chambers

Exodus President Alan Chambers at Concordia University in Irvine. (Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times / June 19, 2013)

One of the nation’s most powerful conservative Christian groups said it was not discouraged by Exodus International head Alan Chamber’s announcement that his ministry was closing because there are others to take its place.

While Exodus claimed to have purged thousands of people of sexual urges that tormented them, its leaders recently began expressing doubts about the mission. Last year, Chambers renounced the idea that homosexuality could be "cured."

Many saw the ministry’s closing and Chambers' announcement as a win for gay-rights advocates. Focus on the Family President Jim Daly disagreed.

“Exodus’ closing is being hailed by some as a victory and indication that Christians are abandoning long-held convictions that living with God’s design for sexuality is possible…that change is possible,” Daly in a statement to The Times. “The reality is that while Exodus will no longer exist, there are numerous Christian ministries that continue to provide excellent help to those struggling with unwanted same-sex attraction.”

Chambers, who is married to a woman and has two adopted children, told The Times he is still attracted to men and comfortably lives with that tension, but that others may be unable to do so. He said that 99% of people who went through gay-conversion therapy did not lose their same-sex desires.

Focus on the Family maintains homosexuals can stop being attracted to people of their same gender.

“God’s help usually doesn’t come as a ‘fast fix.’ It’s often a long process,” Daly said. “We’ve seen people with same-sex attraction change. We’ve seen people experience real transformation in their thoughts, behaviors, attractions and identity.”

Chambers' apology was welcomed by gay rights activists, who called it a "big surprise."

"I think it is demonstrative of the major shift that we as a society have gone through in terms of our understanding of who gay and lesbian people are and how they live," said Ross Murray, director of news and faith initiatives at gay rights group GLAAD.

Exodus officials expect to close their doors by summer’s end. It runs with a staff of nine, including Chambers, but plans to reduce to three employees by July 5. The group has an annual operating budget of $1.5 million.

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