Homosexuality and Modern Ministry: Examining Old Approaches and Assessing New Ones Part One: A History of Missions and Missteps


Joe Dallas

Article ID:



Mar 8, 2023


Dec 10, 2018

See part two in this series. 



Historically, people within the church who experienced homosexual feelings went unaddressed, creating a void. They recognized both the biblical and cultural prohibitions against yielding to their temptations, but also realized that the temptations remained. Afraid to confess and deal with them, many fell into secret homosexual sin, while others eventually “came out” as openly gay. Still others remained faithful, yet felt isolated and alienated from fellow Christians.

Ministry to same-sex attracted people became publicly available when Exodus International was formed in 1976, along with other lesser-known networks. For more than three decades, the organization heavily influenced the Christian population’s view of ministry to homosexuals, but was also beset from the beginning with detractors, critics, and internal struggles.

Those struggles escalated between 2005 and 2013, culminating in Exodus’s decision to close its doors in 2013. Conflicts within the organization, leading to its closure, had to do with the approach its leadership was taking on issues of grace, sin, proper ministry approaches to homosexuality, and a growing emphasis on harmony with the gay community at the expense of clarity regarding sexuality and Scripture. With its executive director claiming most homosexuals couldn’t change, and that gay Christians were in fellowship with God along with other believers, a split within the organization became inevitable.

When Exodus closed, new ministries sprang up in the aftermath, and most of the ministries associated with it continue to thrive. The ensuing controversies, though, confused many people who wondered what the options were for people wanting to repent of homosexuality. That confusion, in turn, has opened the door to a new approach to ministry to same-sex attracted people. This approach is causing considerable controversy and calls for biblical examination — an examination that will be made in the second part of this series.

“Then said Evangelist, ‘If this be thy condition, why standest thou still?’
He answered, ‘Because I know not whither to go.’”
John Bunyan, Pilgrim’s Progress


It was 1970, and “gay” still meant “happy.” I was fifteen, holding my girlfriend’s hand and a secret, while watching a movie about guys like me who weren’t keeping it secret. The Boys in the Band was a breakthrough film about openly homosexual men gathered for a birthday party in New York City. It was high drama and dark comedy, ending with a monologue directed from one of its main characters to another:

“You’re a sad and pathetic man. You’re a homosexual and you don’t want to be, but there’s nothing you can do to change it. Not all the prayers to your God, not all the analysis you can buy in all the years you’ve got left to live. You may one day be able to know a heterosexual life if you want it desperately enough. But you’ll always be homosexual as well. Always Michael. Always. Until the day you die.”1

I kissed my girl goodnight after walking her home. She said something but, having just heard my death sentence, I couldn’t listen. I could only beg, silently, to the God I didn’t yet know:

Please don’t let that be true. Please don’t let me live and die this way. Oh, please don’t.

Such Were Some

From its earliest days, the Christian church housed women and men who said a similar prayer, turned from homosexual behavior, and found freedom. Paul mentioned this to the believers at Corinth when he reminded them that homosexuals, along with those practicing certain sins, had no inheritance in the Kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:9–10). He then noted, “And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Cor. 6:11 KJV).

The Greek word arsenokoite, used here in reference to homosexuality, is relevant. It’s a compound word Paul coined, combining arsane (male) with koite (couch or bed with a sexual connotation), and is rooted in the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament.2 It specifies the sexual male-to-male physical act, not regarding the inner desires commonly known as “orientation.”

Paul declared that such people had changed their behavior. In other places in Scripture, he also declared that believers experience temptations, the inevitable fruit of the war between the flesh (old nature) and the spirit (new nature) (Rom. 6:19; Gal. 5:17; Eph. 4:20–24).

We are left, therefore, with little information about any lingering, inner temptations they might have felt toward these abandoned behaviors. If they were removed completely, that was certainly a plus, although temptations of other sorts were certain to plague them so long as they were in this world, in those yet mortal bodies. If temptations remained, they did so to varying degrees, and those experiencing them were promised the temptations would not rule them (Rom. 6:14) and that a way to escape them would be provided (1 Cor. 10:13).

