Andrew Strom blogs…
“It all started with a 2009 blog post by Rob Buckingham, pastor of a large Pentecostal megachurch called ‘Bayside’ in Melbourne, Australia. His blog post was entitled, “Is Jesus Anti-Gay?” and made the case for ‘acceptance’ being the true Christian attitude toward Homosexuals. Now bear in mind that this is not some “liberal” church or ‘liberal’ congregation here. This fellowship is part of the “C3″ (Christian City Church) denomination – one of the largest mainstream Pentecostal groups in Australia. That is why the Gay community was so delighted by it all.
In the ‘comments’ section after his article, Rob Buckingham made his views even clearer: “As a Christian, and pastor of a church, I sometimes find the attitudes of fellow Christians embarrassing. We have a number of gay men and women in our church and they are accepted just the way they are – just like everyone else is.” So you are no longer willing to preach what Jesus preached, Rob? “GO and SIN NO MORE.”
Rob Buckingham later went on to preach a message at Bayside that was entitled, “Real Christianity is Accepting”. (You can find it on Youtube). In it the pastor overturned the usual understanding of the ‘Sodom & Gomorrah’ story and advocated “Christian acceptance” of homosexuals. The Pentecostal congregation literally gave him a standing ovation at the end of his sermon.
This message was heralded by the Gay press as a huge leap forward inside the Pentecostal movement. One Gay activist called it, ‘The Bayside Breakthrough’. The Star Online trumpeted, “Church Advocates for Gay Acceptance… minister at Melbourne´s Pentecostal Bayside Church received a standing ovation earlier this month for preaching just that in a special sermon on how the church should embrace GLBT [Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender] people.”
The official Bayside website also published the following statement: “Bayside Church welcomes GLBT people to find God´s love and grace and to worship Him freely within our community.”
Even though this whole affair became very well-known, the leadership of the C3 (Christian City Church) movement apparently “declined to comment” on it – even though the C3 movement is led by Phil Pringle, a very well-known preacher in Australia. It seems Bayside is still welcome to be part of ‘C3′ and Rob Buckingham remains a high-profile pastor in the movement. All of his blog posts on this subject are still proudly featured on the church website. Which surely leads one to believe that Rob Buckingham’s views must not be too different from the overall church’s views on this subject. Isn’t that reasonable to assume, since they have said nothing to the contrary? I wonder if Australian Pentecostals are aware that this huge compromise is now taking place under their own banner?
And so, Homosexual Acceptance is free to enter into the Pentecostal movement by the back door, since leaders no longer dare to actually make a stand on the issue. Please write to Phil Pringle and the C3 movement if you would like to know why they have been so “silent” about this – even to their own members. Here is the email to write to- email@example.com
Isn’t it sad that “political correctness” is now overtaking even the Pentecostal churches worldwide? Perhaps the fruit of years of no real ‘Repentance’ being preached? And I have recently heard of large Baptist churches in Australia also starting to head in the same direction. Who will stand and defend the truth?”
Andrew Storm further blogs…
“Just for the record, my big concern in this was that homosexuals were being welcomed right into actual Pentecostal ‘fellowship’ – with no sign that it was being called “sin” at all. In fact, complete “acceptance” of homosexuals ‘just as they are’. I personally have no problem with reaching out in love toward homosexual people for the sake of their salvation and cleansing through Jesus. I do believe in compassion for the sinner. But this is very different. This is total “acceptance” of Homosexuals into actual Pentecostal fellowship. Where is the repentance? Where is the stand on what God calls “SIN”? That was my big concern.
I am delighted to say that the overall C3 church has now issued a firm response concerning this issue. However, there are still real question marks, as we shall see. But first – their response. Here it is-
Thank you for your email and expression of your concerns regarding this issue. We wanted you to know our position on this matter so there is no confusion regarding our beliefs. Below is a short statement that we trust will help clarify our stance.
