(Crystal Smith, Joy105) It’s one thing to take a stand for righteousness. It’s another thing to publicly shame a homosexual who is seeking God in church. David Slautterback, pastor of Ambassador’s Bible Chapel in Pennsylvania, reportedly did the latter when he told the congregation he revoked a young man’s membership—because he’s gay.
Bobbie Pierce, a 20-year-old gay man who says he attended the church for years and was even baptized there, claims the church condemned him and denied him Communion. He posted a copy of a disciplinary letter on the York Daily Record’s Facebook page to prove his point.
Of course, there are always two sides to the story. The key is to be on God’s side.
According to the paper, Slautterback says he and the other church elders want Pierce to repent for practicing the sin of homosexuality and to return to fellowship at the church. The pastor says Pierce is still welcome to attend as long as he does not cause division or speak contrary to Scripture but that he cannot be a member while living in unrepentant sin.
We’re accused of hate, Bobbie has accused us of hate,” Slautterback told the paper. “I think Bobbie’s action [of talking to the York Daily Record] is an action of hate. … We placed Bobbie under church discipline out of love for Bobbie and regard for his soul.”
Slautterback and Pierce are wielding a two-edged sword against one another—with different interpretations of Scripture. Pierce insists he did not choose to be gay and that the Bible does not condemn his lifestyle. “Homosexuality isn’t a sin,” he says. “It isn’t a choice.”
Slautterback fired back with the typical Scriptures condemning homosexuality and argued, “I do not believe that a homosexual person has to be homosexual any more than I believe that a person who is inclined to steal steals.”
So here’s the question: Was this gay-confronting pastor purely hateful or lovingly biblical? What would the apostle Paul do in a situation of sexual immorality when one who claims Christ as Lord and Savior refuses to repent? Does the 1 Corinthians 5 guideline apply to homosexuality as well as other instances of sexual immorality? In Paul’s words:
It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles—that a man has his father’s wife! And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away from among you. For I indeed, as absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged (as though I were present) him who has so done this deed. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus” (1 Cor. 5:1-5).
Should the church accept gay members who actively embrace and practice a homosexual lifestyle? Or are pastors aligning with Scripture by disciplining members who come out as gay or live in any other manifestation of sexual immorality? Should the church accept openly gay members and allow them to serve in the ministry? Or is that condoning immorality? Again, was this gay-confronting pastor purely hateful or lovingly biblical “out of love for Bobbie and regard for his soul”? What would the apostle Paul have done? What does the Bible really say?