Former homosexuals, then, held no special classification in New Testament writings or times. They were “business as usual” Christians who renounced overt sin, resisted temptation, mortified the flesh, walked in Spirit, and, like others in the church, took up their crosses to follow Him. Their recognition as a distinct minority, either to be shunned or given special treatment, is foreign to the Bible.

Yet in the Western world, despite the Bible’s influence, antagonism toward homosexuals has been common. England’s approach to the “sin of Sodomy” no doubt influenced early American thought and laws, as statutory prohibitions against this vice called for punishment up to and including the death penalty for a crime “the very mention of which is a disgrace to human nature.”3 Whereas the Bible condemned this sin as unnatural, but ultimately just one of many that God detests, the culture took it further by condemning homosexual behavior, and putting homosexuals in a lower category.

Until the later part of the twentieth century, gays in America lived in fear of exposure, punishment, and abuse. To be discovered as a sexual deviant meant loss of job and reputation, forced psychiatric treatment, prosecution, and vulnerability to physical assault. A “queer” was one of the worst things one could be, making a person the butt of culturally sanctioned jokes and slurs, the symbol of everything a real man or decent woman could never be.

Teaching people that a biblically condemned behavior is a sin does no harm and is, in fact, the faithful stewarding of truth. But teaching, explicitly or implicitly, that one type of sinner is weirder or darker in nature than most can do damage. The culture’s objections to homosexuality may have had roots in biblical precepts, but the tone it took when condemning homosexuality became more prejudiced than biblical, a singling out of one group, subjecting it to special-sin status.

This left homosexual women and men in a terrible position. They had sexual feelings they’d neither chosen nor requested, and for that, they felt isolated and despised. The distress of the homosexual in earlier times was well described by writer Johan Hari in his essay “The Hidden History of Homosexuality in the US”:

A leading neurologist in 1894 wrote down these words of one of his patients: “The knowledge that I am so unlike others makes me very miserable. I form no acquaintances out of business, keep mostly to myself, and do not indulge my sexual feelings.” The scattered, and still furtive, confessions and reflections of gays as a new century approached ache with this sense of pure isolation. Many of them believed they were the only homosexual in the world — a human dead-end.4

There was not much relief to be found from that “human dead end,” even in church. Same-sex attractions, often referred to as “the love that dared not speak its name,” were rarely mentioned in polite society, and barely mentioned from the pulpit. When they were addressed, they were described as a problem “out there” among the heathens. The idea of a Christian privately wrestling with such temptations was, for the most part, unthinkable.

But as the gay rights movement accelerated in the 1970s and ‘80s, the topic of homosexuality was heard more frequently from the pulpit. Christian resistance to it was fueled by national spokespersons such as entertainer Anita Bryant and Rev. Jerry Falwell, founder of the Moral Majority. The church’s most visible approach toward homosexuality in those years centered on resisting the goals and philosophy of the gay rights movement — a reasonable and necessary approach — but excluded, for the most part, efforts to reach lesbians and gays with the gospel, or to disciple those within the church who struggled with same-sex desires.

A void had been created. On the one hand, pastors taught Christians that they might experience temptations. But while congregants heard they might be tempted to lie, steal, or punch someone’s face, they seldom if ever heard that wayward sexual desires (much less homosexual ones) might also be experienced by even the most devout. Thus the believer wrestling with such desires felt a double alienation, first from a culture that considered him odd, then from a church that considered him nonexistent.

Answering the Void

The problem was addressed in the mid-1970s, first with the formation of Exodus International in 19765 and then, that same year, when Homosexuals Anonymous, a nondenominational Christian group utilizing a twelve-step approach, was founded.6 The Roman Catholic group Courage would soon follow in 1980,7 and while up to that time some churches no doubt ministered to people affected by homosexuality, these three networks constituted the most visible and organized efforts at such ministry.

