Kalamazoo churches quit gay affirming good works

Kalamazoo, Michigan is developing a spiritual fault line revealed by a minor earthquake between several churches in the town over gay affirming good works. Refusing to partner with gay or gay affirming churches to do “good works” may get you a double condemnation: homophobic and unchristian.

A couple of weeks ago, we had considerable discusssion on this blog about the religious forum on homosexuality held in there. Perhaps the forum helped some of the bible believing churches to realize they needed to separate themselves from those who claim Christ but  yet sanction sexual abomination.

Three churches who had been involved with a feeding/homeless ministry decided to withdraw after one of the churches went public with its support of homosexual rights.

From Kalamazoo News

Theological disagreements over homosexuality are causing a divide within a downtown ministry that serves the poor, homeless and lonely.

Martha’s Table, through which eight churches have provided Sunday afternoon worship and meals for the needy at First Congregational Church, is losing three of the churches because of the issue of homosexuality, even though the ecumenical ministry takes no position on it, said the Rev. Matt Laney, pastor of First Congregational

Agape Christian Church and Word for Life Church of God plan to withdraw from Martha’s Table at the end of the year, and Centerpoint Church (formerly Third Reformed Church) has already done so, Laney said.

“The founding principle of Martha’s Table was that churches would come together and put aside their differences in light of what unites us, which is our common commitment to serve Christ and others,” Laney said. “But now this difference has risen above our common commitment to serving Christ.”

The FCC pastor said he was “dissapointed and shocked” at the other churches’ pull out and said he’d rather keep silent about the split. That’s an interesting position, given he was so vocal about supporting gay rights prior to the split.

Ron Vestrand, senior pastor of Agape Christian Church, said it wasconversations with McNally that led to his church withdrawing from Martha’s Table.

“As time went on, Pastor McNally was becoming concerned with Pastor Matt Laney’s stand on homosexuality. I believe it was causing some disunity. … I think the primary issue was that we felt that Matt’s stance on homosexuality as a valid Christian lifestyle violated our biblical worldview.”

Vestrand added that “ecumenical ministries are a great challenge because sometimes there can be issues that can rise up. We probably were a bit remiss in not talking more extensively about some of the possibilities.”

Kim Sandelin, a lay pastor from Agape, said churches can tolerate some theological disagreements and work together, but “an immoral lifestyle has eternal ramifications in Scripture.”

Yet, he said he wanted to emphasize that “none of the pastors in this ministry have any ill will or bad feelings toward one another.”

He said he talked to Laney about his church’s decision. “When Matt and I were done, we shook hands and considered one another brothers in Christ”, he said.

None of the churches said they would never feed the hungry again or help the poor. The reporter didn’t even ask that question which would have placed the whole controversy in a different light. If the issue is helping the needy, why is it required to do so with someone with whom you have irreconcilable disagreements? Secondly, if the gay affirming church felt it was of such prime importance to help the needy, why didnt they just keep quiet about their progay activities knowing it would bring division and jeopardize the work?

One pastor said that its no violation of scripture to help the poor along with churches who affirm homosexuality. What do you think? When it comes to helping the poor are all restrictions and beliefs to go out the window? And is that a biblical litmus test of one’s salvation? For example,  if a white supremacist church wanted to feed the hungry, should a black church jump in to help them with no acknowledgement of their racism?

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14 thoughts on “Kalamazoo churches quit gay affirming good works

  1. To this I say those who are against homosexuality should start their own feed the hungry ministry. Evil communication corrupts good manners. Come out from among them and be ye separate.

  2. Greetings Everyone!

    “What do you think? When it comes to helping the poor are all restrictions and beliefs to go out the window? And is that a biblical litmus test of one’s salvation?”

    Biblically speaking helping the poor, widowed, and single is a “REQUIREMENT” of ALL “congregations”. However this is not an excuse to allow sin in. Works will NOT determine your salvation.

    This is one way satan “slithers” in the backdoor of THE CHURCH!
    As described here: http://www.gcmwatch.com/3893/denver-pastor-switches-to-inclusion

    I applaud the Pastor’s who withdrew their congregations from this

    Peace!

