Exodus International's Alan Chambers Accused of Antinomian Theology
"I don't know how anyone could call grace cheap when it cost Jesus everything," said Chambers. "I find it disheartening that we [evangelicals] are so inconsistent and over-focused on one group of people over another. We aren't talking about this in any other subculture of people except this one [the LGBTQ community]."
Chambers says he isn't advocating that gay Christians simply "lie down and give up." The 40-year-old ex-gay husband and father of two maintains that celibacy is a gay Christian's most biblical option. But he prefers encouraging people to "seek Christ" over "shaming them into a particular set of patterns of behavior."
"Our focus should never be on how good we do, but on how good God is," Chambers said. "When we are focused on the truth of his word and the grace that he embodied, I don't think your life can help but be changed."
Some critics traced their concerns over Chambers's soteriology to his home church, Grace Church Orlando. Senior pastor Clark Whitten, who serves as Exodus's chairman and recently published Pure Grace, could not be reached in time for comment. But he explains on the church's website that only God can judge those "who say they are Christian yet continue in their sin," so "the best thing we can do for that person is to keep loving them and telling them about our awesome King who died for them."
Russell Moore, dean of the School of Theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, finds Chambers's motives commendable but his doctrine problematic.
"I can only imagine the sort of situation he finds himself in—trying to speak in a winsome sort of way to people who feel hated by evangelicals," said Moore. "I just think that he has uploaded some really bad, reactionary tendencies from popular evangelicalism."
"There is something going on in evangelicalism where everyone is always reacting against whatever error they encountered in childhood," said Moore. "A lot of people who grew up in legalist, performance-based churches are over-reacting with an antinomian, repentance-lacking gospel."
"The problem biblically is: legalism sends people to hell and antinomianism sends people to hell," he said. "Reacting against a hellish-legalism with a hellish-antinomianism is still sending people to hell."
Unfazed by the accusations of theological error, Chambers addressed his detractors with some pointed words.
"It's disappointing to see Christians drive personal agendas at the expense of other human beings," he said. "We've received a tremendous response from men and women who are desperate for grace."
Today's other related articles on salvation, grace, antinomianism, sexual ethics, and other matters include a Reformed response to Chambers's statements from Michael Horton, a Wesleyan Arminian response from Ben Witherington, and a CT Classic on "Lordship Salvation."