Each was developed to help people abandon, then resist, homosexuality. Predictably, they faced criticism from the culture, and praise, suspicion, or indifference from the Christian church. But regardless of controversies attached to them, these three organizations played a dominant role in shaping the way Christians viewed homosexuality, and repentant homosexuals, for decades.

The most visible of the three was Exodus International, largely because it both welcomed and sought media presence. While Courage operated within the parameters of the Roman Catholic Church’s structure, and Homosexuals Anonymous valued privacy more than exposure, Exodus wanted to get the word out that change was possible, thereby encouraging gays to consider the option, and to broaden its base of support and opportunity.

Exodus would become the public face of those who embraced faith and rejected same-sex behavior. A review of its history helps us understand what to do, or avoid, when addressing homosexuality. It also helps explain many of the tensions the modern church faces with the culture and the gay rights movement.

The Genesis of Exodus

In 1973, a forty-four-year-old homosexual man named Frank Worthen became a Christian while living in the Northern California area near San Francisco.
Feeling called by God soon afterward to evangelize gay men, Worthen recorded his personal testimony on a cassette tape, then placed an ad in a leftist underground newspaper, saying “Let Jesus break the chains of homosexuality. Send for the tape.”8

Response was immediate, and a mission field came into view. Worthen, who would come to be known as “The Father of Ex-Gay Ministry,” established Love in Action, one of the first American ministries dedicated to assisting people who struggled with homosexuality. Unbeknownst to him, a similar work existed in Anaheim, California, at the Melodyland Christian Center. A mutual friend connected Worthen with leaders from that ministry and a handful of others scattered around the country, previously unaware of each other. They agreed on the need for a unifying organization, so they formed a board, picked the name Exodus, and held their first conferences at Melodyland in 1976. Their keynote speaker was the late Dr. Walter Martin.9

Martin was the first of several high-profile Christian leaders to address Exodus conferences. Future speakers would include Shelia Walsh, Rev. Jerry Falwell, and popular author Barbara Johnson. Key promoters included Dr. D. James Kennedy, Chuck Colson, and Dr. James Dobson, among others.

The name “Exodus” was chosen as a metaphor for leading people from bondage to freedom,10 indicating its primary goal of establishing and nurturing local ministries to people wanting to overcome homosexuality, and to equip the church to do the same. Over the years, Exodus would provide oversight and networking for hundreds of ministries throughout the US, eventually expanding into Europe and Asia as well. It also launched women and men who became authors and speakers with international platforms, such as Sy Rogers, Andrew Comiskey, Joe Dallas, Anne Paulk, Jeff Johnson, and Stephen Black.

Like any ministry, it was subject to challenges from the start, not the least of which was the uncharted nature of the territory it was navigating. While other Christian organizations had established themselves by addressing social concerns (Teen Challenge,11 for example, dealing with gang members and drug addicts, or the Union Rescue Mission12 serving the homeless), no ministry had yet targeted people wanting to overcome sexual sin of any kind, much less homosexuality. Exodus was blazing a lonely trail.

The trailblazers involved were a diverse group. Exodus, like Homosexuals Anonymous and Courage, was a network of individual ministries scattered across the US and, eventually, worldwide. It retained a central office, and all member ministries had to adhere to a general statement of faith. But unlike the other two networks, whose chapters were more uniform in approach, Exodus branches represented many denominations and practices. Some were Baptist, some liturgical, some charismatic. Some offered counseling, others preferred deliverance prayer, others held support groups. This lack of uniformity allowed room for both individuality and error.