  3. People:
    Can a Christian witness survive in an environment where donuts and coffee are being parceled out and a doctrine as to
    affirming a gay lifestyle is acknowledged but not pressed upon the recipient of the goodwill?
    Can a Christian worker work in a bank that loans money to corporations that are taking jobs away and placing them in
    China?
    Can a Christian worker work in a library that allows un filtered
    Internet access?
    Can a Christian worker go to a theatre and see an uplifting film
    but in the same mega complex they are showing X rated films?
    Can a Christian go to a restaurant and enjoy a meal but they serve hard drinks on the menu?
    Can a Christian family go to an amusement park but the owner of the park is a known serial adulterer?
    Can a Christian man go to work at a assembly plant where lewd pictures are on display in pin up calendars?
    Can a Christian women go to work in a garment factory where they make salacious tight fitting clothes that are bought by hookers?
    Can a person go to an airport and fly on a plane knowing that on the same plane are people of questionable character who do evil things for a living?
    Can a women obtain medical care for her aging grandmother at a hospital where they also perform abortions?
    Can you buy a car from a auto dealer who is known to drink in excess?
    Can you buy a book from Amazon Books knowing that at the same website they are also selling books promoting homosexuality or
    cultic practices or books on witchcraft or Satanic worship?
    Come on people! You are in the world but not of the world. Your
    Christian light can shine in darkness. Quit running from the problems and stand up and engage the problem with the Word of God.
    God ate and drank with sinners and talked to a serial adulteress
    at the Well and he was not contaminated.
    Neither will we be.
    Let’s keep it real and be salt and light!

  4. The Bible is very clear.

    2 Corinthians 6:14-15 Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?
    15 Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?

    Even if it is charity it doesn’t matter, that’s what the Bible says.

    Lafe the Bible tells us to come out from amongst them and be separate. We are to live in the world but not be of the world. Since Christ has not yet returned we have to participate in the world’s (satan’s) corrupt world system. Hopefully you have the common sense to rightly divide a decision such as this.
    It is our fault for sinning in the garden…..

    2 Corinthians 6:17 Therefore, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE,” says the Lord.
    “AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN;
    And I will welcome you.

    Lafe said “God ate and drank with sinners and talked to a serial adulteress”

    So many people get this wrong. Christ was not just buddies with sinners every Biblical example of Christ eating with sinners or talking was to preach to them always.

  5. @Robert

    Exactly right, these were sinners who had accepted all of who they were according to Christ, and all of who Christ was as Lord and Savior, people neglect to look at that aspect.
    Since so much reference is given to the “hard core” sinners Jesus fellow shipped with, what about the pharisees and saducees that would not accept Christ’s and his teachings. They were sinners, not accepting their sin or Christ, how many times was he invited to their house?
    To some of Lafe’s scenarios some of the answers are yes, some of them are no. A man got saved in our church years ago that worked at a cigarette factory. The pastor didn’t say he had to quit, he told him to work your way out of there to avoid the appearance of evil, even though he had years there and is just trying to feed his wife and kids. Yes, I can go with my gay co-worker on a business sponsored volunteering event as long as my company is not promoting homosexuality. But the Bible says “things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.” These churches are still preaching, teaching, and living homosexuality. Not wanting to confuse the poor people who we try to spread the true gospel to, we can’t be there at the same time and call it

  6. I think that may be the deciding factor here lapreghia. Individually, we perhaps can do good things with people who are sinners (gay). But this is a corporate situation and as you said the churches were actively promoting homosexuality culture and “rights”. That’s cause for immediate separation. No discussion needed. The pastors did the right thing.

  7. Lafe the questions should be can a Christian own a book store that sells questionable books? Also I think its important to find out who we are supportinng, dont you think? should we buy the clothing line of a gangster rapper or someone who curses Christ? would you support Oprah Winfery and buy her magazines?

    As has been said Christ hung with sinners for the purpose of the Gospel, HE was the center of attention, big difference than working with those who claim to know Christ and are living in sin.

