You Think It’s Hot Where You Live?

UPDATE: Alan Chambers was interviewed recently on msnbc’s Hardball.

In previous posts here and here I mentioned the changes that have been underway at Exodus International, the largest umbrella organization of ministries that serve people who are conflicted about their same-sex attractions. Alan Chambers is the president of Exodus, and he has shared some of his thoughts recently and been quoted in interviews about these changes over the past few weeks.

As I mentioned here, there remain plenty of organizations that will be opposed to Exodus independent of these kinds of changes, simply on the grounds that their doctrinal positions (read that as formed judgments about sexual morality) are not in keeping with their own moral judgments.

Interestingly, Jim Burroway at Box Turtle Bulletin attended this year’s Exodus conference, and he is planning a series on his reflections on the event. Stay tuned.

At the same time, several ministries have reportedly left Exodus, and some may be joining up with Andrew Comiskey and Desert Stream Ministries.

On top of that, Robert Gagnon has posted a 35-page theological analysis of Alan’s position on grace as applied to repeated, unrepentant sin. (Critics may be tempted to roll their eyes at the length of the paper, but Gagnon’s critique is worth the read, as careful theological reflection and the development of any meaningful argument takes time, and whether you agree with Gagnon or not, you have to wade through it – not popular in the age of Twitter, but that’s a reflection of our culture and not of the important role of critique and attempted correction.)

You think it’s hot where you live?

In all seriousness, I don’t know how much heat leaders of Christian ministries feel under these circumstances. Based on my own experience, I can empathize with the challenge of balancing the interests of the various people and groups who have a stake in what you say and write.

I would say that this is a time for reflection on how Christians minister in this area. I would expect that different ministries will have different points of emphasis, and that the diversity will be the result of denominational differences, pastoral care practices, expectations (and meaning) regarding change, emphasis on sanctification rather than orientation change (or vice versa), political interests held by some, and other considerations.

But underneath all of that diversity, which I think is to be expected, there are real issues where doctrinal positions are important and need to be clarified.