C3 Churches hold to the historic Judeo-Christian view of sexual union being between a man and a woman in marriage. We do not recognise the practice of homosexuality as biblically valid for a follower of Christ, nor do we promote it. We do however promote and expect God’s great love and grace to be shown to all, regardless of their orientation.
Also we wanted you to know that Ps Buckingham has removed his blog at our request as it does not reflect our beliefs.
Kind Regards, C3 Church Global”
ANDREW AGAIN: An excellent response, and I am very happy that the C3 movement has been so clear about it. However, it is not actually true that Rob Buckingham has removed his blog post. In fact, the worst two are still up, including – “Is Jesus Anti-Gay?” and ‘The Acceptance Controversy’. And his comment is still there for all to see- “As a Christian, and pastor of a church, I sometimes find the attitudes of fellow Christians embarrassing. We have a number of gay men and women in our church and they are accepted just the way they are – just like everyone else is.”
Here is the link so you can see for yourself- http://www.baysidechurch.com.au/content/view/231/243/
The C3 statement said that Rob Buckingham had already removed the blog post concerned. But actually none of them have been removed yet at all. And Bayside’s Youtube video – “Real Christianity is Accepting” is also still up for all the world to see.
And anyway, even if they do take them down at some point, does that mean Rob Buckingham’s attitude has truly changed? He is the pastor of thousands of C3 people, after all.
If you want to clarify if and when any of this stuff will be removed, you can contact C3 – firstname.lastname@example.org
And in the meantime, I have received a great deal of confirmation that mainstream Baptist churches in both New Zealand and Australia are also preaching or practising “Homosexual Acceptance” and no longer treating it as ‘sin’. This is a crisis. The walls are down. Is it already too late?
-PLEASE COMMENT on this topic below-
Yours in Christ – Andrew Strom ( email@example.com )”
Pastor Rob Buckingham’s blog post ‘Is Jesus anti-gay?’ as it appears today after being censored by Christian Shitty Church…
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Through the magic of the internet archive, here is Pastor Rob Buckingham’s ‘Is Jesus anti-gay?’ blog post before it was censored by Christian Shitty Church…
“So often Christianity is linked with being right wing, anti-gay, anti-Obama, anti-Muslim and pro-Israel.
Now I have strong views on all of these topics, but sometimes our strong views need to be kept to ourselves in order to be effective in reaching out to others. For example, sending out an anti-gay message does nothing to reach gay people for Jesus. All it does is ostracize them from the church and force them to find refuge amongst their own community instead of finding love, acceptance and forgiveness in the community of Christ.
The apostle Paul discusses this in Romans 2 where he rebukes judgmental people and reminds them that it is God’s kindness, tolerance and patience, which ultimately leads people back to God.
WWJD? What would Jesus do? A simple look at the gospels reveals the answer to this question. The only people Jesus judged were the rightwing, religious fundamentalists who thought they had it all together and were the sole bearers of religious truth (see Matthew 23). These people were harsh in their judgment of others; Jesus was harsh in His judgment of them.
But to others, the marginalized and disenfranchised, Jesus offered a gracious and loving view of God. He said nothing about homosexuality (except some words in Matthew 19:11-12 that could be an insight into Jesus’ views of those with same-sex attractions). He had plenty to say about a woman with a dubious past who let her hair down (literally) and anointed him with perfume. When criticized by the religious, Jesus defended her and established a memorial in her honor.
He saved a woman who was divorced and remarried five times and living in a defacto relationship with someone else’s husband. He forgave a woman, caught in the act of adultery, that the religious fundamentalists wanted to stone to death. You get the picture. All these people had their lives (and behavior) changed by the gracious acceptance of Jesus, not His harsh criticism and condemnation.
WWJD is a good question that we all need to ask. The only problem is when some people ask themselves the question they come up with the wrong answer and become cruel critics instead of those who demonstrate the kindness, tolerance and patience of God. One repels, the other attracts. WWYD? What will you do?”