    1 Corinthians 5:11
    11But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.

  8. People:

    I agree. If you have clear evidence that you are walking into a sin situation, you should not condone it or support it. The same with this/these churches that withdrew fellowship once that offending church continued to practice or preach a contrary gospel regarding a revealed and known doctine of the Lord Jesus
    Christ.
    In situations where there is no clear evidence and you are working in an environment over which you have no control (e.g. the passenger on the airplane) you duty is to be light and salt.
    I believe that some Christians too often use the Word of God as a shield to avoid confrontation (come apart and be ye separate…for a cover shield) with the world and they stay in their sheltered
    environment and wail against the woes of the world from long distance.
    Engage the culture with your light and salt. If they do not see Christ in you…how will they see it? You are his living epistles.
    I am not condoning anyone knowingly supporting a “sin industry” and they trying to justify it.
    My concern is that we do not become Christian Pharisees and are straining flies and bugs but are missing elephants and whales and the whole time we feel smug and spiritual that we are not rubbing shoulders with “those people” (sinners).
    Be in the world and not of it!

    Our armor is offensive…not defensive. We advance…not retreat and we certainly do not retreat in light of being in the society or presence of sinners.
    From some of the logical conclusions of some of the writers here, if a Christian were to go to a football game, they would be under conviction since they are sitting amongst people who are drinking beer and sometimes uttering profanities at a dropped pass or missed field goal.
    Do they leave the stadium in a righteous huff? I doubt it.
    How many Christians have discontinued their library memberships because the library carries questionable reading materials?
    Do you even complain to the librarian about it?
    Just a point of “discussion”: regarding the person working in the cigarette factory. Would his continued working there destroy his testimony of salvation or would God want him there to bring the
    gospel to the other workers…workers that can now see what a difference Christ has made in his life?
    Now..if you decide that working in that factory making cigarettes is destroying the temple then we must have Christians who work in restaurants and grocery stores and food processing centers stop their work because we all know how these places contribute to obesity and especially in the black community we have “hefty”
    men and women and children who are over eating and who go to these stores and restaurants (including fast food) and overeat and they are destroying the temple.
    Where is the outcry about those Christian workers leaving those temple destroying jobs to look for other work?
    If you work in a food processing plant or restaurant or grocery store and you observe or know that people are over indulging in your work product, do you for example go to their dining table and rebuke them or do you quit your job in righteous indignation over these temple destroying industries? Come out and be ye separate!
    Where does it end? Simple. Be led by the Spirit of God and may it be in conformity and agreement with the revealed word of God.

  9. Lafe, keep in mind the issue here isnt rubbing shoulders with sinners/engaging culture. That’s not a pharisee issue. These are churches proclaiming to be just a Christlike as you are yet they are openly promoting sin and assisting people in living a deadly and humanly degrading lifestyle. I do understand what you are saying, but let’s not confuse what’s going on with this situation.

    Here’s what we are told to do in this situation:
    2 Tim 3
    1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, 7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth

  10. Several folks suggest that a church organization ought to separate itself from an organization inclusive of homosexuality, even if that organization is doing good. Some even quote Scripture. Note that NO ONE, however, quotes the ONE AND ONLY time that Jesus uses a teaching moment to tell us what will provide entry to heaven versus what will condemn us to hell: The parable of the sheep and goats. We’re told by Jesus that behaving badly, unloving, unforgiving and uncaring toward those who are disenfranchised is the same as mistreating the Christ. How can we continue to be so unloving, judgmental and exclusive, given this single, simple, straightforward criteria that Jesus imposes? I fear we can only do it, when we cite Hebrew Scriptures and Epistles and ignore Jesus.

  11. Rev. Rizor, lets take you up on the offer you propose. Cite what ever scripture you are referring to that supports your premise of “inclusion”. After that, we’ll take a look at it in context and see if your perspective bears out.

    Please keep in mind that scripture is not at war with itself but is in harmony in addressing all the situations of humanity.

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