Restored Hope Network: Beginnings of an Exodus Splinter Group?
In the first definite sign of an organized Exodus International splinter group, former Exodus affliate First Stone Ministries is advertising a conference of the “Restored Hope Network.”
The event, from September 21 to 22, features outspoken Exodus critics Robert J Gagnon and Andy Comiskey, as well as Love in Action founder Frank Worthen. The conference blurb reads:
Nowhere does the transforming power of Jesus Christ have more relevance then in our sexuality. Broken sexuality takes life; Jesus through His body restores hope for the integrity of our intimate relationships.
Break ground with us for the first gathering of the Restored Hope Network! The conference will lay a Biblical framework for sexual wholeness through worship, teaching, testimonies and healing opportunities.
Evangelical biblical scholar Gagnon recently wrote a 35-page screed against Exodus President Alan Chambers, denouncing his rejection of reparative therapy and his teaching of “once saved always saved,” and calling publicly for his resignation. Earlier this year Comiskey, a “former homosexual” who leads Desert Stream Ministries, was the first ex-gay leader to take Chambers to task for his new outlook. Then, when First Stone Ministries formally announced it would be leaving Exodus (along with several other ministries), it cited both in its support.
Expect to see many more signs of conflict as hardcore ex-gay activists disassociate themselves from Exodus International’s new stance against reparative therapy.
On Friday, for example, conservative Christian magazine Charisma updated and republished a 2004 article by Alan Chambers, in which he compared gay activists to Hitler and Marx, and called on Christians to resist the “morphing” of America into a “homosexual haven.” It was quickly removed when Chambers objected, but not before it did its job of embarrassing Exodus and its leadership. There is undoubtedly more where that came from.
(Hat-tip to Ex-Gay Watch reader Burke for this story.)
UPDATE: Joe Dallas and Anne Paulk are listed as founding members of the Restored Hope Network committee on the group’s Facebook page (H/T to Michael Bussee):
Restored Hope is a membership governed network dedicated to restoring hope to those broken by sexual and relational sin, especially those impacted by homosexuality. … With the election of the forming committee in early May, the work to begin this new network began. The forming committee consists of Frank Worthen, Anne Paulk, Andy and Annette Comiskey, Dr. Robert Gagnon, Joe Dallas, Stephen Black, David Kyle Foster, and Michael Newman.
Dallas is a former Exodus president and board member. Anne Paulk is also a former Exodus activist who, with her husband John Paulk, was prominently featured in a now-infamous Exodus billboard campaign; his claim to be healed from homosexuality was challenged when he was caught and photographed in a Washington gay bar in 2000. More recently, there have been claims that John and Anne Paulk have separated.
The Restored Hope Network’s Conference Participation Agreement and Code of Conduct was edited by R Dallas, according to the document properties, which is likely Renee Dallas, wife of Joe.
It looks like Joe Dallas is part of this new coalition. Has he left Exodus? Will Exodus continue to sell his books?
yep….happening here in Australia as I thought. the sprinkling of groups that are left like Liberty Christian ministries will most likely go with the group that is upholding the ‘truth’ and not compromising http://proverbspurple.wordpress.com/2012/07/22/an-exodus-for-the-rest-of-us/
not sure if you saw the good news from down under Two Thirds of Ex-gay Ministries Disappear
I wouldn’t doubt he is but where did you see his connection? I really can’t imagine Dallas getting along with Exodus at this point, he fits in more with the Restored Hope Network group.
Two Thirds of Ex-gay Ministries Disappear
I can’t imagine that Joe or Andy or Frank would be less than compelled to start from their root theories with a “new group” It is their bread and butter. I think the fear that reparative therapy will be totally discredited must shake them to their core. If it worked without harming people that would be one thing, but the evidence tells a different story. I am so glad that God delivered me from those lies and allowed me to see His true healing of accepting who He created me to be!
David, Joe Dallas is listed as one of the members of the “Forming Committee”:
“With the election of the forming committee in early May, the work to begin this new network began. The forming committee consists of Frank Worthen, Anne Paulk, Andy and Annette Comiskey, Dr. Robert Gagnon, Joe Dallas, Stephen Black, David Kyle Foster, and Michael Newman.”
I think David Kyle Foster is the Admin of the new Facebook group.
Thanks for the info, @Michael. I have updated the post accordingly.
@Michael Bussee The usual suspects, but one name is conspicuously absent. Anne Paulk is there, but what about John Paulk?
@william Probably a whole story behind that William that can’t be put up here
William, as David pointed out “there have been claims that John and Anne Paulk have separated.”
