Saturday, May 26, 2012

"Tonight I am ashamed to be a Baptist"

Bill Leonard, a Baptist, expresses well the kind of reaction to this "sermon" that I've read by many other Baptists and evangelicals. I have yet to read a defense of Worley's now widely-circulated abomination. No doubt there have  been some from Westboro types.
...[T]onight I am ashamed, because I heard a Baptist pastor say things so abhorrent to the gospel of Jesus that I could not keep conscience with my Baptist forebears and remain silent. In what appears to be a May 13 sermon, Charles Worley declared: "Build a great, big, large fence — 150 or 100 mile long — put all the lesbians in there," Then he continues: "Do the same thing for the queers and the homosexuals and have that fence electrified so they can't get out. Feed them, and you know what, in a few years, they'll die out. Do you know why? They can't reproduce!"

I’ve listened to those statements multiple times, each time hoping that I’m not hearing what I think I’m hearing. But I am.

That a person who serves a congregation calling itself Baptist would utilize such brutal words is not simply an affront to the men and women he wishes death upon, but to all who “name the name of Christ.” So dastardly are those words and the sentiment behind them that those of us who value the Baptist tradition must demand repentance of this fallen Christian brother. ....

After years of living through Baptist controversies I determined to address issues — not individuals — in public debates. I’ve kept that covenant for at least two decades. But not tonight.

Tonight I’m disgusted with and praying for Pastor Worley, clinging to Paul’s words to Corinth offered in contrast to “another gospel” he found rampant there: “We recommend ourselves by the innocence of our behavior, our grasp of truth, our patience and kindliness; by gifts of the Holy Spirit, by sincere love, by declaring the truth, by the power of God” (2 Cor. 6:6-7).

Tonight I am ashamed to be a Baptist. Maybe the grace of Jesus and my Independent Baptist grandmother will find me by morning. Maybe that grace will somehow find a repentant Baptist preacher in Maiden, N.C. One can only hope. [more]
A Baptist shame