Two months ago I posted a farewell blog post—because I believe that the Lord was leading me into a quieter, and more private, season of life—and He has definitely done so. With that being said, I am incredibly burderned about the things that are going on in the life of the nation-wide church in regard to ministry to people who experience homosexual attractions—and that is why I have decided to post this blog. If you’re reading this, I’m sure you’re aware of Exodus Inernational’s apology to the gay community and their announcement of shutting down. If not, please google and read up before you read any further here.
I will preface my thoughts with the fact that I am not and never have been tied to Exodus International. I also have never opposed Exodus International (specifically in regard to this blog). But I have been observant over the past two years of the shifts that have been taking place in the way the leadership of this ministry proclaims the gospel, and more importantly, how those shifts have influenced those within the sphere of the “Faith & Homosexuality” world. I’ve talked with Alan Chambers quite a few times since we first connected in 2010, and I legitimately believe that his desire is to see people live a vibrant life through a relationship with Jesus Christ. But what scares me about the things I’ve been hearing come out of Exodus (again, not just in the last few days… but the last two years) is that in their well-intended desire to appeal to and identify with the gay community, it seems to me that they have adopted a people-pleasing attitude—-a people-pleasing attitude that is not afraid to sacrifice the central truths of the gospel on the altars of friendship, relevance and relatability. Central truths like repentance. Now I am not for slinging someone’s sin in their face every chance we get. But when it comes down to it, I would never say, “Well, I’m not God, and it’s not my place to judge your relationship with God” (this statement basically sums up everything that I’ve been hearing come from Exodus for quite some time now) if I know that person is living in unrepentant, habitual sin.
No, we are not God, and we do not have the authority to say that someone will definitely be condemned—-nor do we have authority to say someone will defintely be saved, for that matter. But what we are is believers in God through Christ, who believe the Scripture to be His revealed will and truth, and therefore have the responsibility to lovingly and compassionately be honest with family, friends and even acquaintances about the sobering reality of sin… and what a life of embracing sin will incur.
“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”- 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.
“For this is the will of God, your sanctification:that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.”- 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8
“But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.”- Ephesians 5:3-6
Now, it is very true that legitimate Christians lapse in their striving after holiness and fall into sin, and even sometimes seasons of sin, such as these listed in 1 Corinthians chapter 6 above: sexual immoarlity, idolatry, adultery, homosexual acts, theivery, greed, drunkenness, reviling and swindling. But the difference between a Christian (who is forgiven for these sins) and an unbeliever (who is not forgiven for these sins) is that one experiences real emotional pain and remorse over their sin (because the Spirit of God indwells them)…… while the other embraces and even celebrates their sin (because the Spirit of God does not indwell them and they are ruled by their natural, sinful nature).
People who experience same sex attractions, like myself, obviously did not choose to experience the attractions. But who on the face of the entire earth, throughout all time, has chosen to feel any sinful feeling or temptation to sin? No one. We don’t choose our sinful inclinations. We are sinful by nature. Meaning that the core of who we are is corrupt, broken and in need of change—–the message that those at Exodus seem to be dumbing down or even outright rejecting when the rubber meets the road. Though we are all made in the image of God, which is a beautiful and glorious thing (which those at Exodus stress), we can’t forget that that image is broken—severely. God didn’t become a man and die to save us because we were just a little flawed. Without the redemption offered in Christ and the accompanying regeneration of the Holy Spirit, we are filthy, evil, rebellious and deserving of an eternity of God’s wrath. Cutting this truth out of the gospel makes the message we are speaking no gospel at all. The good news of salvation and eternal life in Jesus doesn’t seem so good if we think that we are already pretty good. No matter how much it hurts or how much emotional pain it causes us, we must believe and embrace the biblical truth of the extent of our sinfulness if we are ever to truly see our great need for forgiveness in Christ.
I totally agree with Alan’s statement that the church, at times, has failed to approach people who identify as gay with compassion—but rather with name calling and rejection and haughty attitudes. But the solution to the problem is not taking the other extreme of truth concealment/reduction/rejection. If you sacrifice truth for the sake of “grace”, your idea of grace is unbiblical. Grace and Truth hold hands, they don’t bump fists. The person who identifies as gay must be told that the very centrality of their being is broken by sin, and that their attraction for the same sex is unnatural, and that if they choose to embrace and act out on those attractions (which is a simulatenous rejection of Christ)… they will go to hell. They must be told this…. in an attitude love and compassion, with tears flowing and heart aching….they must be told this. And we must point them to the forgivness and new life (i.e. change, transformation) offered through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
What I’m truly afraid of— the burden motivating me to write this post— is that the diseased gospel being proclaimed by more and more people with public platforms will result in the false assurance of salvation in thousands upon thousands of hearts. I pray that God would raise up voices, nation wide, that would radically and compassionately defend and proclaim the entire gospel of Jesus Christ.
The gospel can not be communicated with ambiguous language. We must be clear on the entire truth, even the parts of it the unbelieving world violently opposes.