Exodus Splinter Group Provides Fresh Look At Harmful Ex-Gay Methodology

Robert Gagnon, a founding member of the Restored Hope Network.

When Exodus International’s President Alan Chambers said recently that there’s no “cure” for homosexuality, one group of ex-gay therapists split off and formed their own splinter group, the Restored Hope Network, where they could continue to push the most extreme views on reparative therapy. According to Ex-Gay Watch, the Restored Hope Network has released its official doctrinal statement, providing a disturbing look at how Bible verses continue to be used to justify oppressing gays and lesbians. Here are some excerpts:

1. Sexual purity is a life-and-death matter. Sexual holiness for Christians matters to such an extent that a sexually immoral life can get even self-professed Christians excluded from the kingdom of God.

2. Jesus understood the male-female prerequisite for sexual relations established by God in Genesis 1:27 and 2:24 to be foundational for sexual ethics… Genesis 1:27 indicates that changing a male-female requirement distorts the image of God.

3. Consistent with Jesus’ view of a male-female requirement for sexual relations is Scripture’s depiction of homosexual practice as a severe violation of God’s standards for sexual purity. Paul’s indictment of homosexual practice in Romans 1:24-27 and 1 Corinthians 6:9 treats it as an example of humans suppressing the truth about themselves visible in the material structures of nature and a violation of Gen 1:27 and 2:24 that can lead to exclusion from God’s kingdom.

4. Sexual immorality is by no means limited to homosexual practice but has multiple manifestations in the heterosexual sphere that distort God’s purposes for sexual unions… Any expression of human sexuality outside the covenant of marriage between one man and one woman, as well as any expression within marriage that is not self-giving, is a perversion of God’s will for sexual holiness.

7. Jesus Christ provides hope for transformation to broken sexual sinners… For some, this transformation may take shape as a significant reduction of unwanted sexual desires. For others, it may mean the grace to live in obedience in spite of ongoing urges to do what God forbids. Either way, Paul gives believers assurance that those who “walk in the Spirit will not carry out the desire of the flesh.”

Essentially, these “therapists” believe that accepting one’s gay identity is an automatic ticket to Hell. (Arguably, point number four also raises the stakes for heterosexual couples who might engage in oral sex, anal sex, or any sexual practice that doesn’t lead to procreation.) The only choice for people with same-sex attractions is to undergo — and pay for — harmful, ineffective repression ministries or deprive themselves of love by living a life of celibacy. Nothing about what this group preaches has any remote connection to psychological research or promoting mental health. The Restored Hope Network is seeking to completely deny the very xistence of gay people, what many have argued constitutes a form of genocide.

These Restored Hope Network “therapists” were part of the Exodus International umbrella until the last few months. That means that this is the kind of rhetoric Chick-fil-A has supported with its profits with its annual giving to Exodus.