This message (on an “Overview of Homosexuality”) was shared with the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma’s SKOPOS – Tightrope Session in 2014. Click here for the Handout in PDF.
Yesterday I officiated a Memorial Service for Lezlie Brown. I’ve known Lezlie for many years. My dear friend had been in a long battle with Multiple Myeloma Leukemia, Lezlie’s obituary can be read here. As a part of the service in “Remembering Our Dear Friend Lezlie” and spoke on Heaven. Several people made comments after the service and wanted to know more. I made the following video and I also have a dedicated page on Heaven here. The verses can be found in Revelation 21 and 22.
— A Christian Paradigm Shift on Suffering – For the Mature In God —
ONLY IN THIS LIFE can we give a real sacrifice of worship and praise… and the more difficult or complex the trial, the sweeter the offering to God can be — IF — you will worship the LORD in the midst of great suffering, being fully surrendered in obedience to Him. When the suffering is the greatest, especially in something like the unexpected death of an adult child (our Charity Hope) with so many shattered dreams, OR something like betrayal — at the deepest levels, or financial distress like bankruptcy, or in the greatest of physical sufferings—> THIS IS WHEN you can truly bring a SPECIAL beautiful gift of worship to the LORD! Praising God in the easy times is a good, but a small offering, not to be compared to the offering of praising and worshipping HIM at His feet in great suffering and brokenness, this is a precious gift. Knowing that God is good, and love and worshipping HIM in the midst of great adversity. This type of extravagant worship can ONLY be given in this life during the greatest time of suffering. WORSHIP THE LORD ALWAYS IN EVERYTHING and “giving thanks, always in everything, in all circumstances, for this is the will of God concerning you in Christ Jesus!” (1 Thess. 5:18)
“It is doubtful whether God can bless a man, and greatly use him until He has hurt him deeply.” ― A.W. Tozer
Scandalous Good News by Andrew Comiskey
A Forward by Stephen Black: I am always on the hunt to find messages that will really prophetically rivet my soul to its core. I have recently been touched by two messages that seem to be bookends to what is relevant in our day. I am always looking for messages that will speak in context to the ministry we provide at First Stone Ministries; as we want to be a source of life-giving ministry and hope to the relationally and sexually wounded. Last year, in 2015, Christopher West’s offering at the National Restored Hope Network (RHN) conference in Lancaster, Pennsylvania was profoundly prophetic. He gave a message called, “Theology of the Body, Sexual Redemption and the New Evangelization.” As West was delivering this message to several hundred people at the RHN conference, another delivery took place in our nation. The Supreme court ruled that homosexual marriage should be made legal in our country. Truly the extremes of life and death, light and darkness were revealed to the discerning.
This year, at the 2016 National RHN Conference outside of Chicago, Andrew Comiskey gave a very timely message that serves as a prophetic warning to the Church. I believe this warning is especially needed for evangelicals that are more susceptible to the growing deception toward embracing “gay Christianity.” Evangelicals are more likely than ever before to embrace the mixture of the cheap-grace messaging, adding the validation of same-sex sexual orientation and then pouring in a once prayed, always saved message. The outcome of this mixture has caused many to embrace “gay Christianity.” Andrew Comiskey gives a warning as he shares his own story of how this “gay Christian” messaging infiltrated his own home through the “Spiritual Friendship” movement with the so-called celibate gays, who are calling for the Church to embrace “gay Christianity” as a dangerously deceptive and corrupting option. Below is the video and the text to Andrew’s address at the Restored Hope Network Conference in June of 2016 outside of Chicago. Please listen to this message today!
Scandalous Good News – by Andrew Comiskey (text below transposed from audio/video)
(Listen to Audio only) (See Support Links Below)
We at RHN represent one thing: how Jesus Christ transforms persons impacted by same-sex attraction (and other gender-related disorders). Yet applying the good news of His crucifixion and resurrection to what has affliction us has become a scandal in our culture today. We whom HE has charged to bear witness of His glorious cross and thus share in that invitation of HIS cross. As we testify to the exchange of the stronghold of ‘gay’ desires and gay selves for Christ-likeness, we incur disgrace from the world and worldly Christians. ‘For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing but to us who are being saved it is the power of God’ (1 Cor. 1:18).
How many of us now face closed doors due to the word of our testimony? How many of us have encountered the dreadful blend of unbelief and false mercy in Christ’s members who in turn have made us unwanted members? In my wonderful church, in my parish, I prayed and worked a long time to get a Living Waters group started there. It is just one of the many beautiful streams that were being released in the community. I worked hard for it; I had a wonderful pastor who persevered with me and finally gave the go ahead.
In the first year were amazing, protected, signs and wonders. All manner of persons with sexual brokenness were coming and receiving help in the house of God. Towards the end of that year, I felt like the Holy Spirit said, “Well, hang on because the glory days are going to change.” Sure enough, as soon as we had finished this wonderful cycle, the priest came to me and said, “I think we need to talk.” This began a series of meetings in which he beautifully advocated for me and for our work from all kinds of people who had come out of the woodwork in the church as having discovered what we were doing as we gathered in our brokenness and exchanged our sins and our wounds for the healing work of Jesus.
I’m going to tell you a little bit about what happened to me as I walked through a kind of a gauntlet that I think represents what we are facing in our churches as we seek to offer the good news of healing. ‘For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is up to such a task?’ (2 Cor. 2:15-16).
Only the person founded on Christ Crucified—more alive than ever to His transforming love and not surprised at all by the scandalous good news we bear. Our word for scandal is from the Greek word ‘scandalon’ or stumbling block; this is the word St. Peter uses when he describes how Jesus has become the ‘scandalon’ for those who do not believe Him, but for us, who do believe Jesus, rejected stone has become everything (1 Peter 2.)
