Contact: Liberty Counsel, 407-875-1776, Media@LC.org; Press Kit
ORLANDO, Fla., June 2, 2017 /Christian Newswire/ -- Northland Community Church and Pastor Joel Hunter hosted the Orlando LGBT event, "Elevating the Dialogue on LGBTQ Inclusion and Understanding in the Church," on May 18, with the apparent purpose to "affirm" LGBTQ by distorting the Bible and changing church doctrine.
Prior to attending the event, attendees were encouraged to complete a survey. The survey was created by The Reformation Project (TRP), a so-called "Bible-based, Christian grassroots organization" that works "to promote inclusion of LGBT people by reforming church teaching on sexual orientation and gender identity" with the goal for a global church that fully affirms LGBT people. The survey was quickly removed from the internet after Liberty Counsel's previous press release was distributed.
The survey included the following questions with multiple choice answer options:
How would you characterize your views about LGBT inclusion in the church?
- I am opposed to same-sex relationships; LGBTQ Christians should be celibate.
- I do not support same-sex relationships, but I would like the church to be more welcoming and inclusive.
- I am not sure what I believe on this topic.
- I lean toward supporting LGBTQ people in the church, but I still have unresolved theological questions.
- I am fully affirming and would like to see the church ordain and marry LGBTQ people.
Do you believe that faithful Christians can disagree on this topic?
How much time have you spent studying the Bible’s teaching as they relate to LGBTQ Christians?
- I've studied multiple non-affirming resources on this topic.
- I've studied multiple affirming resources on this topic.
- I've studied multiple non-affirming AND affirming resources on this topic.
How do you identify?
- Straight; Gay or lesbian; Bisexual; Transgender; Queer; Questioning/unsure; Other
Notice the last question has no option for "Heterosexual." A pamphlet, The Bible and Same-Sex Relationships, created by TRP, was distributed to attendees at the Northland Church event. TRP's executive director, Matthew Vines, also offered his book, God and the Gay Christian.
The pamphlet distributed during the Northland Church event even states: "Christians can affirm the Bible and affirm same-sex relationships." It also contained "non-affirming messages" and "affirming messages," with the intent of persuading attendees to adopt the "affirming messages." Examples include the following:
For "MARRIAGE" in Genesis 1-2 and Matthew 19:1-12, the non-affirming message is that every marriage in the Bible is heterosexual, and the affirming message is that marriage is about keeping covenant and same-sex couples can live that principle in their relationships.
For "SODOM AND GORMORRAH" [sic] in Genesis 19, the non-affirming message is that the city was destroyed as punishment for their "attempted same-sex behavior." The affirming message is that the punishment had nothing to do with same-sex behavior or "romantic interest."
For "THE LAW" in Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13, regarding same-sex behavior, the non-affirming message is that Christians should not engage in same-sex behavior. The affirming message is that Christ is the end of the law.
For "SEXUAL EXCESS" in Romans 1:26-27, the non-affirming message is that the "Apostle Paul condemns same-sex behavior as 'shameful' and 'unnatural.'" The affirming message is that Romans only refers to "lustful same-sex behavior—not to loving, monogamous relationships."
For "VICE LISTS" in 1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Timothy 1:10, the non-affirming message is that Paul warns against "men who have sex with men." The affirming message is that these passages only refer to "lustful and exploitative forms of same-sex behavior."
The event at Northland featured a panel with Hunter, Bishop Kelvin Cobaris, founding pastor of The Impact Church of Orlando, and Reverend Terri Steed Pierce, who is in a same-sex relationship and senior pastor of Joy Metropolitan Community Church. This was moderated by Amelia Markham, the Atlanta organizer for TRP, and the Q&A session was facilitated by Matthew Vines. The panel discussion and the Q&A session were not designed to address respectful dialogue but were designed to move the church to change doctrine and the Bible.
"One would have to be blind or complicit to allow The Reformation Project to put on an LGBTQ propaganda presentation in church," said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. "The name and mission of the organization declare its purpose is to reform church teaching on sexual orientation and gender identity. The mission has nothing to do with dialogue but rather has everything to do with confusing Christians and distorting biblical and church teachings on human sexuality. As the leader of this influential church, Joel Hunter knowingly provided a platform to Matthew Vines and The Reformation Project to promote an overt LGBTQ agenda designed to confuse people and to 'reform church teaching on sexual orientation and gender identity.' The survey questions and the pamphlet clearly reveal this agenda," said Staver.
Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics.