A Baptist pastor in Dallas is facing some harsh realities more than a year after leading his congregation to affirm homosexuality.
In November 2016, Wilshire Baptist Church voted to extend membership to those involved in the homosexual lifestyle. The church's slogan is now "Open to all, closed to none."
The action prompted the Baptist General Convention of Texas to sever ties with the church. A year later, Chelsen Vicari decided to contact senior pastor George Mason to see how the church has been affected by the change.
Vicari is evangelical program director for The Institute on Religion & Democracy, a conservative Christian think tank. She writes that while Mason knew some members would vote "no," what he didn't know was they would leave the church as a result. While the "bleeding" stopped months later, he estimates that about 250 of the 1,500 active members at the time no longer call Wilshire their church home – and took about $700,000 of annual giving with them when they left.
The pastor told Advocate Magazine two months ago that "three Sunday school classes of older adults disappeared altogether" – but that the church had gained 100+ new members since the vote.
But Mason's main point of rebuttal, according to Vicari, seems to be that churches across the country are struggling with attendance.
"... Wilshire just seems to remind me ... that there's just immense pressure from secular culture to compromise on this issue on tradition Christian doctrine when it comes to sexuality," she tells OneNewsNow. "And unfortunately, churches like Wilshire have succumbed to that pressure.
"And so instead of acknowledging that this is a compromise," Vicari continues, "Pastor Mason would instead like to redefine what it means to be a vibrant church, what it means to be an orthodox church, what it means to be a growing church."
Mason explained to Vicari that the influx of new members hasn't necessarily been "Millennial gay people," but more so middle age and Millennials who are seeking a church that affirms homosexuality, transgenderism, etc.
"It doesn't take much to convince a Millennial that this is a decision the church should make," he told Vicari. "It does take a lot more to convince an older person who has grown up in a more traditional evangelical-like church."
(Bumpass/Brown, "Pastor: I miscalculated impact of LGBTQ-affirming vote,” OneNewNow Online, 1/15/18).
[TBC: The Holy Spirit-inspired words of Scripture are clear concerning these issues and give us the Lord’s true position.]