The servant is not greater than the Master. St. Peter encourages us in 1st Peter 4:12-14: ‘Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trail you are suffering as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.’
Let’s look at this: v. 12: ‘Don’t be surprised…’ Frankly, I was surprised when a group of people from my church rose up and tried to snuff out the work of my hands. I was surprised. I was scandalized. I resorted to worldly thinking that I’m a nice person. This is volunteer service. No one is getting rich on this. I’m just offering myself to broken people out of the mercy that I have received, but I was responding like a sentimentalist. We have to think deeper people. It’s not well, I’m nice; you be nice, too. That is not how it works, today, when it comes to the reality of the redemption of gender and sexual brokenness.
The issue is not about being nice. It is fundamentally about how we understand and convey God’s will for humankind. Pope Emeritus Benedict wrote this, “A church that does not have the courage to publically highlight how she understands humanity – made in God’s image as male and female – is no longer the salt of the earth and the light of the world.” It may help to review some of the changes in values and thought that has occurred in Western culture in the last century. At the risk – and I do risk this – of oversimplifying a complex shift, we might describe this as the rise of a kind of secular individualism which emphasizes, as you might expect, the needs of the individual, especially persons who have been perceived as having been diminished by Judeo-Christian values.
The church, of course, on the other hand, emphasizes community life which is ordered and sustained by reliance upon God. Valuing the whole, the community, has special relevance for sexuality and gender as both involve the creation and the rearing of new members of the community. The church understands the human person as created by God and necessarily subject to self-evident truths in order to flourish. These truths include clarity of gender identity, integrity of sexual boundaries, and championing the new life that results from sexual love.
‘Individualism’ challenges the Church on the basis that she hinders human freedom. Such values are framed as ‘discriminating’ against individuals based on diverse gender identities and sexual practices. The individualist may believe sincerely that anyone who employs ‘faith’ to limit sexual and gender freedoms is oppressing good people.
Empowering the individualist’s vision is the deceptive pairing of sexual civil rights with ethnic ones. Ethnicity is in truth an unchanging, beautiful and God-ordained reality that cannot even be compared to sexual disorder. Tell that to Obama who sincerely believes that he has furthered the legacy of Martin Luther King by making ‘gay the new black’ and now has taken it a step further by insisting that gender identification be a matter of choice, not one’s biological birthright. We now live in a state of such confusion in which persons who stand for gender clarity as a human good and a condition of human flourishing are considered on par with ethnic bigots, small–minded haters who oppress individuals with bad outdated religion.
Every one of us at Restored Hope Network live under that judgment now. Let’s just get it straight. No matter how sweet you are; no matter how kind you are; no matter how low key you are; you are now seen by the eyes of the powers in our culture, that prevail as one on par with, maybe even less than, an ethnic bigot. And in truth, where we as Christians have been heavy-handed in upholding an ideal without offering mercy to a person, where we have failed to bear with a broken person in order to help him or her realize the freedom intrinsic in her daughterhood, his son-ship—then we need to be judged.
Nevertheless, in light of all the refinement we need to become better healing operatives for those that we are championing, we must hold fast to what is actual and good and true for all persons. That good is founded upon our faith in the Creator who made us all in HIs image as male or female and who has become our Redeemer.
God has a vested interest in confirming the clarity of our gendered personhood and the integrity of our sexual boundaries. He pre-ordained the children who will be conceived from our redemption and the spiritual children who will flourish because of it. And He knows the dark shadow that has been cast over our culture by a well-intentioned but misdirected individualism that fails to recognize the Creator—His vision for humanity, His grief over our disordered state, and His joy in our redemption. In refusing the Creator, individualism refuses what actually dignifies the creature.
It is up to us my friends to ensure that we stay aligned with the dignity our Creator and Redeemer ascribes to His creatures. Our critics may be right in pointing out how the Church has often focused on divine ideals without dealing with the reality of people. In this way, we must make every effort to champion real human freedom by walking with persons into the greater good that God has in store for them.
For that call, however clear, and however compassionate, we are, we will be scandalized. We shall be framed as a stumbling block to human freedom. This is the painful trial that St. Peter wrote about. We should not be surprised. The creature, does seek to prevail over the Creator today in the gender and sexual realm and will stop at nothing to stop those who have the audacity to lead others into sexual purity and wholeness.
This involves the sowing in of popular myths that have now become strongholds of a kind of truth – they are utterly without truth, but are now framed as THE truth that we will come up against as we seek to impart this integrity and healing. ‘To suit their desires, men will gather round a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.’ (2 Tim. 4: 3-4)
A series of charges came upon me in my church and elicited a series of meetings to address certain “scandals”.
1. The first meeting was about the scandalizing of the therapeutic community: the assault on ‘reparative therapy’ in particular. At my first meeting, I had to sit through a short video which was a warning from a poorly educated and very ill-advised therapist who knows nothing about gender development, let alone redemption, but who used it as a launching point to shut us down. ‘You are not one of those ‘change’ groups?’ What? First of all, we are not a therapy group, but a Christian discipleship group. Yet, we will stand with, fight for and be grateful for the real insights that we can glean from those who in the last 80 years have charted the development of persons and who have sought in a variety of ways to help individuals sort out the devices of heart that seek to repair what is missing or lost in our fallen lives and how that reparative drive can express itself in distorted sexual and emotional desires. Yes, I will stand with those insights, and I will not concede them to you in your misbegotten idea of reparative therapy! Secondly, I said, “we are ALL about change! If you as a Christian therapist have the audacity to challenge a group of Christians who meet in humility around the cross of Jesus Christ and condemn us because we are offering change, then you know nothing of why Jesus entered into the human realm! He came to reorder fallen humanity according to His good will and purposes, and we are absolutely seeking for that in our group.” That ended that meeting.
