GCMW: Letter sent to Bishop Eddie Long from Minister James Pennyman, Atlanta
Dear Bishop Long,
Hello and good day to you. I hope all is well at the receipt of this email. Please bear with me as I present my concerns as a 7 year member of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church . I know you probably receive emails all the time, so I will try not to bore you with all the petty details. To begin, I just want to say that I am extreamly[sic] shocked and suprised at the handling of the situation with gay-activist group Soulforce. Never would I have thought that the doors of New Birth would be open to unashamed and prideful individuals such as Soulforce for their American Family Outing Tour. For some time now, this group has traveled to many different colleges and now churches, inquiring to have “dialogue” with leadership of these institutions. What I am finding funny is that they have not targeted Mosques or Synagogues….hmmm.
Is it because they know the Muslim religion will not tolerate open homosexuality in any form…but I digress. Some of the Christian colleges turned them down and would not even allow them to come onto their properties because they understood what Soulforce was about. I am finding it very disturbing that the churches on Soulforce’s list so far, has opened their doors to the individuals…individuals who, without any form of repentance, have become idolaters of their sexuality rather than Jesus Chris t. These individuals are traveling across the South and Midwest to spread their form of the Gospel…a gospel that does not call for holiness, rather, it calls for an imagination-stretch of Bible interpretation. An interpretation that allows for couples of the same-sex to engage themselves in sexual relationships with the expected blessings of God as his children. We are truly in a time where “every man does what is right in his own eyes.”
Well, apart from Soulforce(understanding that such persons are going to do what they are going to do regardless), my real disturbance came when my mentor, DL Foster, his wife and I came to the church on this past sunday, hoping to see Elder W. Prude prior to services @ 10:30. Unfortunately, that was not arranged and we were met by Mr. William Turner. Mr. Turner was very cordial in his greeting of us. However, when Pastor Foster inquired about a meeting with Soulforce and New Birth officials, he denied it and did a verbal dance around the question, making analogies that did not correlate to the yes/no question. He did say that he “did/did not” meet with Sylvia Rhue, a member of Soulforce, for breakfast. His words were that it was/was not an official meeting. If you read the way I’m typing this, this is how it was being presented…like a professional marketing director…someone who knows how to talk double talk. I don’t mean to be demeaning, but he was very demeaning to our intelligence. Both Pastor Foster and I knew what was happening as Mr. Turner was talking. He was giving half-truths, which equates to an untruth. Would it not have been preferable to have just told us we are unsure, as opposed to giving us half-truths? I’m a grown man. Therefore, all he had to do was tell me, “Yes or No or I don’t know.” I would have been fine with either. But to speak to us as though we were not intelligent enough to follow along with what was being said was very demeaning and insulting. Then to my surprise I see the pictures up on their American Family Outing web site. That was a meeting to me. William Turner said that you were not even here and that you were not meeting with Soulforce. It was apparent that he did not hear when one of the ministers mentioned that Bishop was at church that day, coming from his long trip from Dubai . When I saw those pictures I was actually hurt…as a member of this church, to see my Bishop rubbing elbows with those who make a mockery of Chris t, yet claim to be Christians. Those who, as the Bible says, “count the blood of Chris t as a common thing,” by their unrepentant lifestyle. Then to know that Mr. Turner lied or misrepresented the truth to us regarding the “meeting/not meeting.” I was actually astonished. That really took me for a loop to where all I could say was “Wow. What just happened?”
Bishop Long, for almost 6 years I have been ministering and walking with people in the church who struggle with same-sex attractions(SSA), under the leadership of Elder Weems (whom I miss dearly). This is my calling and I will take it to the grave unless the Holy Spirit moves me to do something else. I am very well versed in the issue from many dynamics. People like Soulforce and other activists do not like contending with people like Pastor Foster and I because we know the real intent behind their tactics and we know how to address them in debate if necessary. Our motive is not to get our names in lights or to get money from churches…far from it. My one and only motive is to serve, upbuild and protect the Kingdom of God from wolves in sheep clothing, who will spread a false gospel, possibly to young people who may be in an impressionable and confused state of mind. And to warn the church of those who do not have their best interest at heart. However, it appears that those like myself and Foster get pushed aside while self-serving gay activists get the star treatment.
So, to end, I will say that I am deeply disturbed by the turn of events. I really had no idea that my church would entertain such persons. Soulforce was only doing this as a marketing ploy and to add credibility to their cause by meeting with the “mega-church leaders.” They succeeded. Now, I don’t know what was said at the meetings/non-meetings, so I will give the benefit of the doubt that not only the love of Christ was shown, but also there was a stand for righteousness and holiness. I read the Southern Voice article, and I agree, the media has spoken poorly about you as it pertains to issues with the gay community. But that is to be expected when one preach the unadulterated word of God. As soon as one compromises, then the media will sing their praises. It is my hope that you will respond and that I will not receive a form letter to this from a secretary. If you do not respond, I won’t be moved. I will simply write it off and move on. I thank you for your time and consideration.