Exodus Board Member Resigns; Cites Concerns Over Chambers' Comments
A member of the Exodus International board resigned this week, citing concerns over recent remarks made by Exodus President Alan Chambers.
It was just three weeks ago when John Warren, who stepped down Thursday as treasurer of the Exodus International Board of Directors, defended Chambers for his biblical view of sin and repentance. But he became troubled after a radio interview where Chambers was asked tough questions about his views on salvation and repentance.
"I believe that Alan Chambers is a good man with good intentions. It is his messaging that concerned me recently and prompted me to resign," Warren told The Christian Post in an email Saturday. "Specifically, his interview this week on Janet Mefferd's show concerned me deeply."
Warren said he still supports the ministry of Exodus, which is the largest organization that helps those who struggle with same-sex attraction. He has touted the work that Chambers and Exodus have performed in ministering to the hurting.
"Alan is in an extremely difficult position, and I don't want to disparage him," Warren stated. "There are Exodus member ministries who are advancing the gospel well, and I want to be certain to support them. Ultimately, the leader of an important ministry has to clearly articulate views that are consistent with Scripture. The message is important, and I became concerned that I could no longer continue to serve effectively on the board since the messaging quickly became less and less clear in my opinion."
Chambers has long been praised for both his ministry works and his life testimony by other Christian leaders. A former practicing homosexual, he is now happily married to his wife and has two children, and he affirms that homosexual behavior is a sin.
Though he does not condone homosexuality, Chambers has come under fire recently for expressing his belief that salvation is secure for anyone, including an active homosexual, who has a relationship with Christ.
The Exodus head was grilled on that and other views he holds by Christian radio host Janet Mefferd who stood in complete disagreement with him.
"If you believe that you have to turn from your sin and turn to Christ ... how can you simultaneously hold that somebody who is an unrepentant homosexual can go to heaven?" Mefferd asked on the Wednesday program.
She was referring to Chambers' belief that Justin Lee, founder of the Gay Christian Network, is a fellow Christ follower and will be with him in heaven.
When asked by Mefferd if Lee had repented of his homosexuality, Chambers stated that Lee was celibate.
"But he is not repentant about homosexuality being a sin? In other words, by your definition of repentance, he has not agreed with God on what God says about homosexuality," the radio host stated.
"I can't tell someone that they do know Christ or that they don't know Christ," Chambers responded. "What I believe about Justin, having had numerous conversations with him is that he knows Jesus, is that he has a relationship with Jesus Christ. I don't know what people do with Scripture on issues related to homosexuality or anything else where so clearly they are living differently than Scripture teaches. I can't say to Justin, you don't know Jesus."
In a blog post last month, Warren had defended Chambers against a call for resignation by New Testament Professor Dr. Robert A. J. Gagnon.
Gagnon expressed concerns over Chambers' theology, citing comments he made in other interviews in recent years on unrepentant homosexuals going to heaven.
The Mefferd interview, however, led Warren to his decision to resign.
"My concerns are genuine, and I have communicated them very clearly to Alan and the board," Warren explained. "I'm just one person who served as honestly as possible, and there are good people on the Exodus board who are equally capable of making good decisions which are in the best interest of the organization.
"I hope they (board members) are introspectively looking at the points that others are calling to their attention and addressing them. Biblical truth is more important than personal concerns and ambitions, and I hope that the board will focus carefully on ensuring that the messaging is clear and consistent with God's Word. Again, the focus should be on the good work of the many member ministries and supporting them and the churches who are also affiliated with Exodus."
His resignation comes days after Jeff Buchanan also left his position as executive vice president.
Exodus, meanwhile, announced that Randy Thomas, who served at Exodus from 2002 to 2011, rejoined the staff full-time on Wednesday.
Exodus International stopped supporting reparative therapy this year. The ministry is focusing on supporting churches and helping people pursue holiness through a relationship with Jesus Christ.
It states in its doctrinal statement: "We believe that faith alone in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord frees us from the mastery of sin, and its consequences of death and eternal damnation. He assumed the penalty of death Himself, and enables us to live out of His resurrected life unto eternity. We believe the Holy Spirit carries out this work of renewal in our lives, empowering us to grow in loving union with our Heavenly Father and to walk in obedience to His will. We believe that the Church of Jesus Christ is formed of all those who know Him as their Savior and Lord, regardless of denominational beliefs."
Warren said he hopes Exodus and Chambers not only prosper but that they also "look carefully at their messaging and communicate much more clearly going forward."
"God will bless a ministry that is careful to focus on His truth, and I certainly hope that perhaps events of late serve as a wake-up call to the organization," he added.