2. The second meeting involved the scandalizing of the spiritual community: the assault on a prayerful reliance upon the Holy Spirit to impart truth and grace where it is most needed in the lives of fractured souls. Leanne Payne writes, “The primary need of every lonely suffering soul is to be ushered into familiar communion with God through His healing presence.” Thus our task as a minister is to quiet the soul and ask for the Holy Spirit to come, come Holy Spirit, You Who searches out the deep things of the heart, we give You room to move on behalf of this one who does not know how to begin to cognitively figure out his or her life.
Now this exquisite spiritual discipline is reduced to ‘praying away the gay.’ We’ve all heard that! Snide snarky truth bearers! In truth, no-one is claiming that prayer removes same sex attraction. Rather, we are relying upon the Real Presence of God, to continually to meet us in the core ‘gaps’ of our lives where there was trauma and where there was a lack of love and where we can see vulnerability to false solutions to secure the love we need. Learning to ‘practice His Presence’ and listen for the healing Word is how our entire being is turned toward the Lord in our deepest areas of need, how He becomes everything to us. These rich disciplines are now reduced to ‘Praying away the gay…’ When someone accused us of this, honestly I felt a deep grief over a mocking spirit, this mockery of the Holy Spirit’s power to heal foundational wounds. It is a spirit of mockery! We must be on the alert for these lies now sown into the popular mindset. That are used by men and women who used to be our brothers and sisters. We must be prepared to give an answer. God gave me the presence of mind to give one. I was able to proceed.
3. Next, out of the scandalizing of the therapeutic community and the spiritual community, comes the rise of the ‘gay Christian’. Here I am not referring to the obviously deceived who now claim freedom to have ‘gay’ lovers, spouses, etc. Honestly, that is a big, “duh!” Like really! No subtlety, no nuances, we just now that is wrong. Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! “You are deceived man! Doesn’t fly! No biblical basis for this whatsoever!” But what we are up against today, is far more deceptive and subtle than this, these are much bigger strongholds that are polluting the wells, that might otherwise be ours in the body of Christ. I am referring now to those who on biblical grounds refuse to act out homosexually but who embracing the ‘gay self’ and who claim that their wholeness is tied up in integrating their ‘gay selves.’ Eve Tushnet, the writer of “Gay and Catholic” who writes extensively for the movement, that most summarizes the gay Christian celibate movement, called ‘spiritual friendship’ wrote in her book, after 10 years of being a Catholic Christian, “I seem to become more lesbian with time.” I seem to become more lesbian over time? Hmmm, this is the fruit of your sanctification, you seem to be becoming more lesbian with time?! And Wesley Hill, the founder of the spiritual friendship movement, has evolved from viewing his same-sex attraction as broken into what he now embraces as his way of experiencing reality. In his latest book, he now describes his ‘gay self’ winsomely without any openness to God transforming him. In its subtlety, with its nod to biblical orthodoxy, the ‘abstaining gay Christian’ is actually more dangerous than the ‘practicing one.’ It appeals to evangelical Christian leaders who do not want to be accused of advocating ‘reparative therapy’ and ‘praying away the gay’; it is seen as the middle ground, a resting place from the culture wars where downtrodden gay-identified Christians, can be just that, as long as they don’t do the dirty deed.
I want to tell you how subtle this is. I have four children – three sons. Of my two eldest sons, one went to Wheaton with Wesley Hill and the other went to the Episcopal Seminary where Wesley Hill is a professor. So they both know Wesley and have had experiences with him in Christian settings. My one son, who is a pastor, a lovely guy, he did a year-long internship with us at Desert Stream, but has no SSA, but certainly has fallenness, but also received a lot of healing, and certainly grown up around Desert Streams, and been surrounded by many who have been in route becoming men and women of God, open horizons for Jesus to do His will and work in their lives. He began to be kind of strange around me. I asked, my son, “Nick, what’s going on? What’s the problem?” He asked me, “Dad have you read Wesley Hill’s book, you know his first book (Washed and Waiting)? I said, “Yes.” He said, “You know dad, you know… a lot of people aren’t like you. A lot of people, don’t really, you know sorta come out of this – (homosexuality – being gay).” I said, “wait a minute! Nick, what?! What’s going on?” And he referred me back to Wesley Hill’s book (Washed and Waiting). Reading that book was enough for him to be so exposed, so onboard with the opening of new horizons in Christ Jesus for people to become so on board with an idea that persons with sexual and relational brokenness don’t really find freedom, and it had the effect of closing the horizons of freedom for people. My other son, who is not so impressionable, spoke with his pastor, a big evangelical pastor in town about Desert Stream Ministries. He mentioned, that he wasn’t in the ministry but wanted his pastor to know about the ministry. The pastor, who had been exposed to “spiritual friendship” and Wesley Hill, said to him, “well it sounds like you are dealing with those very few people who experience the miracle. The miracle of change. We really don’t expect that miracle here.” You see, it is a way of thinking. Yes, there are some people who get it, but most us don’t, most of us just sluff around. God doesn’t really help. But were trying to be so cool. Trying to be on board with the culture. We are not going to ask too much of these poor people. These are my two sons who were exposed to this subtle ideology and were confused by that book. ‘Spiritual Friendship’ refuses the transforming power of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit at the level where it is intended. In encouraging a generation to refuse the call of the Gospel at the level of our sexual desires and for advocating that persons identify with their same-sex attraction, the ‘Spiritual Friendship’ movement resists the Gospel, and quietly divides and deflects the bright witness of the Church for all persons impacted by same-sex attraction. All of us!
