The decision of the Presbyterian Church to embrace same-sex marriage has had grave consequences, as Black and Hispanic churches split off in the desire to stay true to scripture.
CAAP stands in solidarity with the pastors and men and women of faith who are called to stand up for their beliefs and the sanctity of marriage.
The National Black Church Initiative, which said it represented 34,000 black churches with 15.7 million African-American and Latino members, has ended its connection to the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) to protest the church’s “arbitrary change of Holy Scripture,” according to Breitbart.
PCUSA endorsed same-sex marriage in June. The church decided this month to constitutionally rephrase marriage to include a “commitment between two people.”
The Rev. Anthony Evans, the National Black Church Initiative president, said that the traditionalists were “simply standing on the word of God within the mind of Christ” and urged PCUSA to “repent and be restored to fellowship.”
Evans characterized the PCUSA shift as a “sin” and break with 2,000 years of Christian teachings. He quoted Galatians 1:8, in which Paul condemns those who would alter Christian teachings as “false apostles,” “deceitful workers” and, by implication, tools of Satan.
“No church has the right to change the word of God. By voting to redefine marriage PCUSA automatically forfeits Christ’s saving grace,” Evans wrote.
Bishop Janice Hollis, presiding prelate of the Covenant International Fellowship, told Breitbart that she agreed with Evans.
Too many members of the clergy were “preoccupied” with secular values, she said. “God has the final say, but we all have to say something about what we believe and not live in hiding. We must share our faith and when we don’t, we lose ground to our spiritual enemy that comes to devour and destroy.”
Conservative African-American clergy have also repeatedly criticized President Barack Obama for linking gay and lesbian rights with the civil rights movement. The Rev. Bill Owens, president of the Coalition of African-American pastors, termed Obama “a disgrace to the black community” and accused him of “rewriting history,” according to Breitbart.
In a statement to Breitbart News, Bishop Janice Hollis, Senior Pastor of Progressive Believers Ministries and Presiding Prelate of the Covenant International Fellowship, said:
As I read Rev. Evan’s position statement on the Presbyterian Church USA regarding Same-Sex Marriage, his strength to speak his convictions according to Scriptures is well noted. I highly respect anyone with courage to espouse what he or she believes, especially in leadership. Unfortunately, we live in a period where many pastors, bishops and Christians in general are too preoccupied with their public image before the world, and its secular values, and have become ineffective to reach the lost because very little know what they stand for.
Simply being too afraid to take a public stand on any social issues as a representative of the Church, which within itself is a travesty and has created a vacuum. The ambiguity has led and is leading many astray as humanity is seeking to do the right thing and make the right decision amidst varying opinions and positions. However, as “Believers” the FINAL authority is always, and will always be the word of GOD. That didn’t change.
The gray area for many Christians is how they will be perceived – it is our privilege and endowment given by God to adhere to his word without apology. And yes, we still love our brethren who believe otherwise but we are not ashamed of the Gospel that teaches us how to fulfill the word in the earth.
It is easy to see the spin the media will craft regarding Rev. Evan’s position; however, there is no plot to divide the faithful – Christians too, must freely exercise our God-given right to “choose” God’s plan for the family, without legislative or decisive schemes from the religious community. I commend Rev. Evans, regardless who disagrees. God has the final say, but we all have to say something about what we believe and not live in hiding. We must share our faith and when we don’t, we lose ground to our spiritual enemy that comes to devour and destroy. Our responsibility is to the share the good news and the life changing power of the gospel to uplift and empower.
WE, as Believers of marriage between “one man and one woman,” are not hostile or antiquated; we don’t hold grudges against those who have flip-flopped in their doctrine; we have simply made a conscious decision to adhere as best of our ability to the faith delivered unto us to uphold what GOD said about marriage. “Every man shall have his own wife and every wife shall have her own husband.” There isn’t any hidden code in this… why the conundrum exists surrounding this issue is a waste. “GOD cannot retract his principles,” otherwise they weren’t principles from the genesis if humanity can change the value or strength of what they represent. Principles are solid; God is unwavering just as much as he loves and is inclusive.
In 2012, the Philadelphia-based Hollis joined Rev. Bill Owens, president of the Coalition of African-American Pastors (CAAP), at a press conference to condemn President Obama’s support of same-sex marriage.
“I just think this is a travesty in terms of the position that our Commander-in-Chief has taken on a global scale and I’m really proud that Dr. Owens has started this particular mandate to call order to where we have disorder in the highest office in the land,” Hollis said.
“The president needs to know that he has demonstrated such a dereliction of duty simply because he touted himself as a great, broad thinker, a person who could have a conversation with anyone, but yet… selectively he has chosen to overlook this intellectual body of black leaders, and we take grave offense to that,” she continued. “And he needs to know that he does not have a pass, as Dr. Owens has earlier stated, and we will hold him to the fire because at some point you’ve got to make it known what you stand for… and we know that this particular position is a political one, and we are offended.”
Owens and his group have called for the impeachment of Attorney General Eric Holder on the basis that he violated his oath of office by “attempting to impose same-sex ‘marriage’ throughout the nation.”
CAAP was also highly critical of Obama’s comparison of the same-sex marriage movement to that for civil rights during the president’s remarks at the 50th anniversary of the “Bloody Sunday” march in Selma, Alabama.
“President Obama is a disgrace to the black community,” Owens said. “He is rewriting history. We didn’t suffer and die for gay marriage. We marched for opportunity, equality, justice, freedom from oppression. We are the true heirs of the civil rights movement. We have a new movement to reclaim the ‘real’ civil rights movement.”
“The LGBT community hijacked our movement, a movement they know nothing about,” Owens asserted. “President Obama is delusional to compare our struggle with the struggle for marriage equality. Gays have not had fire hoses or dogs unleashed at them. They have not been hung from trees or denied basic human rights.”
“President Obama didn’t march,” Owens continued. “He has benefited from those of us who did march, but for President Obama to say we marched so that gays would have the right to marry today, is a disgrace and a lie.”