Christian ministry Exodus International is closing its doors after nearly 40 years even as the organization's leader apologized to the gay community.
Exodus tried to help gay men and women through "reparative therapy," which holds that sexual orientation can be changed with God's help.
"Exodus is an institution in the conservative Christian world, but we've ceased to be a living, breathing organism," Exodus President Alan Chambers said in a statement Wednesday announcing the move. "For quite some time we've been imprisoned in a worldview that's neither honoring toward our fellow human beings, nor biblical."
Chambers also issued a letter to the LGBT community apologizing for promoting reparative therapy.
Can sexual orientation be changed? How should Christians respond? Dr. Mark Yarhouse, with Regent University's School of Psychology, explains more, on CBN Newswatch, June 21.
READ THE ENTIRE LETTER HERE.
"I am sorry for the pain and hurt many of you have experienced. I am sorry that some of you spent years working through the shame and guilt you felt when your attractions didn't change," he said.
The ministry head stopped short of renouncing his belief in what scripture teaches on sexuality.
"I cannot apologize for my deeply held biblical beliefs about the boundaries I see in scripture surrounding sex, but I will exercise my beliefs with great care and respect for those who do not share them," he continued. "I cannot apologize for my beliefs about marriage. But I do not have any desire to fight you on your beliefs or the rights that you seek."
The decision to close was unanimous. Instead ministry board leaders said they are moving in a separate direction.
"This is a new season of ministry, to a new generation," Chambers said. "Our goals are to reduce fear and come alongside churches to become safe, welcoming, and mutually transforming communities."
"Moving forward, we will serve in our pluralistic culture by hosting thoughtful and safe conversations about gender and sexuality, while partnering with others to reduce fear, inspire hope, and cultivate human flourishing," he said.
Reparative therapy has come under intense fire in recent years, with critics charging it harms gays and lesbians. Earlier this year, California lawmakers sought to ban it from being used for minors.