We are scandalized now at nearly every turn for advocating the transforming power of Jesus Christ. Our good news has become the bad news in nearly every sector of society. Should we despair? St. Peter calls us to ‘Rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ.’ (1 Peter 4:13) We are right where Jesus wants us. He calls us to come where HE is, in the burn, in the fire of suffering. At every turn, even in my own household, we are challenged for the hope we uphold. Such suffering is intended to refine us, to make us more like Jesus. How can this be so? I offer a couple of suggestions:
1. Burning off every presumptive attitude, like ‘My life should be easier’, ‘People should understand me’, ‘You should respect me’! Lay it down, people. We are called to offer truths that people no longer believe, or have even heard. Stay humble, stay child-like, always ready to give an answer to the hope you have, to clarify the hope, where some of the myths have been woven into people’s thinking, but I would also urge you not to belaboring the issue where there is no openness to the hope. Discerning—wise as serpents. For those whose ears are closed, shake off the dust. One of the great Catholic reformers in the 1960s open the doors and windows to the Church, in the power of the Holy Spirit, who died young as a result of his efforts said this, at the end: ‘We have worked hard, we have served, and loved people. We have not stopped to gather stones the stones which were thrown against us from one side or the other, to throw them back.’
2. I think these challenges can burning off our need to be right; some of us who are a little narcissistic need to be right, because I am right. We must remember the much deeper level that we are standing for the true dignity of other people. This trial is reducing us to love. We stand for the truth of human dignity for the redemption of persons. We need to express love of the dignity SO please, let us not return the hatred we incur and are accused of with hatred. I remember when I was going through this with my boys. I was having a family meal, and honestly, I just blew up, I just got ignited, and I blew up! I said my truth in the most terrible way possible. My one son who is very cool and objective said, “dad, when you speak like that, neither we or anyone is going to listen to you. He was right!
When we are persecuted for being bitter, ranting fools, we deserve it. Stay cool. Remember, we are doing this for persons so they can be set free for the truth of their humanity. All for love! At the end, we shall be judged by how much we loved, for the truth that we have held of what actually dignifies humanity. At the end of these talks, these difficult talks, my pastor said, “You know, in the midst of this trial, I like that way you have responded, (by the work of the Holy Spirit two or three people from Living Waters came to my pastor and explained what the Living Waters did for them. I didn’t press them, they just did it on their own, kind of a divine encounter). My pastor assured me that I had done no harm, but had helped people. So proceed! Proceed!
3. Remember, we are holding out for the dignity of our fellows, not their desecration. We hold fast to the true value of the individual, made in His image, endowed with the glory of God in his or her gendered humanity, a beloved object of His mercy amid the brokenness of that image. We are the ones who are truly for the individual! Jesus came to teach each one of us in the specifics of our blind and broken states and made a way for our eyes to be open—to Himself, to the beauty we could not see in ourselves, and to the beautiful community around us that helped us realize His will for our gendered humanity. This is our call: not to win a culture war–it is to make a way for individuals to find their way home to the Father’s house. We thus do everything in our power to equip the Church to be the community that is clear and compassionate, a Light that shatters the darkness shrouding our sexual humanity today.
In closing –
The darkness is increasing in the culture and is certainly not getting better for us. It will get worse. Our call to impart sexual integrity and gender clarity are increasingly never more scandalous, so we hide ourselves in the God who is scandalized on the cross. St. Peter says that ‘we can rejoice now in our participation in Christ’s suffering, so that we may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed.’ (1st Peter 4: He refers here to the glory of the soon-coming King—a time we wait for as we suffer now, united with the Crucified. Pain today, glory tomorrow. We wait in hope, and we endure hardship in the present, aware that suffering is temporary and is required of serious Christians.
Then St. Peter takes it deeper in verse 14: ‘If you are insulted for Jesus’ sake, you are blessed by the Spirit of glory that rests upon you now.’ Peter does not only leave us with a future hope. He actually invokes a truth of the Cross that St. John the Apostle centered upon in his gospel. The shame (this is the key) the shame of Christ Crucified is also and at the same time the glory of God in Jesus Christ! Only the gospel of John majors on this theme of fusing shame and glory. Only John sees that when God is high and lifted up on a Cross is His glory most marvelously revealed. Peter is not dividing them up saying that the glory is only after the crucifixion. He was saying that the glory IS the crucifixion. This is why St. John could say to the Johannine Community that had been kicked out of the temple, because of their faith in Jesus Christ. They that had been pounded from normal and respectable society because of their standing firm in the stumbling block. This is why he could say your shame is their glory. The Glory is resting upon you right now. The Spirit of the living God is resting upon you in you being hounded. One greater has come to you, take hold of it. This is the power of St. John’s preaching of the cross. This is its power! We had to take hold of this. The shame is the glory! The rejection IS the qualification. Suffering is the mark of favor. Woe to you when everyone who only speaks good things. Isn’t he so nice? Isn’t she so nice!? The shame of the Cross is the glory of the Cross. And the Spirit of Glory rests upon us mostly deeply, when we are least understood. When we don’t get the high five! Instead, we get the scorn. This is the occasion for God’s Glory to rest upon us. The glory of Jesus Christ fully raised from the dead shines upon us as we hold fast to the whole truth of Jesus’ transforming power for persons impacted by same-sex attraction. Like Paul said, I have preached to you the Whole Good News, the Whole Message, the full truth, I have held nothing back! In truth, the insults we incur—the unbelief, the smug ‘we know better now’, the compromises everywhere, the church doors that close, the friends who become enemies, family members who become strangers—rejoice, the Spirit of glory is resting upon you! The shame of the cross is the glory of Jesus Christ, the Risen Lord! St. John and St. Peter fuse the shame of the cross with its glory, and the persecuted, insulted early community of Christ glows in the glorious shame of that Cross. So must we, as we hold out the Whole Truth for persons impacted by same-sex attraction.
