that perfectly and I don’t know what time frame it will be until you will be mature in areas that you are immature in today.

What I do know is that when we surrender our hearts and our minds and our feelings and emotions and our struggles and our temptations and our desires and everything else to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, He gives us the ability to overcome.  It’s a simple message.

For some people that will look very differently than others.  There are some whose temptations and struggles won’t ever change.  And we’ve been guilty in the Body of Christ of shaming people for that. We’ve been guilty in the Body of Christ and at times we’ve been guilty at Exodus for making people feel less than because they still struggle.  I don’t know of any greater testimony than the person who has been stuck in that wheelchair praying everyday that they will be freed from that wheelchair and yet in the midst of it raises their hands and praises the Lord.  That will be some of your realities.  Others of you will experience a different reality – a change in your temptations – freedom in areas that others won’t experience – the kind of freedom that they prayed for.

Daniel 3:16-18 is one of my very favorite passages of all time.  It’s the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego – some of the coolest names in the Bible.  But I love this passage.  It says, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, ‘Oh Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter.  If it be so, our God, whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire.’”

Do you believe that your God is able to deliver you from the furnace of blazing fire? He is.

“And He will deliver us out of your hand, O King.”  This is my favorite part though.  “But even if He does not, let it be known, to you O King, “But even if He does not, let it be known, to you O King that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden images that you have set up.”  Yes!

Do not bow your knee because change did not come in the way that you expected it would or prayed that it would or were told that it would.  And don’t bow your knee to the golden idol of change because we have. Change IS possible for every believer who has a relationship with Jesus Christ, if we allow that change to take root in our hearts and our lives, but I’m not talking about attraction or orientation or whatever you want to call it.  I’m talking about the kind of change that lasts forever.  The greatest part of my story isn’t that I stand before you today as someone who doesn’t struggle anymore with same-sex attraction, because the truth of the matter is, I do!  But you know what?  If you think less of me for that, I don’t care!  It’s just my reality.  Can I tell you how much those same-sex attractions impact my daily life?  Very, very little.  Even on days when they are strong – and there are still days when they are – I don’t give a hoot about them.  They do not define me!  I don’t live my life based upon them rearing their ugly head!  I don’t plan my day around them – I might plan my TV schedule around them.  They don’t overwhelm my every thought!  They don’t overwhelm my marriage!  They simply serve to inform the life that I live and how I live it.

I think we’ve made a golden idol out of “change.” I think we’ve made a golden idol out of our struggles with these issues, our temptations with these issues.  My hope is that as we move forward as Exodus, that we will help those who are impacted by these things and the church not to do that anymore – not to make special exceptions or special rules, or special programs, or special therapies or groups – special sub-cultures for people who deal with these things. Don’t you know we don’t need Exodus if we, in the Body of Christ, would realize that we have everything it takes to help people who struggle.

I’m not going to be the best orator this week or the best speaker.  I get to speak every year on opening night — because I’m the president of Exodus.  That’s not true. I offer not to speak every year.  I’m glad I get to. I think one of the reasons I get to speak is because I just want to stand up here and be honest with you — to challenge you, to encourage you – to give you a glimpse into what I think about every day and the life that I live.  My greatest hope for you isn’t that you live the life that I live, but that you experience the peace and joy and contentment that I have experienced and I do experience.  I share that I have same-sex attractions.  If I wasn’t the president of Exodus I don’t know that I would share that all too often.  It’s just not that big of a deal to me.  But I feel like I have to share it because I’m the president of Exodus. Because I am a Christian leader.  Far too often Christian leaders do not feel like they can share the things that we need to share.  And so often, we in the church, don’t allow our pastors and our leaders to share those things.  It doesn’t mean they’re not there.

So why are you here this week?  Why are we here this week?  Why do we do what we do?  Because there’s more.  You were made for more. It’s not just a catchy little cliché or conference title.

I jotted down a few things related to that:  You were made for more than sex – holy sex and unholy sex – you are made for more than sex, your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.  You were made for more than a battle to be straight. You were made for more than a life of fear – God has not given us a spirit of fear, Amen?  You were made for more than a life of anxiety.  You were made for more than being alone and I don’t mean that you were made necessarily, or that you will be married.  You were made for more than being alone.

You were made for more than pretense.  I was made for more than pretense.  I don’t have any desire to stand up here and pretend that I’m something that I’m not.  But I have every desire to stand up here and tell you that I and anyone of you who are believers are more than we have settled for — more than the identities that we’ve tacked onto ourselves based upon our struggles or feelings or whatever. We are the righteousness of God in Christ.  We were made for more than a casual and distant relationship with Father God.

