It’s been a day of huge news, and this one’s a whopper. Exodus International, the ex-gay ministry that began in 1976 with founders that included Michael Bussee and Gary Cooper — who left after they fell in love with each other — will officially shut down. Earlier today, Alan Chambers, the group’s president, released a written apology to the LGBTQ community.
This news comes after a a promo clip for a televised confrontation between Chambers, Bussee, and a group of former ex-gay participants who all gathered to tell them the story of their struggle and how Exodus caused great harm in their lives. The clip features Bussee’s passionate call to action:
“The organization needs to be shut down — shut down. Don’t tweak it, don’t try to improve it, shut it down.”
The truth has been coming out in recent years that sexual orientation change efforts are futile. They do not work. For nearly 40 years, Exodus worked to engage in a change that would never come. Frankly, its time has passed. It just took a while for them to realize it.
Apparently, a new organization will form called ReduceFear. This should be an interesting development. Clearly, there’s more going on. But for Exodus, its demise is welcomed by everyone who knew of the harm they caused.
The press release from Exodus follows:
Irvine, Calif. (June 19, 2013) — Exodus International, the oldest and largest Christian ministry dealing with faith and homosexuality announced tonight that it’s closing its doors after three-plus decades of ministry. The Board of Directors reached a decision after a year of dialogue and prayer about the organization’s place in a changing culture.
“We’re not negating the ways God used Exodus to positively affect thousands of people, but a new generation of Christians is looking for change – and they want to be heard,” Tony Moore, Board member of Exodus. The message came less than a day after Exodus released a statement apologizing(www.exodusinternational.org/apology) to the gay community for years of undue judgment by the organization and the Christian Church as a whole.
“Exodus is an institution in the conservative Christian world, but we’ve ceased to be a living, breathing organism,” said Alan Chambers, President of Exodus. “For quite some time we’ve been imprisoned in a worldview that’s neither honoring toward our fellow human beings, nor biblical.”
Chambers continued: “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 be the Father – to welcome everyone, to love unhindered.”
For these reasons, the Board of Directors unanimously voted to close Exodus International and begin a separate ministry. “This is a new season of ministry, to a new generation,” said Chambers. “Our goals are to reduce fear (reducefear.org), and come alongside churches to become safe, welcoming, and mutually transforming communities.”
Local affiliated ministries, which have always been autonomous, will continue, but not under the name or umbrella of Exodus.