“Our desire in the church is to be people of peace and to be known by our ability to be in relationship with and have conversations with all different types of people. And so we want to create opportunities and conferences and spaces where people can come together who have different opinions, and different worldviews, to talk about really complex issues.”
By “church,” he says, he means the “global” Christian church, not any particular denomination. His new, as-yet-unnamed, endeavor will be rooted in a desire to “reduce fear,” he says. The website, still under construction, is ReduceFear.org.
Chambers hopes that people of faith, regardless of sexual orientation, can come together for the common good to combat social ills such as bullying.
"We’ve got to get to a different place in our culture than we are at today, certainly within the church,” he says. “There are gay and lesbian people who are in the church, and there are people who have very different beliefs about that who are in the church.”
But he tries to steer clear of politics and has no position on same-sex marriage, saying it’s a “distraction to the people we minister to.”
Chambers came to Exodus International in 1991 as a 19-year-old college student, and he served as its president for 12 years.
“I think our sexuality is complex, and for me, I do experience same-sex attractions, but most married people I know have some sort of sexual attractions that they put aside,” he says. “They love their spouse and want to be faithful and are called to be faithful.”
Chambers has been married for 16 years, with two children, and has “never been tempted to be unfaithful to my wife,” he says. “We have an amazing Garden of Eden-type relationship.”
On Wednesday, Chambers issued a stunning apology to the gay community for “years of undue suffering and judgment at the hands of the organization and the Church as a whole.” Then, Exodus International announced it was closing its doors, after 37 years as an umbrella organization over ministries that engage in Christian “conversion therapy.” He no longer believes it's possible to change someone’s sexual orientation through therapy and regrets the harm he has seen it do to some people, including drug abuse and suicide.