Skip to comments.After Pastor's Son Comes Out, Southern Baptist Church Breaks With Denomination on Homosexuality
Posted on 06/06/2014 8:50:30 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
A Southern Baptist church in California has broken with the denomination's stance on homosexuality and has decided to accept the LGBT community without judgment. The church made the change after its lead pastor announced that he no longer holds to the teaching that homosexuality is a sin.
Danny Cortez, who leads New Heart Community Church in La Mirada, explained his journey in a letter to progressive Christian blogger John Shore, founder of Unfundamentalist Christians, last month. At the end of that journey, his son came out to him as gay.
"I recently became gay affirming after a 15-year journey of having multiple people in my congregation come out to me every year," Cortez wrote. After reading many of Shore's writings and hearing testimony from gay friends who felt marginalized, Cortez said his "eyes became open to the injustice that the church has wrought" and in August 2013, he said he "realized I no longer believed in the traditional teachings regarding homosexuality."
Soon after his shift in beliefs, his 15-year-old son, Drew, revealed that he was gay and later came out publicly on YouTube.
Cortez believes that if it wasn't for that 15-year journey and his change in theology, "I may have destroyed my son through reparative therapy."
The California pastor, a graduate of Biola University's Talbot School of Theology, told his congregation in February that he had recently informed the church's elders that he now personally affirmed same-sex relationships.
Cortez explained to his church that his conversations with LGBT members of his congregation over the years had increasingly left him dissatisfied.
"I could feel the dread coming in the person I'm talking to. And I was always wondering why, of all of God's commandments, why is this the one commandment that seemed that it was different that seemed to impart life. And this is the one that created so much self-hatred, this was the sense of people feeling like they were imprisoned. A sentence of life with no chance to love," he said.
The majority of his sermon that day focused on Romans 1, a passage which many Christians interpret as condemning homosexual behavior.
"[Romans 1] wasn't so that we could judge everyone else. Paul, in this magnificent, brilliant, writing style was saying, 'I'm writing all of this, but really I'm getting you to agree with how evil it is and then telling you, guess what? You're just the same way,'" he said. "And therefore, Paul says, 'Don't judge anyone.' And yet we use this Romans 1 as the passage most often to judge all sorts of people."
Cortez also cited Matthew Vines, author of God and the Gay Christian, in his sermon. In his letter to Shore, he also acknowledged that Ken Wilson's book, A Letter to My Congregation, had been influential.
Cortez's announcement, which the pastor acknowledged had frustrated church elders by its abruptness, left many in the church displeased and the church decided to vote on whether to terminate the pastor or accept his proposition.
After a period of prayer, study and discernment, which also included hearing from gay and straight teachers on both sides of the homosexuality debate, the church voted in May not to dismiss Cortez and "instead to become a Third Way church," Cortez explained.
According to Cortez, as a "Third Way" church, the Southern Baptist congregation would "accept the LGBT community even though they may be in a relationship. We will choose to remain the body of Christ and not cast judgement (sic). We will work toward graceful dialogue in the midst of theological differences. We see that this is possible in the same way that our church holds different positions on the issue of divorce and remarriage. In this issue we are able to not cast judgement (sic) in our disagreement."
Those who disagree with the church will formally leave it on June 8.
Al Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, criticized the idea of a church trying to embrace a third way.
"A church will either believe and teach that same-sex behaviors and relationships are sinful, or it will affirm them," Mohler stated Monday, suggesting that Cortez's acknowledgement of church members departing evidenced this. "Eventually, every congregation in America will make a public declaration of its position on this issue. It is just a matter of time (and for most churches, not much time) before every congregation in the nation faces this test."
"Even if it is claimed that some continuing members of the church are in disagreement with the new policy and position, they will be members of a church that operates under that new policy. At the very least, their decision to remain in the congregation is a decision to stay within a church that affirms same-sex behaviors and relationships," he added.
Mohler also pointed to progressive Christian blogger Tony Jones, who disagrees with Mohler's views on homosexuality but has made a similar point to that of his conservative colleague last month.
"I've got a few friends to graciously and tenaciously hang on to the idea that a third way can be found on this issue, a middle ground between affirming gay marriage and condemning it. And I agree with them, to a point. ... Those are practices of a middle ground, but that middle ground is necessarily temporary," wrote Jones on his blog.
Why could this not exist?
According to Jones, there could be no middle ground because the same-sex marriage debate in the church is always determined by practices." He cited as an example the World Vision controversy in March, in which the Christian charity announced that it was changing its employment policy to allow for Christians who are in legal same-sex marriages.
