Birmingham church hires gay pastor; he's ready to do same-sex weddings
The first gay marriage in my adopted state of Georgia took place at 12:31 pm on the day SCOTUS ruled. This is the "Bible Belt", the "Deep South".
The historic Pilgrim Church in Birmingham [a UCC denomination] has hired an openly gay senior pastor who is ready to officiate same-sex weddings. ... He is ready in the event that the U.S. Supreme Court rules to make gay marriage legal nationwide, which could happen next week. "I'm cautiously optimistic that it's going to happen," Tucker said.
The United Church of Christ has been a pioneer among Protestant denominations in ordaining women pastors and openly gay ministers. It's a historic, predominantly white denomination that embraced the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s. Tucker married his partner, Bill Eknes-Tucker, in Toronto in 2005. Bill is a retired nurse. Tucker said he knows first-hand how his marriage not being legally recognized in Tennessee and Alabama has been a hardship. ... The congregation could serve as a major hub for gay weddings. "We're ready Day One (that gay marriage is ruled legal in Alabama)," he said. "They wanted someone who was ready to do that.
I see a few things ahead. Not prophetically, lol, just following the train tracks to the horizon. It's pretty clear. It is only going to become harder from here on out.
OK, first this SCOTUS ruling allowing gay marriage for all the land will usher in a new phase that will ramp up persecution in America toward churches and Christians. For one, free speech will be squelched. It started already-
|Newspaper editorial page bans op-eds opposing gay marriage|
Randy Alcorn said it well: [HT to Glenn]
Many churches spend more on interest payments than on world missions. Debt ties the church’s hands. If attendance drops, the economy suffers, or giving dips, then pastors or missionaries must go unpaid. The building completed eight years ago, already needing repairs, keeps demanding those monthly payments, mostly going to interest. . . . When a church overextends itself financially, it inevitably spends time during services trying to persuade people to give to the building fund. This changes the focus from worshiping Christ, studying the Scriptures, and meeting the needs of the community, to concerns about buildings, mortgages, and money.Third, this ruling has brought out many who believe that homosexuality is not a problem, and I'm not talking about pagans. Self-professed Christians by the droves are applauding it. I have had more than one solid sister or brother in the faith marvel at the number of people who say they are in the faith but exalted a different Jesus and a different Gospel when the Supreme Court decision was handed down. Those who are not with Jesus are scattering for sure.
|An aerial photograph showing opposing trenches|
and no man's land between, during World War I. Wikipedia
The true church is not in danger, mind you, I'm not saying that. But the cultural churches like the one in Birmingham will become visible, and if the the true church is seen at all, it will be seen as outdated at the least, and dangerous at the most. The timid pastors unwilling to stand for the faith will become absorbed in the flow, which yesterday became tsunami force. Fearing their position, or their paycheck, or their liberal deacons, or the neighborhood...they will change their position and weaken. Many churches will become like the Birmingham church, sadly. If it only took satan 20 years to fully change America's position on homosexuality so that the highest court in the land would nationalize perversity. What hay do you think satan can make of false churches now that the pendulum has swung so far?
Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. (Matthew 12:30)
Gill's Exposition on Matthew 12:30,
and he that gathereth not with me, scattereth: Christ is the good shepherd, that gathers his sheep to himself, and into his fold, by the external ministry of the word, and internal efficacy of his grace; Satan is the wolf, that catches and scatters the sheep, and seeks to kill and destroy them: and since there is such an open war proclaimed and carried on between Christ and the devil, none ought to be neutral; whoever is not on the side of Christ, is reckoned as an enemy; and whoever is not concerned by prayer or preaching, or other means to gather souls to his word and ordinances, and to his church, and to himself, is deemed by him a scatterer of them.No Man's Land where no trench is dug from one side or the other. A person is either in one trench, or the other. Even those who declare their neutrality are actually with satan because they are not overtly with Jesus, as the Matthew 12:30 verse reminds us.
My advice is:
- To remain prayerfully vigilant, in prayer, by praying. Do you see the theme? Pray! Our connection in Jesus is our strength, His strength, energized by prayer.
- Prepare to have your views challenged and be ready to answer all with a meek but firm response. 1 Peter 3:15 REALLY comes into play now more than ever.
- Thus, read the Bible. If you have been woefully neglectful of late, stop it. Soldiers do not ignore orders, policemen do not neglect what their Captain tells them. Jesus is our Commander-in-Chief. His battle plan IS the Bible. Neglect it no longer.
- Believe the spiritual battle is real. Believe you are a target.
"Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; 32but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers." (Luke 22:31-32).
Did you catch that? 'when you have turned again'. Jesus was predicting Peter's denial and restoration. Blessedly, our enemy's plans are also in Jehovah-Nissi's Bible! We are not unaware of satan's schemes. (2 Corinthians 2:11)
- Therefore pray for each other that our faith may not fail when put to the test.
The faithful in the Lord's warfare--
The LORD is our Banner, Jehovah Nissi, a study by Alexander MacLaren
Precept Austin: The LORD is our Banner, an inductive study of Exodus 17:8-16. (Scroll down a bit)
Focus on the Family: Prayer and the Spiritual Battle
GotQuestions: What does the Bible say about spiritual warfare?