A response to the closing of Exodus
By Jeanie Smith
July 3, 2013
On June 19, 2013, Exodus International announced it was closing its doors after 36 years of ministry. Exodus president Alan Chambers offered an apology to people who have been hurt by Exodus International, including an apology for promoting “sexual orientation change efforts and reparative theories about sexual orientation…”
Set Free remains strong, vital, and relevant. We will continue to serve our community with passion and integrity. It is our fervent prayer that we be Christ-centered, Spirit-empowered, and Biblically sound. We believe that God became human flesh in our Lord Jesus so that every area of our humanity might be transformed according to His will, including our sexuality (and this needed transformation is certainly not limited to those who struggle with same-sex attraction). We make no apology for our core values or for believing in change.
During my tenure here I have worked hard to see that our core-value of compassion translates into treating every person with whom we interact with love and respect, whether they agree with us or whether they adamantly disagree. I believe that there is never a biblical reason to be unkind to someone; but being kind does not imply agreement.
We at Set Free are also very clear that biblical transformation is a process, not an event or some kind of formula which we control. All Christians are called to a life of trust, leading to obedience, leading to transformation—in that order. None of us are immune to temptation; and, all of us are recipients of the promise that with the temptation He provides a way of escape. That being said, we clearly see participants whose same-sex attraction is diminished; and, some see it resolved. This is not significantly different from the reality that we see with those with long-standing addictions live through a process in becoming free to choose what the Lord offers as good.
Let me end by saying that we wish only the best for all of our brothers and sisters in Christ. While I was saddened by the decision of the Exodus Board, I am NOT going to be discouraged! God is sovereign and His resources to reach and heal his broken children are infinite. This is not a criticism or an attack, but a clarification of Set Free’s position and on-going ministry.
Never, never, never give up on God!
Entering a season of healing and restoration
By Jeanie Smith
July 3, 2013
I very much wish that I could write each one of you a personal note right now. Instead, I am very thankful for technology! At the wise advice of “my beloveds”—my husband (Lee), my accountability/prayer partner of 15 years (Gray Massie), my physician (Jennifer Ferguson), and most importantly, I feel, the counsel of the Holy Spirit, I will be on medical leave from Set Free for a time. The Board of Set Free has been incredibly supportive and in agreement about the necessity that I faithfully follow through with my Dr.’s advice.
First, I do not have cancer or any form of dementia! I do have a very high thyroid level which is affecting many of my body systems. I will be using this season to seek the Lord’s healing for my body, mind, and emotions; and, to continue to seek to grow spiritually.
I am a “hard headed” Southeast Missouri woman; and, it has taken the Lord using many human voices to convince me that this is necessary and is also His best will for Set Free.
We have an incredibly gifted team and board; and, I have no doubt that they will be strengthened for the tasks ahead; they will grow in confidence and their giftings and callings will be confirmed and used for His glory in amazing ways.
We are all trusting Him that I will return (when my Dr. releases me to do so) healed, restored, and renewed. I know that your prayers go with me and I am so very grateful for that. Know that
I love you and that I trust you will continue to pray for and support Set Free with renewed vigor in the days ahead (see back page for a response to the closing of Exodus).
In His Love,