“Keep the love going as we peacefully protest Fire church Sunday after pride. During the pride event you will have a chance to hear Flip Benham and other representatives of Fire church throwing damnation our way. Lets show them that they cannot come into our community and intimidate us.
We will meet just before Service begins, and protest as they gather, we will have a silent protest as service is going and let them have it as they leave for the day.
Remember we will be peaceful and respectful, something they don’t understand. We are going to STAND TOGETHER AS A COMMUNITY to show that our love is stronger than their hate.”1
The above was a post on qnotes, an LGBT community calendar in North Carolina. The church they were protesting was Fire Church located in Concord North Carolina. Number 1 on the church’s vision statement: Fire Church is “Living out and cultivating the values and ideals of the New Testament, which include holiness, purity, sacrifice, service, community, fellowship, spiritual empowerment, worship, intercession, and divine presence.”2
It sounds like a church I would enjoy attending, and after reading the whole of their vision-statement, I would feel comfortable recommending it to anyone who lived near by. Yes, in their list of ‘What They Believe’ there could be some theological issues for some, but as my wife recently reminded me, it is the plain things that matter.
I am not sure what prompted the desire on the part of the LGBT community in Concord, North Carolina to want to protest the church, but it could be the book written by the church founder, Dr. Michael L. Brown, author of A Queer Thing Happened to America. It is on my Amazon wish list.
What I wanted to focus on and share was the outcome of this and the response by the Fire Church to the protest by the LGBT community.
According to Examiner.com, Brown was out of the country during the protest, but posted this response on his blog: “On behalf of FIRE Church, I want to extend to you the warmest welcome and let you know that we are thrilled that you are here with us on Sunday. We have been praying for you for a long time!
As always, you will only meet with love, kindness, and respect from the FIRE leadership and congregants, and we proclaim to you once again the amazing grace of God. Jesus died to save us from our sins, heterosexual and homosexual alike, and only in Him can we find forgiveness, redemption, and transformation. Jesus alone is the Healer, Savior, Deliverer, and Transformer.
It has been my personal joy to have shared meals together with the last two editors of Q-Notes as well as to have given an open mic to the past editor of Q-Notes so he could share his own story in our church building. Our doors are open to you, our hearts are open to you, and as Jesus gave Himself for your salvation and well being, we are committed to following in His footsteps.
Should you ever want to have an open forum for the purpose of mutually respectful discussion on the issues that divide us, we would gladly host that event in our church building or participate in one of yours. Let us know what we can do to help make that happen.”3
Sure enough, when the protesters arrived at Fire Church they were embraced with smiles and warmth by the congregation. The protesters were invited into the service and offered water, snacks, and truth.
This was no surprise really, according to Examiner.com. Scott Volk, one of the pastors at Fire Church, wrote in response to the protest announcement, prior to the protest, “As the pastor of FIRE Church, I just want you to know that you’ll be greeted with the same love and compassion as we always endeavor to show anyone–you are more-than-welcome! You make mention of the ‘hate’ that we show. Yet, in all our years here we’ve only desired to reach out with love to everyone in the local community here whether they are labeled as gay or straight. Hopefully, you’ll see that love demonstrated on Sunday as you protest. ”4
This post prompted the following replies from some of the followers.
“Love is the most disfigured mask that hate wears.”
“You can fool yourself, Mr. Volk. You can fool your parishioners. But you can’t fool God. He knows what’s in your heart, and it isn’t love. It’s hate.”
“FIRE Church…how perfect, a church that symbolizes HELL.
What these fire church people probably don’t understand is that spending an eternity ANYWHERE with them is what I would consider a true HELL. They should concern themselves with their own pathetic lives and leave other alone to theirs…”5
Scott Volk and others pointed out that those who said Scott was a hater, had never met him. Volk took it a step further and invited anyone who wanted to come over to his house to meet him, his family, and enjoy a dinner. Hats off to Scott Volk for showing such tolerance. His actions show us the true meaning of tolerance, that is putting up with something we find disagreeable. The biased media, where most are educated on culture and current events, has changed the meaning of tolerance to acceptance, or approval.
As Christians, we are called to point out Jesus to others. Some may do this by their quiet, respectful, loving manner, hardly saying a word, but offering a daily sacrifice of time and relationship to others. Extroverts may share by engaging people on the street, with a bull horn, or casual conversations about their faith. Most Christians fall somewhere in between the two extremes, but where ever they stand, it is their job is to share Christ.
Our goal for members of the homosexual community should be no different than the goal for the heterosexual community. Turning a homosexual to a heterosexual is not a requirement for salvation; Jesus Christ is.
Over the years, I have had multiple students who have entered the gay community, and all of them have continued to receive the same love and concern from me they had prior to their life style choice.
Yes, I think homosexuality is a sin, but so is sex outside of marriage, and the lustful thoughts every man or woman has if they allow themselves to.
The Fire Church and their staff showed us how to respond to the LGBT community and we need to take note. Following the event, Dr. Brown reported, “The next day, Monday, Aug. 27th, the leader of the protest called into my radio show to apologize publicly for the protest, explaining that their ‘anger … was aimed [in] the wrong direction.’ And then he said these words: ‘Once we got there Sunday morning we were greeted with absolutely perfect love. I mean, it was fantastic.’ Praise God!”6
After the event, one protester wrote, “On another note, My partner and I had dinner with Dr Michael Brown and Pastor Scott Volk to talk about our differences last week. While we didn’t change any opinions, we were able to get our stance on the issues out on the table.”7
A month ago, someone posted on Facebook Matthew 7:1, in reply to someone calling homosexuality a sin. “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” It is absurd: we all judge, and make judgments every day. From when to slow down for or drive through a yellow light, to what we think of our friends’ parenting style. The difference is when we make moral judgments. Some think we ought not to judge, quoting Matthew 7:1. Read the rest of Matthew – you will see that He is talking about judging someone when you yourself are sinning worse than they are.
If we were to take that passage literally, we would never be able to call a friend or family member on their infidelity, abusive behavior, drug addictions, or any unhealthy habits or life styles.
So, for those of you who quote Matthew 7:1 when I am making a judgment you don’t agree with, quit judging me. I am entitled to my opinion, and you should be more tolerant. Can you hear my sarcasm and see my eyes rolling?
1. “Peaceful Protest of Fire Church in Concord” Qnotes. goqnotes.com, 26 August 2012. Web. 19 June 2015.
2. “Vision Statement” Fire Church. Fire-church.org, 2012. Web. 23 June 2015.
3. Smith, James-Michael. “LGBT group cancels protest because church is ‘too nice’” Examiner. Examiner.com, 28 August 2012. Web. 20 June 2015.
5. “Peaceful Protest of Fire Church in Concord” Qnotes. goqnotes.com, 26 August 2012. Web. 19 June 2015.
6. “The Gay Protest That Encountered the Love of God” Charisma News. Charismanews.com, 8 August 2012. Web. 23 June 2015.
7. “Peaceful Protest of Fire Church in Concord” Qnotes. goqnotes.com, 26 August 2012. Web. 19 June 2015.
A response to homosexuality by James Glazier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at https://www.knowingforsure.com.