Alan Chambers To Close Exodus International Amid Theological Confusion

By: Curtis Ophoven 0 Comments   6/24/2013

Alan Chambers has been the CEO of Exodus for the last decade, but last week at their annual conference he announced the closing of the organization.  Exodus is the oldest and largest Christian organization that helps people with same-sex attraction.  

The organization began to fall apart a few years ago when Alan made several controversial statements. 

At the conference a few days ago, Alan explained that he has looked at all the options for the organization and the only one he feels God is leading him to do is to close the organization – and he expects the community of churches to fill the void. 

Alan framed the closing of Exodus as something that God wants him to do.  The primary reason is because he believes that Exodus has been too hard on people, by telling them how to behave.  What this means is that Alan has come to believe the cultural claim against the church that Christianity is judgmental. 

Alan said “the church is not the Holy Spirit” and that there is nothing more important than “winning people to Christ with the Love of Christ”.  

At first glance these statements make it difficult to criticize Alan.  But a second take brings up a lot of questions about what Alan means when he says “the Love of Christ”. 

For example, Rob Bell wrote a book last year titled “Love Wins”, in which he uses the grace of God to discard the reality of Hell – and the judgment of God.  Rob Bell redefines love to mean that God will eventually forgive everyone without repentance or payment of the debt for the sin they have committed.   But this is not justice.  To believe this is to believe that God is not just.  The reason God sent his Son to die was to reveal to us that he is just, willing to allow his own Son to pay the debt of our sin – this is proof that justice demands that all sin must be paid for.   

The Fear of the Lord

Alan said, “We in the church have been motivated by fear. It is our fear that keeps us straight. ... It is our fear that keeps us acting a certain way, and living a certain way and treating anybody that does not act and live in those ways like sinners in the hands of an angry God. It is fear that is the biggest motivator in the body of Christ. … I spent the majority of my life pretending that I was something that I am not because I was afraid of the church.  And I was afraid that they might be right. That that is how God felt too. “

“Sinners in the hands of an angry God” was the title of a famous sermon written by Christian theologian Jonathan Edwards.  This sermon began the Great Awakening revival from 1730-1755, emphasizing the belief that Hell is real because God is just. By using this phrase, Alan is saying that he rejects this sermon and the theology it is based upon.  

Alan is saying that we should not live under the “Fear” of a righteous God.  Yet that is exactly what the Bible tells us to do.  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Psalm 111:10) and without this it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6).  Without first realizing God is just, we cannot go any further to understand the goodness of God.  

Alan said the major failure of Exodus was “it promised to be completely different from the religious system that caused so many of us so much pain".   

How can Alan put the blame of sin and pain on the people that preach the gospel of Christ?  In short, Alan is saying that Christianity is the cause of pain – the reason people suffer.  This is that same thing that the world’s leading Atheists are saying, like Sam Harris and Dave Silverman (President of American Atheist Ass.) - that Christianity is the cause of pain and suffering rather than sin.  

We Cannot Follow Alan

In the age of sexual perversion, Alan has been a one of the most influential Christian leaders in the world.  The Lord has used him to lead many to faith in Christ.  But the church cannot follow Alan. 

Rather than convince the world of the knowledge of Christ, the world has convinced Alan of several things, 1. That the church should not point out sin and 2. That the church should not talk about the justice of God, which is the very reason that Jesus had to die and 3. That the church would be able to reach more people if it didn't do these things.

All Three Are False

God’s not like us.  He is holy, without wickedness.  He does not commit crimes against humanity like we do.  His holiness is what demands justice.  He cannot be anything but just.  If he allowed any crime to go unpunished, His kingdom would become corrupted by the injustice that was allows to exist. The reason that Christ’s kingdom will stand forever is because he and he alone is a just ruler.  He leads his kingdom with justice.  He is known by his justice (Psalm 9:16).  His justice is what sets him apart.  To know the Lord is to know that he is just.  

This is who God is.  This is what the Lord has revealed to us to tell the world.  The Lord gave us the law to point out sin so that we would learn about who he is.  The message of the gospel is to point out sin and explain the justice of God, as demonstrated the death of his Son.  If the church does not share this with people, than it is keeping them from knowing the Lord. 

Softening the gospel to attract more people is not possible, because softening the gospel removes the knowledge of who Christ is.  Instead our mission is to boldly tell the world that sin is the problem and Christ is the answer, regardless of their rejection of him or the message we bring. Softening the gospel does not attract more people to Christ or make our job any easier. Softening the gospel causes the gospel to lose its value all together, just as when salt loses its saltiness it becomes worthless, because if sin does not matter then neither does Christ.  

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.” – Matthew 5:13

Softening the gospel does not gain us friends in the world; rather it weakens our faith and strengthens our enemies.

The reason the world despises Christianity is not because of the reasons they claim, and to believe their claims rather than what God told us is to be deceived.  It appears to me that Alan has been deceived by people that have suffered real pain who are themselves deceived into thinking that the church or Exodus or God is to blame for their pain.  God is not a villain and neither are his messengers.

Last Days

Lastly, the way that Exodus has collapsed, from within with many pointing at each other because of the pressure caused by the increase of wickedness within the culture, is just as predicted in Matthew 24.  When Jesus described the time just before his return, he said, many will turn away from the faith;

“At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.  Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold” - Matthew 24:10-12

Jude 1:4 talks about how individuals will secretly slip in among you to pervert the grace of God into a license for immorality, which is denying that Christ is Lord.  This is not something new or something that is a surprise to the Lord, rather this is the exact strategy of how the Lord predicted they would execute against the righteous. 

As history unfolds even the enemies of the Lord prove that he is the Lord by following the exact plan that the Lord said they would.  They think they are making history, doing something original, but they are not.  The Lord has predicted everything the righteous and the unrighteous will do - it's all there for everyone to read.

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