"Although we acted in good faith, we have since witnessed the isolation, shame, fear, and loss of faith that this message creates," Bussee said, speaking for the group. "We apologize for our part in the message of broken truth we spoke on behalf of Exodus and other organizations. " June 29, 2009.
The Beyond Ex-Gay Conference started today 29 June 2007, at Irwin, California attended by the former Exodus leaders, and the Gay Christian Groups. The Anti-Gay Exodus also held a competing conference. Meanwhile, the latest poll in America, 56 percent -- said they don't believe a person can change his or her sexual orientation. In a similar poll in 2001, 45 percent said orientation couldn't change. In 1998, 36 percent held that belief His premise reflects a growing belief among Americans, according to a new CNN poll. The highlight of the conference was the press conference in June 29, 2007, by former leaders of Exodus sincerely apologized to LGBT people in a press including Darlene Bogle - the former director of the Exodus ministry, Michael Bussee, the cofounder of Exodus International, who started the ex-gay movement in the 1970s out of his own self-hate, and Jeremy Marks, president of Exodus International Europe. What is God telling us in these last days?
The last 40 years, Christians Groups have been trying to convert Gays to ex-gays on account of the Jewish laws totally ignoring the fact that the Christian Mandate is to go forth to preach the Gospel of Salvation and we are driving loads of Gays away from our Church doors whilst we ourselves break all of God’s Jewish laws and most do not even know them. We made grossly exaggerated claims based on monetary motives. The time has come for the Church to drop its ex-gay mandate for the harm to the innocent has been so great with many taking their lives and now it is the moment for the church to sincerely repent for the sum of their sins. Once missed, there is no turning back and judgment begins for the blood cries out. Jesus drove out the businessmen from the temple, and He will do so again for His Church will be known as a place of prayer and seeking God for all nations inclusive of the Gay Tribe. In Numbers, we see the Jewish nation lost the plot and focus and remained in the desert for 45 years.
In 1200 BC, In Num 13:2, God sent the leaders of the tribe of Israel to spy in the land of Canaan from their base in the wildness of Zin . In Canaan, they entered from the South into Hebron. and encountered "Anak", the children of the giants. The children of Israel was severely discouraged with only Joshua and Caleb having faith to see beyond the fact that "We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we."[Num 13:31] and to declare boldly in Num 13:30 to go up at once, and take procession of the land. It was open heavens, God had appointed it, yet only Caleb and Joshua had the courage and faith in God (Num 14:8) to see beyond the giants of the land and see that the land was exceedingly good (Num 14:6,7).
It has been a very long battle of 40 years for the Gay Christian Community epitomized by Rev Troy Perry who started MCC in 1968 despite very strong opposition from the Anti-Gay Christian Groups. In 2007, for the first time in the 21st century, less than the majority of Americans say homosexual relations are morally wrong (49 percent). It was 93% in 1983 when the AID epidemic started. What are the lessons to be learnt from Caleb:-
a) Steadfast in the vision from God
(Num 13:2 NKJV) "Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the children of Israel; from each tribe of their fathers you shall send a man, every one a leader among them."
Have God given you a vision for the GLBT community? Was it five years ago? Maybe ten years ago? For most of us, after a few years we often proclaim “let’s move on from the Gay issue?”. We consider ourselves reconciled in our faith and sexuality and that is good but seldom we see beyond ourselves, to the vision that God has intended for us to be a blessing to the many thousands outside. Are we able to hold on to the vision that God has given us and not be tired and be weary of the “gay” message repeated seemingly over and over again? It is not that God moved on, but that we have not moved on with the work of God to proclaim God’s love and acceptance to the GLBT community.
