Lately, megachurches keep making headlines for all the wrong reasons. If it’s not bishops (or their wives) fornicating, it’s pastors taking up $65 million offerings for private jets. And if it’s not adultery or the appearance of greed, it’s embracing practicing homosexuals as card-carrying church members of the church. In February, I wrote about megachurch pastor Stan Mitchell who prayerfully started allowing gays into leadership. Now, San Francisco’s City Church is putting an end to its policy of banning LGBT members who are unwilling or unable to take a vow of celibacy.
What led to the change of heart at City Church? Apparently, Ken Wilson’s book A Letter to My Congregation was a big part of it. Fred Harrell, senior pastor of City Church, feels the mind-changing book “shows great empathy and maturity to model unity and patience with those who are at different places in the conversation, all while dealing honestly with Scripture.”
“Our pastoral practice of demanding life-long ‘celibacy,’ by which we meant that for the rest of your life you would not engage your sexual orientation in any way, was causing obvious harm and has not led to human flourishing,” Harrell wrote in a letter to the church from the elder board. “It’s unfortunate that we used the word ‘celibacy’ to describe a demand placed on others, as in Scripture it is, according to both Jesus and Paul, a special gift or calling by God, not an option for everyone.”
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