It also allowed, at times, the raising up of leaders who were gifted but not yet seasoned enough to sustain moral integrity while operating their gifts. A former Exodus facilitator writing for Christianity Today described the problem: “I witnessed first hand how leaders were often released too soon to become poster-boys and girls for something they hadn’t fully experienced.…The promotion of immature, earnest leaders — who weren’t held accountable for failing to embody what they preached — left a wake of destruction. Exodus didn’t invent such duplicity; it simply followed the model of what happens every day in the church, in the boardroom, and in the hallways of power.”13

Leadership failure may happen in any ministry, but it’s all the more glaring when a ministry’s focus is sexual purity. Compounding the problem was the option many Exodus leaders took after their moral failures were exposed: that of embracing homosexuality, then denouncing the work they’d formerly supported. Frank Worthen, one of Exodus’s founding members, recounts early leaders giving in to homosexual temptation and then, instead of repenting, renounced the Exodus mission by claiming they never really lost their same-sex attractions.14

Detractors tended to focus more on the question of whether or not homosexuality was changeable than on the rightness or wrongness of homosexuality itself. For decades this would be a recurring pattern, compounded all the more by the publicity Exodus often sought. The leader who’d appeared on national television extolling it one year became, in many cases, the openly gay ex-leader opposing it years later. This, in turn, fed public skepticism about Exodus, and increased tensions between the organization and the gay community.

Nowhere did those tensions show themselves more clearly than over the “change” issue. Many claimed they joined an Exodus ministry thinking they would be “cured” of all homosexual desires, which would, in turn, give way to heterosexual ones. While several women and men reported specific and lasting change after participating in an Exodus-sponsored group, others expressed disappointment in “a product” that, they said, failed to deliver what it promised.15

This is the problem faced by any ministry addressing a life-dominating sin. The Bible promises deliverance from the power of sin (Rom. 6:14), strength to resist the pull toward sin (1 Cor. 10:13), and transformation of the total person (2 Cor. 3:18). Any biblically sound ministry must do the same.

Certainly, many if not most Exodus ministries did just that. For every leader who compromised, there were many who faithfully served, building up those they ministered to, and making vital contributions to the church for decades through their speaking and writing on homosexuality, purity, and transformation.

Yet how that transformation plays out varies from person to person, with some experiencing total or near total relief from temptations, while others experience victory over temptations that remain but lose their power. Both changes are laudable, and one cannot predict which kind will be experienced.

Defining change was a challenge within Exodus from the beginning.16 While few if any of its leaders promised miraculous, permanent removal of all same-sex temptations, many insisted transformation occurs, significantly, if never completely. Figuring out the best way to articulate the process, and the best ministry approaches for people who wanted it, would always be problematic.

But shortly after the turn of the century in 2000, what had previously been problematic within Exodus would escalate to the point of organizational fracture.

The Exodus Decline and Demise

Disputes over the definition of “change” contributed to the end of Exodus in 2013, but only in part. When executive director Alan Chambers (appointed in 2001) announced its closing,17 it marked the culmination of internal struggles the group had been experiencing under his leadership for years. Chief among them were concerns over Chambers’s embrace and promotion of what many considered a “hyper-grace” theology, espoused by author and pastor Clark Whitten, who was a member of the Exodus Board of Directors and Chambers’s own pastor.

According to Whitten, God is “unmoved” by a believer’s behavior (whether good or bad),18 confession of sin is unnecessary for a Christian,19the concept of dying daily is “legalism,”20 and the idea of the Holy Spirit coming to convict of sin is a “grotesque misrepresentation.”21

Stephen Black, former chairman of the Exodus Ministry Council, recalls the influence Whitten’s teachings began exerting over Exodus leadership: “Clark Whitten (former Exodus Board Chairman and Alan’s mentor for more than 15 years) began sharing his version of grace teachings to Exodus Ministry Directors in leadership meetings starting in 2007 all the way through the demise and implosion of Exodus.”22

This new doctrinal slant softened Chambers’s approach to sin in general and to homosexual sin in particular. Additionally, he began to dialogue with (and apparently become influenced by) gay leaders, particularly Justin Lee23 who was, at the time, executive director of the Gay Christian Network.24 Of his friendship with Lee, Chambers eventually said: “I honestly trust him and I honestly like him, and I honestly believe that he loves Jesus and that we are brothers in Christ and we will spend eternity together.”25

