A few weeks ago Pastor Stan Mitchell revealed to this congregation the official decision of where they would now stand with gay marriage – Grace Pointe church in Franklin, Tennessee now supports gay marriage.
With the change in policy, Mitchell posted on the church’s website that they will now honour and extend full privileges to gay members of the congregation. These privileges include child dedication, leadership opportunities and marriage services, which were previously withheld from them as the church did not yet support gay marriage or relationships. Mitchell said the privileges will be extended “with the same expectations of faithfulness, sobriety, holiness, fidelity … and willingness as expected of all.”
Grace Pointe’s move is not without concrete consequences. Their donations have dropped to half the amount. When began the “listening process” in 2012, Sunday attendance averaged about 1000. The Sunday he preached the inclusion sermon, attendance was 673, and two weeks later, it was down to 482.
This reminds me of two things:
1) When a Southern Baptist Church minister, Pastor Danny Cortez, changed his mind on homosexual practice after his son came out to him. He said in a letter, “I realized I no longer believed in the traditional teachings regarding homosexuality.” He then attempted to navigate his church through this process…of holding the Scriptures dear to abandoning it. The church opted in for a “third way” position, where people who disagree on the issue can still come to worship at the church.
2) What Al Mohler said about churches such as these. “…there is no third way. A church will either believe and teach that same-sex behaviors and relationships are sinful, or it will affirm them. 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.”
As I think about these two churches that now bless homosexual unions and practice, I wonder if the the sole reason they are now in this position is, not because of the church-as-congregation supported it but, because the pastor-as-dictator said so. Is the pastor-led church model rather than more biblically elder-led church the prime contribution to this problem?