Wednesday, June 15, 2016

California Pastor Resigns Over Gay Marriage Stance

As you already know, gay, transgender, lesbian, queer, and bisexual are in the Google News headlines every day and they have been for about the last 5 years.  It's all come upon us like a flood.

Today we find an article in USA Today about a pastor who resigned because he refused to condemn homosexuality...and felt his churches documents and faith statement might make homosexuals feel unwelcome.

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. — The top pastor of Southwest Church in Indian Wells was asked to resign because he refused to condemn homosexuality, he explained in his resignation letter.

A few months ago, Gerald Sharon — who has been lead pastor of Southwest since 2013 and previously served at Saddleback Church in Orange County — asked the church hierarchy to look into “the extent to which a homosexual individual could be involved in the life of Southwest Church.”

While the church leadership initially seemed engaged in the discussions, they recently sent Sharon a letter in which they unanimously affirmed the Southwest’s current position on homosexuality.

Southwest’s LGBT policy is written down in a document titled “Homosexuality and Human Sexuality.” The document does not appear to be publicly available.

“My heart sank realizing that no homosexual person who would read these documents would truly feel welcome at Southwest Church,” Sharon wrote in his resignation letter.

“And, if the positions held in these papers are followed, they will effectively exclude homosexual individuals from the life of Southwest. My desire was to rescind these papers, neither affirming nor condemning homosexuality so that all individuals regardless of their perspective could feel completely welcome and fully loved at Southwest.”

Sharon’s resignation is effective July 8, but the church elders have forbidden him from attending any services at Southwest, according to the resignation letter.

“The reason I have not taught the past four weekends is because the Elders would not permit me to, nor did they want Gesa and I even attending services,” the pastor wrote. “However, I don’t want there to be any doubt that my heart and Gesa’s heart intensely longs for you every day.”

Church elders announced Sharon's abrupt departure to their members during Saturday's evening service, hours before a gunman killed 49 people in a gay nightclub in Orlando. Several families walked out of the service after hearing the elders' message.

“I couldn’t support their decision,” Paula Marvin said. “I just looked at my husband and said ‘so you want to leave?’”

Marvin, 46, has been a member of the church for seven years and has already begun looking for a new congregation to join. She stood outside Southwest Church on Sunday morning carrying rainbow flags in protest.

In a statement, Southwest Church simultaneously condemned same-sex relationships and welcomed members of the LGBT community to their church.

“Southwest believes that all sexual expressions are based on personal choices, some right and some wrong in the eyes of God,” the statement read.

“While Southwest does not believe that being active in same-sex attraction is right in the eyes of God, we welcome anyone to our church. We strongly stand against those who have used the Scriptures as a means to do harm or cause bias towards members in the LGBT community. We believe we can disagree, while not being disagreeable. We believe in civility and healthy dialogue.”

Announcement of Sharon’s resignation came hours before the biggest mass shooting in American history in an Orlando gay nightclub. The shooter reportedly harbored homophobic views; his father told news outlets the shooter became visibly upset when he saw two men kiss.

Church spokesman Jeff Gonzalez wrote: “After hearing of the horrific events in Orlando, we stand together with our community and country in prayer.”

However, there was no silent moment of prayer or mention of the mass shooting during Sunday's 11 a.m. service, said congregant Angel Nelson.

"Here we have the biggest shooting in American history and the church said nothing," Nelson said. "I thought that was in extremely poor taste. It was even more of a slap in the face of the LGBT community how they did not recognize the victims and instead went on and on about the church’s stance against (gay) marriage.”


“My heart sank realizing that no homosexual person who would read these documents would truly feel welcome at Southwest Church,” Sharon wrote in his resignation letter.

Click on the link above to see the protesters standing with rainbow signs in front our Southwest Church.

So is this headline coming to a church near you?  Is this article coming to YOUR church?  Does you church have on it's DOCUMENTS that you believe marriage is between one man and one woman and that all sexually acts outside of marriage are not something your church supports, condones or celebrates?

Let's take this apart.....

If society says abortion is you church going to preach that killing unborn babies is fine and remove all the DOCUMENTS that have anything to do with the sanctity of life?

"I can't be a part of a church that has a stance on abortion that makes people considering abortion feel unwelcome here!"

How about adultery?  If society says that men can't be expected to only have sex with one woman for the rest of their lives...will your church go along with that teaching?

"I can't be a part of a church that if swingers and wife swappers read our stance on adultery that they would be unwelcome here."

How about people with chemical addiction, food addictions, porn addictions?  Should the church say those behaviors are OK because they want addicts to feel comfortable coming to your church?

Where does it end?

It ends at the cross.  We are ALL WRETCHED SINNERS!  We are all heading on the wide road that leads straight to hell.  Jesus welcomes us all to accept the ONLY free gift that guarantees eternal life with Him.  But as part of the process we need to REPENT and turn from what WE ONCE WERE!!

Jesus didn't meet the woman at the well and say, "Perfect!  You are sleeping with other men besides your husband!  That's great!  You were created for great sex!  Now go and live your life and be happy!"

No.  Instead he said, "Go and SIN NO MORE!"

Paul repeats the same position to the Corinthians;

1 Corinthians 6  
9 Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.


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