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Among those who have a conviction that the Bible frowns on same-sex sexual activity, there is nonetheless a diversity of opinion on issues like whether there is an unchosen orientation, and whether Scripture calls folks with the orientation to achieve a "re-wiring" through some sort of therapy.

The organization Exodus Ministries recently received attention in the news for changing its approach to reparative / re-orientation therapies. Once an advocate of "pray away the gay," the founder of Exodus Ministries has now publically said that reparative therapy does not change orientation and apologized for the "trauma" inflicted on those who tried to seek re-orientation through it.

Q: Does this mean that there were any changes in their consensus on the theology of orientation.

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I suppose you are really looking for the cause of the change behind Exodus Ministries' conversion therapy schemes, correct? –  Anonymous Aug 5 '13 at 12:36
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It might be helpful to identify what the change has been. –  Narnian Aug 5 '13 at 15:54
    
thanks for editing, folks –  pterandon Aug 6 '13 at 16:30

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

Exodus International, and its founder, Alan Chambers, recently made news by very publicly changing its methodology of helping to change homosexual orientations. Once derisively called "pray away the gay," Exodus' insistence that homosexual orientation can be changed through prayer has been abandoned. Futhermore, on June 19, 2013, Exodus International willingly ceased all operations. This caused a situation in which Chambers said:

It is also strange to be an outcast from powerful portions of both the gay community and the Christian community. Because I do not completely agree with the vocal majorities in either group and am forging a new place of peaceful service in and through both, I will likely continue to be an outsider to some degree.

In his apology letter here, Alan Chambers writes:

And then there is the trauma that I have caused. There were several years that I conveniently omitted my ongoing same-sex attractions. I was afraid to share them as readily and easily as I do today. They brought me tremendous shame and I hid them in the hopes they would go away. Looking back, it seems so odd that I thought I could do something to make them stop. Today, however, I accept these feelings as parts of my life that will likely always be there. The days of feeling shame over being human in that way are long over, and I feel free simply accepting myself as my wife and family does. As my friends do. As God does.

He is apologizing for not for doctrine, but implementation. He apologizes for what he considers to be an ommission, not a doctrine. He explictly states:

More than anything, I am sorry that so many have interpreted this religious rejection by Christians as God’s rejection. I am profoundly sorry that many have walked away from their faith and that some have chosen to end their lives. For the rest of my life I will proclaim nothing but the whole truth of the Gospel, one of grace, mercy and open invitation to all to enter into an inseverable relationship with almighty God.

I cannot apologize for my deeply held biblical beliefs about the boundaries I see in scripture surrounding sex, but I will exercise my beliefs with great care and respect for those who do not share them. I cannot apologize for my beliefs about marriage. But I do not have any desire to fight you on your beliefs or the rights that you seek. My beliefs about these things will never again interfere with God’s command to love my neighbor as I love myself.

In making this very public about face, he is clear that he writes this out of a desire for radical alignment with Christ:

My desire is to completely align with Christ, his Good News for all and his offer of peace amidst the storms of life. My wife Leslie and my beliefs center around grace, the finished work of Christ on the cross and his offer of eternal relationship to any and all that believe. Our beliefs do not center on “sin” because “sin” isn’t at the center of our faith. Our journey hasn’t been about denying the power of Christ to do anything – obviously he is God and can do anything

In short, he saying, "I was wrong about the how, not the what." As such, this is clearly not theological change, but rather a tactical one.

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Superb answer, thanks again for editing. But don't your quotes prove the premise that there is in fact a change in the theology of morality of having-the-orientation (if not a change in morality of acting-on-desires)? –  pterandon Aug 8 '13 at 11:20

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