Must-Read Disclaimer: I and others like me have been backed into a corner with no other weapon but brutal truth. Rather than cowering under emasculation and false accusations, I have chosen after 12 years to stand and fight. Unless you are my wife or one of the pastors who has done considerable damage to my ministry, this blog post is not about you. Those who have supported me and others like me as we fight to follow Christ, THANK YOU!
Writing The Church: We Shoot Our Wounded has been most challenging, a matter of prayer. At a recent Sunday evening service, the Lord gave me a real-life microcosm (condensed version) illustration of the book’s content. Allow it to serve as a preview.
The below is a true story, indicative of an onslaught of church experiences since the Lord delivered me 12 years ago.
Two Churches (Introduction):
Having grown up in the Christian & Missionary Alliance denomination, then transitioned to Baptist, I have since shared testimony, ministered and worshipped in a variety of denominations across a number of countries. None of us is perfect, and neither is any church. Thank the Lord for His grace and mercy.
The majority of my recent church experiences could be categorized as one of the following:
- Modern Churches – Marketed as welcoming and loving, these churches often feature casual dress and fancy themselves the remedy to strict “legalism.” Often cited downsides include wishy washy doctrine and a lack of reverence for the Lord.
- Baptist (e.g. Independent Fundamental, Southern, IBBC) – Historically applauded for solid doctrine in these last days, downsides may include a tendency toward a “private club” mentality. Whether or not we want to admit it, doctrinal slippage is also becoming epidemic among these churches.
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables (2 Tim 4:3-4).”
Recently after an evening service at what many would call a “modern church,” there was a time of food and fellowship. I sat at the same table as the respected head of the ministry. After he asked what brought me to Cambodia, I shared testimony and about outreach to the LGBTQ. He “talked up” my skill set, that my testimony could be useful for their large youth ministry, etc. Through body language, it became apparent that his exaltation of me did not sit well with others around the table (i.e. prodigal son’s older brother).
Sitting next to me was the wife of another pastor. Immediately she engaged, said the Lord is teaching her to minister to the LGBTQ. At first, I thought she was asking for advice. After all, she had not struggled with homosexuality herself and therefore could not directly relate. But when I gave her some insider tips, she seemed to think she didn’t need any help.
This pastor’s wife became incredibly concerned about my spiritual walk and risks associated with going back to my old life. At first, I thought she was talking about the people she said she was trying to reach. Pointing out a lack of church acceptance of those with these types of struggles, she said Satan does some of his best work in the church. She didn’t realize she was talking about herself.
Accountability was the thrust of the evening, which is a common theme within modern churches. The urgent push for “community” overshadows relationship with Christ but is highly effective in ensuring that all conform to the corporate business model (i.e. conformity to the Lord’s wayward bride, rather than Him).
Meanwhile, pastor husband of the woman referenced above was urgently trying to commit me and others to a new “men’s (accountability) small group”. Prospective members met and shook hands. Recently I had met the older man most likely to be assigned to ‘train me up in Christian holiness’… while he was having a beer.
The starting presumption within this guilt-laden push for accountability seems to be that if someone did not force me, I would not have a relationship with Christ. How would I be a missionary? How would I know I was called to the field? For whom did I leave everything? What’s the disconnect here?
For the first five or so times this pastor’s wife asked a variation of the same question, ‘Do you have someone you can talk to? … Do you have people praying for you? … I mean… Do you have friends you can talk to?’ I answered ‘Yes.’ I tried not to be combative at church by pretending not to realize she was being condescending.
Then about the sixth time, I told her as kindly as possible, ‘This is exactly what I encounter time after time in churches. There is always a push to follow men, who may or may not be following Christ themselves. I am accountable to the Lord. If I fall, I will take 100% responsibility for it. Take a look at yourself. Worry about your own spiritual growth.’ … which brings me to the next point:
Every believer struggles with sin daily (Phil 1:6; 1 John 1:8-10). Let’s be realistic. The Lord’s mercies are new every morning (Lam 3:22-23). But if I were a professing believer delivered out of a gay lifestyle still wearing a skirt and heels years into my supposed new life, you could biblically conclude that I was not genuinely born again (Rom 6:1-4).
Similarly, if I were obese consistently for decades as a pastor called to model Christ, you could biblically conclude that I have not found enduring satisfaction in relationship with Christ (John 6:35). Some would go so far as to conclude that Jesus Christ was not the Lord of my life, that I was walking in the flesh (Gal 5:16).
“(For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)” Phil 3:18-19
Until backed into a corner (it’s been 12 years of this), I would not pass judgment on someone who is overweight or otherwise struggling. I struggle. We all struggle (Jam 3:1-2). But I have been backed into a corner, church.
The aforementioned pastor’s wife is notably overweight. She said she has been divorced and spoke of it as though it was no big deal (Matt 5:32). She now lives in another country, apart from her pastor husband. And her chief concern is my spiritual growth. Are you getting the picture?
“Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye (Matt 7:1-5).”
In the wake of the conversation with her, the head of the ministry came back around the table to me and asked, ‘Are you married?’ I told him we are separated and listed the bullet points as to why. ‘So you are learning a lot right now,’ he concluded.
Understanding his responsibility as a leader, I do not harbor resentment toward him. I would not invite a man into my ministry, who is separated from his wife, to be an example for youth either.
Then again, if holding to sound doctrine, I would not have women preaching in my church, as he does. If we are going to cut doctrines out of the Bible (consistently taught throughout Scripture, beginning at Creation, Gen 2:18, 3:16; 1 Tim 2:11-14; Tit 2:3-5; 1 Pet 3:1-7; Eph 5:22-33), we may as well turn away from God’s Word entirely and call our ministries “community centers.”
“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me (Rev 3:20).”
However, stepping back from Sunday to view this scene as a microcosm of my church experience for the past 12 years, pastors greatly contributed to the failure of my marriage. Then, with a haughty smirk, they figuratively circled “back around the table” to inform me I was no longer worthy.
The Baptist pastor who had committed to lead my ordination rescinded. Did I mention that he himself is divorced?
Does all of this remove accountability from me? No, I am the one who knocked down the first domino by marrying someone I barely knew.
All that I have suffered at the hands of church leadership was personified in my wife. She is (the popular current within) today’s Baptist church.
Steeped in useless tradition rather than the biblical reality, getting a tattoo and dyeing one’s hair top her list of greatest sins. She said I would give an account to the Lord on the day of judgment for taking Ex-LGBTQ converts to a “modern church”, which is the only church that would welcome them/us.
Since my wife went her own way over a year ago, she joined a travel group led by a yoga guru who also leads seances calling on the demonic. She embarks on co-ed overnight excursions.
Having broken records in promiscuity and adultery herself, what keeps my wife up at night is whether or not I use the KJV translation (this is not an attack on those of you who are KJV-only). Are you getting the point?
Wading neck-deep in their own sin, my wife and today’s churches are made uncomfortable by a testimony of true repentance. Discrediting the witness is their way of attempting to justify mistreatment. Babes in Christ at least and apostate at most, they imagine themselves spiritually mature. Superior.
“Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men (Matt 15:7-9).”
The Word guarantees there will be a global falling away from the faith in the end (2 Thess 2:3). Many of today’s pastors rule over an earthly kingdom and thrive on the power and influence. Those who dare question these kings are run over.
The Church: We Shoot Our Wounded will tell of the many pastors who encouraged my wife’s rebellion against me. Revealing the spirit working within them (Eph 2:2), several encouraged us to shut down the ministry. I was counseled in the heretical doctrine of “mutual submission”, to “follow” my wife rather than the Lord.
Under my wife’s pseudo-leadership, championed by Baptist clergy, we both became obese. Again, this is not to remove accountability. I shoveled the food into my own mouth.
My calling to evangelize the ever-skeptical and marginalized LGBTQ hinges on, “What Christ did for me, He wants to do for you!” Obesity destroys my testimony. When I tried to lead her in weight loss, citing the damage it was doing to the ministry and lost souls, she scoffed and kept eating.
Several months after we separated, she looked like she was ready to hit the catwalk.
Adam rebelled against the Lord(‘s calling on his life) and instead followed his wife. His sin resulted in the everlasting damnation of multitudes.
“And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return (Gen 3:17-19).”
But God… The Lord led to be faithful in ministry, to quit for no one. Praise the Lord.
Numerous pastors have gone to great lengths to destroy my ministry (e.g. false accusations, emasculation). Insecurity and perceived competition for influence rank high on the list of possible motives.
One of these pastors is morbidly obese. Another is unusually short. One has a child in a gay lifestyle. Another recently had undergone a scandal. Perhaps he delighted in knocking a missionary down to bolster his own ego.
Bringing their manhood into question, most of these pastors are notably not the heads of their homes. Most seem quite content being the “lady of the house.” The age-old aphorism, “Every fox smells his own hole first,” suggests that some of these cowards struggle with homosexuality themselves.
Ultimately, money is the root of all evil:
“For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows (1 Tim 6:10).”
“For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God (1 Pet 4:17)?”
My prayer for the aforementioned pastors (“these queens”) is that:
- The Lord will remove them from all positions of authority in the home, the church and elsewhere,
- They will be brought to submission under the leadership of a woman for an extended period of time,
- Each of them, regardless of age, perceived level of importance or anointing, will be overcome with perverted, humiliating, degrading homo-erotic lust,
- They would cry out in repentance under this emasculating duress.
Only then would they know firsthand what it is like to suffer as many of us have suffered. Only then would they tie the judgment directly back to their gross emasculation of me and others. Only then would they be 100% certain that this judgment is coming from the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come.
“Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord (Rom 12:19).”
REPENT before judgment falls.
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