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.
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
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Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"
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