I have to say, much like Exodus itself did, this splinter group is going to create some strange bedfellows. First Stone’s Stephen Black is prone to extreme irrationality and a wild, inconsistent charismatic theology that fits right in in his Oklahoma backdrop. Robert Gagnon is a Dartmouth, Harvard and Princeton-educated theologian and about as much of a stuffy New England WASP as one could find. These are Christians who, in almost any other circumstance, would never find themselves sharing the same stage, and yet their mutual obsession with homosexuality brings them together.
Although I do have to wonder how much Stephen Black of First Stone will be involved. He did recently lose his daughter, who was also a new mother, and I can’t imagine he’d be spending too much time with the ex-gay business in light of that deep personal tragedy.
Well, it won’t be the same for exgays anymore. How many young ministry leaders are there In Restored Hope Network? This is going to be a sad, bitter group of people seeing their life’s work crash around them….Young GLBTQ’s simply aren’t full Of self hate anymore.
If john paulk is putting on his facebook page that he is interested in men and women, i have a suspicion that that good Christian marriage is in the Chrapper.
UPDATE: I have just learned (from a very reliable source) that Joe Dallas has NOT left Exodus and will remain part of BOTH networks…
Ben, John has not written anything on his Facebook that says he is interested in men. There was only that vague statement about him being on a difficult journey right now. There may very well be relationship issues, but the TWO article is rumor and hearsay. Both John and Anne have “married” on their Facebook (to each other). Until either of them confirms a separation, this speculation is premature and falls to the level of trashy tabloid.
I think that’s a little harsh, Karen. We have all been clear that information about their alleged split has not been confirmed, but John’s putting that he is interested in both men and women on his Facebook page certainly seems like a direct indication from him that he is indeed interested in men. It would also seem he wants others to know about it.
David, you write: “we have all been clear that the information about their alleged split has not been confirmed.” Actually, a quick google search shows that people are already saying they are headed for divorce even though there is no evidence. That is what speculation does. Whatever he may or may not have had on Facebook a few months ago–there is nothing on Facebook now about interest in men. It just says he is married to Anne. I am not trying to argue that there is nothing going on. I really don’t know. I just have concerns about how speculation spreads distorted rumors. In just a few days several articles/blogs have already exaggerated beyond what we actually know.
I can’t speak for everyone on the Internet, I was talking about here at XGW. Also, I have a screen shot much more recent than “months ago” if I’m not mistaken. I suspect John took that down after he realized it was getting attention on the blogs. And while I haven’t spoken to him recently, I understand Wayne had fairly good sources for what he wrote and I don’t know of any instance when he has lied to me. They aren’t our sources so we only made note of their reporting but we can’t just ignore it either.
I only objected to the characterization of our writing about John as on the level of a “trashy tabloid.” We have been respectful of John and stopped reporting on him after he got on with his life and stopped working to peddle the “gay cure” or curtail the rights of gays and lesbians. It seems from a distance that he did a good job of making a life for himself after all that, but it does seem that he and Anne are part of two different ideological worlds if she is going to take a leading role in this new ex-gay effort.
Does anyone know why the Hope Restored Network inaugural conference will be held at Sunrise Community Church in California? What is the connection?
Karen, i knew I had seen a screen shot somewhere. I try not to repeat stuff for which there is no substantiation, because that would indeed be lowering myself to the level of a trashy tabloid.
Hi all. I can’t look in a crystal ball, but I did check out John Paulk’s Facebook last night (the 26th) but I could see why people might think he’s getting divorced. Besides wedding pictures im one album and the fact that it says Anne is his wife, I would Never have known he had a wife at all. I know he’s a chef and would have loads of foodie pics, but there wasn’t hardly Anything that pointed out he was married or a once conservative guy. It’s just face book, but Anne’s FB page is All conservative stuff (she loves Mike Huckabee). Mostly john had food pics and some hot guys who work for him. I’m all for hot guys 🙂 but really, no pics of wife but Several of your hottie helpers? And he just likes so much stuff I do. It’s hard not to think he’s not as ex-gay as he once said. I’m all for live and let live, but let’s be real. ( ps: I knew john a little 15 years ago at the height of his Exodus time, ore Mr P’s)
He’s been hiring beefcake servers for at least 5 years. I can see how using his career to sublimate his pent up sexual energy would work – he preens for the local TV cameras (and photographers on hand to shoot his more high-profile events), hires well-groomed and muscled young guys (who posses a look that is stereotypically appealing to gay men), and delves himself into his creating.
I mean, if you’re a sexually frustrated straight-married gay man and you have employees who look like that, wouldn’t YOU be obsessed with your work?