Record – Newsletter

RECORD: Spring 2013

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The 100th person to keynote an EC summer retreat will be Shari Johnson.  She’s the author of Above All Things: The Journey of an Evangelical Christian Mother & Her Gay Daughter.  Johnson is president of P-FLAG in Odessa, Texas.  The 101st person to be an EC keynoter will be Jared Porter of the Bob Jones University GLBT alumni group.  His BJU degrees are in church music and drama production.  He’s the great grandson of Fundamentalist evangelist Ford Porter.  EC founder Ralph Blair will also keynote.
   ConnECtion2013, EC’s 71st, will take place at the Lodge at Kirkridge, the Appalachian mountaintop site of EC’s eastern summer retreats since 1980.  Dates are May 31 – June 2.

EC held our 26th annual winter Bible study weekend in February.  EC folk gathered around the Kirkridge lodge’s roaring fireplace and studied Paul’s letter to the Philippians.

EC’s 2013 Preaching Festival at Ocean Grove, NJ will be October 11 – 13.  The event will honor bicentennials of Robert Murray M’Cheyne, Soren Kierkegaard, David Livingstone and Jemima Luke.  Ralph Blair will give the annual history lecture as well as three sermons during Ocean Grove’s Harvest Festival weekend.

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RECORD: Winter 2013

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On November 6, voters in Maine, Maryland and Washington legalized same-sex marriage and Minnesotans voted down a constitutional amendment that would have banned same-sex marriage.  Six states (New Hampshire, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, Iowa and New York as well as D.C.) had already legalized same-sex marriage. Thirty-two states have voted to restrict legal marriage to heterosexual couples only.

“I Still Stand as an Evangelical for Gay Marriage”, Jared Byas says.  Yet, “I get it,” he tells his fellow evangelicals who lobby and vote against the legalization of same-sex marriage. “You aren’t out to oppress anyone, hate anyone.”  Still: “My faith requires that I stand up for equality and with people who do not enjoy the same rights that I do.”  This heterosexual young man, married and dad to three, writes: “I know it’s hard to grasp, but this matter has nothing to do with whether or not homosexuality is a sin.”  He points out that, “there are lots of things that Christians consider ‘sinful’ that they do not legislate against.”  Moreover: “Paul seems to make it very clear that Christians have absolutely no place to judge the behavior of non-Christians.” (I Cor 5:12)  Byas laments that “evangelicals are very good at making sure people who are not Christians know that they are ‘breaking the rules’ of Christianity.  And as such, we have gained the reputation for being judgmental, a moniker well-deserved for the most part.”
A graduate of Westminster Seminary, Byas teaches philosophy at Grand Canyon University.  With biblical scholar Peter Enns, he’s co-authored Genesis for Normal People.  Another of his essays, “The Gay Checklist” is at

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Fall 2012

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Longtime “ex-gay” leader John Smid says he’s never seen sexual orientation change through all his 22 years in the “ex-gay” movement.  He’s written a book, Ex’d Out, about coming to this public acknowledgement.  EC’s founder, psychotherapist Ralph Blair, endorses it: “However well-intended, the ‘ex-gay’ efforts of the past four decades were always as ill-conceived, ineffective and counterproductive as were all those bygone secular efforts at sexual orientation change.  Now, after years of entrapment in and endorsement of ‘ex-gay’ promises, John Smid tells of the painful desperation and disillusionment that drove him deeper into the Good News of God’s grace and peace. Christians who continue to misunderstand and misadvise on gay issues need to take his hard-won testimony seriously.”

