Exodus on a
Collision Course with Jesus
Robert A. J. Gagnon, Ph.D.
Theological Seminary, 616 N. Highland Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15206
May 20, 2013
Leadership now contradicts the Lord's Prayer, refuses to take a
stand on "gay marriage," and severs ties with Evangelicalism. What's
leadership of Clark Whitten, Alan Chambers, and Randy Thomas are
teaching believers to violate our Lord’s own instructions about how we
are to pray. Jesus teaches us that when we pray to God, we should say
words to the effect: “Forgive us our debts as [i.e., to the extent that]
we ourselves also have forgiven our debtors.”
Whitten writes, and Mr. Chambers and Mr. Thomas concur, “There is no
biblical basis for believers to confess sins to God for forgiveness. To
each other for healing, yes; but not to God for forgiveness. How much
time will that free up!” (Pure Grace, p. 20). Mr. Thomas, the no.
3 person at Exodus, adds that believers who continue to pray to God
“Forgive us our sins” engage in “a self-righteous ritual” and “deny the
righteousness of Christ that is already present” (http://exodusinternational.org/2013/05/concerning-sin-confession/).
you going to believe? The Exodus leadership or Jesus?
statement is just one of what I term “The Seven Pillars of Rev.
Whitten’s Wisdom.” Rev. Whitten is the chair of the Exodus Board and
Alan Chambers’ and Randy Thomas’s pastor, whom Alan and Randy follow
down the doctrinal line. Indeed, Alan Chambers, the President of Exodus,
has stated: “To say that I recommend [Clark Whitten’s book Pure Grace]
is the understatement of the century.” With Whitten’s book, “God has
unveiled something that has been veiled for hundreds and hundreds of
Whitten doesn’t identify in his book “seven pillars.” The enumeration is
mine. Yet what I identify as the seven pillars are all quoted strong
positions taken from Rev. Whitten’s book. They should alarm all
Christians. What are the other six?
Jesus did not die to modify your behavior!”
“My bad works don’t move God any more than
my good works move Him. He simply isn’t moved by 'works' of any kind. If
you are motivated to do a great work for God, good luck!”
are free to [do anything, good or bad] ... all without condemnation from
God.... Our liberty isn’t negated by our sin.”
“anti-gospel” says: “God is pleased when you act right. When you don’t,
He will clean your clock! [As a believer it is foolish to think that you
can do anything to] tick the Big Guy off.”
The “anti-gospel” says: “Fear God and keep
The “anti-gospel” says: “The Holy Spirit was
given to you to empower you to act better and better and convict you of
your sin when you stray.”
of these principles contradicts the truth of the gospel (see previous
critique, "Cheap Grace Masquerading as
Pure Grace: The Unfortunate Gospel of Rev. Clark Whitten" at
epitomize what the German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer (martyred near
the end of Hitler’s reign) defined as “cheap grace” in his classic book
The Cost of Discipleship (1937): “Cheap grace is the preaching of
forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church
discipline, communion without confession.” That is exactly what Rev.
Whitten, Mr. Chambers, and Mr. Thomas teach: Forgiveness without having
to repent of grossly immoral behavior, an end to church discipline since
all sin is equal and all believers sin regularly, and a view of
confessing our sins to God for forgiveness after conversion as a waste
of time. Bonhoeffer adds: “Cheap grace is grace without discipleship,
grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ.” I’m not suggesting
that the Exodus leadership wants believers to experience grace
without discipleship, dying to one’s self, and letting Christ live in
them. I am saying, though, that they assure self-professed
believers (falsely) that the nature of grace is such that believers
can have one without the other. Again Bonhoeffer: Cheap grace is the
notion that “you can stay as you are and enjoy the
consolations of forgiveness.” The Exodus leadership says that one
shouldn’t but they also assure Christians that one can.
Chambers now calls “evangelical” a “dirty word” that he no longer
applies to Exodus or to himself (“Guests in an Ever Changing
Culture—Letter from Alan Chambers March 2013” at
He complains that Evangelicalism is too “black and white” and he assures
us that God is not “black and white,” which presumably means that God’s
aim is to shade the light into gray. The story of Christ is now the
story of Gray breaking into the darkness.
Evangelicalism, Mr. Chambers complains, gives too much attention to
“right and wrong” and requires one to “take a stand” on moral issues.
Chambers cries: “Gone are the days of evangelizing through scare
tactics, moral legislation, and church discipline.” So instead the
Exodus leadership prefers to assure self-professed Christians who engage
in unrepentant homosexual practice that they are going to heaven
irrespective of whether they bring their life into line with a
confession of Christ’s lordship. The Exodus leadership refuses to take a
stand against “gay marriage” even as it takes public policy stances on
issues that homosexual activists support. And the Exodus leadership
categorically rejects church discipline despite the fact that it is
commanded by Jesus and Paul.
this month Alan Chambers even went so far
as to insert secretly the e-mail address of
Jeremy Hooper, an abrasive homosexual activist, into the middle of a
private group email thread containing a number of pro-family leaders
(including moi). This led to a number of misrepresentations
online by homosexual activist sites and even Salon.com. This deceitful
alignment with a person who maligns those who believe in a male-female
foundation for marriage is not exactly a model for Christian conduct,
certainly not for someone leading what is supposed to be a Christian
At the end
of April Randy Thomas gushed over John Paulk's repudiation of his
previous books about coming out of a homosexual life and his flirtations
with his homosexual past:
“I told him that
while I related to him more after his gay bar visit in 2000, I could
relate to him even more now that he is genuinely questioning past
actions and motivations. While I don’t agree with all of his
conclusions he shared on the phone, I can say I agree with about 95%
of what he shared including renouncing the term ‘ex-gay.’’ I love
that he is pursuing the true meaning of God’s grace…. Listening to
John and his apparent newfound depth of honesty made me happy for
him…. He is ... now more authentic than I have ever known him to
be…. John, … I love that you are wrestling with various issues with
humility and honesty. In His grip of grace, you are safe” (http://randythomas.co/2013/04/22/john-paulks-shocking-secret/).
In an Exodus post a couple of weeks ago
Leslie Chambers affirmed her husband's severance of the transformed life
from genuine saving faith, saying that while obedience to God is
preferred it is not "required" (http://exodusinternational.org/2013/05/leslie-chambers/).
Neither Leslie nor Alan appears to realize that a necessary byproduct of
true faith is a life lived for God.
thought we would reach the day when it would be necessary for faithful
followers of Jesus to exodus out of Exodus?