Some of you are in this burn, you are in it! You’re in this, whether in a hand-full of relationships, or with a specific person, one important relationship, some in small ministries, some large ministries, pastors. You’re in this! Some of you in Churches, but some of you wish you weren’t. You are saying, “I don’t wanna to tell the whole truth – too many e-mails and to many people who leave. Too many people leave! I don’t want to take the heat of this! I’m going to only tell a little bit of the truth!” This is the place where you say, “Am I going to stand in that place with Christ crucified?” Am I going to be hounded from my place of worship? Maybe. The good news is that The Holy Spirit is all over that and all over you. And… now, I want to pray for you today, for those of you in that place that are feeling the burn. Say to God, I need more of You to stand in the burn, to pray that you be ignited by the burn, to burn brightly for Christ today, for the saving of many. Instead of being deadened by our insulted minority status, let us understand this as the earmark of our anointing, of our humble, high calling. Pray for strength and infilling! Rejoice in doing the really hard right thing. Embrace the cross; despise the shame. It really is hard, but the Lord will sustain.
Closed with prayer and ministry time
- Transformation of Persons with Same-Sex Attraction: Becoming Who We Are
- Advocating for Marriage
- ‘Gay Christian’ and ‘Spiritual Friendships?’
- Will the Church Show Justice and Mercy to the Same-Sex Attracted?
- A Grace-filled and Truthful Response Regarding “Gay Christianity”
- The Gospel According To Jesus Christ and the “Gay Christian?”
- Gay Christian – Oxymoron
I have the honor to speak again at this year’s Men’s Rewired Conference. This year’s conference is divided up into “Truth Tracks.” My Truth Track is: Becoming Men of Truth and Integrity in God’s Divine Intent for Sexuality. This truth track will encourage men to embrace God’s divine intent for their sexuality. The goal will be to embrace the Father’s truth and to be equipped with practical Biblical steps for freedom where one walks with consistent relational and sexual integrity. This will be a call of opening up one’s secret world of thinking before God, and then eventually before men who are safe to confess. We will discuss many verses of the Bible and in the discussion bringing practical application of the word of God so it becomes alive and active in the soul; not merely hearing the law being proclaimed. It is imperative that the word of God is received relationally in the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome all forms of sexual sin. When Romans 6:12-14 & Romans 12:1-2 is lived out in the power of God’s transformative–grace by the Holy Spirit, God’s Word and His perfect Ways bring about change and joy in men’s lives!
“Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.” Romans 6:12-14
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:1-2
Key Verse: God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…, So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them (Imago Dei). Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it…” (Gen. 1:26a, 1:27a).
Identify: Knowing the amazing plan and gift of God in ‘Imago Dei’ (the image of God in male and female) and His Divine Intent for Human Sexuality. The goal of God is for men to be conquerors in the divine romance.
Immerse: Exploring the Biblical Truths to impart the power (grace) of God in a world that has made sexual sin normal.
I will be one of several speakers this year’s Men Rewired Conference. I look forward to sharing these four truth tracks: Identify, Immerse, Share and Endure. These tracks will empower us in overcoming common struggles and enduring as men of integrity in our sexuality.
The conference takes place in southern Oklahoma in the beautiful Arbuckle Mountains at the Falls Creek Baptist Conference Centers. (Here is my complete Handout for ALL four Tracks).
MAN TALK from Men’s Rewired 2015
Seek the things above!
Set your mind on things above! Set your mind on Heaven, where Jesus rules and reigns!
Put to death your members, the desires of your flesh body (be a doer) – put to death fornication (living together and having sexual relations outside of marriage), put to death uncleanness, put to death evil lusts and passions, covetousness and idolatry! Putting to death requires doing! To be a doer of God’s word is not legalism, His grace provides power. You cannot even know or see to be a doer – to put to death the deeds of the flesh without grace. The question becomes, “Will you humble yourself to receive God’s empowering grace?”
Receive the warning that the wrath of God is on those who practice such things… in other words, if you justify the sinful behaviors found in Colossians Chapter 3 and elsewhere found in the New Testament, you are already under the wrath of God = equals = being turned over to your sins.
IF you are truly a believer in Jesus Christ as Lord, you put to death the deeds of the flesh – damnable behavior, because of GRACE. His grace actually gives you the ability to see it is a life and death matter!
You also put away: anger, hatefulness, wrath, evil communication from your mouth, and you do not practice lying.
Because you are now holy, you PUT ON tender mercies, kindness and humility, with all longsuffering and patience walking out forgiveness because you have been forgiven. Putting on, is being a doer of God’s word.
Wives truly submit to your husbands, and husbands truly love your wives and forgive them. Children are to always obey, respect and honor their parents. Fathers be kind to your children and do not provoke them to bitter roots. Obey your bosses. Submission, loving, forgiving, obeying respecting and honoring all require being a doer.
So the grace of God has appeared instructing us to live godly lives, and to be doers of the word of God, not merely hearers. We are not under grace by merely having a mental assent to the word of God. Grace actually gives us empowerment to be doers of the Word of God!
Just a few commands in this ONE chapter of Colossians Chapter 3 to be a doer and not merely a hear of God’s word and the power of grace.
This must be the most grievous thing I’ve ever written in exposing one of the most dangerous things I’ve ever witnessed from a so-called Christian. Unfortunately there are critics, mainly those who are afraid and passive, who believe it is unnecessary or even unkind to expose or talk about the tragic morphing of Alan Chambers into a gay-identified “Christian” and his influence of leading people back into homosexuality. They are at the very least terribly naive, and at the worst blatant cowards (Rev. 21:8). I am writing this post today with great sorrow, having grieved deeply since 2011 over the betrayal of trust from the Exodus board and the subsequent demise of Exodus. The Scripture actually teaches otherwise about the need to bring correction, we are to rebuke and correct if we sincerely love like God. The following Scriptures were used as a pathway in rebuking and correcting Alan Chambers, Clark Whitten and the Board of Exodus in 2012: Matt. 18:15-17, Gal. 6:1-4, Prov. 27:5-6, Prov. 28:23, 1 Tim. 5:20-21, 2 Tim. 2:23-26, 2 Tim. 4:1-4. Unfortunately, our pleas were to no avail as Exodus later closed its doors forever. Against all the ministry leaders throughout the Exodus network, the Exodus Board dismissed all cautions, hardened their hearts and pursued their own will in empowering Alan Chambers.
