Does the closure of Exodus International mean that homosexuality cannot be overcome?

By S. Michael Houdmann, Got Questions Ministries

Recently, the most prominent "help homosexuals find deliverance" ministry, Exodus International, decided to close its doors, and its CEO, Alan Chambers, issued an apology to anyone who was hurt by the ministry's message or methodology. The LGBT community is delighted, offering the demise of Exodus International as proof that homosexuality is not something that can be, or needs to be, cured/fixed. The Christian community is confused, wondering if perhaps ministries to homosexuals are an exercise in futility, doomed to failure.

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11, ESV, emphasis added)
I am not going to discuss the specific methods Exodus International employed, commonly referred to as "reparative therapy" or "conversion therapy." There is no "therapy" that can "cure" an individual of homosexuality or any other sin. Sin is not something that can be cured through a five step process. Sin is a spiritual condition every human being is impacted by. Sin is a spiritual plague we are all infected with. Sin manifests itself in different ways in different people, but we all have it, and none of us will be completely free of it until we experience glorification in Christ's presence (1 John 3:2).

Some with homosexual tendencies experience instant and permanent freedom from homosexuality the moment they receive Jesus Christ as Savior. I have read and heard countless testimonies of this, and I take them at their word. Others who come to faith in Christ continue to struggle with homosexual desires the rest of their lives.

What we have to understand is that this is no different than any other sin. Some alcoholics are instantly freed from bondage the moment they become Christians. Other alcoholics struggle with alcoholism despite having a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. Some porn addicts never again have a temptation to view pornography after experiencing the salvation Jesus Christ offers. Other believers have to continually engage in spiritual guerrilla warfare to maintain ongoing victory over the sin of pornography.

God has His purposes in both methods of overcoming sin. If God gives you instantaneous and permanent victory over a sin, fantastic! If God instead allows you to struggle with temptations and teaches you step by step how to progressively defeat sin throughout your life, welcome to the club!

The Bible has much to say on achieving victory over sin. Please read the following articles on
How can I overcome sin in my Christian life?
What is the key to victory when struggling with sin?
Why can't I stop sinning? Please help!

The Sunday School response to overcoming sin would be to believe in Jesus, read the Bible more, pray more, and attend church more. While the Sunday School answer is overly simplistic, there is a lot of truth in it. To overcome the sin of homosexuality, or any other sin:

(1) Receive Jesus Christ as your Savior. Accept His sacrifice on the cross as the full payment of the penalty for your sins. Trust in Him, and Him alone, as your deliverer from sin and its consequences.

(2) Understand what the Bible says about sin. Understand why God hates sin. Realize what Jesus went through to provide forgiveness of sins.

(3) Ask God to help you to see sin as He sees it. Ask God to give you the strength to overcome sin. Ask God to help you to recognize the way of escape when He provides it (1 Corinthians 10:13). Ask God to protect you from the spiritual attacks and temptations of Satan and his demons. Thank God for promising that victory over sin is achievable and sustainable.

(4) Find an accountability partner. Find someone—or multiple someones—who can encourage you, counsel you, pray for you, and rebuke you if necessary. Find a church where the Word of God is proclaimed, where God is worshipped, and where spiritual growth is taught and exemplified.

The failure of Exodus International is ultimately meaningless in terms of whether homosexuality can be overcome. The Bible says that homosexuality is a sin (Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9). The Bible says that, with God's help, sin can be overcome (Romans 6:17-18; 1 Corinthians 6:11; James 4:7-8). ‘Nuff said!

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Published 7-02-13