A Christian theology professor says that it was the fear of man, not God that led a Tennessee megachurch minister to announce full acceptance of homosexuals in his congregation, including the allowance of those involved in sexual sin to serve in leadership roles and to “marry.”
“If you fear man, God will become small to you,” wrote Owen Strachan, Assistant Professor of Christian Theology and Church History at Boyce College in Louisville, Ky. in a post on Friday. “The approval of fellow sinners will matter more to you than obeying God by the witness of His word.”
As previously reported, Stan Mitchell of GracePointe Church in Franklin, Tennessee, told reporters last week that God moved upon him three years ago to begin rethinking his position on inclusion in the congregation. Heretofore, GracePointe had allowed those who identify as homosexuals to attend the services, but drew the line at serving in leadership positions or being “married” by the leadership.
“We were thrust, I believe, by a divine wind, into a prayerful, painful, invigorating, careful and hopeful conversation regarding sexual orientation and gender identity,” he said, remarking that the “art of conversation … is a holy calling.”
According to reports, approximately 15 percent of the congregation at GracePointe identifies as homosexual. Nicole Pasulka of TakePart.com spoke to one of the members, Dale Wigden, who said that he joined the congregation out of his quest to find the answer to the question “Where is the place where I can be gay and Christian?”
“It doesn’t matter what you’ve done or who you are, you were born beloved by God,” he recalled GracePointe worship leader Melissa Greene, formerly of the Grammy nominated and Dove Award-winning group Avalon, telling those gathered. She made the comment during a hymn sing as she provided a disclaimer before singing “Amazing Grace,” explaining that she didn’t agree with the use of the word “wretch” in the song.
And because Wigden took from the leadership that God wasn’t out to punish him for his sins, he became “hooked on GracePointe.” He also “felt accepted and had plenty of friends in the congregation, even though he didn’t have equal rights there.”
But Mitchell, 46, said that some homosexuals left the congregation because they disagreed with GracePointe’s partial inclusion of homosexuals and one man specifically called him, accusing Mitchell of “betraying” him. Others left when he announced a time of listening over the issue because they were appalled that the matter needed to be discussed at all.
“We lost not only those who could bear the pain of partial inclusion no longer, we lost other brothers and sisters who were on the other side, who so deeply believed they knew God’s heart on this matter … as being opposed to any expression of mutual human sexuality other than theirs,” he stated before those gathered.
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SOURCE: Christian News Network