Clarifying even further his new position on those practicing homosexuality and claiming a Christian identity, Chambers said in another interview, “There are people out there who are living a gay Christian life — an active gay Christian life — God is the one who called them and has their heart, and they are in relationship with him. And do I believe that they’ll be in Heaven with me? I do.”26

This was wildly contrary to what Exodus had firmly and uniformly believed over the years — that attempts to unify homosexuality with Christianity were immoral and heretical. Yet to the Gay Christian Network audience, Chambers insisted, “We all love Jesus. We all serve Him. We serve the very same God and believe very different things.”27 In another interview with The Atlantic magazine that June, he reiterated this perspective. “In response to a question about how he regards ‘gay Christians…in a same-sex marriage,’ Alan declared: ‘Some of us choose very different lives than others. But whatever we choose, it doesn’t remove our relationship with God.’”28 These remarks signaled a radical departure in that they minimized the seriousness of sexual sin, claiming those who practice it are still in good standing with God (in contrast to 1 John 3:9) and can likewise remain in fellowship with believers (in contrast to 1 Cor. 5:9–13).

Perhaps the most oft-quoted of Chambers’s remarks from this period was his assessment of whether or not a repentant homosexual could ever become heterosexual: “The majority of people that I have met, and I would say the majority meaning 99.9 percent of them, have not experienced a change in their orientation or have gotten to a place where they could say that they could never be tempted or are not tempted in some way or experience some level of same-sex attraction….The vast majority of people that I know do still experience some level of same-sex attraction.”29

Taken in its entirety, the statement wasn’t extraordinary. Most Exodus leaders would have agreed that people who had repented of homosexuality should not presume they could never be tempted again. But his opening remark — “99.9 percent of them have not experienced a change in their orientation” — was clumsy and inaccurate, implying that no change whatsoever had occurred in 99 percent of Exodus participants. That one line of Chambers’s statement got incessant replay in the media, quoted to this day as proof that gays can’t change.

Changes at Exodus instituted by Chambers also raised concerns, including the purging of any books advocating change in sexual orientation from its bookstore,30 criticism of the church’s involvement in resistance to the gay rights movement,31 and public statements criticizing therapeutic efforts to help people overcome homosexual feelings.32

The organization’s mission itself also seemed to be morphing. Its logo displayed the phrase “Proclaiming Freedom from Homosexuality,” and its stated purpose had been to equip the church to address the issue. But now a new priority of getting along without offense evolved, as Chambers publicly asked, “How do I love my gay and lesbian neighbors in a way that’s not going to hurt them, that’s not going to offend them?”33

Pushback from concerned Exodus leaders was inevitable, as Black further recalls: “It was during this internal debacle that the process of confrontation started. I and several ministry directors and other Christian leaders joined together to start the process of confronting the heretical teachings of Clark Whitten and Alan Chambers (Matthew 18:15–17).”34 But Chambers had by then successfully changed the by-laws of the organization to allow board members to be selected, rather than voted in place by Exodus members, so dissenting voices went unheeded.35

A number of ministries finally resigned from the network, and several teachers and authors formerly associated with Exodus now openly criticized Chambers and the direction his self-appointed board was taking the ministry. As seminary professor and former Exodus conference speaker Dr. Robert Gagnon lamented, “Who ever thought we would reach the day when it would be necessary for faithful followers of Jesus to exodus out of Exodus?”36

Many did just that, some of them forming a new ministry network, The Restored Hope Network,37 adhering to more historic, orthodox Christian positions. Public criticisms of Chambers’s remarks and approaches escalated, support for Exodus among conservative believers dwindled, and by 2013, Exodus’s demise seemed inevitable.