“Alan Astray?” This is World magazine’s follow-up on Alan Chambers, head of Exodus and World’s “Daniel of the Year” in 2011.  He’s now blunt: Homosexuals don’t change their orientation!  Read more →

Summer 2012

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“So great to learn that God is saving people in gay Christian circles.  I guess I have felt, along with many evangelicals, that once someone drops the traditional view of homosexuality, eventually all the other dominos will fall and the result will be some kind of vacuous liberalism or secular humanism.  From our latest correspondence, that would seem not to be the case.  I don’t understand God’s way of working, but what else is new?”  This is an emailed response from a prominent conservative evangelical theologian after he heard a firsthand report on the 2012 summer retreat of Evangelicals Concerned. Read more →

Winter 2011

Conservative Protestantism’s continuing antigay agenda “is likely to mean saving fewer souls.”  This is a conclusion of American Grace authors Robert D. Putnam of Harvard and David E. Campbell of Notre Dame.  Writing in the Los Angeles Times (Oct 17), they confirm a continuing cultural finding: that “intolerance of homosexuality” is proving to be “the single strongest factor” in church alienation on the part of Americans who came of age since 1990.  “Just as this generation moved to the left on most social issues – above all, homosexuality – many prominent religious leaders moved to the right, using the issue of same-sex marriage to mobilize [politically].  … Increasingly, young people saw religion as Read more →

Fall 2011

After an average of 16 years in mixed-orientation marriage, the same-sex oriented spouse is still same-sex oriented. On the basis of self-reports, there’s no shift toward heterosexual attraction on the part of the same-sex oriented spouse, even though there’s some participation in sex acts within the marriage.

When asked about frequency of sexual relations within these orientation-discordant marriages, same-sex oriented spouses reported a figure twice as high as that reported by the heterosexual oriented spouses. Read more →

Summer 2011

“Is the Church guilty of beating people with the Bible?” This is the question with which Southern Baptist seminary president Al Mohler begins a recent blog attacking those who say gay people get “clobbered” with Bible verses. Feigning shock, he says: “As strange as that argument might sound, it is actually a powerful weapon in the hands of those who are determined to normalize homosexuality and same-sex marriage within the Church.” Read more →

Spring 2011

Bloggers on the Religious Right attack bestselling author Philip Yancey for speaking at the 2011 Gay Christian Network conference. After the event, Yancey posted a response at Noting this “hammering … for [his] agreeing to speak”, he wrote: “I get tired of writing about this issue because it stirs up such a storm of controversy and little of the dialogue seems constructive. On the other hand, the church must keep engaging, and I know of no better way to engage than to hear the stories of Christians who are struggling personally with homosexuality. Some conservatives think the very term ‘Gay Christian’ is an oxymoron. I wish they could attend a gathering such as the one I spoke to last week and hear the stories I heard.” For over 30 years, other evangelical leaders (e.g., Lew Smedes, Nick Wolterstorff, Ros Rinker, Charlie Shedd, Letha Scanzoni) have voiced the very same wish at EC retreats. Yancey: “Rather than try to defend my decision just to speak to Gay Christians, I will quote here a letter from the head of GCN”, Justin Lee. Read more →

Winter 2010

“What was the most significant change in Christianity over the past decade?”  In response to this question from Christianity Today (December, 2009), John Stackhouse of Regent College answers: “The rapid collapse of Christian consensus against homosexual marriage in North America, including among evangelicals.”  

“What is the greatest moral issue in America today?”  In October, evangelical leaders responded to this Evangelical Leaders Survey question.  According to Leith Anderson, president of the poll’s sponsoring organization, the National Association of Evangelicals: “While there were some responses that specified secularization, homosexuality, pornography Read more →

Fall 2010

Anne Rice: “I quit being a Christian. … I remain committed to Christ … but not to being ‘Christian’ or to being part of Christianity. It’s simply impossible for me to ‘belong’ to this quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, and deservedly infamous group.” The bestselling novelist, who turned from atheism to Christ in 1988, explains that the last straw for her was “Christian” hatred of gay people – what the polls find is the most prevalent stereotype of “Christians” in the public mind today. “No wonder people despise us, Christians, and think we are an ignorant and violent lot. I don’t blame them. This kind of thing makes me weep. Maybe commitment to Christ means not being a Christian. … My faith in Christ is central to my life. … But following Christ does not mean following his followers. Christ is infinitely more important than Christianity.” Read more →

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