Theology Prof: Exodus Head Offering Gays 'False Hope'

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In recent weeks the leadership at Exodus International, an international Christian ministry that reaches out to those struggling with same-sex attraction, has distanced itself from so-called reparative or "conversion" therapy.

Now, a Christian theologian is calling for the removal of Alan Chambers, the president of Exodus.

Professor Robert Gagnon, an associate professor at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, recently said Chambers is offering false hope to gays and lesbians by stating that their salvation is assured. Gagnon cites a 2011 interview with journalist Lisa Ling where Chambers said "people living an active gay Christian life will be in heaven with me if they have a relationship with Jesus Christ."

Gagnon added that Chambers made similar remarks when he spoke with the Gay Christian Network Conference in January 2012.

In a 35-page article on Chambers, Gagnon said, "Alan's approach of providing assurances of salvation to those actively engaged in sexually immoral intercourse is a very different approach than Jesus' and Paul's warnings that immoral sexual behavior, among other offenses, can get one excluded from the kingdom of God and thrown into hell."

Exodus International told CBN News Chambers doesn't dispute the statements Gagnon is using to call for his removal. However, Chambers said Exodus doesn't have an official position on whether or not unrepentant homosexual practice is a barrier to salvation.

"We agree acting on same-sex attraction is sin, it creates a barrier in someone's relationship with Christ," Chambers told CBN News. "However we do not differentiate between homosexual practice and other unrepentant sins. I, Alan, personally hold to a belief that once someone is truly saved such a relationship is irrevocable."

Chambers also clarified that although his group is focusing less on conversion therapy, "Exodus knows same-sex attraction can diminish."

"We've not backed off the idea that change is possible," he said. "We're just concerned the slogan is trite and can be misinterpreted."

"Because resolution and change depend on many things. There will be a continuum of change where people's struggles are concerned," Chambers continued. "We believe the answer is pursuing holiness -- and that most effectively happens within the context of discipleship."

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