When Caleb went to recon the land to regain that part of the inheritance that God them, the same focus and vision e had was just as strong 40 years later. We may have started well proclaiming that God does not condemn homosexuality, and many people came, but what next? Do we enter into the promise land of God where the message of God’s inclusiveness is preached into the wider Gay community that they may come to know the saving grace God. Do we stop and are worn out at the first city where we ourselves have reconciled our faith and sexuality or do we pressed forward with increasing tenacity and strength to conquer the other cities.
b)Having Faith in God to see what has not come to pass yet
The key to remaining steadfast in the vision that God has for the Gospel to the GLBT community is to have faith and continually dream of the vision from God even though it has not come to pass yet. Do you see a day when Queer people in Asia have equal rights and are free to be who they are? Do you see a day when the church doors finally opened to them where hate and discrimination and ignorance are of the past? Can you see masses of GLBT people once ostracized by the church coming back to God like a mighty people from the wilderness to the promised land of God’s redemption and salvation?
We should take the Word of God as it is i.e. if God says so that it is without intellectually trying the undermined the simplicity of the message. In Num 13:30, Caleb had a different spirit – a spirit of Faith in God. He believed God and trusted in the promises of God that He will help them to overcome the opposition forces. However, the carnal minded sees not God but the barriers to victory and are disheartened by it. (Num 13:31) They saw the strength of the opposition but not the strength of God. Joshua and Caleb were thoroughly stunned by the timid spirit of the Jewish leaders and pleaded with them in Num 14:6-8 declaring that God has given them the good land and why are they not taking it.
c) Having the Spirit to give glory and recognition of what God has done
We lament many a times in the GLBT community at the amount of work that needs to be done before we go back home to the Lord. Yet, we often do not see how far we have come. It was in 1962, Illinois's new criminal code goes into effect, making it the first U.S. state to strike down sodomy laws, thus decriminalizing homosexuality in the state. . The State of Israel inherited its sodomy or "buggery" law from the British influence but in 1963 the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that this law could not be enforced. Soon after, 1n 1968, the first Gay Christian congregation was founded in Los Angeles by the Rev. Troy Perry in 1968, a time when Christian attitudes toward homosexuality were almost universally negative. Over the last 40 years, God has performed hundreds of miracles to bring about change and built a platform to declare God’s love to the Queer Nation. We should give glory and thanks to what Christ has done in our midst!.
After all the Jews went through, being delivered miraculously by God from bondage in Egypt and God’s daily provision in the wilderness and yet the same men who have seen the glory of God continued in their unbelief and did not remember the goodness of God in Num 14:22. As a result of their stubborn heart, God had no choice to let the generation passed on (Num 14:23, 26:24, 26:65) until a new generation arosed from the desert with a different spirit. In a way, they rejected God unlike Caleb (Num 14:24) who had a different spirit for he saw the goodness of God and had faith to believe that God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.
d) Having the strength to last the journey .
We looked through the span of time, and the number of key Gay Christian Leaders that have prepared to shake the foundation of history and dare the authorities and mainstream churches are few and far apart. Where have they gone to?
In Josh 14:6-11, Caleb mentioned that it was 45 years ago since he entered as a spy into the promised land at the age of 40 and "As yet I am as strong this day as on the day that Moses sent me; just as my strength was then, so now is my strength for war, both for going out and for coming in.”. We often declare that age should not be a factor and that age 40 is the start of the prime of life. Yet, a look at our lives and our service for God often shows otherwise. Gone are the days where we attend a dozen Church activities and bible studies and yet we still remain strong and eager for more. We struggle just to attend beyond the church and the cell group. Yet, God is asking ask to look beyond our age, not to look to ourselves and live in delusion that we are somehow strong when we are weak, but to gain strength in walking in the vision that God has for our lives. What has God called us to serve Him all the way? And in our service to Him, this will become the “Holy Grail” of our strength and our existence.
e) Renew your strength in God and reclaim your lost dreams of God
(Isa 40:30,31 NKJV) Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.
We often yearned for a few good men just like those in their 20s who founded the great mega churches in Singapore. Yet, we fail to understand that it is much more difficult for us than is for them! Would they be able to come against the giant of a hostile mainstream church or a GLBT community that despised the mainstream form of Christianity that is seemingly rejecting them based on the anti-gay rhetoric and propaganda filled with hate, hypocrisy, and religious self interest. I believed that they too will fall and be weary. We often see Gay Christian leaders worn out quickly not understanding the greater the challenges are, the more we need to rest in God and communed with God.
