A doctrinal statement released by the new Restored Hope Network last week seemed to downplay potential differences between it and Exodus International, particularly on the reparative therapy controversy. But a new statement by Andy Comiskey sets the new ex-gay organization at odds with Exodus.
In a letter to supporters of his Desert Stream Ministries, Comiskey outlines the main differences. First, a gay Christian cannot be saved:
Whereas Exodus believes that practicing ‘gay’ Christians may well inherit the Kingdom of heaven, we beg to differ.
Second, every homosexual can experience a change in orientation, to some degree, if he submits to Christ:
Though we agree with Exodus’ desire to more accurately define ‘change’ for those with SSA, Exodus now appears tentative and unclear as to the degree to which the same-sex attracted will experience change at all in their sexuality. We believe that Jesus brings change to every Christian with SSA who seeks Him whole-heartedly.
Where Exodus International has rejected the reparative therapy associated with Joseph Nicolosi and NARTH, Comiskey embraces it:
Exodus recently broke ties with ‘reparative therapy’, a broad school of thought developed by theorists and therapists who view same-sex attraction as a symptom of the breakdown in whole gender development. While Desert Stream Ministries is founded on theological, not psychological values, we rely upon reparative insights to understand what is blocked or missing in our souls.
Lastly, there can be no truce with gay Christians:
Exodus seems intent on building bridges with practicing ‘gay’ Christians. We believe that God wants only the best for all people, including practicing homosexuals. In His love, we fight for their repentance. However, we disagree with making peace with Christians who advocate homosexual practice; to us, these are false teachers who are guilty of leading others into darkness, an offense worse than Christians caught in sin who know it.
Comiskey ends with this insight into the Restored Hope Network:
Desert Stream Ministries is pleased to partner with like-minded ministries and individuals who are forming a new coalition entitled the Restored Hope Network. We urge any of you who are interested to join our first ‘Restored Hope’ gathering in Sacramento this September 21st and 22nd.
RHN’s doctrinal statement did not explicitly endorse any method or theory of conversion therapy, although we know that key leaders such as Comiskey and Robert J Gagnon are supporters of reparative therapy. Now Comiskey appears to speak on RHN’s behalf.
Given Exodus President Alan Chambers’s promise that no member ministry would be able to practice or promote reparative therapy, it will soon be time for Exodus to decide whether membership of the Restored Hope Network is compatible with Exodus affiliation. Exit Joe Dallas?
Hat-tip for this story to Warren Throckmorton.