I had not heard of the Exodus International program to ‘cure’ gays before this story. I had heard of groups LIKE them before but never an entire church. Apparently, the leaders of this church are shutting it down and have apologized to gays. I read this story with mixed emotions. Practicing homosexuality is a lifestyle. A lifestyle that is abhorrent to God. The problem with it isn’t the desire people may have for immoral sex- (this is within many heterosexuals as well)- it is the willful & arrogant disobedience of God’s law that so often accompanies it. This LA Times article is highly biased and focuses on a woman whose son committed suicide supposedly because he went to the Exodus ‘gay cure’ ministry and because she and her husband told her son that he would need to remain celibate as a Christ follower. Now she and her husband are gay rights advocates in churches. Now, to me, all kinds of red flags go up when I hear that. There is much more to that story than meets the eye. The son went into a life of drugs and eventually overdosed. The parents are reacting out of guilt. But I would bet my bottom dollar that those parents were awful parents and that this is the real cause for their guilt. OR he had a mental issue like clinical depression before the entire thing started. For almost any controversy, you will find people like this who will champion a cause because of a son, daughter, brother, friend, parent, etc who ended up killing themselves- and then the issue gets blamed. So, I don’t put much stock in that. A program doesn’t make anyone kill themselves.
That being said, I have always eyed these types of ‘cure’ programs with a more than healthy amount of suspicion and skepticism. I have never felt that people who decide to practice homosexuality need to be ‘cured’. Especially by the church. There is just something wrong headed about that approach. Why should any church exist to have that sole mission? That is not the mission of the church. The mission of the church is to tell the good news and to make disciples of men. While we pray for miracles all the time, we don’t focus on obtaining them! Or on ‘fixing’ them.
You’ve heard me speak out against the Progressive use of homosexuality to divide the home, the church, the nation and the world. It is the ultimate ‘victimless sin’. So, for most people, it comes down to the following question: “Will I obey God because I trust him or will I lean on my OWN understanding & wisdom and disobey him?” The Progressives, being satan inspired, are driving this wedge as hard as they can by promoting the homosexual lifestyle as ‘normal’, ‘good’, and even ‘moral’. Almost all t.v. programing is geared in this direction. My kids even told me that the free online game called ‘Club Penguin’ now has a ‘rainbow’ puffle! They are using it to pit people against God and people against people. They are using it to polarize our society. The homosexual agenda is radical, in your face, and militant. And it is teaching American youth that it is something worthy to pursue- thus driving more and more Americans away from God.
THAT is my issue with the gay agenda.
BUT, unlike what my detractors like to say, I do not hate the individuals who practice it. There are many who are just plain evil. I pay no attention to them as they fall into the ‘swine’ category. But many also have fallen into it based on sexual molestation or hurt or pain from their youth. Many have powerful psychological reasons why they avoid the opposite sex. Some are plagued with the temptation of illicit and frequent perverted sex (this exists within the hetero community as well- consider pornography & adultery). And many WISH they could be healthy and whole again- and right with God.
These people fall into the exact same category as those who struggle with many types of sins. ALL FORGIVEN BY JESUS upon the mere asking. As long as they try and apologize, then can come back to the Lord over and over again. That is his promise. And that is the grace offered to all of us.
Christians are not here to condemn people. We are here to TELL THE TRUTH. Sometimes the truth feels like condemnation- and for those who insist on rejecting it, it is condemnation. But it is not us who condemns, it is the Truth- along with a disobedient heart- that condemns. And for those who wish to come to Jesus, no matter what their struggles and failures might be, we are to forgive them, pray with them, love them, sympathize with them and pick them up again and again and again. This requires discernment and wisdom on the part of the Christian and on the Body of Christ. Not a wholesale program where people are shuffled through like so many cattle getting inoculated.
It all lies in the heart. A willful, arrogant, God hating heart is a swine. A penitent, remorseful, and yearning for God heart is the one we MUST minister to with great love and compassion.
A church that focuses wholeheartedly on ‘curing’ one particular sin is not a church at all in my mind. A church needs to be so much more than that. Any organization so determined to ‘cure’ anything will become so narrowly defined that surely hate, resentment and judgement will set in. So, while the story is horribly biased and I hate the gloating within, I am not sorry to see this type of organization shut down. I could do without the apology because it is wrong headed. But to me, such organizations only serve to embarrass the church of Christ who would never behave as this church as done. Good riddance.