(A Response to One Pastor’s Views on the Orlando Tragedy)
In the early morning hours of June 12, 2016, a deranged gunman entered into a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida and massacred 50 patrons and wounding another 53. It was a horrific act of violence apparently directed at the LGBT community.
During an evening worship service on the very same day at Verity Baptist Church, a pastor condoned and even praised the mass murders. When I read some of the text of the message, it grieved me greatly that a supposed messenger of the Lord would preach such a vitriolic and venomous message.
He asked, “Are you sad that 50 pe dophiles were killed today? Um no, I think that’s great. I think that helps society. I think Orlando, Florida, is a little safer tonight. The tragedy is that more of them didn’t die. The tragedy is I’m kind of upset he didn’t finish the job – because these people are predators. They are abusers.”
He went on to say, “I wish the government would round them all up, put them up against a firing wall, put the firing squad in front of them and blow their brains out.”
He did try to qualify his rant by adding, “You don’t mourn the death of them. They deserve what they got. You reap what you sow. We’re not calling people to arms – and, if somebody goes out and says I’m going to kill sodomites – you don’t listen to those people. That’s not what we’re saying.”
I was unable to hear the sermon since it was removed from YouTube for violating its policy on hate speech. However, I believe these quotes are reliable since they come from a variety of sources quoting the sermon.
Now, a few comments…
First of all, I think it would be wise for this pastor to do a spiritual EKG. His words seem to reflect his heart rather than the Word of God because what he says does not reflect the heart of Christ as found in the Scriptures. Jesus said, “But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders.”
Those of us who have been called to preach make mistakes from the pulpit. None of us preach and teach ex cathedra (Latin for “from the chair” meaning papal infallibility). I recently got the age of TV personality, Gary Moore, mixed up with the rocker, Gary Moore. That was a mistake.
Advocating the death of those who perished in the night club is not just a mistake. It is a sin.
God has revealed verity (truth) to us through His Word about our relationship with sinners. It should be the same as His.
God does hate sin. In Proverbs 6, God says that there are seven things He hates, all dealing with sin, which also has to do with people since sin is an act of a person. However, God is also very clear about how He feels about the people who sin (which includes you, me, the aforementioned pastor and everyone in the club).
John 3:16 resounds with God’s love for a world full of people who are lost in their sinfulness. Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” proclaiming the verity that Jesus died for sinners. Jesus, Himself, said that “Greater love has no one than this that one lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13).
It seems rather obvious that God loves sinners and wants them to have the opportunity to repent. That opportunity perishes with death. God even declared through His Word that He “is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9).
We should all be appalled at what transpired in Orlando, Florida. The mass murders sicken the heart. Our prayers should go out to the family and friends of those who died and those who are recovering from their physical injuries along with their emotional wounded-ness.
We should also pray for Verity Baptist Church. They are our brothers and sisters in Christ. I hope that they would live up to their name and dwell in the verity. May God bless them with Jesus’ humility, holy love and truth.
One more thing… there but for the grace of God go I.
Something to think about…