Alan Chambers is either a hero or the villain for closing Exodus. Some are asking why he did not just leave. Others are asking what certain aspects of his apology mean. Still others are wondering where he stands theologically. Even after its closure, Alan continues to get hammered with suspicious questions.
In light of all this, I have been thinking a lot about Chambers. Specifically, what was it like for him when evangelical churches began disconnecting from Exodus five years ago. It was during this time in which there was a mass migration of evangelical churches from anything related to culture war. Exodus was the biggest causality of this posture shift.
Yet when Alan began revealing his own posture shift away from culture war two years ago, few of these churches came back to Exodus. And now, as Alan shuts the doors of Exodus, some of these same churches are criticizing him for being too ambiguous about where he stands. The harder line evangelical organizations that relied heavily upon Exodus as “Exhibit A” for their public arguments against homosexuality – they too left Exodus in the dust the moment they detected a softer tone.
Alan Chambers watched nearly every segment of the evangelical church abandon Exodus.
When you experience rejection by your own community for trying to get Jesus right, you begin to feel the pain that the LGBT+ Community has felt in their interactions with evangelicals. The more you feel this pain and experience it through the lens of those outside the church, the more you are compelled to go to those outside the church with greater humility, compassion and understanding. The more you feel called to bring the real Jesus to hurting people who need to experience His love.
There is always the risk that passionate compassion can turn to biblical compromise. But that can happen in any church and any heart. With regard to Exodus, it is the first suspicion. We abandoned Exodus and demanded that they look less like culture war. Exodus changed, and then we accused them of theological collapse. We pulled their funding. No wonder they shut down.
God works in mysterious ways, though. The collapse of Exodus began when the evangelical church pulled their support, but it ends with Chambers reflecting Christ-like humility and compassion to the Gay Community. If you ask me, this looks like the Gospel at work. There is beauty in the ashes…
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