The Crucible of Criticism Brings Others to Christ

By Ricky Chelette, Executive Director


Over the last several weeks, there have been scores of articles, blogs, and various media talking about Living Hope Ministries and the work we do. Honestly, most of those who write about us know nothing of what we do, and only one reporter has ever contacted me to check any facts. The articles have not been flattering.


As a result, I have received dozens of emails from people I don’t know nor have ever met, sharing the vilest, most perverted, and hate-filled prose I’ve ever read. Join me in praying for these precious and misguided people.


I’ve had several people who were once a part of this ministry, asked for our help, received our support for free, applauded and praised the ministry, now vilify the ministry and me as damaging and harmful, even dangerous. Their recollections of events either never happened or are so skewed, they bear no resemblance to reality.


Even worse, these individuals are people who I care about deeply. They were, I thought, my friends.


I have always believed criticism is an opportunity for evaluation and change, and I take it seriously.  I’ve prayed, searched my memory, reviewed my practices, and carefully examined every word or turn of phrase.  I have sought the counsel of my critics’ contemporaries to see if I am missing something.  I know I am not a perfect leader and certainly have discovered ways to improve, and for that, I am grateful.


But I am certain of one thing:  I have earnestly sought to point people to the truth revealed in God’s Word. The teachings we share from God’s Word are dangerous, but only in breaking down the world’s strongholds, which often ensnares our hearts and lives. We believe that the gospel message transforms every aspect of a person’s life.  That is a radical belief, but hardly a personally harmful one.  Suppose you embrace the things we teach at Living Hope. In that case, you will seek to glorify God in all you do; know that you are created intentionally as a male (man) or a female (woman); love and value others as much if not more than you do yourself; share lavishly of your time, talents, and resources; look at others as unique creations of God, each person bearing the image of the Father; act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God; believe that every life has dignity and value; and know that every person is created for a unique purpose that will bring joy to their lives, build the kingdom, and bring glory to God.


Living Hope Ministries doesn’t do some things:  We don’t encourage anyone to use off-label, life-altering drugs as a solution to our problems. We don’t encourage people to remove perfectly healthy body parts altering their appearance to convince others and themselves that they are something other than what they are created to be.  We don’t believe that change is impossible because change is a constant part of the human story. We don’t encourage experimenting with various types of sexual expression but believe God has spoken clearly about the best expression for human sexuality. We don’t encourage people to embrace a victim mentality but instead embrace the power of God to make all things new and forgive those who have wronged us. We don’t believe people are limited to stereotypic expressions of masculinity or feminity but are free to express the giftings and talents God has given to them.  We don’t believe sex is assigned at birth by any earthly person but revealed at birth, affirming God’s design and intent. We don’t believe our mission is to be against anyone but for God, the truth of His Word, and His kingdom.


I genuinely love the individuals who are speaking out against LHM.  But  I grieve for their stated pain and pray earnestly for their healing and peace. I also lament that they have chosen to interpret their lives through the lens of self and the world, thereby rewriting history to support their narrative.


I’m not that shocked we are under such attack. For thirty-two years, Living Hope Ministries has proclaimed God’s truth as we journey with those seeking sexual and relational wholeness through a more intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. People become whole and healthy when they know Christ, embrace His purpose for their life and follow Him as Lord. Of course, the world and the devil will not applaud our mission, but our audience is not the world. We never sought to be an international ministry, be in a “documentary” seen around the world, or have articles written about us that span the globe.  But obviously, God knows others who need to know the Truth that sets men and women free. I am honored to be numbered with Christ, rejected by some, but embraced by the Father. Over fifty people have contacted us to join our groups or find support in this past month alone. God is at work to bring hope and wholeness to those who have ears to hear.


Thank you for believing in us.  I ask you to continue praying for LHM, our leadership team on the front lines, our participants, and the scores of people looking for a biblical option in dealing with their identity and sexual expression. I also ask that you consider giving to support the work we do. Between COVID and the media, giving has been impacted.  Your generosity allows us to offer our services for free to all those who have need. Your gifts facilitate change and healing in peoples’ lives. We cannot do this ministry without your support.