Despite criticism that an Orlando-based megachurch fell into the “trap” of LGBT affirmation, Senior Pastor Joel Hunter says this is simply not the case.
“We have always been clear about our stance concerning homosexual or heterosexual activity outside marriage. Our understanding of Scripture is that sex is a gift God gave to be used exclusively inside the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman. Any sexual activity outside that boundary is sin,” says Hunter, the pastor of Northland, A Church Distributed.
Northland recently hosted a seminar titled “Elevating the Dialogue on LGBTQ Inclusion and Understanding in the Church,” which featured Hunter and an LGBT pastor, among others, discussing the church’s relationship with the gay community.
The event was sponsored by The Reformation Project, which was founded by Matthew Vines, who wrote God and the Gay Christian.
Some believers were deeply offended at the topic and Northland’s agreement to host the discussion.
“The Reformation Project is designed to change the church to affirm an LGBTQ lifestyle as normative, and it appears Pastor Joel Hunter has fallen into that trap. For him to host that pro-LGBT event is heresy,” said Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel. “While we all are sinners and all are welcome at the foot of the cross, Jesus also told the adulteress to go and sin no more. He did not affirm her in the sin of adultery, nor did he affirm people in their continued sin. He saves us from our sin. The doesn’t mean we do not falter, but we cannot distort His grace as a license to continue to sin.”
Matthew Vines thinks it is OK to keep sinning and convince yourself it’s not a big deal. Vines says the Bible only condemns lust, not same-sex committed relationships. He believes Sodom and Gomorrah had nothing to do with homosexuality, and other passages in the New Testament do not mean what they say. In other words, being LGBTQ is okay and the Bible says nothing contrary. Human sexuality is not to be taken lightly or compromised. The message of the Reformation Project and this event are wrong and an affront to Jesus and the Bible. The church needs to live in the resurrection power of Jesus and stop compromising to be just like the sinful culture we are called to redeem.
Hunter says the event was not pro-LGBT as was reported, nor does he or his church support The Reformation Project’s gay-affirming goals.