Paul the Apostle has named names and written in his letters open rebukes and warnings which will remain forever as Scripture of those with much lesser offenses than that of Alan Chambers and Clark Whitten. Do you understand that Chambers and Whitten are now teaching the damnable heresy that practicing homosexuals can go to heaven under their perverted message of grace?
Alan Chambers once communicated that he believed the Bible. But now, Alan Chambers has morphed into a gay activist forsaking Biblical Orthodoxy and presenting “gay Christianity.” Chambers was hired to serve the ministries of Exodus. However, Chambers had other plans. He and his pastor Clark Whitten devised a careful plan to systematically change the by-laws of Exodus so Alan could take complete control and have the leading ownership of Exodus International.
Today Chambers’ idea of “freedom,” is being freed from what he calls “religious slavery,” which translates that no moral laws need to be obeyed in his doctrine of “grace.” His new book, “My Exodus: Leaving the Slavery of Religion, Loving the Image of God in Everyone” is soon to be released. (Update September 2015: book title changed to: “My Exodus: From Fear to Grace”) Chambers’ book is being published by Zondervan who has been cautioned that he is not Biblical and promotes homosexuality. Yet Zondervan’s response to me was a complete endorsement of Alan Chambers in full knowledge of Alan Chambers’ unbiblical beliefs. This tragic morphing and mutation has Chambers believing he is righteous and loving in convincing young people to embrace homosexuality. Alan also speaks for God and proclaims that God Almighty is “cool” with Jeff Chu’s homosexual behavior and his gay “marriage.” It might be hard to believe, but you can hear all this for yourself in the video posted below: “In Alan Chambers’ Own Words – Part 2”.
Very few people knew about what was happening in the secret world of Alan Chambers in 2008 through 2011, which was more than half of his tenure as President of Exodus International. However, in the videos below, it is very clear now that Alan deceived many, as he actually did not believe the Bible (hear in his own words “I never believed…”). In 2010, I started telling close friends and leaders (all who eventually helped start the new Restored Hope Network) that I was concerned about the direction and teaching I was hearing from the Exodus office. I was the volunteer Chairman of the Exodus Ministry Council and felt obligated in protecting the truth, the vision and ministry of Exodus as a network. Unfortunately, not one board member did anything during the implosion to stop Chambers or Whitten.
Clark Whitten (former Exodus Board Chairman & Alan’s mentor for over 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. 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). Unfortunately, to no avail because Chambers and Whitten had already put the plan in place in changing the by-laws of Exodus to make Exodus a “ministry” possession of Alan Chambers. The other tragic part of this scenario were the leaders who naively were more loyal to Chambers than to the Word of God during the implosion, many who mocked me, and continue to dislike any attention to this serious situation.
You can now clearly hear in his own words in the videos and the other source links below for confirmation of the direction of Alan Chambers and his morphed beliefs of today. It is revealing now that Alan Chambers as Exodus President, hearing from his own words he didn’t actually believe the Bible. Alan calls it being set free from religious slavery and bondage. Ironically what he calls “freedom” is actually a manifestation in Chambers embracing his “gay self” once again and the gay community as his own, the community who pridefully enjoys sexual slavery and bondage. Alan believes he has received a revelation from God, or perhaps better communicated, a revelation from his pastor Clark Whitten. This so-called divine revelation that Clark Whitten believes he has received, is supposedly greater than all the Church reformers on the subject of grace. They actually believe that grace gives them such liberty they no longer need to acknowledge their sins before God or confess their sins.  These teachings and doctrines are nothing new. It is simply antinomianism repackaged. It is a perverse cheap grace message at Grace Orlando Church that now allows for practicing homosexuals to go to heaven. This is true for Randy Thomas (former Vice President of Exodus), who has also embraced being gay again, who is also praying and pining away for his husband as revealed in a recent Facebook post. Both Chambers and Thomas attend Grace Orlando and have been mentored by Clark Whitten. There is no fear of God because they teach that repentance isn’t really necessary and fearing God is religious bondage. Alan communicates our only needs as Christians are to believe in the historical facts about Jesus and to say you love Him. Chambers continues to communicate his love for Jesus and also turns around and tells people they can live in complete disobedience to Jesus by living in homosexuality. Chambers and Whitten both communicate with Christian terminology and Christianese but mean something different than sincere Bible-believing Christians; now tragically they are leading people astray under this perverse grace teaching. Please watch the following videos in full and read the additional hyperlinked articles below for a complete understanding of the tragic implosion of Exodus International and the failed leadership of Alan Chambers under the mentorship of his pastor Clark Whitten.♦
In Alan Chambers’ Own Words (Part 1) Released in 2012.
In Alan Chambers’ Own Words – Part 2 Released 2015
“Alan Chambers: A Cautionary Tale” was produced to give a revealing and short glimpse into Alan Chambers’ narcism as he communicates “I Think” over 50 times and yet does not refer to what “God Thinks” even once from the Word of God.
Alan Chambers Proclaims His Gospel – A shorter video edited from the “In Alan Chambers’ Own Words – Part 2” for a quick understanding of the egregious nature of the Chambers’ heretical messaging.
