A conservative Christian radio host didn't hold back her criticism when interviewing Exodus International President Alan Chambers on Wednesday over his views on homosexuality, repentance and salvation.
Throughout the half-hour broadcast on "The Janet Mefferd Show," host Mefferd and Chambers engaged in a debate that at times got testy.
"I have to completely disagree with you on this idea that we are just called to love people where they are and not go to somebody who claims to be a brother in Christ, who is absolutely wrong on this issue (of homosexuality), who is obviously not in Christ even though he's using that name, and use the platform of Exodus International to basically excuse sin which unfortunately, that's what I think to some extent you're doing," Mefferd told Chambers.
Chambers, whose ministry helps those who struggle with same-sex attraction, asked if he could go on "The Janet Mefferd Show" after the radio host voiced her opinion that Chambers is not suited to head Exodus International.
Mefferd, a former news and religion reporter, has denounced Chambers' recent statements that active, unrepentant homosexuals can go to heaven, among many other remarks.
"This isn't about homosexuality per se; it's about the Gospel," she stated on her program Wednesday.
(Read Exodus Head: Gay Christians Can Go to Heaven; Jesus Didn't Say 'I'll Make You Straight')
The following is an excerpt from the interview Mefferd conducted with Chambers:
Mefferd: 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?
Chambers: I don't think you know Justin Lee (founder of the Gay Christian Network). Justin is someone who identifies as gay.
Mefferd: But has he repented of his homosexuality?
Chambers: He is not involved in homosexual relationships. He is a celibate man.
Mefferd: But has he repented of his homosexuality?
Chambers: It depends on what you mean by repenting of homosexuality. He's not involved in homosexuality.
Mefferd: OK. 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.
Chambers: Right ... What I think the crux of the issue is ... I can't tell someone that they do know Christ or that they don't know Christ. 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.
Mefferd: Why not?
Chambers: Because I don't know that he doesn't know Jesus.
Mefferd: You could talk to him; you could probe what he believes. The fact that he is living ... a celibate life is immaterial because if he says homosexuality is not sinful and something to be repented of and instead something to be celebrated so much so that he found something called the Gay Christian Network, that would indicate that he does not agree with God about homosexuality being sinful.
The radio host went on to say that Christians have "every biblical right and responsibility" to judge fellow Christians, as stated in 1 Corinthians 5. Chambers – who holds that homosexuality is a sin – responded, saying he doesn't see it as his role to do so.
The following is another excerpt where the exchange became somewhat heated.
Chambers: When we talk about sexual orientation change, I've heard people say to Exodus there are people who have changed their sexual orientation, they can help you change your sexual orientation. I don't know that's possible.
Mefferd: But Exodus was never claiming that Exodus would help you change your orientation. My understanding is Exodus always said we will introduce you to the God who can change you.
Chambers: Yes, but God who can change you, but will that God always change your sexual orientation? I don't know that He will.
Mefferd: It's God's fault then.
Chambers: You're not understanding what I'm saying. Is sexual orientation something that God promises that He will change? It's not. There's no place that says God will change your orientation.
At the end of the radio show, Mefferd listed a host of other remarks that Chambers has made recently that she has concerns about. But given the lack of time, Chambers was not able to respond to them.
"You just read a laundry list of things that we don't have time to cover today. It's unfortunate; it's like a scare tactic going on that you are trying to really paint a picture of something that isn't accurate," said Chambers.
Mefferd concluded at the end of her show that she still believes Chambers should step down from his position at Exodus.
In an earlier interview with The Christian Post, Chambers said a dozen of some 270 ministries have left Exodus International but the board is fully behind him. The aim of Exodus, Chambers has said, is to help people pursue holiness in Christ.