Gays and the Mars Hill Church
Not sure what to make of this developing –but strange— controversy involving a franchise of the Mars Hill Church and Portland, Oregon’s stridently liberal gay community. The story via the Christian Post:
“Things were expected to get ugly outside Mars Hill Church’s new Portland, Ore., location this Saturday, as gay rights groups planned to protest the megachurch‘s move into the city for their stance against homosexuality. Fortunately for Tim Smith, a Portland native and the pastor of the new branch of the church, he was forced to postpone the first service due to parking issues, buying him some time to address those who criticize his doctrine.”
Faced with the controversy, the pastor of the church went into possum mode it seems, even raising “parking” issues.
On the Portland branch’s blog on Thursday, Smith wrote, “Mars Hill is without a doubt a ‘single-issue’ church. But, contrary to how many have been quick to portray us, that one issue is not opposition to any particular political, moral, or social issue.”
The only reason the church exists, he says, is “to make disciples of Jesus Christ.”
But how can you make disciples when you have not preached the gospel to those who are lost? That would be the homosexuals in the community in which the church is located. Why move there only to coexist? The church seems to be dumbing down evangelism for the sake of peace.
“His challenge moving forward is to embrace that anger and want to learn about why that exists and how being part of a religious institution has gotten people to that place.”
Although Smith still affirms his belief that homosexuality is a sin, he says that his church will not take the Gospel and “force it down anyone’s throat.” He also notes that his church has something in common with the gay community, having been protested by Westboro Baptist Church and “the religious right” for serving the community and their lack of political advocacy.
“You will not hear us preach that we are the good guys and the sinners of Portland should be more like we are,” he wrote. “If you want to come and hear what we have to say, you will hear that Jesus is so loving and gracious he can even save sinners as awful as we are and make us more like himself.”
That’s a strange common ground stance to adopt. Since when did being “protested” by Westboro Baptist Church become some biblical badge of honor?