Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Pastor Forced to Resign for Declaring Biblical Truth About Homosexuality

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A Presbyterian pastor in California has resigned his church after congregants abandoned him over a sign he placed in front of the church building declaring that “homosexuality is still sin.”

In early January, the Reverand Justin Hoke, pastor of Trinity Bible Presbyterian Church in the small town of Weed, California, posted a sign in front of the church facility pointing out that “Bruce Jenner is still male,” referring to the high-profile U.S. Olympic Gold Medal athlete who changed his name to “Caitlyn” and now portrays himself as a woman. The sign went on to declare that “Homosexuality is still sin. The culture may change, the Bible does not.”

Weed is four hours north of San Francisco, and the local news site reported that Hoke said “he constructed the provocative message at the beginning of the year to inspire reflection on today’s culture. He feels modern society has changed the definition of tolerance to conflict with the Bible.”

Hoke said he erected the sign after seeing a news story in which a man who publicly identifies as a woman had lashed out at a store clerk who referred to him using a male pronoun. Hoke explained that “the ultimate purpose was to say that while the culture may change, the Bible does not. The culture is now demanding that we call ‘good’ what the Bible calls evil.”

Hoke said that initially the members of his congregation were supportive of the sign. But shortly after erecting it, a group of pro-homosexual protestors showed up across the street from the church on a Sunday morning, waving rainbow flags and their own signs reading: “All we need is love.”

Amelia Mallory, one of the organizers of the protest, explained that the purpose of the protest was to show “love and support for anyone who feels like they are the target of the sign. Debating religion is unproductive, for one, and we also don’t want anyone to feel like we are against Christianity as a whole. People are welcome to their own beliefs, but can’t be surprised if people take action against such a public display.”

Another organizer was quoted as saying that “we are there to support the LGBTQ community in a positive way. Debating with any church members isn’t the goal. We are not there for them. Some of us on our side of the street still are also religious. All of us are capable of treating everyone with respect, even if we disagree.”

Of the protestors, Hoke said: “I believe they’re sincere — sincerely wrong, but sincere. I believe it is hypocritical that their position is taught in schools and pushed on children, while our position is asked to be kept within the walls of the church.”

Following the LGBT protest the sign was vandalized, prompting Pastor Hoke to repair it and re-post the sign for all to see. However, his congregation’s support quickly evaporated, and days after the protest and vandalism, Hoke posted on his Facebook page that he had resigned his pastoral position at the church. “I am no longer the pastor of Trinity Bible Presbyterian Church.”

He went on to relate that he had been informed by one of the church’s elders “that he felt he could no longer follow my lead as Pastor of TBPC,” adding that “I was informed that essentially all but one couple in membership would leave the church if I continued as pastor of TBPC.”

In a follow-up Facebook post, Pastor Hoke emphasized that “I did not want to leave, I did not quit, and I was willing to stay.”

Hoke’s Facebook post about the incident garnered overwhelming support for his efforts to defend biblical Christianity. “I am sorry the church doesn’t support your stance,” commented one person. “God bless you for being faithful to the Word of God.”

Another supporter posted, “Brother, I am speechless but not surprised. You preach the true Gospel of Jesus Christ and that is hard to handle for most. I am praying for you and the family right now. God bless you and keep you.”

Hoke said that “Jesus commands all Christians to let their light shine,” and that “Jesus said he came to call sinners, not the righteous. If we give in to cultural demands to stop calling sin ‘sin,’ then we are robbing people of opportunity to hear the truth.”

Following his resignation, Hoke said that “many people have reached out asking if they could help me in some physical or monetary way. I am really thankful for such thoughts and offers. But, I don't want to use this five minutes of fame as a chance to capitalize on the sympathy and good will of others. The Lord has taken care of my needs. Please pray that God would open more doors for me to preach the Gospel, that is all I want or need.”

 Image: RomoloTavani via iStock / Getty Images Plus

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