After reading a recent interview in The Atlantic, Robert Gagnon is calling for Alan Chambers to resign the presidency of Exodus International (an evangelical ministry to homosexuals). This call to resign carries some weight as Gagnon is the author of the single most important book defending the biblical view of homosexuality. According the Gagnon, the interview reveals serious theological error that disqualifies Chambers from remaining on as President. Gagnon says that the error represents a pattern of settled conviction on Chambers’ part. Ironically, Chambers does not revise his views on the ethics of homosexuality in the interview. Chambers still affirms the union of one man and one woman in marriage as the only permissible sexual union. But Chambers does imply that homosexuals need not be repentant in order to be saved. Here is the relevant portion from The Atlantic interview:
The Atlantic: Does that mean a person living a gay lifestyle won’t go to hell, as long as he or she accepts Jesus Christ as personal savior?
Chambers: My personal belief is that everyone has the opportunity to know Christ, and that while behavior matters, those things don’t interrupt someone’s relationship with Christ. But that’s a touchy issue in the conservative group I run with. And there are definitely differing opinions on it. I don’t think you could even look at any one denomination and find that everyone believes exactly the same thing. On the other hand, I do believe there is a right and wrong. I believe there is clarity on the issue of all sexuality in the Bible — on every aspect of it.
It appears that this has less to do with Chambers’ views on homosexuality than it does with his views on salvation. Chambers still affirms a biblical sexual ethic. He simply argues that Christians can ignore that ethic and still be considered Christians. It sounds like the non-lordship view of salvation that was made popular by Zane Hodges. This so-called “free grace” view teaches that an ungodly lifestyle need not trouble the assurance of a true “Christian.” The website of Chambers’ church in Orlando seems to confirm this view as well.
If you are unfamiliar with this controversy, I encourage you to read John MacArthur’s The Gospel according to Jesus and John Piper’s “Letter to a Friend concerning So-called ‘Lordship Salvation.’” The letter from Robert Gagnon calling for Chambers to resign also has extensive biblical and theological reflections on these themes.
(HT: Justin Taylor)