We were made for more than the identities that we have allowed to define you, over the one that truly does define you.  My encouragement to you?  Do not place a label on yourself that God wouldn’t place on you. And I’m not just talking about the ones that are most common to us that we would be here to talk about tonight.  I think we put so many labels on ourselves that God wouldn’t label us with.

You were made for more than a life of emotional and spiritual poverty.  You were made for more than striving to overcome.  You were made for more than trying this or that.  You were made for more than this life.  You were made for more freedom, more peace.  John 16:33 says that “these things I have spoken to you so that you may have peace in me.  In this world you will have trials and tribulations, but take courage, I have overcome the world” – so you can have peace.  You were made for more joy.  I live a life of absolute joy.  People describe me in newspaper articles as this or that.  Very rarely do they get it quite right.  You were made for a life of having more joy.  You were made for a life of having more security.  I think again because we’ve made this issue so big in the church, in the body of Christ and even in our own lives, that in relation to this struggle and usually only this struggle, we feel very insecure in our standing with God because we’re tempted, because we struggle, because we fall. You were made for more than a life of insecurity in your relationship with Christ.  Does that make sense?

You were made for more love, more grace, more abundance – so much more than you could ever ask for or imagine.  You were made for hope.  Do you have hope?  Do you believe that God is faithful?  Do you believe that He’s faithful even if He doesn’t answer in a way that you prayed He would?  Can you still serve Him?  Will you still love Him?  Will you still follow Him?  These are hard questions to answer.

He made you for more. And I pray that we at Exodus contribute to that hope this week – that we contribute to your joy this week – that we contribute to your quality of life – that we encourage you – that we walk alongside you in this very difficult journey – that we help you move beyond a spirit of fear – a spirit of defeat — a spirit of poverty — a spirit of feeling “less than.”

You were made for more.  Like I said, it’s not just a cliché. It’s not just a nice easy title that we came up with this week.  It’s something that we truly, truly believe.  God’s Word is full of the more that you were made for.   I hope that you will dig into that this week and that you will be encouraged by what you hear from people.  Change is possible. Freedom is possible.  God can do anything.  Just dig in a little deeper to what those things mean.

One of the most amazing things I think that we offer during the week of Exodus, again, is showing up.  Showing up in the form of a prayer team who is here to pray with you.  Undoubtedly you have hurts and struggles and all sorts of burdens that you’ve brought to this conference.  Most of us wouldn’t be here if we didn’t have some.  And it’s our desire to pray for you and to serve you in that way – to listen to you, to cry with you.  Please don’t let this week go by without taking the opportunity to be prayed for – to share with this group of people who’s here, the burdens and the struggles and the needs that you have. Some of you don’t have anything back at home to go back to – no support system – no person to hold you accountable or to walk alongside you in this journey.  Take advantage of what’s here this week and I hope that it will give you some courage as you do go back home to take steps of faith in finding people who can help you – who can serve you – who can walk alongside you.

There is some important work that God wants to do in your hearts and your lives this week. There might be some radical, unexplainable defined changes that occur in your life.  I told you I had same-sex attractions, but they don’t overwhelm me or define me.  They are not the biggest part of my life.  They are a small part of my life, even on the days when they want to be bigger than I allow them to be. But there are struggles that I have faced related to homosexuality – related to other things that God has completely healed – that He has completely removed.  He doesn’t remove our humanity or our struggle with some things, but I don’t want to make you feel hopeless that He won’t change anything.  He will.  He can.  Look for the areas where He does make dramatic changes in your life.

Just because He might not answer you in the way that you prayed that He would doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pray that He will.  I still pray that He’ll take things away from me that I currently struggle with.  I will do that until my dying breath.  Why? Because He might.  Let me encourage you to ask for the impossible, but keep in mind, he might do something better.  Today in 2012, 21 years after I told the counselor that I saw the very first day I walked through the doors of an Exodus ministry that I wanted to be free, completely healed and never struggle with this again; 21 years later, I am so thankful that God didn’t answer in the way that I asked Him to because I would have missed out on so much of what He’s done in my life and in my heart.  I am truly, truly thankful for this struggle because it has taught me things about God that I wouldn’t have known otherwise – namely that He is faithful.  He is the only one that is completely faithful.


