Saturday, August 30, 2008

Social Justice, Vineyard Columbus and "gay rights"

The Vineyard Church of Columbus, a the 7000 member mega-church pastored by Rich Nathan hosted a 3 day “Justice Revival” back in April. On the 2nd night attendees were scolded by Shane Claiborne because he said the church was perceived as being "anti-gay". Mr Claiborne ended in a high spirited proclamation that the Vineyard was going to show that they weren't “anti-gay, judgmental and hypocritical”. Mr Claiborne is one of several "friends” who writes blogs for Jim Wallis “God's Politics” blog (as does Rich Nathan). It should be noted that Jim Wallis, the featured speaker at the “Justice Revival” openly promotes homosexual rights as a “Social Justice” issue. Considering that only homosexuals were mentioned in Mr Claiborne's generous proclamation (and not generically extended to all the lost and fallen) serious Christians rightly question if Mr Claiborne was merely advancing a shared goal from the Vineyard Columbus pulpit. A 2 minute audio sound byte of 2 segments has been included that you may judge for yourself.

During the”Justice Revival” Mr Wallis, who founded Sojourners repeatedly referred to evangelist Charles Finney who signed people up at his revivals to end slavery.
About 3 weeks after the Justice Revival, Sojourners sent a “survey” to revival attendees which included an invitation for volunteers to work on a bounty of liberal political issues including “GLBTQ rights” (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer "rights"). Will Vineyard members be helping homosexuals fight for same-sex-marriage and adoption "rights" during this election year cycle? Click on the thumbnail image to see a full size screen print of the survey page that you may judge for yourself.

Several comments by Rich Nathan have made it into several openly gay news and blog sites including an Associated Press story is also being quoted in gay news sites. 365gay.com had an article “Evangelical Group Seeks To Move Away From Anti-Gay Focus”:
An evangelical group that wants to reshape the movement's political reputation for being focused on opposing abortion and same-sex marriage is hoping that a series of meetings stressing its roots in women's suffrage and abolition will help it break out of the mold.

"Lots of people feel that the evangelical label has been taken captive by a very narrow political program," said the Rev. Rich Nathan, senior pastor at The Vineyard Church of Columbus, which is hosting the revival. "Folks don't feel that that represents them. Many of the so-called evangelical leaders are saying, we didn't elect these people, they don't represent us. How did they become our spokespeople? How did this narrow agenda become our agenda?"
The Bible is very clear about what is sin and what is not. Rich Nathan may argue that he does not support gay rights or marriage but when he says such things and allows such things to happen in his church at a so called “Justice Revival” mature Christians may rightly raise questions.

Rich Nathan's hand is on the tiller of the Columbus Vineyard and he is responsible not only for what his guest speakers say but also where his guest speakers lead the sheep under his charge.

1 comment:

  1. My thought is that if we (not only The Vineyard Church)but the church of Jesus Christ makes this issue a political instead of a biblical one, who is going to let everyone even Gays that we need to repent and turn from our sin if God will forgive us. We as Christians need to love everyone but also challenge sin in love.

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