Guest / Limited Access /
Exodus International Fragments Over Focus
Exodus International Fragments Over Focus

When California became the first state to ban reparative therapy for minors this fall, the public scrutiny of the treatment drew attention to Exodus International, the nation's largest ex-gay ministry. But Exodus had already stopped promoting the practice, saying it was largely ineffective.

Exodus's shift on reparative therapy has been only one of several therapeutic and theological controversies that divided the ministry this year. Top leaders and dozens of affiliate ministries have defected from the 37-year-old umbrella ministry as it has attempted to reshape its mission and public image.

Board member John Warren, a 53-year-old Florida banker who publicly defended Exodus president Alan Chambers in the face of this summer's criticism, reversed course and parted ways with the Orlando, Florida, ministry in September. Warren said he became uncomfortable with the "ambiguous messaging" on sexual identity and salvation that Chambers was disseminating in both secular and Christian contexts.

Warren described Chambers's series of talk show appearances, such as September interviews with the Oprah Winfrey Network's Lisa Ling and Salem Communications' Janet Mefferd, as "death by a thousand cuts" for him.

"That messaging didn't say to me that we [Exodus] clearly believe in the gospel, and I couldn't support that," he said. "I needed to resign."

Warren wasn't alone. Days before, executive vice president Jeff Buchanan resigned after four years of service. They joined a steady stream of affiliates.

The largest of Exodus's 250-plus affiliate ministries, Kansas City, Missouri-based Desert Stream Ministries (DSM), left in April after three decades ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Also in this IssueWhy Jonathan Bock Wants More Christians in the Arts
Subscriber Access Only Why Jonathan Bock Wants More Christians in the Arts
The Los Angeles native and PR exec is on the hunt for patrons.
Current IssueWilson’s Bookmarks
Subscriber Access Only Wilson’s Bookmarks
From John Wilson, editor of ‘Education and Culture’ at thebestschools.org.
Current IssueHow God Rescued Me from the ‘Mormon Charles Manson’
How God Rescued Me from the ‘Mormon Charles Manson’
My earthly father wrecked my life. Now my Heavenly Father is rebuilding it.
Recommended'Moonlight' Is a Flawed, But Rewarding Exercise in Christian Empathy
'Moonlight' Is a Flawed, But Rewarding Exercise in Christian Empathy
The Oscar favorite's portrayal of black, gay experience is at odds with a biblical sexual ethic—but for some, it might be worth the discomfort.
TrendingRussia’s Plan to Ban Jehovah’s Witnesses Puts Evangelicals in a Tight Spot
Russia’s Plan to Ban Jehovah’s Witnesses Puts Evangelicals in a Tight Spot
Group gives Protestants competition for souls, but also an ally on religious freedom.
Editor's PickThere’s No Crying on Social Media!
There’s No Crying on Social Media!
Young adults are desperate not to let peers see any signs of weakness or failure.
Christianity Today
Exodus International Fragments Over Focus
hide thisDecember December

In the Magazine

December 2012

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.