Excerpt from the Gay Christian Network panel

(This is NOT a group that is in any way aligned with Exodus)

*Justin Lee: “…many of Exodus’s member ministries are promising people that they will change and get referrals from Exodus.   And, several people who wrote questions in said, this is problematic, cause it seems like Exodus, or at least the member ministries, are promising people that they are going to change, or leading people to believe that they are being promised change, and that change isn’t happening.   Do you feel that is a fair criticism of Exodus?

Alan Chambers: I think it is a fair criticism from the past. That is something that doesn’t concern me because the fact of the matter is,  I feel that I’ve been very upfront and clear both in the media and at conferences and any time I have the opportunity to write about the fact that I believe the slogan change is possible.   For those of us that are Christians, we understand that when we come into a relationship with Christ, all sorts of things are possible.   The majority of the people that I have met, and I would say the majority meaning 99.9% of them, have not experienced a change in their orientation, nor have gotten to a place where they could say that they could never be tempted, or are not tempted in some way or experienced some level of same sex attraction.   I think that there is a gender issue there.   There are some women who have challenged me and have said that “my orientation or my attractions have changed completely.”  Those have been few and far between.   The vast majority of people that I know do still experience some level of same-sex attraction.   And so, that’s something I think I can’t be any clearer about.

I’m very willing to share that from my own journey.   Exodus is a big organization, with a diverse membership.   There are and always have been, and *John and *Wendy and *Jeremy can attest to this, many points of tension and conflict and debate over those types of things.   I hope that we are coming to a place where we are a much more honest group of people; that when we talk about “change is possible” that we are very, very clear about what change really means in our lives.

*Wendy Gritter:  Alan, what about the fact that there is just so much baggage with that slogan.   Because you can parse it and say that we don’t mean orientation change by a “change is possible” slogan, but I wager that 99.9% of the people who hear it, associate it with the concept of your orientation.

Alan:  Yeah, but we’re not using “change is possible” as a slogan anymore, not when we’re at conferences, and John can attest to that, because we did it at Love Won Out.   The word or the phrase, “change is possible” comes up at every event and I’m very, very clear to say we used “change is possible” for so many years, and it was used on me, and we’ve used it.   I think the people who used it wanted it to mean something more than it did.   I think we used it in hopes that it would mean what we were sharing.  We don’t use that phrase anymore.  When we talk about “change is possible,” it is from the standpoint that we are saying “we used this phrase for many, many years, and this is what it actually means; and this is what it doesn’t mean.”

Wendy Gritter:  Has there been an apology for the use of the phrase?

Alan:  Yeah, and that is a great point.   You know I am sorry that that is something we used.   And when we talk about that at conferences, that is something that I say.   This is something that we regret very much being ambiguous about, because I don’t think ambiguity with this subject is helpful.   So that is something that we are very, very sorry about.   As all of you, I would imagine are as well.

*Justin Lee; US.   Head and founder of The Gay Christian Network.   Lee founded GCN in August, 2001 to “build a supportive community to support fellow gay Christians in their Christian walk.”  (Wikipedia)

*John Smid, US.   The former director of the Memphis, TN Exodus ministry Love In Action.   He resigned that position in 2008, and in 2010 apologized for any harm he had caused.   In 2011, he stated that he was homosexual, and that he had “never met a man who experienced a change from homosexual to heterosexual.”  (Wikipedia)

*Wendy Gritter; Canada.   Wendy is the director of New Directions in Canada, a former Exodus MM.   Wendy is not a former lesbian but was an advocate of Exodus.   In leaving, Wendy stated on her blog, “We are seeking to build bridges and be part of the broader missional conversation.”

*Jeremy Marks; London.   Founded a ministry in Europe called Courage, which was a large exgay organization, disbanded in 1995 when he decided he was gay and the organization was not being effective in changing people’s orientation.  (Wikipedia)

Exodus—A Shift towards honesty and away from Reparative Therapy

There has been much talk about a distinct “shift” in language over the last six months within Exodus that has surrounded Alan Chambers, the president of Exodus International.  This shift within Exodus began last year in a Lisa Ling interview on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) when Alan was asked if he believed a homosexual could go to heaven.   Alan responded, and always responds, that he believes that anyone who trusts Christ as Lord and Savior will not be excluded from Heaven.   Alan is a non-denominational evangelical who believes in eternal security (sometimes called once saved, always saved).

The shift took a distinct turn when Alan, in January of this year, was asked by Justin Lee of the Gay Christian Network to participate in a panel at the GCN’s annual conference.   He has admitted that he did not communicate well in his attempt to apologize for past approaches which may have caused harm within the gay community and to individuals that had come to Exodus ministries.  He said that Exodus had promised changes that he now says cannot be guaranteed.

