Active RNS subscribers and members can view this content at the RNS Archives website.

(RNS) When the pastor of Grace Community United Church of Christ in St. Paul, Minn., decided to support his denomination's embrace of gay marriage, he lost three-quarters of his church, and learned just how the price can be in supporting progressive causes. By Annalisa Musarra.

3 Comments

  1. Is it possible to believe that man can alter the Holy writings of the Almighty. No! What God says is true remains true. You cannot play any old tune on the Sacred writings! Man and Woman in the Garden of Eden. Men and Men….or Woman and Woman would not have made the earth full of Children. But what happens when we water it down and add or take away valuable Scripture? As the book of Revelation states” The plagues will be upon us”
    Now thousands of sects and break away faiths have developed! The masses are like Ceasar claiming “What is truth” The true Church does not evolve into some modern day religion. It stays the course of entering into God’s Kingdom through the narrow gate that “FEW are Finding. The judgement of wrong doing is clear in the Scripture.
    2 Timothy 3: begins ” Know this that in the last days……….Men will be what??
    I would like to say their cannot be 1000′s of true religions but there are 1000′s of opinions and many finding the road to destruction. One true religion….the others false.
    The Holy Writings of the Bible til it all before we were born. God has always had a chosen few to serve Him even when surrounded by Pagans and heathens. To give in was to be cast out of the church. The faithful are compassionate but not ignorant of the Devils tactics. The best way to find out what God wants is not to ask the Clergy…ask God! Its His Book…His planet…His rulership..His Judgement and His standards. A regular feeding on the word as written…
    Use a Bible that compares 4 or five translations to get the sense of the writing. Get to know the mind of the Christ…not imperfect men. God has always used imperfect men and woment to get the message out. But that does not give us a free pass be followers of Clergy. The writings of Paul highlight we neither fear men nor follow men!
    Make your path a clear one. Stay with what is written and be safe with your teaching and preaching. The closer we stay with written Scripture the less likely we are to stray into the land of Pagan and Heathen teachings and practices. Sodom was a prime example of where the populace want religion “their way” Are they a good example for us to follow? No….a sudden firery destruction was upon them for a reason!
    Moral correctness for a Christian is based on the teachings of Christ…not men.
    would Jesus approve of immoral ways? No! He made the statement over and over to Repent. Repent….turn around. the other way! DEAD END! Back up! Warning the road is closed. Paul wrote about this often. That is what some of the congregation had been…but had turn around so as not to get destroyed! Ok it is clear the often men and women make their own rules. Satan blinds the eyes of the unbelievers!
    Remove the dark glasses…and put on the reading glasses to read the Bible and not the thoughts of Men.. Clear ….focused….understandable…and life saving!!

  2. What is puzzling is that the UCC has a long history of deferring to the congregation of individual churches with regards to practice and doctrine, but when 72 percent of this congregation felt differently than the pastor, the pastor declares that they are the one’s that are wrong and “homophopic.” He then appeals to a church thousands of miles away to prop up the church against the wishes of the local congregation.

    Whatever one feels about same-sex marriage and gay relationships, this pastor, aided by the UCC church in Dallas, tossed aside the congregation’s own polity and faith-tradition to assert his own personal views.

  3. Very interesting comment, but it does not reflect the reality of church process. The local church calls the pastor. In the contract (for most, if not all UCC pastors) it states that the pastor has freedom of the pulpit. He/she can say what they feel led by God to say. The church then exercises it’s freedom/power by deciding whether or not to allow the pastor to continue being their pastor. The key here is that people left…instead of dealing with the issue, they chose to leave. Other churches have dealt differently. They have had meetings in which the issues were discussed openly, and then had votes. For example, some churches have voted to say that the pastor could not perform a same sex marriage. Other churches have voted to support the resolution of general synod (supporting equal marriage rights). Some have voted to go on record as opposing the resolution. Churches can vote to rescind the call of their pastor (essentially, they can fire him/her). Or they can vote to tell the pastor to stop raising an issue (and the pastor can decide if she/he will stay there.) In this church, many, many people chose to leave. Those who stayed seem to agree with the pastor. He is trying to keep his church alive for those who want that type of environment. This pastor was not, in my opinion, thwarting the will of the local church. He preached his conscience. Instead of dealing with the issue, most people left. That is not how to be in Christian community, I think. I would hope if I, as a pastor, say something that people find offensive, they would tell me. I would search my soul, and pray about my response. If I disagreed with the person/people, I would bring the issue to council. They would then be able to set up a process to decide how to deal with it. That is how things work in a free church. Unfortunately, some people choose not to use the system. If the people had stayed, they far outnumbered the ones who agreed with the pastor, and they could have held a vote that would probably have given them what they wanted.
    (I believe this is how the process should work for any issue…not just gay rights issues…for example, I have seen it work on the issue of children taking communion…and I have seen it go both ways.)