(Joel 2:28 NKJV) "And it shall come to pass afterward That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions.
In the last days, there will be quickening of the work of God and the move of the Spirit of God. It has started in the day of the Pentecost and over the last 2000 years the church has fallen many a times but has returned stronger! On the GLBT issue, the church has fallen and have come against the innocent and have peddled great injustice and hurt based on self interest and religious sin. But just as Jesus rose again, so to the Church will rise again in the end times. The GLBT issue is destined to reconstruct our theology from being based on self centered man made laws and idol worship to enter fully into Christ centeredness into God’s unmerited Grace and Mercy.
As the Spirit of God moves across the land, Old men will dream dreams again, the vision of what God gave them 20 to 30 years ago, that through the grinding of life somewhere along the road they have made too may detours from God’s will. They will dream again of what might have been. They will dream again of what will be in the future and renew their passion again for the dream that God has given them so many years before. Through the Spirit of God, they will renew their strength and come back to fulfill the vision that God has given them many years before. I believe God is calling again those who are 40 and above to renew their passion and revisit the dreams they once had for Him and for God's revival in the GLBT Christian community.
f) Don’t be bound by your closets and missed God’s plan with dire consequences
(Num 14:10 NKJV) And all the congregation said to stone them with stones. Now the glory of the LORD appeared in the tabernacle of meeting before all the children of Israel.
(Num 14:22,23 NKJV) "because all these men who have seen My glory and the signs which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have put Me to the test now these ten times, and have not heeded My voice, "they certainly shall not see the land of which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who rejected Me see it.
Kairos is an ancient Greek word meaning the "right or opportune moment," or "God's time. In the New Testament kairos means "the appointed time in the purpose of God", the time when God acts (e.g. Mark 1.15). Joshua and Caleb reacted correctly but the rest did not and the opportunity to enter into the promised land had to wait another 45 years. It had to wait that long, until a new generation arose that believed God and not bound by the closets of slavery lingering from their past. Not only did the leaders resist the word of God, they wanted to stone Joshua and Caleb. The Jewish leaders missed the kairos time of God because of their stubborn hearts and there were very serious consequences because they led the entire nation to be trapped in the desert for 45 years.
For the GLBT issue, when the word of God goes forth and captures the heart and mind of a group of people that God does not condemn Homosexuality, there will always be opposition by the majority who wanted the status quo and will want to crucify those who are of a different spirit. The opposition is both external and within the GLBT community. The GLBT Christian community has suffered so much but it has been so difficult to come out of their closets. They were once faithful members of their mainstream churches and so now to come against those very churches and their beliefs is a move out of our closets. The Jews were never able to come out of their slaves mentality to be a fighting nation. They were so used to be subjugated and so could not rise to a different spirit to conquer another nation. So we have Gay Christians so used to be told that they are sinners or homosexuality is of a fallen nature, that they could not rise above to accept themselves as God accepts them and then to come against the Christian leaders whom were once their heroes. God is looking for GLBT Christians with passion and conviction to do His work and willing to move out of their old closets and fixed mindsets.
The victory for the GLBT community is coming and has come. The Giants of the land have been and will be defeated - including the giants of Penal Codes against Gays, the discrimination against Gays, civil unions and marriage, and lastly recognition by the church. We are entering into our promised land and have brought down the giants. There are many lands still to be conquered. The question is "when" rather than "if" and what is left is a severely battered church who gained not one more soul by their crusade against gays but has lost all its moral and spiritual integrity. The ex-Exodus leaders repented but when will the church repent before its too late. We have come against the giants not with an army but with a few good people - the Troy Perry's, the Mel White's, the Pat Bumgardner, the Nancy Wilson, who have labored for decades and have kept the vision alive for Christ to be preached to the GLBT nation and the doors to Christ opened. They have brought us into the promised land. There is much more to do before we go to sleep but God is raising many others into battle for the nations to take up the batton they left us and to go on to claim the final victory.. Will you be counted in together with the likes of Joshua and Caleb of old!.