When Church Leaders Say Dumb Things

What to do with an angry former acquaintance who is embarrassing the church and making others very angry 101.

I’ve just got off the phone with a mate from down south. We both huffed and puffed, sighed and groaned, puzzled and feared for a mutual acquaintance who has just hit the news again. As we all know, you don’t get in the news for good stuff. What should we do, we asked. We agreed that we need to say something.

Yes, I’m talking about the pastor of Westcity Bible Baptist Church, presumably out in West Auckland somewhere. He’s hit the front page again with his most recent attack on gay people – ‘homos’ as he’s called them. He’s also thrown in a portion of misogyny for good measure, admitting that he doesn’t allow his wife to vote, but rather demands that she in the kitchen baking cakes. Seriously? Is that even legal?

In the kitchen.

I happen to know this man and his family, although I haven’t seen them for over six years. They attended our last church for a bit. We didn’t use the King James Version, we allowed people to wear what they wanted (some used to attend bare-foot, from memory), and our sermons only lasted 20-30 minutes. More importantly, our speakers would never, at least without a sincere apology afterward, stand up and unload their emotional insecurities onto unsuspecting listeners.

Because I knew him, I take a keen interest in his well-being. As I observe him through the media, I’m concerned for him, cross with him, and just want people to ignore him – all at the same time.

I’m upset because I believe that this pastor is deliberately and knowingly making statements designed to shock and anger. If you peruse his YouTube channel you will see that he has selected video clips from his sermons with titles like ‘Jacinda Ardern Needs to Shut Up and Get in the Kitchen’ and ‘Sodomites are Dogs.’  He must sit at home on his computer editing clips of his own sermons and selecting the most outrageous off-the-cuff comments from his sermons. Why? Because it gets attention, and for every 10,000 ‘haters’, he’ll get one recruit.

I’m upset because he is deliberately distorting the Christian faith for his own ends, something that the Bible specifically warns against. I think that other pastors and Christians do need to speak out and make it clear that this is not Christianity. This is not about Jesus.

Coffee with Jesus - forgiveness

I’m also concerned for him and his church because I think that he is playing with fire. He is setting himself up as a martyr, and we all know what happens to martyrs. I’m worried for his family. How are they coping with all of this? I’m fearful for the people who gather to hear him preach each Sunday. Churches are supposed to be safe places where everyone is welcomed and respected regardless of their gender, mental state, or sexual orientation. What is his message doing to the ‘little ones’ of the flock?

I wonder if the media are mature enough to see this pastor’s antics for the attention-grabbing stunts that they are and ignore, rather than fuel, his tirades. Why? Because he wants you to react, to hate him and draw more attention to his anger. That way he will feel confirmed in his distorted view of the Bible, Christianity, and the use of social media.

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