The shift may make it seem that Exodus is changing its views on homosexuality as it has been repeatedly reported through various media outlets.   The most recent, as of this writing, was an interview on CNN’s Hardball where Alan did not back away from Exodus’ biblical beliefs.   Just prior to the recent Exodus Freedom Conference, Alan was mentioned in our own local newspaper, along with some 300 other papers, as a part of a national AP article titled,  Christian group backs away from promising a “gay cure.”  (Keep in mind that these are the reporter’s words, not Alan’s.)

“The president of the country’s best-known Christian ministry dedicated to helping people repress same-sex attraction through prayer is trying to distance the group from the idea that gay people’s sexual orientation can be permanently changed or “cured.”  That’s a significant shift for Exodus International, the 36-year-old Orlando-based group that boasts 260 member ministries around the U.S.  and world.   For decades, it has offered to help conflicted Christians rid themselves of unwanted homosexual inclinations through counseling and prayer, infuriating gay rights activists in the process.” (Patrick Condon, The Associated Press, Published: Wednesday, June 27, 2012)

At Hope for Wholeness and Hope For Wholeness, we have always focused on discipleship.  The basic shift that is happening in Exodus now is a move back toward that discipleship ministry method, rather than a therapeutic model which some of its member ministries have used in the past.  Exodus has separated itself from NARTH and Reparative Therapy, also known as conversion therapy, with which it had been aligned for many years at a core level.   One of the reasons is the claim by some associated with NARTH, Reparative Therapy, and other forms of conversion therapy that guarantee a 100% cure of homosexuality or same-sex attractions.

A few years ago, I attended an Exodus Freedom Conference at Wheaton College where Dr.  Joseph Nicolosi, author of Reparative Therapy of Male Homosexuality and head of NARTH, led a workshop.   I remember listening as he shared about “EMDR” or Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing.   Through some research, I now understand that this is a controversial therapeutic model that trained clinicians typically use with post-traumatic stress disorder cases.   In the class, Nicolosi shared how the EMDR model very successfully cures one’s homosexuality by passing one’s eyes back and forth over pornography.   I was dumbfounded!  He was sharing this on a Christian campus, and there was nothing Christian about this class or its methods.   He even stated for us to, “go home and get your best piece of pornography, and try this out on it.”  I was so upset that I got up and left the class.   I’d like to say that I did something about it other than be upset, but I didn’t.   Nicolosi had been highly respected.   Today, I am glad to learn that Exodus has distanced themselves from Nicolosi and NARTH for this reason.  I find no problem with his book, Reparative Therapy of Male Homosexuality.   It helped me a great deal in understanding myself, my childhood, and so many of the men and families that I have worked with.   It basically calls for close relationships with males, primarily father to son and men to men in restoring one’s masculinity.   It is sad that this helpful research is now overshadowed by an unorthodox and unethical new practice.

This newsletter contains what I feel is the most important part of the GCN panel discussion and a transcript of Alan Chambers’ keynote address which he gave on the first night of this year’s Exodus Freedom Conference in Minneapolis Minnesota.  This was my 15th consecutive conference.   I must say that I found Alan’s address and each general session and testimony personally liberating and the most Christ-centered that I have experienced to date.   If you are associated with this issue at all, I would strongly urge you to visit and get each general session and the testimonial track.

It all comes down to what change, freedom, and healing mean.   What are realistic expectations?  What are unrealistic expectations? After spending six months on this matter, reading, listening, praying, asking questions to Alan and other leaders, and finally hearing Alan’s address, I now see and agree with this direction and shift.  I hope you will take the time to read Alan’s words from the conference and hear his heart.   I believe he is sharing a very Christ-centered approach to the thousands of men, women, teens, and families that personally struggle and are affected by this very personal issue.

I know it is difficult to completely understand this subject, especially if you do not have a personal connection to same-sex attractions.   However, having walked away some 21 years ago and working in this field for over 14 years, I have come to see that things are not as concrete and absolute as the public, or even the church, may think.

I get hate mail from angry people who believe we are trying to “cure” homosexuals.   Frankly, that’s not what we do, and we are NOT in the “curing business” or as the media often portray our organizations as “pray the gay away.”  We are an organization that helps men, women, families, and teens understand the issue and find freedom from the clutches of a homosexual struggle.   What does that look like?  Very simply, through Christ, having control over your life and future, rather than the issue identifying you and controlling you.

If you have ANY concerns or questions pertaining to this ‘shift’ or language, please do not hesitate to give McKrae a call.






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