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Stephen Bennett: Alan Chamber’s Got Some Explainin’ To Do

Jim Burroway

June 19th, 2007

It looks like Stephen Bennett has gotten over his initial disbelief on discovering that Alan Chambers told the Los Angeles Times that he doesn’t like the term “ex-gay” and that “by no means would we ever say change can be sudden or complete.”

Bennett’s first response was to wail, “I have to say with every breath of my being, I believe Alan COULDN’T have said the things the LA Times claimed he did.” But now it looks like reality is closing in on him, and his shock has turned to anger.

Bennett released an exceptionally long press release, in which he “condemned the irresponsible and disturbing remarks attributed to and made by Alan Chambers.”:

Bennett, along with many others pro-family leaders, were shaken Monday by Chamber’s remarks and are eagerly awaiting Exodus International’s official response to their President’s misguided statements.

…Stephen continued, “What we see here is the public divide of the pro-family movement. One camp believes ‘dialoguing’ with homosexual advocates and activists will bring about a happy middle ground and compromise for all. That, I’m afraid, will NEVER happen. You see, ‘compromise’ is not in God’s dictionary — and of course homosexual activists are loathe to compromise on their core beliefs. The other pro-family camp biblically believes homosexuality is, was and always be a sinful lifestyle that individuals were not born with, yet a lifestyle they CAN experience COMPLETE freedom from. I am in that camp. I don’t believe in encouraging a dysfunctional, dangerous and potentially deadly lifestyle, but COMPLETE liberation from it.”

I’m predicting a very entertaining cat fight coming on.

But in all seriousness, I’m encouraged by Alan’s bravery in making these statements. When I was writing my series of posts about Love Won Out, I left off at Part Four last April, leaving everyone hanging about Alan’s candid talk. I haven’t been able to finish writing Part Five, partly because I wasn’t sure how Alan’s words at that conference could possible fit in the larger picture. With these recent events, I’m glad I hesitated because Alan is now beginning to say publicly some of the things he’s previously confined to a “safe” Evangelical audience.

I think a very interesting picture may be starting to emerge. It’s still not one that I’m at all prepared to endorse. We are many miles apart on so many issues — particularly where Exodus’s political activism is concerned. And truthfully, I think we probably always will be. As I illustrated earlier today, he’s not exactly becoming an ally.

And so it will be interesting to see if this is the beginning of a new evolving message. And if it is, what role will that message fill alongside Exodus’s ongoing political activities? It will also be interesting to see if Focus on the Family and other ex-gay groups pick up on any of these messages. Nuance (yes, I’m using the term loosely) hasn’t been their strong suit.

Stephen Bennett’s broadside brings a movement to an interesting crossroads. The question now is who will epitomize the future of the ex-gay movement? Chambers? Or someone like Bennett? The choice couldn’t be more stark.

Hat tip: Scott.

See also:

Stephen Bennett: Say It Isn’t So!
Stephen Bennett: Alan Chamber’s Got Some Explainin’ To Do
Peter LaBarbera Joins Stephen Bennett In Ex-Gay Cat Fight

Comments

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Joe Brummer
June 19th, 2007 | LINK

I find Bennett’s stance that compromise is not an option deeply disturbing. As we are currently in a bloody war in the middle east with another religious group who also believes their god will not compromise. You can see where a lack of understanding, a lack of the vision of how we are all conected gets us to very ugly places. Bennett’s current view is more than scary.

Each time I read the stance of people like Bennett, I see more and more that his fear of displeasing the pro-family groups and his idea of god is the same material major wars have been created from.

Seeing others as part of ourselves is the only true way to finding peace in the world. Bennett seems to think if he disconnects or changes from the message he thinks god wants, he will burn. In reality he will make a step towards peace. Peace only comes from the bottom up. We won’t get world peace from the top down, but from each interpersonal experience we have. Compromise, negotiation and compassion are important and evident roles in that peace. Bennett seems to reject that.

Lynn David
June 20th, 2007 | LINK

What Chambers said is not what Exodus espouses [http://exodus.to/content/view/34/118/]:

Exodus affirms reorientation of same sex attraction is possible. This is a process, which begins with motivation to, and self-determination to change based upon a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. … The key outcome of this is measured by a growing capacity to turn away from temptations, a reconciling of ones identity with Jesus Christ, being transformed into His image. This enables growth towards Godly heterosexuality. Exodus recognizes that a lifelong and healthy marriage as well as a Godly single life are good indicators of this transformation.

I don’t think that his fundamentalist base will back Chambers. They may view his media appearances over the last year or so as lacking in that Christian fervor needed to head Exodus and playing into the hands of “gay activists.” Bennett is afterall saying what they want to hear, which is all important, even though it not be truth.

Emproph
June 20th, 2007 | LINK

Thank you Lynn David for the Exodus Statement on Homosexuality link:
http://exodus.to/content/view/34/118/

With all the ‘mainstream’ Exodus double speak, I’d nearly forgotten what a sick and disgusting person in the eyes of God I am.

..I remember now why I’m STILL angry.

cowboy
June 20th, 2007 | LINK

“…I left off at Part Four last April, leaving everyone hanging about Alan’s candid talk.”

Much like waiting for the next installment of A. Maupin’s Tales of the City! — wouldn’t you say?

Timothy Kincaid
June 20th, 2007 | LINK

Well lets hope, cowboy, that it isn’t an 18 year wait like it was for Maupin’s latest.

Jim Burroway
June 20th, 2007 | LINK

Maupin.

Okay. Fine. Up the pressure… ;-)

toujoursdan
June 22nd, 2007 | LINK

It’s sad to see the spirit of the age take root and “compromise” become a dirty word. Of course compromise is in God’s vocabulary. There are numerous examples of God doing that in Scripture itself when challenged on what he was going to do. There was compromise expressed by the Council of Jerusalem in the Book of Acts when it came to the demands of the Gospel.

There is no reason why people of differing beliefs can’t find a reason to get along.

Truth in Technicolor
September 11th, 2007 | LINK

Bennett has more “splain’n” to do than Chambers. Bennett, you’re bisexual. Stop shame’n it. Name it and claim it mister. And speak to us about it. It is beyond annoying to see a grown umm man, act like a bitchy little girl, hiding behind a theoligical one-liner, causing naturally born gay children pain and suicide. At least Chambers is a mature man with integrity and honesty on his side, not to mention a MUCH higher IQ than the money hungry Bennett clan. There ya go bi-guy, you’re busted.

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