"National Religious Leaders & Ex-Gay Network Unite, Launch Resource on Homosexuality for Churches Amid Global Faith Controversy
6/29/2006 12:00:00 PM
To: National Desk, Religion Reporter
Contact: Julie Neils of Exodus International, 321-279-8965
MARION, Ind., June 28 /U.S. Newswire/ -- As many church denominations continue to debate their position on homosexuality, including the Episcopal Church USA's recent deliberations, key religious leaders from around the country joined Exodus International at a press conference today at Indiana Wesleyan University to announce the launch of a resource designed to educate churches on a biblical, compassionate response to this issue.
The Exodus Church Network is a coalition of churches that stand on the truth of Scripture and offer hope and help to those impacted by homosexuality. Exodus International will provide training and resources to educate church leaders and their congregations on what the Bible has to say about this issue. Former homosexuals will be available to speak and encourage an attitude of compassion towards the gay community as well as church members struggling with unwanted same-sex attraction.
Senior pastor of Antioch Bible Church in Redmond, Wash. and former NFL Middle Linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys, San Diego Chargers and Seattle Seahawks Dr. Ken "Hutch" Hutcherson took part in today's press conference and said the need for such a resource is imminent. Other speakers included Kristin Johnson, executive director of OneByOne, an organization that offers a redemptive, biblical perspective on homosexuality within the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, Pastor Patrick Payton, senior pastor of Stonegate Fellowship Southern Baptist Church of Midland, Texas, and Mike Goeke, director of the Exodus Church Network.
"Many sitting in the pews on Sunday are confused about what the Bible really has to say about homosexuality as well as the attitude we are to have towards those in the gay community," said Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International. "Former homosexuals, like me, have often experienced either harsh condemnation or theological misinformation in the church - neither of which are helpful to those confused and personally struggling with this issue.
"Recent denominational controversy and debate has added to the church's lack of clarity on this topic as well," said Chambers. "Ours is a passionate call to the global church to extend the love and kindness of Jesus Christ, the hope of freedom for those who seek it and the steadfast truth of the Scriptures."
Exodus International is an interdenominational resource and referral organization that offers help to men and women affected by unwanted same-sex attraction. The organization has been in existence for 30 years, has more than 135 member agencies in its expanding network across North America and ministers to 400,000 people who contact the ministry each year.
"The largest congregation in the Episcopal Church USA is leaving the denomination over its support of homosexual ordination and its general disregard for scripture. Christ Church in Plano, Texas, says it will "disassociate with ECUSA as soon as possible."
Following decisions made during the ECUSA's General Convention last month, the leadership of Christ Church issued a statement explaining its decision. "The direction of the leadership of the Episcopal Church is different and we regret their departure from biblical truth and the historic faith of the Anglican Communion," it reads. "As the vestry of Christ Church, we declare our intention to disassociate from ECUSA as soon as possible."
Writing to his church members, Rector Canon David Roseberry said "the Episcopal Church has not only broken the faith and apostolic witness but appears determined to continue in that path. We cannot go with them."
""Yesterday the Episcopal Church's House of Bishops refused to even consider a resolution that would affirm the exclusive Lordship of Jesus Christ as 'the only name by which any person may be saved.' "
"The Rev. Canon Eugene McDowell of the Diocese of North Carolina explained, ‘This type of language was used in 1920s and 1930s to alienate the type of people who were executed. It was called the Holocaust,’” per Hans Zeiger of VirtueOnline.
At this point, anything hellishly ridiculous can come out of the theologically liberal Episcopal Church. After having sanctioned homosexual activity as shined upon by heaven’s glow, any absurdity is sinfully possible.
Now the newly elected female bishop gives Jesus a sex-change. It happens all in one word. One term will do it. No fuss. Just insert it in a denominational address and you’ve got the height of piety? Or the height of apostasy run rank.
Presiding Bishop-elect Katharine Jefferts Schori declared before the 75th General Convention of the Episcopal Church: “Our mother Jesus gives birth to a new creation. And you and I are His children.”
Now Jesus is our mother. But more confusing than that is that we can refer to Jesus not as “Her” but “His” as in “His children.”
"At the Episcopal Church Convention earlier this month, Bishop Gene Robinson said something astounding. He declared, "The gay agenda is Jesus Christ."
I'm not surprised the first openly homosexual bishop in the church would say something like that. If the man weren't looking for attention, we wouldn't know he's the first openly homosexual bishop in the church. To me though, the contention is meaningless, something akin to the currently trendy "speaking truth to power."
The unexpected part is that for years we've been told that there's no such thing as a gay agenda. It was just something made up by conservatives to encourage homophobia.
According to the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation's Media Reference Guide, "Notions of a 'homosexual agenda' are rhetorical inventions of anti-gay extremists seeking to create a climate of fear by portraying the pursuit of civil rights for LGBT people as sinister."
LGBT, by the way, stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered. Other permutations are presumably available upon request.
Even the word homosexual is offensive, states the media guide, because "it has been adopted by anti-gay extremists to suggest that lesbians and gay men are somehow diseased or psychologically/emotionally disordered — notions discredited by both the American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association in the 1970s."
When the American Psychiatric Association made its change in 1973 it noted:
"No doubt, homosexual activist groups will claim that psychiatry has at last recognized that homosexuality is as 'normal' as heterosexuality. They will be wrong. In removing homosexuality per se from the nomenclature we are only recognizing that by itself homosexuality does not meet the criteria for being considered a psychiatric disorder. We will in no way be aligning ourselves with any particular viewpoint regarding the etiology or desirability of homosexual behavior."
"The Methodist Church will not formally bless same sex Civil Partnerships, although ministers will be allowed to offer informal, private prayers to couples. The Methodist Conference yesterday voted on the report on Pilgrimage of Faith, the Church's ongoing discussion about human sexuality.
After a long and careful debate carried out in a respectful atmosphere, Conference confirmed the statement of good practice issued by the Methodist Council last December. While Methodist ministers may say private prayers with a couple in a Civil Partnership, the Church will not authorise a liturgy for blessing Civil Partnerships, and that Methodist premises cannot be used for any prayers for Civil Partnerships.
"As Christians we are naturally keen to mark all of the key moments of life with prayer," said the Revd Jonathan Kerry, member of the working party and Methodist Co-ordinating Secretary for Worship and Learning. "But earlier Conference resolutions make it clear that we cannot as a Church offer formal blessings for same sex partnerships. This is difficult subject, but we are glad that the debate has been conducted in a supportive and respectful atmosphere."
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