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Southern Baptists Scorn Holy Spirit Again

myersparkbaptsteveshoemaker.jpg

Steve Shoemaker

Myers Park Baptist Church in Charlotte, NC has been kicked out of the state Baptist Convention for noticing that God loves Gay people.

The senior minister, the Rev. Dr. Stephen Shoemaker, has written a remarkable letter testifying to what his church has learned. The whole thing is here, but this excerpt captures his point:

Our church studied the Bible, sought the Spirit of God and talked earnestly with each other for over 20 years to get to the place where we said we were “open to all and closed to none,” and fully welcomed gay and lesbian persons who wished to follow Jesus with us. We do not claim to have the whole mind of God, and we respect those whose interpretations of scripture differ. It is the spiritual freedom we offer one another.

I appeal to you as Biblical people led by the Living Spirit of God whose life is centered in Christ.

Jesus welcomed those considered outcasts and sinners by His culture and religion into the Kingdom of God drawing near. We seek — we hope — to live in His Spirit.

And we, like Peter in the Book of Acts, have overcome our original resistance to the inclusion of gay and lesbian persons as Peter overcame his resistance to accepting Gentiles into the people of God. He saw the Holy Spirit fall upon the Gentiles, he saw God working in their lives and said:

“If then God gave them the same gift that He gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could hinder God?”

When even Baptists discover, as many other churches have before them, that the Holy Spirit “falls on” Gay people, it’s GAME OVER for the homophobes.

The North Carolina Baptist Convention can do whatever it likes; that won’t change the outcome. God has decided!

I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a more apt use of Scripture than Dr. Shoemaker has done. He is right on point: Those whom God has joined together let no one put asunder.

His congregation has noticed the fruits of the Spirit in their Lesbian and Gay members—just as the Diocese of New Hampshire has noticed in Gene Robinson; just as countless Episcopal churches have noticed.

“If then God gave them the same gift that He gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could hinder God?”

What’s remarkable to me is that Myers Park is not just any old Baptist church. When I lived in Charlotte 30 years ago, Myers Park Baptist was the leading church in town.

The city has grown considerably since then, with lots of new, affluent subdivisions; but when I was there, Myers Park was the rich part of town. Being Baptist in North Carolina was like being Episcopalian in New York—the place to go for money, clout and connections.

And here were these Gay and Lesbian couples in their midst; the Baptists knew what the Bible says, yet here were these couples everyone liked. No one could doubt their faith or devotion to the church; how could this be?

The Spirit blew upon that congregation, and people started opening up.

Now it’s come to this; one more miniature crucifixion, as the religious authorities do what authorities always do. Fortunately this time, no blood was shed.

I admire the courage and faith of all the saints at Myers Park Baptist Church. The Spirit is strong there.

O God, how great thou art.++

9 Responses

  1. Josh,

    I decided to come over here just to read through some of your previous posts and figure out how you handled opposition in them. I must say I am not impressed. You berate those who do not affirm homosexuality in the same way you accuse them of being bigots.

    I am sorry my friend, but you a holding a dual standard that cannot stand. I also was shocked to hear your renunciation of the Bible. Is that the common view among Episcopalians today?

    Also, have you been to Nigeria? I know many pastors from there and live in the country just to the north. I must say that if our Christianity ‘evolves’ to such a state, it will be a sad day indeed. There are many good things about Nigeria, but the mean (as in average) Christianity there is not one of them.

    As we say in Niger, may God show us the Truth.

  2. Please allow me to ammend my second paragraph. I know that is not the common view of Episcopalians nor is it your view if you actually believe the things you wrote about the Daily Office and its reliance on scripture.

    This does; however, give us cause to question where your duality of statements is coming from. Sorry for my sarcasm.

  3. Thanks for the link.
    Blog on!

  4. Shad, “checking to see how I handle opposition” is the very definition of a troll-in-the-making. Come here to oppose me, did you? Get a life.

    As for your accusation that I have “renounced the Bible,” that’s just laughable. I have spent the last three years putting the Bible online four times a day at dailyoffice.org.

    God loves Gay people. “If then God gave them the same gift that He gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could hinder God?”

    Who are you, Shadrach?

  5. I was suprised at how you lashed out on Bene Diction and called the Bible nothing more than a “collection of ancient hallowed writings.” I wanted to see if this was how you normally responded to views opposing your own or if I could actually take that as your true nature.

    I did not come here to ‘oppose’ you, simply to see who YOU are. Don’t worry, I’m not here to fight against you and I’m not going to waste my time debating you on topics on which we cannot agree. Funny comment about the troll though. Like I said, you don’t debate, you try to make it all personal. That’s fine.

    I would not have know about your dedication to the Word had I not come here. I’m glad I did; it gives me a context for the Bible being a “collection of ancient hallowed writings.”

    Here is my response to that comment of yours on BD’s blog. I will simply copy it. I know we will not agree on this, so have the last word and as long as you can do it in a civil manner without attacking me, I’ll just dissapear.

    Copied from BD’s blog:
    I happen to live in Niger, West Africa where we see spiritual battles on a daily basis. We see demonic possessions and true filling of the Holy Spirit, but each time they follow patterns set exactly from scripture. That is thing, Josh. God doesn’t change. Just as you cannot separate a man from his word, you cannot separate God from His Word. To call the Bible “a collection of ancient hallowed writings” is to call God an ancient hallowed god.

    Biblically and in this life we see the Holy Spirit fall on those who place all former sins behind and no longer follow in them. To say that the Holy Spirit will manifest Himself in those living in sin is to call God a liar and last time I checked, there wasn’t any denomination that was going to stick with you on that one.

    Peace.

  6. Sorry, just to be clear, I am implying that homosexuality is a sin and that homosexuals (along with many others caught in unbiblical lifestyles) will not be allowed into Heaven as stated in 1 Corinthians 6.

    I don’t mean this to be inflaming, but just so that I am being clear in my view.

    Peace.

  7. Okay, Shad, we’re clear. Whatever will you do when Dag Hammarskjold greets you in heaven with a big juicy wet kiss?

  8. You can’t prove what kind of kiss it will be and I would honestly have no problem greeting you with a holy kiss. Remeber, I live in a francophone country, it’s a normal part of life.

  9. I applaud you, Steve, for standing up for what is right in the eyes of God.

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