- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 2, 2019

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

A pastor in Minneapolis was defrocked, his church expelled, and another Michigan minister removed after leaders of the Evangelical Covenant Church found them in violation of policies regarding same-sex marriages.

Well, well, well. It’s about time the church rose up in outrage over the seeping LGBTQ agenda into the culture, into the church, into the very pages of the Bible.

It’s one thing for a government to permit gay marriage. It’s one thing for individuals of same sexes to live together, love each other and refer to themselves as “married,” based on certificates signed by clerks of local court systems around the country. It’s quite another for a church to claim to adhere to biblical truth while “marrying” same-sex partners. And yes, that’s “marrying” in quotation marks because, biblically speaking, God is the creator of marriage and He made clear His definition is one of uniting man with woman.

Government can redefine as it will — but government cannot tear asunder His higher power.

Anyway, on the expulsion: Evangelical Covenant Church leaders voted with a 77% voice to defrock the Rev. Dan Collison and to expel his First Covenant Church — no small decision given Collison’s church had actually been a founding member of the ECC’s 134-year-old denomination.



Why?

A staff member with First Covenant officiated at a same-sex ceremony of two women a few years ago. First Covenant didn’t exactly hide its OK to gay marriage; as The Associated Press noted, the church openly rolled out the welcome mat to the LGBTQ community and announced, years ago, that anyone of any sexual preference or “gender identity or sexual orientation” can serve in any church role of choice.

Even in leadership roles.

Even as wedding officiators.

This is an egregious slap in the face to God’s laws — a massive mocking of biblical truths.

Just because the U.S. Supreme Court managed to twist voter will to thrust gay marriage onto the states — see Obergefell v. Hodges, 2015 — doesn’t mean churches, tasked with teaching biblical principles as they are (not as some wish them to be) have to follow suit. Or should follow suit. Besides, ECC leaders made clear that First Covenant can keep its building and still operate as a church. And First Covenant announced that Collison will maintain his position as lead pastor — and ostensibly, keep on doing what he’s been doing, only now without the affiliation to the larger ECC denomination. 

In other words: Religious freedom isn’t being trounced. Collison and his congregation can still believe as they want to believe, can still practice as they want to practice. 

At the same time, at the same annual ECC convention in Omaha, Nebraska, Evangelical Covenant leaders also voted to remove another pastor, the retired Rev. Steve Armfield, from their denomination after finding he officiated his son’s gay marriage ceremony in Minneapolis

Good.

Let the backlash spread far and wide, and send a message to other churches currently, or considering, practicing similar unbiblical wedding ceremonies — all the while pretending to teach Bible principles.

And ‘lest these pastors pull at the heartstrings of those who think the punishments are too harsh — ECC actually had its own policies in place, separate from the Bible, prohibiting same-sex marriages.

The two were tossed because ECC leaders found they violated the human sexuality portion of church policies that call for “celibacy in singleness and faithfulness in heterosexual marriage.”

Couldn’t be clearer.

And you know what? “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh,” as Genesis 2:24 states.

Neither can the Bible.

• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter, @ckchumley.

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