In June of that year, Chambers announced that he was closing Exodus down because it had become “like the elder brother” in the Parable of the Prodigal Son. He then apologized to the gay community, and to anyone else who felt they’d been damaged by Exodus.38

Today Chambers remains married to his wife Leslie, but also endorses gay marriage,39 has marched in gay pride parades,40 and claims same-sex relationships “can be holy.”41

THE Aftermath

The close of Exodus International had little impact on the continuation of its local ministries, the majority of which still operate without it. Additionally, the Restored Hope Network, founded and led by a number of former Exodus leaders, is thriving. Therefore, the end of Exodus hardly signaled the end of ministry to the same-sex attracted, a form of ministry continuing to grow and mature.

But the fallout of confusion over its close, and the controversies preceding it, leave us with four takeaway lessons:

Clarity Is Charity. When giving interviews, offering counsel, or engaging in dialogue, it’s not helpful to be coy where the Bible is clear. Indeed, some of the things Paul said Scripture was profitable for included “reproof,” “correction,” and “instruction in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16), all of which are impossible without clarity.

Our speech should be full of grace, certainly (Col. 4:6), and when offense can be avoided, it should be. But fear of offending leads to ambiguity, when clarity is a mandate. It’s possible to speak plainly about sin without being unreasonable or needlessly “preachy.”

I find it helpful to explain that, since I believe we have a Creator, I also believe anything falling short of His intentions is undesirable, missing the mark, and thereby, a “sin.” That brief qualifier of the word “sin” makes it easier to hear and express, without watering down its intended meaning.

But when a leader stops calling sin what it is, or hedges on the seriousness of a sin, it sends an unclear message. Toward the end of Exodus’s lifespan, one might have listened to its director being interviewed and wondered if this organization took a stand on homosexuality at all and, if it did, how important it deemed the issue to be.

May our speech never leave our listeners wondering in the same way. The church cannot disciple people without clear standards, so being foggy on the issue of whether or not homosexuality is a sin constitutes poor stewardship and ineffective ministry.

Dialogue Can Be Damaging. Conversations are often redemptive. Accounts of encounters between Jesus and Nicodemus (John 3:1–21), Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:26–40), and Paul and people in the synagogue (Acts 17:2) all prove the value of personal, reasoned communication.

But Scripture also commends discerning the value of a conversation, and refusing dialogue when it’s clearly a snare. Proverbs warns against rebuking a fool (Prov. 9:8); Jesus sometimes refused dialogues when He knew they were mere traps (Mark 11:28–33); and when Paul realized Judaizers had infiltrated the group he was addressing, he yielded nothing to them (Gal. 2:5). Indeed, if someone heretical continues to reject truth, we’re to reject further interaction with them (Titus 3:10).

Nehemiah didn’t allow Israel’s adversaries to distract him from his work, even when they politely invited him to chat (Neh. 6:1–17). Anyone ministering to same-sex attracted people should take note of this, since opposition to this kind of ministry has existed from its inception. In its formative years, the Gay Liberation Alliance publicly stated, “We will do everything in our power to wipe out Exodus, and will not rule out the use of violence.”42

Considering how faithful the gay rights movement has been to that commitment, Christian leaders should prayerfully consider under what terms they will engage in dialogue with gay leaders. Failure to do so had much to do with Exodus’s downfall. When we start taking advice and suggestions from people openly hostile to what God has commissioned to us, we’re virtually guaranteeing the end of our ministry.

One Size Does Not Fit All. There was nothing wrong with Exodus utilizing the materials of Christian psychologists who promoted secular but useful theories on the development and treatment approaches to homosexuality. Yet secular theories must always be subordinate to Scripture, and recognized as applicable to some, not all.

It’s a mistake to assume, for example, that because many of the men we serve had poor relationships with their fathers, all gay men therefore had bad fathers. It’s likewise a mistake to assume that because one person reached a point at which he no longer experiences homosexual attractions, all people we minister to will experience the same result. When considering the origins of homosexuality, or the outcomes of ministry, let’s respect the uniqueness of each person’s life and journey.