The following paragraphs are in part from an article written by Laurie Higgins in June of 2013 with Illinois Family Institute and are used with permission.
The president of Exodus International, Alan Chambers, has announced in an extended apology to homosexuals, and that he is closing Exodus International, the ministry for those who experience unwanted same-sex attraction, and from its ashes he is creating a new organization titled “Reduce Fear.” [This past year Alan abandoned “Reduce Fear” as an organization and merely promotes himself now]. The “fear” to which the name refers emanates from theologically orthodox churches that teach the whole counsel of God, including the pesky parts about God’s condemnation of homosexual acts. Apparently, Chambers doesn’t want to scare those who affirm homosexuality with bothersome biblical truths about eternity.
This doesn’t come as a surprise to those who have been closely watching Chambers’ slow abandonment of orthodoxy and his concomitant embrace of the “gay Christian” movement, which promotes the heresy that Christians may affirm a homosexual identity and remain in homosexual relationships.
Chambers communicated in June of 2012 in an interview with The Atlantic, he articulated a tidbit of his exegetically questionable theology:
Atlantic: Does that mean a person living a gay lifestyle won’t go to hell, as long as he or she accepts Jesus Christ as personal savior?
Chambers: My personal belief is that everyone has the opportunity to know Christ, and that while behavior matters, those things don’t interrupt someone’s relationship with Christ. But that’s a touchy issue in the conservative group I run with. (emphasis added)
For those who remain uncertain about Chambers’ deviation from the path of theological soundness, please make sure to watch Part 1 and 2 of “In Alan Chambers’ Own Words” above.
Chambers’ transition to heresy has been accompanied by dizzying changes to Exodus’ Board of Directors over the past two years. Here’s a glimpse into that protean board.
Feb. 2011 board included Dennis Jernigan, Ron Dennis, and Jeff Winter
By June 2011 board had added John Warren and Don & Diana Schmierer
By Oct. 2011 board had lost Ron Dennis and Jeff Winter and added Mike Goeke and Patrick Peyton
By Dec. 2011 board had added Kathy Koch
By June 2012 board had lost Dennis Jernigan
By August 2012 board had lost Mike Goeke and Patrick Payton
By March 2013 board had added Bob Ragan
By April 2013 board had lost Bob Ragan
By June 2013 board had added Tony Moore
The closing board of Exodus consisted of: Clark & Martha Whitten, Don & Diana Schmierer, Kathy Koch, and Tony Moore. This is the group that empowered Alan Chambers through the implosion and closure of Exodus International.
The troubling constant on the board is board chairman Rev. Clark Whitten about whose theology Dr. Robert A. Gagnon has warned here and here. Clark Whitten has been influencing Alan Chambers for over 15 years as his pastor and the board chairman of Exodus. Alan Chambers is the fruit of Clark Whitten’s oversight and ministry. Clark has referred to Alan, “like a son.”
It gets dirtier!
Alan Chambers now calls “evangelical” a “dirty word” that he no longer applies to Exodus or to himself (“Guests in an Ever Changing Culture—Letter from Alan Chambers March 2013”). He complains that Evangelicalism is too “black and white” and he assures us that God is not “black and white,” which presumably means that God’s aim is to shade the light into gray. The story of Christ is now the story of Gray breaking into the darkness.
Evangelicalism, Mr. Chambers complains, gives too much attention to “right and wrong” and requires one to “take a stand” on moral issues. Chambers cries: “Gone are the days of evangelizing through scare tactics, moral legislation, and church discipline.” So instead the Exodus leadership prefers to assure self-professed Christians who engage in unrepentant homosexual practice that they are going to heaven irrespective of whether they bring their life into line with a confession of Christ’s lordship. The Exodus leadership refuses to take a stand against “gay marriage” even as it takes public policy stances on issues that homosexual activists support. And the Exodus leadership categorically rejects church discipline despite the fact that it is commanded by Jesus and Paul.
In June of 2013 Alan Chambers even went so far as to insert secretly the e-mail address of Jeremy Hooper, an abrasive homosexual activist, into the middle of a private group email thread containing a number of pro-family leaders (including mine). This led to a number of misrepresentations online by homosexual activist sites and even Salon.com. This deceitful alignment with a person who maligns those who believe in a male-female foundation for marriage is not exactly a model for Christian conduct, certainly not for someone leading what is supposed to be a Christian ministry.
In an Exodus post Leslie Chambers affirmed her husband’s severance of the transformed life from genuine saving faith, saying that while obedience to God is preferred it is not “required”. Neither Leslie nor Alan appears to realize that a necessary byproduct of true faith is a life lived for God.
As Dr. Gagnon mentioned, Chambers’ dissolution of Exodus was accompanied by his serious ethical lapse regarding an email group. A couple of months ago, a well-known and well-respected conservative author sent an email to a group of conservatives. Chambers responded to the entire group, angry that a person or persons in this large group have allegedly used terms in some context that Chambers finds offensive. He never identified the person or persons who used the term/s, nor did he identify the context.
One of the email recipients noticed that Chambers had surreptitiously added homosexual activist Jeremy Hooper, who has a blog titled Good As You (G.A.Y.). When confronted about the stealth addition of Hooper, Alan defensively admitted that he had, indeed, done so in the hope that Hooper would report on the email exchange and that the “good and decent people” on the list would be shamed into publicly exposing and rebuking others whom they may not know for offenses Chambers would not reveal.
I asked Chambers the following questions, which he refused to answer:
- Who are the people who deserve public rebuking and what specifically did they do to deserve to be rebuked?
- If he thought there was something “unrighteous” and “evil” (Chambers’ terms) going on, why didn’t he expose it himself and publicly rebuke the person or persons whom he believed deserved public rebuking?
