Church advocates for gay acceptance

Church advocates for gay acceptance

‘You are welcome here’ is not a phrase GLBT people have come to expect from organised Christianity.
However, a progressive minister at Melbourne’s Pentecostal Bayside Church received a standing ovation earlier this month for preaching just that in a special sermon on how the church should embrace GLBT people.
Bayside Church pastor Rob Buckingham said he wants to “shatter” preconceived ideas that religion must be inherently homophobic.
“I believe the Christian message is for everyone and it breaks my heart that some sections of the church have left people out and even shunned them,” Buckingham told Southern Star.
Based in Cheltenham, Bayside Church is thought to have taken the most prominent stand to date on GLBT acceptance in the worldwide Pentecostal movement.
“I said [GLBT] people were welcome to be with us on this, or any, occasion.  At that point the whole congregation applauded,” Buckingham said.
The pioneering pastor has since received an outpouring of support from church-goers and the GLBT community both in Australia and internationally.
“Some of the stories are heartbreaking and I have been in tears a few times this week reading them,” he said.
Buckingham agreed many parts of the Bible are selectively taken literally when it comes to homosexuality.
“I think it’s time we took a closer look at all the Scriptures relating to homosexuality and, at least, stop bashing gay people with the same verses in the Bible,” he said.
“So much of the Bible speaks of the love and grace of God towards everyone. Why not focus on this?”
Buckingham, who lives with his wife Christie and their three daughters, said both the GLBT community and the church need to form some kind of truce to move forward.
“It’s easy to keep our distance and shoot at each other. I am asking people to stop firing and get to know each other.”
GLBT Christian online network, Freedom2b[e], founder Anthony Venn-Brown said the message was “historic”.
“To have a heterosexual, Pentecostal, megachurch pastor get up in front of the congregation and say the things he said and then for the church to give him a standing ovation, I don’t think that’s happened anywhere in the world,” Venn-Brown said.
“This is not about ‘Yes, you can come and find Jesus and we’ll make you heterosexual’. You’re welcome as you are, without an agenda.”

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6 responses to “Church advocates for gay acceptance”

  1. If a game were being played and some-one broke the rules, those playing by the rules would be very quick to tell the rule breaker that they were in error!!! God has set the STANDARD, God has set the rules. Marriage is God’s Covenant relationship between a male and a female. God made Adam and Eve and commissioned them to be fruitful and multiply – i.e. Have children – God did not make Adam and Steve in tne beginning = life would have ended at that point. Jesus came to declare the TRUTH – He told people to “go and sin no more”, He told the religious leaders of His day that they were “white-washed tombs”.
    To legitimize sin, is to condone the lie and there is no lie in God, cos God is TRUTH and does not condone the lie – the devil is the father of lies!!!

  2. Thanks for standing up for people who Jesus loves. At last rays of hope are shining for GLBT people in the Christian community.

  3. Hi Rob

    Thank you so much for this message. After years of spiritual abuse in a cult, including being shunned when they realised I didn’t fit the mould, I have been in a spiritual wasteland for the past 13 years. In that time, I have continued loving God, but sadly have been unable to find a safe place to worship. As a result of your earlier message, and now, this article, I’m slowly starting to believe that it might just be possible for the GLBTIQ community to be embraced by the church afterall. And it might also be possible for me to trust again.

    Many thanks and blessings,

    Ann Maree

  4. Rob, thank you. i never thought something like this will happen in my lifetime. i also want to thank anthony for the work he’s been doing in bridging the gap between the church and the GLBT community.