Keep It Biblical. When ministering to people affected by homosexuality, we need to keep our approaches doctrinally sound. All Christians need to be in the habit of regular reading of God’s Word and Bible study, personal prayer, faithful attendance of a healthy church and participation in routine fellowship, godly relationship building and accountability, fostering passion for evangelism and winning the lost, growing into spiritual maturity, and knowing God’s specific calling for them. Whatever other approaches we may add to this, these points must always constitute our foundation.

Today, in the aftermath of Exodus closing, new ministries continue to spring up. New ideas as well, some good, some questionable. If we are to move forward in ministry to those who struggle with sexual sin, it will require a willingness to stand against pressures from the culture to compromise, and against innovations from fellow believers that may have appeal, but conflict with sound doctrine.

The development of the Gay Christian identity — what I call GayDentity — is one such approach in the church that is growing in prominence and controversy.

GayDentity’s a deeply personal issue to me. In January of 1984, I knew, after years of trying to tell myself “gay” and “Christian” were compatible, it was time to admit my error, repent, and begin again. I’d lived as a gay activist, staff member of a pro-gay church promoting the pro-gay interpretation of the Bible, and was promiscuous and proud. Yet the Holy Spirit, in concert with my own conscience and understanding of the Bible, made it impossible to sustain those positions and practices.

But even as I asked the same question Saul of Tarsus asked — Lord, what would you have me do? — a flood of other questions poured in:

“If I’m not engaging in gay sex anymore, should I stop calling myself gay?”

“If I’m not gay, then what am I?”

“Could I ever feel for a woman what I’ve been feeling for men?”

“Now that I’m not acting on these feelings, does that mean I’m no longer a part of the gay community? What community do I belong to?”

I had a lot to learn. It soon became clear that, in this respect, I was not alone.

Next: “Identity, Terminology, and the Revoice Conference” — Part Two of a Two-Part Series.

Joe Dallas is the program director of Genesis Counseling in Tustin, California, a Christian counseling service to men dealing with sexual addiction, homosexuality, and other sexual/relational problems. He is a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors and is the author of several books on human sexuality, including Speaking of Homosexuality (Baker Books, 2016).


1 Mort Crawley, “The Boys in the Band Quotes,” IMDb, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0065488/quotes.

2 Joe Dallas, Speaking of Homosexuality (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2016), 207–21.

3 Ronald Bayer, Homosexuality and American Psychiatry: The Politics of Diagnosis (Princeton, NJ: Basic Books, 1981), 17.

4 Johan Hari, “The Hidden History of Homosexuality in the US,” The Independent, June 22, 2011, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/johann-hari-the-hidden-history-of-homosexuality-in-the-us-2300636.html.

5 Frank Worthen, Destiny Bridge (Winnepeg: Forever Books, 2010), 189.

6 “History of Homosexuals Anonymous,” Homosexuals Anonymous, https://www.homosexuals-anonymous.com/history     .

7 “What Is Courage?” Courage, https://couragerc.org/faqs/.

8 Worthen, Destiny Bridge, 165.

9 Worthen, Destiny Bridge, 181–90.

10 Worthen, Destiny Bridge, 190.

11 See “History of Teen Challenge,” Teen Challenge, https://teenchallenge.cc/history-of-teen-challenge/.

12 See “Our History,” Union Rescue Mission, https://urm.org/about/history/.

13 Dorothy and Christopher Greco, “Our Eulogy for Exodus International,” Christianity Today, June 24, 2013, https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2013/june-web-only/eulogy-for-exodus-international.html.

14 Worthen, Destiny Bridge, 197–99.

15 Jonathan Merritt, “The Downfall of the Ex-Gay Movement: What Went Wrong with the Conversion Ministry, according to Alan Chambers, Who Once Led Its Largest Organization,” The Atlantic, October 6, 2015, https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/10/the-man-who-dismantled-the-ex-gay-ministry/408970/.