"For three years, the WV board of directors studied and prayed about the issue, and no one complained. But as soon as they decided to institute a new practice that is, hiring legally married gay persons in their U.S. offices conservative Christians went postal. Spokesmen tweeted, pastors called, and recording artists threatened. In less than 48 hours, WV reversed their decision," he explained.
Mohler said he believes that New Heart will ultimately be forced to leave the Southern Baptist Convention, given that the "the Baptist Faith & Message, the denomination's confession of faith, states that homosexuality is immoral and that marriage is 'the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime.'"
"Furthermore, the Convention's constitution states explicitly that any congregation that endorses homosexual behavior is 'not in cooperation with the Convention,' and thus excluded from its membership."
CLICK ABOVE LINK FOR THE VIDEO... "WHY I CHANGED MY MIND ON HOMOSEXUALITY"
Not a well-taught church. Sad!
And all true Christians should break with that apostate church.
Yet, this is no less ridiculous in the eyes of God, but there are many people calling it a noble and courageous....
Preachers don’t read the Bible anymore, so would they even know?
It would appear that God is separating the sheep from the goats.
I think - reflecting on Romans 1 - that the whole gay thing and its growing acceptance in the church is simply God’s judgment. It does seem as if people “can’t change”. Why would that be the case? Well...it seems that God is simply judging this generation for apostasy, and for the worship of man which has been going on for some time.....
False Christians are starting to show themselves more and more, just like the Bible predicted 2000 years ago.
And if his daughter had told him she was a prostitute he would have changed his views on Adultery.
And if his wife had been picked up for shoplifting he would have changed his views on stealing.
Jesus warned us that there would be times when we would have to choose between our love for our children and our love for Him.
This man’s choice not only put his own eternal life in Jeopardy but also those with whom he was charged with shepherding.
His choice to love his sinful child more than Christ could spell the destruction of both of them as well as many members of his congregation.
I certainly wouldn’t want to be in his shoes at the Judgment. To whom much is given.....
A friend in my area (central KY) became the pastor of a local Baptist church. They fired him after a year.
He was trying to teach the bible because of some interesting things he saw. There were elderly members that had attended faithfully their entire lives that didn’t know the difference between the old and new testaments. There were all sorts of whacky beliefs. But they didn’t like what he was teaching.
Yes, I think so. Its the end of a people unwilling to submit to God despite much extended grace.
Reread the article substituting pedophilia for homosexuality.
A brief, harrowing glimpse into the (not distant) future.
I keep wondering. The bible says “This generation shall not pass away until all these things come to pass.” And they begin with Israel being re-united.
This happened in 1948 and the average lifespan of a generation, according to the bible, is 70 years.
Again, ignorance of this disease-ridden lifestyle, the shortened lifespan, and the vectoring of myriads diseases, often to children, should be considered. Too many people think the issue is about love, when the problem is a monstrous public health issue.
Absolutely. Paul tells us that God's wrath against a people who don't want him is to "give them over" to the full extent of their sinful natures. He then goes on to describe the ugly downward descent the follows. This Pastor's take on Roman's 1 is pure heresy. He is reading into scripture exactly what he wants to be in there.
Then resign from being Pastor. You certainly no longer are one.
Once again we see this openly deceptive tactic of blaming "the church" for a)opposing homosexuality; and, b)falsely equating opposing homosexuality with hating those who have succumbed to this practice.
The reality is that it is the Almighty God who is opposed to the practice of homosexuality and prohibited its practice. It is God who said that those who practice homosexuality and do not repent from this sinful activity, like all sinful behavior, will not receive eternal salvation.
Therefore, what this "pastor" is now openly embracing (the practice of homosexuality) is clearly something God opposes. This pastor blames the church for this "cruelty". This pastor is now paraphrasing the Serpent in the Garden: "Did God really say you shouldn't practice homosexuality?"
Great point. Ok, homosexual acts are ok. What’s next? As many have said, polygamy? bestiality? Abortion?
It’s not a slippery slope.
It’s a cliff.
Sin destroys the sinner. And opens the door to new sin.
Will be interesting to see what happens to pastor’s church (term and concept not in scripture).
As Walter Cronkite could have said “That’s the way it is with Kentuckians”.
It appears that homosexuality and same-sex marriages are becoming accepted behavior. The mantra is that we must treat everyone equal. Polygamy cannot be far behind. If we allow two people of the same sex to marry, how can we prohibit two men and a woman or two women and a man to marry? How will this “church” view this behavior?
Once the rudder has been removed, the vessel is at the mercy of the winds and the currents.