Last month Exodus International became the opposite of what it had been. It went from helping men and women to be free of sexual strongholds to helping them feel they are OK with Christ in their sexual strongholds. The gap between “Christ accepts you as you are and cleanses you of your sins” and “Christ accepts you as you are, period” is the width of the Grand Canyon. But shoehorn enough God-words into the announcement and you will win over the unwary. Like Screwtape said: “Keep everything hazy in his mind.”
“With our tongue we will prevail” (Psalm 12:4), boasts the evil one. But temptation never comes in the form you expected; otherwise it would not be temptation. And so the command in Narnia: “Remember, remember, remember the signs. Say them to yourself when you wake in the morning and when you lie down at night. And whatever strange things may happen to you, let nothing turn your mind from following the signs. … The air will thicken. Take great care that it does not confuse your mind. And the signs which you have learned here will not look at all as you expect them to look, when you meet them there. That is why it is so important to know them by heart and pay no attention to appearances. Remember the signs and believe the signs. Nothing else matters.”
This column is only about Exodus International as the Declaration of Independence is about taxes. Homosexuality is merely one issue underscoring the necessity of knowing our “signs.” The “signs” are the Scriptures, and if we continue in only a hearsay impression of them, we are no match for Satan’s subtlety.
The “strange thing that happened” to a roomful who attended the 38th Annual Exodus Freedom Conference was the repudiation of a vision that helps people “flee from sexual immorality” (1 Corinthians 6:18): “We’re not going to control people anymore,” said director Alan Chambers. “We’re not going to tell them how they should live. We’re not going to be responsible for what they’re doing. … You are not the Holy Spirit. … We are called to proclaim … the riches of his grace and mercy. … I don’t care what you’re doing—as long as they’re inside the community.”
If in our ministry to people “we’re not going to tell them how they should live,” then Francis Schaeffer should have found a better book title than How Should We Then Live?, and Jesus would have done better in his Great Commission than to send us off to the world “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:18-20). Here is God’s own warning: “There will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them” (2 Peter 2:1). Who is the one who denies the Master but he who arrives at the conclusion that God’s power to transform is not so great after all?
The book of Nehemiah is a case study in the variety of the Enemy’s strategies against the rebuilding project of God’s people. When Satan’s proxies, Sanballat and Tobias, cannot achieve their goal by direct terrorism, they switch to flattery, helpfulness, ingratiation, and intermarriage (Nehemiah 6:1-4; 6:10-13; 6:17-19; 13:4-9; 14:23-28). Eighteen months ago Exodus International leader Chambers attended the Gay Christian Network Conference. Jesus ate with sinners and transformed their lives, but the process must not work in reverse: “You shall be as my mouth. They shall turn to you, but you shall not turn to them” (Jeremiah 15:19).
The GCN conference web page proclaims: “The annual Gay Christian Network conference brings hundreds of brothers and sisters together for fellowship, worship, support, Bible study, and more! Whether you’re LGBT, know someone who is, or just want to learn more, this is an awesome opportunity to seek God together.” Just thought you should know how an enemy talks. The instruments for seduction are not the expected ones—“Bible,” “worship,” “fellowship,” “support,” and “seek God.”
If you didn’t know better, you would think these were the good guys. But you need to know better. Read your Bibles. The times are perilous. Remember the signs and believe the signs. Nothing else matters.