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Over the years, I’ve heard prophets say God told them all manner of goofy things. (Don’t get me started ... ) But a Vineyard pastor in Michigan may take the prize.
Ken Wilson, 62, told the Detroit Free Press that when he was young, he viewed lesbians, gays and transgenders as “criminals, perverts or homos.” When he planted his church in the 1970s, he refused to allow sexually active gays.
But somewhere along the line, Wilson, pastor of Vineyard Church of Ann Arbor in Michigan, had a change of heart. Finally, in 2011, he told the Free Press, he “got a strong nudge from Jesus” to share his new heart on gay issues.
Now he goes down in evangelical history as perhaps the first pastor of a large church to come out of the closest in support of gays. And his timing is certainly ripe for publicity, given the heated debate over gay marriage in Michigan these days.
“It’s about welcoming previously excluded groups,” Wilson told the Free Press. “That’s what it means to be evangelical—to make the good news accessible to those who haven’t had access to it. That’s my task. That’s what a church is supposed to do.”
Of course, the Vineyard movement’s leadership didn’t get a nudge from Jesus to agree with him. Wilson admits the denomination does not support him. Some people in his own church, the paper reports, have stopped sowing into the ministry as Wilson has become more vocal about embracing the LGBT community.
When you read this, you might understand why:
“I take the Bible very seriously,” Wilson told the Free Press. “It’s inspired, it’s God’s word in written form, and I do not dismiss the text and scriptures that speaks this question.
“When the Bible prohibits same-sex sex, what was the historical context for that? There’s no real indication monogamous, gay partnerships were the aim of the biblical texts, but there were some very clearly [sic] examples of exploitative same-sex sexuality, like temple prostitution or slave sex, masters requiring slaves to perform sexual services as part of their ownership of them.
“In the New Testament, there was pederasty, where older men providing mentoring to underage prepubescent males in exchange for sexual services ... The Sodom and Gomorrah story is about gang rape. It’s not about anything like loving monogamous relationships. To apply that to the issue of homosexuality is a gross misuse of scripture.”
I can’t believe I just heard that coming from a Christian pastor’s mouth. This completely ignores the many other Scriptures indicating homosexuality is a sin. Do we need to review them again? Leviticus 18:22 says a man shall not lie with a man as with a woman—that it’s an abomination. And 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 makes it clear that those who practice homosexuality will not inherit the kingdom of God. Those are just a couple.
Listen, I believe we should embrace homosexuals who want to come to church to hear the gospel and break free from the chains of bondage—but we should not embrace the sin with the sinner.
Members of the LGBT community need to feel like church is a safe place to seek God, but they need to know we don’t condone of a homosexual lifestyle any more than we do a fornicating lifestyle, an adulterous lifestyle, a lying lifestyle, a gossiping lifestyle and the like. We can’t compromise the gospel of our salvation or we aren’t preaching the gospel of Christ.
The church needs to stand against sin in any manifestation and minister the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit to set the captives free—no matter what they are captive to. Otherwise we become the blind leading the blind, religious people who have compromised with the spirit of the world, walking in deception and wooing otherwise God-fearing believers away from the truth of the gospel.
God forbid Jesus would ever nudge a pastor to do such a thing.
Jennifer LeClaire is news editor at Charisma. She is also the author of several books, including The Making of a Prophet. You can email Jennifer at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her website here. You can also join Jennifer on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.
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