16 Worthen, Destiny Bridge, 219.

17 Melissa Steffan, “Alan Chambers Apologizes to Gay Community, Exodus International to Shut Down,” Christianity Today, June 21, 2013, https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2013/june/alan-chambers-apologizes-to-gay-community-exodus.html.

18 Clark Whitten, Pure Grace: The Life Changing Power of Uncontaminated Grace (Shippensburg, PA: Destiny Image, 2012), 18.

19 Whitten, Pure Grace, 18.

20 Whitten, Pure Grace, 32.

21 Whitten, Pure Grace, 18.

22 Stephen Black, “In Alan Chambers’ Own Words,” May 13, 2015, https://www.stephenblack.org/blog/post/in-alan-chambers-own-words.

23 Justin Lee website, http://geekyjustin.com/.

24 The Gay Christian Network is now renamed as Q Christian. See https://www.qchristian.org/blog/2017/8/1/important-announcement.

25 “Ex-Gay Panel Discussion with Alan Chambers,” You Tube, January 6, 2012, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXgA7_QRvhg.

26 “Pray the Gay Away,” Our America with Lisa Ling, March 8, 2011, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1865040/.

27 “Ex-Gay Panel Discussion with Alan Chambers,” You Tube, January 12, 2012, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXgA7_QRvhg.

28 Jennie Rothenberg Gritz, “Sexual Healing: Evangelicals Update Their Message to Gays,” The Atlantic, June 20, 2012, https://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/06/sexual-healing-evangelicals-update-their-message-to-gays/258713/.

29 “Ex-Gay Panel Discussion with Alan Chambers,” You Tube, January 6, 2012, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXgA7_QRvhg.

30 Jim Burroway, “Exodus International Drops Reparative Therapy Books,” Box Turtle Bulletin, January 26, 2012, http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/2012/01/26/41300.

31 David Roberts, “Exodus Leaving ‘Politics’ Says President Alan Chambers,” ExGay Watch, March 4, 2008, https://exgaywatch.com/2008/03/exodus-leaving-politics-says-president-alan-chambers/.

32 Erik Eckholm, “Rift Forms in Movement as Belief in Gay ‘Cure’ Is Renounced,” New York Times, July 7, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/07/us/a-leaders-renunciation-of-ex-gay-tenets-causes-a-schism.html.

33 “Breaking News: Extended Interview with Alan Chambers,” Our America with Lisa Ling, aired on August 21, 2012, http://www.oprah.com/own-our-america-lisa-ling/breaking-news-extended-interview-with-alan-chambers.

34 Black, “In Alan Chambers’ Own Words.”

35 Black, “In Alan Chambers’ Own Words.”

36 Robert A. J. Gagnon, PhD, “Why Exodus, Chambers Are on a Collision Course With Jesus,” Charisma, May 21, 2013, https://www.charismanews.com/opinion/39553-why-exodus-chambers-is-on-a-collision-course-with-jesus.

37 See Restored Hope Network, www.restoredhopenetwork.org.

38 Steffan, “Alan Chambers Apologizes to Gay Community.”

39 Alan Chambers, “I Once Led an Ex-Gay Ministry. Here’s Why I Now Support People in Gay Marriages,” Washington Post, June 26, 2015, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2015/06/26/i-once-led-an-ex-gay-ministry-heres-why-i-now-support-people-in-gay-marriages/?utm_term=.1d4b8733b763.

40 Lou Chibbaro Jr., “Former ‘Ex-Gay’ Leader to March in Pride,” Washington Blade, June 9, 2016, http://www.washingtonblade.com/2016/06/09/former-ex-gay-leader-to-march-in-pride-parade/.

41 Eliel Cruz, “Alan Chambers: ‘Same-Sex Relationships Can Be Holy,’” Religion News, September 29, 2015, https://religionnews.com/2015/09/29/alan-chambers-same-sex-relationships-can-be-holy/.

42 Worthen, Destiny Bridge, 198.

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