- How did he justify betraying a trust and trying to publicly shame “good and decent” people for what he perceived as their failure to rebuke unnamed people for using words he viewed as inappropriate in unidentified contexts—actions, by the way, that he had not done?
No ministry should ever tell those who experience same-sex attraction or any other sin inclination that there’s a human way to eradicate all sinful impulses. If Exodus staff conveyed that unbiblical idea to those to whom they ministered, they erred.
Conversely no Christian should be told that God will not free them from same-sex attraction or that they will never experience heterosexual attraction, for those too are erroneous ideas.
Scripture tells us that God will free us from bondage to sin, but that full sanctification does not come in this life. We are promised that in this life, God will give us the power to resist our sinful impulses, which for most of us persist at least in attenuating strength.
God does not, however, give us permission to affirm our sinful impulses or act upon them. We are to pursue lives of holiness—which will never include homosexual relationships.
Since Exodus has abandoned orthodoxy, it is a good thing that it is shuttering its doors. Fortunately, a far better ministry exists to fill a desperate need: Restored Hope Network
When we read about prior heresies, they seem like distant historical curiosities, but right now we are eyewitnesses to the birth and growth of a heresy in our lifetime. Let’s hope and pray that it’s soon relegated to the dustbin of heresies.♦
The reason for the creation of the “In Alan Chambers’ Own Words, Part 1 and Part 2 is to reveal the morphing heresy. Part 1 is from 2011 and 2012 interviews and Part 2 is from Alan Chambers’ interview from the Level Ground – February 2015 and from his own words when speaking at the Glory Tabernacle, October 2014. He clearly communicates heresy and leading people astray. In Alan Chambers’ Own Words Part 1 and Part 2 were also created from a Scriptural mandate to correct, rebuke and expose those who are teaching false doctrines leading souls to hell. Matt. 18:17, Acts 20:29-31, Jude 1:4, Gal. 1:6-8, 1 Tim. 5:20-21, Titus1:10-16, 2 Peter 2:1-22, 2 Peter 3:14-18. Both Parts, 1 and 2 of Alan Chambers’ in His Own Words were also created to warn leaders in the Church globally of the perverse grace teachings of Clark Whitten, former Exodus Board Chairman and Alan Chambers’ pastor. These videos reveal Alan Chambers’ inconsistencies in his own words and expose his grave heretical teaching of perverse grace leading souls astray. These videos were also created to call the Board of Directors with Exodus to accountability and responsibility.
Exodus may have imploded, but, there is hope! There is the Restored Hope Network with many ministries and counselors to help overcome and find last freedom in a legitimate relationship with Jesus Christ as Lord. The Exodus Board of 2013 thought they were closing down ministry for good, but they were wrong! The Exodus Board of Directors from 2012 and 2013 did not heed the warnings from the RHN founders and many others. Now the very warnings have come to pass. Alan is promoting “gay Christianity.” However, there are more people today helping people overcome homosexuality with orthodox biblical clarity, much more than that of the former days of Exodus. Therefore, we will rejoice in the Lord our God and for His Truth!
“Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His mercy, to deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine.” Psa. 33:18-19
 Hymenaeus, Alexander, (1 Tim. 1:20) Phygellus, Hermogenes, (2 Tim. 1:15) Hymenaeus, Philetus (2 Tim. 2:17), Demas (2 Tim. 4:9-10), Alexander (2 Tim. 4:14), Cretans (Titus 1:12) 9 names mentioned whose offenses were much less than that of Clark Whitten and Alan Chambers. As the Apostle Paul said of Alexander the Coopersmith, these men have done the Body of Christ much harm.
Sources on the History of the Demise of Exodus
- A New Organization for Ex-Gays and How the World Sees the Church and Why[interview with Stephen Black] with Dr. Michael Brown (radio interview)
- 6 Lessons From the Collapse of Exodus International by Michael Brown (web article)
- Exodus on a Collision Course with Jesus by Dr. Robert Gagnon (web article)
- ‘Ex-gay’ therapy takes a hit with the collapse of Exodus International: A Christian ministry self-destructs over theological differences and poor leadership [interview with Anne Paulk, Executive Director, Restored Hope Ministries] by Lianne Laurence (web article)
- ‘Gay’ Recovery Group Returns to Bondage by Scott Lively (web article)
- A Response to Exodus: Don’t Apologize for the Truth by J. Lee Grady (web article)
- Exodus International Closes Its Doors Following Troubling Leadership of Alan Chambers by Laurie Higgins (web article)
- Exodus International Flees the Promised Land by Rev. Mark H. Creech (web article)
- The Unfortunate Demise of Exodus International by Nathan Cherry (web article)
- Exodus International Closes After Alan Chambers’ Apology by Erin Roach (web article)
- Dr. Robert Gagnon from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary discusses the closing of Exodus International with Janet Mefferd (radio interview)
- Anderson Cooper Interviews Alan Chambers on Denny Burk’s blog (video interviews)
- Exodus International to Shut Down; Ministry President Apologizes to Gay Community by Sam Storms (blog post)
- Citizen Link Interview of Anne Paulk Concerning the Exodus Closure (web interview)
- Time for a Change of Leadership at Exodus?by Robert A. J. Gagnon, Ph.D.
- Cheap (Perverse) Grace Masquerading as Pure Grace by Robert A. J. Gagnon, Ph.D.
- Initial DSM Response to Exodus by Andrew Comiskey (PDF)
- Exodus: Letting Go, Hope Rising by Andrew Comiskey (Blog)
- Being a “Simple-Minded Jesus Lover” Is No Excuse for Really Bad Theology. Alan Chambers dodges the real issue at hand and inadvertently plays the role of judge.by Robert A. J. Gagnon, Ph.D.
- The Gospel of False Assurance, and More Evidence of the Slippery Slope by Dr. Michael Brown on Line of Fire (Audio)